By Azman Usmani & Mahima Kapoor
This week on Startup Street, meet the last-mile delivery company that will now be responsible for serving local cuisines on Indian trains. Some interesting facts about the world’s largest artificial intelligence startup, a new safe zone for fin-tech startups to test their technology in, and the startup backed by biggies such as Sunil Munjal and the Indian Angel Network that is going international. Here’s what went on.
A Startup That Will Deliver Food To Your Train Seats
The Indian Railways has appointed a last-mile delivery startup that will deliver food orders placed online to passengers’ seats.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, the catering arm of the railways, has tied up with Trapigo to local cuisine to travelers on the go, according to its media statement. “In IRCTC’s mission to ensure reliable delivery of hot and fresh food from the choicest restaurants in the city, Trapigo with its own fleet of delivery boys in co-branded uniforms will guarantee the execution,” the release said.
Food ordered on IRCTC’s e-catering website, or through its smartphone app called ‘Food on Track’ will be delivered by Trapigo for a nominal fee of Rs 15 per order. Users will also be able to track orders in real time.
Trapigo is a business-to-business or B2B logistics startup that was founded by a group of IIT, IIM, NIFT and NID alumni in 2017. It had started off in Mumbai by delivering flowers, cake, and food. Currently, it caters in all key Tier-I and Tier-II cities, according to its website. It added that delivering to traveling customers on the train is now one of their unique propositions.
IRCTC appoints a startup, Trapigo, to get e-Catering orders delivered at passengers’ seats and engages an SHG to sell organic Alphonso in trains. pic.twitter.com/wyDwsbDjiJ
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) June 1, 2018
The partnership has been rolled out on a pilot basis in Nagpur from June 1. It will be expanded to other cities in the North-Central belt like New Delhi, Itarsi, Bhopal, and Jhansi, the statement said.
IRCTC has also tied up with Shree Mahalakshmi Swayam Sahayata Bachat Ghat, a self-help group from Ratnagiri, to provide Alphonso mangoes to passengers. The self-help group will sell mangoes at a discounted price of Rs 470 per dozen. “This is the first of its kind effort in offering seasonal fruits in a moving train,” the statement said.
The Biggest AI Startup In The World Is Also One Of The Richest
Here’s something you might not know: the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence startup is not housed in California’s Silicon Valley. It is in China and is backed by Alibaba. In the last six months, it has raised over $1.2 billion.
SenseTime Group Ltd. recently raised $620 million at a valuation of $4.5 billion, led by Fidelity International and Silver Lake and Tiger Global, according to its media statement. This comes barely two months after it scored $600 million from Jack Ma’s Alibaba and other investors like Temasek Holdings.
With the latest fundraising, SenseTime will continue to invest in R&D and talent. Standing solidly on the treble of technology, business and capital, SenseTime is propelling the AI innovation capacity and industry to new heights.
SenseTime Media Statement
Investors are betting big on Chinese AI startups, as they expect a boom in the sector backed by the government’s intention of making China a global leader in technology by 2030.
SenseTime develops systems that can analyze huge databases of faces and images and works with policing bodies across China. Essentially, if someone has been photographed by a Chinese-manufactured phone, or strolled down the streets of a Chinese city, chances are that their faces have been digitally scanned and crunched by SenseTime’s software.
That technology makes the startup pretty valuable in the country which has one of the world’s biggest surveillance systems. SenseTime claims to have a year-on-year growth rate of 400 percent, and revenue jump of more than ten-fold just this year.
Fin-Tech Startups, Meet Your Very Own Sandbox
The Maharashtra government has announced a sandbox to aid startups in the financial technology space. A sandbox, in technology parlance, is an isolated environment generally seen as a safe zone to test financial innovation with a limited rollout of new disruptive products to select customers.
“The sandbox will be opened today,” said SVR Srinivas, Maharashtra’s principal secretary for information and technology said at the Mumbai Fintech Festival on Saturday. “In this sandbox, all the startups will be welcome. They can register, they can open their APIs (application programming interface) and banks can consume,” he said.
The move comes nearly three months after a Reserve Bank of India panel recommended setting up a “regulatory sandbox” to foster financial technology innovation.
There are significant potential benefits of having a sandbox in place, according to Deloitte. It could reduce the time-to-market for new fin-tech products, provides better access to finance, regulatory clarity and also minimizes compliance costs. Also, if the product fails or doesn’t perform as well, the consequences remain limited, Deloitte’s report had said.
Srinivas said that banks and non-banking lenders should open up their application programming interfaces to help the startups in the state. He added that the state will sign an agreement with the Government of Andhra Pradesh, which is also working on developing Vishakhapatnam into a fin-tech hub.
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) June 2, 2018
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who inaugurated the sandbox, said that the state is the first in India to have a dedicated fin-tech policy. He added that they also plan to appoint a dedicated fin-tech officer under the state’s information technology department.
Fadnavis said that as part of the fin-tech policy, Maharashtra has given tax benefits, financial incentives, cheaper electricity and internet connectivity to industry players.
This Sunil Munjal Backed Startup Is Going International
The Founders of Get My Parking Rasik Pansare and Chirag Jain with Philippe Op de Beeck from APCOA.
A three-year-old startup, backed by Sunil Munjal and the Indian Angel Networks, just partnered with the biggest European player in its industry in a bid to solve people’s parking nightmares.
Get My Parking, a tech startup that gives real-time parking information, partnered with APCOA Parking to customize and deploy an “open internet of things technology that integrates parking equipment onto a standard, interoperable platform,” the startup said in a media statement. This partnership will also allow the startup to scale to the 13 countries where APCOA operates more than 1.4 million parking spots, the statement added.
Get My Parking’s technology will enable APCOA to provide the latest consumer solutions which include ticket-less automated access and cashless exit. “It will soon be enhanced by pre-booking options and on-street parking payment functions,” the statement said.
The New Delhi startup—founded by Chirag Jain and Rasik Pansare—last raised $3 million from BeeNext, IAN Fund and Indian Angel Network in September 2017. It had also received $1.1 million earlier that year from a number of investors, including Sunil Munjal’s Hero Group. The startup has received $4.5 million in funding so far.
Azman Usmani is an author at Bloomberg Quint. Mahima Kapoor is an Assistant Desk Writer at Bloomberg Quint.
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