Weekly Wrap Up | Why Uber, OlaCabs, Aditya Birla, rBus and YourStory...

Weekly Wrap Up | Why Uber, OlaCabs, Aditya Birla, rBus and YourStory are in the news.


Uber Airtel Partnership1. Uber Enters Into A Strategic Partnership With Bharti Airtel To Provide Free In-cab Wi-Fi:
The cab hailing technology company Uber has announced its association with Bharti Airtel in a bid to allow the riders pay through Airtel Money and also enjoy free in-cab Wi-Fi facility powered by Airtel’s 4G network.

The service is only available for the riders of Mumbai as of now and the company plans to reach pan India with this offer in near future.

“This partnership is built on our shared visions and strengths of broad, reliable networks and connecting people to their world, anytime, anywhere,” said Amit Jain, President, Uber India.

“Our partnership with Uber is directly in line with our commitment to offer innovative and relevant services for our customers,” said Srini Gopalan, director, consumer business, Bharti Airtel.

With this strategic partnership Uber is to provide the riders with another hassle-free payment option and make Uber the first technology platform to officially launch Airtel Money. As a limited time offer it is also offering up to INR 500 free rides to the customers who top up their Airtel Money wallet.

2. Aditya Birla Group Launches “Bizlabs”; A 20 Day Startup Program:

Aditya Birla Bizlabs

The Aditya Birla Group announced the launch of Aditya Birla Bizlabs; an initiative for start-ups to provide the opportunity to scale-up in a large operating business environment. The program is accepting applications from start-up catering to the areas of Retail, Financial Services, Mobility etc.

“Our objective at Aditya Birla Bizlabs is to enable the combination of the technology and ingenuity of the start-up ecosystem with the power and reach of the Group’s businesses to create a platform to foster growth and rapidly scale-up businesses. We are excited with the prospect of working with start-ups on a collaborative platform” said Mr. Dev Bhattacharya, Group Executive President, Aditya Birla Group.

The Bizlabs is a 20 day-long program, during which short-listed start-ups will be provided access to the CEOs and CXOs of the Aditya Birla Group, and the chance to network with reputed industry experts. In addition, the selected start-ups will have the opportunity to scale up by entering into a commercial arrangement with the Group’s businesses. They may also receive an investment from an independent arm of the Aditya Birla Group.

The last date of applying for the program is 2nd of September, 2015 after which no applications will be entertained. Any startup that is into the qualifying market can submit their application HERE.

3. YourStory Secured Series A Funding From Kalaari, Ratan Tata and Others:

YourStory Raises Funding

YourStory, the Indian digital media publication which focuses on startup ecosystem has secured an undisclosed amount in series A funding led by Kalaari Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, TV Mohandas Pai and Ratan Tata.

On this event, Shradha Sharma, the founder of YourStory said,

“I am fortunate and grateful that I found them. It is with the greatest joy that I share the news that Ratan Tata, Vani Kola (Kalaari Capital), Karthee Madasamy (Qualcomm Ventures) and T V Mohandas Pai have invested in YourStory.”

YourStory was started in 2008 by Shradha in Bangalore which now employs 50 people across the organization. The website mainly focuses on covering inspiring stories of startups and entrepreneurs. It claims to have reached 60 million engaged readers and have over 20,000 stories on the website. YS have sister sites like HerStory, SocialStory, YS TV and YS Research to encourage social ventures and women entrepreneurship. The startup has also hosted over 220 events such as YS Meetups, TechSparks, MobileSparks and SheSparks across the country and helped startups to raise over $550 million though its events and campaigns.

Shradha has bootstrapped the venture for last 7 years and shared her experience throughout this journey in a blog post on YS which reads,

“Today, as we enter the month of August in 2015 and YourStory completes seven years of relentless, obsessive and passionate pursuit of telling stories, we are starting a whole new exciting chapter that includes support from some very well-known and well-respected partners. “

With the fresh round of funding, YS aims to launch a tech portal which will enable the readers to tell and share stories in their own language viz, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Bangla etc. through text, voice and video. It targets to reach to 500 million online users by 2017.

Though the exact investment amount has not been disclosed by any of the parties, but according to a report by Techcircle the investment is under $5 million. Post investment, Vani Kola from Kalaari Capital will join the boards of YourStory.

This is the 10th known investment from Ratan Tata in Indian startups. Prior to YourStory he has also backed ventures including Paytm, OLA, Snapdeal, Cardekho, Urban Ladder, Bluestone and others.

4. rBus Raises Seed Funding From IndiaQuotient, Anupam Mittal And Others: 

rBus Funding

rBus, a startup offering AC bus service in Mumbai, has raised an undisclosed seed funding round from IndiaQuotient, People Group founder Anupam Mittal and others.

The Mumbai-based startup was founded this very year  by Siddharth Sharma, Anshul Khandelwal and Vivek Choksi.

Raftaar Technologies (which operates rBus) currently offers services in Mumbai. With over 40 trips daily trips, the service caters to more than 500 commuters. With wi-fi, app-enabled payments and live tracking of buses, rBus claims that it provides a commute experience akin to having one’s own car at a fraction of the price.

“All we are doing is enabling individuals to come together and design their own buses,” said Siddharth Sharma, co-founder of rBus.

“We have known Siddharth for a while and knew that the team has been researching the urban mass transport space for years now.”, says Anand Lunia, founder at IndiaQuotient.

5. OLA launched “Ola Select”, an invite-only service to provide free in-cab Wi-Fi at no extra cost to the riders and a range of exclusive benefits from partner brands like Myntra, Snapdeal and Cleartrip.
Ola Cabs




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