A quick roundup of the developments in the Indian and international digital, tech and business ecosystem. 

Developments in the digital ecosystem

  • The Telangana Government has launched a digital networking platform called Telangana State GlobalLinker, in partnership with GlobalLinker. This platform will digitize and allow 2.3 million MSMEs in the state to create digital profiles for their businesses, connect with global MSMEs, connect buyers and suppliers and get industry trends and news. Membership to the platform also gives users benefits on travel, legal and financial services from SMEs and corporates.
  • Paytm Payments Bank has launched zero-balance current accounts, reports TechStory with the aim to target 40 million small and medium enterprises in India. The account will be available to individuals, sole proprietors, SMEs, and large corporates, who can deposit money an unlimited number of times for free. 
  • Walmart has tied up with PhonePe to accept payments via PhonePe app and wallet from kirana stores which purchase goods from Walmart’s B2B cash-and-carry stores, per Financial Express.
  • Zomato said that it has a ‘solicitation’ problem on the platform, where influential foodies are incentivised, sometimes for money, to write about restaurants, reports News18. Zomato said that it has acted against 300 users after gathering evidence against them.
  • Zomato has expanded to 40 cities with nearly 80,000 restaurants in 2018, reports the Financial Express. It claimed that 10.5 million users have used its ‘book tables’ service in 2018.
  • Oyo has now launched private food labels ‘Adraq by Oyo’ and ‘O Biryani by Oyo’ via 20 delivery-only aka cloud kitchens in Mumbai and Delhi, reports TechCircle. The kitchens will be listed on Swiggy, Zomato, and UberEATS.
  • Mahindra & Mahindra has launched its “Glyd” app that delivers transportation services through electric vehicles, reports the Economic Times.
  • German car manufacturer Daimler and BMW have launched a new ride-hailing cum parking and EV charging business in order to compete other tech initiatives by transport services, per the Economic Times.
  • Mobile advertising platform InMobi has launched a cloud-based solution for telcos to increase privacy, security and regulatory compliance of their digital information/assets, reports TechCircle. The product is called ‘TruFactor’ and will operate on Microsoft Azure.
  • Google Cloud has hired Amitabh Jacob as head of partnerships and alliances for India, per the Economic Times. He will drive Google Cloud’s route-to-market strategy in the country.
  • LimeRoad has hired Shashank Teotia as its HR head as per a company statement.

Investments and revenues

  • Sachin Bansal has invested Rs 250 crore each in NBFC companies Altico Capital India Ltd and IndoStar Capital Finance, reports Mint.
  • Home interiors and renovation startup HomeLane has raised Rs 33 crore in a bridge round led by existing investors JSW Ventures, Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital, reports the  Economic Times.
  • PoS payments company Pine Labs is ‘close to acquiring’ Bangalore-based digital gift cards firm Qwikcilver Solutions for over $100 million, reports the Economic Times.
  • BulBul Apps has raised $500,000 in an unnamed round of funding from Xseed Partners, Operator VC, Anblicks and Infoblob, which it will use for ‘building its B2B2C market.’ The company was founded by Prakash Dantuluri in 2015 with a seed capital of $200,000 and has raised $1 million so far.
  • Flipkart Group’s revenues increased by over 50% to Rs 30,164 crore, but losses increased by five times to Rs 46,895 crore according to filings reported by the Economic Times. Finance costs increased nearly 10 times to Rs 40,937 crore this year from Rs 4309 crore in FY17.

Policy developments

  • Indian telecom companies are curious to know the concerns of other companies’ views on Huawei, ZTE, and data security, reports the Economic Times. Indian telcos have sought views in a closed-door meeting in Barcelona, which was attended by EU members, data protection lobbyists, Vodafone Group, Huawei, and ZTE members.
  • Internet lobby group IndiaTech.org has presented to the SEBI that Indian companies should be allowed to file confidential IPO papers, reports the Economic Times. The group said that this would avoid public disclosure of “sensitive commercial and financial information” to the market and competitors.  
  • Amazon is in talks to buy a stake in Future Coupons, owned by Future Group promoter Kishore Biyani, to ensure compliance with the FDI in e-commerce policy, reports the Economic Times. Amazon was earlier in talks to acquire a stake in the Future Group, which is now raising Rs 2000 crore from Future Coupons.
  • Union IT Minister RS Prasad said that India’s key personal data should be stored within the country to prevent “data imperialism”, reports the Economic Times. He said that the government would seek details of origins of messages which promote terrorism and radicalisation on platforms like WhatsApp.
  • A member of the IT Parliamentary Standing Committee, which summoned Twitter officials, said doing so was a “waste of public expenditure”, reports the Quint. Only 9 of the 31-member committee members attended the meeting.