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Google Developers Launchpad Build Selects 11 Women Entrepreneurs

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The global search and tech giant Google has selected 11 startups for their Google Developers’ Launchpad Build mentorship program. These women led startups will be trained under their Launchpad Accelerator Program to achieve rapid progress in a short time. The Developers Launchpad Build event was hosted in Bengaluru and explored the challenges of being a startup leader. 

The digital world today is seeing a lot of women stepping out to pursue their dreams and ambitions. This program gives the selected women entrepreneurs a chance to build successful startups through focused, one on one mentorship from Google and other industry experts.

According to the Google Launchpad website, this edition plans to support women entrepreneurs from startups across various stages. Different expert areas including Product Strategy, UX/UI, Marketing with a special focus in Technology covering Android/Firebase, Web and Cloud were taken into consideration for this program.

This program will include leadership workshops driven by Google and was organized in collaboration with Google’s Women Techmakers Initiative and Google’s [email protected].

Here are the 11 entrepreneurs that will receive training from Google and industry experts.

1. Mishipay:
A new retail payments startup founded in 2015, Mishipay uses new technology that eliminates queuing from the point of sale. Their technology allows shoppers to pick up a product they wish to buy, scan the bar code with their phone, pay through their phone and simply walk out. The goal of this startup, cofounded by Mustafa Khanwala and Tanvi Bhardwaj is to reduce queue times and facilitate faster checkouts.

2. Guvi Geek Network:
Guvi Geek Network was initially started as a YouTube Channel with more than 400 technical videos in vernacular languages. It was incorporated as a startup in 2014, as an online tech skill accelerator in vernacular languages. This startup, incubated in Madras, seeks to help users acquire new skills in vernacular languages, sticking to their motto ‘Learn in your native language.’

3. Evibe Technologies
Evibe is an online platform for hassle free party planning service. They offer services ranging from private farm birthdays to themed wedding cakes and even offer drone proposals and chauffeured Audis. This Bengaluru based startup was founded in 2014 by B. Anjaneyulu Reddy and Swathi Bavanaka who aspire to touch millions of lives with their skill and expertise.

4. LetsEndorse
This Bengaluru based startup builds holistic ecosystems and acts as a digital market network dedicated to social development. Cofounded by Monika Shukla and Varun Kashyap, this venture enables intelligent knowledge harnessing of practicable social models and builds collaborations for co-creating and scaling up of solutions. The startup, backed by Social Alpha and incubated as part of NASSCOM 10 k Startups, brings together social change makers and mobilizes funds and resources through a mix of crowd funding.

5. Fundamentor
Fundamentor is a Bengaluru based edutech startup that uses methods which children enjoy to ensure effective cognitive aptitude development. Founded in 2014 by Bhargavi A.R., it is an innovative product that improves logical reasoning, Maths, English and creative thinking aptitude in children aged 8 to 15. The platform helps develop life skills to bridge the gap between academics and professional success. They claim to have more than 5000 subscribers and 16,000 parents and user community.

6. Talking Street
This startup, founded by Maheima Kapur is a ‘local foodie helpline’ which helps travelers and foodies experience and discover the most popular eateries that are frequented by the locals. Their content is created with the help of foodies in the city and so far have a presence in 24 cities.

7. Clinikk Healthcare
Founded by Bahvjot Kaur, Clinikk is a personalized health concierge for blue collar workers and their families. The startup provides a centralized, convenient, trustworthy and top notch quality healthcare experience ensured by an internal medical monitoring platform. This health assistant is the single point of contact for an entire subscribed family for any medical need.

8. CampusTime:
CampusTime helps universities and colleges set up private social networks that enable students to connect with everyone on the campus. This Bengaluru based startup founded by Amrutha Desai, helps students connect and get access to part time jobs and internships.

9. Omnify:
A new age scheduling and ecommerce platform for small businesses, Omnify was founded by Kabandi Saikia and Manik Mehta in 2016. It is a global Saas platform centered around helping businesses manage their schedules, sell omnichannel and improve engagement with their customers.

10. PlexusMD:
Online professional network exclusively for medical professionals and healthcare organizations, PlexusMD was founded by IIM alumni Rohan Desai and Binal Doshi along with Kinnar Shah. The startup helps doctors create their professional identity in the web, stay updated on the latest news and developments in their specialty, find and connect with other medical professionals. They claim to be India’s fastest growing online community of healthcare professionals with 75,000 doctors across 25 states and over 300 hospitals across 120 cities.

11. PregBuddy:
Week by week pregnancy tracker, PregBuddy is a comprehensive health monitoring and concierge platform for women around the world. Founded by Subhadeep Modal and Sivareena Sarika in 2016, it provides personalized care via health experts and doctors during the years of pre-conceiving to early years of motherhood.

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Amazon Opens Automated Grocery Store – Amazon Go

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Amazon.com Inc., the global ecommerce giant will launch the first of its kind supermarkets without checkouts, human or self service on Monday in Seattle. According to BBC, this revolutionary supermarket, Amazon Go, has been tested by Amazon staff for the past year.

Amazon Go store relies on cameras and sensors to track shoppers and maintain a list of what shoppers remove from the shelves and what they put back. Making cash registers and checkout lines superfluous, customers buying products from the Go store will be billed after leaving the store using credit cards on file.

A row of gates guards the entrance to the store and shoppers can only enter after they scan their Amazon Go app. The 1,800 square foot mini market is packed with shelves of food and will be open from 7 A.M. To 9 P.M. Monday to Friday. Speaking about the newest venture, the Vice President of Technology, Dilip Kumar said, “(the idea behind Amazon go is to) push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning and to create an effortless experience for customers.

According to Amazon, the technology used in the Amazon Go store is so accurate that the sensors can detect minute changes and distinguish between multiple people standing side by side at a shelf. The tracking is precise enough to detect which customer picked up a yogurt or a cupcake and track which customers are simply browsing. Technology website GeekWire reported, the system also knows when people pick up items and put them back in case customers simply wanted to read the label. While the company has remained tight lipped about the technology it’s using in its sensors and tracking devices, can see and identify every item in the store, without attaching a special chip to every item.

Amazon further added the technology will not replace employees but streamline the shopping process. Associates and employees will be put on different tasks including restocking shelves and helping customers troubleshoot any technical problems and help customers find items. According to people who have tested the store, Amazon sends an electronic receipt for purchases only a few minutes after walking out of the store. The Head of Amazon Go, Gianna Puerini, speaking about the technology said, “This technology didn’t exist, it was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning.” The company has already released official Amazon Go apps on iOS and Android and customers can use their existing Amazon credentials to log in to the Amazon Go app.

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WhatsApp Launches Business Application

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WhatsApp, the global messaging service launched its flagship WhatsApp Business App in America, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom, yesterday. However, the app is currently available only for Android devices and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

WhatsApp Business aims to enable better communication between businesses and their customers. Currently, a majority of WhatsApp’s 1 billion users base already use the app for their small businesses to connect with audiences and customers. According to the Facebook owned company, the Business app will be rolled out to businesses in the rest of the world in the coming weeks.

This standalone app will help businesses give their customers useful information such as business description, email or store addresses and website links. Along with the information, businesses will also be able to provide quick automated replies to frequently asked questions. The app will also have new features to send greeting messages that introduce customers to the business and away messages that let customers know if the executives are busy. Businesses using the app will also be able to check the statistics about messages that are read by the customers among other user metrics.

In order to separate the businesses from the customers, accounts will be identified as a business account and businesses will soon be able to have confirmed accounts when their account and business phone numbers match. The company also claims more than 80% of its small business users in Brazil and India say they find the WhatsApp messaging service helpful for communicating with their customers and grow their business.

At the same time, customers who already use the app to communicate with businesses won’t need to download the new application. WhatsApp said, “(Users will) continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam.” While the current app is free to use, WhatsApp is reportedly planning to offer some business tools as paid services in the future, according to Chief Operating Officer Matthew Idema.

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Karnataka To Fund Startups From Across The Country

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The Karnataka Government will fund startups from pan India by calling them to register in Karnataka. According to IT Minister of Karnataka, Priyank Kharge, entrepreneurs and startups across the country seeking funds can soon look up to the Karnataka government.

The IT Minister further added, “We want to take our startup policy to the national level this year. We will support startups from across the country provided they pay taxes here.” For this purpose, entrepreneurs registered in Karnataka under the Shops and Commercial Establishment Act, 1961 can apply for funds and other initiatives. The Minister, however, did not elaborate on when this new phase will kick off and whether more funds will be allocated.

The Karnataka government was one of the first governments in India to launch their startup policy in 2015 in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Startup India initiative. Since then, the government has set up several funds with a corpus of over Rs. 300 crores to back startups across different sectors such as biotechnology, tourism and animation. In accordance with their five year startup plan, the State Government is aiming to boost 20,000 technology based startups by 2020 in Karnataka and create 6 lakh direct and 12 lakh indirect new jobs in the sector. In 2017 alone, 250 startups received funding from the from the Government while 5000 startups were registered under the policy.

In October last year, the Karnataka government also invested Rs. 40 crores in the construction of a state of the art artificial intelligence (AI) and data science capabilities center. The Centre of Excellence for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence aims to help global companies create approximately 35,000 jobs over the next five years for data science and artificial intelligence professionals. In August, the State government also provided funding worth Rs. 35 crores to 100 innovative startups through its Elevate 100 program.

According to the data from research firm Tracxn, till date, Karnataka has funded 890 startups while Maharashtra funded 645 and Delhi NCR funded 419. Currently, 7909 startups were founded in Karnataka following Maharashtra with 8117 startups.

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