Startup Digest brings you a quick wrap of all the news that matters.
Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
Elon Musk takes over Twitter, Bezos smells China ‘leverage’
Following nearly a month of back and forth, Twitter has accepted Tesla chief Elon Musk’s acquisition offer. The publicly traded social media platform has been valued at $44 billion.
Soon after the deal, Musk vowed to encourage free speech besides adding new products to Twitter. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said.
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it,” he added.
Soon after the Twitter board agreed to Elon Musk’s $44-billion takeover offer, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos posted on social media about Musk’s commitment to allow free speech on the platform.
Pointing at a New York Times reporter’s tweet on Tesla’s business interests in China, Bezos asked if Beijing would “gain a bit of leverage” now on Twitter following Musk’s takeover, given the world’s richest person and Tesla’s good relations with the Asian country.
The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the Twitter board, will likely close this year following shareholder and regulatory approvals. Though, this acquisition journey has been in the limelight for just about a month, it has been pretty eventful.
Gadkari reiterates Tesla can't sell cars in India if it manufactures in China
Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has said that Tesla can sell its cars in India only if it manufactures them in the country, reiterating the government's stance against the American auto major that it says is reluctant to start a local manufacturing facility.
"India is a huge market... The export availability - ports are available, they can make their export from India... But suppose he (Tesla CEO Elon Musk) wants to manufacture in China and sell in India, it cannot be a good proposition for India," Gadkari said.
"If Elon Musk is ready to manufacture in India, there is no problem. We have got all competency, the vendors are available, we have got all types of technology," he said, adding that the government was inviting the company to come to India for manufacturing.
The Musk-led company had sought a reduction in import duties on electric vehicles (EVs) in India, however, the government asked the firm to manufacture its vehicles in the country before any tax concessions can be considered.
CredAvenue acquires majority stake Corpository at a Rs 100 cr valuation
Debt marketplace CredAvenue has acquired a majority stake in Corpository – a full-stack corporate credit underwriting company at a valuation of Rs 100 crore.
With this acquisition, all lenders on CredAvenue’s platform will be able to evaluate and make lending decisions on the platform itself, thus significantly reducing the overall time for the lending process, the firm said in a statement. Corpository’s solution would also help ensure that the lenders stay updated on the developments at the borrowers’ end.
This is the second acquisition by CredAvenue within months of announcing a majority stake in Spocto.
“We are a lender-first platform and are looking at leveraging the strengths of Corpository’s SaaS-based platform to help lenders stay ahead of the curve by enabling them to evaluate and underwrite a company from within the platform seamlessly. Corpository’s underwriting solution drastically cuts down the time needed to make a lending decision and also ensures that the lender stays on top of the developments at the borrowers’ end at every point in time,” said Gaurav Kumar, Founder and CEO, CredAvenue.
udaanCapital partners with Northern Arc to extend credit line to over 50,000 kirana stores
udaanCapital, the fintech arm of e-commerce firm udaan, has partnered with debt financer Northern Arc Capital and claims to have facilitated disbursal of credit to over 50,000 kiranas and small retailers.
The fintech player enables retailers to make purchases for their stores from a wide array of suppliers on the udaan platform with credit lines provided by its lender partners. It also catalyses kirana commerce on the udaan platform.
More than a third of sales on the B2B commerce platform is powered by udaanCapital, the firm said in a statement. It currently facilitates disbursal of over Rs 8,000 crore of credit a year to over 150,000 kiranas and small businesses across the country. The credit limits offered range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25 lakh and the credit tenures offered are short-term.
CarDekho launches fintech platform Rupyy
Automobile marketplace unicorn CarDekho has launched a fintech platform Rupyy. CarDekho Financial Services business will be transformed and merged under this new brand, according to the startup.
Rupyy, which is a digital lending platform, will offer a paperless loan in a matter of a few minutes. Further, it will offer a slew of financial products including new car and used car loans, two-wheeler, personal, and car loans, among others, the firm added. Rupyy also has a proprietary multi-lender loan origination system that is deeply integrated with all the partner banks and NBFCs in the auto loan ecosystem.
CarDekho Financial Services disbursed over Rs 400 crore used car loans in March 22 and achieved an overall ARR of Rs 5,000 crore+ loan disbursals in the same month.
“In future, we intend to add more categories as well as co-create financial products that offer a new age way of owning an automobile in India. Our aspiration is to represent 35-40 percent market share in the segment over the next 3-5 years.,” said Namit Jain, Co-founder and CEO, Rupyy.
NSDC signs MoU with Relevel to help youth secure employment
National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a nodal agency under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Relevel, an Unacademy Group company, to provide a structured path to youth to secure gainful employment in top companies and upskill on emerging job roles.
With the primary objective of enabling the youth, especially those from tier 2-3 cities to find gainful employment, the MoU aims to have 20 lakh youth take Relevel tests and upskill as per industry requirements, according to a statement.
For aspirants who clear the threshold marks of the tests, Relevel will support with placement opportunities at India’s top companies on market-oriented salary levels, it said. The MoU also lays the groundwork to help Indian youth find jobs abroad, in countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to begin with, it said.
Glamyo Health Targets $100 mn ARR for 2022-23
Glamyo Health, an asset light healthcare startup has announced closing the fiscal 2021-22 with an ARR of $8 million. The brand aims at closing the new fiscal 2022-23 with an ARR $100 million, it said in a statement.
Glamyo Health is a multi-specialty healthcare brand which delivers hassle-free experience for all types of cosmetic procedures and elective surgeries with personalized care.
The company has reached a mark of 400 surgical centers across 26,000 pin codes.
“We have been able to record a month-on-month growth of 25% in terms of revenue. Our aggressive expansion has ensured availability and service. Additionally, we are maintaining a fine customer service and treatments which together have helped us scale rapidly,” said Archit Garg, Co-founder at Glamyo Health.
Clever Harvey launches second Summer Incubation Programme
Clever Harvey has announced the launch of its Summer Incubation Program, encouraging high school students to begin their entrepreneurial journey from an early age. It is the second edition of the incubation programme, after Winter Incubation 2021-22 for teen startups.
As a part of the three-month program, students between the age group of 14 and 18 can apply for free, and 20 startups will be eligible to join the program. Out of the 20, five startups will win the program, along with a seed funding of Rs 25,000 each.
The applications for the Summer Incubation Program will be closed on May 15, 2022. This year, the company has partnered with three other platforms – DigitalOcean, Wix, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), to further help teenagers proliferate their businesses.
COGOS expands services in three more states, eyes pan-India presence
COGOS Technologies, a Bangalore based tech-logistics company has announced the expansion of their services in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
With this expansion, COGOS is now present in over 24 states and aims to have a pan-India presence by the end of FY 22-23. COGOS aims to lead the city logistics market in India and their steady expansion is fueled by the same, it said in a statement.
COGOS said it will be creating over 50 job opportunities and onboard 500-1000 driver partners in these states, during Q1 of FY 22-23. They will be serving B2B enterprises operating in the FMCG, Manufacturing and E-commerce domain for these states.
Pine Labs celebrates entrepreneurial spirit with a new brand identity
Merchant commerce platform Pine Labs has unveiled a new brand identity. Revamped brand assets include the company’s new purpose statement and a new visual identity for the brand.
As per the company, the new look is dedicated to the spirit of the entrepreneur community.
The company claims that Pine Labs is no longer perceived as just a card payment acceptance solution by its merchant partners but is seen as a complete commerce ecosystem through its Pay Later proposition, nifty POS apps, integrated ‘scan to pay’ and ‘tap to pay’ contactless payment solutions, foray in the online payments space via the newly launched brand Plural.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Meta to open first physical store in metaverse bet
Meta Platforms is set to open its first physical store where shoppers can try out and buy virtual reality headsets and other gadgets as the company plots a course to take its highly touted metaverse mainstream, Reuters reported.
The 1,550-square feet Meta Store at the company's Burlingame campus in California opens on May 9, and will feature demos for its Quest 2 VR headset and video calling device Portal, as well as smart glasses it produces with Ray-Ban, Meta said.
The devices, except for the Ray-Ban glasses, will be available for purchase at the store. The products can also be bought online through a new shopping tab on meta.com, the company said.
Meta fights to overturn UK order to sell Giphy
Facebook owner Meta started its appeal against Britain's ruling that it must sell Giphy, arguing the fact that rival Snap offered far less to buy the animated-images provider undermined the rationale used to block the deal, as per a Reuters report.
Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last year ordered Meta to sell Giphy, which it had acquired in 2020.
It said the deal removed a potential competitor in display advertising, based on the possibility that Giphy's fledgling ads, or "paid alignment", business could become substantial.
The deal could also enable the Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp owner to restrict competitors' access to GIFs, it said.
Australian regulator sues Uber for misleading fares, seeks $19 million penalty
Australia's competition watchdog is suing Uber and seeking a A$26 million ($18.69 million) fine from the ride-hailing platform after it admitted to misleading consumers about ride fare estimates and cancellation fees.
As per Reuters, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said Uber admitted that between December 2017 and September 2021 it warned consumers they would be charged fees for cancelling rides even though the cancellation was sought during its "free cancellation period."
The ACCC also said Uber admitted to have falsely represented fare estimates for its Uber Taxi option as its algorithm would almost always inflate the range and the actual fare would be lower than the company's cheapest estimate.
Uber said that ever since the ACCC has raised the issue, it has "worked to streamline our in-app messages to make it clear exactly when cancellation charges will or will not apply, per occasion, so that riders always have certainty."
The ACCC and Uber are jointly seeking court orders, including declarations that the ride-hailing platform breached the country's consumer law, and to impose upon it penalties, the regulator said further.