India Funding Roundup: Silvan, SnapBizz, ShabdaNagari, LocalCircles, Little, Housing, Fisdom, Just Buy Live, Easypolicy

India Funding Roundup: Silvan, SnapBizz, ShabdaNagari, LocalCircles, Little, Housing, Fisdom, Just Buy Live, Easypolicy

The week following the Startup India event has seen the largest investments going to startups specialised in online insurance, B2B distribution, and e-commerce enablement solutions.

Silvan Innovation Labs, a Bengaluru-based company providing home security and automation products, has reportedly raised Rs 3.5 crores from Chennai Angels. The company will focus on offering its services directly to home owners.

Bengaluru-based e-commerce marketing enabler SnapBizz has reportedly bagged around Rs. 48 crores in a fresh round of funding led by Jungle Ventures, Taurus Value Creation, Konly Venture and Blume Ventures. Founded in 2013 by Prem Kumar and Yashwanth Prakash, the startup provides hardware and software solutions for retail stores to set up a Web store, manage stock, and engage customers.

Kanpur-based ShabdaNagari, a Hindi social networking platform has reportedly raised Rs. 1.2 crores in an angel funding round from Kanpur Angels and others. Founded in late 2015 by Amitesh Mishra and Nikhil Tiwari, the startup plans to expand the genres covered on the site and upgrade the user experience.

Citizen engagement platform LocalCircles announced that it has raised an undisclosed sum of funding from Dalmia Group Managing Director Puneet Dalmia, who has become an investor in the company. The funds will be used to enable communities for many more causes and making the existing existing communities available to many more citizens, the company said in an emailed statement.

App-based deals marketplace Little has reportedly raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Singapore-based sovereign wealth fund GIC. Little had raised $50 million in July 2015 from Paytm, SAIF Partners, and Tiger Global, and acquired curated deals portal Trideal in October 2015.
Realty portal has raised an additional Rs. 100 crores in funding from Japan-based SoftBank. said that it it has 1.7 million verified listings to date received 85 million visits in 2015.

Personal finance app Fisdom has reportedly raised Rs 3.4 crores from a group of angel investors including Taxiforsure co-founders Raghunandan G and Aprameya Radhakrishna, and Commonfloor founder Sumit Jain. The startup will use the funding to build new products and increase the size of its team.

Just Buy Live
Mumbai-based B2B distribution platform Just Buy Live has reportedly secured roughly Rs. 100 crores in its Series A round from Mumbai-based investment firm Alpha Capital Advisors. JustBuy offers apps for Android and iOS to businesses that have a verified and valid business proof.

Noida headquartered Easypolicy, an online platform for comparison and sales of insurance hasreportedly raised Rs. 15 crores in a fresh round of funding, led by Unilazer Ventures. The funds will reportedly be used to build its technology platform, enhance its product portfolio, and strengthen its marketing team.


BitTorrent Sync Update Brings Encrypted Folders and More

BitTorrent Sync Update Brings Encrypted Folders and More

BitTorrent has released an update for its file synchronisation app called BitTorrent Sync to bump the version up to 2.3 and add a number of features for its users. One of the major additions is the ability to add encryption to a folder.

BitTorrent Sync allows users to move files from one device to another over local network or the Internet. Among other features in Sync 2.3 is Encrypted Folder. It gives users the three keys when encrypting a folder. The Read-Write key allows a peer to access and modify the content, whereas the Read-Only key allows a peer to access and decrypt the file. The Encryption key allows a user to provide an offsite snapshot of his data to a peer without giving it direct access to the file. Here’s how the company has described it:

“Read-Write key. The Read-Write key allows peer to talk with Read-Write, Read-Only and Encrypted peers and modify files in the folder. Read-Write keys start with D.

Read-Only key. The Read-Only key allows peer to talk with Read-Write, Read-Only, and Encrypted peers and to receive file updates to a folder and decrypt it. Read-Only keys that support encrypted folders start with E.

Encrypted key. The Encrypted key allows peer talk with Read-Write, Read-Only, and Encrypted peers and to receive updates to folder without the ability to decrypt or modify it. Encrypted keys start with F.”

Other features include the ability to run the app as a service (as opposed to a program) on Windows. The option allows the app to run even when the device is not logged in. The Android app now also allows users to move data to and from a microSD card on Android devices.


Siemens to Buy CD-adapco for Close to $1 Billion: Report

Siemens to Buy CD-adapco for Close to $1 Billion: Report

Siemens AG, Europe’s biggest industrial group, has agreed to buy CD-adapco, a privately held US engineering software firm, for close to $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,778 crores) in cash, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Siemens’s deal with CD-adapco could be announced as early as Monday, the person said, asking not to be identified because the agreement is not yet public. The two companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Melville, New York-based CD-adapco makes computer programs used by engineers to simulate the inner workings of an engine. Those products will complement a business unit of Siemens focused on product lifecycle management software, the person added.

Since taking over Siemens as chief executive two years ago, former finance chief Joe Kaeser has set out to reshape the German company and make it more profitable and less cumbersome by selling off non-core units.

But Siemens has increasingly had to compete with software companies who can develop technology faster because they have a sole focus. Only 5 percent of Siemens’ 350,000 employees are software engineers.

Siemens said in December it would raise its research and development budget as it seeks to maintain an edge in technology innovation over arch-rival General Electric Co.

The sale comes after CD-adapco’s co-founder and CEO Steve MacDonald passed away last September. He was succeeded by his widow, Sharron MacDonald, who was named interim CEO and president.

Established in 1980 and still controlled by its founders, the company has 900 employees in 50 offices and has achieved $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,355 crores) in annual revenue and an annual growth rate of 15 percent for the past five years, according to its website. Its main competitor in engine simulation software is Ansys Inc.

Nasa hired CD-adapco to help with simulation of structural engineering problems following the Space Challenger disaster in 1986. Car maker Renault SA’s designers have also used CD-adapco software to simulate engine combustion, cooling and exhaust for Formula One race cars
© Thomson Reuters 2016


What’s going on at Yahoo?

What’s going on at Yahoo?Photo Credit: Omar Torres/AFP
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Spare a thought for the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer. Nearly four years on the job, the ailing internet giant is still struggling to deliver a credible path to growth. And following the US$4.3 billion loss the company reported for the year in its latest results, the Yahoo board undercut her plan to “accelerate Yahoo’s transformation” with its intent to “engage on qualified strategic proposals” – widely interpreted as putting the company up for sale.

Mayer’s plan involves laying off 15% of the company’s workforce in an effort to streamline the business. Yahoo is also planning to sell real estate and intellectual property. But investors are clearly unhappy with Yahoo’s performance – some interpret the focus on cost cutting and profit raising as the latest sign the company is planning to offload its core business.

A major reason for this is that by some measures – if you subtract the value of Yahoo’s major assets from the market value of the company, which includes a hefty stake in Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, for example – Yahoo’s core internet business is worth less than zero.

Asset management

How Yahoo manages its investments is therefore crucial and unlocking their value is a challenge. Selling its stake in Alibaba is easier said than done. Selling the stake and paying out the proceeds to shareholders would lead to a big tax bill. One way to lower this liability, however, could be in holding the Alibaba investment under the existing company and spinning off its core Yahoo business into a new listed company. This has the obvious advantage of keeping the current management in-situ – but is premised on market confidence in the existing management team.

Once a major player, Yahoo has become increasingly irrelevant, despite huge investments in engineering and media talent. Instead of cashing out when it had a US$45 billion offer from Microsoft in 2008, Yahoo has spent cash acquiring other companies and investing in new equipment in the vain hope that it can compete successfully with today’s major players, Google and Facebook. This has largely been led by Mayer who was hired from Google in 2012 to turn the company around.

The reporting of significant “goodwill impairment charges” was essentially a write-down of the value of previous acquisitions, reflecting recognition that they have not paid off. Investor awareness of this suggests that a private buyer might be welcome to take over Yahoo’s assets, optimise tax liabilities and eliminate expenditures that seek to compete in arenas where the probabilities of success are exceedingly low – this is how some have interpreted Mayer’s strategy.

Buyers are more likely to have a lower tolerance for re-imagination and a far more singular focus on maximising cash flows from Yahoo’s existing product line – hence the board’s emphasis on seeking out “strategic alternatives”.

In search of profits

In the meantime, Mayer will be hoping her attempts to engineer a turnaround at Yahoo materialise. In a deft presentation, she sought to break revenues into two parts – the declining revenues from the existing business and the potentially exponential growth that will result from newer product lines. Her analysis warned of decreased revenues in 2016 with the prospect of higher revenues in the future. Missing from this, however, was any detail of the profitability of these newer businesses.

Ultimately, investors care about results and these were – to say the least – disappointing, and followed swift on the heels of rival Google’s bumper earnings report. At best Yahoo’s profit margins were 2% in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to Google’s 31.9%. Similarly, free cash flow was essentially zero in the second half of 2015.

It is difficult to see Yahoo surviving in its current form with its current management. The earnings announcement was an opportunity for a far more candid account of its problems and how they could be addressed. Rather, listeners were told that things will get better in a year’s time, based on an arbitrary classification of old and new products.

The gap between Yahoo’s market value and the value of its investments reflects investor scepticism. At such a time, phrases like “propel execution to a new level”, “re-imagining search” and “intense legacy drag” are unlikely to restore confidence. If anything, Mayer’s reassurances will only serve to propel investor scepticism to a new level, which further drives speculation that they are open to buyers.