Saturday 31 August 2019

Paytm Money elevates Pravin Jadhav as MD and CEO; to invest Rs 250 cr in 2 yrs

Paytm Money elevates Pravin Jadhav as MD and CEO; to invest Rs 250 cr in 2 yrsNew Delhi: Paytm Money, the wholly-owned subsidiary of One97 Communicationsthat operates Paytm, on Monday said it has elevated Pravin Jadhav as Managing Director and chief executive officer, and also plans to invest Rs 250 crore over the next two years. 

Founder and CEO of Paytm Vijay Shekhar Sharma said, in the last one year, under Jadhav's leadership, the team at Paytm Money has built an entire organisation, product, and business grounds up. 

"As a true entrepreneur, Pravin has made Paytm Money from an idea to India's largest mutual fund investment platform today. As our business expands in stock broking, National Pension Scheme (NPS), and other investment products, I am very proud that Pravin will lead the company as its Managing Director and CEO," he added. 

Jadhav was previously serving as the whole-time director. Prior to Paytm Money, he worked with Servify and, and was the founder and CEO of Wishberg. 

Paytm Money has over three million users on its investment platform.

"Paytm Money aims to invest Rs 250 crore over the next 18-24 months as it is expected to launch new businesses including stock broking, NPS and more in this financial year," the statement said. 

The company has received regulatory approvals for offering stock broking and NPS services to its users and is expected to launch them soon. 

Paytm Money aims to become a full-stack investment and wealth management platform.

Rocking Deals plan to expand offline retail presence

Rocking Deals plan to expand offline retail presenceNew Delhi: Refurbished products company Rocking Deals plans to expand its offlineretail network across major cities in the country, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

The company, which also caters to the online space and is also present in the online space, has recently launched a store in Ghaziabad with the aim to cater to the offline market in the Delhi-NCR region.

Rocking Deals also has plans to open multiple stores in Delhi-NCR and according to the company, more than 250 brands across 18 categories would be available to people in the new format stores coming up in the region.

The company would also launch its "large format" stores in Mathura Road, Delhi-NCR region, followed by Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata, the statment added.

Rocking Deals CEO Yuvraj Aman Singh said: "We understood the need of establishing an eco-system for excessive inventories at disposal by various brand, unboxed products or products that were just out of use for individuals but were of great utility to another." 

"The certified refurbished products enabled the customer to establish their trust with Rocking Deals and gratify their aspirations at a much lower price. The sole idea to allow masses to have access to branded products at a much lower rate itself was extremely promising to make Rocking Deals as the largest format in this segment," he added.

Friday 30 August 2019

UPI dominance heats up payments race for cards

UPI dominance heats up payments race for cardsBENGALURU: Dominance of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) continues to rise in India as it came close to the volumes of debit and credit card transactions in the financial year ending March 2019, shows latest regulatory data. 

Incidentally, as per data available with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for the first three quarters of current fiscal, UPI payments by value have overtaken card-based payments. UPI is still largely used for peer-topeer (P2P) transactions while credit or debit cards are used to make merchant payments.

UPI has clocked transactions worth Rs 4.4 lakh crore in April-June period of 2019 while for debit and credit cards, the figure stands at Rs 3.4 lakh crore. The combined merchant payments are still just about 15-20% of the overall UPI transactions and often incentivised by large players like Google Pay, PhonePe and Paytm. UPI’s use case of P2P transactions was also being fueled by heavy incentives from payments player to corner market share. During the same period, cards saw over 172 crore transactions in volume while the same for UPI was over 226 crore.

The rise of UPI as an instrument among popular mode of payments like debit cards is of importance, industry executives said.

This comes at a time when NPCI, which manages the UPI network, has capped the merchant discount rate (MDR) at Rs 100 for every transaction. For transactions less than Rs 100 via QR scan and pay, there will be no MDR from next month. At present, this is capped at 0.25% for transactions up to Rs. 2,000 and at 0.65% for transactions above Rs 2,000. The move is expected to boost UPI’s adoption among all types of merchants.

“The cost of business will come down which will see wider merchant acceptance. P2P transactions have limited use case so eventually there will be more merchant transactions. We have grown at a rate faster than UPI and that’s a testament to the merchant payments growth story,” said Ashneer Grover, co-founder and CEO, BharatPe, which allows merchants to accept payments via any UPI app.

Consumer payments platform PhonePe said it is essentially a payments container that enables all payments options for its users, including its own wallet. “UPI has seen a huge growth on our platform, but we also have millions of cards which customers have saved and use on our platform daily,” said a PhonePe spokesperson.

Kedaara eyes Lenskart stake at $1b valuation

Kedaara Capital is in talks to buy shares in omni-channel eyewear retailer Lenskartthrough a secondary deal, valuing the company at $1 billion, two people familiar with the matter said.

Existing investors PremjiInvest and Chiratae Ventures are among those likely to partially liquidate their holdings, sources close to the deal said.

This will be the first investment by Kedaara, a homegrown private equity company, in the consumer internet sector, and comes at a time when some big private equity companies have sensed opportunities in the space.

For Lenskart, this will mark a significant jump from its previous valuation of $460-470 million, and it will be latest to join the Unicorn club of privately held firms valued at $1billion or more. Lenskart is also in discussions with SoftBank Vision Fund, as ET reported on May 27, for a primary infusion, a financing round of around $300-350 million.

“The secondary deal, which is expected to be in the range of at least $100 million, has more than doubled Lenskart’s valuation compared to its previous round,” said a person aware of the details.

News portal VCCircle reported on August 29 that Kedaara would invest in Lenskart via a secondary transaction.

Traditional PE Firms Interested
A secondary sale takes place when an existing investor sells shares to a new one and the money does not come into the company’s books.

Lenskart, Kedaara Capital, PremjiInvest and Chiratae Ventures did not respond to ET’s email seeking comment until the time of going to print.

Kedaara, an investor in retail chain Vishal Mega Mart, Mahindra Logistics and AU Small Finance Bank, manages more than $1.3 billion in assets and has so far stayed away from backing new-age internet companies.

Lenskart, which has a reach across small towns, has seen interest from traditional private equity firms. Earlier, Carlyle Group discussed an investment in the company, which ET reported in May, but the talks fell through as the PE firm proposed a valuation of about $700 million, much lower than the company’s expectations.

Kedaara, founded in 2011 by former Temasek India head Manish Kejriwal and former General Atlantic senior executives Sunish Sharma and Nishant Sharma, is currently investing from its second fund — the $750-million Kedaara Capital Fund-II.

Kedaara eyes Lenskart stake at $1b valuation 
Lenskart has seen a stream of secondary transactions over the past few years. In May, Steadview Capital executed a secondary investment of $12-20 million, picking up stakes from Ronnie Screwvala and TR Capital, and now owns about 9-9.5% in the company.

Last year, Steadview invested $30-35 million for a stake of about 5%.

Prior to that, Steadview and TR Capital, also an existing investor, had undertaken an estimated $70-75 million secondary buyout, which also saw the entry of investment firm Epiq Capital as a Lenskart investor.

Among the selling shareholders, Chiratae Ventures has consistently cut its stake in Lenskart.

The VC firm, sources said, earned about $50 million in one of the secondary deals last year. Chiratae Ventures and PremjiInvest hold 6.8% and 17.5% stake, respectively, in the company.

Lenskart has emerged as one of India’s top brands in the organised eyewear category in the face of stiff competition from established offline brands such as the Tata Groupowned Titan Eyeplus. The company plans to set up 2,000 stores in India over the next five years.

The Delhi-based company founded by Peyush Bansal and Amit Chaudhary is now going global with the launch of its operations in Singapore. It aims to deepen its footprint in the island nation before venturing into other overseas markets.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018, Lenskart posted a loss of ?118.04 crore, a 55% drop from financial year 2016-17, when its loss was ? 262.87 crore, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies, accessed by business intelligence platform Tofler.

Thursday 29 August 2019

Ecommerce companies Flipkart, Amazon may face a repackaging challenge

Ecommerce companies Flipkart, Amazon may face a repackaging challengeBENGALURU: Ecommerce companies such as Flipkart, Amazon and BigBasket will have to find alternatives to single-use plastic, as the government is likely to restrict its use for packaging from October 2.

The government is also thinking of ways to make ecommerce companies recycle the waste that they generate. This will, in turn, push these companies to come up with alternative packaging materials quickly.

“They (ecommerce companies) are the ones creating all this waste, so the onus of recycling it has to be put on them as well,” said environment secretary CK Mishra, without confirming whether the government was indeed proposing to ban single-use plastics. “It’s all about reduction of waste, and then, they gradually need to move towards alternative packaging.”

Last Thursday, Walmart-owned Flipkart said it had already reduced use of single-use plastic by 25% and has set a target of using 100% recycled plastic by March 2021.

Ecommerce companies Flipkart, Amazon may face a repackaging challenge 
The homegrown etailer has also filed for an extended producer responsibility (EPR), aiming to collect back 30% of the waste it generates in the first year.

EPR is a policy approach where producers are responsible for treating or disposing waste after the sale of products.

Several other ecommerce companies, including Amazon and Big-Basket, are also trying to reduce the use of single-use plastic. Big-Basket has stopped using them to package products in Bengaluru, which has banned the use of such plastics altogether.

“Creating alternatives for singleuse plastic packaging is one of the significant steps we have taken towards fulfilling our commitment to create a sustainable ecosystem. Our long-term vision is to eliminate the use of plastic and maximise the use of recycled and renewable materials,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, group CEO of Flipkart, said in a statement last week.

Mishra said the ecommerce firms will need to create awareness among consumers, set up mechanisms for waste collection and ensure proper recycling, to hit their ambitious targets.

Cashback Strategy
Citizen engagement platform LocalCircles found in a recent survey that cashbacks — which ecommerce firms have used successfully to grow business — could nudge consumers to be more responsible with plastics use.

LocalCircles found that 92% of consumers in a survey of over 10,000 respondents were willing to return ecommerce packaging plastic for a small cashback, and 89% were willing to do so for cardboard packaging boxes.

Binny Bansal sells Flipkart shares worth $14m to Tiger

Binny Bansal sells Flipkart shares worth $14m to TigerBengaluru: Flipkart co founder Binny Bansal has sold additional shares worth about $14 million in the company to investor Tiger Global Management, company filings accessed through data intelligence platform show. 

The fresh share sale by Bansal comes after he had sold shares worth $76 million in June this year and could be a part of accelerated share sale agreement at the time of his exit in November last year. 

The sale also comes as Bansal is putting more money into startup investments after his exit from the group CEO role at Flipkart, where he continues to be a part of the board. Walmart had completed the deal to acquire 77% stake in Flipkart for $16 billion in August last year. When contacted, Bansal declined to comment. He continues to hold over 3% stake in the company. Since his exit, Bansal has taken a much more active role in the country’s startup ecosystem.

He told TOI in February that he plans to focus on supporting entrepreneurs, through investments and the recently launched software and consulting venture xto10xTechnologies. Bansal is taking on the role of chairman in xto10x, which has been started by former Flipkart executive and McKinsey consultant Saikiran Krishnamurthy.

Besides, Bansal has also anchored early stage venture capital firm 021 Capital, which was launched by his wealth manager Sailesh Tulshan. He is also an angel investor in over a dozen startups, including digital insurance player Acko and Niramai, which is developing a non-invasive way to detect breast cancer.

In November, Bansal left Flipkart, which he co-founded with IIT-Delhi graduate Sachin Bansal in 2007, after a failure to disclose allegations of “personal misconduct”. The allegations were “uncorroborated after a thorough investigation completed by an independent law firm” and Bansal had said at that time they left him “stunned”.

Wednesday 28 August 2019

MeitY seeks views on non-personal data

MeitY seeks views on non-personal dataNEW DELHI: The electronics ministry may come up with a report on non-personal data such as community data, anonymised data and ecommerce data held by companies including Uber, Google and Amazon— which will be used to chalk out a policy on non-personal data regulation.

A senior official told ET that the government may also consider leaving it to the ministries or regulators concerned to define which kind of data should come under the purview of such a policy. This comes after the latest round of select stakeholder consultation over the draft Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, in which the government has also sought opinion on the contours of a policy for non-personal data besides seeking feedback on issues such as data localisation.

The official cited earlier said the ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) had sought the views of 10-15 stakeholders on non-personal data. “The views received through this consultation can form the ground for a whitepaper which can be opened for wider public consultation before a policy is formed,” the official said, adding that “it’s a grey area” and no country has so far been able to come up with a policy on how to deal with public data.

In its latest feedback letters sent on Friday, MeitY had asked whether there is a case to mandate free access to community data, anonymised data, ecommerce data, etc. It also asked whether the Data Protection Authority should be the regulator in respect of all non-personal data. “The ministries or the regulators say health or ecommerce can only take a call on this, how can we define it for others,” said the official, adding that MeitY can only come up with a broader framework for such data.

Rama Vedashree, CEO of the Data Security Council of India (DSCI), said the government should not complicate the PDP Bill with non-personal data and should first focus on protection of people’s privacy, since the Bill has some way to go before being enacted.

Vedashree was a member of the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee which was constituted to draft the PDP Bill. The panel submitted its report and the Bill last July. She, however, refused to divulge if DSCI has given an official submission to MeitY in its latest round of consultation.

“Companies invest hugely towards getting the data, its processing and analysis. The framework has to respect the commercial business operations and IPR of the companies,” Vedashree said, adding that there needs to be an industry and public consultation by the government on what could be the reasonable monetisation of such data and which could be shared on a voluntary basis. However, she was categorical that PDP Bill should not expand to non-personal data.

Globally, there’s a debate on who owns data of the public held by companies such as Uber or Google Maps, and whether if released in the open in an annomysied fashion, can it help policy makers and researchers in framing better policies in areas like traffic management or urban mobility.

Stakeholders were given a week’s time to respond to the letter which also sought feedback on storing personal data in India. ET has learnt that a section of the stakeholders have responded, reiterating their earlier position that India doesn't need to have hard localisation.

“Our stand on data localisation remains the same, even though the intent of the government is good, we believe any kind of data localisation is easily bypassable. What is important is that companies which operate in India have to follow the Indian law. There has to be a proper consent regime which is tight, and in case of an incident, the government should have access to the data irrespective of where it resides,” said an official of an organisation which has sent its feedback to MeitY.