India Funding Roundup: A Matchmaking Startup, a Marketplace for Used Vehicles, and More

India Funding Roundup: A Matchmaking Startup, a Marketplace for Used Vehicles, and More

It was a massive week in terms of funding activity for the Indian startup ecosystem, with many startups securing seed funding rounds. Apart from food delivery, education and healthcare startups, crowdfunding and hybrid vehicle technology startups saw funding rounds come their way.

JustDoc
​Healthtech startup JustDoc has secured an undisclosed sum in seed funding from TracxnLabs, as well as angels such as Mohandas Pai, Mohit Saxena, Co-Founder, InMobi, Raghunandan G, Co-Founder, TaxiForSure, Singapore Angel Network, and others. JustDoc enables patients to do video consultations with doctors via its website and mobile apps, and said that it has completed 2,500 consultations so far. The startup is targeting five specialisations currently – general medicine, psychology, gynaecology, dermatology and paediatrics. JustDoc also provides 24/7 access to over a 100 quality doctors from top hospitals, and is now in the process of partnering with several top government and private hospitals, the company said in an emailed statement.

Bitgiving
Crowdfunding platform Bitgiving has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from angel investors Harminder Sahni, Krishna Mehra, and Sanjay Bakshi, among others. The New Delhi-based startup helps individuals and organisations raise funds for entrepreneurial, creative and social projects, and will use the funds to scale up the team, enhancing the product and marketing. Founder and CEO Ishita Anand said in an emailed statement that the company plans to launch BitGiving 2.0, which will redefine community-driven crowdfunding.

Aisle
Bengaluru-based matchmaking startup Aisle has raised Rs. 1.25 crores in its pre-series A round from TermSheet and ah! Ventures. The round was led by Anand Vijay, a Bay Area-based angel investor onTermSheet.io and jointly advised and syndicated with ah! Ventures, with participation from Snapdeal Chief Product Officer Anand Chandrasekaran, as well as Mekin Maheshwari, Akshay Syal, Richard Kim, Jana Pokkalla, and Manish Gautam. Founded in 2014 by Able Joseph, the platform gets 500-800 registrations per day from over 50 countries activated, with over 25 percent of the registered base ‘connected’ on the platform, the company said in an emailed statement.

Altigreen
Jupiter Capital has invested $2 million (roughly Rs. 13 crores) in Altigreen Propulsion Labs, a niche startup providing technology-enabled solutions for electric and hybrid powertrains. Jupiter Capital is looking to invest in game-changing technology ventures focused on Make in India, Design in India, and Smart City, the company said in a statement. Altigreen is engaged in research, design and development of proprietary hybrid vehicle technology for the Indian market. Altigreen has four co-founders and is supported by a strong engineering team and an advisory panel of cross-domain industry experts.

Truebil
Mumbai-based Truebil, an online marketplace for used vehicles, has reportedly raised $5.15 million (roughly Rs. 35 crores) in Series A funding from Kalaari Capital, Inventus Capital, Tekton Ventures, and existing investor Kae Capital. Founded in March 2015 by former Housing.com employees, the startup plans to use the funds to expand operations into other metro cities.

FindUrClass
FindUrClass, a search and discovery platform for class seekers, has reportedly raised a fresh round of funding from members of VentureNursery. Launched in March 2015, the startup reportedly lists over 20,000 classes in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru, and plans to expand to other metro cities.

Tinmen
Hyderabad-based food delivery startup, TinMen, has reportedly raised an undisclosed amount in an angel funding round from Lead Angel Network. Founded in August 2015, the startup reportedly delivers over 8,000 lunches to professionals every month, with a scheduler built into its app that’s available for Android and iOS.

DesignBids
DesignBids, a marketplace for interior design services, has reportedly raised its maiden round of funding from the Indian Angel Network. Currently operational in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai, the three-month-old startup will use the funds to expand into major metros and increase its headcount.

WiZN Systems
Bengaluru-based WiZN Systems, a maker of home automation solutions, has reportedly raised an undisclosed angel round led by Taiwan’s Foxconn and angel investors.

[“source-gadgets”]

China Just Released True Color HD Photos Of The Moon

This month, the China National Space Administration released all of the images from their recent moon landing to the public. There are now hundreds and hundreds of never-before-seen true color, high definition photos of the lunar surface available for download.

Yutu Rover / Image Courtesy of Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration / The Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration / Emily Lakdawalla

Yutu Rover / Image Courtesy of Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration / The Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration / Emily Lakdawalla

The images were taken a few years ago by cameras on the Chang’e 3 lander and Yutu rover. In December of 2013, China joined the ranks of Russia and the United States when they successfully soft-landed on the lunar surface, becoming the third country ever to accomplish this feat.

What made China’s mission especially remarkable was that it was the first soft-landing on the moon in 37 years, since the Russians landed their Luna 24 probe back in 1976.

Today, anyone can create a user account on China’s Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration website to download the pictures themselves. The process is a bit cumbersome and the connection to the website is spotty if you’re accessing it outside of China.

Luckily, Emily Lakdawalla from the Planetary Society spent the last week navigating the Chinese database and is currently hosting a suite of China’s lunar images on the Planetary Society Website.

Yutu rover tracks / Image courtesy of Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration / The Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration / Emily Lakdawalla

Yutu rover tracks / Image courtesy of Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration / The Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration / Emily Lakdawalla

Lunar surface / Image courtesy of Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration / The Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration / Emily Lakdawalla

Lunar surface / Image courtesy of Chinese Academy of Sciences / China National Space Administration / The Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration / Emily Lakdawalla

Chang’e 3, named after the goddess of the Moon in Chinese mythology, was a follow-up mission to Chang’e 1 and Chang’e 2 which were both lunar orbiters. The objective of the Chang’e 3 mission was to demonstrate the key technologies required for a soft moon landing and rover exploration. The mission was also equipped with a telescope and instruments to perform geologic analysis of the lunar surface.

Chang'e 3 lunar landing location / Image courtesy of NASA

Chang’e 3 lunar landing location / Image courtesy of NASA

Once the 1,200 kg Chang’e lander reached the surface at a location known as Mare Imbrium, it deployed the 140 kg Yutu rover, whose name translates to “Jade Rabbit.” The Yutu rover was equipped with 6 wheels, a radar instrument, and x-ray, visible and near-infrared spectrometers (instruments that can measure the intensity of different wavelengths of light). Yutu’s geologic analysis suggested that the lunar surface is less homogeneous than originally thought.

NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image of the Chang'e Lander (large white dot) and Yutu Rover (smaller white dot) / Image courtesy of NASA, GSFC, and Arizona State University

NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image of the Chang’e Lander (large white dot) and Yutu Rover (smaller white dot) / Image courtesy of NASA, GSFC, and Arizona State University

Due to Yutu’s inability to properly shield itself from the brutally cold lunar night, it experienced serious mobility issues in early 2014 and was left unable to move across the surface. Remarkably, however, Yutu retained the ability to collect data, send and receive signals, and record images and video up until March of 2015.

Today, the Yutu lander, which provided the mission capability of sending and receiving Earth transmissions, is no longer operational.

China’s follow-up mission, Chang’e 4 is scheduled to launch as early as 2018 and plans to land on the far side of the moon. If this happens, China will become the first nation to land a probe on the lunar far side.

With the Chang’e series, China has shown that, unlike NASA, their focus is on lunar, rather than Martian, exploration. But they’re not the only ones that have their sights set on the moon. Through the Google Lunar Xprize, a number of private companies are building spacecraft designed to soft-land on the lunar surface in the next few years.

One of those companies, Moon Express, plans to be the first ever private company to land a spacecraft on the moon and has already secured a launch for their spacecraft in 2017.

It’s been nearly 40 years since anyone soft-landed a spacecraft on the moon. This next decade, however, is set to see a wave of lunar exploration like we’ve never experienced. With the China National Space Administration focusing their resources on lunar probes, and private companies planning to profit off of lunar resources, the moon is about to become a much busier destination.

[“source-techcrunch”]

Blackshades Malware Co-Creator Gets Five Years of Probation

Blackshades Malware Co-Creator Gets Five Years of Probation

An Arizona man who co-created software distributed by an organization called Blackshades that was used to hack into a million computers worldwide was sentenced on Friday to five years of probation.

Michael Hogue, who online was known by the moniker “xVisceral,” was sentenced by US District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan after pleading guilty in 2013 to distributing malware and conspiring to commit computer hacking.

He was also ordered to forfeit $40,000 (roughly Rs. 26 lakhs) and perform 500 hours of community service. The sentence is conditional on Hogue’s continued cooperation with prosecutors in related matters.

Hogue, 25, first came to the attention of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2010, when, in an effort to advertise the malware, he contacted an undercover agent running a website established as part of a sting operation targeting the illegal trade in credit card numbers, court papers said.

In 2012, Hogue was arrested in an international takedown stemming from the sting. He subsequently agreed to cooperate with authorities in their investigation of Blackshades.

That investigation culminated in May 2014 with a sweep by US and European authorities that resulted in about 100 people being arrested, including Alex Yucel, a Swedish citizen who ran Blackshades.

Prosecutors said Blackshades’ flagship product was the “Blackshades Remote Access Tool,” which gave hackers remote control of other people’s computers and allowed them to record keystrokes, steal passwords and gain access to personal files.

The software, which Hogue co-created with Yucel, could be bought for $40 and was used to take over computers’ cameras to spy on their owners or to freeze people’s computers in exchange for a ransom, prosecutors said.

Blackshades had more than 6,000 customer accounts in more than 100 countries and generated at least $350,000 in revenue by selling the software from September 2010 to April 2014, prosecutors said.

Castel had harsh words for Hogue as he handed down the sentence Friday, saying he committed a crime of “historic proportions” that spread misery to people around the world.

“But when he was confronted he did something right,” the judge said, “He did what he could to make amends.”

Hogue said before being sentenced: “I feel awful for everything I have done.”

Yucel, 25, pleaded guilty in 2015 to distributing malicious software, and he was sentenced in June to 4-3/4 years in prison.

[“source-gadgets”]

Textbooks are here to stay

Will advancing technology edge the trusty old text book out of the schoolroom? Avnita Bir, award-winning Principal of RN Podar School (Santacruz) shares her views

“Various kinds of books are used for reference and learning, but textbooks will be around for a while, as they spell out the curriculum and also provide some kind of structure to the syllabus for schools across boards. Right now, there is no curriculum laid down for schools. The National Curriculum Chamber prescribes the syllabus in a very broad manner and doesn’t have specifications. We get curriculums only for classes 10 and 12 from the board, not for other classes. In order to set a benchmark for rest of the students, it is essential to have textbooks to help decide what topics to teach. Textbooks set standards and norms for academics, and for students across the nation or the world for that matter. We certainly need a point of reference. A student, a teacher, an educationist, a school principal or any individual needs concrete guidance to know what constitutes the curriculum, what needs to be taught to the students, how much needs to be studied and so on.

Currently, all of this is decided by our school textbooks. Consequently, as long as there is a need to define the curriculum, we would need textbooks in schools. A lot of people are suggesting that we do away with textbooks altogether and use gadgets instead. But this would be very difficult to implement and I do not see it materialising anytime soon. The major shift in the future, would be that textbooks would not be the only source of reference and learning would not be limited to textbooks.

Additionally, textbooks won’t remain the way they are now (i.e. in the printed format). There is a huge possibility they could go online, become video books or even e-books. Nonetheless, even if their form changes, the textbook would still define the curriculum. In conclusion, I feel that gradually learning from reference books and online portals will be more openly adopted; but school textbooks will continue to remain sacred for a very long time.”

[“source-dnaindia”]