Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
Elon Musk's message for Twitter employees: commit to 'long hours' or leave
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Twitter CEO Elon Musk has sent a companywide email to remaining employees of the social media business, demanding they commit to working “long hours at high intensity” or receive “three months of severance,” if they did not consent to these conditions, or support his vision for “Twitter 2.0.
The companywide ultimatum, sent around midnight in San Francisco time and shared with CNBC, comes after Musk has already fired key Twitter executives, laid off half of Twitter’s full-time employees, and slashed the number of contractors working with the company without notice.
This week, he also fired veteran engineers at Twitter after they criticized him in public, or in the company’s internal Slack channels.
Elon Musk pushes Twitter Blue relaunch to November 29
Elon Musk has confirmed that the Twitter blue tick subscription service, which was suspended less than a week ago, will be relaunched on November 29, a minor delay from his initial tentative timeline “to make sure it is rock solid”.
Twitter suspended the new subscription-based blue tick verification labels on November 11 due to several issues. On Saturday, Musk hinted that Twitter Blue will probably come back by the end of next week.
In a reply to a tweet, he clarified that all unpaid blue ticks will be removed in a few months. Thus, accounts which had verified blue ticks earlier will need to pay the subscription fee to maintain their verified status.
SoftBank looks to sell $200M worth of stake in Paytm as lock-in ends: Report
SoftBank is looking to sell $215 million worth of shares in Paytm as the fintech's lock-in for pre-IPO investors ends later this week, according to Bloomberg News.
The Japanese investor is offering to sell 29 million shares in the company at Rs 555 to Rs 601.45 apiece, at a discount of up to 7.72 percent to the current market price.
SoftBank’s investment in Paytm is in the red. It had made a total investment of $1.6 billion in the fintech major and taken out around $220-250 million in the company’s IPO last November.
With the fintech’s shares trading 70 percent below its IPO price, SoftBank’s remaining stake of around 17.5 percent in the company is currently worth $900 million.
Swiggy introduces sexual harassment policy for women delivery executives
Foodtech major Swiggy has introduced a policy on Sexual Harassment Redressal for female delivery partners which is in alignment with the POSH (Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013) Act.
If the harassment occurs at a customer’s location, after the initial investigation is done, no other female delivery executive with Swiggy will be assigned to that customer. The customer’s number will be highlighted so that a female executive is not assigned even if the customer changes location, the firm said in a blogpost.
In a sexual harassment case arising due to customers, male counterparts, restaurant partners, and Swiggy employees, the woman delivery executive can reach out to Swiggy’s Emergency SOS number for support. After gettingemergency assistance, should she want Swiggy to conduct an investigation, she can lodge a complaint with Swiggy’s on-ground team.
Moreover, grievous offences punishable by law will lead to the removal of customers from the Swiggy platform.
“At any point, the woman delivery executive can raise a police complaint against the respondent and this policy doesn’t limit that. In such cases, we will always support the authorities in the investigation,” the company said.
Delivery executives have the option to decline deliveries if they deem an area to be unsafe, with no questions or disincentives placed. The company is also working on creating awareness among all stakeholders about the policy.
Rebel Foods onboards 15 restaurants brands
Cloud kitchen unicorn Rebel Foods has partnered with over 15 national restaurants brands such as Social, Haldiram’s, Nirula’s, Boss Burger, Vasudev Adigas, Gulab Wala, Dairy Day, Artinci, Daryaganj, Chaipoint, Big Wong, and others over the last two months as a part of its Rebel Launcher programme.
Launcher essentially allows third-party restaurant brands to utilise the company’s cloud kitchen network to enable online deliveries. The move is in line with earmarking an investment of $150 million to acquire and scale new food brands and on-boarding iconic brands, the company said in statement.
With these additions, Rebel Launcher now has over 40 partner brands across its over 450 kitchens.
upGrad to hire over 1,400 people by March 2023
Edtech major upGrad has announced that it plans to hire over 1,400 team members by March 2023 to continue its growth and expansion plans to impact learners in India and globally. The company has made offers to hire people across India and global offices between November 2022 and March 2023.
The majority of the 1,400 members will be hired as Faculty, Trainers, and Experts, followed by sales and marketing, content, delivery, and learning experience.
The focus of the hires will be on their high growth areas, which include Study Abroad, 10 Global Campuses, Job enabled and ready programmes that upGrad launched in India and the US in the last 90 days, as well as at its ATLAS SkillTech University in Mumbai.
Also, upGrad has signed new leases for 3,35,000 square feet in the last few months to be used for office space, offline campuses, learner housing, studios, and training rooms for a growing roster of teachers and faculty.
Zingbus partners with Climes to cut down carbon emission
Online bus booking company Zingbus has partnered with Sequoia-backed Climate Finance startup, Climes, steps onto a sustainability journey.
The travel startup offers carbon neutralisation as an option to its passengers in over 500 cities in 17 states through a fleet of over 350 buses. As part of the partnership, Zingbus users will have the choice to neutralise the amount of CO2 emitted during their journey at minimal prices in a single click, a statement said.
For a person traveling from Delhi to Manali, neutralising emissions could cost as little as Rs 3, which is contributed to verified carbon reduction projects on the Climes platform. In doing so, the passenger is actively engaged in climate action with Zingbus and Climes, all in a single click, the company added.
Navi Technologies launches co-lending platform
Navi Technologies has launched its cloud-native real-time co-lending and direct assignment platform, Navi Lending Cloud (NLC). The platform will enable digital management co-lending and direct assignment partnerships with banks or NBFCs, a statement said.
The platform will allow investors to explore a portfolio of their liking from Navi Finserv’s books which they can analyze, invest and monitor. Investors will be able to complete Direct Assignment transactions in 2-3 days versus the typical current timeline of 15-20 days.
While, NLC’s co-lending features real-time loan disbursals through custom credit policies. The platform also facilitates real-time settlement of collection payments to co-lenders and manages reconciliation.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Musk takes stand in $56Bn Tesla pay trial
Elon Musk, known for his combative testimony, took the stand in a Delaware court to defend against claims that his $56 billion Tesla pay package was based on easy performance targets and approved by a compliant board of directors.
Tesla shareholder Richard Tornetta sued Musk and the board in 2018 and hopes to prove that Musk used his dominance over the electric vehicle maker's board to dictate terms of the package, which did not require him to work at Tesla full-time.
Musk's testimony before Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick comes as he is struggling to oversee a chaotic overhaul of Twitter, the social media platform he was forced to buy for $44 billion in a separate legal battle before the same judge after trying to back out of that deal.
Tencent’s revenue down 2% year on year to $19Bn in Q3
Chinese tech giant Tencent's revenue fell 2 percent year on year in the third quarter, the company said, as Beijing's regulatory crackdown on video games and the tech sector hit earnings.
The Hong Kong-listed company, which is the world's top video game maker and the owner of popular super-app WeChat, posted revenues of 140 billion yuan ($19 billion) in the third quarter, according to a stock exchange filing.
It is Tencent's second consecutive quarterly decline in revenue, as the company grapples with tightened regulations.
Tencent said domestic video games in particular saw a 7 percent decrease in the three months ending September 30, "as transitional industry challenges resulted in lower paying user counts".
Profit attributable to equity holders was up 1 percent in the third quarter, with the company saying it had implemented "business rationalisation and cost efficiency initiatives".
Tencent said it had cut costs in its cloud service projects and also "more tightly controlled" content costs for online advertising.
Sam Bankman-Fried faces possible US trip for questioning over FTX collapse: Report
American and Bahamian authorities are discussing the possibility of bringing FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to the United States for questioning, Bloomberg News reported.
SBF's collapsed crypto exchange FTX, which filed for bankruptcy in the United States last week, has fanned fears about the future of the crypto industry after it outlined a "severe liquidity crisis".
Since then regulators have opened investigations and lawmakers have called for clearer rules on how the industry operates.