Of all the news in the Indian startup ecosystem, the major two companies to steal the limelight last week were the two rivaling ecommerce giants in India – Flipkart and Amazon. While companies like Paytm and Uber came up with major announcements until last week, this week the ecommerce players managed to grab attention with their decisions and strategies.
Flipkart came up with two major decisions – the launch of its online grocery pilot portal in Bengaluru and the announcement on the launch of its flagship smartphone models. Flipkart hasn’t come up with a separate website or a domain to sell groceries online but just had added a grocery category on its existing website and is available only in Bengaluru. Though a pilot launch, we will have to wait and see if the strategies by Flipkart will live to compete against the existing market player Big Basket. The other news from Flipkart is the launch of Billion Captuer+ – the smartphone from Flipkart and by Fipkart. Manufactured under the Make in India brand Billion, the smartphone will go on sale from the 15th of November.
From Amazon comes the news on the shutting down of its product discovery portal – Junglee. Amazon has finally decided to shut Junglee’s services down, where Amazon Local Find will take care of what Junglee was upto. Jeff Wike, Amazon’s global consumer CEO also announced that India was one of the fastest growing markets in the world and that Amazon would continue to focus on aggressive investments. Besides, speculations also claim that Audible, Amazon’s audiobook services, will soon roll out in India as well.
Another news to make its way last week was on cryptocurrencies. We know, it’s quite surprising that we’re already reached a state where we’re acknowledging the growing importance and reach of alternate currencies like Bitcoins, Ether and more. To a question posed at a banking event, RBI’s executive director Mr. Ganesh Kumar stated that we can neither use Bitcoins to make any purchase of goods and services nor for settlements and payments. He also clearly stated that he does not undermine the importance of the blockchain technology what he was still skeptical was on using alternate currencies as instruments of digital transactions.
After teaming up with Yatra for accommodation solutions, OYO is back in news with its launching of home management services. With this project, OYO intends to offer owners of a second home a chance to earn by partnering with them for accommodation services. The pilot project, which was launched in December 2016, will channelize its focus on rooms and houses that are locked and unused.
If you’re in Delhi and get annoyed by the surge pricings from your preferred cab services, you’re in for a relief because Ola and Uber have temporarily suspended their surge pricing tariffs during the odd-even rule period. Besides, Uber cabs from and to metro train stations will also be available at reduced fares.
In an effort to grow its online academic services, Simplilearn has launched its second office in Raleigh, North Carolina. This will allow the popular reskilling company to expands its businesses in the US and get a strong foothold of its operations there.
So, these were some of the major news from last week. As the second week of November comes to an end, we will have to wait and find out if the next week will have dramatic news that will further shape the startup scene in India.