Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 19, 2021)
The pandemic-induced lockdowns resulted in a 70-time increase in the user base for Zoom in the four months to April 2020, the video conference app's founder and Chief Executive Eric S Yuan said on Thursday. He said the app, which enjoyed a runaway jump in valuations after the pandemic, will continue to be relevant for its users as the world switches to a hybrid mode of working, which entails dividing time between home and offices.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday inaugurated a major bamboo agarbatti manufacturing unit in Assam. Set up at a cost of Rs 10 crore, the agarbatti stick (incense stick) unit will provide direct employment to 350 people while creating indirect employment for over 300 people.
Theon Thursday came out with a Master Direction for banks and card-issuing entities laying down common minimum standards to ensure security of digital payments. The Master Direction lays down guidelines for internet banking, mobile payments, card payments, customer protection, and grievance redressal mechanism.
Investments into the startup ecosystem by micro venture capital funds (investments under $ 30 million) have jumped manifold to $341 million in the past three years through 730 deals across 566 startups, says an industry report. In the past decade, micro VCs have emerged as promising players in the domestic startup investor landscape, providing much-needed risk capital, as well as hands-on mentorship, to their portfolio companies as they seek to achieve product-market fit and become ready to scale with stable business models.
Clubhouse, Silicon Valley's breakout social audio app, is going from strength to strength. The barely 10-month-old invite-based app has hit 8.1 million downloads — the last 4.6 million coming in just a little over two weeks from February 1 to February 16. The iOS-only platform's user growth skyrocketed following the appearance of Tesla and SpaceX Founder Elon Musk, according to app analytics firm App Annie. "It quickly garnered attention in the UK, Germany, Japan, Brazil, and Turkey," it stated.
Journey to Mars: NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully lands on the red planet to search for signs of ancient microbial life
After a journey that lasted 203 days, NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, has successfully landed on the Martian grounds. Claimed to be one of the most advanced rovers, Perseverance’s key objective is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. Indian-origin scientist Dr. Swati Mohan, who was leading the development of attitude control and the landing system for the rover, confirmed Perseverance’s successful landing. “Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life,” she exclaimed.
-owned Flipkart said it is working on scaling its loyalty programme, grocery and fashion business while continuing to invest in technology and infrastructure this year as it looks to strengthen its position in the burgeoning Indian ecommerce market. The company, which has seen a massive acceleration in its business amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, said it has been focussing on ensuring the safety of employees and partners during 2020.
Technopark, Thiruvananthapuram-based Toonz Media Group, an entertainment company specialising in animation content production, has launched an over-the-top (OTT) platform for children and family entertainment called MyToonz. The platform is considered to be a first-of-its-kind exclusive kids' OTT platform launched by an Indian entertainment company.
As the world witnessed the historic landing of NASA's Perseverance rover on the Martian surface, it was Indian-American scientist, Swati Mohan, who led the guidance, navigation, and control operations of the Mars 2020 mission. Mohan also confirmed that the rover had survived a particularly tricky plunge through the Martian atmosphere.
COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on labour markets, and as much as 18 million Indian workers will be forced to switch to a newer occupation by 2030 because of the pandemic, a report said on Friday. The impact will be "disproportionately" felt on low-wage workers in retail, food services, hospitality, and office administration, the report by McKinsey Global Institute, a think-tank, said.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday made a case for making it mandatory to use electric vehicles for all officials in government ministries and department. He also suggested that the government should give subsidy to buy electric cooking appliances instead of giving support for buying cooking gas to households.
The government is likely to file an appeal against the $1.4-billion international arbitration award won by Cairn Energy in a tax dispute, even as the issue did not figure during two days of talks the finance secretary held with company officials to look for a resolution, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Property and home loan brokerage firm Square Yards on Friday said it has acquired PropsAMC, a data intelligence, asset management, and real estate services firm. However, Square Yards did not disclose the deal value. The entire team of PropsAMC, including its co-founders, have joined Square Yards but will operate with the same brand name, the company said in a statement.
Indian Bank has entered into an MOU with Society for Innovation and Development (SID), an initiative of the Indian Institute of Science, for extending exclusive credit facility to startups and MSMEs. The Bank will extend loans of up to Rs 50 crore to these startups for their working capital requirements or for the purchase of machinery, equipment, etc.
Flipkart has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tamil Nadu Micro, Small Medium Enterprises Trade and Investment Promotion Bureau to serve local artisans, weavers, and craftsmen. The partnership, under the Flipkart 'Samarth' programme, would enable the artisans, weavers, craftsmen, and small industries to showcase their products.
Delhi-based acquires event curator , expands into live experiences
Delhi-based Dineout is set to expand its portfolio of live events with the acquisition of event and experience curator, SteppinOut. The acquisition will enable Dineout to host multiple types of offline experiences, ranging from food festivals, night markets, live comedy events, movie nights, and more, it said in a statement. Dineout said it is going to offer offline events across 20 cities in India.
said it has ramped up its renewable and clean energy capacity to meet 50 percent of its total energy requirements through these sources. With this, the company has been able to offset 46,500 tonnes of carbon emission per annum with solar and wind energy, and 30,000 tonnes of carbon emission per annum using biomass fuel in its boilers.
ISRO has embarked on a mission to take startups in the space sector to a higher orbit with a string of initiatives to help them realise their business potential. It is keen on formulating an exclusive space startup programme — "Space Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (SEED)," said ISRO Chairman K Sivan.
Edited by Anju Narayanan