Online travel portal EaseMyTrip (EMT), which primarily deals in airline ticket sales, said it is planning to expand its hotel inventory on the platform from the present 3 lakh to 15 lakh in India and across the globe from June this year. The platform also has 12,000 directly contracted hotels which includes hotels and other alternative accommodation options. EMT, which started operations in 2008, competes with other OTAs such as MakeMyTrip and Yatra.
Moglix, a Ratan Tata-backed B2B industrial goods e-marketplace, announced on Monday that it has received investment from Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy in his personal capacity. Moglix has a team comprising over 450 people and currently operates across 12 centres in India, catering to both institutional customers (B2B) and individual customers (B2C) in the manufacturing sector. It currently focuses on the automotive, metals, mining, and fast-moving consumer durables (FMCD) markets.
Online classifieds platform Quikr has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire refurbished goods marketplace Zefo for Rs 200 crore (about $28.5 million) in an all-stock deal. Bengaluru-based Zefo, founded in 2015, is among the bigger players in the second-hand refurbished products market. The company specializes in quality check, repair and refurbishment for products across categories such as TVs, mobile phones and furniture, among others.
US-based software company Ebix has offered to buy India's second-largest online travel service provider Yatra Online, Inc, for $336 million (Rs 2,347 crore) in a cash-and-stock deal. Listed on the Nasdaq in New York, Yatra Online, Inc. is the parent company of Gurugram-based Yatra Online Pvt Ltd which was founded in 2006 and operates the travel website Yatra.com. The offer price of $7 per share represents a premium of 84% to Yatra's Friday close.
E-commerce and consumer internet companies in India raised over $7 billion in private equity and venture capital funding in 2018. Out of total investments in the Indian start-up ecosystem in 2018, OYO, Swiggy, Byjus, Paytm Mall, Pine Labs, Zomato, Udaan, PolicyBazaar and CureFit accounted for investments worth around $4.6 billion. Majority of the funding was towards building supply chain, expanding into new segments, acquisition/ consolidation, and bringing innovative product offerings.
Sportskeeda, India’s largest free-for-all-sports website is expecting over four crore monthly users during the 2019 IPL and the World Cup. Sportskeeda is also poised to cross 100 crore ad impressions during the cricket season, giving its partners a massive opportunity to advertise their products. Sportskeeda sources content from its well-established community. It works on a unique revenue-share model which ensures the entire sports content community grows together with the platform.
South Korean automaker Hyundai Motors Company is in advanced stages discussion to invest $250-300 million in homegrown cab-aggregator Ola. Hyundai Motors will reportedly acquire a 4% stake in Ola. The funding will value Ola at $6 billion, its highest ever. This will be Hyundai’s second investment in Indian start-up ecosystem after it led a Rs 100 crore funding in car rental start-up Revv in August last year. Hyundai had also invested $250 million in Singaporean ride-hailing company Grab in November last year.
Search engine giant Google has launched a personalized reading tool app called “BOLO” to help address the gap in rural India vernacular offerings. The app which is powered by Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology comes with a built-in reading tutor named as “Diya”. The software tutor is designed to encourage, explain and correct the children as they read out loud. The app will also help kids by assisting them at every step, giving both positive and corrective feedback.
Following the recent acquisition of a logistics startup Grab, and software firm C-Square, Reliance Industries Ltd has now acquired three more Indian startups including, a vernacular language-as-a-service platform, Reverie Language Technologies; Indian government schemes/services aggregator, EasyGov; and a multiphysics simulation service, SankhyaSutra Labs. According to BSE filings, the conglomerate has acquired 76% equity stake in EasyGov and more than 80% stake in SankhyaSutra and Reverie. It is further looking to invest around Rs 327 Cr together in all the three startups by 2021. In 2018, Reliance Retail announced its entry into the e-commerce space with an online-offline hybrid model.
Malaysian budget airline, AirAsia will launch a venture capital fund, RedBear Capital, in the United States to invest in start-ups which are looking enter or expand in Southeast Asia. RedBeat Capital with an initial fund allocation of $10 million, will focus on post-seed stage startups operating in travel and lifestyle, financial technology, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. AirAsia has partnered with San Francisco-based 500 Startups, which invests in young fast-growing companies.
Paytm-owned Nearbuy reported a 16.4% year-on-year decline in operating revenues from Rs 28.22 crore in FY17 to Rs 23.58 crore in FY18. However, the total losses incurred by the company in FY18 amounted to Rs 49.11 crore, a 35.3% controlled figure from Rs 75.91 crore in FY17. Nearbuy is a hyper-local e-commerce company which allows customers to discover, buy and save on their purchases from the nearest merchant stores. Nearbuy was acquired by Paytm in December 2017.
Within one week of launching its services in India, Spotify, the world’s most popular paid music streaming service, has added more than 1 million unique users across its free and premium categories. Swedish-based Spotify is offering a free version that will run with ads, alongside a premium ad-free variant that will charge users Rs 119 ($1.68) per month. Currently the Indian online music streaming sector is led by Gaana with over 80 million paid users. Spotify has 207 million monthly active users globally.
Zomato Media Pvt Ltd will sell its UAE food delivery business to Germany’s food-tech major Delivery Hero Group for about $172 million, Zomato’s second-largest shareholder Info Edge (India) Ltd said on Monday. Zomato and Delivery Hero will then enter services agreements under which Zomato will continue to run the business on its own platform, Info Edge said.
Reliance Industries’ subsidiary, Reliance Industrial Investment and Holdings (RIIHL), has acquired majority stakes in two companies, Grab A Grub Services and C-Square Info Solutions. RIIHL will pay Rs 106 crore to acquire 83% stake in Grab. It will also invest an additional Rs 40 crore. Grab provides technology-enabled logistic services. While RIIHL will initially invest Rs 22.4 crore in pharmaceuticals'-focused software solutions firm, C-Square Info Solutions, it will further infuse Rs 60 crore, transalting into an overall 82% stake ownership.
Amid Cryptocurrency cases getting only tarikh-pe-tarikh (day-after-day) with negligible progress, the Supreme Court finally set the deadline for February 25 hearing and has directed the government to formulate a Cryptocurrency policy within the next four weeks. Though it is unlikely ahead of the general election, the Court’s order has definitely brought the focus back to the regulatory issues that Cryptocurrency startups are facing in India. In fact, a group called Blockchain India announced plans to organize meetups across four cities — Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad — to compile a set of policy suggestions on cryptocurrency trading in India.