Chris Daniels, CEO of WhatsApp, met with Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad in Delhi to address the Indian government’s concerns surrounding fake news. The minister is said to have suggested that WhatsApp appoint a grievance officer in India, set up a corporate entity here to ensure compliance with Indian laws, work with law enforcement agencies, and undertake public awareness campaigns to prevent misuse of Whatsapp. Daniels assured the minister that WhatsApp would comply with all these requests and take steps to ensure the app is not misused for any criminal activity.
Ecommerce major Flipkart announced it has acquired Liv.ai, a Bengaluru-based Artificial Intelligence-led speech recognition software startup for an undisclosed amount. Launched in 2015, Liv.ai has developed a technology that can convert speech to text in nine regional languages. This is the eleventh acquisition made by Flipkart so far and the latest buyout is expected to help it to reach out to the next 200 million users who are comfortable in their regional language.
Capital Float announced the acquisition of personal financial management app Walnut (Thumbworks Technologies Pvt Ltd), in a deal valued at $30 million. The deal marks Capital Float’s first acquisition, and comes following its foray into the consumer financing space this June. As a part of the acquisition, Walnut’s 35-member team will be absorbed into Capital Float. Started in July 2014, Walnut is a Pune-based personal finance management app that automatically tracks a user’s expenses.
Venture debt firm Alteria Capital announced its first equity-cum-debt investment, of Rs 33.5 crore, in Mumbai-based RAW Pressery. In April last year, the Mumbai-based food and beverage startup had raised Rs 3.5 crore led by actor Jacqueline Fernandez. While juices and smoothies form a majority of RAW Pressery's revenue, it has also recently introduced newer categories including nut milk, soups, and probiotic dairy drinks.
The year 2018 has given Indian entrepreneurs much to rejoice about. Sure, there were some lows, but the highs outweighed them as the startup ecosystem saw some big moves. While the Flipkart-Walmart deal gave it a much-needed boost, the tweak in Angel Tax norms brought some calm. On World Entrepreneurship Day, we recap some of the top moves that redefined India as an entrepreneurial hub.
Hyderabad-based Cygni Energy Private Limited, an innovative Solar-DC solutions startup, has announced a fundraise of $6.4 million through a combination of equity and debt funding. The equity funding is led by early-stage venture capital firm Endiya Partners and the debt by IndusInd Bank. The funds will help the startup in expanding its capacity, strengthening R&D capabilities, and increasing market reach. Cygni manufactures efficient solar controllers and had raised its first seed round in 2014. It was also the first company to be recognised under the Startup India programme.
Venkat Rajaraman, CEO, Cygni Energy
Nokia launched the Nokia 6.1 plus and Nokia 5.1 plus. Apart from being exclusive to ecommerce marketplace Flipkart, the phones will be available on the Nokia website. Nokia 6.1 plus will be available from August 30, and is priced at Rs 15,999, while Nokia 5.1 will be launched in September and its price for India is yet to be decided. The Nokia 5.1 Plus comes with a dedicated NPU for AI-related tasks. The Nokia 6.1 Plus sports a 16MP+5MP camera, while the Nokia 5.1 Plus has 13MP+5MP camera combination. Both offer a Bokeh effect (a blurry effect in pictures).