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50% tech startups expect pre-Covid level revenue in 6 months

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Indian tech start-ups are now witnessing a gradual road to recovery, with over 50 per cent of them saying that they expect revenue to reach pre-Covid level in less than six months, according to a Nasscom survey released on Wednesday.

Revenue acceleration and funding has improved the cash availability with startups, showed the findings of the “Nasscom Start-up Pulse Survey II”.

The IT industry body revisited its first tech startup pulse survey, conducted back in April-May 2020, to understand what the current perspectives are, what has changed and what the next six months look like for the tech start-up ecosystem in the country.

The results showed that 43 per cent of tech start-ups now have a runway for more than six months, compared to eight per cent in the earlier survey.

“The Indian start-up ecosystem has set a global benchmark in remaining resilient during this disruptive year,” Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom, said in a statement.

“Setting an example for many other industries across the globe to follow and learn from how Indian start-ups converted challenges into opportunities. A large tech start-ups pool, strong innovation focus and entrepreneur’s zeal have been the growth drivers of this ecosystem.”

The research showed that there has been an increased interest from venture capital and funding agencies to invest in seed-early stage start-ups.

Government initiatives such as Atmanirbhar Bharat, digitalisation of India, a greater focus on sustainable business models is attracting VC interest for Indian tech start-ups, Nasscom said.

Almost 25 per cent of the surveyed start-ups have been able to raise funds or find prospective investors as compared to seven per cent in the earlier survey.

Sectors like edtech, healthtech and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) continue to attract investor interests.

While the ecosystem continues to be cautious, it is increasingly looking at hiring talent with the right competencies.

As per the findings of the survey, hiring freeze at tech start-ups dropped by 20 per cent.

Digital skills — data, AI, product management, cloud architects — continue to be in high demand across the tech start-up ecosystem, Nasscom said, adding that four Indian startups became unicorns despite the pandemic.

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Business

Maruti Suzuki sells over 160,700 units of Swift in CY 2020

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Automobile manufacturer Maruti Suzuki has sold over 160,700 units of its premium hatchback Swift in CY 2020.

According to the company, over 2.3 million units of the premium hatchback have been sold in the past 15 years.

“Maruti Suzuki Swift has been the best-selling premium hatchback in the country for the past 15 years with over 2.3 million delighted customers,” said Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki India Limited.

“Despite the adverse impact of Covid-19, brand Swift sold over 160,700 units in CY 2020, emerging as the top brand in the pecking order.”

In addition, the company said: “With more than 53 per cent of customers below the age of 35 years, Maruti Suzuki Swift has established itself as the ‘Coming of the age’ car with tech-savvy features, value-for-money offerings and sporty design”.

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Tata Motors launches hatchback Altroz’s i-Turbo variant

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Automobile manufacturer Tata Motors on Saturday launched the ‘i-Turbo’ variant of its premium hatchback, Altroz.

The variant’s petrol version starts at Rs 8.25 lakh while the diesel version costs Rs 9.45 lakh.

As per the company, ‘iRA’ comes with 27 connected car features along with natural voice tech, through which the car understands commands not only in ‘English or Hindi, but also in Hinglish’.

Besides, it is India’s first hatchback to introduce What3Words technology – a precise & unique tool that makes navigation easier than before.

The new variant is powered by a 1.2L turbocharged BS6 petrol engine.

Additionally, the Company has added a new top of the line ‘XZ+’ variant in a petrol and diesel fuel option to the Altroz family.

Tata Altroz was the first product on the ‘ALFA’ architecture.

It was launch in January 2020. Over 50,000 Altroz units have been sold within its first year of the vehicle’s launch.

“We are delighted to share that with its introduction, in FY21, our market share in the hatchback category has increased by 5.4 per cent compared to last fiscal and we have captured 17 per cent market share in the premium hatch segment,” said Shailesh Chandra – President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors.

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IndiGo to start Agra-Bengaluru flight from March

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As part of its strategy to bolster its regional connectivity, IndiGo has announced Agra as its 64th domestic destination. The airline will connect Agra to Bengaluru and Bhopal through direct flights under the RCS scheme from March 28.

A weekly flight to Goa is also likely to start early February, sources said.

The bookings are open with one-way fares starting at Rs 2,523 for Bhopal and Rs 3,789 for Bengaluru.

Sanjay Kumar, Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to have the Golden Triangle cities mapped on the 6E network, with the addition of Agra as our 64th domestic destination. This will not only enhance connectivity for domestic travellers, but also aid in expanding international air traffic once restrictions are lifted and travel opens up. Additionally, these connections will help promote tourism, trade and commerce, with Agra being home to multiple UNESCO world heritage sites, one of the hubs for leather goods production and known for its food and delicacies.”

The Agra tourism industry is upbeat as it expects a big inflow of tourists, both domestic and foreign, in the coming days. The industry had long been demanding air connectivity from Agra to major destinations in India. A lone flight to Jaipur was also halted some months ago.

The last 10 months saw a major setback to tourism, with the footfall of foreign tourists falling to just one per cent. The Taj Mahal and other monuments remained closed due to Covid-19 for over six months.

With restrictions now removed, the flow of visitors has increased and the hospitality industry is hoping to make good in the coming months. The daily evening cultural show at the Kalakriti Auditorium – Mohabbat the Taj – has resumed, as weekend crowds have begun thronging Agra again.

The inter-state buses have also begun operations, particularly to Delhi, from Monday, bringing relief to thousands of commuters heading for Palwal, Faridabad, Gurugram and other neighbouring areas.

Welcoming the announcement by IndiGo to start daily flights from Agra to Bangalore, Bhopal and Lucknow, Sunil Gupta, chairman IATO, northern region said “Tourists were hesitant to visit Agra as there are no flights which are usually considered very safe during the pandemic. We are hoping the number of visitors will now increase. We have demanded international flights also from Agra.”

Vice president of the Tourism Guild, Rajiv Saxena said “the flights will be very helpful and boost tourism in Agra. For the tourists, it will be such a big help as travel time would be reduced.”

Before the pandemic, Agra was annually visited by more than seven million tourists. “With three World Heritage monuments, and a number of other tourist attractions, plus Mathura and Vrindavan close by, Agra badly needed air connectivity. But due to pressure from the Delhi lobby of hoteliers and travel agents, all kinds of hurdles were being created, but now the Modi government has taken a huge initiative which should see a turnaround in the fortunes of the hospitality industry in Agra,” said founder president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association, Surendra Sharma.

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