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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  Nov 5, 2020 10:43:23 PM IST (Published)

Check out all the interesting happenings in the startup ecosystem across the world.

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The top startup stories of the day:
‘India’s quest to become AatmaNirbhar is not just a vision but a well-planned economic strategy’: PM Narendra Modi during the Virtual Global Investor Roundtable
PM Narendra Modi chaired the joins Virtual Global Investor Roundtable, a dialogue between world’s 20 largest pension & sovereign wealth funds & India’s top policymakers.
During the roundtable, he added that ‘India believes in following the path of growth with Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG). India offers you democracy, demography, demand and diversity’
Talking about the investment, PM Modi said, ‘India wants investment not just in big cities but in smaller cities & towns’
Speaking about the Aatmanirbhar Bharat programme, PM Modi said, “India’s quest to become AatmaNirbhar is not just a vision but a well-planned economic strategy.
A strategy that aims to use the capabilities of our businesses and skills of our workers to make India into a global manufacturing powerhouse.”
WhatsApp rolls out disappearing messages feature
WhatsApp is rolling out the new ‘Disappearing Messages’ feature from November 5.
The feature, which would allow users to enable an option on individual and group chats that deletes new messages after seven days, will be available across multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, and KaiOS devices.
It would also be available on WhatsApp Web and desktop platforms this month.
 Funding of the day
  • Public Investment Fund invests Rs 9,555 crore in Reliance Retail for 2.04% stake
  • Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) will invest Rs 9,555 crore, or roughly $1.3 billion, for a 2.04 percent stake in its retail unit Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL).
    Reliance Retail Venture’s subsidiary Reliance Retail operates India’s largest retail business serving close to 640 million footfalls across its 12,000-odd stores nationwide in 7000 cities.
    This is the eighth investment by marquee global investors in Reliance Retail Ventures in less than two months and values RRVL at a pre-money equity value of Rs 4.587 lakh crore (around $62.4 billion). Including the PIF deal, RIL has so far sold a little over 10 percent in RRVL for a combined Rs 47,265 crore.
    The latest fundraising is part of RIL’s strategy to expand its retail business and take on rivals such as Amazon India and Walmart-owned Flipkart in India’s huge market.
    •  Flipkart Group to invest in USPL to enhance its fashion portfolio
    • The Flipkart Group has made a strategic investment in USPL, a premium youth-focused fashion brand house, as Flipkart strengthens its fashion portfolio. Through this investment, the Flipkart Group will work closely with the USPL team to deepen product offerings on its platforms.
      This is a Series F funding for USPL from the Flipkart Group along with participation from existing investor Accel Partners. This investment will significantly step-up the online strategy of USPL by strengthening the existing long-standing engagement between USPL and Flipkart Group.
      • Udacity secures $75 million to continue the momentum
      • Udacity, which prepares employees and students for careers of the future announced that its Q3 enterprise and government bookings rose by 120% year-over-year, total bookings increased 80% year-over-year, and ARR increased 260% in H1 2020. In addition, the company has reached profitability and, to continue building on this growth, Udacity has signed a $75 million debt facility, with Hercules Capita serving as the underwriter.
        Yatra.com sees an increase of about 36% in booking inquiries vs initial COVID levels: Yatra.com survey
        Yatra.com has conducted an annual festive survey among 5000 travellers. The online travel portal witnessed an uptick in demand for travel and saw an increase of about 36 percent in booking inquiries vs initial COVID levels.
        The survey highlighted that Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, North-East, Kerala, Rajasthan emerge top travel destinations. The respondents preferred hills over beaches; 37.9 percent of respondents would like to visit hills.
        The survey also highlighted that over 60 percent of respondents were comfortable travelling by flights, 19 .8 percent by private cars, 9.2 percent by trains. Keeping in mind the hygiene and safety, 72.1 percent of respondents gave priority to sanitization processes of destination before planning a visit.
        The survey also showed that 75 percent of respondents were planning to take up a vacation. 39.3 percent of respondents planning leisure trips for more than one month in advance. 52.5 percent of respondents are seeking medical/travel insurance. Over 50 percent of respondents would prefer ordering room service
        Airbnb to make IPO filing next week, braving COVID-19 surge: source
        Airbnb plans to make its IPO registration public next week, putting it on course for a New York stock market debut in December even as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, two people familiar with the matter said.
        The US home rental company’s planned debut on the Nasdaq is set to be one of the largest stock market listings of 2020, amid a pandemic that has seen demand for house rentals surge as vacationers snub hotels to practice social distancing.
        Airbnb’s initial public offering filing will give outsiders their first detailed look into Airbnb’s business, shedding light on the company’s reinvention after the coronavirus outbreak pushed it to shift focus from city apartments to holiday homes.
        Amid US election, Bezos and Zuckerberg see gains in fortunes
        Amid the US Presidential Election, technology billionaires saw gains in fortunes, with Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg recording the largest increases in wealth.
        167 US billionaires gained $57.4 billion on November 4, the day after polling closed, Bloomberg reported. Amazon’s Bezos, the world’s richest person, added $10.5 billion to his net worth, while Facebook’s Zuckerberg saw a gain of $8.1 billion.
        The report said that during Donald Trump’s presidency, billionaires added both wealth and stature due to the strong performance of equity markets and tax cuts.
        Twitter: In Headlines
        • Twitter restricts Trump’s tweet on voter fraud
        • Twitter has restricted a post from US President Donald Trump’s campaign official that alleged voter fraud.
          Trump’s tweet came after counting of mail-in ballots was stopped in Philadelphia and amid allegations of voter fraud in Pennsylvania.
          Earlier, Mike Roman, Trump’s director of election-day operations, posted a video showing a woman in Philadelphia apparently returning multiple ballots to a dropbox and claimed Democrats were “trying to steal the election in broad daylight.”
          Twitter added a warning label on the tweet on Tuesday, saying that “some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”
          The platform also restricted the ability to retweet or reply to the tweet.
          • Twitter suspends fake Associated Press accounts that made bogus US election calls
          • Several Twitter accounts falsely claiming to be tied to The Associated Press have been suspended after broadcasting unverified US election results, according to screenshots circulating online and a review of the accounts in question.
            All four accounts were disabled after making calls on the results of an undeclared swing state in the presidential election that the news agency - which is closely watched for its authoritative take on US electoral contests - had not made.
            “These are bogus accounts not affiliated with AP,” the AP said in a statement.
            Jeff Bezos sells 1 million shares of Amazon worth over $3 billion: Report
            Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sold over $3 billion worth of shares in the company, according to media reports citing regulatory filings.
            Bezos this week sold 1 million shares or 1.8 percent of his stake in the e-commerce giant, Forbes reported citing documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
            According to the report, the transactions were made on November 2 and 3, and the buyer of the shares was not specified. After deducting taxes, Bezos is estimated to receive $2.3 billion.
            US judge unsure if he has grounds to issue new TikTok injunction
            A US judge said that he was uncertain if he had a legal basis for barring the US Commerce Department from imposing restrictions on video-sharing app TikTok after a Pennsylvania judge had already blocked the government’s plan.
            Beijing-based ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, argues that the previous ruling could still be overturned on appeal.
            Nintendo raises Switch forecast to 24 million units on pandemic gaming boom
            Japan’s Nintendo expects to sell 24 million of its Switch games consoles in the year ending March 2021, up from a forecast of 19 million but still seen as cautious, as the COVID-19 pandemic drives a gaming boom.
            The Kyoto-based gaming company also hiked its operating profit forecast by 50% to 450 billion yen ($4.3 billion) as titles such as “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” bring new consumers to the Switch in its fourth year on the market.
            Operating profit for July-September alone more than doubled from the same period a year earlier to 147 billion yen, Reuters calculations showed, with Nintendo reporting first-half operating earnings were 291 million yen.
            T-Mobile to pay $200 million fine to resolve FCC subsidy investigation 
            T-Mobile will pay a $200 million penalty to resolve a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigation into its subsidiary Sprint for failing to comply with rules on a low-income subsidy program, the government said.
            An FCC probe found Sprint, prior to its merger with T-Mobile, was claiming monthly subsidies for serving 885,000 subscribers in the program known as Lifeline even though those subscribers were not using the service. 
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