File photo of Vijay Shekhar Sharma at the Paytm headquarters. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg) 

Startup Street: Ofo Pedals Into India With Paytm

This week on Startup Street we have Alibaba-backed bicycle sharing startup Ofo partnering with Paytm. Healthcare startup Lambdo lays out what it wants from Union Budget 2018, and a digital payments provider just got acquired by ride-hailing startup Grab. Here’s what went on.

Alibaba-backed bicycle sharing startup Ofo is launching services in seven Indian cities after partnering with mobile payments giant Paytm.

The Beijing-based startup will make its iconic yellow bicycles available in Bengaluru, Chennai, Indore, Ahmedabad and Pune, it confirmed in a media statement. Earlier this month, Ofo also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the municipal corporations of Pune and Coimbatore to develop master plans for city-wide cycle tracks and other necessary infrastructure.

"Through these localised launches we look forward to providing people with a taste of an easy-to-use bicycle sharing experience and educate them," Rajarshi Sahai, the communications director at Ofo, said in a statement.

This partnership will make it a lot more convenient for citizens to access Ofo’s short distance transportation solutions
Kiran Vasireddy, COO, Paytm

Paytm, which is also backed by Alibaba, will help provide payment option for Ofo users. In a tweet, Paytm founder and chief Vijay Shekhar Sharma had showed how booking an Ofo cycle might be like through the Paytm application.

With this, Ofo becomes the first bicycle sharing startup to venture into India. In the bicycle sharing space in India currently, ride-hailing service Ola offers Ola Pedals, and Zoomcar has a rental service called PEDL. Yulu is another new venture which was recently announced by InMobi co-founder Amit Gupta.

Ofo operates in over 250 cities across 20 countries and claims to generate 32 million transactions every day. It has raised at least $1.3 billion in venture funding, according to CrunchBase and CB Insights' estimates.

What HealthTech Startup Lambda Wants Out Of Budget 2018

Lambda Life Sciences, a healthtech startup based out of India, wants reduced tariffs on equipment imports and healthcare technology in the upcoming union budget.

"There is a pressing need to build and upgrade heathcare infrastructure and services. I expect increased budget allocation in the healthcare sactor," founder Kunjan Arora said in a statement, PTI reported. The budget will be revealed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Feb. 1.

India's healthcare industry imports 75 percent of its total requirements of medical devices, Arora stated, adding that the government needs to set the stage for investment and innovation in the healthcare domain.

The government should consider cutting tariffs on import of machines and technology in this budget, he said. The startup has launched a cigerette filter technology that arrests the tar phase of cigarette smoke.

Ride-Hailing Giant Grab Just Acquired This Indian Payments Starup

Asian cab rental startup Grab acquired Indian Payments startup iKaaz in an effort to strenghten its payments platform - GrabPay. However, it did not disclose the details of the deal.

The rich functionality of iKaaz' mobile payments platform and its experiened leadership team will accelerate feature development and partner integration of GrabPay, the company said in a statement. Grab currently facilitates at least 3.5 million transactions on a daily basis. Grab currently competes with the likes of Uber and Lyft and opperates in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.

iKaaz, launched in 2014, features NFC, QR-Code and audio based payments, bill payments, online and peer-peer payments.

"This flexibility and availability make it ideally suited for Southeast Asia's diverse payments landscape and large unbanked population," Grab said in a statement.

Post the acquisition, the Indian startup's team will be integrated with that of Grab's team in Bengaluru. Grab intends to add another 200 engineers to this team in addition to the 75 currently present, by the end of 2018.