Government to promote India as a startup destination

Government is preparing to launch a global campaign to hard sell India as attractive investment destination for startups and has invited proposals from creative agencies.

The campaign will be launched in global as well as domestic markets across all medias – print, electronic and social. “The objective of the campaign is to generate awareness about the investment opportunities and prospects of the country, startup action plan and to promote India as a preferred investment destination for new entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas,” said a DIPP notice inviting request for qualification-cum-request for proposal. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion said it also intend to set up an interactive portal for this.

DIPP, which deals with foreign direct investment (FDI) and related matters, is under the Commerce and Industry Ministry. Through its overseas media campaign, the department intends to project and showcase India as a favoured investment destination, especially for the new entrepreneurs bringing about new products and services through innovation and designs, it said.

“DIPP intends to release its campaign, portraying the strengths of and opportunities in the Indian startup ecosystem and highlighting the changes brought by the implementation of startup action Plan,” DIPP added. In January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled a slew of incentives to boost startup enterprises like offering a tax holiday and inspector raj-free regime for three years, capital gains tax exemption and Rs 10,000 crore corpus to fund them. A self-certification scheme was also announced recently in respect of nine labour and environment laws.

Government has also announced a slew of initiatives in the Budget for startups, including 100% tax exemption for three years and allocation of Rs 500 crore for SC/ST and women entrepreneurs, aimed at facilitating growth for these new businesses.

DIPP said it will also undertake production of publicity and promotional material on a regular basis, including brochures, ready reckoners, leaflets and posters, which will be circulated and distributed to prospective investors, industry media, embassies and high commissions.

“DIPP proposes to appoint a creative agency for designing and production of the required creative and publicity material and to provide a creative vision and strategy for taking forward the campaign to make India a favoured investment destination for startups based on innovative business,” it added.



Startup India: Government increases budget for funding by five times

A five-fold hike has been made by the government in its budget for funding start-ups in the next fiscal, a move which is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Startup India’ initiative.

According to Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, department of science and technology (DST), in the 2016-17 financial year, it will provide seed capital to 50-80 new ventures with funding ranging from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore per company.

For the next fiscal year, the government has increased the overall funding to startups from Rs 40 crore to Rs 200 crore, he said. “Funding has always been a problem for start-ups. With the seed money, the startups can approach venture capitalists or other funding agencies,” Sharma said. DST is a major funding agency for new ventures related to science and technology. “Earlier, we would provide Rs 10 lakh per startup but, this year, we have increased the funding substantially,” he said.

Referring to an internal study done by a consultancy firm on behalf of DST, Sharma said that over the last nine years, it has invested Rs 200 crore in start-ups and its value had risen to Rs 4,000 crore with 10,000 jobs, too, being created. The government will also open 25 new technology-business incubators to provide relevant training. Incubators are a major source of funding to these new ventures. The government has also earmarked Rs 10 crore for creating “world class” incubators.

Sharma said one of the reasons for hiking the funding for start-ups was that new ventures other than IT have limited scope of raising money. “Sixty per cent of the funding would go to companies that are into hardware and manufacturing business,” Sharma said.

Asked whether it was a risky preposition to fund startups and allocate more money to them, Sharma said many who start a new venture are PhD holders or qualified persons with knowledge in their field. “So, they know what they are doing. More importantly, the proposal will be thoroughly scanned before giving money to the start-ups,” Sharma said.



German company buys Israeli startup Inneractive for $46 million

German-based mobile ads company RNTS is laying down $46 million to buy Israeli adtech startup Inneractive, the two companies announced on Thursday. The deal could be worth more if Inneractive’s tech reaches certain goals in the next three years, upping the deal to $72 million.

Fyber is a subsidiary of RNTS Media and the deal brings Inneractive’s team in to the German adtech giant’s fold. Inneractive brags about having 630 million monthly active users while Fyber has about 500 million. Fyber is hoping to expand its footprint in the mobile market with the acquisition while Inneractive will apparently operate independently under the deal. It’s RNTS’s third recent acquisition after Düsseldorf-based Falk Realtime in April and SF mobile ad startup Heyzap late last year.

“Inneractive delivers significant additional scale and programmatic capabilities,” said Andreas Bodczek, CEO of RNTS Media. “We are confident that the revenue run-rate for the enlarged group by year-end 2016 will surpass EUR 200 million,” Bodczek added.

The acquisition makes RNTS one of the largest mobile adtech platforms in the world. Inneractive CEO Ziv Elul will join the RNTS Executive Board once the deal is finished by the end of June.

“This is a great achievement for Inneractive and we are very proud of our amazing team,” said Ziv Elul, co-founder and CEO of Inneractive. “We have been working with Fyber and its strong executive team for a long time and are excited to join the RNTS family.”

Fyber seems to have gotten a deal on a company that has been in the game for nearly a decade. Through January 2014, the company has raised at least $11.5 million, including from Evergreen Venture Partners, Kreos Capital, Ehud Hillman, Andy Fruchter, and Idan Ofer. The company reached profitability in 2015 with $43.2 million in revenues, about equal to their buyout price.

Inneractive was founded by Ziv Elul and Offer Yehudai in 2007 and maintains offices in New York, San Francisco and London.



Austin home automation startup WigWag raises $3.2 million

A Silicon Valley venture firm is the lead backer in $3.2 million investment in Austin-based home automation startup WigWag.

CSC Venture Capital, based in Palo Alto, Calif., led the deal. CSC Venture Capital is the investment arm of CSC Group, a leading private investment firm in China.

WigWag was founded by Ed Hemphill and Travis McCollum, both former executives of videoconferencing company LifeSize Communications.

The company got off the ground in 2013 by raising more than $454,000 from 1,700 backers on crowdfunding site Kickstarter campaign.

WigWag’s home automation platform lets consumers manage an array of connected, smart devices in their homes. It works with products made my WigWag – such as smart lighting – as well as devices made by other companies.

“We want to help people make their homes smarter through their phones phones or through controls,” Hemphill said.

Research firm Gartner estimates that by 2022 the typical U.S. household will contain more than 500 connected devices.

WigWag says its technology makes it possible for developers to create applications that respond individually to people’s behavior. That could include automatically adjusting to an individual’s preferences of lighting, temperature or music.

The company has begun shipping WigWag Relay, a $149 product designed to wirelessly connect with sensors attached to a variety of appliances such as lights and door openers.

WigWag also sells kits that let users control smart lighting from one app for $199.

The funding will allow the company to speed up product development, expand its Austin engineering and marketing teams and launch its platform and consumer products.

The 20-person company is currently hiring in software development, testing and marketing.

WigWag previously raised about $550,000 from individual and small institutional investors.

Indian startups expected to raise about $700 million in 2016

India’s startup landscape, which saw a deluge of venture capital and private equity funding in 2015, will once again see a significant number of startup ventures hitting the market for fresh capital, according to a report by venture debt firm InnoVen Capital. “We are privileged to have a unique ringside view into the venture ecosystem as it has matured over the years,” said Ajay Hattangdi, chief executive for India for InnoVen Capital.

In a recent report titled ‘India Startup Outlook Report 2016′, the Temasek and United Overseas Bank-backed venture debt firm said it expects about 130 startups to raise about $700 million (about Rs 4,784 crore) over the course of 2016.

The report, which was prepared after interactions with heads of about 140 startups, says that 2016 could see up to 50 deals in the $1 million-3 million range, with the majority being struck by bootstrapped ventures, highlighting investors’ preference for companies that have exercised cost efficiencies and continue to focus on unit economics, rather than unparalleled growth. “There is more sanity now and the balance of power has shifted back to the investor,” said Vinod Murali, managing director of InnoVen Capital India.

Correspondingly, the report also states that appetite for growth capital investments—characterised by investment rounds upwards of $25 million—in the country will remain limited, as venture capital investors continue to push their portfolio companies towards a path of profitability. “Very few venture capital-backed companies are shooting for larger rounds at this point because of the ongoing tough market conditions. If you’re not profitable, there are very few investors with the thesis to write such large cheques,” Murali said.

The Indian startup ecosystem saw record risk-capital inflows in 2015 — $16.8 billion (about Rs 1.1 lakh crore) — smashing the previous best of $14.5 billion in 2007.

“There was a lot of chaos in 2015, but the balance seems to have returned. The expectations of founders relating to valuations and cheque sizes have come down,” the MD of InnoVen Capital said.

Interestingly, the findings of the report also state that 84% of the bootstrapped companies polled, expect to be profitable by the end of the financial year ending 2017, while 81% of angel-backed startups expect to break even or be in the black over the same period. “There is a clear focus on profitability in 2016, and startups need to make that cut,” Murali said.

5G Technology – Opportunities & Forecast

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