M12, Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, would extend its investing coverage to India to help entrepreneurs innovate and grow with Microsoft’s reach, expertise, and technologies. Rashmi Gopinath, partner at M12, will be leading M12’s investments in India.  Microsoft continues its portfolio of investment in the Indian startup ecosystem with M12 announcing its first India investment, Innovaccer, a startup working to solve data interoperability challenges in healthcare and helping health systems enhance their clinical and financial outcomes with a data-first approach.

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Venture capital investments in Indian tech Business-To-Business [B2B] start-ups have been trending upwards with over US$3.09B raised in equity funding across 415 deals in 2018, 28 percent more than $2.41B invested in 2017 [Source: Tracxn 2018]. Moreover, an increasing number of enterprise B2B startups are being founded in India that cater to a global customer base, most notably in artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, software as a service [SaaS], data analytics and Internet of Things [IoT]. These sectors continue to be top strategic priority focus areas for Microsoft and M12 as well. In addition, India offers unique competitive advantages by being home to top technical talent in the world including deep tech areas such as computer vision, robotics, blockchain and autonomous driving. These factors position India favorably to support highly innovative startups that can effectively compete on a global scale.

Nagraj Kashyap, Global head of M12 and Corporate Vice President, Microsoft, said

We are thrilled to broaden M12’s reach to include India. India is a market rich with entrepreneurs creating world-class startups that are poised for success on a global scale. In working with these innovative startups, we believe together we will help disrupt enterprises and industries ripe for digital transformation.

Innovaccer is a shining example of the startup opportunity in India. The healthcare SaaS startup has offices in both India and the United States, offering a comprehensive Healthcare Data Platform and intelligent care application modules for over 10,000 healthcare providers across 500 practice locations. Leveraging machine learning and healthcare-related contextual expertise, Innovaccer enables its users to consolidate financial, claims, patient, and operational data together to provide a comprehensive patient 360-view for better decision-making, care coordination, and reporting.

Abhinav Shashank, CEO Innovaccer, said

Our unique value proposition is a holistic healthcare data platform that offers data aggregation and key analytics to help healthcare systems and insurance providers to align with value-based care models and realize significant cost savings and operational efficiency. We are excited to work with M12 and Microsoft in order to leverage their best-in-class technical, industry, and go-to-market expertise to help address needs for healthcare organizations across the world.

M12 is comprised of experienced VCs and Microsoft veterans – with team members on the ground in North America, Europe and Israel. Globally, M12 has invested in over 70 startups in areas ranging from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to business SaaS and industrial drones. While the investment team functions like a traditional VC firm, the portfolio development and venture engagement groups strengthen the lines of communication between Microsoft and many of the innovation communities around the world. It has access to, and knowledge of, Microsoft’s strategic assets, enabling it to value add in excess of the contributed capital.

About M12

As the corporate venture arm for Microsoft, M12 [formerly Microsoft Ventures] invests in enterprise software companies in the Series A through C funding stage with a focus on big data & analytics, business SaaS, cloud infrastructure, machine learning & artificial intelligence, productivity and security. As part of its value-add to portfolio companies, M12 offers unique access to strategic go-to-market resources and relationships globally. The Company has offices in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, London and Tel Aviv. Please visit M12 VC for more information.

It is estimated that by 2025, there will be 1 Lakh active startups in India employing about 32 Lakh people. India has observed a substantial growth in the startup industry. As per a statement issued by the ex-Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, India has shown a promising startup growth of 36% in 2017. This trend is set to grow exponentially in the future.

Image Source – Inc42

However, with this rise in the number of startups, there has also been a hike in the ‘dead pool’ of startups. While the socio-economic system plays a vital role in ticking this number, lack of proper guidance to the startups still remains the prime cause for a lot of them to never see the light of day. While there are multiple startup accelerators now that are in place to help the startups, most of them focus either on sector-specific startups or startups that are ready to be funded. This leaves startups that are on the ideation stage and those in the unconventional sectors particularly vulnerable.

In order to address these issues, Espark-Viridian is back with the fifth edition of #AccessXcceleration, inviting early-stage startups across all sectors to participate. Interested candidates can apply between January 14, 2019~February 18, 2019. And over the period of the next four months, the acceleration program will roll out two modules providing participating startups with a dedicated mentor who would provide them with business insights, problem-solving strategies, individual mentoring sessions, besides guiding each business idea based on their specific needs.

Module 1 – It has been designed to focus on ideation for the startups. Through a validation process, startups get a platform here to discuss their startup idea in great depth, test their prototype, and guide them to reach the MVP stage. Based on requirements, the module also helps the entrepreneurs to come up with an effective pivot strategy.

Module 2 – It focuses on providing a platform to the entrepreneurs to design their startups in a lean operating framework. Following that, they design the process flow to make it reach a stage where the idea is suitable to be pitched to investors. The acceleration program also provides emerging entrepreneurs a platform to network, interact, exchange ideas, and learn from each other.

The program also includes sessions and workshops across both modules to provide knowledge-based business solutions to the young entrepreneurs. They are led by expert mentors from fields such as marketing, business development, operations, and legal, to cover every functional aspect of a startup.

The centres of Espark-Viridian are strategically located all over the country to cover regions that have seen the highest growth of startups in the past few years. Espark-Viridian is currently present in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Greater Noida, Ahmedabad, and Chandigarh. Espark invites you to kickstart your startup voyage with #AccessXcceleration by applying at https://goo.gl/fFyaH8

To ensure the data of its Indian users remains secured and to provide faster and more reliable services, Truecaller confirmed that its entire Indian user data is hosted in India. Truecaller is one of the first international tech companies to proactively take the step of storing its Indian users’ data locally in India. This is a user-centric move that is aimed at safeguarding personal data and encouraging more transparency in the ecosystem.

With locally stored data, and significant investments in its Indian infrastructure, Truecaller has also doubled the search result speed for its core services like Caller ID and Spam detection within the app to ensure users are protected from unwanted calls and potential fraud. It is worthwhile to note that Truecaller was already storing its Indian user’s payments data of its popular Unified Payment Interface [UPI] based payment service in India. Payments as a vertical was built from scratch entirely out of India last year after the acquisition of the Indian payments start-up Chillr. This made Truecaller fully compliant to RBI’s data localization norms from the start, compared to other international entities.

Over the past 24 months Truecaller has invested heavily in the India market, and today more than half of its employees are from India with offices in Bengaluru, Gurgaon, and Mumbai.

Speaking on the development, Nami Zarringhalam, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Truecaller said

This is one of the many steps we are taking to ensure better quality of our core services across payments, messaging and Caller ID features that Truecaller offers. This also safeguards our user’s privacy and is our way of showing commitment towards our users and their data while being compliant with laws of the geographies we operate in. Truecaller has in the past years built a considerable user base in India with over 100 Million daily active users. To support all of the exciting developments we last year also acquired a company in India and now have half of our headcount in India.

About TrueCaller

People use Truecaller to stay ahead. It helps them know who’s getting in touch, filter out unwanted calls and SMS, and focus on what really matters. The company provides a suite of unique services such as a dialer that offers caller ID, spam detection, messaging and more. Truecaller’s mission is to build trust everywhere by making communication safe and efficient. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the company was founded in 2009 by Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam. Investors include Sequoia Capital, Atomico and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.

The lottery and gaming conglomerate Sugal & Damani Group, announced the launch of Khel Group, aimed at becoming India’s largest online gaming platform. Khel Group will be the parent company with two of its own online gaming portals called Khelplayrummy offering online rummy and the newly launched KhelChamps, offering fantasy sports and gaming. Khel Group also has Pokerstars currently operated by Sachiko Gaming Pvt. Ltd., that has an exclusive partnership with the global entity – The Stars Group. Khel Group therefore becomes the only online gaming group in the country offering rummy, fantasy sports/games and poker together through a single, seamless and an efficient interface.

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According to a recent study done by KPMG and Google in India, the gaming industry is currently estimated at approximately $0.6 billion, of which online gaming is approximately $0.37 billion. This shows that online gaming segment has a great scope in India and Khel Group looks at acquiring a substantial market share in this segment in the country.

Commenting on the development, Naveen Goyal, CEO, Khel Group said

Since the launch, our company has been focused on providing the best customer experience by offering a seamless interface through innovative technologies. With Khel Group, we intend to augment the online gaming experience along with consolidating several gaming offerings. The purpose of Khel Group is to create a strong single platform and identity which is imperative for the brand to communicate effectively with our different stakeholders. I look forward to this new and exciting phase of our journey.

Sharing his perspective on the online gaming industry in India, Nitesh Damani, Founder & Promoter, Khel Group said

India’s growing internet consuming population and smartphone penetration coupled with reasonable data prices is creating a revolution in the online gaming sector. Hence it is important to keep upgrading the back-end technology to intensify our product offerings and give the best user experience to stay relevant to them from time to time. With our foray into the fantasy sports, we are expanding our capabilities and adding value to the customers by offering them ample options to choose from, by way of which our vision to be the only online gaming group offering multiple games can be reinstated.

Technology and ease of attractive user interface is the mainstay of Khel Group’s range of premium brands across all its verticals. The Group takes pride for the massive reach that it has and looks forward to shape the online gaming industry.

About Khel Group

Khel Group aims to be the largest online gaming group by meticulously engineering superlative online gaming experiences. The group strives to adapt to changing trends, evolve and reform, producing better versions of work each time. The utmost priority is to ensure smooth, exciting and safe game play which subsequently attracts gaming enthusiasts.

Aeris, a technology leader in the Internet of Things [IoT], announced it is working with the Roambee Corporation, an IoT supply chain and enterprise asset visibility company, to help enterprises improve their monitoring of shipments and assets through IoT-based technologies offered by both companies.

Roambee provides IoT-based real-time global condition monitoring and visibility services for in-transit goods and in-field assets. Roambee’s unique end-to-end solution simplifies global shipment visibility across the supply chain, including the entire cold chain process for enterprises. The company provides patented hardware and software technology, combined with an array of senor data, analytics, predictive reporting and open application programming interfaces [APIs] to increase Return On Investment [ROI], improve supply chain operations, and reduce inventory loss.

Aeris offers end-to-end IoT and machine-to-machine [M2M] solutions through its comprehensive Aeris Mobility Platform [AMP] and Aeris Connectivity Platform [ACP]. Collectively, these platforms enable enterprises and original equipment manufacturers to embark on a digital transformation journey to enhance revenue, create new services and form new business models.

ACP provides Roambee with the ability to manage its global data connectivity, which in turn is being used by Roambee for its shipping, inventory, pallet, asset and fleet monitoring services. This helps Roambee advance its service delivery while improving supply chain predictability and throughput for enterprises.

The Aeris Connectivity Platform provides a ‘smarter’ cold chain because real-time monitoring devices provide managers with live data and situational alerts, thereby mitigating risks along the cold chain before they arise, while providing actionable insights for future business improvements.

Christina Richards, Vice President of Global Marketing, Aeris, said

Aeris is an Internet of Things industry leader. Through our work with Roambee, we enable them to easily manage a host of cold chain monitoring data analytics and connectivity capabilities for global enterprises. The Aeris Connectivity Platform is built for IoT and has been globally tested at scale. For more than a decade, we have unlocked IoT value for enterprises and look forward to helping Roambee be the preeminent provider of cold chain monitoring solutions.

Vidya Subramanian, Vice President of Products, Roambee, said

By utilizing Aeris Connectivity Platform’s data management and location capabilities, Roambee better manages our own quality of global service for enterprises at scale. This is an integral part of Roambee’s portfolio of end-to-end, real-time visibility and monitoring solutions, and we are proud to partner with Aeris in this capacity.

Roambee’s real-time monitoring solutions provide managers with live data and situational alerts, thereby mitigating risks along the cold chain before they arise, while providing actionable insights for future business improvements. By leveraging ACP and its location-based services, Roambee’s services alleviates on-time delivery risks; reduces spoilage and damage risks; lowers theft and financial risk, and improves its overall delivery of service.

Kerala Startup Mission, the nodal agency of Govt. of Kerala for technical entrepreneurship in the State has partnered with Unity Technologies to launch a Centre of Excellence for AR/VR and gaming. Through this Centre of Excellence, Unity will extend support to startups developing products, services, and games on platforms including mobile, PC, and various AR/VR hardware. This Centre of Excellence will also have a special focus on providing different levels of training on AR/VR developer tools to students and professionals in the State. The partnership is a significant step forward for developing an AR/VR ecosystem in Kerala.

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Shri. M Sivasankar IAS, Secretary Department of IT & Electronics, Govt. of Kerala, said

The AR/VR market is expected to witness huge growth globally in the next 5-6 years. This growth in demand for AR/VR content and solutions will be accompanied by the sprouting up of a new set of businesses. This Centre of Excellence for AR/VR Developer tools with Unity Technologies is a step taken by the Govt of Kerala towards creating an ecosystem for new businesses to grow and cater to the global demand.

Hubert Larenaudie, Vice President of Asia Pacific at Unity Technologies, said

Unity is at the center of the AR/VR ecosystem, powering 60%+ of all content and we see this industry growing significantly over the next few years. This Centre of Excellence for AR/VR developer tools is a step taken by the government of Kerala to create an ecosystem for these new businesses to grow and thrive.

Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Startup Mission, said

Kerala Startup Mission is committed towards creating an enabling ecosystem for young ventures working on various emerging technologies. With its rich pool of creative talent, Kerala has the opportunity to become a hub for this extended reality disruption, which is a combination of content and solutions powered by hardware and distribution platforms. This emerging industry will, in turn, create new jobs that require new sets of skills. We will be working with ICT Academy of Kerala for skilling interested students and professionals on these design and development tools.

In line with the Knowledge City initiative of Government of Kerala, KSUM has a special emphasis in promoting startups working in various emerging technologies like AI, Cyber Security, AR/VR etc. Over the past one year, KSUM has touched bases with more than one hundred [to be precise] startups in these emerging technologies and has provided these startups with various support mechanisms including technology access through Future Technologies Lab, Innovation Grants, seed loans, exposure programs, and market connects. Future Technologies Lab also runs evangelization drives across the State to attract more professionals and students to take up research, learning and development programs in these newer technologies.

Santhosh Kurup, CEO, ICT Academy of Kerala, said

In the Industry 4.0 world, AR/VR is a vital technology that has applications in multiple domains, hence youth with skills and competencies in AR/VR will have a unique advantage in the future jobs market. ICTAK is delighted to be skilling interested students and professionals on these design and development tools.

About Kerala Startup Mission

Kerala Startup Mission is the nodal agency of Government of Kerala for promoting technology entrepreneurship in the state and is the implementing body for the Kerala Technology Startup Policy that supports the startup ecosystem by means of different components such as infrastructure, incubators and accelerators, human capital development, funding, and exposure programs. For more information, please visit Kerala Startup Mission.

Becoming a crorepati is generally a lifelong dream for most people, but it is not as unattainable as it may seem. Given the right combination of patience and commitment, you can easily hit the 1 crore mark before you choose to retire. Assuming you are just starting out in your career, this plan for the distant future requires a solid long-term strategy to help you achieve your objective.

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However, chalking out a strategy is only one part of the process. It is the actual follow through that distinguishes wealthy investment gurus from aspiring investors. So, what are the steps you can take to reach this goal as early as possible? Let’s discuss them here.

1. Assess Your Present Situation

The first step is to map out the distance to your destination. So, before you start making any concrete decisions, first consider your current net worth. For example, if you already have a net worth of Rs. 20 Lakhs, and you are aiming to become a crorepati in 20 years, you need to invest an average of 13,000 per month at an interest of 8% per annum, to meet your target.

It is equally important to assess your age, income, expenses, and family situation at this point. This will allow you to set a realistic time-frame for achieving your goal.

2. Start Investing Immediately

Investments may be a secondary source of income, but they are the primary source of wealth creation. Once you have charted a fair timeline and a realistic savings amount, start investing the money immediately. The sooner you begin, the more time you will have to build a sizeable corpus for the future. This will result in one of two things – you’ll either be able to retire earlier than expected or save more money than planned thanks to the compounding effect.

3. Spread Out Your Investments

You can make smart decisions and investments, but that doesn’t guarantee it will be your big ticket to wealth. When it comes to creating a cache this big, you will need to take a fair amount of risk. Aside from real estate, which requires large capital, you should consider putting your money in mutual funds, retirement accounts, and ULIPs. The best ULIP plan is one that provides maximum growth opportunities and adequate coverage along with some much-needed flexibility. It is ideal for individuals who are willing to invest long-term. You can even buy ULIP online if you want to skip the hassle of physical forms.

4. Save First, Spend Later

Contrary to the norm that exerts ‘saving money after expenses are paid’, it is a better idea to do the exact opposite. First, save a fixed amount every month as per your goal, and then move on to your expenses. This will acclimatize you to the habit of setting aside a predetermined percentage of your income and help you live within the confines of a budget. That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge yourself once in a while, but remember, a target like 1 crore requires some sacrifices.

By taking these steps and focusing on your goal, nothing can stop you from becoming a crorepati before retirement and living the rest of your life in carefree comfort and luxury.

Life is uncertain. One cannot rule out the probability of an unfortunate event of death. Though you may not have control over every imminent uncertainty, you may secure your financial well-being through a term plan.

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Understanding term policies

Before purchasing such a policy, it is imperative to know what is term insurance and the benefits of such a policy. A term plan is the simplest form of life cover, which provides coverage for a pre-determined term. In case of an unfortunate event during the policy term, your loved ones are entitled to receive the sum assured amount. Such plans do not have a maturity benefit.

Term plans – Protecting your big plans

Through a term insurance plan, you may meet your short-term and long-term goals rather easily. Such a type of cover is an excellent choice for individuals in their family formation years when the need for protection is the greatest. A term cover allows you to invest in high levels of coverage at an affordable price, thus making it a perfect product for your insurance needs.

Following are five major reasons why a term plan aids in protecting your big plans.

  1. Financial security

This is one of the most important advantages of a term plan. In the case of an untoward event, your family is well protected against various financial obligations. They may use the received sum assured amount to fulfill their big plans such as higher education, meeting wedding expenses, purchase of an asset, or even meeting funeral expenses. They may continue meeting lifestyle expenses without any financial constraints. Purchasing such a plan, therefore, provides peace of mind that their needs will be taken care of even in your absence.

  1. Great choice for single parents

Many single parents are burdened with finances and therefore avoid investing in a life cover. However, the truth is that your child solely depends on you. You need to ponder over the fact that they may be left financially crippled if you are not around them tomorrow. Term plans, given their affordable nature, is an ideal option for single parents. With the help of the death benefit amount, your children may continue living their life and achieving their dreams.

  1. Conversion to a life policy

In certain cases, you may convert your term policy to a whole life policy and start building cash value. This not only aids in supporting your dependent but also helps in building savings. You may use the amount in whatever way you seem fit such as meeting your retirement goals, estate planning, down payment for a new home, or a cushion for emergency expenses.

  1. The benefit of additional coverage

Riders, also known as add-ons, provide additional coverage at an extra premium. These riders supplement your existing term plan and allow you to enjoy a customized cover, as per your needs and requirements. Some of the common term riders include critical illness rider, waiver of premium rider, accidental death rider, accidental disability rider, and income benefit rider, among others.

  1. Tax benefit

Term plans are an excellent instrument to lower your tax liability. The premium paid towards your plan is eligible for tax deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. You may enjoy a maximum deduction of up to INR 1.5 Lakh from your taxable income and save a significant amount of money.

A term cover has numerous benefits. It offers the much-needed protection for all your big plans in life. You may, therefore, purchase a term plan at the earliest and usurp the many benefits such a policy has to offer.