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    Startup Digest: Clari acquires Wingman; Not planning IPO right now: PhonePe & Spotify to slow hiring by 25%

    Startup Digest: Clari acquires Wingman; Not planning IPO right now: PhonePe & Spotify to slow hiring by 25%

    Startup Digest: Clari acquires Wingman; Not planning IPO right now: PhonePe & Spotify to slow hiring by 25%
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    By Aishwarya Anand   IST (Published)


    Startup Digest brings you a quick wrap of all the news that matters.

    Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
    US-based Clari acquires Indian SaaS startup Wingman
    US-based revenue operations platform Clari has acquired Bengaluru-based Saas platform Wingman for an undisclosed amount.
    Wingman records, transcribes and analyses sales calls and provides actionable insights to help companies improve their deal win rates. As part of the deal, the startup has been rebranded to ‘Wingman by Clari’.
    “Revenue is a critical enterprise-wide process, without a strategic, unified platform. Until now,” said Andy Byrne, co-founder and CEO of Clari.
    “Clari is the first to go beyond departmental, siloed approaches that create endless breakdowns in the end-to-end revenue process. We’re solving the most important problem in business–revenue leak, enabling revenue teams to achieve breakthroughs in revenue precision,” added Byrne.
    Not planning IPO right now, says PhonePe
    Walmart-backed payments company PhonePe said it is not planning an initial public offering (IPO) right now and will look at going public once its core businesses turn profitable.
    "PhonePe is not planning an IPO right now," the company said in a statement. "We are focusing on building our business, and will go public once our core businesses turn profitable and our new initiatives have achieved a good product-market fit and scale."
    It did not give details of its financials. "We are moving our holding company to India, and are actively working on this," the statement added.
    Monthly VC deals down 20% this year after $70Bn PE investment in 2021: Bain & Co & IVCA Report
    Indian private equity (PE) investments reached $70 billion in 2021 in more than 2,000 deals, an 87 percent increase over the volumes in 2022, according a report by Bain & Company and IVCA.
    However, after an exuberant year for both deal activity and exits, 2022 is expected to witness a tapering in the pace of activity, according to the report, prepared in collaboration with Indian Venture and Alternate Capital Association.
    The average number of venture capital (VC) deals has fallen by a fifth or 20 percent to 130 deals a month so far in 2022 as the much-talked-about funding winter has gripped India’s startup ecosystem, the report showed.
    Average VC cheque sizes have also declined from $25 million in 2021 to $20 million so far this year. Moreover, exits have slumped 56 percent over the last year to $5.9 billion for a similar duration and the exit activity is expected to weaken further, according to the report. In 2021, exits had grown 300 percent or fourfold to $36 billion, the report added.
    "In 2021, the Indian private equity ecosystem bounced back from 2020's Covid-driven restraints, growing faster than most major economies, including China, with 96 per cent growth over 2020." said Arpan Sheth, Partner, Bain & Company and co-author of the report.
    "This year, we anticipate a significant tempering of pace in investment activity as macro and micro trends converge, but see this as an opportunity for the consolidation of last year's gains, which should make India witness annual PE-VC deal values of around $50 billion more frequently," Sheth added.
    According to the report, funds in India are anticipating corrections from last year’s high valuations and frenetic activity across deals and exits.
    India Accelerator announces international expansion with the launch of Lanka Accelerator
    India Accelerator has announced its international expansion market with the launch of the Lanka Accelerator brand in Sri Lanka. The launch is aligned with the accelerator’s ongoing expansion spree to strengthen the startup ecosystem at the global level, a statement said.
    Lanka Accelerator’s agreement with India Accelerator is to help support its design, development and success, the firm added.
    “Sri Lanka’s start-up ecosystem is in its nascence and there is a lot of upside for everyone involved. Lanka Accelerator, powered by India Accelerator, will offer incubation, mentorship, tech and educational support through our labs, and access to a cohort system to accelerate ideas from infancy to full development. We will also bring iAngels, our network of over 1500 global investors to support Srilankan Startups through investments,” said Ashish Bhatia, Founder and CEO, India Accelerator.
    PrepInsta ties up with 30+ colleges and universities across India
    Edtech startup PrepInsta has announced a partnership with over 30 colleges and universities across India and said it intends to 70+ universities by the end of 2022.
    “We look forward to working closely with the affiliated institutions and our noble initiative will help universities and colleges to generate a skilled workforce and will assist students in finding their dream job,” said Atulya Kaushik, Co-Founder, and CEO, PrepInsta.
    The company said its platform is used by over 2 million students each month, and the startup has seen 50 percent growth year on year. It offers 150+ courses like C, C++, Java, Python, Machine Learning, AI, Ethical hacking, Cyber security and others.
    Bitcoin sees slight rebound after 18-month low as crypto market stabilizes
    Bitcoin recovered on Thursday after diving to an 18-month low, buoyed by the US Federal Reserve's tough stance on inflation even in the midst of a market meltdown this week after crypto lender Celsius froze customer withdrawals.
    The world's largest cryptocurrency fell as much as 7.8 percent to $20,079.72, its lowest since December 2020. It has lost about 33 percent against the U.S. dollar since Friday, dropping more than 50 percent since the beginning of the year. It has slumped about 70 percent from its record high of $69,000 in November.
    Bitcoin was last down 1.31 percent at $21,669.37. Other cryptocurrencies, including ether, were also higher in the last 24 hours.
    Elon Musk expected to confirm desire to own Twitter in meeting Thursday: WSJ
    Elon Musk is expected to reiterate his desire to own Twitter when he speaks to the social-media company's employees on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
    The head of electric car maker Tesla is likely to clarify recent comments about remote work and talk about his strategy for Twitter, including the role of advertising and subscriptions, according to the report. Musk is trying to buy Twitter for $44 billion.
    Earlier this month, Musk had said that Tesla employees were required to be in the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week, closing the door on any remote work. "If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned," he said.
    Spotify to slow hiring by 25% amid economic uncertainty
    Spotify will reduce its hiring by 25 percent, a source familiar with the contents of a companywide email told Reuters, making it the latest tech company to curb expenses amid economic uncertainty
    Spotify Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek informed the staff via email that the world's largest on-demand audio service would continue hiring, though it would slow the pace "and be a bit more prudent" of over the next few quarters. The company said it employs about 8,230 people worldwide.
    Spotify Chief Financial Officer Paul Vogel alerted the investment community that the company was monitoring the global economy during an investor conference earlier this month. Although it had yet to see a material impact on business, he said, “We are keeping a close eye on the situation and evaluating our headcount growth in the near term.”
    Spotify joins a number of companies that have slowed hiring or announced layoffs in response to rising inflation and fallout from the Ukraine crisis. The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said it would cut its workforce by 18 percent, or about 1,000 people. Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have slowed the pace of hiring.
    Meta, Google, Twitter vow to fight fake news better as EU gets tougher
    Meta, Google, Twitter and Microsoft have agreed to take a tougher line against disinformation under an updated EU code of practice that could hit them with hefty fines if they fail to do so.
    More than 30 signatories including advertising bodies have committed to the updated Code of Practice on disinformation, the European Commission said.
    The signatories agree to do more to tackle deep fakes, fake accounts and political advertising, while non-compliance can lead to fines as much as 6 percent of a company's global turnover, the EU executive said, confirming a Reuters report last week.
    The companies, which include TikTok and Amazon live streaming e-sports platform Twitch, have six months to comply with their pledges and will have to present a progress report at the beginning of 2023.
    Meta makes antitrust commitments over online advertising
    France's anti-trust watchdog body said on Thursday that it had approved commitments made by Facebook owner Meta Platforms regarding the French online advertising sector, according to a Reuters report.
    Meta has committed to giving access over a five-year period to advertising inventories and campaign data to so-called advertising technology companies on transparent, objective and predictable conditions, the French regulator said.
    "It's the first time Meta makes commitments to a competition authority (over the ad sector)," said the French competition authority's vice-chairman Henri Piffaut.
    Russia fines Google $260K  for breaching data localisation rules: Report
    A Moscow court fined Alphabet's Google 15 million roubles ($260,000) on Thursday for refusing to comply with Russia's law requiring technology companies to localise user data, the TASS news agency reported.
    Russia has issued multiple fines to US technology companies in recent years over a string of infringements with the country's increasingly strict online laws.
    Activision board says no evidence senior execs ignored harassment cases
    Activision Blizzard’s board and external advisers said there was no evidence to suggest that senior executives intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay reported instances of gender harassment.
    There were some substantiated instances of gender harassment, the independent directors of the company's board said in a filing seen by Reuters.
    But these instances did not support the conclusion that senior leadership or the board were aware of and tolerated gender harassment, the directors said.
    Activision, which is being acquired by Microsoft for $68.7 billion, has been under fire for alleged misconduct at the company.
    Tesla hikes US prices across car models
    Tesla has raised prices for all its car models in the United States, its latest price hike amid ongoing global supply-chain issues.
    The electric carmaker increased its Model Y long-range price to $65,990 from $62,990, its website showed on Thursday, after delaying the deliveries of some long-range models in the United States by up to a month.
    The price hike comes as costs of raw materials have surged, including aluminium that is used in cars.
    Billionaire investor Orlando Bravo warns there’s ‘more pain to come’ for the tech sector
    Private equity boss Orlando Bravo has a somber warning for the technology industry. “I think there’s more pain to come,” Bravo, founder of buyout firm Thoma Bravo, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe”.
    For years, the tech sector has led the stock market, with the likes of Apple and Microsoft becoming some of the most valuable companies in the world.
    But in 2022, tech stocks have faced a reckoning as central banks move to tame runaway inflation. The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday made its most aggressive interest rate hike since 1994.
    Higher rates make growth-oriented companies’ future earnings less attractive. Tech companies, especially those backed by venture capital, tend to prioritize growth over short-term profitability.
    “When those companies really start getting down to answering the investor question, the path to profitability, they’re not going to love what they see,” said Bravo.
    “That requires a lot of cost reductions, it requires a lot of pain,” he added. “And it’s difficult to execute especially in a public setting.”
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