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VCC Startups weekly wrap: Google launches Tez, festive sales in full swing, and more
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Much as you like to devour insightful reports on India's startup ecosystem, the Monday-Friday rigmarole leaves little time to have a sit-down and have a go at them. When you do find the time, well, TL;DR.

We feel you.

Starting this Saturday, VCCircle will bring you a weekly rundown of everything newsworthy in the startup landscape. In a matter of minutes, while your coffee is still brewing, you will be up to speed with the biggest funding deals, launches, buyouts and people movements in the space, among other things. We will also throw in our best-read analyses and long forms, just in case you need something more deep-dive.

This week was bookended by events that perhaps offer a peek into the future of India's most promising consumer internet sectors—payments and e-commerce. On Monday, search giant Google threw its hat in India's digital payments ring with the launch of UPI-enabled mobile app Tez. On Friday, diversified conglomerate Aditya Birla Group bit the bullet and announced its decision to bring down the curtain on its struggling fashion e-tailing venture Abof.com. Other e-commerce companies, meanwhile, are firing on all cylinders with the advent of the festive sale season, offering deep discounts on most merchandise.

Read on.

Google launches payments app Tez

Tez, which supports seven local languages including Hindi, Bangla, Gujarati and Marathi, will allow users to pay directly from their bank account without revealing details such as account or phone number. Its most innovative feature, however, is the 'Tap for Cash Mode', wherein the app transmits audio to identify a nearby device, shows the user's contact details, and lets you pay or receive money instantly.

Looking for more to chew on? Here's why India’s digital payments tournament remains wide open despite Google’s entry.

Paytm Mall, ShopClues may gain at Snapdeal's expense in festive sales

The first leg of the annual sale season is underway, and top gunners Flipkart and Amazon are pulling out all stops to maximise volumes with steep discounts and cash back. Alibaba-backed Paytm Mall and ShopClues are likely to battle it out for the bronze, and they are set to gain at the expense of Snapdeal, which, frankly speaking, seems out of place in this party.

Aditya Birla Group to shut online fashion store Abof.com

Fortune 500 company Aditya Birla Group is reportedly pulling down the shutters on its fashion e-tailing venture, Aditya Birla Online Fashion Pvt. Ltd (Abof), as it fails to compete against the deep discounting-led model of rivals Flipkart and Amazon. The company management informed the staffers that it will not operate beyond December 31. All 240 employees of the company would be given four-and-a-half months’ salary as compensation if they quit.

How Kalaari-backed AppsDaily went from fabulous to flameout

One of our best-read stories this week, it traces the unenviable journey of mobile phone insurance and security startup AppsDaily. In just two years after raising $16 million from marquee investors, the company is mired in a web of issues ranging from delayed salaries to weakening investor confidence to a litany of customer complaints.

Tendulkar, Sindhu call off proposed investment in CallHealth

Cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar and India’s top female shuttler PV Sindhu have called off their proposed investment in Hyderabad-based healthcare services aggregator CallHealth Services Pvt. Ltd. According to the company’s filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Tendulkar was to lead a Rs 40 crore round in the company with a Rs 12 crore infusion. Sindhu was to put in Rs 4 crore.

Former AskMe MD Sanjiv Gupta in legal tangle

The Delhi High Court has issued a bailable warrant against Sanjiv Gupta, former managing director and CEO at online retailer AskMe’s parent Getit Info Service Pvt. Ltd. The warrant comes after the court, earlier this year, had ordered an investigation into an alleged fraud at AskMe and appointed a liquidator to wind up the company.

Flipkart's B2B arm gets $156 mn loan

VCCircle exclusively reported that Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd, the wholesale cash-and-carry arm of e-tailer Flipkart, has received a working capital credit of Rs 1,000 crore from Axis Bank. This facility is in addition to the existing credit line of Rs 375 crore that Flipkart already has with the bank. Industry experts feel the e-tailer opted for the credit top-up to equip itself for the festive sale season.

Power2SME secures Series E funding

The business-to-business e-commerce platform has raised an additional $26 million (Rs 166 crore) in its Series E funding round from existing investors Inventus Capital Partners, Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, and Nandan Nilekani. The round also includes an earlier investment of $10 million from the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank.

That's all for this week. And don't forget the coffee—it's probably ready by now!

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