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Digest: Paypal, Google, Indian Angel Network, Deliverychef, Times Internet

paypalPaypal launches incubation centre in Chennai

Payment gateway PayPal is setting up a startup incubation centre in Chennai in partnership with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) to provide office space, mentoring, technical training, and networking opportunities, reports The Hindu.

Paypal has incubators in its Boston and New York offices, but this is the first time that the company has tied up with an external agency to do so. The company will offer business and technology advice to incubated startups apart from connecting them to VCs. They will include 8-10 startups in the first batch and the average incubation period will be 12 months.

The company had launched PayPal Blueprint towards the end of last month to provide mentorship, customer service and free payment processing to startups. It’s not clear if the one being set up in Chennai is part of this programm. It is also not clear where interested startups should head to if they want to be part of the incubator in Chennai.

Indian_Angel_NetworkIndian Angel Network reaches out across the border

Indian Angel Network has called for applications under its Indo-Pak initiative called ‘Startup Dosti’, the cross-border business plan competition that has been developed in partnership with the Karachi-London based SEED Ventures and the Washington DC-based Atlantic Council.

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The top five selected teams from India and Pakistan will be flown to Thailand where they will spend a week together and pitch to a cross-border panel of investors for the finals, with a chance to enter into on-the-spot negotiations and walk away with investment. Winning startup there, will earn seed funding, free incubation for three to six months in both countries and access to a unique network of entrepreneurs to help execute their business idea.

Startup Dosti is IAN’s second international initiative following the launch of Venture Engine in Sri Lanka last year to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the country. The last date for applying for the initiative is November 30 2013.

Google LogoOnline Web Academy for SMBs

Google India announced the launch of online Web Academy for Small Businesses for India at the GDayX 2013. The Web Academy will include a bunch of training material on how SMBs can use Google’s tools to communicate and connect with customers.

The content works more like a step-by-step guide to using its services and each training material is accompanied by exercises that one needs to complete. All the included documents are PDFs, which means participants in this academy will not be able to answer these forms from the browser itself. There seems to be no process of evaluation either, making the whole thing look like ‘Dummies guide to Google products’ rather than a web academy for SMBs. Apart from this academy Google provides several other tools to help get Indian companies online.

Delivery-chefDeliverychef raises angel funding

Mumbai-based food delivery service Deliverychef that currently offers online food ordering service in Bangalore, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Delhi NCR has raised angel funding from a US-based expat, reports Techcircle. Wishopedia Services Pvt Ltd, which runs the service has not disclosed the amount raised, but has mentioned that it will be used for scaling up the technology and expanding the team. According to its co-founder Ankita Tandon, the website has grown by 300% this year and currently lists over 650 restaurants apart from clocking in more than 150 orders a day in Mumbai region alone.

Earlier this year, another online food ordering service TastyKhana.com had raised more than $5 million from Berlin-based Delivery Hero food ordering marketplace. In May 2013, Rocket Internet-backed online food ordering service FoodPanda had raised more than $20 million investment from a group of investors which include Investment AB Kinnevik and Phenomen Ventures. Other players include BigBite.in which had claimed to have tied up with about 600 restaurants in Delhi-NCR as of September 2012.

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times-internetTimes Internet services pre-loaded on Coast

Times Internet (TIL) has announced that their websites will be pre-loaded under speed dial entries of Opera’s iOS browser Coast. Gaana, Timescity, Box TV, Speakingtree, Zoom and ET will make its way to the browser as part of the deal. Opera launched Coast in September this year and it does not use the company’s server-side rendering service. It instead relies on Apple’s own built-in rendering engine for its minimalist interface.

The browser is currently available on iOS only and the company hasn’t announced an Android version yet.  However, it had partnered with seven Indian handset manufacturers — Micromax, Videocon, Spice, MoMagic Technologies, Wynncom, Lemon Mobiles and iBall — to preload the Opera Mini mobile browser on their upcoming Android based handsets in September. Opera is facing stiff competition in India from UC Browser, which claimed to have overtaken Opera Mini as India’s top mobile browser. As of August 2013, UC Browser had a market share of 30.88% in India as compared to Opera Mini’s 27.85%, according to the web analytics firm StatCounter.

Meanwhile,  mobile browser maker Dolphin has also launched a customised version of its mobile browser in India and is currently eyeing partnerships with Indian content providers. It claims to have over 80 million installations on phones and tablets and its primary markets are USA, China and Japan, although the company notes that India is among its fastest growing markets.

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