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30-10-2017 to 04-11-2017



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The month of October passed by in a string of acquisitions, investments, surprise announcements and major technology updates. The month of November also started out with a bang news regarding major food tech companies, female entrepreneurs in the startup industry and all time high revenues. If you missed the major news of this week, here’s our weekly wrap up.

Ola Fleet Technologies Pvt., Ltd., received $7.7 million in fresh funds from its parent company ANI Technologies Pvt., Ltd. The company already raised Rs. 50 crores and Rs. 100 crores from Ola in July this year. Close to 50 million equity shares were allocated at a subscription price of Rs. 10 apiece. Despite facing multiple loan defaults and other setbacks, the company posted a net sale of Rs. 5.6 crores for the financial year 2015-2016.

75 startups in India received financial support from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP,) of India under the Funds of Funds Initiative. These 75 startups would receive the investment through 17 Alternative Investment Funds registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI.) Established by the Indian Government in association with the Small Industries Development Bank of India, the Funds Of Funds for Startups (FFS) aims to extend funding support to the startups identified based on criteria listed in line with the Startup India initiative. So far over Rs. 300 crores has been invested in startups by the Fund.

Technology major Nokia finally launched their much awaited flagship smartphone Nokia 2 at the Sector 55-56 Metro station in Gurgaon. One of Nokia’s most affordable phones, Nokia 2, is expected to hit the shelves mid November, this year. With a 4100 mAh battery that will last for 2 days, the Nokia 2 will pack a 5 inch LTPS HD (720×1280 pixels) resolution display. The phone packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 SoC processor but will come with just 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. Available in three color variants namely Copper Black, Pewter Black, and Pewter White, the handset will hold a 5 MP front camera and an 8 MP primary camera.

India’s two biggest food tech startups, Zomato and Swiggy, are reportedly in talks for a stock based merger. According to sources, restaurant discovery platform, Zomato, offered a 1:4 share swap ratio to Swiggy, which would reduce the valuation of the online food ordering platform at $225 million. 2016 saw an exponential growth in the food delivery industry. While Swiggy claimed to complete close to 4- 4.5 million orders a month, Zomato dominated the restaurant discovery business with 3- 3.2 million online orders per month. Zomato and Swiggy’s merger will be among the most significant moves made towards consolidating a lucrative sector, after the failed acquisition talks between Flipkart and Snapdeal.

In an attempt to encourage female entrepreneurs, Zone Startups India has selected 15 women for the second edition of its empoWer Accelerator Program. Selected by a panel comprising of 12 mentors and noted industry experts, the startups will compete for a chance to attend a week long business development and personal mentorship programme in Quebec, Canada. The startups represent industries like healthcare, smart cities and enterprise solutions across various technology themes including Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and deep learning, across industries like healthcare, smart cities and enterprise solutions. The shortlisted startups will get to network in the industry, attend valuable mentoring sessions and workshops during a six week community programme.

One97 Communication, the parent company of Paytm, posted a total revenue of $ 126 million and net worth of Rs. 2,376.6 crores for the fiscal year 2016 – 2017. Founded in 2010 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm is India’s leading digital payments platform backed by China’s ecommerce giant Alibaba and Japan’s venture capital firm Softbank. The company witnessed a 65% rise in offline payments resulting in transactions worth $ 1.6 billion, post Demonetization last year. The company also claims to have over 218 million customers in India and a few other parts of the world and aims to increase their customer count to 50 crores by the end of 2020.

A day after posting their record high revenue, Paytm announced the launch of their brand new in house messaging service, Inox. In an attempt to create a separate path in the fierce world of ecommerce, Inbox lets users send and receive images and text messages. The messaging service will be embedded with digital transaction features as an additional advantage against other messaging apps. Furthermore, Inbox will also have a recall option that lets users delete messages once sent.

That’s all for this week! Subscribe to our portal to never miss updates from the startup world! If your startup has an exciting announcement coming up, you can even write to us at [email protected]. Catch up with the highlights of the week with our The News This Week section.

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Emerging Startup Stories

Discover Kheyti, The Startup Changing The Lives of Farmers In India



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Farming has been an integral part of India’s history and culture for ages. It’s been the foundation of the Indian economy, supporting millions of people with food and jobs. Crops and agriculture hold immense importance in Indian society, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of culture, community, and spirituality.

Farming is a way of life for many people in India, but it can be a difficult and unpredictable business and farmers face a number of challenges, from erratic weather patterns to low market prices for their crops. Kheyti is a social enterprise founded in 2015 by Saumya, Kaushik Kappagantula, and Sathya Raghu. The organisation provides sustainable solutions to small farmers in India, helping them overcome challenges and improve their lives.

Kheyti’s flagship product is the “Greenhouse-in-a-Box,” a low-cost modular greenhouse that allows farmers to grow high-value crops year-round, even in unfavourable weather conditions. operates on a subscription-based model, where farmers can purchase a “Greenhouse-in-a-Box” kit or sign up for crop advisory services on a monthly or annual basis. also earns revenue by connecting farmers with markets and buyers, taking a small commission on sales. They work to keep the costs low by partnering with local manufacturers to produce their products and leveraging tech to provide personalised crop advisory services at scale.

They also provide crop advisory services to farmers, offering personalised advice on crop selection, planting, and management. In total, The company has helped over 6,000 small farmers increase their incomes by an average of 300%. You call them small farmers, Kheyti calls them Smart farmers!

While there are other companies in India that offer similar solutions to small farmers, Kheyti stands out for its focus on sustainability, innovation, and community involvement. It works closely with farmers to develop tailored solutions that meet their needs while focusing on sustainable farming practices. Through its efforts, Kheyti has improved soil health, reduced water usage, and increased yields of various crops.

Looking ahead, Kheyti plans to expand its reach to more farmers in India and beyond and aims to continue developing new products and services that can help small farmers overcome the challenges they face. With its commitment to sustainability and innovation, The visionaries at Kheyti claim it has the potential to transform the agricultural sector and contribute to a more equitable future for all.

Imagine the joy and hope Kheyti brings to struggling farmers in India. With Kheyti’s help, over 6,000 small farmers have transformed their lives, becoming Smart farmers who handle challenges and succeed. With sustainable solutions, Kheyti is not only revolutionising agriculture but also spreading hope for a brighter future.


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Leher Versus Clubhouse: Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?



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Clubhouse is a new type of social networking platform which is an audio only platform.  This means every conversation takes place through audio where users speak to let their thoughts known.  Users can create and host rooms where speakers will talk about a particular topic.  Originating in the Silicon Valley, Clubhouse attracted some major names onto its platform like Elon Musk, Evan Williams, Reddit co founder Alexis Ohanian, former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, AngelList co founder Naval Ravikant, Ashton Kuthcer, Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Kevin Hart and many others are some of the influential personalities who are on Clubhouse.  There is however a catch as Clubhouse is currently limited to iOS.

Leher is an Indian made alternative to Clubhouse and is a similar audio sharing and listening startup.  Leher also has video support unlike Clubhouse and is also available for both Android and iOS.  However, Leher does not have the biggest names in the world on its platform but it does have significant micro influencers and is growing at a rapid pace.  Within 180 days of its beta version launch, the company claimed to have its users spend about 44 minutes every day and 250,000 minutes per month for live video sessions.

We at Startup Stories are curious to see which among Leher or Clubhouse would our readers choose to take part in a virtual discussion.  Please let us know your answer in the poll below.

Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?

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Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?



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If you are a regular user of social media platforms and also a fan of consuming content on the digital medium, then there is a very high likelihood that you have seen ads on pages you are reading or watching something.  There would be times when you have been targeted by an ad which feels like it was wrongly targeted at you.  Imagine if you are a vegetarian by choice and while browsing online, if you are targeted by a food delivery app which shows ads about chicken dishes.  The ad would only serve to spoil the mood of the online user instead of serving its actual purpose which is to push the user to buy a chicken dish.

These wrongly targeted ads might be the side effects of performance marketing or a weak brand marketing.  Performance marketing means advertising programs where advertisers pay only when a specific action occurs. These actions can include a generated lead, a sale, a click, and more.  Inshort, performance marketing is used to create highly targeted ads for a very specific target audience at a low cost.  Performance marketing usually means high volume for a very specific cost.  

Brand marketers on the other hand believe in narrowly defining target audiences but end up spending a lot of money on ad placements.  Gautam Mehra, CEO, Dentsu Programmatic India & CDO, Dentsu International Asia Pacific said, “You’ve defined a persona, you know the emotions you want to elicit, but then you buy a YouTube masthead and CricInfo sponsorships because IPL is up.  If brand advertisers look at audience-based buys more deeply than just placements, you will see more relevant ads (sic.)”  

ALSO READ: How Digital Marketing Is Impacted Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic

Performance marketing is more of a sales function rather than a marketing function and is about meeting the cost of acquisition.  This is a reason why budgets are usually high for performance marketing.  Mehra goes on to add, “the fact is that an engineer can out-beat FMCGs on performance marketing.  Advertisers who have cracked this are spending 10x and are on an ‘always on’ mode (unlike time-bound brand campaigns.)”

There is always the case of supply and demand, with the supply usually exceeding the demand on digital platforms.  Ultimately, it boils down to the choice between no ad versus low relevance ad and it is quite easy to guess that having a low relevance ad is better.  

Arvind R. P., Director – Marketing and Communications at McDonald’s India (West and South,) said “McDonalds’ for instance, has seen its share of spends on digital grow from 20% levels a couple of years back to over 40% at present.  Outcomes of this journey have been encouraging, proven by our media-mix-modelling and other key metrics.  We have seen best results from an optimal mix of Television plus digital (sic.)”  Moreover, Arvind also believes performance marketing only approach could turn out to be more suited to short term, versus a more consistent full funnel effort.  The latter ensures adequate emphasis on building consideration, as well as growing transactions.  Arvind feels digital is a complex medium which needs investment in the right talent who could use the right tools.  Brands which underestimate the need for the investment are often disappointed from the return on investment from the digital medium.

With the constantly changing consumer dynamics marketers are now shifting to unscripted marketing which frankly needs more insights into the consumer mindset.  The lack of marketers to do the proper research is why digital medium is plagued with irrelevant ads.

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