Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 11, 2021)
The government has expressed "strong displeasure" over Twitter's delay in taking prompt action against accounts and hashtags spreading misinformation and provocative content around the farmers' stir, as the IT Ministry made it clear that the company must comply with the country's laws irrespective of the platform's own rules. During a virtual interaction between the IT Secretary and senior officials of Twitter, the government told the microblogging platform that as a business entity operating in India, it must respect the laws and democratic institutions and take strong action against "well-coordinated" campaigns "designed to create disharmony and unrest" in the country.
The last quarter of 2020 saw ecommerce order volume growing by 36 percent in India with Personal care, Beauty, and Wellness (PCB&W) segment being the biggest beneficiary, according to a report. In October to December 2020 period, PCB&W and FMCG & Healthcare (F&H) categories' volumes grew by 95 percent and 46 percent year-on-year (YOY), respectively, said the Q4-2020 Ecommerce Trends Report, released by Unicommerce and Kearney. Tier II and III cities accounted for a 90 percent YoY incremental volume and value growth, it said.
Bike taxi platform Rapido has seen a strong recovery in its operations over the last few months and is confident of business doubling by the end of March 2022 from pre-COVID levels, a top company executive said. The company, which is operational in close to 100 cities, has added 'Rental' services across six cities to meet customer demand for multi-stop rides. Speaking to PTI, Rapido co-founder Aravind Sanka said over the last months, the company saw a growing need for multi-stop and affordable ride among customers.
Ola, the mobility unicorn, announced that it has onboarded ABB as its key partner for robotics and automation solutions for its mega-factory in India. This is in line to roll-out the Ola electric scooter. Currently work in progress, the factory is expected to be ready and operational soon. The team is looking at over 5000 robots and automated guided vehicles in use once the factory is fully operational to its full capacity.
Fintech startup for merchants, BharatPe, on Thursday announced that it has raised $108 million in Series D equity round, at a valuation of $900 million. The round was led by the company’s existing investor Coatue Management. All seven existing institutional investors - Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo and Sequoia Capital also participated in the round . With this round, the company has raised a total of $268 million in equity and debt till date.
Instant tutor app Filo has raised $260,000 as part of its pre-seed investment round from Better Capital. Founded by school friends Imbesat Ahmad and Shadman Anwer in October 2020, one can access a tutor on-demand within just 60 seconds for a one-to-one video call on Filo.
India Quotient, an early-stage venture capital firm, has announced the launch of its fourth fund with a target corpus of $80 million where it aims to raise funds from both domestic and global investors. This VC firm primarily focuses on startups in SaaS, Social media, D2C, edtech, and fintech. Through the launch of its fourth fund, India Quotient is looking to support around 35-40 startups at its early stages, which can go to the level of paper stage entities.
Aprameya Radhakrishna, Co-founder of Koo app — the homegrown microblogging platform, has announced that its Chinese investor, Shunwei Capital, is exiting the company. The investment firm had invested in the company's earlier brand - Vokal. The funding of $4.1 million will be used to ramp up capabilities to solve uniquely Indian engineering challenges, and for marketing to increase awareness about the app.
Mumbai’s technology-based and consumer centric real estate buying platform, Method & Madness Technology Pvt Ltd, has raised $2 million in seed round of funding with a post-money valuation of $12 million from Silicon Valley investors. The investment round was led by Justin Mateen, Founder of popular dating app Tinder, and counts various other blue-chip Silicon Valley investors amongst its cap table.
Ecommerce major Amazon has moved the Supreme Court in a bid to block Future group's Rs 24,713-crore deal with Reliance, according to sources. The development comes after a recent Delhi High Court's ruling that stayed a previous order on status quo of the deal and ruling that statutory authorities cannot be restrained from acting in accordance with law.
Financial technology startup MobiKwik said it is proceeding with its plan to list on the capital markets this year — a feat that will make it the first fintech major in the country to do so — and has already begun evaluating its initial public offering (IPO) options. The startup had expected to turn a profit last year before the pandemic hit and lockdowns ensued. In fact, the fintech firm clocked its highest ever revenue in March and was on track for a turnaround to profit the next month, even by conservative estimates.
Fintech platform helping with higher education planning, EduFund, has recently raised Rs 2.5 crore as part of a pre-seed investment round led by View Trade Holding Corp. According to an official statement, the startup intends to use the funds for product expansion by integrating more plans to fulfil the financial and education goals of parents and students.
The debate between the OTT platforms and the regulatory bodies is ongoing, after the Universal Self-Regulation Code (“Code”) for Online Curated Content Providers (“OCCP”) was put in motion in September 2020. In line with this, The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) today announced the adoption of a comprehensive Implementation Toolkit (“Tool Kit”).
Koo app, in the last few weeks, has seen a massive surge in user base as Union ministers and government departments have endorsed the homegrown microblogging platform amid a spat with Twitter.
India's edtech sector has seen an investment of $ 2.1 billion in the calendar year 2020, compared to $1.7 billion in the entire previous decade, according to a research report. The edtech industry is poised to reach $12 billion by 2025, said a edtech sector thematic research report by Anand Rathi Advisors Limited (ARAL).