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Startup Digest: BabyChakra acquires Tinystep; Meesho launches integrated e commerce app; GuardianLink launches NFT cricket game & Crypto investor Katie Haun raises $1.5Bn for new fund

Startup Digest: BabyChakra acquires Tinystep; Meesho launches integrated e-commerce app; GuardianLink launches NFT cricket game & Crypto investor Katie Haun raises $1.5Bn for new fund

Startup Digest: BabyChakra acquires Tinystep; Meesho launches integrated e-commerce app; GuardianLink launches NFT cricket game & Crypto investor Katie Haun raises $1.5Bn for new fund
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By CNBCTV18.com Mar 23, 2022 8:49:24 PM IST (Published)

Startup Digest brings you a quick round-up of all the movers, shakers and newsmakers.

Here are the top headlines from the startup space.

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BabyChakra acquires Tinystep in an all cash deal
Parenting platform BabyChakra has acquired a regional parenting network, Tinystep in an all cash deal to further strengthen its growth across the country. While the venture did not disclose the deal size, this is BabyChakra’s first acquisition.
The venture now expands its regional footprint by providing in depth access to a robust network of parents across 9 languages. BabyChakra targets to reach 75 million moms by the end of 2022.
BabyChakra has earmarked Rs 100 crores in building mom-baby content to commerce platform over the next 3 years. And by acquiring Tinystep, it aims to reach 75 million mothers.
The baby care products market in India is poised to grow by $10 billion during 2021-2025, progressing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 14% during the forecast period.
Meesho launches an integrated e-commerce app for buyers and sellers
Social commerce unicorn Meesho has launched an integrated e-commerce mobile app for both buyers and sellers. With the latest version of the app, Meesho users can now toggle between the two interfaces — buyer and seller, with a single click.
Sellers, in particular, can expect an enhanced e-commerce experience with access to multiple features on the app that were earlier present only on the web versions, the company said in a statement. These include order processing, payment tracking, inventory management and seller support.
Meanwhile, supporting features like uploading pictures of the product catalogs, creating and placing advertisements along with the complete access to Meesho’s price and product recommendation tools will be added to the app.
The unified app and its features will help more than 4 lakh sellers on the platform become successful online, the firm added. “A significant number of Meesho sellers don’t have easy access to desktops/laptops which were earlier essential for accessing all the features available on our platform. To provide them with a more seamless e-commerce experience, we have adopted a mobile-first approach which will help sellers manage their business on the go with minimal effort,” said Kirti Varun Avasarala, Chief Product Officer, Meesho.
Asteria Aerospace launches drone software platform SkyDeck
Jio Platforms' subsidiary Asteria Aerospace, a drone manufacturer and solution provider in India, has launched its drone operations platform SkyDeck.
SkyDeck is a cloud-based software platform to deliver a Drone-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution for various industry verticals, such as agriculture, surveying, industrial inspections, and surveillance and security, according to the company.
SkyDeck provides a unified dashboard and services for drone fleet management, scheduling and executing drone flights, data processing, and visualisation and AI-based analysis of aerial data captured using drones.
Elaborating on the features of SkyDeck, the statement said the platform ensures operational transparency, improves collaboration between stakeholders and provides secure and centralised management for scaling drone programmes across multiple applications.
“With the launch of SkyDeck, we are addressing the need of the hour with integrated drone hardware, software, and operations solution. SkyDeck simplifies the use of drones to generate aerial data and turns that digital data into business insights to power drone applications at scale," said Neel Mehta, co-founder and director, Asteria Aerospace.
Clear partners with 5Paisa to simplify the ITR filing for traders
SaaS-led fintech startup Clear has partnered with 5Paisa, a listed discount broker, to simplify income tax return filing for the traders.
Under this deal, the tax filers will be able to directly import the P&L data (equities, intraday, mutual funds, F&O derivatives, commodity derivatives, and currency derivatives) into Clear’s platform in a single click.
The development comes after Clear earlier this month acquired supply chain financing technology firm Xpedize for an undisclosed amount, marking its foray into the SME credit and B2B payments segment.
GuardianLink launches NFT cricket game
GuardianLink, an NFT ecosystem technology framework, has announced that it is entering the NFT gaming space by launching the world's first play-to-earn cricket game with Jump.trade.
As per the firm, this first-of-its-kind game is community-driven and enables the players to monetize their time and efforts. The multiplayer game is expected to garner the attention and patronage of NFT, gaming, and cricket enthusiasts from one of the world’s largest cricket fandom nations — India, as well as, globally, the firm added.
The players can leverage NFTs in-game assets to earn rewards, drive value, and trade. In the long-term, the game will introduce features that focus on player ownership, such as NFT real-estate, customizable avatars, and a playable metaverse, among other things that will excite the gaming and cricket fans. In addition, GuardianLink is also working towards creating a marketplace where users can participate in drops and trades of international and gaming NFTs.
Recently, GuardianLink bagged $12 million in Series A funding led by Kalaari Capital.
Uable launches 'Creator Economy Program' for Gen Z
Uable, a teen social app, has announced the launch of Gen Z Creator Economy Program- Uable Future Creators (UFC). The initiative will onboard, groom and empower Gen-Z creators across categories like science, entertainment, education, storytelling, art & design, music, gaming and comic creations.
Through this app, young creators can create a niche for themselves, gain a significant following and earn up to Rs. 1 lakh as a part of the program. UFC already has onboarded 100+ creators to its program and aims to target 1,000 more in the next 12 months, the firm added.
As per a study by Kalaari Capital on creator economy in 2021, only around 150,000 professional content creators have been able to monetize their services effectively in India. This shows the massive potential that exists for Indian creators as the creator-economy matures in the country. Through UFC, Uable aims to make it easier for young creators to produce relevant content, earn and succeed in this highly crowded industry.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Crypto investor Katie Haun raises $1.5Bn, the largest debut fund ever by a female VC: Report
Crypto investor Katie Haun has raised $1.5 billion for her new fund after leaving Andreessen Horowitz, and shattered a record in the process.
Haun Ventures’ kickoff marks the largest debut venture fund ever raised by a solo female founding partner, according to Pitchbook.
Former investment banker Mary Meeker held the prior record with a $1.3 billion fund after spinning out from Kleiner Perkins.
“It feels, honestly, like a lot of pressure. But I think that motivates everyone on the team,” Haun told CNBC in her first broadcast interview since leaving Andreessen Horowitz. “Web3 is the new era of the internet, and it deserves a new era of investors.”
Haun Ventures will invest in both start-up equity, and in some cases the cryptocurrencies issued by those startups, also known as tokens. Haun’s fund will be divvied up into two segments: $500 million for early-stage companies and protocols, and $1 billion for “acceleration,” or later-stage projects.
Haun, a former federal prosecutor, became Andreessen’s first female general partner in 2018 where she co-led its multiple cryptocurrency funds alongside Chris Dixon. Andreessen Horowitz will be a limited partner in Haun’s newest fund, while Marc Andreessen, the firm’s founder, and Dixon all personally contributed to her new endeavor.
Tencent posts slowest sales growth as regulatory scrutiny, slowing ad sales bite
Chinese social media and gaming giant Tencent posted an 8% rise in fourth-quarter revenue, its slowest growth since going public in 2004 that reflected heightened regulatory scrutiny and a slowdown in advertising.
Tencent said revenue rose to 144.2 billion yuan ($22.63 billion) in the quarter ended Dec. 31, below an average of 147.6 billion yuan from 17 analysts, Refinitiv data showed. Revenue for the full year rose 16%, its slowest ever pace as well.
A year-and-half-long crackdown by Beijing on tech giants such as Tencent has brought decades of unbridled growth to an end and placed them under new rules governing how they interact with their users and how they conduct mergers and acquisitions.
Tencent said in a statement it expected to benefit from new game launches when new game monetization licenses are released, adding that it also expects its advertising business to resume growth in late 2022.
Tencent said on Wednesday its adjusted profit for the December quarter fell by a fourth to 24.9 billion yuan as costs rose. It posted a 60% jump in quarterly net profit, helped by one-off gains made through deals such as its disposal of most of its stake in JD.com.
Amazon to open Turkey site with more than $100M investment
Amazon will set up a logistic base in Turkey to meet rising demand, with a more than $100 million investment, as per Reuters.
It said the facility will create more than 1,000 jobs in its first year, and will support the domestic and export operations of the small- and mid-sized businesses that sell products on the site.
The Istanbul-based logistic centre will open in the autumn this year, the e-commerce giant added.
Chinese regulators ask some US-listed firms to prepare for audit disclosures, sources tell Reuters
Chinese regulators have asked some of the country's US-listed firms, including Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com, to prepare for more audit disclosures, sources told Reuters, as Beijing steps up efforts to ensure domestic companies remain listed in New York.
This comes as China's regulators are considering a proposal to allow their U.S. counterparts to inspect audit working papers of some Chinese firms that do not gather sensitive data, two of the sources said.
As part of that move, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and other regulatory agencies earlier this month summoned top internet companies, including search engine leader Baidu and e-commerce major JD.com, four sources told Reuters.
Other internet firms summoned by the regulator included Alibaba Group and Weibo, two of the sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. E-retailer Pinduoduo and gaming firm NetEase also attended the meeting, one of them added.
They were asked to prepare audit documents for the 2021 financial year keeping in mind US regulators' requests for more disclosure, said the sources, who declined to be named as they were not allowed to discuss details of the meeting.
The companies should better seek Chinese regulators' advice if they are "uncertain about anything" during the whole process the first source said, which includes auditing and communications with US regulators.
Meta's plans to build Dutch data centre hit political glitch
The Dutch Senate has passed a motion calling on the government to "use its powers" to temporarily block the construction of Facebook owner Meta's planned giant data centre in the Netherlands, Reuters reported.
In December, the town of Zeewolde, 50 km east of Amsterdam, approved plans to build the largest facility of its kind in the Netherlands, from which Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp would serve users across Europe.
The facility, which will use 1.38 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity and covers 166 hectares (410 acres) of farmland, is expected to run on green energy and create 400 permanent jobs.
It has been opposed by some environmental campaigners who do not want the limited supply of sustainable power currently being generated in the country to be used by a multinational.
A majority of parties in the Senate on Tuesday supported a proposal in which the government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte was asked to halt the project until a national policy on data centres has been developed.
The motion asked the government to delay construction until it can be determined whether the data centre meets environmental regulations and the as yet undetermined national policy on the facilities.
"Bored Ape" NFT-startup Yuga Labs valued at $4Bn after funding
Yuga Labs, the company behind the "Bored Ape Yacht Club" collection of NFTs was valued at $4 billion after a $450 million funding round led by a16z crypto, Andreessen Horowitz's crypto fund.
As per Reuters, Metaverse gaming company Animoca and its subsidiary, The Sandbox, and crypto exchange FTX were also among the investors that participated in the latest round.
Uber aims to service Mexico City's distant new airport in 'near future'
Uber is working with Mexican authorities to bring service to and from the capital's newest airport, which formally opened Monday with just a few flights and lacking key transportation to the infamously traffic-plagued megacity.
The ride-hailing giant's Mexican unit said in a statement to Reuters that it hopes to offer service "in the near future" to the Felipe Angeles International Airport, approximately 45 km (28 miles) north of Mexico City's long-standing international hub.
The airport is the first of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's signature infrastructure projects to be completed, three years after he scrapped a $13-billion, partially built airport that he argued was riddled with the previous administration's corruption.
Dancing Musk hands drivers first Teslas from new German gigafactory
Elon Musk was cheered as he oversaw the handover of Tesla's first German-made cars at its Gruenheide plant on Tuesday, marking the start of the US automaker's inaugural European hub just two years after it was first announced, Reuters reported.
Loud music played as 30 clients and their families got a first glimpse of their shining new vehicles through a glitzy, neon-lit Tesla branded tunnel, clapping and cheering as Tesla Chief Executive Musk danced and joked with fans.
"This is a great day for the factory," Musk said, describing it as "another step in the direction of a sustainable future".
Musk said that Tesla is likely to launch a test version of its new "Full Self-Driving" software in Europe, possibly next year depending on regulatory approval.
"It's quite difficult to do full self-driving in Europe," he told factory workers on Tuesday, saying much work needs to be done to handle tricky driving situations in Europe where roads vary a lot by country.
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