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    STARTUP DIGEST: Here're top stories of the day

    STARTUP DIGEST: Here're top stories of the day

    STARTUP DIGEST: Here're top stories of the day
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    By Palak Agarwal   IST (Published)

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    There were several developments in the startup space during the day on Wednesday. Here are important startup updates of the day:

    There were several developments in the startup space during the day on Wednesday. Here are important startup updates of the day:
    WhatsApp issues statement in defence of revised privacy policy
    A day after the Indian government asked social media platform WhatsApp to withdraw its underscored today that its proposed privacy policy is not meant to enhance data sharing but provide options to help businesses expand.
    The reiteration came following the government's letter to Will Cathcart, the Global CEO of WhatsApp, asking that the new policy for Indian users be withdrawn. The new policy -- which allows sharing of user' data with its parent company Facebook or third party apps -- was slated to come into effect in February but has been deferred till May after the growing row.
    "We wish to reinforce that this update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook," a spokesperson from WhatsApp said today.
    Ola adopts Siemens’ Digital Enterprise to build India’s most advanced manufacturing facility
    Ola has partnered with Siemens as it looks to rapidly build its upcoming electric vehicle manufacturing facility. This announcement comes on the heels of Ola’s MoU with the government of Tamil Nadu to invest nearly INR 2,400 Cr towards building this facility.
    The factory will generate almost 10,000 jobs and with an initial capacity of 2 million units a year, it will be the largest scooter manufacturing facility in the world. It will serve as Ola’s global manufacturing hub catering to its customers in India as well as key markets across Europe, UK, Latin America and ANZ
    FUNDING OF THE DAY
    • Fireside Ventures announces close of Fund II at Rs 863 crore
    Multi-stage venture fund Fireside Ventures announces the close of their second fund (Fireside Fund II) at Rs 863 crore which translates to $118 million approximately. The Fireside Fund II has investors such as Fund of Funds for Start -ups ( FFS) operated by SIDBI under the aegis of GOI’s initiative “Start-up India Action Plan”, Investment Corporation of Dubai, Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF, Bajaj Holdings and Investment Limited, ITC Limited, L’OREAL, Pidilite group, Premji Invest and a large US university endowment.
    The fund largely invests across early growth stages of businesses with a focus on consumer brands and Fireside says that the pandemic further validated their investment thesis of backing digital-first consumer brands.
    Going forward, Fireside will invest in 15-20 consumer brand start-ups while continuing to keep its focus on digital-first brands.
    • BharatPe raises Rs 50 crore debt from Trifecta Capital
    Fintech platform BharatPe has raised Rs. 50 crores (~US$7 mn) in debt from Trifecta Capital. This is the 3rd tranche of debt fund financing raise by BharatPe, that recently raised Rs. 199 crores (US$ 28 mn) in debt from renowned venture debt providers as well as ICICI Bank. The company, that is aggressively working towards building its lending business has raised Rs. 249 crores (US$ 35 mn) in debt in January 2021.
    • AlphaICs raises $8 million in Series B funding led by Endiya Partners and Emerald Technology Ventures
    Edge AI technology company from Milpitas, CA and Bangalore, India, AlphaICs, has secured $8 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Endiya Partners and Emerald Technology Ventures, with participation of existing Series A investors.
    The company designs and develops high-performance AI Chips for Edge Computing and will use the funds to tape-out the Gluon AI chip, to develop the software stack and to build system solutions for its target markets. To know more joining me now is Pradeep
    The Series B round was led by Endiya Partners and Emerald Technology Ventures, with participation of existing Series A investors ReBright Partners and 3One4 Capital, along with Aaruha Technology Fund, IREON Ventures, Canal Ventures, JSR Corporation, CBC Co ltd and the Whiteboard Capital. Dr. Michal Natora, the Investment Director Industrial IT at Emerald, will join AlphaICs’ board of directors.
    • Fashinza raises $2.6 million in seed funding led by Accel Partners and Elevation Capital
    Fashinza, a B2B manufacturing marketplace that solves apparel/fashion supply chain challenges by connecting fashion brands to experienced manufacturers, has raised a seed funding of $2.6 million. The funds are to be utilized in solving apparel supply challenges by digitising the entire sourcing cycle from design to delivery.
    The initial seed funding round was led by Accel Partners and Elevation Capital with participation of marquee individual investors – Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, co-founders of Snapdeal, and Alok Mittal, co-founder of Indifi.
    • Shopg raises of $1.5 million from Orios Venture Partners & RPSG Ventures
    Social commerce platform ShopG closes seed round of $1.5 million from Orios Venture Partners & RPSG Ventures. A host of angel investors like Rajesh Yabaji - CEO Blackbuck, Raghunandan G - Ex CEO Taxi for Sure, Prasanth Nair- Ex Flipkart, Alibaba also participated in the round
    Alibaba's Jack Ma makes first public appearance since Oct in online meeting
    Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, who was missing for months, has finally made a public appearance since the crackdown by the Chinese authorities. Ma, who was for a long time seen as the poster boy of the Chinese model of entrepreneurship met 100 rural teachers in China via a live video meeting on Wednesday morning, his first since October.
    The news about the appearance was first reported by Tianmu News, a news portal under government-backed Zhejiang Online.
    In the 50-second video, Ma, dressed in a navy pullover, spoke directly to the camera from a room with grey marble walls and a striped carpet. It was not clear from the video or the Tianmu News article where he was speaking from.
    The appearance is expected to end speculations that emerged across the world about his whereabouts after he missed the final episode of a TV show featuring him as a judge, amid a regulatory clampdown by Beijing on his sprawling business empire.
    Bill Gates-led fund raises another $1 billion to invest in clean tech
    Breakthrough Energy Ventures — an initiative to help the planet reach zero carbon emissions through innovation — has raised its second $1 billion round of funding. The new capital will fund some 40-50 startups, according to Bloomberg News, and will focus on some of the trickier green technologies in development, including climate-friendlier steel and cement production, long-haul transportation, and technologies for capturing carbon from the air.
    Cruise, GM partner with Microsoft to ramp up self-driving vehicles
    Self-driving car maker Cruise and majority shareholder General Motors Co will partner with Microsoft Corp to accelerate the commercialization of driverless vehicles.
    Microsoft will join GM, Honda Motor Co and institutional investors in a combined new equity investment of more than $2 billion in Cruise, bringing the post-money valuation of the San Francisco-based startup to $30 billion
    Kia: The Apple Connect?
    South Korean automaker Kia Corp said it’s reviewing cooperation on self-driving electric cars with multiple foreign firms, making no mention of a report linking it to a project with tech giant Apple Inc. Kia’s comment, issued in a regulatory filing as its shares surged nearly 20% in Seoul, came after domestic online publication Edaily reported that Kia’s parent, Hyundai Motor Group, had decided Kia would be in charge of proposed cooperation with Apple on electric cars. The report cited unnamed industry sources.
    Google investigates ethical AI team member over handling of sensitive data
    Alphabet Inc's Google is investigating a member of its ethical AI team and has locked the corporate account linked to that person after finding that thousands of files were retrieved from its server and shared with external accounts, the company said on Wednesday, 20 January.
    Axios, which first reported the latest investigation around a member of Google's AI team, said Margaret Mitchell had been using automated scripts to look through her messages to find examples showing discriminatory treatment of Timnit Gebru, a former employee in the AI team who was fired.
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