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Major Controversies In The Startup World In 2018



At a time when fake news is considered to be real news and when people are  pointing out flaws in every aspect, it comes as no surprise that controversies and scam haven’t spared even the startup world! While this year saw major acquisitions and mishaps, it also saw controversies of a different kind. Here’s our yearly wrap up of what happened in the controversial world of 2018!

1. Everything about the Walmart and Flipkart deal 

Even before the Walmart takeover, Flipkart was already doing really well. From securing $ 5 billion through multiple investments in 2017, to doing really well in different investment series in a given time, Flipkart’s market position was quite strong at the time. While Sachin Bansal stepping down as CEO was written in the cards from the very beginning, Binny Bansal’s exit came as a result of an issue which took place over 2 years. Binny Bansal, the ex CEO of Flipkart, was being blackmailed by a co worker he was involved with and the only way he saw fit to resolve the problem was by stepping away from the company. To make matters interesting, prior to the takeover by Walmart, the Flipkart CEOs were also accused of evading tax!

2. The Paytm Data Leak Controversy 

Ranked number two on the list of the most successful startups in India, Paytm has been embroiled in its fair share of controversies. Primarily formed as a digital payments company, Paytm grew by 10 times since the day it was founded to where it is today. However, despite being one of the first Indian startups to secure an investment from Berkshire Hathaway, Paytm stayed on the headlines for being involved in multiple controversies. The first major issue was Vijay Shekhar Sharma admitting on video he had shared data with the Prime Minister of India without obtaining consent from the users. While this issue cleared in due time, another one promptly popped up. Paytm again hit the headlines because of the data extortion case levied against the Vice President of Corporate Communications, Paytm, Sonia Dhawan, her husband Roopak Jain, another Paytm employee, Devendra Kumar and his friend, Rohit Chomal. The four of them were accused of creating a plan to extort $1.4 million from Vijay, threatening to release the “personal data” in public otherwise. A typical case of jumping from the frying pan into the fire, right? Three of the four accused are still in jail and are waiting for their case to be heard.

3. The Huawei controversy 

Over the last few years, Huawei has been trying to expand all over the United States. However, in the beginning of 2018, a lot of almost sure deals started falling through, citing international political concerns as a major issue. Initially expected to sign major deals with major telecommunication companies like Verizon, Wireless and AT&T, the deals fell through without a  warning of any kind. The reasons are attributed to Huawei’s alleged ties with the Chinese Government, which a lot of people saw as a threat, especially in the United States.

4. The Apple affair 

Despite being all about introducing a series of new phones in this last year, Apple was involved in quite a heated controversy. Recently, Apple was in the headlines not for the phones released by the company, but for the fact that Apple was accused of “throttling.” Simply defined, throttling is defined as a process wherein the makers slow down the performance of older iPhones to save the phones’ battery life. Although Apple CEO Tim Cook came forward with a public statement saying they should have been more forward and transparent about the practice, the response was considered to be less than satisfactory. Furthermore, one of the major reasons throttling was a concern was the indirect push it gave people to constantly upgrade to new iPhones. The status of this issue now is, two federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Services, are investing the case.

5. The Xerox and Fujifilm Holdings deal 

Early in the year (on January 31, 2018, to be precise,) Xerox agreed to enter a merger with Fujifilm Holdings wherein Fujifilm would have a major stake in Xerox. Furthermore, the deal was expected to touch the $ 18 billion mark in the printer industry. However, the deal quickly turned sour with all the fights and quarrels that took place over the deal. Finally, after a long drawn out battle, the reinstated board of Xerox backed off from the deal. Now, Fujifilm is filing a lawsuit of $ 1 billion against Xerox, saying they were facing major damages with regards to the breach of contract!

The year 2018 certainly was interesting, especially when related to all the controversies in the startup world. If you think we missed out on any other issues such as these, comment and let us know!


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Artificial Intelligence And How Its Being Used In Education



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From sensors which are enabled with artificial intelligence (AI) to enabling automatic car parking facilities and to turning ordinary homes into smart homes, AI has penetrated into literally every major field possible. It comes as no surprise AI is used in the education field as well. Here is how AI is making the education sector a better and smarter place:

1. Automating grading

While grading in school is a simple process, grading for college level students can be quite an arduous task. Although AI doesn’t do everything a human being can when it comes to grading, AI is still reducing the amount of effort which goes into this process. EdX, a startup created as a joint collaboration between MIT and Harvard, is making this feat possible. As of today, 11 universities are working toward developing the AI based technology, which replicates humanised grading. Once the software is perfected, the reduction in the amount of time spent grading papers will help teachers focus on more important things.

2. Tailor made learning  

One of the major benefits of AI being involved in education is right from kindergarten to graduate school, AI helps in increasing the amount of attention students receive. Just like OTT platforms streamlining content to suit the users’ needs, the education field is using AI to curate content based on what suits the students. By doing so, AI is helping the education system work toward helping students at all levels of intellect grow.

3. Smart content

One of the things which is working really well in the education field is the addition of smart content. With robots being able to create content which is just as grammatically correct as when humans write it, smart content is the most sought after field right now. AI is being used to create simplified content, flash cards and learning systems which help students understand the material better. Not a new concept, companies like Cram101 are using AI to condense the material into a digestible study guide and comes with study cards, questionnaires and flash cards. Already a hot favourite, this platform has improved the way students learn.

4. Virtual lectures

With AI playing such a huge role in the education field, virtual lectures are becoming more and more common everyday. In fact, virtual lectures could very soon replace actual classroom lectures. Universities like the University of Southern California (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies is already developing an AI enabled 3D gaming and animation software to create social interactions through the virtual world. AI is being used so much, augmented reality is expected to soon become a part of the classroom as well!

5. Chat Campus

More often than not, finding all the answers to your questions when in university can be quite a tricky thing. To make this a simple task, the development of the Chat Campus at the University of Deakin in Victoria is in progress. Powered by IBM’s supercomputer system, Watson, this AI enabled chat bot can answer every question college going students have. From questions about class timings, to questions about assignments, this chatbot can provide every bit of information! With a development like this, AI is quite literally simplifying the life of a student on campus.

AI is being used to improve the lives of students in leaps and bounds. If you think we missed out on any other benefits which AI has in education, comment and let us know!

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Emerging Startup Stories

WhistleDrive Think. Whistle. Move.



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The world is no stranger to AI driven applications. Almost every other piece of technology features AI as a part of their specifications. From smartphone features to taking interviews, the field of technology has grown exponentially using AI applications. Almost everywhere in this busy world of technology, companies are striving to reach the top of the food chain and it is amazing to see how much of this world is left to be conquered.

From this crowd of companies exploiting AI, stands out a transportation technology company known as WhistleDrive, which offers a wide range of services including AI driven, location based applications. Founded by Rakesh Munnanooru in 2015, the Company concentrates on being a part of the location based services family. Based out of Hyderabad, WhistleDrive built a very strong infrastructure, which pilots 27 major companies and provides services to over 12,000 employees every day. To understand the environment of the business, the market and to provide custom solutions is the hallmark of this Company. WhistleDrive was able to raise a Series A funding of Rs. 5 crores from Colosseum Group in April 2018.

Rakesh Munnanooru, Founder.

WhistleDrive provides automated employee transportation solution, supported by AI driven analytics and equipped with best in class location tracking. WhistleDrive has proven itself to be a customer and employee centric company. This is what sets WhistleDrive apart in the marketplace. With technology on one side, the Company concentrates a lot on its connection with its customers and employees. It would be the first company in India to introduce blockchain technology to employee transportation, which can ensure huge transparency in terms of data. By using blockchain for data authentication, the entire network involved in the transportation process can contribute and validate data is difficult to tamper. This is a huge initiative and will add a lot to the trust the customers have towards the Company.

Masked employee details, pick up location and live tracking.

WhistleDrive did not stop at delivering authentic and transparent data. They are also working on predictive AI. Though it’s not functional yet, it promises to eradicate a major part of logistical disadvantages. This AI function would analyze real time data like weather conditions and traffic,  alert the respective teams, driving partners and customers about any changes in the schedule or delays of any sort. Security of the customers is a subject of high priority for WhisteDrive. With regard to this, the Company provides special features like number masking and SOS alerts, which adds to how safe and secure it is to travel using their vehicles and driver. Apart from that, the live tracking dashboard used by WhistleDrive provides an eagle eye real time location view of all the cabs. Expanding to cities like Bangalore and Chennai, WhistleDrive operates over 700 vehicles, providing services to MNCs like ADP, Invesco, L&T and many more.

Employee live tracking.

WhistleDrive also brings an option to hire a driver to drive you around in your own car. This is one of the services that has a lot of potential in its respective market. The Company tied up with numerous pubs where people would be delighted to have someone drive them home in their own car after a party. WhistleDrive has served close to 15,000 customers with their “Driver on Demand” services.

Pick up details.
Employees of WhistleDrive along with founder,
Rakesh Munnanooru.

With WhistleDrive constantly expanding in the field of AI driven technologies, there is no end to exploration. The reach of technology is higher than we can ever anticipate and this is the beauty of such developments. WhistleDrive, along with concentrating on geographical or technological expansions, also looks to use its experience in solving inefficiencies in intra city logistics, particularly in e commerce and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) channels.

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OnePlus 7 Pro – Everything You Need To Know



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OnePlus is going to launch not one, but three new phones under its flagship this year. While the OnePlus 7 is expected to be one of the new phones launched, it is not going to be the endgame. The phone Company is also going to launch the OnePlus 7 Pro, a phone loaded with features. Before OnePlus makes an official announcement about the launch date on the 23rd of April, here is taking a look at what to expect from the OnePlus 7 Pro:

1. A dual curved screen


The OnePlus 7 Pro is rumoured to come with a dual curved screen, a feature which no other OnePlus phone has so far. While the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Huawei P30 Pro have a similar design, this new OnePlus 7 Pro is likely to offer a better screen to body ratio. Furthermore, the OnePlus 7 Pro will also get rid of the notch in the front and is going to come with a pop up selfie camera module.

2. The battery life


The OnePlus 7 Pro is going to come with a battery life of 4,000 mAh and 30W Warp Charging Support. However, while the charging speed is going to be faster than before, the OnePlus 7 Pro will not come with wireless charging support. Other smartphone companies are providing this feature and the fact OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t come with this feature may be a slightly negative factor.

3. Display (Include the display specifications)

The Verge

The OnePlus 7 Pro is going to come with a display which was not seen in other OnePlus phones. With a 6.7 inch display, the new OnePlus comes with Quad HD+ resolution of 3120 x 1440 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. Furthermore, the new phone will come with an embedded fingerprint sensor. With 90Hz, the new screen is going to make the new phone super smooth and very crisp. The high refresh rate will be a blessing for those who love playing games on their phones. From switching between screens to swiping through applications, every feature is smoother and faster on the OnePlus 7 Pro.

4. 5G Network


The OnePlus 7 Pro is going to be the first in the OnePlus series to be compatible with the 5G network. Apart from this, the OnePlus 7 Pro is also going to be equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 8GB RAM. While the Company hasn’t made a lot of noise about OnePlus 7 Pro and the 5G network, this feature makes waiting for the phone all the more harder.

5. Price and availability


Because of all the features and the amount of money invested into the OnePlus 7 Pro screen, rumours are, the new OnePlus phone is going to be extremely expensive. While the OnePlus 7 Pro may be priced at a higher rate than its previous phones, it is still not as highly priced as the latest Samsung or Huawei phones.
With the launch date being announced this evening, the wait for this new phone gets harder. If you think we missed out any other specifications or features, comment and let us know!

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