There were several important developments in the startup space during the day on Thursday. Here are today’s top stories from the startup universe:
Zomato IPO subscribed 4.8 times on Day 2
The initial public offering (IPO) of the online food delivery platform Zomato has been subscribed 4.8 times on July 15, the second day of bidding. The offer has received bids for 345.13 crore equity shares against the IPO size of 71.92 crore equity shares.
The portion reserved for retail investors has been subscribed 4.73 times, while non-institutional investors have put in bids for 45 percent against their reserved portion, as per the subscription data available on the exchanges till 5:00 pm.
The portion set aside for employees is subscribed 36 percent, while that of qualified institutional buyers have seen 7.07 times subscription.
The IPO size has been reduced to Rs 5,178.49 crore from Rs 9,375 crore earlier as Zomato already raised Rs 4,196.51 crore from 186 anchor investors on July 13, a day before the public opening of the issue.
The price band for the offer, which closes on July 16, is Rs 72-76 per share.
Paytm may raise Rs 8,300 cr via IPO
Paytm is looking to raise up to Rs 8,300 crore via Initial Public Offer (IPO), which is expected to be launched during Diwali, sources informed CNBC-TV18.
“The company may file the DRHP with SEBI today. The total issue size is seen at Rs 16,600 crore with a valuation of $30 billion,” sources said.
The primary issue size of Rs 8,300 crore will include Rs 2,000 crore pre-IPO placement. Investors are unlikely to follow pro-rata allotment for Rs 8,300 crore OFS, they added.
Ant Group is likely to sell around 6 percent stake via OFS to meet Sebi norms. SoftBank is likely to sell shares worth around Rs 1,000 crore via OFS.
Earlier, Paytm shareholders approved the fresh issue of up to Rs 12,000 crore via IPO. They approved the total IPO size including OFS at Rs 16,600 crore.
Sequoia Capital not to face lock-in for 1-year post-Zomato, Mobikwik IPOs
Sequoia Capital India will not face a one-year share lock-in and can cash out of both Zomato, which launched its IPO on Wednesday, as well as from Mobikwik, which is gearing up for an IPO and released its draft red herring prospectus this week, thanks to SEBI’s guidelines for foreign venture capital investors.
In Zomato, Miare-Naver will also be exempted from the lock-in period, as per the Red Herring Prospectus.
“All Equity Shares held by Sequoia Capital India Growth Investment HoldingsI and Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Investment Pte. Ltd as of the date of this Red Herring Prospectus shall be exempt from the aforementioned lock-in requirement since Sequoia Capital India Growth Investment Holdings I and Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Investment Pte. Ltd are FVCIs,” the Zomato RHP says. FVCI is a foreign venture capital investor.
Mobikwik’s DRHP also says that all equity shares held by Sequoia Capital India Investment Holdings III shall be exempt from the lock-in requirements.
Sequoia Capital is already participating in Mobikwik’s Rs 400 crore offer for sale and is looking to sell Rs 94 crore. Sequoia Capital India holds a 17.17 percent stake in Mobikwik and about 7.3 percent in Zomato. Sequoia and Mirae Asset did not respond to queries.
Ola Electric opens reservations
Ola Electric has opened up reservations for its electric scooter. Consumers can reserve their EV on olaelectric.com by paying a refundable deposit of Rs 499.
Those who reserve their scooter on olaelectric.com will get priority delivery. Ola said it will reveal the features and price in the coming days.
“With its incredible performance, technology and design along with aggressive pricing, it will help accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility. India has the opportunity and potential to become the world leader in EVs and at Ola, we are proud to lead this charge,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, Chairman & Group CEO, Ola.
The announcement comes days after Ola Electric raised $100 million in long term debt from Bank of Baroda to close the first phase of development of its factory, where it plans to make electric two-wheelers.
Vedantu acquires Pedagogy: Report
Vedantu has acquired edtech startup Pedagogy in a cash and stock deal, Entrackr reported. This is the second acquisition for the company after picking up doubt-solving app Instasolv in February 2020.
Both companies have agreed to a share purchase agreement in which Vedantu will acquire 100 percent stake in Pedagogy across five tranches, the report adds.
According to Entrackr, Pedagogy promoters hold 75.06 percent stake in the company. They will receive total consideration of Rs 21.4 crore comprising Rs 15.23 crore in cash and Rs 6.14 crore in Vedantu stock. Vedantu will acquire the remaining stake from other shareholders, pricing the acquisition around Rs 28.5 crore.
OneCode raises $5 mn led by Sequoia Capital’s Surge, Nexus Venture Partners
OneCode, a digital platform for sale agents, on Thursday, said it has raised $5 million in a fresh round of funding led by Sequoia Capital India accelerator programme, Surge and Nexus Venture Partners. The round also saw participation from WaterBridge Ventures.
Several angel investors including Haptik co-founder Aakrit Vaish; Pine Labs chief executive, Amrish Rau (Pine Labs; former Facebook product head, Unacademy co-founder, Gaurav Munjal; Razorpay co-founder, Harshil Mathur and Udaan founder Sujeeth Kumar, participated as a part of the round.
The startup’s mission is to digitise 50 million sales agents across India, and bridge the gap between brands and potential buyers who may need in-person interactions and physical touchpoints before committing to a purchase.
OneCode was also a part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies.
Spacetech startup Digantara raises $2.5 million from Kalaari Capital
Spacetech startup Digantara has raised seed funding of $2.5 Million from Kalaari Capital.
The funding will accelerate Digantara’s product development and enable them to launch their first satellite (technology demonstration mission) to LEO, the company said. It will also bolster Digantara’s efforts in making space operations safer and increasing orbital sustainability.
The startup is incubated by the Society for Innovation and Development (SID) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
MedPay raises $ 1.2 million
API platform MedPay has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from UK-based Talent Investor Entrepreneur First (EF) and GrowX Ventures.
The company will use the investment to serve increasing demand, as well as expand its existing product offerings.
MedPay is a technology startup that links primary healthcare centres to a cashless OPD insurance network. MedPay Connected Care Network (CCN) of clinics, pharmacies and diagnostic centres enable healthcare centres to accept insurance payments in real-time and facilitate a cashless claims process for the insured, the company said.
Aqgromalin raises Rs 5.5 cr seed funding
Agri-tech startup Aqgromalin has raised Rs 5.5 crore in seed funding led by Zephyr Peacock India Growth Fund. Indigram Labs Foundation, and other noted angels from the agri startup ecosystem also participated in the round.
As part of the deal, Zephyr Peacock will gradually scale up its exposure as the company grows. Aqgromalin said it plans to use the funds raised for team expansion, technology development, category addition and geographical expansion.
Aqgromalin is a platform that enables farmers to diversify into animal husbandry and aquaculture. Currently, the company has reached over 40,000 livestock farmers across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Assam, West Bengal, Orissa and Kerala. The company plans to reach over 1,00,000 farmers by the end of the year.
EDGENeural.AI raises undisclosed sum from Anicut Anglel Fund
Deep-tech startup, EDGENeural.AI has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Anicut Angel Fund, the equity arm of Anicut Capital. The funding round saw participation from other investors including Venkat Raju, 9Unicorns, Samir Inamdar, Dilip Angal along with prominent angel investors.
With the fresh funding, the company plans to further scale its engineering, product support, and sales team, and make the product seamless for the customers globally, it said.
The company is currently backed by the NVIDIA Inception Program, T-Hub, StartupIndia, Microsoft for Startups, Nasscom DeepTech Club 2.0.
Swiggy discussed ‘Order Direct’ pilot with NRAI before CCI complaint
Online food delivery platform Swiggy is piloting an ‘order direct’ service with a few restaurants in Mumbai.
The company had even discussed the feature with the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) before the latter filed information with the Competition Commission of India on July 1 against Swiggy and Zomato on alleged anti-competitive practices.
Swiggy is piloting the service which will help fulfil orders for restaurants where the customer discoverability is done by the restaurant.
“We held talks with them a few weeks ago, before we filed our information with the CCI,” said Anurag Katriar, president of NRAI.
“However, this is currently only an idea and there is nothing concrete. Which is why we went ahead with our information to the CCI,” he added, stating that NRAi has been discussing restaurant’s concerns with both players for nearly 2 years.
Katriar said that Swiggy’s move to “unbundle” certain services for restaurant partners was “directionally good.”
TheCapTable was the first to report about Swiggy’s new pilot on Wednesday.
Furlenco launches annual subscription service
Furlenco, a subscription-based online rental furniture rental startup, has launched “UNLMTD by Furlenco”, an annual subscription service that offers customers the furniture and appliances they want in one go and at one price.
With UNLMTD by Furlenco, the startup said it will allow customers to break away from staggered and compromised purchases and choose to subscribe to whatever they want at just one price.
UNLMTD currently offers two annual subscription plans—Premium and Lite— the fees for which are paid annually and work out to ₹4,999 per month for 15 products and ₹3,999 per month for nine products, respectively.
Earlier this month, Furlenco said it has raised $140 million led by Zinnia Global Fund, in a mix of debt and equity.
BharatePe targets $6 bn in POS business FY22
Fintech giant BharatPe expects to hit $6 billion in annual transactions processed value in its POS business by the end of the financial year 2022, the company said.
It also aims to grow its point-of-sale system business — BharatSwipe — at least three folds, by expanding into 80 cities across India by FY22 end, the Delhi-based company added.
BharatPe launched BharatSwipe in the second half of 2020, after which it instantly became a hit because of its zero-rental model. As per the company, the business contributes 20 percent to the overall payments TPV of the firm, with over one lakh machines installed across 16 cities, so far.
Amazon India plans to expand storage capacity in India by nearly 40%
E-commerce major Amazon India has announced plans to expand its storage capacity in India by nearly 40 percent.
As part of its expansion plans, Amazon India will launch 11 new fulfilment centres and expand 9 existing ones. “The expansion of fulfilment network or warehouses is in line with Amazon India’s continued efforts to heavily invest in the country and create tens of thousands of direct and indirect work opportunities,” Amazon India said.
The new and expanded fulfilment centres will be situated in Maharashtra, Bihar, Gujarat,Assam, Rajasthan,Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
With this expansion, Amazon India will have more than 60 fulfilment centers and over 25 specialized sites dedicated to Amazon Fresh products such as daily essentials and grocery. Some of the new fulfilment centres will be operational ahead of Prime Day 2021 and all new fulfillment centers will be operational before the festive season.
CarDekho Group launches online pre-owned car retailing service
Automobile platform CarDekho Group on Thursday, July 15, 2021, announced the launch of an online hassle-free pre-owned car retailing service, which enables customers to search over 5,000 certified used cars.
The service is currently available in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Agra, Lucknow and Kanpur, and will soon be expanded to newer markets, the platform said in a statement.
The cars can be searched for their preferred manufacturer, model, variants, manufacturing year, km driven, and budget, among others, and buy their desired car from the CarDekho platform at the click of a button.
Besides, it also offers ‘No Questions Asked’ seven-day money-back guarantee where customers can test-own the car for seven days, and get 100 per cent refund if not satisfied as well as six months comprehensive warranty and pan-India roadside assistance (RSA) to the customers.
Also, the RC transfer is taken care of by CarDekho and free insurance is also bundled with the car, a first-of-its kind benefits in the used car retailing space, it added.
ZebPay launches ZEBB App offering easy SIP options in Bitcoin and Ether
Cryptocurrency asset exchange ZebPay on Wednesday announced the launch of a new app that is meant to allow Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) options in Bitcoin and Ether.
The ZEBB app will let users start an SIP of as low as Rs. 100 to begin investing in the two leading cryptocurrencies, media reports claimed.
The new app has been launched in the midst of a fall in the prices of Bitcoin and Ether.
ZebPay plans to make long-term, recurring investments in digital currencies much easier. The recurring investment model would also help ZebPay increase active usage on its crypto exchange.
As per reports, ZEBB is aimed at lowering the barrier of entry for investing in Bitcoin and Ether, ZebPay said in a statement. Users just need to sign up and complete their KYC process to start investing in the cryptocurrencies through the app.
Fashion brand Shein set to make a comeback
B2C fashion brand Shein is ready to make a comeback in India after it was banned by the government last year along with several other Chinese apps.
Shein will relaunch in India through Amazon. It will be featured as a seller on Amazon’s Indian website for its Prime Day festival in the country later this month, as per reports.
This comes after another Chinese app PUBG Mobile marked its return to the Indian market in the form of Battlegrounds Mobile India, developed by Krafton.
Twitter ‘Fleets’ feature to shut down on August 3
Twitter said on Wednesday it will shut down its ephemeral posts feature called Fleets on August 3 after the product failed to gain traction with users.
The move comes just eight months after the social media platform rolled out Fleets to all its users globally. In a blog Twitter said it had not seen an increase in the number of new users posting Fleets as it had hoped.
“Using our learnings from Fleets, we’ll focus on creating other ways for people to join the conversation and talk about what’s happening in their world,” Twitter’s Head of Product, Brand & Video Ads, Ilya Brown wrote in the blog post.
The company also tweeted that it is “working on some new stuff.”
Google ends unlimited group video calling for free accounts on Meet
Google has ended unlimited group video calls facility for free accounts on its video calling app Meet, and the users will now get only an hour time for group calls.
According to an update on Google support page for Meet users, at 55 minutes, everyone gets a notification that the call is about to end.
“To extend the call, the host can upgrade their Google account. Otherwise, the call will end at 60 minutes,” the company said in the update. One-on-one calls will be available for up to 24 hours and calls with three or more participants for up to 60 minutes.
However, Google Workspace individual subscribers can host one-on-one calls and group calls with three or more participants for up to 24 hours.
The company continued providing unlimited calls in the free version of its video conferencing app called Meet till the end of June for Gmail accounts.
Crowdera reinvents in its platform GoCrowdera.com
Crowdera, a fintech SaaS company, has reinvented in its free crowdfunding platform, GoCrowdera.com to be smarter, next-generation intuitive and advanced powered with AI, the company said.
GoCrowdera.com is currently in ‘Beta’ launch and is accessible via invitation-only mode to individuals and organisations. Keeping its commitment to remain fee-free forever, Crowdera has advanced the fundraising experience to match the demands of digital age philanthropists and charities.
Over 70% Gen Z job applications rejected in second wave: LinkedIn report
Over 70 percent of generation Z (Gen Z) job applications were either rejected or canceled during the second wave of Covid-19 in India, according to LinkedIn.
On Thursday, LinkedIn launched the ‘Career Aspirations Gen Z India’ study by research firm GfK that focuses on insights of 1,000 Gen Z students and professionals in the age group of 18 to 24 years, across June 2021.
Among the top findings from the survey, 72 percent students and 65 percent Gen Z Indians were professionally impacted during the second wave of Covid-19. Moreover, 72 percent of students stated that internship opportunities had also greatly reduced during the pandemic’s second wave. Among those who are currently employed, 32 percent of Gen Z Indians experienced a pay cut while 25 percent lost a job opening because the company cancelled the job role due to the pandemic.
As a result, the study found that 90 percent of Gen Z job applicants are demotivated after job offer rejections.
According to the study, the second wave of Covid-19 has also disrupted the education plans of nearly 75 percent students and Gen Z Indians. Moreover, 40 percent of those with higher academic aspirations have postponed or cancelled their plans due to safety concerns, financial constraints, and travel restrictions. Further, every fifth (20 percent ) Gen Z Indian is now pivoting to a different learning program than originally planned.
Over 4 lakh complaints recorded on National Cybercrime reporting portal: MHA
The Ministry of Home Affairs has said that their National Cybercrime Reporting Portal has recorded over four lakh complaints, with about 50% related to financial frauds.
“The portal gives us MIS kind of a report and gives us a perspective on what kind of complaints/ frauds are trending. What are the upcoming frauds and how we can work on policies and take up certain matters with the concerned authorities…The recently developed module — Citizen Financial Cyber Fraud Reporting and Management System, on the portal has helped us save Rs 5 crore within two to three months,” said Ashok Kumar, Director, MHA.
He also added that although 90 percent of attacks are traditional attacks, which include phishing, malware, etc, however, the key concern is the rise in the number of targeted attacks (which accounts for 9 percent currently). Solar winds, Wannacry, are some examples of targeted attacks which are detrimental for any organization and nation.
As per MHA, under the new module, released with the helpline number 155260, once a complaint is filed with the police, they note down certain parameters of the complaint, and once input into the system, it alerts the banks on any suspicious transaction, saving the targeted amount.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
SoftBank Vision Fund invests $1.7 bn in S Korean travel firm Yanolja
SoftBank’s Vision Fund has invested $1.7 billion in Yanolja, the South Korean travel and leisure firm as it seeks to build on rapid pandemic-induced growth in Southeast Asia, India and Africa, Reuters reported.
“Powered by AI, we believe Yanolja is a leader in transforming the travel and leisure industry in South Korea,” said Greg Moon, Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers told Reuters.
Yanolja declined to comment on the stake Vision Fund is receiving or its valuation based on the investment. But the deal is expected to represent a large increase over its previous valuation of more than $1 billion in 2019 when Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and US firm Booking Holdings invested $180 million.
Facebook and Instagram to invest over $1 bn on content creators
Facebook will invest over $1 billion to support content creators through the end of 2022, Reuters reported.
The investments will include bonus programs to pay creators who hit certain milestones on its apps, including photo-sharing network Instagram, and fund users to produce content, Facebook said.
On Facebook, video creators and online gamers will receive a monthly bonus if they hit milestones for earnings Stars, a form of digital tipping that fans can use to pay their favorite creators during live-streamed video
Instagram’s bonus programs will include incentives to use Reels, its copycat TikTok feature that showcases short-form video clips. Creators will earn money based on how their Reels videos perform, the company said.
Facebook is opening its wallet to court creators as rival social media platforms are wooing top influencers with millions of fans.
Bezos gives $200 mn donation to Smithsonian
Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos will donate $200 million to the Smithsonian, the largest gift in the history of the institute, the Associated Press reported.
As per report, a $70 million portion of the donation will support the renovation of the National Air and Space Museum while $130 million will launch a new education center to be named after the world’s wealthiest person.
The Bezos Learning Center will be housed in a new facility to be constructed on the National Mall, and will feature programs and activities to inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has sued Amazon to force the retailer to recall hundreds of thousands of hazardous products that it had distributed on its platform.
According to Reuters, the CPSC voted to file an administrative complaint saying the e-commerce giant was legally responsible to recall the products as they posed a serious risk of injury or death to consumers.
The products included 24,000 carbon monoxide detectors that failed to go off, nearly 400,000 hair dryers that lacked required protection against shock and electrocution, and “numerous” children’s sleepwear garments that could catch fire, according to the CPSC.
The regulator added that Amazon had taken unspecified actions for some of the products, but it was not enough.
Meanwhile, Amazon said in a statement it was “unclear” why the CPSC rejected its offer to expand its recall program, including for products sold by third parties, or sued to force actions “almost entirely duplicative” of what it had taken. The company said it had removed “the vast majority” of the products in question from its store and provided full customer refunds.
TikTok tells staff to return to office for three days a week
Popular short-video app TikTok told its employees on Monday that some will be offered the option to work remotely for up to two days a week after they return to office, according to an internal message seen by Reuters.
TikTok will also give employees the choice to work remotely from a domestic location based on manager approval, according to the message. This policy applies to full-time employees and interns in the United States, the UK and Ireland, with other markets to follow.
The company is currently working fully remote and is yet to set a return-to-office date. TikTok hired “thousands of colleagues” during the pandemic, according to the message.