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News roundup: Top startup stories of the week

News roundup: Top startup stories of the week

News roundup: Top startup stories of the week
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By Palak Agarwal  Oct 9, 2020 9:23 PM IST (Updated)

Here are the top startup stories of the week.

This week, the startup ecosystem was buzzing with a lot of new developments.

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Here are the top startup stories of the week:
1. Paytm in news
Paytm decides to launch an 'Android Mini App Store” for Indian developers
Homegrown digital payments and technology platform Paytm has been leading the startup rebellion against Google in India over the past week. Today, the company made headlines when it announced that it has decided to launch an “Android Mini App Store” for Indian developers.
Paytm First Games back on Google Play Store
Paytm First Games makes a comeback on Google Play Store after weeks it was removed over violating Google’s guidelines on ‘gambling’ and ‘fantasy real-money gaming’ for app developers. Google earlier had removed Paytm's mobile application from its mobile app store platform Play Store and cities cited its policies on gaming and betting as the reason for the move. Paytm was restored the same day three weeks ago.
Paytm First Games to provide a launchpad to homegrown developers, special focus on Indian culture and folk tales
Paytm First Games (PFG) has launched Rs 10 crore fund to provide a Launchpad to indigenous developers and design studios to promote their innovative games focused on Indian culture and folk tales. Paytm First Games will organize a series of events and hackathons to identify young talented developers and curate games that have the potential to be successful across all user segments. The company will help them with technology solutions and mentor them to make their games more interactive, seamless & well-designed. PFG will also promote these games on its app and market them to reach to its 80 million-strong gamer base.
2. Google extends Play Store policy timeline for Indian app developers by six months
Google said it will defer the September 2021 deadline for existing apps to comply with its Play Store billing system by six months. "For all apps that currently use an alternative payment system we set a timeline of 31st March 2022," Google said. New apps submitted to the Play Store after January 20, 2021, will need to be in compliance with the clarified policy. Google said it is making an exception only for India and the original timeline will be enforced for developers globally.
3. Paper Boat, McDonald's owner, others in talks to acquire Raw Pressery in distress sale: Moneycontrol
A string of new-age consumer brands as well as established food retail operators are in talks to acquire stressed cold-pressed juices startup Raw Pressery at a fraction of its previous valuation, sources have told Moneycontrol. Paper Boat, run by Hector Beverages, healthy snacks firm Wingreens Farms and Hardcastle Restaurants, which operates McDonald’s restaurants in west and south India, are in the race to acquire Raw Pressery for about Rs 150-200 crore, the sources said.
4. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to invest Rs 5,512.50 crore in Reliance Retail Ventures
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) will invest Rs 5,512.5 crore in Reliance Industries Ltd's retail arm, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL).
This investment values RRVL at a pre-money equity value of Rs 4.285 lakh crore. ADIA’s investment will translate into a 1.20 percent equity stake in RRVL on a fully diluted basis. With this investment, RRVL has raised Rs 37,710 crore from leading global investors including Silver Lake, KKR, General Atlantic, Mubadala, GIC, TPG, and ADIA in less than four weeks.
5. CCI appeals in SC against Karnataka HC stay on probe against Amazon, Flipkart
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has appealed in the Supreme Court against Karnataka HC's interim stay on a probe that the watchdog had ordered against ecommerce majors Flipkart and Amazon over alleged anti-competitive practices. The CCI has filed a Special Leave Petition on September 21 in the Supreme Court.
The competition watchdog had, on January 13, ordered a probe against Amazon, Flipkart on alleged anti-competitive practices on a case filed by the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh under Section 3 of the Competition Act.
6. Ministry of the urban affairs-Swiggy partner to take street food vendors’ businesses online
Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has partnered with the food tech platform Swiggy to take Street Food Vendors Online Under PM SVANIDHI Scheme to take these small businesses online. The initiative will be launched in Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Indore, and Varanasi on a pilot basis and will onboard 250 vendors. Swiggy on its part will help street vendors with PAN and FSSAI registration, technology or partner app usage training, menu digitisation and pricing, and best hygiene and packaging practices.
7. JetSynthesys buys Pune-based game development studio Nautilus Mobile
JetSynthesys, a digital entertainment, and technology company has acquired Nautilus Mobile, the Pune-based game development studio behind the Real Cricket franchise. This cements its position as the leader of skill-based cricket gaming franchise in the world with more than 100 million downloads and a highly engaged community of over 1 crore monthly active users (MAUs), JetSynthesys said in a press statement. It has an exclusive joint venture with batting legend Sachin Tendulkar and has already released two games with him: Sachin Saga Cricket Champions and Sachin Saga VR
8. Top funding of the week
a) Flipkart-owned Myntra received Rs 755 crore from its Singapore-based parent company ahead of the festive season sales, as per filings sourced from Tofler. Myntra is set to hold its event The Big Fashion Festival starting October 16.
b) Ed-tech startup Pesto Tech raised an undisclosed amount from a clutch of Silicon Valley angels investors including Ryan Hoover (Founder, Product Hunt), Anand Chandrasekaran (Stalwart Angel Investor), Ankur Nagpal (Founder & CEO, Teachable), Sahil Lavingia (Founder & CEO, Gumroad), Hiten Shah (Co-founder & CEO, FYI, usefyi.com), Andreas Klinger (Investor, Remote First capital), Maran Nelson (Founder, Interact), Derek Anderson (Co-founder, Bevy/Startup Grind) & Cindy Bi (General Partner, CapitalX). The startup will be using this funding to strengthen its presence in Silicon Valley.
c) Budget hospitality chain Treebo raised $6 million in a new round of investment from its existing investors. Matrix Partners India, SAIF Partners, Ward Ferry, and Bertelsmann India Investments participated in this round. The company clarified that the fundraising is subject to regulatory approvals, wherever applicable. The investment will help the company strengthen its defences against the COVID19 pandemic. The company will also use this investment to continue building technology products for its business.
d) Fintech startup Uni raised $18.5 million in a funding round led by Lightspeed and Accel. The company, led by Nitin Gupta, former CEO of Ola Financial Services and co-founder and CEO of PayU India, has seemingly bagged one of India's largest seed rounds.
e) SaaS company Chargebee raised $55 million in series F funding round, led by Insight Partners. The round saw participation by existing investors Tiger Global and Steadview Capital. The company will use the funds to improve the platform and develop solutions to help companies with increasingly complex revenue models.
f) Agritech startup Ergos Business Solutions raised additional capital of $5 million in Series A round with fresh investment from Chiratae Ventures and Aavishkaar Capital. Chiratae Ventures led the Series A round with an investment of Rs 23.5 crore whereas Aavishkaar Capital, the Impact Investing arm of the Aavishkaar Group, invested an additional Rs 15 crore. The equity round is expected to be an Rs 80 crore raise with another institutional investor set to join the round.
g) Bengaluru-based cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin raised $5 million in its Series A round of funding, the company said in a press note today. The round has been led by Draper Associates along with participation from XBTO Ventures and 2020 Ventures, both investors in the digital assets industry.
i) Ecommerce giant Amazon pumped in Rs 700 crore in Amazon Pay India, the payments arm of Amazon, as per Tofler.
9. US appeals judge's ruling that blocked US ban on TikTok downloads
The US government said in a court filing that it was appealing a judge’s ruling that prevented it from prohibiting new downloads of the Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok. The Justice Department said it appealed the order to the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In late September, a US judge temporarily blocked a Trump administration order that was set to bar Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google from offering new TikTok downloads.
10. US lawmakers detail Big Tech's market abuses and press for strict reform
A US House of Representatives panel looking into abuses of market power by four big technology companies found they used “killer acquisitions” to smite rivals, charged exorbitant fees, and forced small businesses into “oppressive” contracts in the name of profit, according to a Reuters report.
The antitrust subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee recommended that Alphabet Inc's Google, Apple Inc, Amazon, and Facebook - with a combined market value of over $5 trillion - should not both control and compete in related businesses.
11. US explores restrictions on Ant Group, Tencent payment platforms: Reports
The United States is considering restrictions on China’s Ant Group as well as Tencent Holdings Ltd over concerns their digital payment platforms threaten national security, Bloomberg News reported. Such a move would mark a new deterioration in relations between the world’s two largest economies, which have been strained by disputes over trade, Hong Kong’s autonomy, cybersecurity, and the spread of the novel coronavirus.
12. Ola banned in London over public safety concerns; company to appeal
Nearly eight months after launching operations in London, Indian cab-hailing platform Ola is facing a ban in the city by the transport authority.
Transport for London (TfL), the government authority responsible for the transport system, has banned Ola, citing that the platform has lapses when it comes to public safety concerns, as per reports. The blow to Ola in London comes just days after rival Uber won its appeal against a ban on its operations in London.
13. Facebook to stop running political ads after US polls close on November 3
Facebook will stop running political or social issue ads after the US polls close on November 3 to reduce the chances of confusion or abuse. The leading social network also said that any posts prematurely declaring a winner or contesting the count will be labeled with reliable information from news outlets and election officials. "If a candidate or party declares premature victory before a race is called by major media outlets, we will add more specific information in the notifications that counting is still in progress and no winner has been determined," said vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.
14. Apple to extend some free Apple TV+ subscriptions through February
Apple will extend free Apple TV+ subscriptions, which were set to end within the next three months, through February. The company had bundled a one-year free subscription to its video-streaming service, which debuted in November last year with shows such as “Oprah’s Book Club” and Jennifer Aniston’s “The Morning Show”, with the purchase of an Apple product. Apple TV+ subscriptions otherwise cost $5 per month.
15. Microsoft publishes new App Store policies
Microsoft has said it is adopting the principles laid out by the Coalition for App Fairness, which was set up by companies to protest PlayStore policies of Apple and Google. Microsoft said it will not block app based on business models and will charge reasonable fees, among other principles. This comes amidst the backlash against Google and Apple’s PlayStore policies both in India and globally.
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