[Weekend wrap] From A to B and C, look who is learning to grow


This week started with a big bang. Nandan Nilekani and former Helion Ventures’ Co-founder Sanjeev Aggarwal announced the launch of a $100 million fund, Fundamentum Partnership, for advanced-stage startups.

Among other things, this indicates the growing confidence in the Indian startup ecosystem. The fact that startups are scaling up to the next level is not just an exception any more but is slowly becoming the norm.

If you look at the total funding raised this week, there are more startups that bagged Series B and C. Of course, for early-stage startups, too, many avenues are opening up.

This week was also a landmark one following the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel and the announcement of the Israel, India Innovation Initiative Fund of $40 million for tech innovation, besides many other deals for business and trade.

In my story, When Startup India meets Startup Nation, it is a perfect tango, I found that though the Indo-Israel partnership will be a win-win, it is the Indian startup ecosystem that stands to gain more. As Saurabh Srivastava of the Indian Angel Network told me, “we can only hope to improve our game by playing with the best.”

Closer home, the Karnataka government launched Elevate 2017, a programme to pick 100 startups with innovative ideas and potential to grow fast. Startups across the state will be eligible to participate in it and be eligible for a slice of the Rs 200-crore fund.

This year, fintech is the buzz word. Ever since the axe of demonetisation fell on the country in a bid to hasten the digitisation process, the sun has been shining brighter on fintech companies. Incidentally, this week, India’s largest fintech accelerator, the ISME ACE, opened for applications and is providing, among other things, seed funding of $100,000, access to financial services partner firms, focused mentorship, marketing, and technology support.

Our keen fintech watcher, Tarush Bhalla, took a deep dive into PhonePe’s world and found a few pearls. Read his story, titled: With PhonePe, Flipkart makes a quiet entry into financial services’, where he explores how Unicorn Flipkart plans to use its payment app, PhonePe, to become a one-stop application to disrupt banking apps.

Co-founder of PhonePe Sameer Nigam, told him, “We want to do credit and would want to do lending, perhaps. So, what if we could give people a virtual credit line that they can use? The same goes for products like mutual funds and insurance.” Read the story here to find out how they plan to do this.

If funding is one pillar that holds the startup world, then M&As and exits are another. This week, BookMyShow acquired Burrp, the Mumbai-based food and restaurant recommendation engine, in an all-cash deal with Network18.

Watch out for our story on the rise and fall of Burrp, India’s oldest foodtech company, tomorrow.

Every Wednesday, we get an entrepreneur or an investor on the hot seat to answer your questions in YS Conversations. This week, Samar Singla, Co-founder and CEO of Chandigarh-based Jugnoo, engaged with our readers on Conversations at YourStory.

Joining the ranks of Ronnie Screwvala, Girish Mathrubootham, and Anu Acharya hosted on YS Conversations in the past, Samar shared one important learning with our readers -- "not to take advice from others and to keep experimenting." Find out the exciting lineup on Conversations here.

As I close this week’s round up, I am reminded of this phrase in Hindi: Is raat ki subah nahi. It seems this night is never ending. You will probably guess why when I point towards this story by Sindhu Kashyap titled: Will Silicon Valley’s bro culture finally go bust?’ following the revelations by Dave McClure, Founder of 500 Startups, of sexual misconduct.

We continue to champion the cause of safe and secured workplaces for all, especially women. Take our survey on sexual harassment to understand the challenges that come in the way of making workplaces safer. Make your opinion count!

Do write to me at dipti@yourstory.com with your suggestions and feedback.

Till next Sunday then.


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