Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 15, 2021)

YourStory presents this daily roundup of the latest startup news and updates from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, March 15, 2021.
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Five IPOs to hit markets this week; seek to raise Rs 3,764 Cr

Riding on the upbeat market sentiment, as many as five companies are set to come out with initial public offers this week to raise an estimated Rs 3,764 crore. The companies are expecting to benefit from an equity market, which is flush with liquidity and has seen a sharp increase in new retail investors. Craftsman Automation and Laxmi Organics Industries will launch their initial share-sale programmes on Monday while that of Kalyan Jewellers India will open on Tuesday. IPOs of Suryoday Small Finance Bank and Nazara Technologies will begin on Wednesday.

Paytm Payments Bank’s UPI handle gets SEBI nod to make IPO payment

PaytmPayments Bank Ltd (PPBL) has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for payment mandate of IPO applications through its unified payments interface (UPI) handle. According to a statement, Paytm Payments Bank has also entered into a partnership with Paytm Money to enable payment mandates for IPO applications.

Ratan Tata invests in Pritish Nandy Communications (Funding alert)

Pritish Nandy Communications on Monday said veteran industrialist Ratan Tata has invested in the company. Details about investment and stake were not disclosed. "Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons and Chairman of Tata Trust, has, in his personal capacity, acquired a stake in Pritish Nandy Communications Ltd through market purchases last week," Pritish Nandy Communications said in a regulatory filing.

Banking services in Maharashtra hit as 40,000 bank employees, officers join two-day strike

Banking services in Maharashtra got affected on Monday as around 40,000 bank employees and officers have gone on a two-day strike to protest against the government's decision to privatise two more state-run banks. Last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the privatisation of two public sector banks (PSBs) as part of the government's disinvestment plan in the Union Budget for the next fiscal.

MTAR Technologies IPO: Stock lists at 85pc premium on BSE in strong market debut

Shares of Hyderabad-based engineering company MTAR Technologies kicked off trading on a strong note, listing at an 85.03 percent premium of its IPO issue price today. Against an IPO issue price of Rs 575, the share debuted at Rs 1,063.90 on BSE. On NSE, the stock listed at Rs 1,050 - an 82.6 percent premium over the issue price.

About 49pc of Indian consumers prefer shopping through ecommerce, shows LocalCircles survey

The COVID-19 pandemic has given way to increased comfort and acceptance with the ecommerce mode of shopping in India, with consumers enthused by its numerous advantages, according to a survey. Community social media platform LocalCircles— in its survey of consumers from 358 Indian districts — found that 49 percent of Indian consumers and their families preferred ecommerce for shopping.

No communication ever threatened social media staff with jail term: IT Ministry

The government has never threatened employees of any social media platform, such as Twitter, with jail terms, the IT Ministry has said. Reacting to reports that alluded to Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter employees being threatened with jail terms, the Ministry said none of the government communications, "either written or oral, have ever threatened the employees of any of the social media platforms [with] jail terms”.

WHO grants emergency authorisation for J&J COVID vaccine

The World Health Organization granted an emergency use listing Friday for the coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, meaning the one-dose shot can now theoretically be used as part of the international COVAX effort to distribute vaccines globally, including to poor countries without any supplies. The UN health agency said ample data from large clinical trials showed the J&J vaccine was effective in adult populations.

(Image source: Pixabay)

Ireland suspends AstraZeneca vaccine amid blood clot reports

Irish health officials on Sunday recommended the temporary suspension of the AstraZeneca vaccine after reports of serious blood clotting after inoculations in Norway. Dr Ronan Glynn, Ireland's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said the recommendation was made after Norway's medicines agency reported four cases of blood clotting in adults after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

India's gaming sector attracted investments worth $544M during Aug 2020-Jan 2021: Report

The gaming sector in India attracted $544 million in investments during the August 2020-January 2021 period. This is set to double over the next 12-18 months on the back of higher user awareness and accelerated engagement, as per a report by Maple Capital Advisors. With more than 400 million gamers, a plethora of investors is looking to deploy funds in the sector, and with over 15 percent of the global gaming traffic, Indian gaming market is at an inflexion point.

Stripe becomes second most valuable unicorn globally at $95 billion

Stripe, the Silicon Valley Bank-based fintech startup has emerged as the second most valuable unicorn globally at $95 billion, second only to Byte Dance after its latest fundraise of $600 million. This 11-year old payments startup also has plans to launch its operations in India soon. 

The team of Ankur Capital

Ankur Capital raises Rs 330 Cr for Fund II (Funding)

Ankur Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm that has got under its portfolio startups such as CropIn and Niramai, has received more than Rs 330 crore for its second fund from both domestic and overseas investors. The Fund II of Ankur Capital was launched in January 2020, and the Rs 330 crore raised is an intermediate round with commitments from John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), and National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD).

Lending platform Indifi raises $5M in debt financing (Funding)

Indifi Technologies, a Gurugram-based online lending platform enabling credit for small businesses, on Monday announced that it had raised Rs 35 crore in debt financing from IndusInd Bank Ltd, with a guarantee from US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).  The startup said these funds were deployed from IndusInd bank’s impact investing group to Riviera Investors Private Limited, which is Indifi’s in-house NBFC arm. The funds will be used for onward lending to small businesses (MSMEs) to accelerate post-COVID economic recovery.

Grammy Awards 2021: List of winners, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift make history

Women made history at the 63rd edition of the Grammy Awards. American songwriter Beyoncé set a record for being the woman artist with the maximum number of Grammy Awards at 28, overtaking Alison Krauss. Additionally, Taylor Swift became the first female artist to ever win the Album of the Year Award, for the third time. She won the third award for her surprise lockdown album Folklore.

VC firm Prosus Ventures seeks CCI approval for share purchase in online pharmacy startup PharmEasy 

Prosus Ventures (formerly Naspers Ventures) has sought CCI approval for acquiring an undisclosed number of shares in API Holdings Private Limited, the parent company of online pharmacy startup PharmEasy.

“The Acquirer proposes to acquire shares of the Target (“Proposed Transaction”). Accordingly, the Proposed Transaction is in the nature of acquisition under Section 5(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”),” the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said.

Family Philanthropy funding in India tripled since 2019, approximately 12,000 Cr in 2020

While all other sources remained stagnant, funding from family philanthropy has tripled its corpus, growing to approximately INR 12,000 crore in fiscal year (FY) 2020, accounting for almost two-thirds of the increase in funding since FY 2019, according to the India Philanthropy Report 2021, co-created by Bain & Company and Dasra. 

Account automation startup Firmway raises pre-seed funds from CFOs, audit partners (Funding)

Institute of Chartered Accounts of India (ICAI)-incubated startup Firmway, which automates financial reconciliation and customer collections, said it has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding round from chief financial officers (CFO) and audit partners of Big Four and large CA firms.

Lending platform Indifi raises $5M in debt financing (Funding)

Indifi Technologies, a Gurugram-based online lending platform enabling credit for small businesses, on Monday announced that it had raised Rs 35 crore in debt financing from IndusInd Bank Ltd, with a guarantee from US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). 

Realme 8 and Realme 8 Pro bookings start; company releases teaser video

Realmeis set to launch its new range of smartphones the Realme 8 series on March 24, 2021. The company has released a new teaser video promoting the upcoming smartphones. Realme is promoting the upcoming device as a camera-centric device.

Cryptocurrencies set to be banned in India, traders to be penalised: Govt

India is set to become one of the strictest nations against cryptocurrencies, surpassing even the censorship levels of China. A media report revealed that the Indian government will propose a ban on cryptocurrencies. In fact, it would “criminalise possession, issuance, mining, trading, and transferring of crypto-assets.”

Cultural startup Indic Inspirations raises angel funding of Rs 2.5 Cr from marquee investors (Funding alert)

Pune-based cultural startup, Indic Inspirations, on Monday announced that it has raised ₹2.5 crore in angel round with marquee investors from California-USA, Singapore and India. The angel investors who have invested include senior executives from Google-USA, Goldman Sachs-Singapore, Venture Finance Development Corporation, a Family Venture Fund, a Senior IT executive and seasoned Architecture-Design and Automobile industry entrepreneurs from India.

Femtech startup Say Cheese raises seed round at Rs 10 Cr valuation (Funding alert)

Say Cheese, a Mumbai-based femtech startup, on Monday announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount in a seed funding round from Indian national angel investor Naved Khan, who is currently based out of Australia.  This seed round pegs the valuation of the startup at Rs 10 crore.

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