Startup Roundup February 10, 2016

Food Startup Zomato Is India’s First E-Commerce Unicorn To Break Even, Headed For Profitability – Forbes

India’s largest restaurant search and food delivery startup, Zomato, announced early this week that it has broken even in several big markets – including India – and will hit profitability by mid-2016.

When it does so, Zomato will be the first Indian e-commerce unicorn to become profitable, a significant milestone in a market where Indian startups are finding it quite challenging to lure investors for subsequent rounds because none of them are close to profitability. The Gurgaon, New Delhi-based Zomato is valued at just over $1 billion and its backers include Sequoia Capital, Singapore government’s Temasek Holdings and Indian ecommerce player, Info Edge. 

Inside the Startups Making it Easier to Buy Flowers | TIME

The floor of Christina Stembel’s war room is covered with stems and leaves, her soldiers armed with calla lilies and persimmons. As on any other weekday, the troops at Farmgirl Flowers are assembling hundreds of bouquets in San Francisco’s flower market that will soon be stacked in billowing Seuss-esque piles on the backs of bicycles and dispatched all over the Bay Area. 

As Its Market Grows, Nigerian E-Commerce Startup Africa Internet Group Raises $83 Million | TechCrunch

Some of Africa’s best funded ecommerce startups just secured more capital. Africa Internet Group(AIG)—which owns online retailer Jumia and 9 other e-ventures—will receive €75 million ($83 million) from Europe’s AXA Insurance in exchange for 8 an percent equity stake.

AIG will use the funds to support all points of its business model aimed at expanding ecommerce services across Africa’s core economies. The investment buys AXA access to AIG’s expanding startup network. 

Ratan Tata invests in cancer therapeutic startup Invictus Oncology – The Economic Times

Tata Sons’ chairman emeritus Ratan Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in next generation cancer therapeutic startup Invictus Oncology, the New Delhi-based company announced on Monday. 

Monique Woodard joins 500 Startups as first black partner

Monique Woodard has joined 500 Startups as its first African-American venture partner to increase the firm’s investments in black and Latino tech entrepreneurs, who have historically received a tiny fraction of U.S. venture funding.

The appointment of a black investor at the start-up accelerator and venture firm “sends a huge signal that black investors are needed and that we should have a seat at the table,” Woodard told USA TODAY. Woodard is executive director of Black Founders, a national network of African-American tech entrepreneurs that she co-founded. 

Actress Turned Entrepreneur Sarah Michelle Gellar Shares Her Recipe For Startup Success – Forbes

“Baking is a billion-dollar industry that has not been modernized,” says Sarah Michelle Gellar, cofounder of subscription-based baking kit startup Foodstirs.

Last September, Gellar joined friend and PR specialist Galit Laibow and former Martha Stewart exec Gia Russo to launch their culinary lifestyle brand with a collective mission to bring their families and friends together in the kitchen. Both mothers, Gellar and Laibow had been hunting for fun and educational family activities that tore their kids away from their cell phones and TVs, but quickly became frustrated when they discovered limited options. Specifically, they hit a roadblock when looking for baking projects with clean ingredients and fun, easy assembly. “People are clamoring for a better quality product and we knew we had an idea for innovative disruption,” she says. 

The Daily Startup: Market for App Store Analytics Enters New Era – Venture Capital Dispatch – WSJ

Several startups are vying to be the Nielsen Corp. for mobile app user engagement, but as the industry becomes more competitive, newcomers have forced down prices on once-premium analytics products like download and revenue estimates, Patience Haggin reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. As the first wave of app analytics becomes commoditized, the market’s established players like App Annieare striving to build the next generation, which will require tracking and predicting users’ interaction with apps, down to each individual click and swipe. Other newcomers include Mobile Action, Crittercismand Mixpanel. 

AngelList Raised $163M For Startups in 2015, Up 56% Year-Over-Year | TechCrunch

AngelList, the online platform that had made itself indispensable to early-stage startups for fundraising and recruiting, said it closed out last year having raised $163 million online on behalf of 441 companies. That’s about 56 percent higher than the year before in 2014. 

Chris Horn: Singapore lures start-ups – and chill-out zones provided

You’re a start-up executive and have opened your company in the heart of a strong start-up community. You want to network with other executives, and for your team to do likewise. You’re keen to track what is going on, to uncover opportunities to collaborate, and – yes – to enjoy the gossip. And, right now you have a little spare space in your office. 

RIICO to help set up 7 startup incubators – Times of India

UDAIPUR: In a bid to support the development of entrepreneurial ecosystem across Rajasthan, the state government is preparing the ground to set up seven incubation centres in potential locations, a senior official of Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO) said on Saturday on the sidelines of the Udaipur startup fest.

The government has set aside a corpus of Rs 2.70 crore for the current financial year for this purpose. 

MIT Startups in Dorm Room Fund | MIT Admissions

Opportunities abound for student entrepreneurs amongst the MIT community.

Today I’d like to take a look at Dorm Room Fund, a venture fund run by students for students. At DRF, college students become investment partners and scour their campuses for the most innovative student startups to invest in. I found out about them from one of my friends, Yasyf M. ’17, who is an investment partner there, I’ve been following them ever since. 


Dutch/Danish personal shopping startup The Cloakroom from Amsterdam was acquired for an undisclosed amount by its German competitor Modomoto, TechCrunch reports. The startup will continue to run The Cloakroom brand in their top markets: in Benelux and Scandinavia.

Homebrewing startup Minibrew was voted ‘Startup of the Year‘ by the readers of business website Sprout.

Marqeting won the Entrepreneur Team Award. The online ad agency beat edtech startup Scribbr and e-commerce company Etrias.

Internet of Things company 112Motion won the IBM Amsterdam Global Mobile Innovator Award. The startup creates wearables for monitoring people’s health and safety.

The Chinese space trading company Head Aerospace is moving its HQ to the Space Business Incubation Center in Noordwijk. 

Dropping a Billion Dollar Bomb on Startups | SXSW 2016 Event Schedule

Robust entrepreneurship leads to billions in value creation for the overall economy, and MassChallenge helps concentrate and accelerate that potential, dropping an economic bomb on startup ecosystems. The largest and most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet, MassChallenge has helped develop entrepreneurial ecosystems all over the world by supporting startups while taking zero equity. This has led to its 835 alumni raising over $1.1 billion in funding and creating over 6,500 direct jobs and 16,250 indirect jobs.

This panel will feature speakers from all sides of the equation for cultivating exponential growth among startups. How can the wider ecosystem, including government, investors, experienced entrepreneurs, accelerators universities, work together to create billions of dollars in value for the economy? 

Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad resigns amid startup turmoil | NewsDaily

Zenefits, a software startup valued at $4.5 billion, said on Monday it had replaced founder and Chief Executive Parker Conrad and appointed a new leader for the troubled tech company.

David Sacks, a former executive at Yammer and PayPal who joined Zenefits a year ago as chief operating officer, has taken over as CEO.

“The fact is that many of our internal processes, controls, and actions around compliance have been inadequate, and some decisions have just been plain wrong,” Sacks said in a letter to employees. “As a result, Parker has resigned.”

Zenefits provides software for businesses to automate aspects of their human resources services, including healthcare benefits, stock options, maternity leave and vacation time.

Once considered by venture capitalists as the fastest-growing software startup, Zenefits has come under fire for allegedly flouting insurance laws and failing to deliver on promises to customers. It is the latest example of a unicorn – a venture-backed tech firm worth $1 billion or more – whose business appears far less sound than investors believed it to be. 


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