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Innovation, expansion, consolidation – 35 quotes of the week on the India business opportunity

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Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a weekly feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles of this past week (see the previous edition here). Share these 35 gems and insights from the week of January 17-23 with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights. See also our special compilation of quotes related to India’s coronavirus responses here.

See also our pick of Top Quotes of 2021 on Entrepreneurship, Investment, Digital Transformation, Storytelling, The India Opportunity, Pandemic Resilience, Failure Recovery, Design, and Art.

The startup ecosystem has grown immensely and positioned itself as a vital contributor to the growth of India’s digital economy. – Debjani Ghosh, Nasscom

India has now become the hallmark of a trailblazer and is leaving its mark on global startup landscape. – Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry

2021 will be remembered as the year when the Indian venture ecosystem hit an inflection point. A record $38 billion of capital was invested into startups. – Ashish Sharma, InnoVen Capital India

When compared to the UK, US, Israel, and China, 2021 has been an outstanding year for the Indian startup ecosystem, with the highest growth rate in terms of deals, both in seed-stage and late-stage funding and the number of startups. – Pari Natarajan, Zinnov

An interesting trend that emerged this year was a younger age group of investors and a higher age group of founders. – LetsVenture Startup Outlook Report

Today there is a lot more opportunity to raise capital from the HNIs and family offices. – Adith Podhar, Gemba Capital

We have recently seen women founder focused funds formed only to be invested in women led startups. – Upasana Taku, MobiKwik

The startup ecosystem in India is so healthy and strong that women should always feel comfortable to reach out and seek advice from others. – Lizzie Chapman, ZestMoney

Transactional credit in India is massively under-penetrated with just 60 million credit cards vs 800 million plus debit cards. – Aishwarya Jaishankar, Hyperface

The need for financial services innovation is much larger for these 500-600 million sized segments rather than the top 50-100 million customers in the higher income groups. – Natasha Jethanandani, Kaleidofin

We have one of the highest out-of-pocket expenses in the world when it comes to healthcare. – Sidharth Gurjar, Medfin

India’s dental care market has remained highly fragmented and without any significant technological disruption for decades. However, now with increasing awareness, increasing disposable income, and rising millennial aspirations, the industry is going through a transition. – Hitesh Kakrani, Smiles.ai

The dental care market in India is valued at $4-5 billion, growing at 15 percent CAGR. This is driven by a young population’s increasing awareness of health and aspiration to look better. – Ranjith Menon, Chiratae Ventures

Despite being a $15 billion industry, Indian families don’t have access to healthy and tasty options. – Ahana Gautam, Open Secret

For every population of 1,800, there is one pharmacy. In total, there are 1.6 million pharmacies that cater to 50 million of the population in India. – Shreyans Mehta, MedCords

The organic startup world is just setting foot and the glorious phase of the organic world is yet to come. – Dharmishtha Goenka, Praakritik

In India, the clean label trend is growing considerably and the market will expand further in the coming future. – Aarti Gill, OZiva

The education system usually does not include hands-on experience on new tech solutions, and the best way to do that is by allowing students as interns to design and build world-class products using state of the art technology. – Akhil Mohan, InstantPost

By the time parents realise that their child is not ready for the job market, because the education they received was broken, it is already too late. – Sumeet Mehta, LEAD

While a majority of Indian parents save for their child’s education, the concept of investing and creating a planned fund for their child, from an early age, is still a growing concept. – Eela Dubey, EduFund

88 percent of the 270 million children in K-12 in India do not have access to a PC/laptop. – Mridul Ranjan Sahu, CuriousJr

Innovation, expansion, and consolidation are the broad areas that will impact online education in 2022. – Ambrish Sinha, UNext Learning

The Indian student population base is growing consistently. The future of student housing is going to be driven by technology. – Ajay Gupta, Capital Foods

We believe, over the next five years, almost 70 percent of the used car demand would come from Tier II and III cities. – Akshay Singh, Droom

Today, India is considered as one of the markets with highest potential for the pre-owned cars segment as only 2 out of 100 people in India own a car. – Kunal Mundra, CARS24

It is critical for India to shift to EVs in the coming years as we are the world’s fourth-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide with over 1.9 tonnes of CO2 per head of population in 2019, after China, the US, and the EU. – Mohit Sharma, Oye! Rickshaw

India needs a wider, truer definition of social leadership that juxtaposes impact alongside markets. The imminent global transition to an impact economy offers a solution. – Amit Bhatia, Aspire Impact

India is among the top five largest manufacturing nations in the world and our MSME sector contributes to nearly 30 percent of our GDP. Therefore, it is imperative we support MSMEs for our overall economic growth. – Hardika Shah, Kinara Capital

A lot of geopolitical changes are happening now, and a lot of supply chain disruptions. India is getting better placed in becoming the manufacturing ecosystem. – Sonam Motwani, Karkhana.io

There are millions of small businesses that are really powering this economy. They were not getting the equity financing, media limelight, and weren’t being celebrated as entrepreneurs. – Alok Mittal, Indifi Technologies

Today, MSMEs have over six crore units employing over 11 crore people and are a significant contributor to the economic growth with over 30 percent of contribution to the GDP and over 48 perent of overall exports from India. – Narayan Tatu Rane, Union Minister of MSME

India’s industrial robotics startups have raised about $216 million in investor funding. This is a good start but not enough. – Nikhil Ramaswamy, CynLr

There is no doubt that 2021 will be looked upon as a defining year for Indian SaaS. – Arpit Maheshwari, Stellaris Venture Partners

Festive Indian clothing is incomplete without intricate work and a touch of drama. – Reema Singhania, Maison Blu

Up until recently, the Indian consumer only had access to sub-standard products where beer is concerned. – Tarun Bhargava, Proost Beer

Indian gamers’ propensity to pay is actually growing faster than any other country in the world. – Justin Keeling, Lumikai Fund

The largest exits in any sector last year were in gaming and the two biggest M&A in the country. – Anuj Tandon, KRAFTON

The creation of 10 million hotspots as per the National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) target by 2022 would potentially generate 20-30 million job opportunity in the small and medium-scale sectors. – K Rajaraman, Telecom Secretary

That is the opportunity – the millions of customers coming online and digitising their lives across the length and breadth of the country. – Kabeer Biswas, Dunzo

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

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Down rounds are still rare by historical standards • TechCrunch

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If you thought that the recent venture capital market was tough, let me tell you about 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

With the first week of December under our belts, we’re not too far away from the end of the year. And that means that 2022’s venture capital story has largely been written. It’s not a single narrative; instead, this year started on a high, with momentum from the monstrous 2021 funding period persisting into the new year. From that point, we’ve seen a slowdown accelerate into what some consider a downturn.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money.

Read it every morning on TechCrunch+ or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


Startups raised lots of capital this year. Less, yes, than last year, but more than in nearly any year in recent memory. It’s still a good time to build a tech upstart.

Does that perspective feel too sunny when we hear so much doom and gloom on Twitter regarding startup prospects in a more conservative investing climate?

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Howie Mandel gets a digital twin from DeepBrain AI

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Howie Mandel is stepping into the metaverse. DeepBrain AI has created a pretty realistic AI version of comedian and actor Mandel.

Deepbrain AI, based in South Korea and Palo Alto, California, calls its creation “AI Howie,” and it’s an interactive virtual human and digital twin for immersive and personalized fan experiences. AI Howie mentions VentureBeat and talks to me in the attached videos.

Unlike the “deepfakes” of Tom Cruise and other actors, the real Howie Mandel cooperated with DeepBrain AI to create the virtual human AI replica of the famous comedian, actor, host, and technology enthusiast. We used “virtual Paris” AI character at our recent MetaBeat event in San Francisco.

“I am equally thrilled, excited, and terrified to finally have the ability of showing up and doing things without going anywhere or doing anything,” said Mandel, in a statement. “Thank you, DeepBrain.”

DeepBrain AI applies deep learning technology to create hyper-realistic virtual humans through its AI Studios and the AI Human platforms. These virtual humans are digital twins of the real person, with the same appearance, voice, gestures, and subtle mannerisms. The AI Studios platform enables script-to-video software that synthesizes dynamic video content in seconds, producing the quickest and most
realistic AI-generated videos. The script-to-video editor makes it easy for customers to select a model and then make it say something based on a script. Within a minute or so the video is made.

This is a powerful communication and marketing tool for celebrities, professional athletes, news anchors, and even politicians. Before working with Howie Mandel, the DeepBrain AI team created digital twins of Premier League soccer superstar Son Heung-Min, multiple news anchors across Asia, and South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol.

Joe Murphy, business development manager for DeepBrain AI, said in an interview with VentureBeat that the virtual Howie is a conversational model that you pepper with questions. DeepBrain AI designs and develops these virtual humans for the purpose of creating digital twins (like Howie Mandel), digital people, and avatars.

It takes about four weeks of machine learning work to create a Howie Mandel digital twin.

“We create models of real people,” Murphy said. “We also have completely synthetic virtual humans. That is what we’ll call digital people. And then avatars are just the basic Roblox type of avatars. But where our technology comes in with the digital twins is we go through a deep learning process to clone the person’s voice, their mannerisms, their face, the way their eyes move, the way their lips move.”

He added, “So we create what we call the digital twin of the real person with all the uniqueness of that person. Our mission is to use this technology that we’ve developed throughout Asia and bring it to America.”

In addition to the script-to-video capabilities, the company provides fully conversational experiences with its AI Human software. The AI Human solution enables fans to interact and engage with AI Howie by simply asking questions. For example, when asked, “What was your favorite act on AGT this season?” the AI Howie model responds in real-time to support interactive, fun, and engaging fan experiences.

AI Humans are available within mobile apps, web browsers, or voice-activated kiosks.

“Our vision is to humanize digital experiences and empower creative teams to generate immersive content at scale,” said Eric Jang, DeepBrain AI CEO. “Working with Howie Mandel was a fun experience, and we are excited to see how the AI Howie collaboration will connect with his fans worldwide.”

DeepBrain AI, (formerly Moneybrain), a conversational AI startup based in Seoul, South Korea, has raised $44 million in a series B round led by Korea Development Bank at a post-money valuation of $180 million. The company started in 2016 and it has raised $54 million to date. The company has 130 employees.

The AI is being used for AI news anchors in South Korea and China at four different television networks. The networks flag that the anchor is an AI avatar so that no one gets confused.

The real Howie Mandel spent about a day shooting video with DeepBrain AI.

While multiple companies are working on virtual humans, DeepBrain AI’s avatars are hyperrealistic. One of Asia’s largest insurance companies is also using it, as is a “brand ambassador” for a soccer team.

“When we worked with Howie Mandel, we went down to his studio in Los Angeles, we provided a script, and fed our training data into our neural network,” Murphy said.

It took about a day to do a video shoot with Mandel and about three to four weeks of machine learning time on the computers to generate the first AI model.

Back in January, DeepBrain AI opened its office in Palo Alto, California, and it is talking to partners in Silicon Valley and the rest of the U.S. Over time, Murphy said that the hope is to create AI avatars in realistic 3D for the metaverse. In South Korea, kiosks are appearing in places like banks with both 2D avatars and 3D avatars.

Over time, Murphy said the avatars have gotten better at mannerisms, lip sync, and subtle gestures. The speed of real-time responses in conversations has also gotten faster. The company is talking about doing more with game companies and major brands.

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This Doggy DNA Test Ships Free for the Holidays

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every pet owner wants the best for their animal sidekick. They want to spend as much time as possible with them, even at the office. But being the best dog owner you can be isn’t all about just being present. It helps to understand your dog on a genotypic as well as phenotypic level. That’s one reason why doggy DNA tests have become so popular.



DNA My Dog

If you’re wondering what to get for your pooch this holiday season, look no further than the DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test. If you order by December 8, you’ll get free shipping, but that date is coming up fast so don’t delay.

This simple, painless kit requires just a swab of your dog’s cheek to get a detailed report delivered in two weeks or less. That report includes a custom photo certificate of the breed breakdown found in your dog’s genetic breed composition, a percentage breakdown of the levels found in your dog’s DNA, and a report on the dominant breeds, personality traits, and health concerns that your dog may be genetically predisposed to. All of that information will help you be a better friend to your dog, making smarter decisions about food, training, and healthcare.

The DNA My Dog Kit was awarded at the 2020 GHO Biotechnology Awards and user Bonnie H. writes, “I loved this experience!!! The kit came immediately with great instructions. The results came exactly when promised. When I couldn’t open the attachment with the results, I emailed my concern and got instant help! To find out his DNA has been the coolest experience!”

Lock in free shipping on a unique gift for your dog by December 8. Grab the DNA My Dog Breed Identification Test on sale for 24% off $79 at just $59.99 now.

Prices subject to change.

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