20 Jan 2020

Startup NEWS, Jan 20, 2020

1. UC Browser Launches UC Drive Cloud Storage Service For Indian Market

  • Alibaba’s UCWeb, which is known for its mobile browser app UC Browser, has announced the launch of its in-app cloud storage service in India. UC Drive helps users free up their smartphone’s internal storage and helps them store files securely and get access across devices.
  • UC Drive is launching first in India since the country is one of the largest markets for UC Browser. UC Browser was launched in India in 2009. The company says India accounts for 50% of its global downloads. UC Browser recently reported over 1.1 billion downloads globally.
  • With the advent of mobile technology and the proliferation of 4G data, India’s millennial and Generation Z is consuming more and more digital content by the day. According to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG)- Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report, the average digital video consumption in India has witnessed a 2X growth in the last two years. From 11 minutes per day, the average time spent in video consumption by Indians has now increased to 24 minutes per day.

2. German Solar Car Startup Sono to Stay in Business After Crowdfunding Success

  • Sono Motors GmbH, the embattled German startup working to serially produce a solar-charged electric car, said it’s achieved a crowdfunding goal that will let the company stay in business.
  • The sum passed its 50 million euro ($55 million) goal Saturday, the Munich-based company announced in a tweet. It had hoped to raise the amount by Jan. 21.
  • Sono announced the move to crowdfunding in December, after talks with potential investors broke down. Financial backers had demanded the company give up on the Sion car because they said it cost too much to manufacture, the company said in a statement at the time.
  • “We realized again and again over the past few months that we have entirely different goals to traditional financial investors,” Chief Executive Officer Laurin Hahn said. “Aggressive growth and quick profits are difficult to reconcile with a sustainable corporate and vehicle concept.”

3. Former Flipkart CTO Garikipati launches a micro-credit startup

  • Ravi Garikipati, Flipkart’s former CTO & head of engineering and Raj Vattikuti, a serial and entrepreneur and the founder of Covansys have come together to launch financial services and micro-credit startup ‘Davinta’.
  • The duo has invested Rs 140 crore of their personal money in starting this venture that holds an NBFC permit and disbursed loans of Rs 50 crore, said an Economic Times report.
  • Vattikuti had also established the Vattikuti Foundation in 1997, Synova in 1998 and sold Covansys to Computer Sciences Corporation in July 2007 for $ 1.3 billion.
  • Garikipati, who has over 30 years of experience mostly in technology and executive leadership roles, had also pumped in around Rs 10 lakh in healthcare-focused fintech startup LetsMD in May 2018,

4. India is becoming a popular destination for foreigners to chase their startup dreams

  • Jose Leon, 33, rides his two-wheeler to work in Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills area, covering a distance of 10 km in under 30 minutes. “While driving in India, I only think of surviving,” he says with a straight face. “But it is not that dangerous once you get a hang of it,” adds the Costa Rican, who moved to India to start a business two years ago.
  • Leon runs a medical transportation startup called StanPlus, essentially an Uber for ambulances, with his INSEAD batchmate Prabhdeep Singh. Navigating the bylanes of Hyderabad helps him familiarise himself with the new place, makes him feel less like an outsider.
  • Amid a slew of MNCs that are looking at India, foreigners like Leon are an anomaly. For foreign individuals, “India is still not considered a lucrative destination to set up large-scale businesses,” says chartered accountant Amit Maheshwari, whose firm Ashok Maheshwary & Associates specialises in business advisory for foreign firms and individuals. Bureaucratic delays, frequent regulatory changes in certain sectors and lack of investor trust dampen their spirits.

5. Startups Weekly: Plaid’s $5.3B acquisition is a textbook Silicon Valley win

  • Plaid’s product is beyond boring to most people, but it is already a name brand to its enterprise users and across the greater startup world, as its stats and funding rounds have grown. The $5.3 billion outcome announced this week cements its status as a top SaaS/fintech startup story of this era, in addition to being a popular platform for developers who need to sync user payment data.
  • Alex Wilhelm was all over the news. He dug into Visa’s presentation explaining the purchase on Extra Crunch — it paid more than twice Plaid’s last valuation — and found the classic tale of a large, slow-moving incumbent strategically buying a hot younger company in order to grow into newer markets. Then he got comments for Extra Crunch from a range of analysts… who basically said the same thing.
  • You can now tune into the latest TechCrunch Equity episode to hear him talk about it with our resident former VC Danny Crichton.
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Philomathes (pronounced as fillo-MAY-thus) is a fictional character at VAYUZ (https://www.vayuz.com), who is on a never ending journey called “LEARNING”. In a way, Philomathes embodies VAYUZ - Way of life, which is if you are not learning then you are not breathing. The word Philomathes, comes from the Greek roots philo and philein meaning "to love" and the Greek roots mathos (MAH-thos) and mathesis (muh-THAYSIS) meaning “learning”. Philomathes through his Blogs and Vlogs (Video Blogs) will share his experience, learnings and thoughts. In his tryst to learn and understand, he would also seek answers to questions. So if you would like to join him in this incredible journey called “ life” then feel free to write to him on philomathes.jigyasu@vayuz.com. Always remember, knowledge is all around us, we just need to keep our guards down and senses on.

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