Indian restaurant association boycotts Zomato, other dining startups – TechCrunch
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), a trade body that represents over 500,000 restaurants in the country, launched a #LogOut campaign against Zomato and similar dining startups such as Nearbuy, Dineout, EazyDiner and Magicpin.
A feature by TechCrunch detailed that Zomato’s Zomato Gold programme has been criticised by its restaurant partners for “hurting their bottom line and brand image” as they struggle to handle the additional footfall that it has brought in. The programme itself was initially meant to be limited to a number of subscribers.
Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal has acknowledged the resistance and admitted that the company had made some mistakes. The startup and other food startups have also held a meeting with the restaurant partners, but it was not considered successful.
“Over the past two days, NRAI has held extensive meetings with all restaurant aggregators and we were bemused to learn that the aggregators were promoting deep discounts to stay competitive amongst each other. While one aggregator gave 1+1 (one drink or food item free on purchase of another drink or food item), the other had to adopt a 50 per cent discount scheme in order to stay relevant,” NRAI President Rahul Singh stated.
Japanese space robot maker Gitai gets US$4.1M – TechCrunch Japan
Japanese robotics startups Gitai has raised a US$4.1 million funding round, according to TechCrunch Japan report.
Spiral Ventures Japan, DBJ Capital, J-Power, and 500 Startups Japan (now Coral Capital) participated in the funding round.
The startup aims to reduce work costs in the space by building a robot that can be controlled from the ground.
The funding will be used to develop the robots and the launching of a demo model on the International Space Station in 2020.
Amazon to buy minority stake at Indian retail chain – Reuters
E-commerce giant Amazon is set to purchase a minority stake at Indian retail giant Future Retail, Reuters wrote.
In a regulatory filing late on Thursday, Future Retail said Amazon has agreed to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons Ltd.
The entity in turn owns a 7.3 per cent interest in Future Retail.
While the value of the deal was undisclosed, Amazon will get a 3.58 per cent stake in the retail giant.
The transaction marks Amazon’s second move to acquire stake at a local supermarket giant in the country. It has been aiming to launch its Amazon Fresh service to select areas in Bangalore.
Foodtech startup Ai Palette gets US$1M seed funding from Decacorn Capital, others – e27
Singapore-based foodtech startup Ai Palette has secured S$1.45 million (US$1 million) in seed funding led by Decacorn Capital.
The funding round included the participation of SGInnovate, AgFunder, Entrepreneur First, and some senior industry professionals in American and Swiss multinational food brands, pitching in their personal capacity.
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Predictinalytics around Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Image Recognition for food and beverage manufacturers, Ai Pallete aimed to help manufacturers craft and launch new products by spotting and analysing emerging consumer trends.
It plans to use the funding to focus on growing customers across multiple markets by fast-tracking product development to enhance its platform capabilities to be able to scale.