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Startup Digest: BYJU’s to layoff 2,500 employees; Bira 91 to acquire The Beer Café; Fireside’s new Fund III; Google invests in Adda247 & Tiger Global’s latest early-stage bet

Startup Digest: BYJU’s to layoff 2,500 employees; Bira 91 to acquire The Beer Café; Fireside’s new Fund III; Google invests in Adda247 & Tiger Global’s latest early-stage bet

Startup Digest: BYJU’s to layoff 2,500 employees; Bira 91 to acquire The Beer Café; Fireside’s new Fund III; Google invests in Adda247 & Tiger Global’s latest early-stage bet
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By Akhil V  Oct 12, 2022 11:28:17 PM IST (Published)

Startup Digest brings you a quick wrap of all the news that matters.

Here's the lowdown from the startup space:

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BYJU's to layoff 2,500 employees to cut costs & enter the land of profitability
Edtech giant BYJU's has announced a big round of layoffs, with plans to let go 2,500 employees or 5 percent of its 50,000-strong workforce.
The move comes after BYJU's brought all its K12 subsidiaries under the India business unit for better 'optimisation'.
BYJU’S India K10 business, which includes Toppr, Meritnation, TutorVista, Scholar, and HashLearn, will now be consolidated as one business unit. Aakash and Great Learning which will continue to function as separate organisations.
"To avoid redundancies and duplication of roles, and by leveraging technology better, around five percent of BYJU’S 50,000-strong workforce is expected to be rationalised across product, content, media, and technology teams in a phased manner," BYJU's said in a prepared statement.
Despite announcing the layoffs, BYJU's says it will continue to hire across all levels and will end FY23 as a 'Net Hirer'. The $23 billion company plans to hire a total of 10,000 more teachers in the coming year, adding to its current strength of 20,000 teachers.
Layoffs is only one of the few measures that BYJU's plans to undertake to save costs amid a tough environment, where raising funds for startups across the board, especially the late-stage ones, has become hard.
Famous for its Shah Rukh Khan-endorsed ads and Indian cricket sponsorship deals, BYJU's says it will now cut domestic marketing spends, while retargeting it to overseas markets.
In India, BYJU’S is  reinventing its sales model to focus more on inside sales, using video calling platforms which it hopes will reduce operational costs, with a fewer feet on-the-ground.
Multiple inside sales hubs will now be created across India from where BYJU’S sales associates will reach out to incoming leads through calls, email, and Zoom meetings.
"These moves are expected to result in sizable savings with no impact on growth," said Mrinal Mohit, CEO - India Business, BYJU’s. “None of these measures will have any impact on our revenue run rate”.
The top reason BYJU's has gone down the path of cost saving is to get on the path of profitability, with plans of achieving that by March 2023, as it heads to a 'stellar IPO'.
Remember, these measures come soon after BYJU's reported a Rs 4,589 crore loss in FY21, nearly 20 times the adjusted loss of Rs 231.69 crore loss in FY20 (2019-20).
Bira 91 to acquire pub chain The Beer Café
Craft beer-maker Bira 91 has agreed to acquire The Beer Café, with the intention of strengthening its play in pubs and taprooms.
With this acquisition, Bira 91 also wants to build a large-scale direct-to-consumer (D2C) platform focused on beer & its innovation. For this, Bira 91 wants to leverage the pub chain's presence of 33 outlets in 15 cities across Tier 1, 2 & 3 cities at key locations including malls, high street and transit hubs.
As far as Bira 91 is concerned, it is currently available in over 500 towns and cities spread across 15 countries and brews its beers across four breweries in India.
Fireside Ventures undertakes its largest fundraise-ever for Fund III
Fireside Ventures, an early-stage venture fund investing in digital-first consumer brands, announces the close of its third fund at $225 million.
Double the size of its previous fund, Fireside Fund III will invest in 25-30 startups, keeping with its thesis of backing digital-first consumer brands, across the spectrum of health and wellness, edutainment, lifestyle, and FMCG.
Fireside Ventures' portfolio includes the unicorn Mamaearth and the IPO-bound BoAt. Some of the other notable startups in its portfolio include Vahdam, Slurrp Farm, Samosa Singh, SLAY Coffee, Bombay Shaving Company, among others.
Nisarg Shah-led solo GP fund Kettleborough VC closes its maiden fund at $5 million
Kettleborough VC, an India-based early-stage venture capital led by seed investor — Nisarg Shah — launches its maiden VC Fund with capital commitments of $5 million.
Following investment strategy of keeping founder-market fit at its focus and backing technology-centric startups, the fund will invest in 8-10 ventures in the next 12 months.
So far, through this maiden Fund, Kettleborough has deployed capital in 5 startups including Zippmat with Matrix and Zephyr Peacock, Zocket with Kalaari, and Bytelearn with Leo and Chiratae, and is closing two more transactions with Infoedge and Kae in the coming month.
Adda247 raises $35 million from Westbridge Capital, Google & Others
Adda247, a government test preparation platform, has raised $35 million in a round led by WestBridge Capital. The round also saw the addition of Google as a new investor and participation from the existing investors, including Info Edge and Asha Impact.
Founded by Anil Nagar and Saurabh Bansal in 2016, Adda247 caters to the learning needs of students from Tier II and Tier III cities in India. It offers content in over 12 vernacular languages for more than 500 government exams.
The startups said that it aims to explore a few strategic acquisitions in the coming months to complement its offerings in the government job preparation category. Adda247 currently has 22 million monthly active users, and a total of two million paid users to date.
Thrasio founder Carlos Cashman invests in Indian e-commerce accelerator startup Assiduus
Assiduus, an AI-powered cross-border e-commerce accelerator for D2C brands, has raised $15 million in a funding round led by Pulsar Capital with participation from 9Unicorn, Venture Catalyst, StrongHer VC, Carlos Cashman (Founder of Thrasio), Rajan Navani (JetLine Group of Companies) and others.
The startup will deploy the fresh capital to enhance the technological architecture and business expansion across international markets like Europe and South-East Asia.
Founded by Dr Somdutta Singh in 2018, Assiduus Global enables D2C brands with end-to-end distribution and supply chain management to scale on more than 12 global marketplaces like Amazon, Noon, Walmart, eBay, Etsy, Nykaa, Myntra and more.
Good Health Company raises $10 million in Series A funding round
Hyderabad-based D2C health-tech startup Good Health Company (GHC) has raised $10 million in its Series A funding led by Left Lane Capital. Existing investors such as Khosla Ventures, Quiet Capital, and Weekend Fund also participated in this round.
With a focus on raising awareness about health and wellness, the startup provides a full stack solution for patients with conditions like hair fall, sexual health, and weight loss, amongst others. It runs two verticals — Mars (Men) and Saturn (Women).
Over the last 18 months, GHC claims to have impacted over 10 million consumers by introducing multiple categories, including hair care, skin care, sexual health and weight loss and an entirely new vertical focused on women's health (Saturn by GHC).
Tiger Global & Blume Ventures lead Vecmocon's $5.2M pre-Series A funding round
Vecmocon, a deepTech EV solutions startup, has raised $5.2 million in funding from Tiger Global, Blume Ventures and angel investors.
Vecmocon says its integrated hardware and software solution would comprise at least 30 percent of the value chain for a light electric vehicle. The EV-focussed startup adds that some of its products such as motor controller, vehicle intelligence module, battery management system and charger are critical to an EV which dictate the safety, reliability, and performance of the vehicle.
So far, it claims to have powered more than 5,000 EVs working with multiple OEMs and aspire to take this number to more than 500,000 vehicles by the end of 2025.
Softbank's Rajeev Misra & Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma lead Series A investment in Yoho
Yoho, a footwear startup, has announced that it has raised Rs 20 crore in its Series A round of funding by a group of influential investors.
The investment was led by Rajeev Mishra (Softbank Vision Fund), Rukam Capital and Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm), with participation from other investors.
The #startup makes affordable orthopedic lightweight footwear. The D2C brand claims to have sold more than 1,00,000 pairs of footwear after coming out of stealth mode four months back, with just three products — Bubbles, Waves, and Breeze.
Health and Fitness SaaS platform FitBudd Raises $3.4Mn in Seed funding
FitBudd, a SaaS platform that helps global health and fitness coaches, has raised $3.4 million in its seed funding round from Accel India, Beenext, Sequoia Capital India and Waveform Ventures.
FitBudd was part of the first cohort of Atoms — a program by Accel India to support pre-seed startups with easy access to non-dilutive capital, mentorship from founders and operators.
Established by Saumya Mittal, Pranav Chaturvedi, and Naman Singhal in 2021, FitBudd helps coaches better engage with and retain their clients at scale globally. Within a year of launch, FitBudd claims to have hundreds of coaches in more than 20 countries that are using FitBudd.
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