Startup Digest brings you a quick wrap of all the news that matters.
Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
Razorpay shared donor data with police, claims Alt News
Fact-checking website Alt News has alleged that payment gateway Razorpay had shared its donor data with the police without informing it.
In a statement, Razorpay, without referring to the specific allegation of Alt News, said that it was mandated to comply with the written order from legal authorities under the provisions of the law.
Razorpay had deactivated the account of Alt News on its donation platform following a request from the police and re-enabled it later.
Alt News said the donation platform had conveyed to them that their account was reactivated “after getting some clarity”. “It has not been specified by them as to what this clarity is,” the fact-checking website said.
It alleged that Razorpay had handed over Alt News donor data to the police. “This was done without informing us, or without even a preliminary investigation of any violation on the part of Alt News,” it said.
Delhi Police is probing the donations received by Alt News and has arrested its co-founder Mohammed Zubair.
Razorpay did not refer to the charges levelled by Alt News and said it was mandated to comply with the requirements of the law. “We had received a written order from the legal authorities under Section 91 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) and we are mandated to comply with the same as per the regulation under the provisions of Indian law,” the fintech platform said.
upGrad co-founder reveals big hiring plans ahead of funding round
Edtech firm upGrad is looking to hire more than 3,000 people across segments in 2022-2023 at a time when its peers are on a firing spree amid a 'funding winter' in the startup space.
“In this fiscal year, we will go up to 2,000-3,000 or more people. Every week I am sitting with an open position of about 250 plus… many of our new businesses, whether it is to study abroad, short skill certification, etc., will require the right sort of people coming in,” co-founder and managing director Mayank Kumar told CNBCTV18.com in an exclusive interview.
The unicorn has lined up the mega hiring plan ahead of a funding round it is expected to close soon.
While reports suggest upGrad started losing people when a six-day work week was imposed in October 2021 and staff was told to relocate to offices, Kumar said attrition is pretty much under control. Commenting on the current recruitment, he said there is a little bit of replacement hiring but largely the company is looking to increase the headcount across all levels.
M2P Fintech acquires cloud lending platform Finflux
M2P Fintech, an API infrastructure company has acquired Finflux, a cloud lending platform for an undisclosed sum.
This deal will enable M2P Fintech to accelerate the adoption of next-generation digitization, workflow automation and roll out of cutting-edge lending products that are secure, scalable and cloud ready, a statement said.
“Our key offerings around BNPL and neo credit products gets a major thrust with the FinFlux's platform and we are embarking on a mission to digitise the lending ecosystem,” said Madhusudanan R, Co-Founder, M2P Fintech.
Clear acquires CimplyFive to strengthen its compliance suite for CFOs
Clear, a fintech SaaS company has acquired CimplyFive, a cloud hosted application that automates Company Law and SEBI Listing Obligations (LODR) compliance in an all cash deal.
This is Clear’s second company acquisition in 2022, after it acquired Xpedize, an invoice discounting platform in March. The company till date has made four acquisitions which includes YBANQ and Karvy's GST busines.
With this acquisition, Clear’s enterprise customers will have access to comprehensive Compliance Risk Management Software that eliminates many procedural non-compliance under the Companies Act, 2013.
“This acquisition will not just make our compliance suite larger but also stronger. We are committed to serving the CFO's office comprehensively”, said Archit Gupta, Founder and CEO, Clear.
Emiza acquires Shippigo for an undisclosed sum
Warehousing and fulfilment services provider Emiza has acquired Shippigo, a provider of supply chain enablement for consumer brands across D2C and B2B channels.
This acquisition will allow Emiza to leverage Shippigo’s technology backend to provide a one-stop solution covering the entire product journey from warehousing to last mile delivery, a statement said.
“We are thrilled to integrate Shippigo's advanced, tech-smart solutions into our existing processes. This will enable us to extend the features and benefits of both to our clients for a seamless fulfilment journey from factory to consumer. With that in mind, we are delighted to welcome Saurabh and Nitish, the Co-Founders of Shippigo and the rest of their team, into our growing family," said Ajay Rao, Founder & CEO of Emiza.
Good Glamm Group restructures business; eyes global expansion
Content-to-commerce unicorn The Good Glamm Group has reorganized its business by creating three divisions—Good Brands Co., Good Media Co., and Good Creator Co., to focus on structural efficiencies. The firm has also announced the launch of its international division.
A few brands across content and creator space that The Good Glamm Group acquired last year include ScoopWhoop, Miss Malini, The Moms Co, among others.
“The structure consolidates Good Glamm Group companies into independent Brands, Media and Creator divisions-Good Brands Co. led by Sukhleen Aneja; Good Media Co. Which will be led by Priyanka Gill and Good Creator Co. led by Sachin Bhatia along with the International Business division,” it said.
This will help maximize revenue potential for all beauty and personal care brands in the group, the company added.
"With most of the Series D fundraising capital still in the bank, we have set ourselves an ambitious revenue run rate target of $400 million by March 2023 for the current organic business with a clear mandate to be profitable," said Darpan Sanghvi, Group founder and chief executive officer.
Google India to guide 10K startups in tier 2 and 3 cities via Startups school initiative
Google India has announced the launch of Startup School to guide 10,000 startups in tier II and III cities in the country.
Startup School is a series of guided online trainings designed to equip early-stage startup founders with the tools, products, and knowledge that growing companies need.
The curriculum will feature instructional modules on subjects like shaping an effective product strategy, deep dives on product user value, roadmapping and product requirements document development, building apps for next billion users in markets like India, driving user acquisition and many more.
The nine-week programme will also feature fireside chats between Google leaders and trailblazing collaborators from across the startup ecosystem spanning fintech, D2C, B2B and B2C e-commerce, language, social media and networking, and job search.
Capital Float, Walnut and Walnut 369 unifying and rebranding to axio
Digital finance company Capital Float has announced it is unifying its core operations with Walnut and Walnut 369 under a new identity axio.
The move brings the company’s three consumer finance products - pay later, personal credit, and money management - together, said the rebranded firm axio, a statement said.
According to the company, while the growth of UPI-led digital payments and e-commerce has been exponential, over 75 percent of consumers shopping online do not have a credit card. axio said it aims to fix this gap by providing personal credit and a personal finance management platform, formerly known as the Walnut app to its users. The company also allows users to shop via its app where it showcases EMI offers from partner brands, it added.
GiveIndia Partners with Indiaspora to amplify philanthropic donations
GiveIndia and Indiaspora have announced a strategic, long-term partnership to amplify philanthropic giving from institutions, foundations, and high-net-worth individuals from the United States to social impact initiatives in India.
The partnership will operate as GiveIndia in the U.S. and will aim to support over 500 nonprofits in India through philanthropic contributions from more than 200 partners over the next three years, a statement said.
“Leveraging Indiaspora’s network of prominent Indian diaspora leaders and GiveIndia’s network of on-the-ground nonprofit partners, we look forward to accelerating global philanthropic giving to India,” said MR Rangaswami, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Indiaspora.
61% of India Inc keen to hire young talent in in September quarter: TeamLease Report
The majority of India Inc is keen on hiring young talent as 61 percent show positive hiring sentiments, according to the Employment Outlook Report published by human resource company, TeamLease Services.
The overall intent to hire witnessed a seven percent increase from 54 percent in the last quarter, the findings showed. The report shows the forthcoming quarter has positive prospects for candidates looking to apply for junior-level roles.
The hiring intent for these roles will see a sharp rise to 61 percent, an increase of 10 percent from the last quarter. Similarly, entry-level roles are set to gain as well, with a six percent increase in hiring intent from last quarter, the report added.
“An increase in hiring sentiment is not only imminent but over the next few quarters, it is likely to cross the 70% mark as well,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, Executive Director and Co-Founder, TeamLease.
Nothing taps into NFT by partnering with Polygon for Web3 access
UK-based consumer electronics brand Nothing has announced a non-fungible token (NFT) project, called Nothing Community Dots, in collaboration with Polygon network ahead of the launch of its first smartphone, Nothing Phone 1.
The NFT token issued through the project can be used by buyers to gain early access to new products, events, and specific gifts.
Nothing said its first NFT token, Black Dots, will be airdropped to Nothing community investors on July 7. Ten Black Dot token holders from Nothing’s community will be allowed to win exclusive invites to attend the launch event of the Nothing smartphone in London on July 12.
Practically aims to clock gross revenue of $10M in FY23
Edtech platform Practically aims to end FY23 with gross revenue at $10 million, with a contribution margin of 40% from Indian market and 60% from Middle-East and South-East market.
The company claims to have achieved a promising ARR (Average Revenue Run Rate) growth of over 3X from January to May 2022. To fuel the growth momentum, the company has recently opened offices in Mumbai and Mohali and is looking to increase its headcount by 66% in the next one year. Currently Practically operates with a team of 300 employees.
Practically is set to launch its K-5 product later this year and also extend its offering to Social Sciences and English apart from STEM, gearing up to become an end-to-end learning solutions provider in the K-12 category across the globe.
“We have launched many industry-first revolutionary features that showcase the power of AI and AR in learning. We are confident that we will continue to hold the momentum in the upcoming six months leading to our Series B funding,” said Charu Noheria, Co-Founder and COO, Practically.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Facebook asks US court for old FTC merger documents in antitrust fight
Meta's Facebook has asked a US court for eight documents created by the US Federal Trade Commission as part of their review of the company's purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp, which the agency allowed to go forward.
As per Reuters, the request was made late on Tuesday and comes in a lawsuit filed by the FTC that has asked the court to order both of those deals undone. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014.
The FTC sued Meta's Facebook in 2020, during the Trump administration, alleging that the company acted illegally to maintain its social network monopoly. Facebook is fighting the lawsuit, and wants the materials as part of that fight.
"Both the Instagram and the WhatsApp documents are almost certain to reveal that the FTC determined that each acquisition was unlikely to lessen competition or harm consumers," Facebook said in its filing.
Crypto lender Voyager Digital files for bankruptcy
US crypto lender Voyager Digital has filed for bankruptcy, becoming another casualty of a dramatic fall in prices that has shaken the cryptocurrency sector, Reuters reported.
In its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Tuesday, Voyager - based in New Jersey but listed in Toronto - estimated that it had more than 100,000 creditors and somewhere between $1 billion and $10 billion in assets, and liabilities worth the same value.
Crypto lenders such as Voyager boomed in the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing depositors with high interest rates and easy access to loans rarely offered by traditional banks. However the recent slump in crypto markets - sparked by the downfall of two major tokens in May - has hurt lenders.
New Jersey-based Celsius in June froze withdrawals and has hired advisers on a possible bankruptcy filing. Voyager froze withdrawals this month, as did another lender, Singapore's Vauld.
Last week, Voyager said it had issued a notice of default to Singapore-based crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) for failing to make payments on a crypto loan totalling over $650 million.
UK watchdog probes Microsoft's $68.7Bn Activision buyout deal
Britain's antitrust watchdog has started an investigation into Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to buy "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had until September 1 to make its phase 1 decision on whether the deal between the US technology company and video-game maker Activision would reduce competition in the UK, according to a Reuters report.
The phase 1 investigation by the CMA will either lead to the deal being cleared or will move to a more in-depth phase 2 probe.
Amazon teams up with Just Eat on US food delivery with Grubhub investment
Amazon has agreed to take a 2 percent stake in Just Eat Takeaway.com's struggling US meal delivery business Grubhub and will offer its Prime members access to the service for one year.
According to Reuters, the deal is a major relief for Just Eat Takeaway, Europe's largest meals company, whose stock had fallen 70 percent this year. Shareholdershave demanded it sell or find a partner for Grubhub, which it bought just last year for $5.8 billion in shares.
Just Eat Takeway specified in a statement it continues to "explore the partial or full sale of Grubhub" though there is no certaintainty any deal will be reached.
In a note on the Amazon deal, analysts from JPMorgan said it would bring new customers and strengthen Grubhub's position in the United States, comparable to a partnership Amazon has in Britain with Just Eat competitor Deliveroo.
Under the deal announced as part of Amazon's July "Prime Day" promotion on Wednesday, Amazon customers will receive free delivery on orders over $12 in the 4,000 cities where Grubhub operates.
Amazon will receive warrants representing 2 percent of Grubhub's shares, and an additional 13 percent of shares conditional on the deal bringing Grubhub enough customers.
First Published: IST