Monday, August 12, 2019

“Reliance Jio rolls out freebies for budding startups, small and medium businesses - YourStory” plus 3 more

“Reliance Jio rolls out freebies for budding startups, small and medium businesses - YourStory” plus 3 more


Reliance Jio rolls out freebies for budding startups, small and medium businesses - YourStory

Posted: 12 Aug 2019 01:35 AM PDT

At the 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries, Chairman Mukesh Ambani made a plethora of generous announcements, some of which are aimed at benefiting the domestic startup ecosystem.

Starting January 1, 2020, Reliance Jio will provide free cloud services and connectivity infrastructure to India's budding startups. This will also include Azure cloud services that Jio is bringing as part of a long-term alliance with Microsoft.

Ambani urged "all startups to register for their custom-designed package on Jio.com." About 80 percent of the cost of running a startup goes into setting up a cloud infrastructure. "We are taking away this cost," he said.

Not only this, Jio will also offer a monthly digital services pack to micro, small, and medium businesses, starting at just Rs 1,500. Ambani called these enterprises the "bedrock of the economy".

Mukesh Ambani

RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani at the 42nd AGM on Monday.

He explained,

"To run their business, a bundle of connectivity, productivity, and automation tools costs a micro and small business between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 per month currently. For a similar service, customers abroad pay over $1,000 per month. Today we are taking the bold step of giving these applications along with our connectivity to small businesses for one-tenth the cost."

He asserted that these new initiatives will benefit two to five million startups and SMBs in India, and propel them towards growth.

There will also be custom-designed plans for medium and slightly larger businesses that incur costs between Rs 3 lakh and 5 lakh per month on connectivity and infrastructure.

Jio will also continue to "invest and financially support" startups that can address India's requirements in healthcare, education, agriculture, and skill development, and create new livelihoods.

"Jio is a startup built in India for India by Indians. And we have a special place in our hearts for startups," Ambani said.

The company has already invested in 14 startups that complement Jio's services. And, will look to make more investments in blockchain, virtual and mixed reality, and other "advanced technologies".

(Edited by Megha Reddy)


More than 450 startups in India's agritech sector: Nasscom - Livemint

Posted: 12 Aug 2019 03:19 AM PDT

India currently hosts more than 450 start-ups in the agritech sector, according to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) report that was released on Monday.

According to the report, Agritech in India – Emerging Trends in 2019, the sector in India is growing at a rate of 25%, year on year, and has over the recent years witnessed some of global and sector-focused funds directly investing in agritech start-ups.

According to the report, as of June 2019, the sector has received more than $248 million funding, a rise of 300% as compared to the previous year.

With the recent rise in funding, 48% agritech CEOs, as per the NASSCOM survey, believe they have the next agritech unicorn in the coming three years.

According to Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM: "India's agriculture sector is advancing steadily towards its digital transformation and the start-up ecosystem is playing a critical role here, bringing innovation and disruption in much-needed areas. Adoption of technology in agriculture has always needed a structured institutional focus and technology firms are trying to break into the agricultural landscape using newer business models. The findings of the report are testimony to the potential of the agritech industry and the opportunities that India presents in the agriculture and farming landscape.

With more and more local farmers accepting the innovative start-up solutions, there has been a considerable shift witnessed from B2C to B2B start-ups.

Corporates and investors are playing a vital role in supporting this with over $200 million investment in B2B start-ups in the past 18 months, making it a key revenue generating segment in the overall agritech sector. This has enabled creating better access to market, faster technology adoption and bringing domain specific product development support to the industry. Indian companies are increasingly looking at global markets to expand with a focus on regions like South East Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

In the last five years, more than five global agritech companies have ventured in India, as compared to more than 25 Indian agritech companies with global presence.

Emerging areas like market linkage, digital agriculture, better access to inputs and financing are gaining traction. These technology adoptions are enabling numerous agritech startups to bring forth farming-related advanced technological mechanisms to help local farming become a sustainable and profit-yielding enterprise.

With public private partnerships and government support, several Indian states have established progressive agritech policies.

It is estimated that by 2020 the agritech sector will be at the centerstage of innovation and will lead India's journey towards overall transformation. Therefore, the ecosystem needs to focus on driving innovation, data collaboration, easy working capital and providing digital infrastructure to enable real-time access to farmers across the country.

5 current technology & startup trends that everyone should be aware of - EU-Startups

Posted: 08 Aug 2019 03:51 AM PDT

5-Technology-Trends

While most startups are small in team size and limited in terms of financial capacity, there's one advantage they often have against their larger competitors; innovation and new business models for changing market conditions.

The year 2019 will see disruptive innovation in big markets such as online retail with the further improved personalization of the shopping experience, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to give buyers access to features as fascinating as virtual test rooms. It's also the year of further experimentation with blockchain and other new technologies that are becoming more and more part of our daily lives – even if we often don't realise it. 

Here are 5 current startup and technology trends everyone should be aware of these days:

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Intelligence: Artificial intelligence is spreading across every industry. With new developments making headlines every week, it can be tough to determine whether they are relevant or not. One of the top AI trends to watch in 2019 is the growth of edge AI across applications. Tesla is developing a custom AI chip that enables instantaneous driving decisions, or the Intel Myriad X which give a vision for baby monitors, drones, robots, and other devices that can respond to situations without internet connection. Obviously debates around the limits of AI have been raging with moral and ethics questions being at the heart of the latter. Whether we want it or not, AI has already proved its huge potential and is here to stay. Indeed, it's brought benefits across several verticals and startups have leveraged AI technologies to turn them into different kinds of device. We see that AI-as-a-medical-device is helping us to treat even some of the most difficult diseases, across all stages, from detection to operation. For example, there is Therapixel, a French startup that provides touchless medical imaging for surgeons. Winner of the digital mammography challenge, the largest Artificial Intelligence challenge ever organized, it aims at providing early breast cancer detection through their Artificial Intelligence Algorithm: the MammoScreen.

Remote Work: Working from home as an employee would not have been possible 20 years ago. Nowadays it becomes more and more common. As a result, companies become more flexible and in some cases they allow their employees to work from anywhere. Some companies combine remote and in-office teams while some companies are completely distributed, without any headquarters (Zapier, GitHub and Mozilla are some of the giants who were mainly hiring remotely in 2018). Whether in tech or other industries, fostering positive remote work has become an essential part of any businesses looking to increase production and happiness at work. So, what does the future hold for remote jobs in the virtual workplace? It is probably going to be even more important than today, with more people asking for flexibility, especially the Gen Z. They're actively looking for remote, travel-friendly jobs, away from the 9-5 office position. You can also expect companies to care more and provide their employees with in-house resources and micro-learning programs to stimulate and encourage a stronger sense of community among remote workers. Creating a "Book of Culture" will also become more common in companies that have remote workers (for e.g. Tiller Systems recently published their Culture book). Finally, tech jobs will allow more and more people to work remotely and 2019 will be the year to find yours! The EU-Startups Job Board provides a nice overview.

FemTech: What is Femtech? This growing sector now features startups focused specifically on women's healthcare. Femtech (female technology) refers to software, diagnostics, products, and services that use technology to improve women's health. Femtech involves the use of digital health to motivate patients to access and use applications for managing women's health issues. Feminine care startups such as Thinx or Flex, fertility startups like Nurx and Tia , or e-commerce startups Sustain Natural and LOLA are among this feminine wave of startups. Only 9% of decision makers at US-based venture firms are women, which means specifically female problems receive far less attention than they deserve. The CB Insights Femtech Market Map shows that this is a growing market, which has raised over $1.1 billion in total since 2014. 2019 should be the year that confirms the will that Femtech startups have in expanding and strengthening their position on the market. Watch out!

Sustainability: Environmental issues are becoming more tangible and a level of awareness have both led sustainability to be at the heart of development; including and respecting nature, other species and human communities to make business is more relevant than ever. Social concerns are impacting investing decisions and continue to be a trend in 2019. So, Impact investing has been on the rise but so have sustainable investment assets. Indeed, In 2016, it's estimated that sustainable investment assets grew to $22.89 trillion globally, up 25% from 2014 according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA). Millenials are now representing 2/3 of the workforce and social issues like climate-change or gun control are top of the list for the next generation. Businesses like Too Good To Go (a startup that fights food waste), Northvolt and Oxford PV (renewable energy), bring alternative solutions aligned with consumer trends like Green consumption, Circular economy or Social Sustainability. So, what's next for sustainable business? Global sustainable trends are probably going to intensify as issues like plastic waste, climate change, security threats, and global health issues continue to pose a threat to animals, humans and the entire planet.

Well-being: From wellness tourism to healthy fast food restaurant and connected fitness devices, wellness is now a multi-market opportunity estimated to be worth over $4 trillion and there are plenty of new startups that have a customer's well-being-approach in mind. Fuelled by this trend, one rather young industry is currently taking off; wellness tourism. The industry spend is expected to reach $919 billion by 2022. With companies like Roam fitness bringing gym and shower facilities into airports, the tourism sector will see more and more wellness themed-travel, like company retreats, which have been soaring with the rise of remote work in the last few years. People are now looking for healthy living characterized by physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being. In 2019, also feminine care and sexual wellness will be fostered along spiritual wellness through yoga retreats and other wellness-related offerings.

Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support MD Yuma Saito On Why Japanese Investors Need To Focus On Indian Startups - Inc42 Media

Posted: 12 Aug 2019 06:30 AM PDT

India and Japan have had a long history of friendly trade relations and in recent years, this has trickled down to the startup ecosystem. With investment funds such as the $100 Bn SoftBank Vision Fund and Akatsuki Entertainment Technology (AET) Fund, which launched a $50 Mn India investment fund in April 2019, have been working alongside the Japanese government's METI to bring Japanese investments and startups to the Indian market such as through the Indo-Japan Fund of Funds.

India PM Narendra Modi's visit this week to the G20 Summit in Osaka to discuss global trade agreements, and the Modi governments past interactions with Japan PM Shinzō Abe have emphasised the close relationship between the two countries.

In the private sphere, the Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support (DTVS) has been working in the Indian ecosystem for a number of years. DTVS's network currently consists of over 3,000 startups, 500 Japanese firms and conglomerates, VCs and government ministries. The company is looking to connect Japanese investors with startups and businesses in India to help develop business strategies, for fund-raising and M&A agreements.

This June, DTVS appointed Yuma Saito as the Managing Director. Saito had been serving as the General Manager of DTVS. He has been with Deloitte Tohmatsu in different roles since 2006 and was instrumental in the launch of a new business within DTVS in 2010. In 2016, DTVS had invited applications from Indian IoT startups for its accelerator programme in Japan. The 10 startups were selected for the program, so DTVS has had a presence in India for many years now.

Speaking to Inc42, Saito said that India represents an exciting opportunity for the startup ecosystem in Japan. "We do believe very strongly in a 'Startup First' philosophy and we built up the company on this principle for the greater good of the ecosystem," he said.

He further added "Japan has the capital and tech advantage, and is seeking new growth opportunities. On the other hand, India is seeking more capital and expertise in this growth stage to satisfy the rising middle-class needs."

It is not always possible for corporate strategy teams sitting in Japan to know about good quality startups in far off ecosystems like Silicon Valley, Bengaluru, Singapore, and Israel. – Yuma Saito, Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support

Saito started in Deloitte Japan as a certified CPA in the audit division and began assisting startups. He recalled he had difficulties getting his superiors and peers to support startups, but since his father was an entrepreneur in Japan, he had a passion for startups. "Seeing the hardships faced by budding entrepreneurs in Japan back then, I had made up my mind to support startups in Japan in any way possible."

In a recent conversation with Inc42, Saito opened up about the sectors that have attracted Japanese investors to India, and the Indian startup sectors that look the most promising from an Indo-Japan collaboration point of view.

Below are edited excerpts from the interview.

On DTVS And Its Initiatives

Inc42: Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support supports startups, businesses and government agencies achieve collaborative innovation. Is it your opinion that the public and private innovation have to grow simultaneously, or does one define the other? 

Yuma Saito: In my humble opinion, from what we have seen work in Japan, the government and public sector's primary role is to understand what is lacking in the current ecosystem and then implement the policies that would alleviate the missing parts. Their job is not just to identify the shortcomings but to make the first model case. Governments should implement policy that would aid such innovation. Therefore, the question about the relationship is that the government always needs to be ahead of the private sector. For example, the case of Abenomics and how it implemented the policies in Japan to make startups more active even before they become popular content in the media. There are also other government-backed projects like J-startup led by the Japanese government have helped take Japanese startups to go abroad which had always been a desirable yet rare thing for them.

Inc42: What's the need for something like DTVS in the Japanese market? How has the ecosystem benefitted from DTVS initiatives?

Yuma Saito: Around 10 years ago when we started, startups were not really recognised by people in Japanese society. At the same time, Japanese companies were starting to lose their edge in the global market as well. They had the talent and business assets but not people who can challenge and risk money such as VCs or PE firms. On the other hand, startups and VCs have talent and risk money. They have complementary assets.

DTVS is playing the bridge role; our uniqueness is that Deloitte has been working with large corporations for a long time and DTVS has been close to most Japanese startups in the ecosystem owing to its pioneering role. Our uniqueness is also our global scale and footprint which makes us able to send a startup overseas or bring them inbound into the Japanese market. We have the ability to help Japanese corporations find the right startups to invest strategically overseas.

Inc42: How does DTVS approach the Indian market? Is it mainly about working with startups or do you also have relationships with corporates here? 

Yuma Saito: Our first approach would be connecting the Indian startups and large Japanese corporations. In order to do so, I want to start by creating a successful collaboration case of matching an Indian startup to the Japanese industry. In other words, I want to make Japanese companies invest more in India. In the mid-long term, of course, we want to send not only large corporations but Japanese startups to the Indian market and do business with Indian large corporations so we will try to make more relationships with Indian stakeholders too.

Inc42: In addition to its investments, how does DTVS plan to support the Indian startup ecosystem through mentoring?      

Yuma Saito: One of our focus areas is widening the corridor between Japan and India in terms of investments, M&A and collaborations –- more capital in short. We will aim to get Indian startups actual sales from Japanese companies (as customers). There are several cases nowadays of corporates being venture clients first before deciding to become (or not become) investors.

This kind of paid proof-of-concept is mutually beneficial and lets the startup benefit from industrial expertise. Through the relationships we build, I want to expand to markets like Africa together with Indian startups.

Inc42: Do you have plans to conduct workshops and live sessions for the Indian entrepreneur community with some of DTVS's partners and mentors? 

Yuma Saito: As you know Morning Pitch is one of our main platforms to conduct/expand our activities. We have recently been holding Morning Pitch in India and Singapore partnering with credible local stakeholders like Inc42 and CoWrks in India and SGInnovate in Singapore. Because of the established brand we have in Japan, we can use it to inspire CEOs and executives from the Japanese industry to come to India.

Inc42: Indian startups and VCs have been part of events such as CEATEC and the Deloitte Innovation Summit recently. What is your takeaway from your interactions with Indian startups?

Yuma Saito: The takeaways were not only about Indian startups; my insight or learning is that if I truly explained the strengths and opportunities of Indian startups then Japanese companies can invest in them.

Investors who invested in India have so far had a good impression of Indian startups. So if we do a credible job of bringing good quality information about startups in India there is a good synergy between the investors and Indian needs –- a tangible, positive outcome is imperative.

We try to do events more regularly at a smaller scale through our flagship event Morning Pitch in India every two months. I have seen considerable interest from both sides, there are minor issues like the cultural and language barriers which are being bridged by several stakeholders on both sides.

On The Indian Startup Ecosystem

Inc42: What is your assessment of the Indian startup ecosystem in terms of areas of innovation? Is there a desync, in your opinion, between what's happening outside and the focus areas in India?

Yuma Saito: When I was in Mumbai a few years earlier, I visited one of the public sector hospitals and I could see that the density of doctors per capita was low and this affected timely healthcare needs of the people. And because of this situation, startups that are providing remote diagnostics have sprung up.

In India, people are trying to solve issues that are right in front of them, compared to Silicon Valley where people are trying to solve issues which exist at a higher layer of visibility. For example, startups in Silicon Valley are addressing problems which will augment the lifestyle or comfort whereas the Indian startups are focused on building the basic services which have been missing in the local offerings.

Inc42: Which are the sectors in India that look most promising for DTVS from a growth perspective? 

Yuma Saito: Although this is always a tough question to answer given that startups are evolving all the time, it is perhaps even more difficult for an ecosystem like India with the dynamics and the vast size of the country. For me personally, I see healthcare and consumer tech to dominate in a meaningful way. I have also seen manufacturing startups which is a pleasant surprise, as it will open so many more opportunities for India as a global industrial powerhouse in the coming decades.

Inc42: Do you think India is at the stage where large corporations will have to collaborate with startups for technology overhaul and user growth? 

Yuma Saito: Yes, and it is not unique to India. For two reasons: One, the startups are innovating at a speed that large corporations cannot catch up with. In order to speed up the innovation cycle, it is important for corporations to work with startups.

The second reason is talent acquisition –- the most talented people go to startups these days and get incentives like ESOPs. The second tier of talent works in the successful models at a hired professional layer, while the third layer is the typical salaried staff who will provide operational value and functions.

On Indo-Japan Connection

Inc42: What are some of the industries or sectors in Japan that Indian platforms can capitalise on by entering the Japanese market? 

Yuma Saito: One obvious example would be a company which is a unicorn in the budget lodging/hospitality space in India. Their business in Japan and India are quite different from each other. But it has huge potential. They entered the real estate industry in Japan which has not seen a disruption in business model in a long time. There are other industries which can only perhaps be disrupted by foreign startups. The banking industry and insurance sectors have been dominated by a few players for years and it would be interesting to see how Indian startups who bring a different set of efficiencies for the Japanese market. Payment apps like have also entered Japan in what I feel is a crowded but underutilised market right now.

One sector that could see some collaboration is space tech as this is one of those few sectors where India has considerable IP and Japan has seen a spurt of space startups recently.

Inc42: India has a significant number of Japanese investors, besides the SoftBank Vision Fund. In your opinion, what is the general view of India among the investor community in Japan?

Yuma Saito: There are still not many people in Japan who are aware of the potential of the Indian market and not many business people are looking at India as a serious destination for investment. So, one of my main missions after taking up the CEO role is to inspire more Japanese CEOs to explore India as an investment destination.

In 20 years or so, India might be one of the few markets in the world which is one of the main growth drivers for Japanese corporates. So, it is quite crucial to not miss this bus.  

Inc42: How will Indian startups benefit from working with their Japanese counterparts? 

Yuma Saito: The visible benefits are obvious –- capital, manufacturing expertise, sales. As for intangible benefits, because Japan is kind of a saturated mature economy, the norm in society is social impact – to start thinking about how to take care of other people in the world, and how to provide value to other emerging markets. Japanese companies also pay attention to social impact quite seriously because that has been the culture of the country for many generations.

Inc42: What do you mean by social problems and how can Indian startups help in this regard? 

Yuma Saito: Japanese social problems like ageing etc. are problems that are faced by Japan first but will eventually be faced by the rest of the world like China is at the brink of right now. So, if we can provide solutions to avoid these in advance to countries like India then we have a huge opportunity. In other cases, there are cases where the problem statement does not exist in Japan but does in emerging economies.

Inc42: How do you see the relationship between Japan and India progressing in the future? 

Yuma Saito: Japan and India have been allies historically and there is a feeling of trust and good chemistry between the two nations. It is a win-win for both nations. Last year Japanese investors made about $2.1 billion investment in Indian startups. This number is expected to grow multifold in the coming years as we get more exposure to the quality of Indian startups and more material about Indian startups is available for Japanese investors to read and understand.

India has the unique position of being both the innovation hub as well as the market for opportunities which was last seen with China.

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