News Roundup: 8 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [15 August – 20 August]

Source | INC42 : By Meha Agarwal

Gurgaon-based consumer Internet search platform AskMe has shut down its operations and has laid off its remaining staff. The step was taken amidst severe cash crunch, alleged to the unplanned exit of Astro Holdings, its principal investor. The shutdown has left more than 4000 employees, vendors, and other creditors at AskMe and the investor, in a state of panic. As stated by Astro, Getit has not been able to make its business profitable and sustainable despite a huge investment of around $300 Mn to date. The company reviews state little prospect for turnaround and the business is insolvent.

Important Developments Of The Week

Ola Shuts Down TaxiForSure

Ola has shut down its TaxiForSure business and has laid off over 1,000 employees. This step is considered as a consolidation strategy in a bid to strengthen its core business against rival Uber. Of the total 1300TaxiForSure employees, only 250 have been retained from three major cities and 30 each in the smaller cities.

Razorpay Launches Flash Checkout

To simplify online payments, payment gateway RazorPay has launched a service called ‘Flash checkout’. This will cut down transaction time by 60% when the card is saved with Razorpay. Also, it will eliminate the need for merchants to tweak any code that is integrated into their systems.

ICICI Bank Launches SmartKeys

ICICI Bank has rolled out a new feature, iMobile SmartKeys to enable users to conduct transactions without leaving their existing messaging apps or browser. It also uses a one-step secure verification process to do the same, with an aim to reduce transaction time to seconds while maintaining user data safety. The platform is available on both iOS and Android.

Flipkart Opens Office In US; Launches Web App

Flipkart has opened its new office in Palo Alto, California. The move is directed towards generating and receiving funding from potentially viable American investors. Also, it could be potentially beneficial for finding new talent for the company.

The company has launched a new look website termed as ‘web-app’. The step aims to tap into a multi-platform user experience where one shifts from the app to the website in the process of finalising the purchase. The new web interface loads 30% faster and uses 38% less data.

Kotak Opens Innovation Lab In Bengaluru

Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched an ‘Innovation Lab’ in Bengaluru. It aims to partner with startups in the FinTech space to test concepts and launch them into commercial products. While two startups in the cohort are from the US and Australia, few are Bengaluru-based.

IITs To Ban 20 Startups From Placement Drives

IITs are likely to blacklist about 20 startups and ecommerce companies this placement season. The step was taken in lieu of rising cases of deferred joining dates, changed job profiles or altered salary terms.

Restaurants Cancel Orders With Food Delivery Services

Restaurants associated with Swiggy and Shadowfax have now pulled back from having their orders delivered by the startups. They cite a sudden spike of 25% per order as commission charged, as one of the key reasons to end the partnership.

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