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STARTUP DIGEST: Top stories of the day

STARTUP DIGEST: Top stories of the day
There were several important updates in the startup space during the day on Monday, which include Moglix becomes the 13th Unicorn of 2021, CarTrade files for IPO, Pine Labs raises $285 million from a clutch of global investors, Twitter is likely to launch a paid subscription service called 'Twitter Blue' with an undo tweet feature and Clubhouse's Android app heads to India this week. Here's a wrap of all the top news from the startup universe.
WhatsApp privacy: Centre tells Delhi HC policy not conforming to Indian IT laws; case adjourned to June 3
The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that it views the new privacy policy of WhatsApp as a violation of the Indian Information Technology (IT) law and rules, and sought directions to the social media platform to make it clear whether it was confirming to the same. The central government’s claim was made before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh during hearing of several pleas challenging WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, which according to the platform has come into effect from May 15 and has not been deferred.
The Centre pointed out that there are 7 infractions committed by WhatsApp by way of this new privacy policy. The government further stated that WhatsApp’s privacy policy has also violated the Supreme Court’s judgement in the privacy matter which had held privacy to be a fundamental right. The government has also written to the WhatsApp management to conform to the Indian laws.
On the other hand, WhatsApp has rejected the government’s stance and said that there are no infractions of any Indian law. WhatsApp further told the bench that while its new privacy policy has come into effect from May 15, it would not start deleting accounts of those users who have not accepted it and would try to encourage them to get on board. The platform said there was no universal or uniform time limit after which it will start to delete accounts as each user would be dealt with it on case-to-case basis.
When the matter was initially listed before a single judge, the Centre had said that WhatsApp was treating Indian users differently from Europeans over opting out of its new privacy policy which was a matter of concern for the government and it was looking into the issue. It had also said that was a matter of concern that Indian users were being “unilaterally” subjected to the change in privacy policy by the instant messaging platform and that the government was looking into it.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on June 3.
Moglix raises $120 million, joins unicorn club as valuation jumps to $1 billion
Moglix has become the first industrial B2B commerce platform, in the manufacturing space, to become a unicorn, the thirteenth in India so far in 2021. The company is said to be valued at $1 billion in its latest $120 million Series E funding round. The latest investment was led by Falcon Edge Capital and Harvard Management Company (HMC). This round of funding also saw participation from its existing investors, Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India and Venture Highway.
The B2B commerce platform in the industrial & MRO procurement space, is building an operating system for manufacturing that provides its customers a full stack service covering procurement, packaging, supply chain financing and highly integrated software.
Founded in 2015, Moglix today provides solutions to more than 500,000 SMEs and 3,000 manufacturing plants across India, Singapore, the UK and the UAE. Several manufacturing majors such as Hero MotoCorp, Vedanta, Tata Steel, Unilever and PSUs such as Air India and NTPC procure indirect material through the Moglix platform. Moglix has a supply chain network of 16,000+ suppliers, 35+ warehouses and logistics infrastructure. With close to 500,000+ SKUs, its marketplace, www.moglix.com claims to be the largest e-commerce platform in the industrial goods category in India.
Moglix also has a suite of software products for contract management and B2B Commerce. Global FMCG giant Unilever uses the platform for ~$30 billion of material spend annually in 70+countries. Moglix recently launched Credlix, a supply chain financing platform for suppliers and manufacturers and expects to power INR 1000 crore of financing in the coming year.
This latest round of funding takes the total funds raised by Moglix to $220 Million. Accel Partners, Jungle Ventures and Venture Highway have been the earliest investors in the company. Moglix has in-subsequent rounds received investments from leading global venture capital funds such as Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India, International Finance Corporation and Composite Capital among others. Ratan Tata, Chairman emeritus, Tata Sons had invested in the start-up in 2016. Leaders from the start-up and manufacturing communities such as Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO Flipkart, Vikrampati Singhania, MD, JK Fenner and Shailesh Rao, Ex-Google have been investors in Moglix.
Pine Labs raises $285 million, valued at $3 billion
Merchant commerce platform Pine Labs has raised $285 million from public market crossover investors includingBaron Capital Group, Duro Capital, Marshall Wace, Moore Strategic Ventures and Ward Ferry Management.
Existing investors Temasek, Lone Pine Capital and Sunley House Capital also participated in this funding round.
As per street estimates, this deal values Pine Labs at about $3 billion.
The funds raised from the round have enabled secondary transactions and cash liquidity for the founder, employees and early shareholders, the company said.
“We're thrilled to welcome marquee investors such as Marshall Wace, Baron Capital Group, Ward Ferry Management, Duro Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures to the already pristine cap table of Pine Labs. This is an exciting phase in our journey as we enter newer markets. We excel in enterprise merchant payments and now want to scale new frontiers in the online space as well, at the same time continue to power the credit and commerce needs of our offline merchant partners," said Amrish Rau, chief executive officer, Pine Labs.
Pine Labs turned unicorn (valuation over $1billion) in January 2020 on the back of an undisclosed investment by financial major Mastercard and has tripled its valuation since then. This investment comes four months after Pine Labs raised about to $100 million from Lone Pine Capital that valued the firm at $2 billion.
Pine Labs claims to be serving more than 150,000 merchants across Asia and the Middle East. The company recently aunched its BNPL service in Malaysia and plans to take its integrated Pay Later instalment solution to newer markets in Southeast Asia. In April 2021, Pine Labs acquired Fave, Southeast Asia’s consumer fintech platform.
CarTrade to raise Rs 2,000 crore via IPO
Online automobile classified platform CarTrade Tech has papers with market regulator SEBI to raise funds through an initial share-sale.
The company backed by investors such as Temasek, Warburg Pincus and JP Morgan plans to raise around Rs 2000 crore via an initial public offer (IPO).
BankSathi raises $200K in seed funding
Fintech platform BankSathi Technologies has raised $200K in seed funding from a clutch of angel investors including Dinesh Godara, Founder TREAD (Ex-Unacademy), Rajendra Lora, Founder Freshokartz, Anuj Ahuja & Aditya Talwar, Founders, Studybase and others.
The startup will use these funds for product development, team building and executing marketing and growth plan.
Clubhouse to launch Android version in India on May 21
Clubhouse will launch its invite-only audio chat app for Android users in India on May 21, hoping to reverse the sharp decline in downloads which fell 66 percent in April since it peaked in February in the country, as per Moneycontrol.
This is in line with the global trend of declining downloads the social media app has seen in recent times. Experts said the Android launch may boost downloads the app faces fierce competition, as per. Twitter has rolled out Spaces available for users with over 600 followers on May 3. US tech giants Facebook and Microsoft’s LinkedIn are working on their own Clubhouse like platform.
The app was launched in March 2020, bang in the middle of the pandemic. Its popularity soared since it launched and peaked after the appearance of Silicon Valley figures like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. India was no exception to this trend.
According to Sensor Tower data, a mobile app analytics platform, India currently has over 90,000 Clubhouse downloads in total in iOS.
Twitter Blue - a paid subscription service, with an 'Undo Tweet' feature coming soon
Twitter is expected to launch Twitter Blue, a premium subscription-based service that is likely to be priced at $2.99 (about Rs 219) per month. Twitter Blue may include features like 'Undo' tweets where users will have a few seconds to undo a tweet that has been posted by them. For the unaware, Twitter is yet to enable the feature of editing the already published tweets. Another inclusion of Twitter Blue is likely to be a ‘Collections’ section that may allow users to organise and save their favourite tweets or the ones which they would want to view later, according to Firstpost.
Researcher Jane Manchun Wong shared details on Twitter's new features through a thread of tweets. She suggests that the above-mentioned features could be a part of Twitter's base plan for which users may be expected to pay more for more feature additions.
Twitter has not yet made any announcement of its subscription service. Hence, there's no official confirmation on the features, price of the plan, and when the service will be launched. Also, it is still being anticipated if these paid features will facilitate Twitter users to subscribe to it. Rising data security concerns on social media platforms suggest that Twitter may have to ensure its users of data security for them to use the service. For more details, we will have to wait for any official announcement from Twitter.
Jane had earlier tweeted about Twitter’s Verification program which might launch next week.
In January 2021, Twitter had removed the blue badge suggestive of verified accounts from inactive and incomplete accounts as part of the new verification policy. It had stopped verifying accounts since 2017 owing to the outrage over the verification process.
Bitcoin hits 3-month low, then rallies, on Musk tweets
Bitcoin rallied from three-month low on Monday in a volatile session that saw investors initially selling and then buying cryptocurrencies in the wake of Tesla boss Elon Musk’s tweets about the carmaker’s bitcoin holdings, as per Reuters.
In his latest tweet, Musk said "Tesla has not sold any bitcoin". That seeming clarification came after his weekend tweets that hinted Tesla (TSLA.O) is considering or may have already sold some of its massive holdings.
Musk has boosted crypto markets with his enthusiasm for the asset class, but has lately roiled trade by appearing to cool on bitcoin in favour of its one-time parody, dogecoin. The gyrations are beginning to spook even steeled traders.
Bitcoin fell more than 9% on Monday to as low as $42,185, its lowest since Feb. 8, but rallied more than 5% to around $44,220.
Ether , linked to the ethereum blockhain, fell even more to as low as $3,123.94, and then rallied to $3,400. Dogecoin fell nearly 7% to $0.48, and all three are well under recent records.
On Wednesday, Musk said Tesla would stop taking bitcoin as payment, owing to environmental concerns about energy use to process transactions. Defending that decision on Sunday, he suggested Tesla may have sold its own holdings.
In response to an unverified Twitter account called @CryptoWhale, which said: "Bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of their #Bitcoin holdings. With the amount of hate @elonmusk is getting, I wouldn't blame him...," Musk wrote: "Indeed".
It was not clear whether he was confirming sales or whether he referred only to the fact that he had faced criticism, until his clarification in Monday's tweet.
Musk said Tesla would not sell its bitcoin, but the cryptocurrency has dropped by almost a quarter since Musk’s reversal on Tesla taking it as payment.
On Tuesday, Reuters reported Tesla is seeking to enter the multi-billion dollar U.S. renewable credit market, hoping to profit from the Biden administration’s march toward new zero-emission goals.
Dogecoin is also yet to fully recover from Musk describing it as a “hustle,” although he did boost the price last week by saying he was working to improve its efficiency.
For an asset class that has surged this year, with dogecoin up about a hundredfold, ether up more than fourfold and bitcoin gaining 45%, some are beginning to call time on the wild ride.
Indonesia's Gojek, Tokopedia merge to create tech champion
Indonesian ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek and e-commerce leader Tokopedia announced a multi-billion dollar merger of their businesses on Monday, creating a technology powerhouse called GoTo Group in the country's largest-ever deal, according to Reuters.
The deal comes as Gojek and Tokopedia - each backed by global heavyweight investors - seek to boost profitability some 10 years after they were founded by marrying their services in one bouquet under a single platform. It also extends growing consolidation among Southeast Asia's fast-moving tech startups.
Alibaba Group Holding, SoftBank Group Corp and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC are among Tokopedia's investors, while Gojek's include Google, Warburg Pincus and Tencent Holdings.
Sources familiar with the situation had earlier said the companies were seeking a $18 billion merger.
In a joint statement, the firms did not give a current value of the merged GoTo Group, but said that based on historical fundraising of the companies, the combined past valuation was $18 billion.
Gojek Chief Executive Andre Soelistyo will lead the combined business as GoTo's chief executive officer, while Tokopedia President Patrick Cao will become president of GoTo.
"Our business model is now even more diverse, stable and sustainable. We have Gojek's high volume, high frequency mobility transactions, combined with Tokopedia's high value, medium frequency e-commerce transactions," said Cao.
Last month, Southeast Asia's biggest ride-hailing and food delivery firm, Grab, clinched a $40 billion merger with a special purpose acquisition company. Meanwhile Singapore-based regional internet firm Sea, which operates e-commerce platform Shopee, is also muscling into food delivery and financial .services

Market Movers

CompanyPriceChng%Chng
Tata Motors295.55 -7.00 -2.31
Grasim1,549.50 -32.55 -2.06
Larsen1,611.75 -30.40 -1.85
Adani Ports680.05 -11.75 -1.70
Tech Mahindra1,131.00 -17.60 -1.53
CompanyPriceChng%Chng
Larsen1,612.00 -29.55 -1.80
HUL2,359.25 -19.40 -0.82
Reliance2,105.20 -15.80 -0.74
Asian Paints3,083.20 -21.25 -0.68
NTPC118.50 -0.80 -0.67
CompanyPriceChng%Chng
Tata Motors295.55 -7.00 -2.31
Grasim1,549.50 -32.55 -2.06
Larsen1,611.75 -30.40 -1.85
Adani Ports680.05 -11.75 -1.70
Tech Mahindra1,131.00 -17.60 -1.53
CompanyPriceChng%Chng
Larsen1,612.00 -29.55 -1.80
HUL2,359.25 -19.40 -0.82
Reliance2,105.20 -15.80 -0.74
Asian Paints3,083.20 -21.25 -0.68
NTPC118.50 -0.80 -0.67

Currency

CompanyPriceChng%Chng
Dollar-Rupee74.4000-0.0600-0.08
Euro-Rupee87.5450-0.0830-0.09
Pound-Rupee102.3880-0.0780-0.08
Rupee-100 Yen0.6730-0.0030-0.44