(Source: BloombergQuint)

Startup Street: Paalak.in Secures Seed Funding, Bitcoin Gets A Self-Appointed Regulator

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  • A startup which plucks fresh farm produce and brings it to your doorstep in 14 hours. An artificial intelligence powered chatbot that will find tutors for students. A self-anointed currency gets a self-appointed regulator. And a social media giant which wants more female entrepreneurs. Here’s what went down on Startup Street this week...

    Paalak.‌in Gets Some Nutrition

    Delhi-based agriculture and technology startup Paalak.in has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Vishwadeep Bajaj, Harsh Kundra, Nandkumar Rane and Anupam Tyagi. The amount has been kept under wraps for strategic reasons, Swapnil Tripathi, the co-founder told Bloomberg Quint.

    Paalak.in is a platform which consumers can use to buy fresh farm produce, directly from farmers. The company claims that all its fresh produce is delivered to the consumer within 14 hours of plucking from the field.

    This is how a Paalak.in delivery looks like. (Source: Paalak.in)
    This is how a Paalak.in delivery looks like. (Source: Paalak.in)

    The company will utilise the funds to develop a new consumer web-platform, an android application, and more collection centres in rural areas, and hire manpower in technology, supply chain and operations departments, it said in a media statement.

    Currently, users can place orders through its website, on call or via messenger client Whatsapp. A separate application for farmers is set to roll out by mid-March.

    Paalak.in, a unit of VDSS Agri Tech Pvt. Ltd., was founded by two MIT Sloan Alumni Swapnil Tripathi and Vishal Salgotra in August 2016. It has around 450 farmers in its network.

    Founders Swapnil Tripathi and Vishal Salgotra in conversation with local farmers. (Source: Paalak.in)
    Founders Swapnil Tripathi and Vishal Salgotra in conversation with local farmers. (Source: Paalak.in)

    The company expects to turn profitable in March, and plans to open another store in Gurugram by April. It is targeting four new stores in the Delhi-NCR every quarter.I

    Facebook Wants More Women-Founded Startups In India

    Facebook has launched the 'SheLeadsTech' programme in India to support women-founded startups. The programme aims to provide female entrereneurs with access to "community, tools, mentorship and resources" to develop a successful business.

    (Source: SheLeadsTech India website)
    (Source: SheLeadsTech India website)

    Only startups based in India, which have a woman founder or co-founder can apply for the programme. They must also have either an automated reply system on Facebook's Messenger, or a native mobile app related to their core business on the Google Play Store or Apple app store.

    The startups in this programme will get round the year technical support from FbStart, a community of global startups, and free credits to access tools and services from partners. recieve mentorship from "influencers" in the startup space. The mentors of the intiative include Durga Raghunath, the CEO of Juggernaut, founder of BabyChakra Naiyya Saggi, Principal of venture capital firm 500Startups Shalini Prakash among others. A few select startups will also get public relations support.

    Bitcoin Has A Self-Appointed Regulator In India

    A collection of bitcoin tokens stand in front of an illustration of binary code in this arranged photograph in London, U.K. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)  
    A collection of bitcoin tokens stand in front of an illustration of binary code in this arranged photograph in London, U.K. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)  

    Bitcoin has been making the headlines since Thursday when it closed at an all time high, surpassing the price of even gold.

    The cryptocurrency has now a self-regulatory authority in India.

    Four Indian startups – Zebpay, Unocoin, Coinsecure and SearchTrade – which facilitate trading of bitcoins online have come together to form the Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India, the organisation said in a media statement.

    Also Read: Fintech Tracker: Will Unocoin’s Future Be As Volatile As The Bitcoin?

    The organisation will lay down self-regulatory regimes and standardise customer identification norms. It will also liaise with regulators to get clarity on taxes, attract investment and set up incubators to promote startups. Over time, it will launch a website to disseminate reports around bitcoins and blockchains and create more awareness.

    International law firm Nishith Desai Associates has been appointed to develop self-regulation guidelines for the cryptocurrency industry.

    Chatbot ‘Tora’ Lets You Find A Tutor

    (Source: sasint/ Pixabay) 
    (Source: sasint/ Pixabay) 

    A Kolkata-based marketplace for tutors, MyPrivateTutor, has launched an aritificial intelligence powered chatbot Tora which will help students find tutors,it said in a media statement.

    Tora leverages machine learning and poses a series to questions to users to understand their learning needs. The bot then curates a personalised list of recommended tutors.

    The company has over 2 lakh tutors registered on its platform offering over 500 different subjects, the statement added. It is working on personalising study lessons for individual students.

    There is a huge scope of using AI for personalising education. In addition to using machine learning for better matching of students to tutors, we are also working on building tools for customising lessons for each individual student. A chatbot for helping with homework is also on the cards,
    Anindya Kar, Co-Founder, MyPrivateTutor