Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
OYO to downsize 3,700-employee base, cut 600 jobs
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IPO-bound travel tech firm OYO will downsize about 10 percent of its 3,700-employee base by cutting 600 jobs in the technology and corporate verticals and hiring 250 members, primarily in the relationship management teams.
OYO said the move is part of implementing wide-ranging changes in its organisational structure. It is downsizing its product & engineering, corporate headquarters, and OYO Vacation Homes teams, while it adds people to the partner relationship management and the business development teams.
Product and engineering teams are being merged for smoother functioning, it added. The downsizing in tech is also happening in teams which were developing pilots and proof of concepts such as in-app gaming, social content curation and patron-facilitated content, the company said.
Additionally, members of projects which have now been successfully developed and deployed such as 'Partner SaaS' are being either let go or are being redeployed in core product & tech areas such as AI (artificial intelligence) driven pricing, ordering and payments, it informed.
HealthifyMe becomes the latest startup to announce layoffs, will slash 142 jobs
Health and fitness platform HealthifyMe has become the latest startup to trim its workforce citing growth concerns.
In a statement after the layoffs, the company said, “Like much of tech - growth hasn't kept pace with expectations and hiring. We are also undergoing an evolution with our new vision around metabolic health (HealthifyMe 2.0) which requires different resources. In view of this and changing market dynamics, it made sense for us to steer towards profitability, despite a comfortable runway.”
The firm has laid off 142 employees or 7 percent of its 2000+ employees. The move has impacted 79 (6 percent) employees from the operations team and 63 (23 percent) from the core team.
HealthifyMe will be offering 2 months of salary as severance and will extend medical coverage until June 2023. “As a part of our severance and support to those impacted, we will offer 2 months' salary severance with 2 weeks per year served at HealthifyMe, vested stocks till March 2023, and medical insurance continuance till June 2023, along with counseling and outplacement support”, a statement read.
HealthKart raises $135M in a funding round led by Temasek
Omni-channel nutrition platform HealthKart has raised $135 million in a funding round led by Temasek, with participation from A91 Partners and Kae Capital.
The capital raised will be deployed towards the growth of in-house D2C brands, increase offline distribution, expand international operations, and make select acquisitions, the company said in a statement.
"Driving fitness and preventive health by addressing the nutritional gaps is a systemic trend which is taking off in a big way in India," HealthKart Founder & CEO Sameer Maheshwari said.
Venture Catalysts leads $1.5M round in OneGreen
Eco-friendly e-commerce platform OneGreen has bagged $1.5 million in its pre-series funding round led by Venture Catalysts.
The round also saw participation from Sandhar Technology, Shoumyan Biswas (Ex-Flipkart) Sunil Kamath (CBO, Koo), Varun Duggirala (Founder Glitch), and Varun Laul (Board member,XpressBee).
OneGreen claims to have catered to more than 18,000 products across 500+ brands since its inception in 2020. “The funding will also help us widen our market reach and coverage and provide a platform to brands that are focused on leaving a better planet for our future generations," said Neha Gahlaut, Co-Founder, Chief Marketing & Growth Officer, OneGreen.
Hoovu Fresh gets $790,000 in a Pre-Series A round led by Sauce.vc
Hoovu Fresh, a fresh puja flower startup, has raised $790,000 in a pre-series A funding round led by Sauce.VC. The round also participation from multiple angels like Sangeet Agrawal (Founder of Mokobara), Akshay Dujodwala (CSO at Mangalam Organics), Nikhil Bhandarkar (Founder of Panthera Peak Capital), Mylktree Family Office, Cafe Coffee Day’s family office, among others.
The startup delivers fresh flowers by shortening the supply chain and leveraging on technology in packaging and innovation.
By partnering with local farms, packaging and multiple distribution channels, Hoovuu claims to have been able to reduce this turnaround time to 12-24 hours enabling the extension of the flower shelf life by two to five times.
True Frog bags Rs 1.65 Cr in first round of funding
Personal care brand, True Frog has raised Rs 1.65 crores in a funding led by a group of angel investors.
The startup intends to utilize the funds to improve the research infrastructure, expand the product portfolio, build the team size, and focus on branding and marketing, it said in a statement.
True Frog has more than 15 products in the hair care and skin care segment.
Recur Club and IVY Growth Associates to allocate up to $10M in non-dilutive growth capital
Recurring revenue-based fintech Recur Club, has partnered with IVY Growth Associates, which invests in and mentors startups, to allocate up to $10 million in non-dilutive growth capital for the latter's portfolio companies.
The collaboration aims to create a pool of investors that will nurture startups and hand-hold them throughout the journey. Recur Club with IVY Growth associates will target investing in about 500 startups by the end of 2027, a statement said.
The firm has also collaborated with the Atal Innovation Centres and Incubation Centres all across India where they will scout for potential startups.
Razorpay allows merchants to accept credit card payments via UPI
Fintech unicorn Razorpay has announced an industry-first move to enable merchants to accept credit card transactions on unified payments interface (UPI), as the digital payments landscape witnesses a stupendous growth.
With RuPay credit cards being enabled on UPI, Razorpay merchants can begin accepting credit card payments on UPI, with minimal changes to their existing setup.
The company said that move is made possible in partnership with Axis bank, which shares Razorpay's focus on catering to the ever-evolving needs of merchants and delivering greater convenience.
This offering is in line with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) latest innovation in the digital space, said the company. On October 4, the NPCI allowed the linking of RuPay credit cards with the BHIM UPI app.
Council aims to take up GST on cryptocurrency when it meets next
The implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on cryptocurrency might see more delay, as per a report by CNBC Awaaz.
As of now, the panel of officers have not submitted their report to the government regarding the same. However, people in the know say a decision is targeted in the next meeting of the GST Council which is scheduled for December 17.
It has been a question of time when the digital asset is brought under the taxation umbrella with news of a 28 percent GST levy starting as early as May this year. Now, hopes are pinned on the last GST Council meeting of the year for this decision.
According to the sources it is likely that in the GST council meeting it will be decided whether cryptocurrency will be included in the category of 'Goods' or ‘Services' or not.
GST is to likely be levied only on the margin or service fee received from crypto currency. In other words, GST will not be implemented on the total value of cryptocurrency.
CNBC Awaaz has also learnt that the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Online Gaming and Casinos has not submitted its report.
As per the information received, GST rates on online gaming, casinos and horse racing are difficult to be agreed upon in the Group of Ministers.
The GST Council Group of Ministers will also consider a reduction in rates on insurance premiums. It can be reduced from the existing 18 percent to 12 percent. This will also be the main agenda in the next meeting of the GST Council.
Govt mulls exempting early stage startups from data protection bill provisions
The government is mulling exempting early stage startups from complying with norms under proposed Digital Personal Data Protection bill, an official source told PTI.
The exemption may be for a limited period to assist startups in developing their business models and to ensure that innovation is not stifled due to compliance burden.
"Meity (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) is mulling to improve upon the bill to exempt early stage startups from the provisions of DPDP (Digital Personal Data Protection) bill.
"This may be for a limited time period in cases where they may be doing some kind of data modelling etc to develop their solution," the source added.
WOW Skin Science forays into a chat-to-cart journey with WhatsApp
D2C skin and personal care brand, WOW Skin Science has announced its entry into end-to-end shopping experience with WhatsApp via a chatbot powered by Gupshup.
According to the company, the bot will lead WOW’s customers to product discovery, building a shopping cart, checkout, and payment.
“With this new experience on WhatsApp, we aim to demonstrate our dedication to providing millions of customers with a straightforward and practical method of online shopping, because there is nothing more important to us than our customers,” said Manish Chowdhary, Co-founder, WOW Skin Science.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
New Zealand plans law to require Facebook, Google to pay for news
New Zealand government said it will introduce a law that will require big online digital companies such as Google and Meta Platforms to pay New Zealand media companies for the local news content that appears on their feeds, Reuters reported.
Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson said in a statement on Sunday that the legislation will be modelled on similar laws in Australia and Canada and he hoped it would act as an incentive for the digital platforms to reach deals with local news outlets.
"New Zealand news media, particularly small regional and community newspapers, are struggling to remain financially viable as more advertising moves online," Jackson said. "It is critical that those benefiting from their news content actually pay for it."
The new legislation will go to a vote in parliament where the governing Labour Party's majority is expected to pass it.
Apple and Amazon resume advertising on Twitter: Reports
Amazon and Apple are planning to resume advertising on Twitter, according to media reports.
The developments follow an email sent by Twitter to advertising agencies offering advertisers incentives to increase their spending on the platform, an effort to jump-start its business after Elon Musk's takeover prompted many companies to pull back.
Twitter billed the offer as the "biggest advertiser incentive ever on Twitter," according to the email reviewed by Reuters. US advertisers who book $500,000 in incremental spending will qualify to have their spending matched with a "100% value add," up to a $1 million cap, the email said.
Platformer News reporter tweeted that Amazon is planning to resume advertising on Twitter at about $100 million a year, pending some security tweaks to the company's ads platform. However, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Amazon had never stopped advertising on Twitter.
Separately, during a Twitter Spaces conversation, Musk announced that Apple is the largest advertiser on Twitter and has "fully resumed" advertising on the platform, according to a Bloomberg report.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to make ‘big announcement’ on space after Musk meeting
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa tweeted that he plans to make a "big announcement" related to space after a meeting with SpaceX owner Elon Musk.
Yusaku Maezawa, founder of online fashion site Zozo, completed a tourist trip to the International Space Station (ISS) on a Soyuz spacecraft in December last year and plans to journey around the moon with Musk's rocket and satellite company SpaceX in 2023.
The 47-year-old entrepreneur tweeted that he had held an online meeting with Musk and "can now make a big announcement about space on December 9". The space enthusiast will likely become the first private passenger on a SpaceX moon mission with a week-long fly-by planned for 2023, as commercial firms including Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin usher in a new age of space travel for wealthy clients.
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