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MakeMyTrip Rolls Out In-Destination Activity Suggestions

Udit Agarwal

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MakeMyTrip Rolls Out In-Destination Activity Suggestions

India’s leading travel company MakeMyTrip has launched a range of standalone and curated experiential offering for travelers, marking its foray into experiences domain. The travel company has done a soft launch of Experiences on its Android app, which will be followed launch on its iOS app later.

During the initial phase, MakeMyTrip has launched rolled out the service in 10 Indian metro and cities including, Jaipur, Pune, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Goa, among others. These experiences include a range of activities from leisure to adventure offering amusement park visits, daycation at resorts, museum visits, luxury spas, adventure sports, among others.

While these services are offered as standalone and can be booked separately, the Gurugram-based OTA will also be including them in their travel packages.

With the new vertical MakeMyTrip is looking to target the customers who are looking to explore experiential offering rather than the travel, as it tries to enhance customer engagement and stickiness of its app.

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Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder, MakeMyTrip, said, “We have leveraged insights from millions of consumers about what they like at various destinations and what they value as good experience. We expect these high-frequency use cases to drive even higher engagement.”

Earlier in August 2018, it was reported that MakeMyTrip had infused around ₹69 crores in its Indian subsidiary. MakeMyTrip has been expanding its outreach in the Indian travel domain, looking to create a one-stop solution for all travel needs of its customers.

In July 2018, MakeMyTrip had invested an undisclosed amount of funds in SaaS-based travel solutions provider Bitla Software. It is to be noted that the online travel agency is following the footsteps of community-driven global hospitality company Airbnb, that launched Experience service in March last year and another Indian OTA Cleartrip, that launched the service earlier this year in May.

Indian tourism industry has a huge growth potential, even though there is a fierce competition in the domain with the growing number of startups looking to leverage the opportunity.

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IIM-A incubator, OmniActive’s Mariwala invest in agri-tech startup Sattvaponics

Udit Agarwal

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Mumbai-based agritech startup Sattvaponics has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad’s (IIMAs) Centre Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) and Sanjay Mariwala, Founder and Managing Director of OmniActive Health Technologies.

This investment marks the ninth investment by CIIE in the agritech sector, in line with its objective of supporting breakthrough innovations that tackle India’s most pressing problems.

Sattvaponics was founded by Kevin Parekh and Ashish Korde in 2017. It aims to change the nutraceutical industry by producing clean and high potency raw materials. Both the co-founders are nutraceutical professional, with Kevin completing Masters in Medical BioTechnology, while Korde has an MBA from Indian School of Business (ISB).

The high level of contamination of natural products due to pesticides, heavy metals, microbial, low bioactive content, and inconsistency in output due to heavy reliance on weather, soil and traditional means of production, threatening the medicinal food industry.

Although the major part of the natural product value chain consisting of ingredient manufacturers, formulators as well as consumer brands are organized and regulated, Sattvaponics is looking to address the agricultural practices, which remain largely unorganised.

The agritech startup is trying to completely optimise the agricultural life cycle from sowing to harvest, in order the revolutionalise the supply chain, to provide organic, nutritious, and healthy products.

Sattvaponics has one developed product that is already in commercial use and it is currently working on two new products, for which it already has consumer tie-ups, with more products in the pipeline.

Talking about the future plans, Kevin Parekh, Co-Founder of Sattvaponics, said, “We aim to cross 300-400 acres of cultivation in next three years, producing multiple high-value crops round the year, which will benefit the consumers, industry as well as the farmers.”

Other agritech startups strengthening the Indian agricultural ecosystem include Gramco Infratech, Gobasco, Our Food, Agrostar, Kisan Hub, Intello Labs, and Aibono, among many others. Earlier this month, Agritech startup Origo Commodities raised ₹80 crores from Triodos Investment Management, others.

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Advent acquires entire 40% stake held by Kedaara Capital in Manjushree Technopack

Udit Agarwal

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US-based private equity firm Advent International has acquired Bengaluru-based rigid plastics packaging solutions provider Manjushree Technopak.

The acquisition marks the exit of Mumbai-based PE firm Kedara Capital, selling its entire 40% stake to Advent for an undisclosed amount. As a part of the deal, Advent has also acquired a portion of the promoter Kedia family’s holdings to gain a majority stake in Manjushree Technopak.

Post acquisition, Vimal Kedia, Founder and Managing Director of Manjushree, along with other senior management members will remain with the company.

According to reports, the deal is expected to value the Bengaluru-based company at around ₹2,440 crores. Founded by Vimal Kedia in 1983, Manjushree Technopak provides rigid plastic solutions to a wide range of FMCG industry verticals including dairy, food products, agrochemicals, pharmaceutical, home care and personal care.

With presence across India and 15 other countries, serves large FMCG multinationals, generating more than ₹890 crores in revenues. Some of its notable clients include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, P&G, Nestle, and Himalaya, among many others.

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Talking about the investment, Shweta Jalan, Managing Director and Head, India, Advent International, said, “The rigid plastic packaging market is expected to expand by 15% per year over the next five years, which is driven by much more growth in consumer-end markets, the continued shift from glass and paper to plastic packaging, and the introduction of new products. Manjushree Technopack is the market leader in an industry with strong growth tailwinds.”

Earlier in November 2016, Manjushree acquired Delhi-based packaging firm Varahi Ltd for an undisclosed amount. The deal has been made, which will enable the firm to increase the production capacity and customer base, and strengthen its foothold in North India.

The latest deal marks Advent International’s seventh investment in India. Other Advent investments in India include Innerwear brand Dixcy Textiles, ASK Group, a wealth and investment management business, QuEST, a global engineering solutions provider, Crompton Greaves, and CARE Hospitals.

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BookMyBai.com raises pre-series A Round from Japan-based fund

Udit Agarwal

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BookMyBai.com raises pre-series A Round from Japan-based fund

Mumbai-based online domestic help provider BookMyBai has raised an undisclosed amount of funds in pre-series A round from Japan-based social venture fund ARUN Seed. Other Japanese angel investors also participated in the funding round.

The funds raised will be used to expand market share in the cities it already has a presence, along with launching operations across Hyderabad and Delhi.

BookMyBai was founded by Anupam Sinhal and Vickash Chowdhury in 2015. It provides an online platform to enable homeowners to hire domestic help in a seamless manner. The platform offers domestic helpers across various categories including maid, babysitter, nanny, senior citizen care, and cook.

The platform does an extensive background check of helpers with identity check, document verification, in-person interview, along with training sessions, to provide a trustworthy domestic help to its users.

The marketplace offers more than 50,000 experienced domestic helpers across Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Kolkata.

“They as of now is working on thousands of marginalized women who are now earning enough money to support families. We see this as an opportunity to be able to support a startup which is not only sustainable but also has a large social impact amongst the rural households” said Satoko Kono, President, ARUN LLC.

The platform is also planning to launch a multi-lingual app for the workers through which the workers can look for a job in real-time, further enabling the workers and helping them find a suitable job based on their needs.

Earlier in 2015, BookMyBai raised ₹1 crore from Hyderabad-based investment platform 50K Ventures. Other players in the domestic help provider domain in India include Helper4U, MyDidi, GDH Workforce, and MyChores, among others.

Indian domestic help industry is highly unorganized and the foray of startups in the segment will not only ensure a platform for domestic helpers to find job readily but also provide easy access to domestic help for homeowners.

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