Fintech startup Cred in talks to raise $100 million in fresh funding

Mumbai: Free Charge co-founder Kunal Shah’s second venture, Cred, that incentives credit card payments with reward points, is in talks to raise $100 million in its next funding round, with massive inbound interest for second time founders who have a proven track record, said two people aware of the development.

Shah is looking to raise the funds at a valuation of $300 million, unprecedented for the four month-old startup, said one of the people cited above. Mint was not able to immediately ascertain the names of potential new investors.

Dreamplug Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs Cred, had previously raised about $25 million in June. “There is immense in-bound interest to invest in Cred even though the company recently raised money and is only four months old,” said one of the people cited above, requesting anonymity.

Sequoia Capital, RPT Global, China’s Morningside Ventures and the personal office of Russian billionaire Yuri Milner were among those who invested in Cred’s seed fund raise last year.

Individuals with high credit scores can make credit card payments on Cred’s platform.

Timely payments will fetch rewards and offers and discounts for shopping, health services and other sites. The app will also discover hidden charges in credit cards and point them out to customers. Cred has partnered companies, including furniture rental platform Furlenco, travel booking site ixigo, healthcare startup Curefit, and holiday rental platform Airbnb to provide offers and discounts. The offers increase in value as customers use Cred more, Mint had reported on 27 November.

Shah’s first venture FreeCharge was acquired by online marketplace Snapdeal for $400 million in 2015, in one of India’s biggest consumer internet deals at the time. Just a couple of years later, Axis Bank acquired FreeCharge for 385 crore ($60 million), as scurried to raise capital.

Kunal Shah declined to comment for this story.

Sequoia Capital did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Startups whose founders were previously successful with other ventures tend to find it easier to raise funds regardless of the business model, as investors trust the founders’ skills. One example is Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori’s Curefit, which has repeatedly raised large sums since launch.

“Because of Kunal’s track record, investors are quite confident that he’ll pull off something interesting with Cred, although they may not be quite sure on what the end game is,” said an investor with one of India’s leading venture capital funds, on condition of anonymity. “So even if the valuation may be a little excessive, they still believe that the founder will make it big.”

Courtesy :

M. SriramVarsha Bansal

from  https://www.livemint.com/companies/start-ups/fintech-startup-cred-in-talks-to-raise-100-million-in-fresh-funding-1553003832157.html

Advait Thakur – Age 15

15-year-old Indian tech prodigy, who started using computers at age six, launched his first website at age nine, and has been working with Google’s AI and Cloud Platform for a couple of years now. Advait Thakur is an Indian computer programmer and Teenage Internet entrepreneur. He is the founder of Apex Infosys India , and is currently its chief executive officer. He is Google, Bing and Hubspot Certified Professional. Ranked 4th in Wikia’s Young Entrepreneurs Under 20 list of 2017, Advait is in a different league from the average pre-teen. In 2015, at age twelve, he founded a tech company ‘Apex Infosys India’ which is now an Accredited Domain Name Registrar and an organisation that provides Digital Solutions. Apex Infosys India is also involved primarily in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & IOT Sector.

In 2017, at age fourteen, he built “Technology Quiz,” an app to help kids learn about Science & Technology which Actions On Google accepted after rejecting it five times. An incredible achievement for a child who loves to code but is largely self-taught. A programmer since he was eleven, Advait is one of the youngest entrepreneurs and web developers in the world.

During Advait’s high school years, he worked for the NGOs name Satish Haware Divyang Centre & Beautiful Tommorow Foundation and helped them in getting more audience through online platform by providing them digital marketing services for Free, for which he was was felicitated by Hon. Rajkumar Badole(Cabinet Minister, Social Justice). He also developed an app called “Autism Awareness” for Google Assistant which helps people to learn about autism and related disorders and their symptoms, etc. He is currently working on a product based on IOT to offer solutions to some of India’s most challenging problems.

courtesy-

Advait Thakur

From https://yourstory.com/mystory/top-10-young-entrepreneurs-in-india-2018-till-date-cdulu28uft

Shravan and Sanjay Kumaran – Age 15 & 17

Shravan and Sanjay, siblings aged 17 and 15 respectively are the youngest upcoming entrepreneurs of India. Together, they are the brain behind GoDimensions. The aim of the company is to develop a simple technological solution for the digital world. They are the youngest Mobile Application Developers in India. When asked about how they managed to achieve this feat, the brothers responded by saying “reading books and solving the problems given to them”. These two develop applications for both, Android as well as IOS platforms.

“We’ve always believed that we must do something for society,” says Sanjay, on the thinking behind their latest app GoDonate, which facilitates the donation of food to local charities that would otherwise go to waste. “In Central Asia itself, about 500 millions tons of food is being wasted each year,” says Shravan. By the boys’ own admission, social impact is a key deciding factor behind their projects. That, and their father, who ultimately serves as their very own Shark Tank by funding, or passing, on their pitches. The last time their dad said no? The boys responded by building their own low-cost version of an Oculus Rift from materials in their living room.

Their mission is to have their apps installed on at least half of the world’s digital phones. The dynamic duo has already developed 11 apps which have about 60,000 downloads across 60 countries! In 2017, they were listed in Forbes 30 Under 30

courtesy-

Shravan and Sanjay Kumaran

From https://yourstory.com/mystory/top-10-young-entrepreneurs-in-india-2018-till-date-cdulu28uft

Median age of founders of Indian start-ups only 31

United Nations: Youth are leading India’s start-up ecosystem where the median age of founder-entrepreneurs is only 31 years, according to India’s youth delegate at the UN.

Seema Punjani told the eighth Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum here on Tuesday that in India, one of the youngest nations in the world with a median age of only 29, youth “are overcoming challenges and shining bright in all walks of life”.

India has the second largest start-up ecosystem in the world and youth are its leading force, she said.

As the significant segment of the electorate, Indian youth have the ability to influence policy-making in the country and the nation’s implementation of the UN sustainable development goals, which is critical to their global success, she said.

The two-day ECOSOC Youth Forum on the theme, “Empowered, Included and Equal”, brought together UN leaders, high-level government officials and youth representatives for a dialogue on the UN’s sustainable development goals.

Punjani, who represented India, is a 2015 IFS officer, who is currently an under secretary in the External Affairs Ministry.

“Youth empowerment and inclusive social development are at the heart of flagship programmes of the government of India that seek to target gender equality, increased access to financial services, digital connectivity, skill development and higher education, universal health coverage, sanitation and housing for all,” she said.

India is one of the first countries to launch a comprehensive reproductive and menstrual health programme for its 250 million adolescent population and so far 7,298 Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics established across the country have served about six million adolescents in a year, she said.

 

Courtesy :

Arul Louis ( with inputs from IANS )

from  https://www.livemint.com/companies/start-ups/median-age-of-founders-of-indian-start-ups-only-31-1554873908968.html

India’s College Dropouts Who Made It Big as Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur India lists a few business owners of India who are not just the millionaires but also an inspiration for many

Is education a necessity to become a successful entrepreneur? Many people ask us queries like if there is any defined age for starting a business. The dilemma of choosing between education and entrepreneurship is a discussion long overdue for entrepreneurs around the world.

While many believe dropping out of college isn’t the right decision, a few believe there are no set criteria when it comes to embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship given in the examples of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and many more.

We all are brought up to believe that education serves as the solution to all the problems in the world. But it isn’t actually true. Today, the increasing number of elite and high-end colleges is no more than a status symbol.

Formal education certainly has its own importance. But many often believe that college education isn’t necessarily all of the time. There are plenty of entrepreneurs who did not graduate or even went to school but today they are much more than just billionaires.

Entrepreneur India lists a few business owners in India who are not just millionaires but also the inspiration for many.

courtesy-

Komal Nathani
ENTREPRENEUR STAFF
Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific
From https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/308861

Startups that are betting on augmented reality and vernacular voice recognition

New Delhi: We profile two startups: one using augmented reality (AR) and the other using voice recognition to provide solutions.

Scanta: AR app

AR-based startup Scanta Inc. aims at disrupting the way people live, learn and communicate by combining AR with machine learning (ML) technology to create immersive experiences. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, AR uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it.

“We are seeing a trend from text communication transitioning to voice-based communication, however, there has yet to be an immersive visual representation of voice commands that expresses emotion,” says Chaitanya Hiremath, founder and CEO of Scanta.

“By combining ML with AR, we want to provide users an experience where ML technology can learn to select and analyse key words within voice commands and then generate a 3D animated avatar accordingly that can be shared with others. These intelligent 3D animations will make voice conversation much more interactive and engaging while still being an efficient way to communicate,” he added.

In the future, Scanta is looking at intelligent 3D animations for communications and plans to partner with mobile devices and social media services by integrating intellectual property directly onto partner platforms providing their users direct access to these animations.

“It is exciting to think of a world where animations can automatically be created by ML through voice commands,” says Hiremath.

Vokal: Betting on voice

Vokal India is a voice-based vernacular knowledge sharing platform. Started by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, the startup is betting big on the use of voice as a medium to ask questions in regional languages.

“Only 10% of India understands English. The rest speak 100+ Indian languages. Vokal tries to bridge and fix this knowledge gap. It enables a user to ask questions in their native language and gets subject matter experts to respond to users, largely over audio and video—making it very easy to consume,” says Radhakrishna who is also the CEO.

Vokal has more than 1.5 million Q&As on the platform. Users get to choose from more than 10 interest areas and can follow creators for sub-sections in those areas. “Vokal is a product made for India, keeping in mind India’s behavioural nuances,” says Radhakrishna.

The platform has two million monthly users and is growing at 30-50% on a monthly basis. While it has enabled knowledge sharing in audio and video till now, it will soon be available in text for those who prefer reading over listening or watching.

 

Courtesy :

Nandita Mathur

from  https://www.livemint.com/companies/start-ups/startups-that-are-betting-on-augmented-reality-and-vernacular-voice-recognition-1555262031310.html

 

“Go Green” is What These Young Entrepreneurs Believe In

From organic farming to e-cigarettes, and hemp and cannabis industries, young entrepreneurs are going all out to experiment their business ideas into the startup ecosystem

Go Green, is what India is saying to the world!

With multiple innovative business ideas, Indian entrepreneurs are fast moving to the green revolution in their businesses. From organic farming to e-cigarettes, and hemp and cannabis industries, they are all out to experiment their ideas into the startup ecosystem.

Not just startups, but the country is witnessing a strong growth in the established businesses accepting the need to go green. Several companies are now more aware of the ways in which their working often affect the ecosystem, and therefore, have taken a greener path to success.

Here we take a look the entrepreneurs who are making people believe in their right execution by the simple business green ideas:

  • Reusing Waste Flowers from Local Temples

Ankit Agarwal and Karan Rastogi are using waste flowers from local temples into the making of organic incense, vermicompost and, most importantly, the world’s first non-toxic thermocol called Florafoam. Hailed from Kanpur, Agarwala and Rastogi are childhood friends who rejoined their paths to carve out this venture. The duo is selling Florafoam under the brand name “Phool”.  Both Agarwal and Rastogi will be presenting their idea to UN Assembly as they have been nominated for a UNICEF award this month by the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation.

  • Curbing Air Pollution in a Recyclable way

When the three IITians Arpit Dhupar, Kushagra and Prateek Sachan left their corporate jobs to launch the Chakra Innovation, they had no idea how far it would go. But in just a few years, the duo marked success with their innovative idea. Launched in 2016, Chakra Innovation aims to curb air pollution in a recyclable way with its patented technology Chakra Shield. The technology takes diesel soot from generators and converts it into inks and paints.

  • Recycling Packaging Waste into Wearables

Founded in 2013 by Dinesh Parikh, Sachin Sharma, and Aditya Parikh, GEM ENVIRO collects pre- and post-consumer packaging waste from factories, offices, hotels, motels, and institutes. The waste is then recycled into products such as T-shirts, caps, and bags, selling the products under its brand ‘Being Responsible’. The company also organizes various programmes to raise awareness about environmental sustainability and the importance of recycling incorporates, universities, and institutes.

  • Reusing Plastic in Construction of Road

Bengaluru-based KK Plastic Waste Management was started in the year 2002. The company is the founder and commercial promoter of the technology — “Reuse of plastic waste in asphalting of roads” (reusing plastic waste as an additive in construction of road) and has been patented and certified by the Centre for Transportation Engineering (“CTE”) and the Central Road Research Institute (“CRRI”).  The company operates a plastic reuse/recycling plant in Bangalore that can process up to 30 metric tons of plastics per day.

courtesy-

Komal Nathani
ENTREPRENEUR STAFF
Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia Pacific
From https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/324347

How This Company is Helping Others Ride the Digital Wave

The start up founded in 2002 is the biggest player in the market now

When Navneet Kaushal started his digital search marketing company PageTraffic in 2002, there were not many people who understood what SEO or social media marketing meant. But today, the company is one of the biggest digital search marketing start-ups that have touched global territories. Having served across 36 countries, PageTraffic is one of the leaders in the digital search marketing space. In a candid chat with Entrepreneur India, Pagetraffic’s Founder and CEO Navneet Kaushal speaks about what helped him to expand his brand internationally.

Which are your next target markets to expand?

Our next target market would be UAE and Australia. There are not many players who are into digital marketing in UAE, and many of them outsource their services to India. I think these two would be the most lucrative markets.

What kind of hardships did you go through while setting up the company?

Our biggest challenges were hiring and building the team. It was extremely difficult to convince people that this could be a good career choice. Second, 15 years back, there was no ease of doing business in India. But fortunately, things have improved over time.

Today, there is a lot of fuss about bot followers and fake likes when it comes to digital marketing. Does it affect your business model in any way?

I don’t think it does. If you take the offline market, there are a lot of fake distributions. But eventually, it doesn’t affect the chain. Similarly, in the case of online consumption, a lot of these social media channels are dealing well with such challenges. This helps the business grow without any hindrances.

 Are there any specific challenges that you face in the overseas expansion? If yes, what are those?

For a start-up to go global, you have to go through a lot of documentation work which is a big pain point. I think the government can help us with this.

What are the industry trends for 2018?

I think voice search is going to bring a big change in the industry. You’re 40 per cent faster when you speak. Right now, it’s at a very nascent stage. There have been a lot of changes. We are confident that we will be able to do it.

courtesy-

Entrepreneur Staff

From https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/318985

Eight Roads arm invests $4.5 million in wealth management startup Kuvera

Mumbai: The strategic fintech investment team of Eight Roads, the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International, has made its first investment in India, putting in $4.5 million in Kuvera, a tech-based wealth management startup, according to a senior executive.

The company that makes venture capital investments across sectors, had set up a global team for strategic investments in the fintech space across India, China, the UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong to add strategic value to Fidelity’s global operations in investment management, Alokik Advani, who heads the fintech strategic investment team, said over the phone. Eight Roads will make these investments from its balance sheet. The team will look at making investments just after the seed or angel stages.

“The focus is on companies that help us understand certain domain spaces and helps us determine how we should reach customers in new markets, how we should deepen capabilities and create better automation of processes,” said Advani. Kuvera is a zero-fee mutual fund investment platform that provides an option to set investment goals such as buying a house or a car or paying for education, aimed at motivating a culture of savings and investment.`

The startup claims to have 100,000 users who manage about3,000 crore in mutual fund assets.

“We estimate that our user base will grow five-fold by this time next year,” said Kuvera founder and chief executive officer Gaurav Rastogi.

“We like the platform, theme and traction they have had and that they help with costs and customer experience,” said Advani, who led the $4.5 million round in Kuvera.

The fintech team made its first investment in October when it led a £14 million round in Moneybox, a UK-based mobile savings and investment app. The Eight Roads fintech team plans to make more such investments globally in the wealth management space, though it has no specific allocation or targets as it is not structured as a fund. “We are happy to take our time, evaluate, and invest opportunistically in fintech startups across the world,” Advani said.

The focus of Eight Roads underscores the growing importance of wealth management startups in India’s fintech space, which generally sees insurance, payments and lending startups attract big rounds of funding. Citrus Pay founder Satyen Kothari’s Cube Wealth, a wealth management app aimed at a niche market, and Groww, an online investment platform backed by Sequoia Capital, are some of the recent entrants.

“It is early days for wealth management in India and there is a long way to go, but it is a very promising market space,” Advani said. “India is a really interesting market that helps us understand consumer needs. The theme of helping people with long-term financial management is really attractive for us,” he said.

Eight Roads Ventures has invested in more than 200 startups across the US, Europe, China, India, Japan, and South-East Asia. Its Indian investments include online medicine delivery firm PharmEasy, non-banking lender Northern Arc Capital, logistics startup Shadowfax, and ed-tech startup Toppr.

Courtesy :

M. Sriram

from  https://www.livemint.com/companies/start-ups/eight-roads-arm-invests-4-5-million-in-wealth-management-startup-kuvera-1555372298458.html

Most young Indian employees aspire to be entrepreneurs: Survey

The ‘Future of Work’ survey was conducted globally by GoDaddy to get insight on entrepreneurial intent, attitudes and outlook when considering starting or running a small business.

Majority of young Indians currently working in small or mid-sized organizations plan to be entrepreneurs over the next ten years, says a recent survey by technology provider GoDaddy. Out of 1,200 respondents in India for this survey, 60 per cent said that they plan to start their own venture in some years, which is significantly higher than Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Turkey, Singapore, the United States and United Kingdom, the survey said. Some 85 per cent of aspiring and current entrepreneurs in India said that they are undeterred at the prospect of failure and are relentless in the pursuit of entrepreneurial success.

The ‘Future of Work’ survey was conducted globally by GoDaddy to get insight on entrepreneurial intent, attitudes and outlook when considering starting or running a small business.

“The emerging and newer generation of India’s entrepreneurs are embracing technology like never before. 67 per cent of budding entrepreneurs say that recent technologies have created newer business opportunities and 72 per cent of respondents believe that online channels are important to be attractive to their customers,” said Andrew Low Ah Kee, Executive Vice President, GoDaddy International.

About 70 per cent of respondents in India mentioned that they were either employed or working when they decided to start their own business as compared to the developed economies where respondents chose entrepreneurship by choice or while they were in college.

Also some 45 per cent of respondents in the country said that work experience is most valuable, while only 12 per cent  believe that education gets them ready to become an entrepreneur. However, 79 per cent of the Indians surveyed believe that technology has made it easier to become an entrepreneur today.

courtesy-

Devika Singh

From https://www.businesstoday.in/management/entrepreneur/most-young-indian-employees-aspire-to-be-entrepreneurs-survey/story/238913.html