Startup Roundup April 12, 2016


As on-demand startups fizzle, Zirx moves cars for other companies, not individuals | TechCrunch

Zirx was originally created as an app that let individuals order valet parking service, on-demand. But facing crushing costs, the San Francisco startup recently shifted its focus to the “mobility” needs of businesses.

Now, Zirx gives companies free-to-use software, called the Zirx Mobility Services platform, that they can use to have their vehicles moved around in time to get any given job done.

Clients of Zirx include car repair booking site Openbay and BAMA Commercial Leasing.

According to CEO Sean Behr, Zirx is also targeting auto shops, dealerships and auto manufacturers, who would otherwise have to build a workforce and software of their own to deliver “white-glove” services to customers.

An entrepreneur has come to the rescue of unmarried couples in Delhi and Mumbai.

Young couples looking for some privacy in conservative India are often vulnerable to physical attacks by the police and self-appointed guardians of “Indian culture.” Vigilante groups have assaulted lovers in parks, beaches, and pubs for engaging in any sort of public display of affection. As a result, consenting adults, if they are unmarried, often struggle to find hotel rooms for some private time.

Enter StayUncle. The New Delhi-based startup has tied up with hotels where unmarried couples can rent rooms for a duration as short as 8-10 hours. The idea is to help them with affordable rooms, without feeling uncomfortable or unsafe. 

In conservative India, a startup is helping unmarried couples find a room – Quartz

Sysadmin blog How big does a company have to be before we can trust them? Does company size or balance sheet even equate in any meaningful fashion to trustworthiness? What does trustworthiness mean in today’s data center?

I recently attended the SimpliVity Connect analyst shindig in Boston. Some grumpy analyst on the other end of the room asked SimpliVity’s CEO a series of questions that amounted to “Why should anyone buy from you; what guarantee does anyone have that you’ll still be around in a few years?”

While seemingly rational on their face, these questions caused a great deal of introspection for me. I buy from startups all the time. Why? Am I being foolish in doing so? By what measure? 


When to trust a startup: Does size count? • The Register

Sysadmin blog How big does a company have to be before we can trust them? Does company size or balance sheet even equate in any meaningful fashion to trustworthiness? What does trustworthiness mean in today’s data center?

I recently attended the SimpliVity Connect analyst shindig in Boston. Some grumpy analyst on the other end of the room asked SimpliVity’s CEO a series of questions that amounted to “Why should anyone buy from you; what guarantee does anyone have that you’ll still be around in a few years?”

While seemingly rational on their face, these questions caused a great deal of introspection for me. I buy from startups all the time. Why? Am I being foolish in doing so? By what measure?  


Alibaba extends startup cloud program to Singapore | ZDNet

Alibaba has taken its cloud startup scheme global for the first time, launching the service in Singapore with a US$10,000 credit for selected startups.

Valid for a year, the coupon can be used to purchase any service on the Chinese vendor’sAliyun cloud platform, according to Yu Sicheng, vice president of Alibaba Cloud. Top-performing startups would be offered a higher US$18,000 credit, he added. 


Betaworks’ botcamp wants to give 10 chatbot startups $200k | TechCrunch

The interest around chat bots is rapidly growing, and Betaworks is looking to capitalize.

The startup studio responsible for companies like Giphy and Instapaper is today announcing that applications are open for BotCamp, a 90-day pre-seed program for chat bot startups. Investors in the program include betaworks and the Chernin Group, with sponsors from KPCB, General Catalyst, Atomico and RRE.

BotCamp is set to accept 10 companies, with each receiving $200k in pre-seed funding. These companies will work out of the Betaworks Studios space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district.

“The explosion of messaging-based interfaces, combined with advancements in machine intelligence, means we’re at a point where these bots are no longer just clever parlor tricks, they can be incredibly useful tools for improving productivity and helping people work together more effectively,” said betaworks EIR Peter Rojas. 


Mai Capital launches $20 million Dragon Egg Fund for start-ups to crack China | afr.com

Australian start-ups wanting to expand into China will get a $20 million helping hand, thanks to a new fund being launched called the Dragon Egg Fund.

The fund has been founded by ICD Property’s Michael Mai, and will be run through Mai Capital. It will focus on tech businesses across five sectors – logistics, health, cleantech, education and agriculture – which the venture capital firm believes will have the most success in Asia.

Mr Mai believes there is a significant gap in the market to support emerging firms wanting to do business in China.

“We will look to invest in emerging companies that are positioned to tap into the enormous Chinese market. This offers investors the chance to invest in high growth innovative companies and provides these companies with a fast track to the world’s most populous country,” he said. 


Inside the maddening ‘cult’ of a billion-dollar tech startup

The loud lacrosse bros, eerie employee disappearances and lack of any discernible leadership should all have been clear warning signs that something strange was going on at HubSpot.

But it took a teddy bear to really drive the point home for Dan Lyons, a veteran technology writer who joined the billion-dollar marketing startup in 2013 in his early 50s to kickstart a second career and support his family.

After more than two months of struggling to find his way at HubSpot, Lyons hit one of many breaking points when everyone at the company was instructed to share and praise a LinkedIn post by one of the co-founders, who touted the benefits of bringing a teddy bear into meetings. Not a metaphorical teddy bear, an actual teddy bear. 


Top tech buyers to listen to pitches from Indian startups – The Economic Times

For the better part of two decades, chief information officers of some of the world’s largest companies such as General Electric, Apple and Citigroup have looked at India as a lowcost destination to fuel their back-office software projects.

That narrative started to change over the past few years.  


Four Reasons Your Startup Shouldn’t Hire A PR Firm – Forbes

Early-stage founders often mistakenly view public relations as a magic bullet. The thinking goes like this:

If only we had some press, we’d have all the [users, investors, business partners, acquisition offers…] that we need.

This is almost always nonsense. For the vast majority of early-stage companies, press should constitute only a small component of a sensible marketing plan. This means that for the vast majority of early-stage companies, hiring a traditional PR firm is a waste of resources. (To put a rough number on “traditional PR firm,” let’s say anything over $4,000 per month.)

This is not to say that startups couldn’t use professional help from time to time. But the traditional model, while fine for more mature organizations, generally doesn’t make sense for early-stage companies. 


HR, not funds, big headache for startups – Times of India

Fund-raising may have come easy for startups. It’s the people matters that appear to be rather tricky. For some, establishing a unique culture is proving to be tough, while for others it’s about ensuring new hires remain as engaged as those who began their careers at the start of the company’s journey.

Simplilearn, a professional certification provider, has a practice called ‘Free Look Period’, which allows the employee to understand the role, team dynamics and work culture. It’s an opportunity to ensure that the new hire and the company are a perfect fit. The firm is now creating a new post for head of culture. The objective, said COO Gerald Jaideep, is to link the core values and vision of the company with business goals and to replicate behaviours in people to ensure they deliver. 


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s