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    Startup Digest: Top stories of the day

    Startup Digest: Top stories of the day

    Startup Digest: Top stories of the day
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    By Shruti Malhotra   IST (Published)

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    Here's a wrap of the top startup stories today (March 24).

    Here's a wrap of the top startup stories today (March 24).
    Dream11 owner Dream Sports raises $400 million
    Sports technology company Dream Sports, the owner of fantasy sports platform Dream11 has closed $400 million funding led by TCV, D1 Capital Partners and Falcon Edge. The round saw participation from existing investors - Tiger Global, ChrysCapital, TPG Growth, Steadview Capital and Footpath Ventures. This is TCV’s first investment in India, an investor in Netflix, Airbnb, Sportradar and Peloton. Falcon Edge Capital, co-founded by Navroz Udwadia, invested via Alpha Wave. This is the largest investment in the Indian sports tech ecosystem to date and a testimony to its growing market potential, Dream Sports said.
    "This is a huge vote of confidence to the Indian start-up ecosystem. We have created the Fantasy Sports category in India to drive digital engagement to real-life sporting events and bring fans closer to the sport they love. We are proud to continually contribute to the overall expansion of the Indian sports ecosystem. Our growth trajectory is also a testimony to the honourable Prime Minister’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Digital India," said, Harsh Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, Dream Sports.
    Zetwerk buys back $8.3 million ESOPs
    Digital B2B marketplace for large manufacturing - Zetwerk Manufacturing said that it has bought back ESOPs worth $8.3 million (Rs 60.92 crore) from employees and investors. The exercise was completed in three rounds and has helped create substantial wealth for a large part of the workforce and provided exits to early investors, the company said. Zetwerk employs about 400 people currently. The share buyback follows a $120 million in Series D funding round in February, led by Greenoaks Capital and Lightspeed with participation from Sequoia Capital India and Kae Capital. The company has so far raised about $200 million.
    "Zetwerk is building a company for the future, and we believe that employees are a crucial part of the journey. The aggressive growth in the past two years reflects the role played by Zetwerk employees, some of whom chose to be a part of the journey when the company existed only on paper. For us, building a strong culture that recognizes the contribution of employees is extremely important, and we plan to carry out this exercise even in the future as we scale up our business," said Amrit Acharya, CEO & Co-founder, Zetwerk Manufacturing.
    Inshorts' location-based social network Public raises Rs 300 crore
    Location-based social network- Public App launched by news aggregator Inshorts, has secured Rs 300 crore in funding from A91 Partners with participation from existing investors. Public had raised Rs 260 crore in funding led by Lee Fixel's Addition, along with SIG and Tanglin Venture Partners six months ago. Public App is a social network for hyper-local updates, hyper-local commerce, jobs, classifieds etc. The company said the app is being used by over 50,000 elected officials, government authorities and citizen journalists to connect with their locality, while many local businesses have also started to use the app to reach their customers in the locality. The company plans to utilize the funding towards scaling up of tech infrastructure, content offerings and employee base.
    Velocity raises $10.3 million led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures
    Fintech startup, Velocity, has raised a total of $10.3 million in seed funding led by Valar Ventures, a US-based VC firm backed by Peter Thiel. This marks Valar Venture’s first investment in an Indian startup. The funds will be utilised by Velocity for ramping up its customer base and for building financing products for the businesses of tomorrow. Other investors who participated in Velocity’s seed rounds include founding investors Mato Peric and Tom Stafford (DST Global) as well as Presight Capital, Utsav Somani’s iSeed, Oliver Jung (LAO Holdings), Robert Frohwein (Kabbage), Dhruv Arora (Syfe) and Erik Podzuweit & Florian Prucker (Scalable Capital).
    Velocity facilitates revenue-based financing up to Rs 2 crore ($280K) with zero equity dilution or personal guarantees. Revenue-based financing is a new, more flexible alternative to venture capital or bank debt, wherein repayments happen as a fixed percentage of future revenues. The venture claims that with Velocity, any business with digitally trackable revenues can just share access to their online data and get funded within a week. With this funding, Velocity also announced the launch of its digital marketing focused Visa corporate credit cards in partnership with SBM Bank. Online businesses spend up to 30% of their revenues on digital marketing but primarily end up using a personal credit card for this.
    AI-driven content assistant Instoried raises funding from Rockstud Capital
    Deep-tech and AI-based content intelligence platform Instoried has raised funding from Rockstud Capital. Instoried works with enterprises and individuals to create emotionally engaging content that can aid an improvement in ROI. The company plans to use these funds to expand into newer geographies. Rockstud Capital is a pre-series A stage focused fund which invests across sectors like enterprise-tech, mobility, fintech, healthtech, agritech, edtech and consumer brands.
    Instoried’s tool helps brands create an emotional connect with customers by identifying the emotional quotient of the content and giving customised recommendations, thereby boosting engagement and increasing content productivity, all in real-time using AI, the company said. Instoried has built web apps and APIs to help integrate the tool onto any platform and it sells licenses of the tool. The company has over 30 enterprise customers across the globe, a statement said. The company recently launched a ‘Content Emotional Intelligence’ tool for content creators. It claims that the total addressable market for content enhancement platforms is at $300 billion.
    Swiggy to cover vaccination for over 2 lakh delivery partners
    Food delivery platform Swiggy said it will cover vaccination cost for its entire fleet of over 2 lakh delivery partners in over 500 cities. The company will also cover the loss of pay for the period the delivery partner spends in getting both the doses, it said. The company said that in the first tranche of the programme, 5,500 delivery partners, aged 45 and above will be eligible.
    Rapido- Zypp Electric join hands for EV Bike Taxis
    Bike taxi platform Rapido has partnered with Zypp Electric for electric bike taxis for Rapido’s users. With this deal, Rapido is aiming to reduce its carbon footprint and encourage the use of environment-friendly vehicles, the company said. Rapido will be onboarding 100 + riders and electric two-wheelers from Zypp as part of its Captain fleet. The service will be a pilot run for three months starting from March 2021 and will be tested for its demand and veracity in the Delhi-NCR area. Rapido is looking to on-board more such EV partners to further expand this business model across its Tier I market in the country, it said.
    Elon Musk says Tesla vehicles can now be bought using Bitcoin
    Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk said that the company’s electric vehicles can now be bought using bitcoin and the option will be available outside the United States later this year. "You can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin," he tweeted here on Wednesday, adding that bitcoin paid to Tesla will not be converted into conventional currency.
    The electric-car maker had last month said it bought $1.5 billion of bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment for cars, sending the price of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency soaring. Musk, who has been promoting cryptocurrencies through his Twitter account, had last month criticized conventional cash, saying when it “has negative real interest, only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere.” He had said the difference with cash made it “adventurous enough” for the S&P 500 company to hold the cryptocurrency, Reuters reported.
    Amazon hires former executive Adam Selipsky to run AWS
    Amazon.com Inc appointed Salesforce.com Inc executive Adam Selipsky to lead its high-margin cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services. The move comes as AWS’ current lead Andy Jassy is vacating the role to become the chief executive officer of Amazon, after Jeff Bezos announced his exit in February.
    AWS, a key part of Amazon’s growth strategy, has raked in record profits for the world’s largest online retailer, and counts scores of startups, big corporations and many government agencies among its clients, Reuters reported. Seattle-based Amazon said Selipsky, one of the first VPs hired in AWS in 2005 who ran the cloud computing division's sales, marketing, and support for 11 years, will return to AWS on May 17. Selipsky became the CEO of Salesforce.com Inc’s Tableau Software unit in 2016, and under his leadership the value of the division quadrupled in just a few years, Amazon said.
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