Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 3, 2021)
The man who founded internet behemoth Amazon has decided to step down from his role as the chief executive officer (CEO) and take over as the executive chairman. Jeff Bezos, who has held the role for nearly 30 years, will be replaced by Andy Jassy, who heads the company's cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services.
In a blog post on the Amazon site, Jeff Bezos wrote, “Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else. As Executive Chair, I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions. I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organisations can have.”
The BSE Sensex closed above the historic 50,000 mark for the first time ever on Wednesday as the post-Budget euphoria continued for the third straight session amid a spurt in buying by foreign funds and positive global cues. Banking, finance, and pharma counters hogged the limelight, while cement and FMCG stocks succumbed to profit-taking. After touching a record intra-day high of 50,526.39, the 30-share BSE benchmark ended at 50,255.75, up 458.03 points or 0.92 percent.
The government has directed micro-blogging site Twitter to remove certain objectionable content on its platform and warned that the failure to comply with the order may invite penal action. The notice, issued by the government, asked Twitter to comply with its order to remove contents/accounts related to farmer genocide.
Bengaluru-based manufacturing platform Zetwerk has raised $120 million in a Series D funding led by Greenoaks Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Other investors, including Sequoia Capital India and Kae Capital, also participated in the round. The startup will use the funding to help customers translate their digital designs into physical products through access to a wide range of fully verified, flexible manufacturing capacity from small manufacturers (SMEs).
Healthtech firm Indegene on Wednesday said it has raised $200 million from US-based investment firms Carlyle Group and Brighton Park. According to sources, the two investment companies have picked up minority stakes in Indegene. The investment was made through a primary and secondary sale to buy out existing investors.
The government will explore the use of blockchain technology proactively for ushering in the digital economy, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said it was announced in the Budget Speech of 2018-19 that the government does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coins and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.
Bharat Biotech and Ocugen Inc have inked a pact to co-develop, supply, and commercialise COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, for the US market, the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday. The companies have entered into a definitive agreement for Covaxin, an advanced stage whole-virion inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate, for the US market, the companies said.
The PM-CARES fund, which has been set up to provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic, has contributed over Rs 2,200 crore for the first phase of vaccination drive, which is looking to inoculate frontline healthcare workers, Expenditure Secretary T V Somanathan said on Tuesday. Set up in March 2020, the exact collections made by the fund through voluntary contribution by individuals and corporates, are not known but the corpus managed by the PMO has been providing relief to pandemic-hit sectors.
Agara, the startup building the next generation of virtual voice agents for enterprises, on Wednesday announced a $4.3 million Pre-Series A extension round led by UTEC, a Japan-based early stage deep-tech venture capital firm. The round also saw participation from existing investors Blume Ventures and RTP Global.
Blackburn Technologies Private Limited, which owns and operates Remedico, a healthtech startup focused on providing mobile telemedicine-based dermatology solutions to Indian Gen-Z and millennial consumers, has raised a Rs 4 crore bridge round investment led by AWE (Achieving Women Equity) Funds, with participation from new incoming investors LetsVenture and several angel investors.
Microsoft said on Wednesday it supports Australia's plans to make the biggest digital platforms pay for news, and would help small businesses transfer their advertising to Bing if Google quits the country. Microsoft has been positioning itself to increase market share for its search engine Bing after a Google executive told a Senate hearing last month that it would likely make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government goes ahead with a draft law that would make tech giants pay for news content.
Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group
Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail Ltd (FRL) moved the Delhi High Court on Wednesday against its single judge order directing the company to maintain status quo in relation to its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail, which has been objected to by US-based ecommerce giant Amazon.
FRL's appeal was mentioned before a Joint Registrar of the high court who allowed it to be listed for hearing on Thursday, a lawyer associated with the case said.
Hyderabad-based spacetech startup Skyroot Aerospace has entered into a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with the Department of Space (DoS). As a part of this deal, Skyroot will get access to facilities and technical expertise available in ISRO centres for its launch vehicle development programme.
Taking to Twitter, the spacetech startup said, “We formally signed up with ISRO. This is the beginning of a historic journey together. Our hardware will soon be rolled out to ISRO facilities for testing.”
Online professional network LinkedIn on Wednesday announced findings of its new Job Seeker research and revealed 3 in 4 (75 percent) professionals will consider changing jobs or actively look for a new role in the next 12 months. The survey, which discussed how job seekers in India are overcoming challenges of finding a job today, was based on 1,016 responses. It revealed a sense of professional uncertainty and worry among Indian professionals as the job market continues to get more competitive in 2021.
Equanimity Ventures on Wednesday announced that it has invested an undisclosed amount of funding in a Gurugram-based coding and placement preparation platform, PrepBytes Technologies Pvt Ltd. The startup will use the funding to grow its technology and content creation teams and help strengthen its personalised learning platform.
Qapita, a Singapore-based provider of digital equity management SaaS solutions, on Wednesday announced that it has secured an undisclosed strategic investment from East Ventures. The fresh round of funding will be used by the startup to further strengthen the team in Singapore, India and Indonesia, accelerate product development and build clientele.
Wikipedia's parent company, The Wikimedia Foundation, has adopted a Universal Code of Conduct in an attempt to create a set of community standards that will enable it to address negative behaviour on the site, the company said on Wednesday.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon Limited, was awarded the prestigious Bharat Asmita National Award. She has been entitled as Bharat Asmita Vigyaan — Tantragyaan Shreshtha at the 17th Bharat Asmita National Award.
Airbus has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Flytech Aviation Academy, a leading Indian aviation training academy, to explore collaboration opportunities in Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) training.