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STARTUP DIGEST: Dunzo lost Rs 230 on each daily order: Report; Byju’s eyes $1 billion IPO for Aakash & NPCI CEO pitches UPI autopay for Twitter blue tick fee

STARTUP DIGEST: Dunzo lost Rs 230 on each daily order: Report; Byju’s eyes $1 billion IPO for Aakash & NPCI CEO pitches UPI autopay for Twitter blue tick fee

STARTUP DIGEST: Dunzo lost Rs 230 on each daily order: Report; Byju’s eyes $1 billion IPO for Aakash & NPCI CEO pitches UPI autopay for Twitter blue tick fee
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By Aishwarya Anand  Nov 2, 2022 9:38:22 PM IST (Published)

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

Here’re the top headlines from the startup space. 

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Dunzo lost Rs 230 on each Daily order as losses widen to Rs 464 crore in FY22: Report
Quick commerce startup Dunzo has lost Rs 230 on each Dunzo Daily order. This comes as the company’s losses spiked 2X and crossed the Rs 460 crore mark, as per Registrar of Companies (RoC) filings accessed by Entrackr. 
In June, the company had an EBITDA loss of Rs 176 crore which it projected to cut to Rs 100 crore by December. 
The report also mentioned that the company’s scale also grew two-fold in FY22 on the back of its quick commerce business. Dunzo’s revenue from operations grew over 2X to Rs 54.3 crore in FY22. As per the report, the firm generates revenue largely from online platform services which contributed nearly 93% to the total operating income.
BYJU’s eyes $1Bn IPO for Aakash: Report
Edtech giant BYJU’s is in talks with bankers to take its physical tutor chain unit Aakash public, according to a report by TechCrunch. 
BYJU’s is looking to raise raise $800 million to $1 billion via this IPO of Aakash at a valuation of over $3.5 billion, the report added, saying that the paperwork may be filed as early as February.
As per the report, one of the reason why BYJU’s is considering listing Aakash on Indian stock exchanges is its apprehension about the consumer awareness of the Indian unit in the global markets. 
Aakash is on track to clock a revenue of over $500 million by the financial year ending 2024 at a margin of 25 percent, the report added. 
BYJU’S won’t shut down Kerala office and will retain 140 laid-off employees
Edtech giant BYJU’s has decided against shutting down its centre in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram after Founder and CEO Byju Raveendran held discussions with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday, November 2.
The edtech has also decided to bring back 140 employees who were laid off as the firm announced the closure of its Thiruvananthapuram office as part of “organizational restructuring for profitable growth.”
“Following a detailed discussion between the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri P. Vijayan and Byju Raveendran, Founder of BYJU’s, we have decided to continue operations of our TVM product development centre. As a result, our 140 associates will continue to operate from this centre,” BYJU’s spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that Raveendran, who is from Kerala, reiterated his commitment to the state; and the leadership team of BYJU’s, under his guidance, will pursue a growth strategy in the state. 
The edtech’s move comes after Raveendran’s meeting with CM Vijayan and the firm’s Vice President Sri Jayadev’s meeting with labour department officials. This is a week after a group of employees approached the state Labour Minister V Sivankutty, alleging BYJU’S was forcing more than 170 staff to resign.
NPCI CEO pitches UPI autopay to pay $8 fee for blue tick on Twitter
Even as a debate rages about Twitter's decision to charge users for 'blue ticks', the NPCI has pitched its UPI autopay offering to take care of the monthly payments. 
National Payments Corporation of India managing director and chief executive Dilip Asbe replied to a tweet by billionaire Musk, saying the UPI's recurring payments offering already has 7 million users.
"No worries, India has UPI AutoPay (7 million new approved collection mandates/month) to collect every anytime/month/quarter or yearly as you wish dear Twitter," Asbe wrote in response to Musk's tweet, tagging the microblogging site as well.
Twitter has been giving the 'blue tick' for public figures and known figures for many years now. The change of ownership had first led to speculation over a fee of $20 for the coveted presence, and later confirmed at $8 by Musk himself.
Roha Dyechem acquires Vadodara’s Saraf Foods
Roha Dyechem, a player in the food colour and ingredients industry, has acquired Vadodara-based Saraf Foods, a freeze-drying specialist food processing company. 
Roha Dyechem’s 100 percent acquisition of Saraf Foods marks the exit of first-generation technocrat entrepreneur Suresh Saraf and his family, a statement said. 
“Saraf Foods is a strategic acquisition for us and will help us further expand our product portfolio of dehydrated vegetables and fruits which includes MVD and air-dried technology with manufacturing in New Foods, Italy. With this acquisition, we now have production in India which enables us to expand our customer reach,” said Mahesh Tibrewala, managing director at Roha Dyechem. 
DealShare launches private brands; plans to invest Rs 500 crore in the business in 2-3 years
E-commerce firm DealShare has launched 52 categories under its private brand business and plans to invest Rs 500 crore in the new segment in the next 2-3 years.
The company has launched 52 categories under Chemko (home cleaning) Swaccha (personal hygiene), Sampoorti (pantry staples) and X One (male grooming brands) in the first phase and plans to extend their portfolio to the skin and hair care, beauty and apparel categories over the next two years.
The e-commerce firm said it has launched "52 categories of products with the new initiative set to contribute 30 per cent to DealShare's revenue" and "targets an investment of Rs 500 crore over the next 2 to 3 years for private brands business".
DealShare plans to take private label brands across 3,000 towns having more than 10,000 population in the next three years. Founder and chief executive officer Vineet Rao said that the company's venture into private brands business is a solution to the consumers' growing need to have access to high-quality affordable products.
The products under private brands by DealShare will be manufactured in collaboration with SMEs. DealShare co-founder and chief commercial officer Sourjyendu Medda said that the company has on-boarded senior professionals from the FMCG industry to drive this initiative which will be led by Hemant Sood.
Cisco, Villgro to support women-led climate tech startups in India
Social enterprise incubator Villgro and networking major Cisco India launched an initiative to support the growth of five women-led startups in climate action in the country.
They will offer financial support of Rs 1 crore (up to Rs 20 lakhs per startup), as well as allow capacity building, business planning, mentorship and peer learning, focussed towards the implementation of go-to-market strategies.
The accelerator programme called ‘TVARAN' will empower upcoming women-led climate solution startups in the fields of renewable energy, water and waste management and climate-smart agriculture.
"Through our partnership with Villgro, we are announcing our commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs driving climate resilience through their business," said Harish Krishnan, Managing Director and Chief Policy Officer, CISCO India & SAARC.
Startups in the climate action sector that are founded/co-founded by women with at least 50 percent shareholding, playing an active decision making role are eligible to apply. The six-month programme is designed to finance and implement the go-to-market strategies of women entrepreneurs.
MoEVing raises $2.5 million from JSW Ventures in a funding round
MoEVing, a commercial electric mobility tech platform has raised $2.5 million in a funding round led by JSW Ventures. This is JSW Ventures first investment in the EV space and takes MoEVing’s total fundraise to $10 million.
The company intends use the fresh capital primarily to further strengthen its electric mobility platform for driver partners across India. It will also use a portion of the capital raised to support its expansion across multiple cities in India and build a stellar team across functions with a high focus on technology, a statement said. 
“India has the potential to become an “EV first” country. The push to EVs will mean a complete rethinking of the transportation ecosystem, which in many places has to be built ground-up. MoEVing is working to do that in the commercial EV space as we strongly believe that EV adoption will be driven by commercial transportation, especially in the first/last mile delivery space,” said Vikash Mishra, Co-Founder & CEO at MoEVing. 
Shivalik Small Finance Bank raises Rs 111 crore from Accel and others
Noida-based lender Shivalik Small Finance Bank has raised an equity round of Rs 111 crore led by venture capital firms Accel and Quona Capital. Bharti AXA Life Insurance also participated in the round. 
The company said it plans to deploy the funding to enhance its tech stack, strengthen its team, and deepen partnerships “as it moves to become the go-to bank for Indian MSMEs.”
“We are on a promising track of growth focused on tech-driven innovations and strategic partnerships in the financial services space. This investment will help us accelerate our growth as we look to leverage digital banking adoption by small business and retail customers,” Anshul Swami, Managing Director and CEO of Shivalik Small Finance Bank. 
Google to discontinue Street View app next year
Google has announced plans to discontinue its dedicated Street View app on Android next year. According to 9To5Google, the tech giant has prepared a number of shutdown messages for the Street View app.
In the notice, the company advice users to move to Google Maps or Street View Studio, as the Street View app will end on March 31, 2023.
"Street View App is going away and support will end March 21, 2023," the company was quoted as saying in the report. “To publish your own 360 video, switch to Street View Studio. To view Street View and add Photo Spheres, use Google Maps."
Street View makes it simple to get a 360-degree view of almost any street, making it ideal for researching potential trip destinations or to just take a casual tour of the world from the comfort of home, the report said.
The Indian government had suspended the service more than a decade ago as it failed to secure required security clearances.
Clear expands operations in GCC region
After Saudi Arabia, SaaS startup Clear is rapidly expanding to the rest of the five GCC countries starting with UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. 
The firm has already added over 200 large enterprise customers to drive the expansion. Clear also plans to work with local solution providers in the area, a statement said. 
Clear started its operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), following its $75 million fundraise last year, by launching invoicing and taxation products for medium to large enterprises. The cloud-based e-invoicing product has a scalability of millions of transactions per day, 99.9% uptime, and API infrastructure-based connectivity to multiple billing platforms and ERPs. 
realme along with Ketto to raise funds for Purnata in its fight against human trafficking
Smartphone brand realme has partnered with Ketto to raise funds to support NGO Purnata in its fight against Human Trafficking in India. 
The brand is inviting participation of its employees, community members, fans and people at large to come together and drive a societal impact by crowdsourcing funds on Ketto worth Rs 1,50,000 for the NGO.
Purnata is working actively to safeguard the children in the red-light areas of Mumbai and Kolkata and facilitating good education, promoting health care to children and restoring their childhood.
Purnata will utilise the funds for its Mukhtir Aalo - Light of Freedom campaign in Sonagachi Kolkata, Asia’s largest red light area and will help the children of sex workers aged 15+ with life skills and vocational training with job placement opportunities to earn their livelihood, a statement said. 
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
AI lending platform Upstart lays off 7% of employees: Report
AI lending platform Upstart has laid off 7 percent of its total workforce (around 140 employees), as it faces weakening demand for loans in the US due to significant hikes in interest rates.
The lending platform which has about 2,000 employees, notified its affected employees about the layoff on Tuesday, reports TechCrunch.
"Given the challenging economy, we are making this difficult decision for the long-term health of the company and continue to hire for roles that are strategic to our business," an Upstart spokesperson said in a statement.
In its latest filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it said the decision was due to ongoing economic challenges and the "reduction in the volume of loans" on its platform.
Tencent, China Unicom get approval for joint venture
Tencent and state-owned telecommunications company China Unicom have received regulatory approval to set up a joint-venture company, as per a public document seen by Reuters. 
The State Administration for Market Regulation approved the application, based on a list it published on its website.
The regulator first disclosed details of the as yet unnamed company in September, when it published a document describing it as an entity focused three areas: internet data centres, content delivery networks and edge computing, which is the use of augmented reality and machine learning to analyse bulk data.
Unicom Innovation Venture Capital, a subsidary of China Unicom, will control 48% of the new company while the Shenzhen Tencent Industry Venture Capital, a subsidary of Tencent, will control 42%, based on the document published in September. The additional 10% will go to the company's employees, this document said.
Google veteran launches 'digital family office' backed by Betsy Cohen, Eric Schmidt
Arta Finance, a fintech that aims to replicate the family office experience for a wider audience through artificial intelligence, debuted on Wednesday with $90 million in funding from investors who include Betsy Cohen and former Google chief Eric Schmidt.
Calling the operation a "digital family office," Arta CEO Caesar Sengupta, who led Google's payments initiatives until 2021, said the startup will offer AI-personalized portfolios and alternative investments to accredited investors in the United States, with the aim of eventually expanding to non-accredited investors on a global scale.
While family offices cater to those with hundreds of millions in assets, Arta is targeting those with $100,000 to several million dollars in investable assets, Sengupta said. The venture, which is also funded by Ribbit Capital and Coatue Manangement, will be jointly based in Mountain View, California and Singapore.
Microsoft's president warns of talent shortage for tackling climate change
Thousands of businesses will fail to meet pledges to combat climate change unless they start training employees on sustainability, Microsoft’s President Brad Smith told Reuters.
Speaking ahead of a report the software maker released, Smith said common instruction on issues like carbon accounting was too piecemeal for the roughly 3,900 companies that have vowed to cut their CO2 emissions.
"We have to move very quickly to start to bring our emissions down, and the ultimate bottleneck is the supply of skilled people," he said.
Microsoft sells software for organizations to track their environmental impact. Still, companies need more than technology to address global warming, said Smith, announcing plans to develop green education materials including on LinkedIn, which Microsoft owns.
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