Third Edition Of MachineCon Announced, India’s Most Powerful Gathering Of Analytics Leaders

Also Read Advanced Certificate Program In Blockchain & Distributed Ledger Technologies From IIIT Hyderabad & TalentSprint. Analytics100 Awards …


Analytics India Magazine announced the dates of its annual conference MachineCon and Analytics100 Awards. Scheduled for 28th May in Mumbai, MachineCon will see 100 Analytics leaders from domestic Indian firms attend the conference along with key players in the industry.

MachineConwas started in 2018 with an aim to create a platform for senior leaders drivinganalytics agenda in their organizations to discuss opportunities and challengesin this emerging space. A key highlight of the event is Analytics100 Awards —recognising the contributions of India’s leading 100 analytics & AIvisionaries who have advanced data and analytics initiatives in theirorganisation.

MachineCon is produced by the teambehind Cypher — India’slargest Big Data and AI summit that has become the meeting point for technologyleaders and innovators from the field of AI and data science.



MachineCon will also witness some key vendors in the analytics space to showcase their latest innovations and products. Last year’s conference was sponsored by leading organizations like Cartesian, Actify Data Labs, Insofe, Snowflake, Indian School of Business, Altair, AnalytixLabs, Edvancer, Kabbage and Hansa Cequity.

This year’s conference will see more than 10 talks by industry veterans including panel discussions and keynotes. The conference will also host an exhibition area for organisations to showcase their capabilities and interact with the industry leaders.


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Talking about MachineCon 2020, Bhaskar Gupta, Founder & CEO, Analytics India Magazine shared, “We pride ourselves in having the deep understating and connect with the analytics ecosystem in India. This has largely been due to our focus on speaking vehemently about the industry as well as initiatives like MachineCon that aims to bring leaders together for a discussion on new ideas and way forward.”

Analytics100 Awards Will Honour India’s 100 Leading Analytics Leaders

This year, at MachineCon 2020, the stage is set foranalytics awards – Analytics100 Awards, which will recognize the contributionsof 100 leading analytics visionaries from across India. Analytics100 willacknowledge the AI and machine learning innovators behind the success of DataScience ecosystem in India who have redesigned the technology landscape.

Talking about Analytics100 Awards, Gupta said,“MachineCon will bring over 100 business leaders and data scientists fromacross India and honour their achievements and contributions to the analyticsecosystem. These technology leaders have supported the growth and developmentof analytics in their organisations and have created profitable solutions”.

Who Should Attend

Attend the groundbreaking summit, driven bypowerful discussions and join over 200+ Data Science technology leaders whowill examine the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the AI-drivenage. CIOs, CTOs, VPs and Head of Data Science teams who are building theiranalytics practice can gain valuable insights from this two-day summit held inMumbai.

This is an invite-only conference. Join us inMumbai for an insightful and informative one-day event and network with some ofthe biggest names from Indian analytics industry.

When: May 28, 2020at Hyatt Regency, Mumbai

To know more, click here


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VC-backed fintech firm Innoviti secures $5 mn

… secured $18 million in July 2017 in a Series B round from SBI-FMO Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners LP and existing investor Catamaran Ventures.

Innoviti Payment Solutions Pvt. Ltd has raised Rs 35.6 crore ($5 million) in debt funding from FMO, the Dutch development bank said in a disclosure.

FMO said in a disclosure that the Bengaluru-based firm’s payments solution is designed for small businesses in line with the bank’s strategy of catalysing economic growth and bridging the digital divide.

With around 63.4 million units throughout the country, MSMEs or micro, small and medium enterprises account for around 31% of the economy as well as 33.4% of India’s manufacturing output, the bank observed.

Innoviti was founded in 2002 by Rajeev Agrawal, who holds a B.Tech degree and PhD from IIT-Bombay. Before coming to be an entrepreneur, he had worked with technology firm Sasken Communications in Bengaluru.

Innoviti’s payments business, launched in 2008, helps merchants receive payments across channels, including online, mobile, in-store and at the time of delivery of a product. Through smelending.com, the company helps businesses get short-term loans of Rs 30,000 for 15 days or more.

Innoviti claims to process over Rs 20,000 crore of payment transactions annually including Rs 1,000 crore of credit across 50,000 point-of-sale terminals every year. Smelending.com has processed more than 150,000 loans annually for over 30,000 small businesses. It has so far disbursed $500 million loans.

Innoviti’s client base of merchants includes Reliance Retail, Titan, Landmark Group, INOX, Indigo and Walmart. Lenders such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, Standard Chartered, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Citibank use the platform to process their customers’ payments and distribute loans.

Innoviti had raised Rs 80 crore in its previous round led by venture debt firm Trifecta Capital in March last year.

Prior to that, it secured $18 million in July 2017 in a Series B round from SBI-FMO Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners LP and existing investor Catamaran Ventures.

Peers

Innoviti competes with the likes of Pine Labs, BharatPe and Mswipe in the digital payments space in India.

Pine Labs Pvt. Ltd last month raised funding from Mastercard Inc., marking the second reported bet the global technology payments giant has made on an Indian firm within six months.

New York-based hedge fund Coatue Management is also reported to be leading a round of funding up to $100 million in BharatPe, which services offline retailers and businesses, at a valuation of $500 million. It also counts Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners and Steadview Capital among its backers.

Mumbai-based mobile point-of-sale services startup Mswipe Technologies Pvt. Ltd had raised $31.5 million from tech investment firm Epiq Capital and venture capital firm B Capital, managed by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin early last year.

FMO’s India investments

The Dutch development bank finances projects through equity and debt instruments in sectors such as agri-business, food and water, energy and financial institutions in underserved regions. Along with Washington-headquartered International Finance Corporation, it is one of the most active global investment institutions in India.

In November last year, it invested about $30.27 million in CreditAccess Grameen Ltd, which operates a microlending business under the Grameen Koota brand name. At the end of October, it proposed a $40 million debt investment in non-banking finance company Ess Kay Fincorp Ltd.

In the same month, it proposed a 7.50 million euro ($8.29 million) investment in Sahyadri Farmers Producer Co. Ltd. FMO said the proposed investment will help Sahyadri finance the construction of collection centres for the warehousing and transport of produce.

Its other bets include a debt investment of $30 million in Kolkata-based Srei Equipment Finance Ltd, and Nomisma Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which owns digital payments and loans platform Ftcash.

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How LV, Gucci, And Prada Are Leveraging Blockchain Technology

Blockchain seems to be the best solution for getting rid of counterfeit products. The distributed ledger technology, when applied in the fashion industry, …
How LV, Gucci, And Prada Are Leveraging Blockchain TechnologyHow LV, Gucci, And Prada Are Leveraging Blockchain Technology

In a market full of fakes, it’s difficult to identify an original. The line correctly represents the current situation of today’s fashion markets. Many people from the middle or lower class families can’t afford to buy large fashion brands such as Gucci and LV and a lot of them are unaware that such brands even exist.

However, largely considering the Indian context, the streets today are filled with people carrying Michael Kors bags, wearing Gucci apparel or Adidas shoes not knowing that those are just counterfeits. Some of those fake products are perfect replicas of the actual brand or designers that it’s hard to tell the difference.

On one hand, the affordability of these replicas has made them so likeable for some groups, that they prefer to purchase them knowing that they aren’t the real brands. On the other hand, there’s a class of people in some countries like India, that are unaware of big brand names and designer wear or can’t care more to understand the difference, that they end up wearing Abibas t-shirts or shoes with two brand names written on them.

Many people experience fraud when they order a brand but receive a copy or a low-quality material. But the question is, how does this impact the brands as well as the consumers?

The Impact of Counterfeits

Counterfeits are causing problems for authentic brands as well as consumers. Not only do they steal sales of brands by offering products at significantly low prices, but they also damage the brand’s reputation by offering low-quality products that consumers believe are authentic.

Low-quality products damage the trust of consumers in the product and also the business partners of the brand. Irate customers, unhappy with the quality of the product they receive ask for refunds or exchanges of counterfeited products from authentic brands, ending up in a chaotic situation. Ultimately, brands have to spend more to fight against fakes.

This whole situation not only wastes time and money of the brands and consumers but also leaves no inspiration for designers and brands to focus on their project’s growth. It causes long-lasting damage to the brand.

The Blockchain Solution for Brands

Blockchain seems to be the best solution for getting rid of counterfeit products. The distributed ledger technology, when applied in the fashion industry, can save authentic brands and designers from the prying eyes of fake producers. Many projects are now considering implementing the technology into the fashion industry to provide transparency, security, and authenticity to both the designers as well as the end consumers.

One such project that is utilizing the potential of blockchain technology is Curate. Curate was found with the intention of providing users easy access to exclusive and unique fashion pieces produced by small and large retailers and designers. It is a style discovery decentralized app based on blockchain technology that rewards all users with cryptocurrencies such as ETH, BTC and its native token CUR8, for contributing to the platform.

Brands and retailers like LV, Zara, Gucci, Prada, and Amazon have partnered with Curate to leverage blockchain technology used on the platform. The technology protects brands against their customers being exposed to fraud and the risk of buying counterfeit products through a remote frequency identification protocol integrated into the system.

The RFID smart tags attached to materials can be scanned by the users to confirm the genuineness and authenticity of the product they have purchased. Uses can use the camera on their mobile devices to scan the code and pull out the history of the material.

This unique feature not only helps the customers in buying authentic brands but also protects the reputation of brands from being damaged due to counterfeits. The history of the fabric also helps consumers who don’t prefer buying clothing that’s manufactured at the cost of the environment. The platform further helps designers, irrespective of large or small, to gain recognition and awareness by trending on the basis of ratings and upvotes received by the users.

Conclusion

Blockchain has come as a savior for small designers as well as large brands. It has the potential to solve the flaws in the fashion industry and protect consumers against fraud. Projects integrating blockchain with the fashion industry will be of great use in countries like India, where counterfeit products cover a major proportion of the market.

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Startup nation: Indian startup founders reveals important new trends

… for the second or third time, it is obvious you are going to be better and faster,” says Rajan Anandan, managing director, Sequoia Capital India.
Even in the fast-paced disruptive world of startups, a few things are hard to change. Gender bias, for one.

Sairee Chahal, founder of Sheroes, a community platform for women, is at times at the receiving end of it. Often it comes in the form of “innocent” remarks and “friendly suggestions”. “You started this alone?” she often gets asked, with thinly veiled scepticism.

Just the other day, an executive from the venture capital industry suggested to her: “You should have a male cofounder. It is easier.” Her sense of dismay over the incident comes through in her voice as she spoke, over the phone, to me. “It felt stupid. I am not a spring chicken. This is my second startup. I have been an entrepreneur half my working life. There is so much resistance to solo female founders,” she says.

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So why did she start alone? I repeat the loaded question not because she’s a woman but because starting up alone is tough and lonely, for men and women. MakeMyrip founder Deep Kalra recently told me that if there is one thing he would change about his entrepreneurial journey, it would be to have a cofounder. Chahal knows well the hardships of a solo founder. But she says she had little option. “I didn’t know where to find them.” A small-town Punjabi girl from a middle-class family, she had few networks in Delhi from her growing-up days. Nor did she form deep bonds during her corporate stint — a challenge that women often face — to scan for a cofounder. “Startups are tough. It is even tougher for women entrepreneurs who have to battle many tides,” she says.

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Chahal confirms what a survey of Indian entrepreneurs by Excubator, a startup incubator and consultancy firm, for ET Magazine, reveals.

India’s startups remain a man’s world. They might be flush with funds and buzzing with bright ideas and disruptive technologies, but traditional gender biases and challenges remain in play here. The online survey was done in August and received valid responses from 299 entrepreneurs. Women comprised just 14% of total respondents.

It is a good time to pause and understand Indian entrepreneurs.

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Once on the fringes, starting up has become mainstream. Entrepreneurs are the new heroes of India’s middle class. After two decades of boom-bust cycles, the ecosystem is both deep and rich, with 1,400 new startups created in 2018, (from a high of 3,560 new startups in 2016, it dipped in 2018, due to the onset of a funding squeeze). The funding landscape too has substantially matured with most global VC firms including those from the East (like China, Japan and Korea) setting up shop in India. In 2018, according to Venture Intelligence, VCs in India invested $8.5 billion in Indian startups.

Also, amid all-round pessimism in the Indian economy, startups and their founders are a beacon of hope. Amid dreary headlines of bankruptcies, credit defaults and incarcerated promoters, new entrepreneurs, their surging ambitions and funding boom offer a much-needed respite.

The survey attempts to understand Indian entrepreneurs, mostly of tech-led startups. Who are they? Where do they come from? What is their gender, demographic and psychographic profile? What drives their pursuits? What are their biggest challenges? “The survey busts a few myths and endorses some visible trends,” says Guhesh Ramanathan, founder, Excubator.

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First, the macro view. Bengaluru is unquestionably India’s startup capital, with 37% of founders who responded to the survey coming from there. NCR is at the second spot — 16%. About 71% of respondents are from Tier-1 cities (Bengaluru, Mumbai and NCR). Like FreeCharge’s Kunal Shah and Myntra’s Mukesh Bansal, who have now started new ventures, 34% of survey respondents are serial entrepreneurs.

Contrary to popular perception, “they aren’t young, fresh college graduates,” says Ramanathan. The median age for starting up is high — 35 years for men and 37 for women. They are well educated, too — 39% have a bachelor’s degree and 53% have a master’s degree/diploma. About 4% have a PhD; the same as school graduates.

Their experience is fairly spread out, from 0 to 30-plus years. About 37% are solo founders but the most popular configuration is two cofounders for a company, at 47%. A vast majority has been set up over the last decade, with almost half in the last five years. About 26% of them have managed to raise funding. Raising funding seems to be their biggest challenge (59%), followed by finding and retaining talent (40%), government and regulatory issues (31%) and finding customers (30%).

Entrepreneurs are also maturing in their mindset. What are the yardsticks these entrepreneurs use to benchmark their success? For about 58% it is generating profit, while for 42% it is the number of people they employe and for 20% it is fund-raising.

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Signalling Indian startups’ rising global ambitions, a high 66% say their focus is both Indian and global markets; 30% are focused only on India while a small but significant 4% are focused only on global markets.

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Mature and more evolved

Seasoned startup watchers echo what the survey reveals. The first thing that Saurabh Srivastava, founder of Indian Angel Network, notices is the maturity of Indian entrepreneurs and their ideas.

“In 2010, we would get 200 startups annually and struggle to find even one or two to invest in. Last year, we vetted 10,000 and invested in 25-odd.

The quality of ideas has improved substantially,” he says. Arun Natarajan, founder, Venture Intelligence, says he sees more experienced — and hence older — entrepreneurs. “With age and experience, they have a better feel of the problems and hence go after business models that are sounder,” he says.

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The biggest thing that serial entrepreneur and investor K Ganesh notices is the surging aspirations and scale of ambitions of today’s entrepreneurs. Sanjay Nath, managing partner, Blume Ventures, too, finds today’s entrepreneurs a lot bolder. “They think global from day one. They are attempting to do things at a much grander scale. Flipkart’s exit and the kind of money people made give confidence to many,” he says. Oyo and its aggressive global expansion plans are now a Harvard case study. They could become bigger than Marriott, he says.

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Successful exits have spawned a growing breed of serial entrepreneurs. “They come with a lot of experience. If you are doing anything for the second or third time, it is obvious you are going to be better and faster,” says Rajan Anandan, managing director, Sequoia Capital India. Just look at the way Kunal Shah’s Cred and Udaan, founded by former Flipkart employees, are scaling up. The latter, founded in 2016, is already a unicorn (valued at more than $1 billion).

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“While the number of new startups is coming down, the quality of founders is going up. We are getting more nuanced and differentiated ideas,” he says. This also has to do with the maturing of the funding ecosystem — in quality, quantity and spread. The biggest manifestation of all this, almost everyone agrees, is that Indian entrepreneurs today are thinking very hard about their ideas and the problems they are solving. They are less likely to chase the flavour of the season and have a more original and evolved approach to building their startups.

“Today’s founders have a very different DNA.

Many have studied or worked overseas. They have a global view and have a very healthy global network,” says Nath. Consequently, in their mind and ambitions, they compete as equals with peers from Silicon Valley as they often think brand and build the latest tech products for global markets. A growing breed of B-to-B and SaaS (software as a service) entrepreneurs like Girish Mathrubootham of Freshworks, Ankur Kothari of Automation Anywhere and Umesh Sachdev of Uniphore are proof.

Diverse flavours

A few things haven’t changed. For example, 70% of entrepreneurs come from the top three cities. But things are likely to get better. “So far, horizontal ecommerce like Flipkat and Amazon were focused on the 50 million English-speaking urban consumers. The next wave of startups (think Meesho and Bulbul) will focus on Bharat, the 300 million consumers who may not be English-speaking but are literate and tech-savvy. This will attract a lot of entrepreneurs from smaller towns and cities,” says Ganesh.

A boost from a better ecosystem should help, too. Razorpay cofounder Shashank Kumar started in 2014 in Jaipur. Within nine months, they moved to Bengaluru where talent, funding and ecosystem were more vibrant. He sees a change, though.

“The Rajasthan government has taken a lot of initiatives to nurture the startup ecosystem there,” he says.

With Jio and the growth in digitisation, consumers in tier-2 and tier-3 cities are already becoming tech-savvy. “Over time, you will see these entrepreneurs from small towns starting to leverage technology for business, too,” says Ganesh.

Startup Landscape – An analysis of 20,000 startups that Excubator tracks in India

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Source: ExSeed data based on analysis of 20,000 startups that Excubator tracks in India

Gender bias in the startup world is disappointing.

It may have something to do with having few women in the investor world. Not only are there fewer women founders (14%) but they also face significant odds and must prepare better. According to the survey, female founders are older (median age 37 years as against men’s 35 years) and better qualified (74% of female founders have a master’s degree as against 56% among male founders). To understand gender bias, two other survey data points are important to note.

Funding probability of women-led startups halves (at 14%) as against those led by men (30%).

It gets worse if the startup is led by a solo founder— just 5% of startups led by solo female founder like Chahal get funded as against 31% of startups run by solo male founder.

“Women’s mobility is constrained. With the shifting focus to Bharat, I have a very strong feeling the women’s numbers will rise,” says Ganesh.

Perhaps the startup world will then manage to disrupt this age-old imbalance in the corporate world.

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How would Ola, Uber cause truck sales to plummet: Yashwant Sinha

INDORE: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Saturday questioned Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s claim that rise of Ola and Uber affected …
INDORE: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Saturday questioned Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman‘s claim that rise of Ola and Uber affected the automobile sector, asking why the sales of trucks should also decline.

Those in power were making “weird” statements, the former finance minister said, talking to reporters here.

“People in the government are making weird statements. These statements will not lead to betterment of economy. But they will definitely affect the government’s image,” he said.

On Sitharaman’s statement about decline in the automobile sector, where she spoke about people using app- based cab services instead of buying car as one of the causes, Sinha asked, “If companies like Ola and Uber caused a drop in passenger vehicle sales, then why there is a slowdown in sales of two-wheelers and trucks?”

“Bihar’s finance minister (Sushil Modi) said there is recession due to Sawan-Bhado (the rainy season). A Union minister (Piyush Goyal) is talking about Einstein’s law of gravity,” the former BJP leader said.

Sinha also raised a question about Sitharaman’s announcement to organize a mega-shopping festival in India on the lines of Dubai Shopping Festival to boost exports.

“The economies of UAE (United Arab Emirates) and India are different. India’s economy will progress only when farmers in areas like Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh progress,” he said.

“We should have grown at a rate of at least eight percent. But in the first quarter of the financial year, the GDP growth has come down to five percent,” he said.

The missing three percent growth meant loss of Rs 6 lakh crore in just one quarter, he claimed.

Asked about the government’s plan to merge certain public sector banks, he said, “I am not opposed to merger. But it will not reduce their non performing assets automatically.”

The process may in fact harm the banks as their officials will get tied up in completing merger formalities instead of focusing on actual banking, Sinha said.

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