There were several important developments in the startup space during this week, which include IPO-bound Paytm will issue fresh equity, Mindtickle eyes unicorn tag; no relief for Amazon, Flipkart against CCI probe, and Chinese apps may face ban in the US. Here are the stories that hit headlines this week:
Paytm to raise Rs 12,000 cr via IPO
Digital payment app Paytm is looking to raise Rs 12,000 crore through fresh issue of shares in its upcoming IPO, the company told shareholders in a letter on Friday.
The company has called for an extra-ordinary general meeting on July 12 to approve the IPO. There could also be an Offer for Sale by some existing investors, the company said, though it did not share more details on the same.
Paytm also looks to declassify Vijay Shekhar Sharma as the promoter of the company and the company will list as a professionally managed company.
Paytm has also sought shareholders’ approval for pre-IPO private placement, and said “In the event of a pre-IPO placement, the size of offer would be reduced.”
CNBC-TV18 had reported on May 31 that the board of One97 Communications had given the in-principle approval for the listing. Paytm is look at a Diwali listing.
ShareChat to buy back ESOPs
Mohalla Tech, the parent company of regional language social media platform ShareChat and short video app Mojwill, bought back employee stocks worth $19.1 million. The move comes a few months after it raised $502 million at a valuation of $2.1 billion, thus making an entry into the startup unicorn club.
In all, 200 existing and former employees with vested options will be eligible to participate in this process. They can sell up to 100 percent of their vested shares at their present stock valuation.
ShareChat has also revised its ESOP exercise price from Rs 1,551 to Re 1 and tweaked its vesting policy. According to the new policy, 25 percent of ESOPs will vest in the first year, followed by 8.25 percent every quarter.
MindTickle eyes unicorn tag: Report
SoftBank, the Japanese investment giant, is continuing its dealmaking spree. Its latest is a $100 million top-up in software firm MindTickle, valuing it at a billion dollars, according to a Moneycontrol report.
The deal will make Mindtickle India’s latest unicorn- the newest member in a record-breaking year for unicorns.
“They have delivered on what they promised SoftBank. They have grown well, executed well. SoftBank is doing this round because they know somebody else will do the round if they don’t. They want to double down on a plan that has worked so far,” sources told Moneycontrol.
BYJU’s becomes India’s most valued startup at $16.5 bn
Edtech giant Byju’s has become the most valued startup in the Indian ecosystem with a $16.5 billion valuation post a fund raise of Rs 2494 crore, as per regulatory filings.
The investors in the new round included Zoom founder Eric Yuan, apart from others such as UBS Group, Blackstone, ADQ, and Phoenix Rising, as per regulatory filings.
Byju’s has surpassed fintech giant Paytm, which was valued at $16 billion in its last round of funding in November 2019. Byju’s valuation has more than doubled since January 2020 when the company was valued at $8 billion.
IPO-bound PharmEasy in talks to buy stake in Thyrocare; B Capital buys stake for $20 mn
IPO-bound PharmEasy is in talks to buy stake in diagnostics services provider Thyrocare, sources with direct knowledge of the matter have told CNBC-TV18.
Lack of succession options at Thyrocare could be a key reason for the founder and chairman – Dr. Velumani to sell stake in the company, as per people in the know. Moreover, the current valuations are rewarding. Promoters held 66.14 percent stake in Thyrocare as of March 31, 2021.
It is also gathered that Dr Velumani may even look at investing in API Holdings as part of the deal. PharmEasy is valued at $1.8 billion after Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital bought stake for $20 million.
Tiger Global in talks to invest $100 million in used-car retailer Spinny: Report
Investment firm Tiger Global Management is in talks to invest $100 million in used-car retailing platform Spinny. With this investment, the company’s valuation will double to $800 million.
The discussions between Tiger Global and Spinny are at an advanced stage and the deal is likely to close soon, Moneycontrol reported citing sources.
Spinny was valued at $350 million in its last funding round in April in which it raised $65 million from investors like General Catalyst and Think Investments, the report said.
Jumbotail, a business-to-business (B2B) marketplace for food and grocery products, has raised Rs 35 crore from venture debt provider Alteria Capital. The company plans to use the funds to expand its operations across the country, fund its working capital requirements, and enhance its small, SME focused fintech business.
Software testing platform BrowserStack has secured $200 million in Series B funding at a $4 billion valuation. The round was led by tech expert Mary Meeker’s fund BOND, with participation from Insight Partners and existing investor Accel. The investment will support BrowserStack’s strategic acquisitions, expansion of its product offerings, and continued scale and growth.
Professional networking and jobs platform for India’s rising working class, Apna, has raised $70 million in Series B round led by Insight Partners and Tiger Global. Existing investors, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India, Greenoaks Capital and Rocketship VC have also participated in the round. With this investment, Apna has now raised over $90 million and is now valued at $570 million.
InsurTech firm RenewBuy has raised $ 45 million in a series C funding round. This funding round was led by Apis Growth Fund II, a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners LLP. RenewBuy’s existing investors, Lok Capital and IIFL Wealth also participated.
FamPay, a neobank or payment app for teenagers, has raised $38 million Series A, led by Elevation Capital, General Catalyst, Rocketship VC and Greenoaks Capital. Existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital and Venture Highway also participated in the round. The company is now valued at $42.7 million.
AI-driven talent management startup ‘Sense’ has raised $16 million in a Series C funding round led by B2B and SaaS specialist venture capitalist – Avataar Ventures. Existing investors Accel & Google Ventures also participated in the funding round. The startup has added new members to its executive leadership. Sanjay Dharmani, ex-InMobi joined Sense India as Managing Director and Nishant Rao, founder of Avataar Venture Partners also joined the board.
SaaS platfotm Convosight has raised $9 million in its Series A round led by Singapore-based VC firm Qualgro. Unilever Ventures and Ajay Gupta (ex McKinsey), along with existing backers IvyCap Ventures and Sequoia Capital India’s Surge also participated in the round.
Fintech platform Flexmoney has raised $4.8 million in funding led by Pravega Ventures. The series A round also saw participation from Silicon Valley-based Z5 Capital as well as individual investors, including Ben Davey, former Group Head of Strategy, Barclays Bank & CEO Barclays Ventures, Mike Smith, ex-Chief Product and Technology Officer, Barclays Ventures, Ambarish Malpani and Rishad Byramjee, Group MD and CEO Casby Logistics.
SimpliContract, an AI and SaaS-based contract lifecycle management platform, has raised $1.8 million in a seed funding round led by Kalaari Capital. Picus Capital, Arka Ventures, and Digital Sparrow Capital also participated. The company will use the fresh capital infusion to enhance its engineering, AI research, and marketing.
Nutraceutical start-up Power Gummies has raised $1 million in second bridge round funding led by growing accelerator VC 9Unicorns. The funding round also saw participation from investors such as DSG and Pivot ventures.
MSME edtech company MSMEx has raised $1 million in a Pre-Series A funding round co-led by Razorpay and the international investment firm TNF Investments. The firm will use this funding to develop new intuitive technologies, including a deep learning-based recommender system, a live chat system, an AI-based behaviour analytics system, and scale its operations to serve more users.
Nazara Technologies to acquire gaming firm PublishMe
Gaming and sports media platform, Nazara Technologies has made its first acquisition after it listed on exchanges in March this year.
The company backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, is acquiring a majority stake in Publishme, the largest mobile game publishing agency in West Asia and Turkey. As part of the deal, Nazara will invest about Rs 20 crore in Publishme’s parent Arrakis Tanitim Organizasyon Pazarlama in a primary and secondary purchase.
Nazara will acquire 69.82 percent of the company, as it looks to strengthen its presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the company said.
Glance acquires Shop101 in e-commerce push
Glance – which owns video-platform Roposo, is all set to acquire full-stack ecommerce platform Shop101. This acquisition comes as Glance looks to bolster its position in the influencer-led commerce space in the country.
The buyout’s deal size remains undisclosed. However, it will provide Glance and Roposo end-to-end capability for launching celebrity and influencer-led LIVE commerce.
Mukesh Bansal, Hari Menon join 1MG board: Report
CureFit founder and Tata Digital President Mukesh Bansal, BigBasket founder Hari Menon and Ankur Verma of Tata Sons, join 1MG’s board, according to a Moneycontrol report. The move comes days after Tata Digital acquired a majority stake in the e-pharma firm.
According to the report, Bansal will be the new chairman of the board. This is also his first significant appointment in a portfolio company after he joined Tata Digital as President to help lead their super app efforts.
MyGlamm names actor Shraddha Kapoor brand ambassador, investing partner
D2C beauty and personal care brand MyGlamm, has appointed actor Shraddha Kapoor as their brand ambassador. Shraddha has also invested an undisclosed amount in the brand.
The venture says incorporating customer feedback and wants, in their product formulations is what attracted actor Shradha Kapoor to invest in the brand.
No immediate relief for Amazon, Flipkart against CCI probe
Not giving immediate relief to Flipkart and Amazon, a Karnataka HC division bench has posted their appeals against a probe by the Competition Commission of India for full hearing and the matter will be heard next on Monday.
The ecommerce companies are seeking a stay on the Karnataka HC’s order allowing a probe by the CCI against them for alleged anti-competitive practices.
Amazon and Flipkart had filed a writ appeal against the Karnataka High Court’s order last week dismissing the petitions by the company as well as rival Amazon that sough to quash a probe by the Competition Commission of India against them over alleged competitive practices.
Karnataka High Court on June 11 dismissed the petitions by the ecommerce players, over a year-and-a-half after giving the companies an interim stay on the CCI probe.
Paytm launches Covid-19 vaccine slot booking feature
Fintech major Paytm has announced the launch of vaccination slot booking service on the app. This is in addition to its Vaccine Finder service which Paytm launched in May.
“Paytm users can now search, discover & also book their vaccination slots for both Covaxin and Covishield at the nearest centre through the Paytm app. The service would help Indians seamlessly book vaccination slots and gain immunity, helping in fighting the ongoing pandemic,” Paytm said in a statement.
The Central government had, last month, released new guidelines for the integration of CoWIN with third-party applications, easing the way for such apps to offer vaccine bookings.
Healthcare startup Eka Care integrates with CoWIN for vaccination booking
Healthcare platform Eka.Care has gone live with CoWIN-approved vaccination slot booking to help people get jabs in an orderly manner.
The ‘eka.care’ platform’s integration with CoWIN offers a bouquet of services including seamless slot booking, pre and post-vaccination tele-consultation.
Google announces another $15 Mn grants to help rural India fight Covid-19
Google has announced that the company will support procurement and installation of approximately 80 oxygen generation plants in high-need and rural locations of the country through additional grants worth $15 million to two non profit organisations.
For the procurement of oxygen, the company will work with GiveIndia and PATH. Google will also provide a $500,000 grant to ARMMAN to run skilling programmes for 180,000 Accredited Social Health Activists and 40,000 Auxiliary Nurse Midwives in 15 Indian states.
The tech giant’s philanthropic arm Google.org had previously provided aid worth $18 million at the onset of the second Covid-19 wave in India in April.
Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife MacKenzie Scott donates $2.7 Bn; GiveIndia among 286 recipients
Bangalore-based non-profit GiveIndia is one of the 286 beneficiaries of billionaire philanthropist Mackenzie Scott’s recent $2.7billion charity donation.
The NGO said that the money comes with “no restrictions”.
The latest funding from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo’s ex-wife will help GiveIndia enhance crowdfunding and partnering with corporates and foundations to support their giving.
Twitter loses intermediary status; what does it mean?
Twitter has lost legal immunity in India following its failure to comply with the new IT rules that require the platform to appoint key officers in the country, according to reports.
“Due to their non-compliance, their protection as an intermediary is gone. Twitter is liable for penal actions against any Indian law just as any publisher is,” NDTV citing sources as saying.
This means that the microblogging platform has now lost its indemnity and intermediary status, under which it was granted exemption from liability available under Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000.
The implication of this development is that if there is any charge against Twitter for alleged unlawful content it would be treated as a publisher – not an intermediary – and be liable for punishment under any law, including IT Act, as also the penal laws of the country, ANI reported.
Facebook launches new initiative to help children be safe online
Facebook has launched a new initiative to encourage reporting of content related to child abuse on its social media platforms, instead of sharing it further.
Called ‘Report it, don’t share it’, the initiative was launched in collaboration with civil society organisations like Aarambh India Initiative, Cyber Peace Foundation and Arpan.
This comes after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) wrote to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter and Telegram, asking them to flag illegal posts about adopting orphaned children to relevant authorities.
D2C brand Bewakoof launches limited edition Pride collection
To celebrate the pride month, D2C fashion brand ‘Bewakoof’ has released their extensive Pride collection of all-gender footwear and apparel in Pride-inspired colors, such as the cozy, rainbow-patterned Disco Stripes Slide.
As they launch a special limited edition Pride collection on their platform Bewakoof.com, the company said they proudly support the LGBTQ community and celebrates individuality.
Bewakoof is backed by Investors like Ivycap & Investcorp.
Rajasthan govt partners with ConveGenius for digital learning
Rajasthan Government has signed an MOU with ConveGenius, an EdTech enterprise, to make digital learning accessible to all students enrolled in government and low-fee private schools in the state.
This partnership will also strengthen the Department of Education’s ‘AaoGhar Mein Seekhein 2.0’ program to be launched on June 21, the company said.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Chinese apps may face ban in US
Chinese apps could face subpoenas or bans in the United States under President Joe Biden’s order.
Biden’s executive order aimed at safeguarding Americans’ sensitive data would force some Chinese apps to take tougher measures to protect private information if they want to remain in the U.S. market, sources told Reuters.
The U.S. Department of Commerce may issue subpoenas to collect information about certain smartphone, tablet and desktop computer software applications. Then the agency may negotiate conditions for their use in the United States or ban the apps, sources added.
The goal is to keep foreign adversaries like China and Russia from gaining access to large amounts of personal and proprietary business information.
China’s market regulator launches antitrust probe into IPO-bound Didi
China’s market regulator has begun an antitrust probe into Didi Chuxing, just as the ride-hailing giant is pushing ahead with what could be the largest initial public offering in the United States this year.
China’s market regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), is investigating whether Didi used any competitive practices that squeezed out smaller rivals unfairly, sources told Reuters. The regulator is also examining whether the pricing mechanism used by Didi’s core ride-hailing business is transparent enough, they added.
Reuters reported that the probe is the latest in a sweeping crackdown on China’s so-called “platform” companies, including Alibaba Group and Tencent.
PUBG maker Krafton aims for up to $5 billion in South Korea’s biggest IPO
Krafton, the maker of the blockbuster video game ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ (PUBG), is aiming to raise as much as $5 billion in South Korea’s biggest initial public offering, Reuters reported.
The Krafton IPO will offer for purchase 10 million shares, including 7 million new shares and 3 million existing shares, of the company at an indicative range of 458,000-557,000 won per share.
At the top of the range, this would be South Korea’s largest listing, beating Samsung Life Insurance’s 4.9 trillion won IPO in 2010. The pricing is expected to be decided in the coming weeks.
Singapore startup Carro turns Unicorn with $360 Mn funding; also eyeing IPO
Singapore startup Carro has raised $360 million in its latest funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund II. The Southeast Asian online automotive marketplace has raced past the $1 billion valuation mark to become the region’s latest unicorn.
The company will use the fresh funds to expand into new locations and grow its business in its existing markets — Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. It also plans to expand its portfolio of financial services and accelerate development of artificial intelligence capabilities.
The firm also has plans for an IPO in the next 18-24 months in the United
EU data watchdogs ruling sharpens focus on Facebook, big tech
Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants could face more scrutiny and potential sanctions in the European Union after the bloc’s top court backed national privacy watchdogs to pursue them, even when they are not the lead regulators.
Consumer lobbying group BEUC welcomed Tuesday’s ruling by the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), which backed the right of national agencies to act, citing enforcement bottlenecks.
Along with Google, Twitter and Apple, Facebook has its EU headquarters in Ireland, putting it under the oversight of the Irish data protection regulator under privacy rules known as GDPR, which allow for fines of up to 4 percent of a company’s global turnover for breaches.
Several national watchdogs in the 27-member EU have long complained about their Irish counterpart, saying that it takes too long to decide on cases. Ireland has dismissed this, saying it has to be extra meticulous in dealing with powerful and well-funded tech giants.
Microsoft elevates CEO Satya Nadella as Chairman
Satya Nadella, the chief executive officer of Microsoft, has been named as the chairman of the company. The move strengthens Nadella’s influence at the Micorsoft after his stint as the CEO for more than seven years.
Nadella succeeds John Thompson, who will return to the role of lead independent director, a position he held before being named chairman in 2014, Microsoft said in a statement.
Nadella, the company’s third CEO, will also be the third chairman in Microsoft’s history, following Gates and Thompson.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg drops off top CEO list: Glassdoor.
Mark Zuckerberg’s approval among some Facebook employees has slipped, dislodging him from Glassdoor’s ranking of the Top 100 CEOs, a list he’s been on annually since 2013, Bloomberg reported.
Worker sentiment on Zuckerberg, as measured by Glassdoor surveys taken by more than 700 Facebook employees between May 2020 and May 2021, declined particularly in the last months of 2020 and early this year, when Facebook was managing the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election and misinformation around the Covid-19 pandemic.
While Zuckerberg still managed a rating of 88 percent, higher than the average 73 percent approval rating for CEOs generally, that wasn’t enough for the top 100 list, where Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella scores a 97 percent and Apple Tim Cook scores 95 percent.