Kerala’s restaurant owners to boycott food delivery apps

 

A signed public letter directed to Google was sent by the
company’s employees to plead Google to abandon its plan to
comeback to China.

The plan to reenter the censorship-heavy country was known as
Project Dragonfly, a project that seeks to enable state
surveillance at a time when the Chinese government is expanding
controls over the population first emerged in August under CEO
Sundar Pichai’s leadership.
The petition was signed by software engineers and researchers who
called on the company’s commitment to transparency and to provide
clear communication.

“We refuse to build technologies that aid the powerful in
oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be,” the Google
workers wrote in the letter. “Dragonfly in China would establish
a dangerous precedent, one that would make it harder for Google to
deny other countries similar concessions.”

AI-based risk management SaaS CloudSEK secures US$1.9M [Press
Release]

An information security risk management SaaS startup in
Bengaluru CloudSEK announced that it has raised a Pre-Series A of
₹14 Crores (US$1.9 million) funding by Exfinity Venture Partners
and StartupXseed.

CloudSEK plans on evolving its flagship product XVigil, a
unified risk management platform using the funding and to expand
its footprints in India and South East Asia targeting the
pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and retail industry.

CloudSEK was founded by Rahul Sasi in 2015, headquartered in
Singapore with an operational center in Bengaluru, India. It
provides a cybersecurity platform powered by machine learning. Its
products include X-Vigil-CloudSEK’s SaaS-based flagship, and
Cloudmon that tracks network and application related security
issues associated with the client.

Kerala’s restaurant owners to boycott food delivery apps
[Quartz]

A war has been happening between restaurant owners and food
delivery applications in southern India in the state of Kerala.
Starting Saturday, December 1, 2018, a bunch of restaurants have
stated that they will not accept orders from the likes of Zomato,
Swiggy, Uber Eats, and Foodpanda.

Members of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA)
has decided to boycott the aggregators because they are worried
that food delivery will have similar effects on them the way Ola
and Uber did to drivers: initially help widen their reach but
eventually kill their earnings, especially through heavy
discounting.

“Uber Eats and Swiggy take a 33% commission and Zomato charges
around 22%,” said Suhaib V, owner of Kochi-based Ceylon Bake
House in a statement reported by Quartz.

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Skype co-founder’s online lending startup Oriente raises US$105M
funding

However, analysts are skeptical that boycott is the solution.
“Aggressive discounting will only hurt restaurants if they do not
make up on volumes and if they are not able to ensure stickiness
for their loyal customers,” said Anindya Ghosh, the Heinz Riehl
professor of business at New York University.

With most delivery apps pay for discounting out of their own
pockets, supposedly the same thing happened to drivers in Ola and
Grab case wouldn’t happen to restaurant owners.

The real problem lies potentially in how food-delivery sites
can, in the long run, switch customer loyalty from restaurants to
the platform itself. A Swiggy user, for instance, may go for the
cheapest or closest option rather than picking a restaurant
deliberately.

Right now the cloud kitchen wave, wherein a company prepares,
packages, and delivers food based on online or mobile orders
without operating a whole outlet, is already creating direct
competition for restaurants.

To counter the food-delivery firms, KHRA is even considering
launching its own app, but analysts said it’s not a good
idea.

Grab users can now order a cleaning service from Singapore-based
Helpling [Press Release]

Online home maintenance service marketplace Helpling has joined
Grab Ventures Velocity Program in a mission to scale up its service
in Singapore.

Grab Ventures Velocity is a 16-week program that aims to help
startups by giving them access to resources, capabilities, and
networks of Grab and its program partners.

With Helpling joining the program, its home cleaning service is
now available to book via Grab app for Singapore for the next six
weeks.

China’s Ministry of Transport to fine Didi for safety
violation [Reuters]

Following the separate incidents in which two women passengers
of Chinese ride-hailing app Didi became victims, China’s Ministry
of Transport announced a broad crackdown on the market-leader Didi
Chuxing.

Didi has violated multiple safety rules, presenting a “major
safety hazard” such as failing to properly flag high-risk drivers
and improperly handling deposits, said the official statement
released in China’s Ministry of Transport’s social media
account.

Although accounting for 90 per cent of China’s ride-hailing
market, but there’s a loose end in the company’s illegal hiring
on drivers. It results in the authorities fining Didi’s
executives and legal representatives for an undisclosed amount of
money.

Didi’s business has already suffered from the suspension of
its carpooling service Didi Hitch, the one that the two victims
used. Authorities said on Wednesday that the suspension of Didi
Hitch would continue indefinitely.

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