Here are the top startup stories of the day.
OYO lays off around 300 employees; claims company is making changes to keep up with current business realities
Hospitality unicorn and SoftBank-backed OYO has laid off around 300 employees. According to sources close to the matter, the company has introduced some operational changes aligned with the current business realities. Sources told CNBC-TV18 that OYO has been realigning some of its verticals and automating some of its business functions which led to some redundancies across a few functions. According to a Moneycontrol report, most of the staffers are from the renovation and operations departments.
Tapping India's Digital Potential: India Mobile Congress
India’s digital potential is unparallelled say PM Narendra Modi at the Mobile Congress. Adds that the country has become the preferred hub for manufacturing of mobile and telecom equipment; Mukesh Ambani calls for the timely rollout of 5G.
Warburg Pincus in talks to acquire stake in boAt Lifestyle
Private equity giant Warburg Pincus is in talks to invest in earphones and wearables brand boAt Lifestyle, as the Delhi-based company rides a wave of online buying and looks to de-link its operations from China amid border tensions, sources have said.
Warburg will likely acquire a 40 percent stake in Imagine Marketing, which runs boAt, valuing it between Rs 1,500 and 1,600 crore, the sources told Moneycontrol. General Atlantic, another global private equity firm, was interested as well but Warburg is likely to seal the deal in the next few months, sources said. Warburg and boAt did not respond to detailed queries from Moneycontrol, while General Atlantic declined to comment.
BharatPe topples Google Pay to become #3 in UPI P2M
Merchant payments company BharatPe has become the 3rd largest player in the Merchant UPI payment acceptance space. The company has recorded Rs 3,334 crore ($479 million) in transaction value for the month of November, displacing Google Pay from the No. 3 position. The company shared that it processed 6.15 crore transactions in November 2020.
BharatPe has been outgrowing the market and has doubled its market share in the UPI P2M merchant payment acceptance category since April 2020. In November 2020, BharatPe has reached all-time high 5 percent market share by transaction value and 7 percent market share by transaction volume. The volume of transactions processed by BharatPe standalone last month is greater than the combined UPI P2M transaction volume of JIO, Zomato, Swiggy, CRED, FlipKart, CashFree, IRCTC and MPL.
Funding of the Day
DealShare raised $21 million in series c funding led by WestBridge Capital
Ecommerce platform DealShare raises $21 million in Series C funding led by WestBridge Capital, with participation from Alpha Wave Incubation - a venture fund managed by Falcon Edge Capital, Z3Partners and existing investors Matrix Partners India and Omidyar Network India.
HDFC Bank invests in fintech startup smallcase
Private lender, HDFC Bank has invested an undisclosed amount in investment startup smallcase, as part of its recently-concluded $14 million Series B funding round. Existing investors DSP Group, Sequoia Capital India and Blume Ventures also participated in the round.
Desi short-video apps to have around 580 million users, grow 16% in 5 years: Redseer
According to the latest report titled ‘Short-form: Rising Amidst Cluttered Content Space’ by RedSeer, The consumption of short-video applications in the country is set to grow four times in terms of minutes spent and will see a 16 percent growth in total users within a span of five years. The reports highlights that the largest homegrown consulting firm, Dailyhunt’s Josh has emerged as the leader in the space in overall experience with the highest indexed score of 56 out of 100. This was followed by InMobi’s Roposo (40) and Times-owned MX Takatak (38) respectively.
Every 2nd person in India uses the Internet, shows RedSeer’s research this, 45 percent of internet users used short-form has emerged as the fastest growing content category. Further, the report cites that India has the highest content consumption per user. In India, users spend roughly 5 hours a day on their smartphone followed by China with 4.5 hours a day.
Further, in the last 3-4 years, India has witnessed the launch of numerous content apps such as TikTok, Spotify, Netflix, MX, TT Player, etc, and some of these are focused on local content. Thirdly, with the increasing use of smartphones, the rise in need of entertainment on smartphones became a key factor.
The report also highlights that monthly users (MAU) for short-form content grew 9x in less than five years. Users for such content grew from 20 million users in 2016 to 180 million in 2020. However, after the TikTok ban, the market saw a major void, some of it was quickly filled by new domestic players. While 40 percent of TikTok’s market has been captured by the new players, some users are still unwilling to shift for lack of quality, and lesser velocity of content creation.
With the number of internet users in India set to grow to 970 million from current 600 million in next 5 years, short form market is also estimated to grow by 4x on total time spent and reach to 400-450 billion minutes a month from the current 110 billion minutes, as per the report.
Uber sells ATG self-driving business to Aurora at $4 billion
Uber is selling its autonomous driving unit, Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), to self-driving car startup Aurora, in a move that would accelerate the ride-sharing company’s goal to achieve profitability. The equity deal valued the ATG at $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. This marks a major drop in valuation for ATG, as it raised $1 billion from a consortium of investors including Toyota Motor Corp and SoftBank Group Corp at a valuation of $7.25 billion last year.
Following the sale, Uber is also investing $400 million in Aurora, which values Aurora at $10 billion, the people added. Uber will hold about 26% ownership interest in Aurora on a fully diluted basis, the company said in a filing.
China removes TripAdvisor, 104 other apps from stores under cleansing campaign
China has removed 105 apps including that of U.S. travel firm TripAdvisor Inc from app stores in the country, under a new campaign to cleanse stores of apps it deems spread content related to pornography, prostitution, gambling and violence. The Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement on its website on Tuesday that the apps violated one or more of three cyber laws, without providing details for each app.
Australia to make Facebook, Google pay news outlets for content
Australia has finalised plans to make Facebook and Google pay its media outlets for news content, a world-first move aimed at protecting independent journalism that has been strongly opposed by the internet giants. Under laws to go to parliament this week, treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Big Tech firms must negotiate with local publishers and broadcasters how much they pay for content that appears on their platforms. If they can’t strike a deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide for them.
Second US judge blocks Commerce restrictions on TikTok
Second US judge has granted a preliminary injunction blocking the US commerce department from imposing restrictions on Chinese-owned short video sharing app TikTok that would have effectively barred its use in the United States.
US District Judge in Washington issued an order in a suit filed by TikTok-owner ByteDance more than a month after US judge Wendy Beetlestone in Pennsylvania blocked the same restrictions that were set to take effect on November 12 in a suit brought by some TikTok users. US District Judge Sept. 27 had separately blocked the Commerce Department from banning Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google app stores from offering the app for downloads by new users.
First Published: IST