From Zomato to Apple, the startup space saw some interesting action taking place today -- here's an overview.
The top startup stories of the day:
Zomato to charge zero commission on takeaway service from restaurants as the food tech platform hits 110% of pre-covid GMV run rate in the food delivery business with order volumes up over by more than 200% on its takeaway app.
Keeping this metric in mind, the Zomato is making takeaway service available for free to their restaurant partners and will not be charging any commission. Additionally, the company plans also to forego the payment gateway charges we incur on all takeaway orders.
2. BookMyShow reports revenues for the financial year 2019-20 as INR 518 cr
As per Tofler, Online movie and events ticketing platform BookMyShow reported its revenues for the financial year 2019-20 as INR 518 cr, a 13 % fall since the last financial year.
3. Google redesigns Pay app, opens waitlist for bank accounts with Citi
Alphabet has relaunched its US payments app, introducing paid promotions to the service and opening a waitlist for bank accounts being launched next year with Citigroup Inc CN and ten other institutions.
The new Google Pay app, like its predecessor, which will be discontinued eventually, enables contactless payments in stores and money transfers. But now users can transact with groups of people, search transactions, view analytics and explore cashback offers from merchants including Burger King and Target Corp
Google will receive a distribution fee for those promotions, opening a small new line of revenue for the advertising giant. Transactions will not affect the ads that users see on other Google services, it said.
4. Samsung Partners IIT-Jodhpur to Set Up Samsung AR-VR Innovation Lab
Samsung India today inaugurated the Samsung AR-VR Innovation Lab at IIT-Jodhpur, taking the total count of such labs under the Samsung Digital Academy initiative to seven, strengthening its commitment towards the government’s Skill India mission and also bolstering the Digital India initiative.
The Samsung AR-VR Innovation Lab at IIT-Jodhpur will train students on new technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), helping them learn industry-relevant skills and making them job-ready.
5. Funding of the Day
Instamojo closes Pre-Series C funding round from Japanese investors Base and Gunosy Capital
Fintech startup Instamojo closes its Pre-Series-C funding round of an undisclosed sum. This round of funding saw the participation of Japanese investors Base and existing investors such as Gunosy Capital who participated in Series B round back in January 2019. The funds raised will be used to expedite the company’s growth and product roadmap as well as venture into international markets in the coming year.
Insurtech platform Turtlemint raises $30 million in funding led by GGV Capital
Insurance-technology platform Turtlemint has raised $30 million (Rs 225 crore) in a funding round led by global venture capital firm GGV Capital.
New investors American Family Ventures, MassMutual Ventures and SIG, along with existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Blume Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Dream Incubator and Trifecta Capital participated in the round.
The funding will be used to increase distribution and scale up the platform.
Zeotap secures additional $18.5M from SignalFire’s Breakout Fund
Customer Intelligence Platform (CIP) Zeotap has raised an $18.5million extension to its Series C funding round from data-driven venture capital firm SignalFire. The investment was made from the firm’s Breakout Fund for growth-stage companies and is an addition to the $42 million announced earlier this year, bringing the total Series C round to $60.5 million.
Delhi’s Kitchens Centre raises funds from Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos-backed Village Global
Delhi-based shared kitchen startup Kitchens Centre has raised an undisclosed amount of funding in a Pre Series A round from early-stage venture capital firm Village Global, which is backed by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Eric Schmidt.
The funds raised will be used for scaling up operations and expanding into newer markets in India. Kitchens Centre is currently operating over 35 ready-to-move-in kitchens across 15 cities for food and FMCG brands.
Nira gets an additional million dollars from existing investors
Fintech lending startup Nira has raised an additional $1 million from its existing angel investors, taking the total funds raised by the startup to a little over $4 million. The company plans to use the funds to boost lending volumes and scale up its technology platform. The company also received additional funds from Techstars, the US-based seed accelerator, which for the first time put in additional funds in an Indian company which was part of its programme. Nira had attended the programme in 2019.
DaMENSCH raises INR 50cr from Matrix Partners India, Saama Capital, Whiteboard Venture Partners and Alteria Capital
Premium men’s apparel brand DaMENSCH has raised approximately INR 50cr from Matrix Partners India, Saama Capital, Whiteboard Venture Partners and Alteria Capital. The brand claims that it has grown 3x post lockdown and also turned profitable. They clocked a cumulative sales of over INR 1cr within five days during the festive sale period in October.
9Unicorns invests in Instoried
9Unicorns has invested in the $1 million pre-Series A round of AI-driven content startup Instoried. The round was led by Mumbai Angels and also saw participation from London-based JPIN, Jain Angel Network, SOSV, Artesian, FAAD Angel Network, Lead Angels and a US-based VC. The Bangalore-based startup had earlier raised USD 500K as part of a seed round last year from SOSV, Venture Catalysts, Jain Angel Network, Artesian and JPIN from London.
Flipkart Group Acquires augmented reality company Scapic
Flipkart Group has acquired Scapic, an Augmented Reality company, to enhance its immersive shopping experience capabilities. Through the acquisition of Scapic, the Flipkart Group will acquire a 100% stake in the company and welcomes onboard a talented team of experienced developers and designers. This team will work towards accelerating the company’s efforts to provide deeper camera experiences, virtual storefronts and new opportunities for brand advertising on its platform.
NSE Academy acquires majority stake in Nexus backed TalentSprint
Edtech platform TalentSprint has been majority acquired by NSE Academy, a wholly-owned subsidiary and education arm of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) Limited.
TalentSprint augments NSE Academy’s objective to be the leader in the education segment by providing skills in finance and adjacent areas in emerging technology areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Fintech and Blockchain in the capital market and BFSI domain through online and offline modes.
Stones2Milestones acquires MultiStory Learning
Stones2Milestones has acquired MultiStory Learning - a Chennai-based boutique kids’ content company - for an undisclosed amount. With this, the publishing IP of Multistory, The Book Lovers’ Program for Schools and Ms Moochie Books, is now part of fREADom - The English OS, a statement said.
Also, Multistory founder Amrutash Misra and his team are joining S2M, it added.
Eduvanz acquires career coaching platform Klarity
Fintech firm Eduvanz has acquired Klarity -- an online platform that provides video-based one-on-one mentoring -- for an undisclosed amount. Eduvanz, which has disbursed education loans worth Rs 210 crore till now, said it has seen strong demand and has registered a 40% growth in the number of loans given out in the last few months.
7. Apple in news
Apple launches App Store Small Business Programme
Apple has launched an industry-leading new developer programme to accelerate innovation and help small businesses and independent developers propel their businesses forward with the next generation of groundbreaking apps on the App Store.
The new App Store Small Business Programme will benefit the vast majority of developers who sell digital goods and services on the store, providing them with a reduced commission on paid apps and in-app purchases. Developers could qualify for the programme and a reduced, 15 percent commission if they earned up to $1 million in proceeds during the previous calendar year.
The App Store Small Business Programme, which will launch on January 1, 2021, comes at an important time as small and independent developers continue working to innovate and thrive during a period of unprecedented global economic challenge.
Apple, US states reach $113 million settlement on iPhone throttling
Apple will pay $113 million to settle allegations from 33 US states and the District of Columbia that it slowed down iPhones to mask battery issues and get users to purchase new devices.
The deal with a coalition led by Arizona, Arkansas and Indiana is separate from a proposed settlement Apple reached in March to pay affected iPhone owners up to $500 million to stem a class action.
Apple in 2016 quietly updated software on models of the iPhone 6, 7 and SE to throttle chip speeds so that ageing batteries on the devices would not send power spikes to the phone’s processor and cause it to shut down unexpectedly. States contended Apple acted deceptively and should have replaced batteries or disclosed the issue.
Millions of users were affected by power shutoffs, according to an Arizona court filing.
8. BuzzFeed acquires news website HuffPost from Verizon Media
BuzzFeed bought news website HuffPost from Verizon Communications in the latest sign of consolidation in the online media world.
The deal brings two once-hot digital properties - viewed as the future of news media but which have suffered from competition for ad dollars from Alphabet’s Google and Facebook - under the control of one of HuffPost’s co-founders.
Verizon, which also owns Yahoo and TechCrunch, said it would invest in the new combined company and take a minority stake.
9. Amazon launches online pharmacy in a new contest with drug retail
Amazon has launched an online pharmacy for delivering prescription medications in the United States, increasing competition with drug retailers such as Walgreens, CVS and Walmart.
Called Amazon Pharmacy, the new store lets customers price-compare as they buy drugs on the company’s website or app. Shoppers can toggle at checkout between their co-pay and a non-insurance option, heavily discounted for members of its loyalty club Prime.
The move builds on the web retailer’s 2018 acquisition of PillPack, which Amazon said will remain separate for customers needing pre-sorted doses of multiple drugs.
10. Tencent to Invest in Online Education Startup Udemy
Chinese technology company Tencent is a lead investor in a funding round that valued the online education startup Udemy Inc. at more than $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
Udemy also told investors that the company could pursue an initial public offering next year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
Udemy has raised $50 million in a round valuing the company at $3.25 billion before the new investments. The San Francisco-based company named Learn Capital as one of the firms participating in the round. It didn’t disclose whether Tencent was an investor and it’s unclear how much Tencent contributed.
11. EU auditors see uphill battle for EU antitrust regulators versus big tech
EU antitrust enforcers face an uphill battle in tackling tech giants abusing their dominance because of the difficulty of finding remedies, the EU’s budget watchdog said in its first audit of the regulators.
The report by the European Court of Auditors comes as critics of Google voiced frustration at what they say is ineffective enforcement of a series of EU rulings ordering it to stop favouring its online services to the disadvantage of competitors.
Besides Google, European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is also investigating Amazon, Apple and Facebook.
12. ‘More power than traditional media’: Facebook, Twitter policies attacked
Republican senators attacked the chief executives of Facebook and Twitter for what they called censorship of President Trump and his allies during the US election. At the same time, Democrats bemoaned the spread of misinformation on social media.
The CEOs, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, defended their content moderation practices at a congressional hearing scheduled after the platforms decided to block stories from the New York Post that made claims about the son of then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
13. YouTube to add a link on COVID-19 vaccines to combat misinformation
YouTube to add a link to provide information on the development of COVID-19 vaccines, expanding its efforts to combat misinformation related to the pandemic. The link will send users directly to authoritative COVID-19 vaccine information from a third-party source like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization.