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Express Investigation Part-2: New economy under Chinese watch — Tech start-ups, range of apps from payment to healthcare

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M
, Jay Mazoomdaar
| New Delhi |

Updated: September 15, 2020 4:41:45 am

New economy under watch — Tech start-ups, range of apps from payment to healthcareThose targeted include venture capitalists, angel investors, founders and chief technology officers of the country’s promising startups and e-commerce platforms, and foreigner investors based in India.

From an engineering student interning with the Indian Railways to the Chief Investment Officer at the venture capital company set up by Azim Premji, the Overseas Key Individual DataBase (OKIDB), built by Chinese firm Zhenhua Data, has at least 1,400 entries covering the entire spectrum of India’s new economy, an investigation by The Indian Express has revealed.

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Those targeted include venture capitalists, angel investors, founders and chief technology officers of the country’s promising startups and e-commerce platforms, and foreigner investors based in India.

They form part of the 10,000 Indian individuals and entities targeted in the database and comes when Chinese investment in Indian startups surged by over 10 times from $ 381 million in 2016 to $4.6 billion in 2019. However, the ongoing border standoff has caused uncertainties about the future of this investment boom.

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The prominent faces being tracked in OKIDB include T K Kurien, the Chief Investment Officer at the Premji Invest, a venture capital company set up by Azim Premji; Anish Shah, Group CFO, Mahindra Group; PK X Thomas, CTO, Reliance Brands; Brian Bade, Chief Executive, Reliance Retail; and Vineet Sekhsaria, Country Head, Morgan Stanley, Real Estate Investing.

Also in OKIDB are Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal; Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal; Swiggy co-founder and CEO Nandan Reddy; Nykaa co-founder and CEO Falguni Nayar; Uber India’s head of driver operations Pavan Vaish, and PayU business head Nameet Potnis.

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Also under watch are Professor Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT, Kanpur; and Professor Deepak B Phatak, IIT, Bombay, known for upgrading Aakash, advertised by its manufacturer as the “world’s cheapest tablet.”

An analyses of the entries show that venture capitalists and angel investors are the most tracked persons in OKIDB. The focus is also on founders, CEO, CFOs, CTOs, and COOs of key sectors.

The rapidly growing digital health sector is the one most tracked portfolio, followed by the digital education sector. Post-demonetisation, the Modi government has been pushing for digital payments. Unsurprisingly, the top payment apps are part of the database. So are the supply chain portfolio and delivery apps. Also under watch are the tech startups in the urban transportation segment.

Some of the entries in OKIDB under key segments are:

Angel investors and venture capitalists:

* Matrix Partners India, whose portfolios include Indian ride sharing company Ola, Practo (a platform that connects patients with doctors), and the Indian payment gateway app Razor Pay.

* Kalaari Capital, whose portfolios include Indian e-commerce companies Snapdeal, Myntra & Urban Ladder.

* Seed Fund, who portfolios include sports media firm sportskeeda, and, an aggregator of routes, tickets and inventory for inter-city bus network.

*Fireside Ventures that has backed brands such as MamaEarth and the Ayurveda Experience.

The list includes the Japanese officials on Incubate fund in India, whose portfolios in the country include ShopKirana, leading Go-to-Market platform brand, Yulu, the rental bike-sharing platform, and Gaming Monk, an esports gaming platform.

Also in OKIDB are German officials of NEXT STEP India, which is a market discovery program for German startups to explore opportunities in India; and top officials of the Everstone Capital, which manages assets worth $5 billion across private equity, real estate, and venture capital.

Digital Healthcare

* Cipla-backed Wellthy Therapeutics, that delivers clinically-validated digital therapies.

*Strand Life Sciences, the Bengaluru based silico technology company named as the technology pioneer twice at the World Economic Forum.

* Gramin Healthcare, that provides primary healthcare services in Rural India.

Digital Education

* Byjus, adda247, Oliveboard, the country’s top learning apps.

* Learnyst, the all-in-one platform that helps educators build their own online platforms to conduct live classes.

* Kenznow, a top online platform for education abroad.

* Auxilo, that offers study loans for Indian students.


* Country’s leading payment apps Paytm, Razorpay, and PhonePe.

* Pine Labs, an Indian merchant platform valued at USD 1 billion.

*Avenues Payments, that provides the payment gateway CCAvenue that had partnered 60 Indian banks.

* FSS payment gateway that had partnered with merchants like IRCTC.

Supply Chain

*Mahindra Logistics

*Truxapp, supply chain transport app

* Shadowfax, a leading crowdsourced B2B last mile delivery services platform

* Mojro, a logistics service startup

* Logistimo, supply chain firm that connects remote communities with essential services.

Delivery Apps:

* Online supermarket apps Bigbasket and Daily Bazaar, Zappfresh & Fresh Meat Market

* Food delivery apps Zomato, Swiggy and FoodPanda; online meat delivery platforms; and, B2B delivery platform for micro retailers.

Urban Transportation: Besides Yulu, the database includes Cityflo, the app-based premium daily commute company; Rapido, one of India’s largest bike taxi services; and Lithium Urban Technologies, a fully electric mobility service provider.

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