Ola's focus on cloud kitchen; Welcome 2019: the year of the 'soonicorn'

23rd May 2019
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For over a month now, the citizens of India have been sitting at the edge of their seats, watching one of the biggest events of the world unfold. The elections for the 17th Lok Sabha began on April 11 - and the results will be out in a few hours. Parties have campaigned, citizens have voted, and it has been a grand festival rippling through the country. The excitement is at a point where a couple of people we spoke to are actually taking the day off to 'binge' watch the results. But, no matter what the outcome, one thing is clear - today is a big day.




Ola rejigs food division; boosts focus on cloud kitchen


Ride-hailing startup Ola is rejigging its food division. The Bengaluru-based company is developing a portfolio of food brands and curated food offerings as part of the company's business re-purposing initiatives. Foodpanda, acquired by Ola in 2017, has decided to focus on expanding the company’s 'cloud kitchen' brands, but will still be used to place food delivery orders. 




Soonicorns lure investors with the promise of strong valuations


Within just three months into 2019, the Indian startup ecosystem saw a new 'unicorn' as logistics startup Delhivery raised $413 million at a valuation of $1.6 billion. A greater number of companies with the status of ‘soonicorn’ – with valuations of just under $1 billion – are hungry to get into the unicorn club. And their enthusiasm is supported by investors fuelling their aspirations.




Sequoia India leads Series B round in US-based Biofourmis


US-based healthtech platform Biofourmis raised $35 million in Series B led by Sequoia India and co-led by MassMutual Ventures, with participation from EDBI and Jianke, Openspace Ventures, SG Innovate and Aviva Ventures. Sequoia India said the funds will help the company grow its solution that combines AI, drug therapies, wearable sensors, and a smartphone app, to deliver better patient outcomes.




AI-based chatbot Niki.ai raises Rs 11.6 Cr convertible debt 


Bengaluru-based Niki.ai has been raising a convertible debt funding since February this year. The startup, which already secured around Rs 11.6 crore so far, received Rs 7.8 crore in February and Rs 3.8 crore between March-May. According to RoC filings, the funding came from investors such as Unilazer Alternative Ventures LLP, RSP India Fund LLC, Tarun Nayyar, Vistra ITCL as a trustee of AL trust, Asian E-commerce Alliance, Hansjoachim Koehler of HJK Capital, and Ramakant Sharma, Co-founder and COO of Livspace, among others.




How are travel and ecommerce different? After Amazon and Flipkart, Ram Papatla finds out at Booking.com


From Microsoft to Amazon, Flipkart, and now, Booking.com - Ram Papatla has had an enviable journey. After working in Microsoft in the US for 14 years, he moved to Bengaluru to work in Amazon. Soon after, he joined Flipkart as VP-Product Management. In 2018, Ram moved to Amsterdam to join online travel platform Booking.com. Talking to YourStory, he calls his journey ‘fortunate’, saying that he has had great opportunities and mentors.



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