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    Startup Digest: Zomato allots 4.66 crore shares to employees, Qapita acquires ESOP Direct, Shilpa Shetty invests in Fast&Up and Chicnutrix

    Startup Digest: Zomato allots 4.66 crore shares to employees, Qapita acquires ESOP Direct, Shilpa Shetty invests in Fast&Up and Chicnutrix

    Startup Digest: Zomato allots 4.66 crore shares to employees, Qapita acquires ESOP Direct, Shilpa Shetty invests in Fast&Up and Chicnutrix
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    By Aishwarya Anand   IST (Published)

    Zomato allots 4.66 crore shares to employees at Rs 1 apiece
    The shares of Zomato fell as much as 2.6 percent at Rs 40.55 on Wednesday hitting another fresh 52-week low for the third consecutive session, as a result of sell-off pressure. Shares of the food delivery platform, however, recovered at the fag end of the session. The stock closed 5.64 percent higher on the BSE.
    The company on Tuesday said in an exchange filing, that it is allotting 4.66 crore shares to its employees from its employee stock option plan (ESOP) at one rupee per share.
    The company said on July 26 that the nomination and remuneration committee of its board of directors has approved the allotment of 4,65,51,600 equity shares to employees upon exercise of vested stock options. At current share prices, the entire allocation is worth about Rs 200 crore. Zomato shares were trading at Rs 43 per share at the time of writing.
    Qapita acquires Pune-based ESOP Direct
    Qapita, a Singapore- and India-based equity management firm has completed the acquisition of ESOP Direct in an all-cash transaction. Pune-based ESOP Direct provides solutions in equity compensation. By acquiring this firm, Qapita will become a market leader in the region.
    The deal will expand its customer base in India and Southeast Asia to more than 1,200 customers and the combined entity will manage more than $12 billion in employee stock option plans. Qapita will serve over 1,200 companies across India and Southeast Asia and double its employee count to 200 after the acquisition.
    FUNDING NEWS
    Shilpa Shetty invests in Fast&Up and Chicnutrix
    Actress Shilpa Shetty has made an undisclosed investment in two DC2 startups ---Fast&Up and Chicnutrix, part of Fullife Healthcare. As part of the deal, Shetty has also joined these brands as a brand ambassador and will work towards strengthening and promoting health and self-care in India.
    "Fast&Up and Chicnutrix have created some of the greatest products out there. I am extremely excited to witness their growth journey. Our lifestyle today is fast-paced and it is difficult to keep up with all required nutrients or vitamins that are essential on a daily basis for the body, hair, skin, energy and general well-being.
    Their products totally suit today’s demands," Shetty said. Fullife Healthcare was previously backed by Indian cricketer Mayank Aggarwal and Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan.
    Atato secures $6 million in Series A funding round
    Atato, a licensed digital asset custodian offering MPC custodial solutions aimed at corporates and institutions, has raised $6 million in its Series A funding round led by AlphaLab Capital and FEBE Ventures.
    Babel Finance, NGC Metaverse Ventures, NFT1, Huashan Capital, Tom Trowbridge, Wing Vasiksiri, January Capital, SOSV, and angel investors such as Dan Bertoli and others in the gaming and financial services industry, also pitched in.
    The firm plans to use the fresh funds raised to further expand its product offerings and completion of existing beta-development products, including retail development, user growth, geographic expansion, and talent acquisition.
    Wify gets $2 million in Pre-Series A round from Blume Founders Fund & Unitus
    Wify, a full-stack tech platform for home improvement services, has raised $2 million in Pre-Series A funding round led by Blume Founders Fund and Unitus Ventures. The round also saw participation from Singularity Ventures and HePo NL, a Netherlands-based investment firm.
    The company plans to utilise the fund to further strengthen its technology and invest in the skilling of blue-collar workers associated with the company. Besides, it is also aiming to expand its customer base and product categories. The firm is currently operating in 60 cities across India and clocking a monthly revenue of about Rs 2 crore, as per a statement.
    Web3 startup Strive raises $500K in Pre-Seed funding round
    Strive, a web3 startup in the NFT space has raised $500,000 in its Pre-Seed funding round led by 100X.VC, LetsVenture, GrowX ventures and several angel investors. The funding will be used by the startup to launch its marketplace and exchange for fractionalising blue-chip NFTs for retail investors.
    “Strive’s marketplace will help increase the liquidity of NFTs and make it easier for people to buy and sell NFTs in the broader market with an additional focus on risk diversification, faster ROI, and higher buying conviction. We look forward to the platform’s growth in the NFT training and investing ecosystem," said Ninad Karpe, Partner, 100X.VC.
    SportVot bags seed capital from Ankur Capital and others
    SportVot, a sportstech startup, has bagged an undisclosed investment in a seed funding round led by Ankur Capital. Capital A, SucSEED Indovation Fund, and Marwah Sports, also participated in the round.
    "The latest fundraise will help us scale our product and technology. We look to expand into new geographies across the country and bring access to live video capture to as many sports games as possible," said Sidhhant Agarwal, co-founder, SportVot.
    The firm claims to have streamed over 18,000 sports matches, amassed 75 million views, and featured over 90,000 upcoming athletes so far.
    Interality raises undisclosed capital in Seed round
    Interality, a tech startup that helps in building virtual platforms, has raised undisclosed capital in a seed funding round led by angel investors and venture capitalists.
    The angel investors include Maninder Gulati (global chief strategy officer, OYO), Jayant Kanani (co-founder and CEO, Polygon), Alvin Tse (CEO, Xiaomi India), Sam Shergill (ex-CEO and founder, Sony India), Adept Ventures among others.
    As per the firm, the funds raised will be used to strengthen the startup's product, design and hire global talent. It will also invest in hiring across engineering, product, technical design, and BD.
    OTHER STARTUP NEWS
    Over 50% of Indian startups belong to non-metros: Govt informs Parliament
    Over 50 percent of the recognised Indian startups belong to non-metropolitan cities, union minister of state for commerce and industry Som Prakash informed the Parliament on Wednesday.
    "As on 30th June 2022, a total of 72,993 startups are recognized by DPIIT, of which 34,473 (48 percent) recognised startups belong to metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune, and Ahmedabad.
    Therefore, over 50 percent of the recognized startups belong to non-metropolitan cities," he said to the Lok Sabha in reply to a question about whether 50 percent of recognised startups in the country are from Tier-II and III cities.
    He further said startups and the innovation ecosystem are the engines of growth for any country. "The number of recognized Startups from 471 in 2016 to 72,993 in 2022 (as on 30th June 2022). DPIIT has recognized startups which are spread across 56 diversified sectors," he further said.
    Google Maps launches Street View across 10 cities in India
    Google Maps has launched its street view service across India in partnership with two Genesys International and Tech Mahindra. The government had previously not allowed the showing of panoramic images of roads and other sites for security reasons.
    The Street View will be available on Google Maps with fresh imagery licensed from local partners covering over 1,50,000 km across ten cities in India. Google is promising to roll out the Street View feature to more than 50 cities by the end of 2022.
    In addition to this, the company has also partnered with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to provide air quality information on Google Maps. Google is also making the Street View API available to local developers enabling them to deliver richer mapping experiences within their apps and services.
    MapmyIndia takes on Google Street View with 3D maps
    MapmyIndia, an advanced digital maps, and deep-tech products and platforms company, has unveiled its own street view product to take on Google. Mappls RealView is the first and fully indigenous all-India 360-degree panoramic street view and 3D metaverse maps service.
    The service will be available on MapmyIndia's consumer mapping portal Mappls on the web and Mappls App on Android and iOS. Users can see interactive 360-degree panoramic views of tourist landmarks, beaches, residential colonies and apartment societies, office towers and complexes so the users can virtually explore and navigate with confidence, the company said in its statement.
    Having listed on the bourses last year, the homegrown company has already partnered with Niti Aayog to verify logistics interface protocol, and partnered with the ministry of road transport and highways of India to map the accident database of 6.3 million kilometers of the road network.
    FIITJEE launches Accelerator Program for start-ups
    FIITJEE, an education institution, has launched an accelerator program, to help founders build and scale enduring companies. According to the firm, the programme aims to offer startups a structured mentoring programme. It will also provide startups with an opportunity to raise funding.
    Startups in edtech, healthtech, and social impact with deep tech applications only can apply to the programme, the institution added. The programme is designed for 90 days and is open to all start-ups across the three sectors.
    T-Hub Partners with Swiss Re GBS India to boost innovation in insurtech space
    T-Hub has partnered with Swiss Re Global Business Solutions (GBS) India, an analytics and innovation hub of Swiss Re, providers of reinsurance, insurance, and other forms of risk transfers.
    With this partnership, T-Hub and Swiss Re GBS India aim to drive innovations in the insurtech space and to establish a presence in the world’s largest innovation campus, a statement said.
    T-Hub will work with Swiss Re GBS India to discover innovative technologies and trends, which allows them to accelerate the development of new business models and products, as well as adopt open innovation strategy, based on the exchange of ideas at the global level.
    "Our goal of this partnership is to create opportunities for our start-ups to be mentored by a distinguished company like Swiss Re GBS India so they can revolutionize the market and we are pleased to welcome them into our ecosystem.
    We look forward to connecting Swiss Re GBS India with the technology improvements our start-ups are offering to the insurance industry," said MSR (Mahankali Srinivas Rao), CEO, T-Hub.
    InCred, KKR India Financial Services conclude strategic merger to launch InCred Finance
    InCred and KKR have announced the conclusion of the strategic merger of InCred Financial Services (InCred Finance) and KKR India Financial Services (KIFS).
    The combined business will operate under the InCred Finance brand name, with a $600 million balance sheet and a $300 million equity base. It will be managed by Bhupinder Singh, who founded the InCred Group in 2016. Notably, InCred Finance is a strategic investment for KKR and is not a portfolio company in a KKR fund.
    The closure of the transaction has helped create a “leading Indian non-banking finance company with the enhanced resources to better meet the needs of retail borrowers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)”, the companies said.
    TeamLease Services posts Q1 consolidated net profit at Rs 26.52 crore
    Staffing company TeamLease Services has reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 26.52 crore in the April-June quarter. The company’s net profit, after exceptional items, during the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal stood at Rs 26.91 crore, TeamLease Services said in a BSE filing.
    The company's revenue from operations during the reporting quarter went up by 36.50 percent to Rs 1,879.39 crore as compared to Rs 1,376.77 crore recorded in the same period a year ago.
    "We have crossed 2 lakh billable headcount in staffing business with a net addition of 13k associates in the quarter. Our hiring capabilities over the last couple of years have improved substantially with over 50 percent of our own hiring through a combination of technology interventions, verticalisation, and partnerships. 125 new logos have been acquired across our various businesses with rigor on new client acquisition, hiring, and service delivery," said Ashok Reddy, managing director, TeamLease Services.
    Totality Corp begins hiring across different roles
    Totality Corp, a playable NFT gaming universe, has announced its hiring spree. The startup claims to have hired multiple people across levels for its growth which include Swapnil Kudle, as chief strategy officer, and Gagan Maheshwari, as chief marketing officer, among others.
    The firm also plans to hire those on board who are out of a job or have been on a break for a prolonged time due to reasons. In addition, the firm is hiring for its technology domain. Unity, front end, and Android development are some of the areas for which the firm is looking forward to hiring. Totality claims to have onboarded people in the technology side of the business.
    "We also aim to hire those who have been out of a job for any reason, as we wish to help these folks and would like to ensure their growth continues while working with us," said Anshul Rustaggi, founder, Totality Corp.
    PeakMind launches AbroadWell to provide psychological support to overseas students
    Edtech platform PeakMind has launched AbroadWell, a prep programme for students traveling and living abroad. Under the programme students will be provided direct access to dedicated mental strength-building and emotional enhancement by Emotional and Mental Strength coaches, a statement said.
    The training will be provided through One-on-One coaching, assessments, and 10 hours of specialised skills development sessions in audio-video format through Whatsapp.
    The programme has been launched after the success of the COMPETE programme for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2022 aspirants. It is developed to aid the students in learning skills for a smooth transition and overcome struggles in living abroad, the firm added.
    GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
    Twitter to hold shareholder vote on Musk's offer in September
    Twitter will hold a shareholder meeting on September 13 to vote on the social media company's proposed $44 billion takeover offer by Tesla chief Elon Musk.
    The company's plan, which was disclosed in a filing, comes as the world's richest person prepares for a legal showdown with Twitter in October for walking away from his offer to buy the social media company.
    At the meeting, shareholders will be asked to vote on a proposal to approve the compensation that may be payable by Twitter to certain executive officers in connection with the buyout, Twitter said in a filing.
    Spotify results beat expectations, shuts down Car Thing
    Spotify has reported second-quarter revenue above analysts' estimates, helped by a 14 percent jump in paying subscribers, and forecasts an upbeat current quarter although it will stop production of its dashboard accessory, Car Thing.
    Spotify posted a 23 percent increase in revenue to 2.9 billion euros ($2.94 billion), compared to expectations of 2.8 billion euros, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Its monthly active users rose almost a fifth to 433 million, above expectations of 428 million, and are seen reaching 450 million in the third quarter.
    The Swedish music streaming company's revenue comes from paying subscribers and by playing adverts to users who use its service for free. Ad-supported income rose 31 percent in the quarter. Premium subscribers, which account for most of the company's revenue, rose to 188 million, topping analyst expectations of 187 million.
    Microsoft, Alphabet results raise hopes about Big Tech weathering slowdown
    Microsoft and Alphabet results sparked a relief rally in heavyweight technology and growth shares as investors expressed confidence in Big Tech's ability to navigate a recession.
    High-growth and megacap companies have powered the US stock market for the past decade, but rising interest rates to combat decades-high inflation as well as a recent sharp rally in the dollar have taken a toll on the stocks.
    Alphabet shares rose 4.5 percent after the company reported better-than-expected Google ad sales, while Microsoft rose 3.1 percent after it said it targets double-digit growth in fiscal revenue.
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