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STARTUP DIGEST: Top startup stories of the day

STARTUP DIGEST: Top startup stories of the day

STARTUP DIGEST: Top startup stories of the day
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By Palak Agarwal  Oct 15, 2020 9:19:58 PM IST (Updated)

The Apex Court sent some notices to startups today and Zoom has made an encrypted announcement, among other things -- let's have a look at how the day looked like for startups in the country.

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The top startup stories of the day:
  • SC issues notice to Centre, Whatsapp, Google, Amazon over UPI data security
  • The Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, WhatsApp, Google, and Amazon on a plea alleging misuse of data collected by UPI based payment systems.
    The petition was filed by Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam and raises concern over security breaches and how RBI, NPCI allow payment services by these tech companies despite alleged violations of UPI guidelines.
    The PIL also cites national security threat, seeks to restrict launch and operation of Whatsapp Pay. It also seeks restrictions on Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Whatsapp pay from sharing information with parent companies, third parties.
    • SC notice to Centre on PIL to regulate OTT platforms
    • The Supreme Court has sought the Centre's response on a PIL for regulating OTT platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime by an autonomous body. A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notices to the central government, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Internet and Mobile Association of India.
      We will issue notice -- the apex court said while hearing the plea filed by advocates Shashank Shekhar Jha and Apurva Arhatia seeking a proper board/institution /association for the monitoring and management of content on different OTT/Streaming and digital media platforms.
      OTT/Streaming and other digital media platforms have given way out for filmmakers and artists to release their content without being worried about getting clearance certificates for their films and series from the censor board, the plea said.
      • Unacademy to buy back shares worth Rs 25-30 crore
      • Edtech startup Unacademy to buy back shares from current and former employees worth Rs 25-30 crore, the latest in a series of quickly maturing companies which are giving employees some liquidity and rewarding their loyalty.
        As many as 145 current and former employees are expected to exercise their option to sell their Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs), given to early employees who join a startup as part of their salary.
        All options vested till December 10 will be counted for the buyback. Unacademy had also done a smaller ESOP buyback of about Rs 2.5 crore in September last year.
        • Avataar.me raises $7million in Series A from Sequoia Capital India
        • 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) platform, Avataar.me that helps large enterprise customers create shopping experiences for their end-users, has raised its Series A of $7 million from Sequoia Capital India.
          With this funding, Avataar aims to bridge the gap between offline-online experiences by replacing the current 2D visuals with life-size and hyper-realistic 3D XR/AR experiences.
          With physical footfalls muted by COVID-19, Avataar claims it has witnessed business grown by over 3X and has over 150 million end-user impressions for enterprise customers in the last seven months.
          It also has a global AR partnership with Instagram and Facebook to collaborate on AR/VR integrations. It plans to enter other major AR markets such as the UK, Germany, Japan, etc. by 2021.
          • Zoom will start rolling out phase 1 of end-to-end encryption from next week
          • Video conferencing platform Zoom will begin rolling out end-to-end encryption for users starting next week, the company said in a blog post. Zoom has seen a massive upsurge in its user base, owing to the boom in remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
            However, Zoom's fortunes came with doubts over the platform's security. Further, misleading claims of having end-to-end encryption when it didn't make the concerns over Zoom's privacy and security more prominent. Now, end-to-end encryption is on its way to Zoom, for real this time.
            The rollout next week will be a technical preview, meaning that Zoom will take feedback from customers for the next 30 days to make sure its encryption is intact.
            "Zoom users – free and paid – around the world can host up to 200 participants in an E2EE meeting on Zoom, providing increased privacy and security for your Zoom sessions," the company said in its blog post.
            • US court agrees to expedite government TikTok app store ban appeal: Reuters
            • A US appeals court agreed to fast-track a Justice Department appeal of a ruling blocking the government from banning new TikTok downloads from US app stores.
              US District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington issued a preliminary injunction on September 27 that barred the US Commerce Department from ordering Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google app stores to remove the Chinese-owned short video-sharing app for download by new users.
              A US appeals court in Washington said all briefs are due by November 12 with oral arguments to follow. The government's opening brief is due on Friday.
              • Uber launches medicines delivery service in South Africa: Reuters
              • Uber Eats' South African unit has expanded delivery offerings, launching an app-based over-the-counter medicines service as it seeks to claw market share in the fast-growing online shopping sector in Africa's most industrialized economy.
                Uber Eats, a unit of US ride-hailing service Uber Technologies already has the lion's share in South Africa's $600 million food dispatching market.
                The equally lucrative medicines delivery market is controlled by pharmacy chains Clicks and Dis-Chem, which offered delivery services long before COVID-19 spurred a shift to online shopping.
                • The We Company reverts to WeWork name to emphasize office-sharing roots: Reuters
                • The We Company, the parent of money-losing shared office provider WeWork, which last year yanked plans to go public after harsh criticism over its business model and erratic management, is dropping the "we" moniker to revert to its better-known name, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
                  Restoration of WeWork as the official name is the most symbolic effort to date by management installed last year by majority owner SoftBank Group to focus on its core office-sharing business.
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