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Startup Digest: BYJU'S says 'sorry' for layoffs, startups cutback hiring, Google obeys CCI order, Musk fires Twitter board

Startup Digest: BYJU'S says 'sorry' for layoffs, startups cutback hiring, Google obeys CCI order, Musk fires Twitter board

Startup Digest: BYJU'S says 'sorry' for layoffs, startups cutback hiring, Google obeys CCI order, Musk fires Twitter board
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By Akhil V  Nov 1, 2022 9:37:23 PM IST (Published)

Here are the top headlines from the startup space.

BYJU'S CEO pens down email to staff, asks forgiveness for the layoff

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Nearly three weeks after BYJU'S announced a big round of layoffs, with plans to let go 2,500 employees or 5 percent of its 50,000-strong workforce, the edtech decacorn's founder Byju Raveendran is seeking the forgiveness of the employees who will be let go.
"I am truly sorry to those who will have to leave BYJU’S. You are not just a name to me. You are not a number. You are not just five percent of my company. You are five percent of me," he wrote in an internal e-mail.
Raveendran termed the layoffs a huge price to pay for walking on this path to profitability, which BYJU'S wants to achieve by March 2023. "Having expanded exponentially in the past four years, it is now time for us to grow sustainably," he said.
"Rapid organic and inorganic growth has created some inefficiencies, redundancies and duplication within our organization that we need to rationalize...," he added.
The letter comes soon after the edtech giant shut down its Thiruvananthapuram office in Kerala as part of the ongoing restructuring exercise. Recently, BYJU'S raised $250 million in a fresh funding round, with participation from existing investors including Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
Indian startups cutback hiring as they face the chills of funding winter: RazorpayX Payroll Report
Between October 2021 and September 2022, the onboarding of new permanent employees went down by 61 percent, while CXO hiring dropped by 93 percent, according to the RazorpayX report, which analysed payroll data across more than 1,000 startups. So, are Indian startups seeing 'The Great Normalization'? Here are some top insights from the report:
- Fall in hiring across departments, but a marginal increase in tech-related jobs.
- Permanent jobs drop, but gig work seems to be the preferred way to go for startups.
- Enterprises with a semi-gig workforce model up by 15 percent since October 2021. Growth in gig payments has gone up by 153 percent.
- Despite lower hiring, the total salary spends on existing full-time employees up by 64.7 percent. However, Rising salaries are not distributed equitably across genders.
- Median salary gap of 46 percent, which rises to 70 percent in the 95th percentile salary bracket
Google pauses enforcement of in-house Play billing system in India post CCI order
Google has said in an update on its support page that it will now pause the enforcement that requires all app developers to use Google Play’s billing system following the CCI order. But, this is only a pause now as Google reviews its legal options.
Last month, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) slapped a penalty of Rs 936.44 crore on the internet major for abusing its dominant position with respect to its Play Store policies. The requirement to use Google Play's billing system continues to apply outside of India.
Globally, Google first mandated the integration of its billing system in 2020 but delayed the implementation in India till October 31 this year in light of changes to India’s recurring digital payments guidelines. For now, Google says enforcement paused while it reviews legal options and ensures it can continue to invest in Android and Play.
Uber India may limit auto services in Bengaluru post 10% commission cap
Finding Uber Autos could become challenging in Bengaluru with the ride-hailing platform likely to limit auto services in the city. This comes on the back of the Karnataka High Court capping convenience fees chargeable by app-based aggregators like Ola, Uber, and Rapido for auto rickshaw services in Bengaluru at 10 percent of the fare.
Uber said in a post on Tuesday that the current pricing and commission constraints are not viable for platforms.
"Currently, our commission in Bengaluru is capped at 10% of the fare collected. This is not financially sustainable. If our costs can not be covered through commissions, we will have to find ways to offload costs that could impact the experience of drivers and riders. In the face of these commission caps, we may have to make the difficult decision to limit Uber Auto to select parts of Bengaluru where the service is viable," Nitish Bhushan, Head of Central Operations, Uber India & South Asia wrote in a blog post.
Games24x7 launches a Rs 400 crore venture fund to back interactive entertainment startups
Games24x7, the operator of RummyCircle and My11Circle, sets up its own venture fund with a corpus of Rs 400 crore to support early-stage start-ups at the intersection of technology and interactive entertainment space in India.
The gaming unicorn plans to deploy the fund over the next 5 years to back emerging startups in online gaming, digital marketing, digital content, sports tech, eSports, blockchain technology, analytics and more.
Lotus Herbals acquires 20% in YogicSecrets
Gurugram-based start-up Yogic Secrets Healthcare, which makes research-based nutraceutical products, has raised strategic funding from the family office of Lotus Herbals.
The Lotus Herbals family office will not only infuse capital into Yogic Secrets, but also acquire a strategic stake of 20 percent. The fund infusion will propel Yogic Secrets to scale up its operations in India, and also expands horizons in International markets such as the USA, UK, Australia, and other mature markets, said the statement from the company.
Vecan Foods joins the growing list of plant-based meat startups
Moms-turned-entrepreneurs Mahima Gupta and Guneet Kaur have launched their plant-based meat startup Vecan Foods, which offers products such as Navabi Galouti, Sunday Sausage, Veggie-Roni and 'The Honest Nugget’. The plant-based protein snacks are made from pea protein and tofu, fresh vegetables and pantry staples such as spices and condiments.
Vecan is currently retailing across Delhi-NCR through its website and online platforms like Vegan Dukan and Foodie Soodie. It is now looking to widen its approach with multiple B2B avenues, modern trade, and distribution in other states to establish a pan-India presence.
Top Global Tech News
Musk fires Twitter board, becomes the sole director & CEO
In a filing on Monday, the billionaire founder of Tesla and the new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk revealed that he became the sole director of the social media company as a result of the $44 billion takeover, which was concluded last week.
"The following persons, who were directors of Twitter prior to the effective time of the merger, are no longer directors of Twitter: Bret Taylor, Parag Agrawal, Omid Kordestani, David Rosenblatt, Martha Lane Fox, Patrick Pichette, Egon Durban, Fei-Fei Li and Mimi Alemayehou," Musk said in the filing.
Musk, who also runs rocket company SpaceX, brain-chip startup Neuralink and tunneling firm the Boring Company, fired Twitter's previous chief, Parag Agrawal, and other top company officials last week.
Uber's Q3 revenue beats estimates, Strong Q4 guidance
Ride-hailing giant Uber saw its revenue surge by 72 percent to $8.3 billion in the quarter ending September, beating analyst estimates for topline growth.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Uber delivered a “strong quarter” and benefited from booming travel, easing lockdowns and shifts in consumer spending.
Uber also reported a record adjusted EBITDA of $516 million, beating guidance of $440 million to $470 million and ahead of analyst estimates of $457.7 million. For the fourth quarter of 2022, Uber said it expects an adjusted EBITDA of $600 million to $630 million.
However, the mobility company suffered a net loss of $1.2 billion for the quarter, $512 million of which was attributed to revaluations of Uber’s equity investments, according to a company release.
Funding News
Icertis raises $150 million in convertible debt
SaaS unicorn Icertis has secured $150 million in funding comprising a revolving credit facility and convertible financing from Silicon Valley Bank.
The SAP-backed contract lifecycle management platform was valued at ~$5 billion in an institutional round in September last year when SoftBank Vision Fund bought a stake from existing investor Eight Roads in a secondary transaction.
The contract lifecycle management company claims that its platform governs commitments for over 10 million contracts worth more than $1 trillion in 40+ languages and 90+ countries.
The Meat Chop raises Rs 7 crore from founders of IppoPay & Dunzo founders
Chennai-based The Meat Chop, which helps local butcher shops source meat and connect with end consumers, has raised Rs 7 crore in seed funding from Mohan K (Co-Founder, IppoPay), Ankur Agarwal (Co-Founder, Dunzo), Meenakshi Sundaram, Jaikumar R (Co-Founder, IppoPay) among others.
The round also saw the participation of Rahul Mahipal (Founder, Capitar Ventures), Omar Bin Brek (Founder & CEO, Foloosi), Amith D’Souza (Google), and other global angel investors.
Founded in January 2021, The Meat Chop manages procurement, marketing, promotions, and merchandising for local butcher stores on its platform through tech systems and a standard operating procedure (SOP).
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