Category — Automobile

4 Indian Startups in Billion Dollar Club

The Wall Street Journal’s and the Dow Jones VentureSource’s Billion Dollar Club includes startups that venture-capital investors believe are worth at least $1 billion and have raised money in the past three years, and four Indian startups make the list.

Ranked 5th of 73 companies listed is Flipkart Internet Private Ltd., India’s largest e-commerce company by sales valued at $11 billion. Snapdeal, a rival online marketplace, ranks 30th with a value of $2 billion. Online-ad company InMobi, valued at $2.5 billion, and Ola Cabs valued at $1 billion are also included in the club.

India is expected to become home to the world’s second-largest number of startups, after the U.S., in the next couple of years as investors pipe in cash to new companies.

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February 27, 2015   No Comments

Go East, Young Entrepreneur!

Here are three stories of entrepreneurs that went east to India, survived, and succeeded:

Valerie Wagoner started her company ZipDial, which was acquired last month by Twitter, based on her insight of the potential of missed calls in the bandwidth deprived Indian mobile market.

In 2013, Greg Moran and David Back left the U.S. to work in India, but ended up starting their own company ZoomCar, a self-driving (ie no chaffeur provided)  car rental start-up. What started with just seven vehicles is now a business of 250 cars in the cities of Bangalore and Pune. They have plans to expand to 10 more cities this year with the recent funding they received from Sequoia. “I like the energy levels of the people here. Besides, starting business in India is becoming an easy process,” says Moran.

Eleven years ago, in 2004, Sean Blagsvedt came to India to head Program Management and Advanced Prototyping for Microsoft Research. He had no plans of settling down in India, but within months he quit his high-paying job, married an Indian woman, and set up a company to solve the problems of unskilled and blue-collar jobs in India. Blagsvedt has no regrets. He considers the move to become an entrepreneur in India one of his best decisions. “India is largely an under-served market, but has huge potential when it comes to adoption of technology. We are trying to solve some socioeconomic problems with the help of digital technology,” he says. His venture, Babajob, connects job seekers such as security guards, drivers, maids and cooks with potential employers.

With the start-up ecosystem maturing in India, the numbers of expat entrepreneurs are so significant that it has led to the formation of an Expat Entrepreneurs Circle, an exclusive organization of foreign entrepreneurs and non-resident Indians doing business in India.

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February 12, 2015   No Comments

Polaris and Eicher Motors Aim to Enter the Small Car Segment in India

Minnesota-based Polaris, maker of all-terrain vehicles, has entered into a joint venture with Eicher Motors India, to build a personal vehicle with a 600cc diesel engine. The double cabin micro pickup and multipurpose van is targeted for sale to small farmers and small business owners.

To make the vehicle affordable, the cost of production will be kept low by using composite materials which will make the vehicle light and therefore more fuel efficient, as well as by building it on tubular platform, an architecture that can be modified for making multiple products. The manufacturers expect that the car will get 58mpg. (25 km to a litre.)

Production is expected to begin in May this year in a new facility in Jaipur, a city in the state of Rajasthan.

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January 6, 2015   No Comments

Mercedes-Benz Inaugurates Second R&D Facility in India

Mercedes-Benz, the German automobile manufacturer opened its second research and development in Bangalore to expand R&D and IT activities in India for its parent firm Daimler AG.

“The India R&D center plays a crucial role in our global R&D organization, with 200 patents filed for innovation in automotive development since our entry into India 18 years ago,” Mercedes-Benz R&D India officiating chairman Thomas Merker said in a statement. “As India is a high potential market for us, the center will ensure that development initiatives are in accordance to customer needs,” he added.

Daimler’s chief information officer Michael Gorriz said that the new R&D center was in line with the company’s IT strategy to further expand and have diverse skills, know-how and foreign cultures.

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December 12, 2014   No Comments

Rising Optimism for Doing Business in India

The environment for foreign investments in India started improving a short time before Narendra Modi was elected prime minister on a business-friendly reform agenda in May 2014. United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Airwas acquired a stake in India’s  largest corporate carrier, Jet Airways. As a result of this deal, the U.A.E. ranks in the top five of India’s leading foreign investment sources.

A survey conducted by Ernst & Young found that 53% of more than 500 business leaders around the world planned to enter or expand their operations in India within the following 12 months. The list of multinationals that are making long-term investments in India includes U.K. liquor company Diageo, which acquired majority ownership of United Breweries, once run by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya; French energy company GDF SUEZ; pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline; Sweden’s IKEASingapore Airlines; Starbucks, which partnered with the Tata BeveragesUnilever, Vodafone and Volkswagen all upped the ante upon Modi’s eelection.

Over the last year, 67% of foreign direct investment in India has gone go the services sector, with 18% going to the manufacturing sector. The remaining 15% has gone to agribusiness investments, according to the Reserve Bank of India.

FDI in India is capped in a number of key sectors.  Foreign ownership cannot exceed 49% in Indian defense contractors, or 74% in private banking. Nandan Nelivigi, head of India’s practice at White & Case said, “Competition for the best opportunities [in India] is already fierce and will only intensify as the business climate improves. Fortunately, investing in India today is no longer a step into the dark.”

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November 17, 2014   No Comments