Good morning, people. Vedica picking up this week after a long thanksgiving break with our update today. We have news of one of the new breed of atmanirbhar apps raising money, and Uber and Ola now have to operate under stricter restrictions in the country.
➡️ Homegrown document scanning and storage app, Kaagaz Scanner has raised $575,000 led by Pravega Ventures, alongside Axilor Ventures, Better Capital and a few prominent angel investors. The company had been backed by First Cheque and Axilor Ventures in its pre-seed round.
➡️ Since its launch in June 2020, Kaagaz Scanner is installed on over 1.9 million phones. More than 90,000 people use the app every day and more than 50 million pages have been scanned using Kaagaz so far. The apps USP, its founders say is that it is completely offline, has no ads or watermark, and requires no sign in to use.
➡️ The ET report on the funding round notes that the app was acknowledged by the government in its Atmanirbhar App Challenge. Though it wasn't a winner, it did receive a special mention in the office apps category.
➡️ Kaagaz Scanner is yet another venture that has benefitted from India's ban on Chinese apps, in this case Camscanner. Gaurav Shrishrimal one of the company's founders has said that Kaagaz Scanner went from almost zero to 200,000 downloads in just three days of the Camscanner ban.
2. https://tcrn.ch/33K4AKH: India sets rules for commissions, surge pricing for Uber and Ola
➡️ In India, the state always threatens to intervene and it finally properly has in the case of ride-hailing apps. The Road Transport Ministry has issued guidelines that will provide an overarching regulatory framework for ride-hailing apps to operate under, and it's not good news for these firms.
➡️ According to the guidelines, ride-hailing firms can only charge a maximum 20% commission on ride fares. Further, surge pricing has been capped at 1.5x the base fare and the floor for discounts at 0.5x base fare.
➡️ These changes will obviously increase the operating costs in a country where these firms are already struggling to monetize. And while e rules will go towards formalizing the employment of cab drivers, the limit on surge pricing might impact their final take-home pay and will definitely impact consumers who might have to higher wait times during busy periods (already a pain point in India). The guidelines also impose limits on cancellation charges (no more than 10% of the total fare, or Rs 100 / $1.35).
➡️ Importantly, given the history of sexual violence in the country, the guidelines also state that female passengers looking for a pooled service will have the option to share the cab with only female passengers, and that these firms will be required to establish a control room with round-the-clock operations.
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