Helpchat opens its API for businesses

Helpchat, a personal assistant messenger app, today announced that it was opening up its platform for API integrations [technical integrations] to businesses. With this integration, businesses would be able to integrate directly into the Helpchat app and acquire and serve new users for their businesses.

Over the next few weeks, Helpchat will include transactional functionality from companies including Ola, OLX, Freshmenu, CommonFloor, RoadRunnr, Limetray, Mast Kalandar, RedBus, MyWash to integrate APIs into its personal assistant app. There are currently 25+ businesses in the integration waiting list.

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Ankur Singla, Helpchat, Founder and CEO

Our vision is to help users win their daily battle with tasks and make their lives easier. In order to build a one-stop horizontal platform, we will rely on curated partners to expose to our users.

Like a personal assistant, our job is to find for you the best solution for your task – be it ordering food or finding a local services provider. We help you choose from the different options out there and ensure that you get a good experience

Post integration, users would be able to call a cab, order laundry, or food directly within the Helpchat app and the fulfilment of the order would be done by the partners.

Sudarshan Gangrade, VP – Marketing, Ola said

This API integration with Helpchat will further strengthen our mission of building mobility for a billion Indians. Ola is committed to making available a range of personal transportation options within minutes, now also on the Helpchat app! We are excited about the possibilities of this partnership in the time to come.

Mohit Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, Roadrunnr said

At Roadrunnr we aim to provide merchants in India the capability to deliver orders rapidly and on-demand to customers in their locality by connecting them with a supply force using mobile technology. Our association with Helpchat will help the consumer in getting a personalized experience in hyper-local services.

Vishrut Chalsani, VP – Enterprise Solutions, Helpchat added

Our chat sessions are growing at a healthy rate, with a high transaction intent from users. The next logical step was to leverage our deep enterprise relationships to help businesses to build on top of this audience. I can foresee us partnering with more than 1000 businesses over the next 6 months.

About Helpchat

Helpchat [earlier called Akosha] launched it’s personal assistant chat app in January 2015 and raised Rs. 100 crores from Sequoia Capital in June 2015. It recently opened a Bangalore office to add more engineers and product people to its team. Be it anything, from recharging your phone to tech support, from travel booking to holiday guidance, from grocery to food ordering, from shopping assistance to finding deals & coupons, from finding gifts to suggesting the best electronic item, from doing a web check-in to getting your laundry done – Helpchat can get all of them done for you.

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Blippar launches Visual Browser for the Physical World

Blippar, the world’s largest image recognition & augmented reality platform, launched the first-ever proprietary mobile visual search. This re-launched version of the original Blippar app will change the way consumers interact with the physical world.

Opening the free Blippar app, users will be able to simply “look” at any object via the camera on their mobile devices to activate instantaneous digital search and draw information directly from the world around them.

Blippar_Logo

Blippar Founder and CEO Ambarish Mitra said

Blippar has already worked with thousands of the world’s largest brands and publishers to create engaging branded experiences that are triggered by objects, magazine pages, advertisements and more, “blipped” by millions of users around the world. It is the healthy appetite for this new behavior that has fueled the move into visual search.

The human imagination, curiosity and the quest for knowledge are all often limited by our capacity to define and assign language to describe and seek answers from the world around us. Today marks the beginning of a new era of search, where curious users will be able to visually search the world through the lens of the Blippar app.

The technology holds massive potential for enriching real world experiences and delivering genuine value to our users. The visual search is not replacing text-based search, it’s an alternate behavior which satisfies people’s spontaneous needs of instant object focused curiosity, therefore introducing the light web.

Blippar is launching this new capability by first making all English-language DVD covers and movie posters including some Bollywood movies, sports logos for the Indian Cricket League and other US and European sports league blippable.

When users’ blipp one of these items or images, they will instantaneously be presented with a range of contextual, snack-able information. For example, if they blipp an movie poster they may be presented with access to the trailer of the movie, details on what people are saying about it on Twitter or more information about the cast.

This is just the first step in Blippar’s ambitious mission to make the entire physical world visually searchable via mobile devices and wearables. In the future, Blippar will add to its growing catalogue of blippable objects in stages with the ultimate aim of making everything blippable – from an apple, to a chocolate bar, to a dog on the street, to the Eiffel Tower and beyond.

Web-based search as it exists today has dominated the digital experience, both online and mobile. From inputting keywords to digging through pages of links to access information, this governing search behavior is limited by vocabulary and literacy. Blippar’s image recognition capabilities will extend beyond the confines of language to empower consumers to instantaneously pull timely, relevant information directly from the environment around them.

Blippar’s proprietary search engine is net neutral. Blippar users will be served the highest quality and most accurate sources of information within the app, displayed on a fluid user interface that uses design and color input directly from the blipped item itself. The speed and accuracy of the Blippar platform allows users to blipp and access information faster than traditional web search, with no delay in latency. Further, Blippar’s location-based predictive computing uses deep learning and artificial intelligence to refine and personalize its visual search results for each user.

Blippar will continue to work closely with brands and agencies to bring products to life through engaging interactive experiences. The updated Blippar app is available for download on iOS and will soon be available on Android.

About Blippar

Blippar is the world’s fastest growing image recognition and augmented reality app. Utilizing proprietary, best-in-class image technologies, Blippar enables users to instantaneously pull interactive, informative digital content directly from the environment around them, their favorite publications, brands and objects via their iOS, Android or Windows devices. Since launching in the UK in 2011, Blippar has expanded rapidly, partnering with some of the biggest and most exciting media owners and brands in the world — including TIME Inc., Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Heinz, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Anheuser Busch, and Jaguar. To learn more, visit blippar.com

[Image Credit* – BusinessWire]

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Infographic : Data on how Smartphones driving Enterprise Mobility in India

The India enterprise mobility market is expected to grow from US$ 1.7 billion in 2015 to US$ 2.3 billion in 2017. This radical growth is due to the explosion of smartphone users in India and the time they spend on the internet.

Below is an info-graphic with some interesting data points on smartphone usage in India, what it means for leading e-commerce players, as well as smartphone vendor share in the country.

Infographic_Smart_Mobility_1
[Credit : VMware]

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EBS helps you start your online business in 24 hours flat !!

E-Billing Solutions Pvt. Ltd [EBS], a leading pan-India online payment gateway, now offers the ‘Go Live in 24 hours’promise to merchants who wish to set up online business.

Startups are always on the lookout for an appropriate payment gateway partner to start accepting online payments for their venture with a minimum lead-time. With EBS’ promise of ‘Go Live in 24 hours’, it has not only simplified the payment integration processes, but also ensured that startups do not lose out on business opportunities due to unnecessary delays.

EBS

EBS makes life simpler and easier for new merchants in the highly competitive market by actually delivering on its promise. EBS is able to activate payment gateway solutions within 24 hours by merely optimizing its internal workflows and cutting through the red tapes. At the same time, EBS also ensures that all legal and compliance are being addressed appropriately.

Speaking on the need to stand true to its word when it comes to enabling ‘Go Live in 24 hours’, Bhavin Mody, Director, E-Billing Solutions Pvt. Ltd, said

We understand the urgency and the importance of the merchants looking for payment gateways to kick start their venture. Delays in initiating these services postpone their business plans and this can also impact their crucial business milestones. In view of this, we have put in place this valuable offering to help new businesses take off on time.

The merchants can choose from various pricing plans offered by EBS viz. Economy for 4,799; Starter for 9,599; Standard for 15,999 and Premium for 23,999 for merchants purchasing these plans on www.ebs.in

EBS is continuously expanding its network to successfully cater to the ever increasing tech savvy population. It offers the widest range of payment options currently available in India and innumerable intuitive products to enable seamless transaction experience for end consumers.

About EBS

E-Billing Solutions (EBS) established in the year 2005 is head quartered in Mumbai. It pioneers in providing a technical interface/ platform between merchants and banks by providing software that connects a merchant’s website to multiple participating banks. It facilitates online purchases from a merchant’s website and helps them to collect payment from the end customers through net banking, credit and debit cards.

EBS is PCI DSS 3.0 Standards of Compliant & ISO 27001- 2013 standard certified. This achievement makes EBS one of the most secured online service providers in the world. EBS is a fully own subsidiary of Ingenico group. For more information please visit EBS

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Android Threat Report : MediaServer takes another Hit with Latest Android Vulnerability

The “hits” keep on coming for Android’s mediaserver component. Trend Micro discovered yet another Android mediaserver vulnerability, which can be exploited to perform attacks involving arbitrary code execution. With this new vulnerability, an attacker would be able to run their code with the same permissions that the mediaserver program already has as part of its normal routines.

This vulnerability has been designated as CVE-2015-3842. While it affects Android versions 2.3 to 5.1.1, Google has fixed and published details this vulnerability via the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Currently, there are no known active attacks against this vulnerability.

trend-micro-logo

This discovery closely follows three other major vulnerabilities in Android’s mediaserver component that surfaced recently. CVE-2015-3823 may allow attackers to trap phones in endless reboots, ANDROID-21296336 may render devices silent, while CVE-2015-3824 [Stagefright], can be used to install malware through a multimedia message.

How it works

The vulnerability involves AudioEffect, a component of the mediaserver program. It uses an unchecked variable which comes from the client, which is usually an app. For an attack to begin, attackers convince the victim to install an app that doesn’t require any required permissions, giving them a false sense of security.

Possible threat scenarios

This attack can be fully controlled, which means a malicious app can decide when to start the attack and also when to stop. An attacker would be able to run their code with the same permissions that mediaserver already has as part of its normal routines.

Since the mediaserver component deals with a lot of media-related tasks including taking pictures, reading MP4 files, and recording videos, the privacy of the victim may be at risk. Devices with customized versions of Android but with no modification made to the mediaserver component are also affected.

A dilemma users may face is that it will be difficult for them to locate the cause once an attack occurs. In our demo, we simply triggered the attack by running an app; this is convenient and intuitive for disclosure. While attacks can be triggered by apps alone, real-world attacks won’t involve apps that are easy to detect.

The malicious app will try as much as possible to appear legitimate and use dynamic load technology to remain undetected while triggering the attack several days/months later, either persistently or intermittently, similar to other malware.

Solutions

End users can block this threat from the onset by downloading Trend Micro Mobile Security (TMMS), which can detect threats trying to use this vulnerability and running any of the scenarios presented. Android users can also reboot their device using safe mode to un-install the malicious app.

However, this method might prove difficult, especially for those unaccustomed to tinkering with their devices. We also recommend that device manufacturers patch their devices regularly to prevent their users from suffering from attacks that use this vulnerability.

About Trend Micro

Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in security software, strives to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Built on 26 years of experience, our solutions for consumers, businesses and governments provide layered data security to protect information on mobile devices, endpoints, gateways, servers and the cloud. Trend Micro enables the smart protection of information, with innovative security technology that is simple to deploy and manage, and fits an evolving ecosystem. For more information, visit TrendMicro

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Visual blogging platform Bluegape raises USD 600,000 from ah! ventures, Times Internet and Rudy Gopalakrishnan of Fidelity

Gurgaon based Visual Blogging Platform Bluegape has raised USD 600,000 from ah! Ventures, Rudy Gopalakrishnan of Fidelity & Times Internet. Barclays Capital India has been advising Bluegape & helping in getting connected with right investors. The deal has been closed on ah! Ventures’ equity investment platform, CLUBah Bluegape had earlier raised USD 184,000 in April 2015 from Rudy Gopalakrishnan & ah! Ventures. Bluegape is backed by TLabs and has received a total funding of USD 500,000 [excluding the recent round] till date.

Long form of content is dying in this mobile era where users have a very short attention span. Bluegape is giving users a platform to create and consume content in a visual format. Currently Bluegape has over 15 Million+ unique visitors every month and around 100,000+ posts are getting created on the platform every month.

bluegape-team

Sahil Baghla, Co-Founder & CEO, Bluegape said

Our vision is to make communication of ideas and knowledge very easy. On Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat we are connected to our close group of friends and they are like your private social identity. Bluegape, on the other hand will be your public social identity which is about self-expression with the world. Bluegape will be A Social Profile You Can Be Proud Of.

The startup was founded in August 2011 by Sahil BaghlaAyush Varshney [Company has pivoted from Merchandise Business to Visual Blogging Platform in January 2015]. Both the founders are IIT-Kanpur alumni.

Ayush Varshney, Co-Founder & CTO added

We will use the money on technology and for expanding our engineering team. The existing investors have lead the round which is a very good sign that we are on the right track.

People are doing amazing stuff at Bluegape like their niche fashion blog, on feminism, on celebrity fan-clubs or Individual bloggers

Abhijeet Kumar, Co-founder of ah! ventures said

In today’s inter-connected, plugged-in world, nothing is more fast-paced than technology. It constantly evolves to meet our ever-increasing need to stay connected. Technology has enabled the world to shrink into a global village where everybody is connected to one another through one platform or the other. Bluegape is a social media disruptor, it’s the black swan. Sahil and Ayush have created the future of social media.

Within a short span, Bluegape has seen traction of over 15 unique million visitors each month and growing, which is the proof of the platform and reflects the dedication of the team in delivering a world class product out of India. CLUB ah! is proud to be associated with Bluegape in its quest to success.

CLUB ah!, an angel network of over 450 investors, including some of the renowned angels and early stage VCs represent the maturity of Indian early stage investment ecosystem. Started in 2012, the CLUB ah! platform boasts of over 2000+ startups, 450+ seed/angel investors and over 60 VC’s & institutional investors. It also has an impact investment network and a mentor network to assist startups in their growth and expansion. Till date CLUB ah! has invested close to USD 6 Million across 15 startups including Bluegape.

Talking about the transaction, Harshad Lahoti, Founder & CEO, ah! ventures said

Some may wonder whether the valuations for some of these new tech companies are exaggerated, but, exaggerated or not, they are reinventing some of the most basic structures of human interaction and for those looking for the next Facebook or LinkedIn, Bluegape is the answer. Social media platforms have a cyclic process, you have to be constantly innovating to stay relevant to the audience.

Bluegape by all virtue is very innovative in its approach and will soon become the new normal. Visual blogging is a new concept and by the traction that we see on the portal, we believe this will be the next big social interactive platform. The Bluegape team has a clear vision to disrupt the existing social interaction landscape. For an investor, the pedigree of the team and idea are critical. In Bluegape, investors can find disruptive growth and a team committed to deliver.

ah! Ventures is in the final stages of closing 2 more deals in the coming weeks.

About Bluegape

Bluegape is world’s first visual blogging platform. The biggest promise of internet was democratization of ideas and knowledge. Everyone has some knowledge or learning to give back. Visual Blogging is a great way to express yourself in this fast moving world of short attention span.

About ah! ventures

ah! Ventures is a startup focused growth catalyst that brings together promising businesses and investors by creating wealth creation opportunities for both. ah!’s unique model serves investors, entrepreneurs and enablers through a unique blend of customized services, skill and industry & domain experience.

About CLUB ah!

CLUB ah! is India’s first full-spectrum startup investment network and platform comprising of over 500 investors, including some of the renowned angels and early-stage VC’s which represent the maturity of Indian early-stage ecosystem. Setup in 2012, the CLUB ah! Platform today has over 2500+ startups, 450+ seed/angel investors and over 60 VC’s & institutional investors. CLUB ah! has till date invested close to INR 36 crores in over 15 startups spread across varied industries and domains.

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InfoTrack Telematics partners with Myanmar’s Hello cabs for secured taxi services in Yangon, Myanmar

InfoTrack Telematics, one of the globally leading suppliers of taxi dispatch, GPS tracking & fleet management solutions tied up with Hello cabs, Myanmar’s only radio taxi service. As part of this partnership, InfoTrack will be offering end to end state of technology for Hello Cabs rider and the driver.

HelloCabs_Logo

The booking confirmation, text message will be sent to passengers once they book cab. InfoTrack Telematics is also expanding partnership with Hello cab where the passengers would soon be able to use InfoTracks app to share their location and provide live journey tracking to their friends & family.

With this app, Hello Cab’s passengers can immediately share their location with their choice of contact as soon as they enter the cab. And as they travel, the riders can be tracked by their near and dear ones of their choice.

Mr. C.K. Ramakant, Managing Director, InfoTrack Telematics. said

We are pleased to be building our international presence and also delighted to successfully deploy end to end solutions which includes InfoTrack’s InfoDispatch and GPS monitoring to support Hello Cab’s taxi business and taxi aggregation business. With InfoTrack’s end to end solutions and mobile apps, hello cab’s riders will have totally new experience in the city of Yangon, Myanmar.

Speaking about the partnership, Says Mr. Aung Win, Founder Hello Cabs said

We are delighted to provide first radio taxi services in the city of Yangon, Myanmar partnering with InfoTrack Telematics, one of India’s leading suppliers of GPS dispatch and tracking. InfoTrack’s app will help our drivers and riders with two flow information. Safety of our passengers is our priority and InfoTrack’s GPS technology and its app will help us to provide safety to our passengers.

About InfoTrack Telematics

InfoTrack Telematics is one of the globally leading suppliers of taxi dispatch, GPS tracking and fleet management solutions with offices in India, Singapore and partners in Malaysia, Indonesia and Middle East. InfoTrack Telematics is a joint venture between Infotrack Telematics Pte Ltd, Singapore and ZENRIN Datacom Ltd., Japan. InfoTrack Telematics provides customizable software with a variety of choices for hardware as well as editions for meeting industry or region specific requirements. Mobile Edition is for Android, SE Asia Edition for specific geographic needs, and Professional Edition for advanced management tools.

About Hello Cabs

Hello cabs started in the year 2015 is the first radio taxi in Myanmar, a taxi in two-way radio communication with a dispatcher, who sends it directly to persons who phone in for a taxi.

[Image Credit* – Hello Cabs]

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ah! Ventures, Intellecap Impact Investment Network & Rianta Capital invest Rs. 10 Million in waste management startup Sampurn(e)arth

Intellecap Impact Investment Network [I3N], Rianta Capital along with ah! Ventures have invested Rs. 10 Million in waste management startup Sampurn(e)arth. Co-founded by Debartha Banerjee, Jayanth Nataraju, & Ritvik Rao, Sampurn(e)arth provides end-to-end decentralized and customized waste management solutions such as  dry waste collection and processing, bio-gas plant installation, composting, O&M and consulting services.

SampurnEarth

It works closely with the non-profit waste picker organization Stree Mukti Sanghatana and actively incorporates waste pickers into the process, thereby up-skilling them and increasing incomes. Its clientele includes municipal bodies, corporate parks educational campuses and residential units.

Sharing the statistics on the scale of the problem in the waste management segment, Co-founder Jayanth Nataraju said

In Mumbai alone, about 10,000 tonnes of waste is generated daily, so there is a huge opportunity for intervention. With initiation of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, there is an increased interest in our solutions and we are seeing tremendous support from stakeholders across the value chain. We are confident that with the guidance of investors on scaling the business, we will be able to move the needle on this vast challenge.

Talking about the investment, Ajay Dalmia, I3N, said

The current method of dumping waste into landfills leads to several environmental and societal problems. This practice adversely affects the health of people and also fails to recognize the inherent value in the waste. Sampurn(e)arth is bringing in an effective decentralized asset light business model that is environmentally sustainable, generates employment and is profitable. This is an execution intensive model and we have full faith in the promoters’ passion for the cause and ability to deliver.

Sidharth Pansari, Angel Investor & Director, Primarc Projects added

It is our responsibility to give our environment and the people living around us, a more sustainable future than we have today. By investing in Sampurn(e)arth we are directly contributing in creating a positive impact on the environment, coming up with innovative ways in which one can turn waste into re-usable resources and renewable energy. Primarc Group’s real estate projects have been developed with environment friendly features like rain water harvesting, sewage treatment plant, Solar hot water, fly ash bricks and organic water treatment. We should put our knowledge and experience to come up with new sustainable solutions for the greater benefit of the planet by creating better disposal options and safer treatment of waste.

Harshad Lahoti, Founder & CEO, ah! Ventures. said

ah! Impact, the platform through with the investment in Sampurn(e)arth was made, validates our commitment and foresight towards social investing in India, also the large number of our investors, which are mostly first time investors have shown great interest in investing in social enterprises with high potential and measurable social or environmental impact. ah! Impact recently reinvested in Ketto, a crowdfunding platform for social, personal and creative projects.

ah! Impact also recently reinvested in Ketto, a crowdfunding platform for social, personal and creative projects.

About Sampurn(e)arth

Sampurn(e)arth Environment Solutions Pvt. Ltd provides wet and dry waste management solutions for corporates, residential societies and construction companies. A TISS [Tata Institute of Social Science] incubator project, Sampurn(e)arth was launched in 2012 with an objective of making solid waste management efficient, decentralized and even profitable. Sampurn(e)arth works on the principle that transporting waste to the city’s dumping grounds is inefficient and expensive and also hazardous. It encourages on-site segregation, wherever possible. It also sets up on-site bio-gas or composting facilities for wet waste, while non- biodegradable waste is transported directly to recycling units. This leaves only a small amount of dry waste to be transported to the dumping grounds.

About ah! Ventures

ah! Ventures is a startup focused growth catalyst that brings together promising businesses and investors by creating wealth creation opportunities for both. ah!’s unique model serves investors, entrepreneurs and enablers through a unique blend of customized services, skill, and industry & domain experience.

Founded in 2010, ah! Ventures has systematically disrupted India’s early stage funding ecosystem through its innovative approach toward startup investing. First of its kind initiatives like the CLUB ah! network & platform, ah! Angels (India’s largest angel network), ah! Seeders and ah! VC networks (India’s first seed & VC investment networks respectively), have brought together and integrated the otherwise previously segregated startup funding lifecycle, under one roof. This, coupled with ah! Impact network, an impact investment network for investing in social enterprises and ah! Mentors network, a mentor network to assist startups in their growth and expansion, has today made ah! Ventures not just one of India’s most respected change leaders, but also a formidable industry force to recon with.

About I3N

Intellecap Impact Investment Network (I3N or I-cube-N) is a global network of impact investors, both individuals and institutions who come together to co-invest in impact enterprises across India and East Africa. It’s aim is to plug the pre-VC funding gap early stage enterprises face by mobilizing domestic capital and connecting international investors to domestic investors. Investors come together to support brilliant and passionate entrepreneurs who are dedicated to solving difficult problems at the bottom of the pyramid.

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About the author

Hey, Welcome to Himanshu's blog. Himanshu is a engineer, blogger, startupper & an aspiring entrepreneur from Bangalore, India. To know more about him, please visit this page.

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