Ola drives into the UK; Amazon India opens largest fulfilment centre


For quite some time, it was Uber that was threatening Ola's position in the Indian market, before the latter established dominance. Now it's Ola's turn to take the battle to Uber's key territories. After entering Australia, Ola has now announced its plans to enter the UK where Uber has a strong presence (interestingly, both Ola and Uber are backed by SoftBank). Founder Bhavish Aggarwal is keen to make it a global brand but the company has to ensure that it does not spread its resources thin, even as it gears up for international expansion.

In another key development, Amazon opened its largest fulfilment centre in India, in a clear indication that the ecommerce major is stepping up its game further. Once it gets into a market, the American giant does not drop its guard till it drives the competition into a corner. Meanwhile, startups ShopX and Carmesi raised funds, showing that all's well with the funding ecosystem. Read on. 

Ola on Tuesday announced that it is looking to enter the UK market. Ola has currently obtained licenses to operate in South Wales and Greater Manchester and will launch operations in South Wales in the coming month. The team has started inviting Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) and Metered Taxi drivers in Cardiff, Newport, and Vale of Glamorgan to understand about registering and driving with Ola. 

Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO, Ola

Amazon India opened its largest fulfilment centre (FC) in Haryana in its attempt to ramp up its infrastructure facility and enhance customer experience ahead of the upcoming festive season. Spread over close to 300,000 square feet with over 1.5 million cubic feet of storage space, the FC situated in Panchgaon will help the company deliver goods faster in the region.

A product being packed at Amazon FC

Bengaluru-based B2B ecommerce startup ShopX has raised $35 million from Fund Strategic Holdings Limited (FSH) headquartered in Hong Kong. With the fresh funding, ShopX plans to expand to lakhs of small merchants, strengthen its product and technology, and build new offerings covering multiple product verticals.

Google has rolled out the ninth version of its mobile operating system — Android P or Android ‘Pie’ — and it wants to take care of your “digital wellbeing”. Pie follows Oreo, Nougat, Marshmallow, Lollipop, and so on, and continues Google’s unique tradition of naming Android versions with sweet treats. But Pie is different because, as Google says, it has “artificial intelligence baked in”, making the operating system simpler and more tailored to each user.

Carmesi, a natural and biodegradable sanitary pad brand, has closed a Pre-Series A funding for $0.5 million from Samrath Bedi, Managing Director, Forest Essentials – a luxury Ayurvedic beauty brand. The round also saw participation from other investors including Satveer Thakral from the Thakral Group, Mahesh Patel, Rohit Reddy, and Samir Saran. 

Tanvi Johri and Rikhsav Borah, Founders, Carmesi

Global banking behemoth JP Morgan Chase along with the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad’s (IIMA) Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) on Tuesday announced their collaboration to set up a Financial Inclusion Lab. The $9.5 million initiative is aimed at identifying and bringing to scale early-stage fintech startups that are focused on helping India’s lower and middle income (LMI) segment who earn $2- $10 a day.

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