Investors’ Growing Appetite for Vehicle-Rental Startups in India

Indian vehicle-rental startups focused on urban transportation needs are getting funding by US venture capitalists. With one of the world’s lowest car-ownership rates–18 out of 1,000 people, according to the World Bank — India has a large pent-up demand for vehicles.

Sequoia Capital has invested $8 million in Zoomcar, an Indian vehicle-rental startup, along with Empire Angels, FundersClub, Basset Investment Group, and funds advised by Triangle Growth Partners, who have increased their stake in the company. Zoomcar counts Larry Summers, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary, as well as Professor Ed George, chairman of the Statistics Department at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, as its early investors. It had previously raised about $3 million.  The Bangalore-based firm says it has grown to 250 cars at more than 40 locations, from seven cars when it launched. The company says it plans to use the funds to expand operations to other cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Goa.

San-Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc., which counts Google Ventures and Goldman Sachs among its investors, has made a big bet on India since launching there in September 2013, operating in 10 Indian cities, more than in any country except the United States.

SoftBank Corp. this week said it will invest $210 million into ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd.’s Ola Cabs, which operates a digital taxi-hailing service in 19 Indian cities, and competes with Uber Technologies.

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November 3, 2014   No Comments

Valvoline adds R&D and training center to its manufacturing location

Valvoline Cummins Ltd. (VCL), a joint venture between Ashland Inc. and Cummins India Limited, opened a center for R&D and Product Development along with a training facility at its Ambernath plant, close to Mumbai according to Dr. Frances E. Lockwood, Senior Vice-President and Global Chief Technology Officer, Ashland Consumer markets.

Valvoline

The new R&D facility services the Valvoline Global R&D facility at Lexington, Kentucky.  This facility will undertake research and development for futuristic products and technologies according to   Sandeep Kalia, Chief Executive Officer, Valvoline Cummins Ltd. Last year, Valvoline inaugurated its own toll blending facility automotive lubricants for the consumer, industrial and heavy-duty markets.

 

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September 18, 2014   No Comments

British Luxury Barber Enters India

Britain-based Truefitt & Hill, one the oldest barber shops in the world, opened its first door in India here with a promise to “introduce a new level of indulgence for the metrosexual man.” An Indian firm Lloyds Luxuries, owned by 21-year-old Krishna Gupta, has won the master franchise to start its salons in India and sell grooming products in neighboring countries such as Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Nepal. Lloyds has hired  Istayak Ansari, former chief executive of Gold’s Gym chain, as its managing director and partner.

“We will have a price of Rs 1,200 for a 30-minute hair cut and shave, and up to Rs 6,000 in our VIP lounge under a royal package,” Gupta said. “We will add three more salons by 2015.” The company has entered into a 10-year agreement with the London chain with the option to extend it for another 10 years.  “Our plan is to build salons by 2024, half of them owned and the rest sub-franchised,” Gupta said. Its first store in India has opened at Khar, Linking Road in Mumbai in June.

 

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July 12, 2014   No Comments

German Retailer Metro to Expand by 210 Percent in India

Europe’s fourth-biggest retailer, Metro AG, said it wants India to become one of its “focus expansion countries”, alongside Russia, China and Turkey. “We have seen continuous like-for-like growth recently in India. Now we decide to inject extra momentum into our expansion course there,” Metro  CEO Olaf Koch confirmed.

The company is planning to have 50 wholesale stores in the country by 2020, up from 16 now. Metro has been active in India with its cash-and-carry business since 2003 and is one of the few foreign retailers operating in the country.  Besides stores in major cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Kolkatta, the company has chosen a regional expansion to Tier 2 cities such as Indore, Jaipur and Vijaywada.  It has also built up a geographic focus in one state, Punjab, with stores in Amritsar, Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Ludhiana.

In 2012, the Indian government gave foreign supermarket chains the green light to enter its $500 billion retail sector. Full foreign ownership of supermarkets that sell directly to consumers is restricted. Metro sells goods to small shopkeepers, which dominate India retail market.

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May 5, 2014   No Comments

Covidien creates India training center

Further developing its capabilities in India,  Covidien PLC has opened a training and education center in India. Quoted in MarketNews Brian D. King, President Emerging Markets said “The Covidien Center of Innovation India in  Mumbai offers clinicians training on advanced procedures and techniques using leading equipment and technology.

The top three priorities will be procedures to address vascular disease, metabolic disorders (obesity and Type II diabetes) and cancer. Mark Rooney, Managing Director, India Subcontinent, Covidien, said, “Chronic diseases contribute to over half of Indian deaths. Cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia and many types of cancers are highly prevalent in urban and rural areas. The India center will have the capacity to train more than 5,000 healthcare professionals annually

Covidien has an important and growing presence in India with offices in Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. The company has more than 400 employees in India with a network of distributors and partner hospitals across the country. In 2012, Covidien opened  the Covidien India Engineering Center, in Hyderabad. (Full Disclosure: The company is an Amritt client. This article is derived exclusively from public sources).

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April 30, 2014   No Comments