Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 4, 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 Thursday, March 4, 2021.

Elon Musk had to retake his computer aptitude test. Here’s why

Elon Musk, CEO of Teslaand SpaceX, was a born genius. His mother, Maye Musk, took to Twitter on Wednesday to share a letter from the year 1989, which reveals Elon’s computer aptitude test results. In the test, Elon Musk had scored so well that the examiners could not believe the results.

Elon Musk

Razorpay announces its third and largest ESOP sale of $10M

Razorpay, the Bengaluru-based fintech unicorn, on Thursday announced its third ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) buyback programme worth $10 million (Rs 73 crore) for its 750 employees. The fintech unicorn said all existing and former employees of Razorpay who hold vested stocks will be eligible to sell up to 33 percent of their vested ESOP shares. Sequoia Capital India and GIC, two of Razorpay’s key investors, will be the buyers involved in this development.

Paytm Money targets 10M users and 75M yearly transactions for FY22

Fintech unicorn Paytm on Thursday said it is targeting over 10 million users and 75 million yearly transactions for FY22 for its wholly-owned subsidiary Paytm Money. Paytm Money is Paytm's digital investment platform that provides a range of service like stock market transactions, mutual fund investments, gold purchase, etc.

Cashifyraises $15M from Olympus Capital (Funding)

Online marketplace for used smartphones Cashify on Wednesday said it raised $15 million from Asia Environmental Partners (AEP) — a fund focussed on the renewable energy sector and environment. AEP is a division of private equity player Olympus Capital. It will use the fresh funds for multiple purposes, including the growth of its newly launched enterprise SaaS business, expansion of its offline retail segment besides hiring, and investments into branding.

Alia Bhatt

Actor Alia Bhatt launches production house Eternal Sunshine

Earlier this week, Alia Bhatt took to Instagram to announce that she has now taken to production and launched her own production company Eternal Sunshine Productions. The Bollywood actor wrote: "Let us tell you tales. Happy tales. Warm and fuzzy tales. Real tales. Timeless tales."

B2B startup Bijnis (Shoekonnect)raises secondary funds from marquee investors Deepinder Goyal, Asish Mohapatra, others (Funding)

B2B startup bijnis on Thursday said it has concluded an undisclosed secondary funding round led by the likes of Deepinder Goyal (Co-founder, Zomato); Asish Mohapatra (Founder, Offbusiness); Sarbvir Singh (CEO, PolicyBazaar); and Manish Vij (Co-founder,  Smile Group), who purchased shares from the startup's existing investors.

The Bijnis Team

Questt raises Rs 9.6 Cr in seed round led by Chiratae Ventures, AET Fund (Funding)

Edtech startup Questt announced that it has raised Rs 9.6 crore in a seed round led by Chiratae Ventures and AET Fund. The round also saw the participation of marquee entrepreneurs such as Snapdeal Founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, 91springboard Founder Pranay Gupta, Livspace Co-founder Ramakant Sharma, Razorpay founders (through Marsshot Ventures), and First Cheque. The funding will be used to help increase the platform's user base, add more features, and hire talent.

Infosys Foundationto create 500 jobs in Calgary, double workforce in Canada by 2023

IT services major Infosys has said it will create 500 jobs in Calgary over the next three years, doubling its Canadian workforce to 4,000 employees by 2023. This expansion was announced by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, along with Infosys President Ravi Kumar, Calgary Economic Development President CEO Mary Moran, and David Knight Legg, CEO of Invest Alberta Corporation.

Truecallerlaunches personal safety app Guardians

Caller identification app Truecaller on Wednesday unveiled a new personal safety app called 'Guardians'. The app, which will be free for users, has been in development for about 15 months. Guardians can be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The app will have no ads or premium tiers.

DealShareraises Rs 25 Cr debt funding from Innoven Capital (Funding)

Jaipur and Bengaluru-based hyperlocal ecommerce startup DealShare has raised Rs 25 crore in debt funding from Innoven Capital. This is the second round of fundraising by DealShare in the last six months. In December 2020, the startup had secured Series C funding of around Rs 153 crore from WestBridge Capital, Alpha Wave Incubation - a venture fund managed by Falcon Edge Capital, Z3Partners, Matrix Partners India and Omidyar Network India. 

Fire rages in Odisha's Simlipal Forest Reserve for 10 days, officials fail to contain its spread

For the past 10 days, Odisha’s Simpilal Forest Reserve in the Mayurbhanj district has been engulfed in flames. The area is India’s largest and Asia’s second-largest largest biosphere reserve. The fire is believed to have started on the Jualikata-Talpada road, and spread to the reserve owing to heavy winds. According to IANS reports, the Odisha forest department has been unable to contain the spread of the fire to the 2,750 km reserve, which is home to 304 species of birds, 62 species of reptiles, 37 species of fish, and 55 species of animals, including the endangered Bengal tiger.

Neobank Rewire raises Series B funding of $20M to expand its financial services (Funding)

Rewire, a fintech startup that develops cross-border online banking services for expats worldwide, has raised Series B funding of $20 million, and a "significant line" of credit from a leading bank, it said in a statement. Rewire is a neobank for migrants worldwide. It was founded by Guy Kashtan, Adi Ben Dayan, Saar Yahalom, and Or Benoz. 

Insurtech startup Symboraises $9.4M in round led by CEFIF, Think Investments

Singapore-based insurtech startup Symbo Platform Holdings raised $9.4 million in a round led by CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund (CEFIF) and San Francisco-based Think Investments. The round also saw participation from existing investors Integra Partners, Insignia Ventures, and AJ Capital.

Euler Motors raises additional Rs 30 Cr as part of ongoing series-A round

Euler Motors, the automotive technology OEM focused on electric commercial vehicles (EVs) manufacturing, has raised Rs 30 crore as a part of its ongoing Series-A round, led by existing investors Inventus India and Jetty Ventures. Existing investor Sujeet Kumar, Co-founder of Udaan, also participated in this round, along with new investors Srinivas Anumolu and K Ganesh from Growth Story. Euler Motors plans to use these funds for a new production facility, R&D activities, and expansion of charging & servicing infrastructure. 

Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus, Ratan Tata paying floral tributes to JN Tata on his birth anniversary. Image Credits: Tata Group Twitter

Ratan Tata’s Instagram post on JN Tata’s birth anniversary makes netizens love him even more

Ratan Tata has once again won the heart of netizens with his heartfelt tribute to the founder of Tata Group of companies JN Tata. He posted a photo on Instagram of himself and his mentor JRD Tata in front of Jamsetji Tata’s statue.

Flipkartintroduces voice search in Hindi and English

India’s leading ecommerce marketplace Flipkart has expanded the portfolio of its audio capability with the introduction of voice search in Hindi and English. This move is expected to strengthen the connect with customers from smaller towns towards online shopping.

WhatsAppannounces voice and video calls for desktop app 

WhatsApp launched private and secure one-to-one voice and video calls for its desktop app on Thursday. The Facebook-owned messaging platform said that the announcement is a result of WhatsApp experiencing a significant increase in people calling one another on the mobile-first app and for long conversations.

Flipkartconsiders US listing through SPAC route

India’s leading ecommerce marketplace – Flipkart, which is majority owned by global retail giant Walmart, is looking at the possibility of a public listing in the United States through the SPAC route, according to a media report. A Bloomberg report stated that Flipkart will go for a public listing through a blank cheque company. Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPAC, have lately become the popular route for taking many companies public. 

Wipro Technologiesacquires consultancy firm Capco for $1.45B

Wipro, one of the leading technology services companies in India, has announced the acquisition of Capco, a London headquartered management and consultancy firm, in a deal valued at $1.45 billion. This is one of the largest acquisitions by Wipro and it gives the technology major a stronger foothold in the banking and financial services industry.

Govt releases Ease of Living Index rankings for Indian cities: Here’s all you need to know

Bengaluru has been declared as the most liveable city in India in the government’s Ease of Living Index 2020 (in the million-plus category). Shimla bagged the top crown in the less than a million population category. The list was released by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri.

Traders' body, NGO ask Amazonto back off from Reliance-Future Group deal

A traders' body and an NGO in an open letter on Thursday asked Amazon to "back off" from blocking the Reliance-Future Group deal, alleging that mall vendors and suppliers have become collateral damage in the current tussle between the companies. Amazon and Future Group are locked in a legal tussle over the sale of Future Group's retail and wholesale business to Reliance Retail. Both parties have approached several legal forums.

Govt leaves EPFO interest rate unchanged in relief to the common man

The government-run Employee's Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Thursday confirmed that it will retain 8.5 percent interest rates on provident fund deposits for the financial year 2020-21. The rate was decided by EPFO’s Central Board of Trustees held in Srinagar, presided by Minister of State for Labour and Employment Santosh Gangwar.

Here's all you need to know about National Safety Week

India observes March 4 as the National Safety Day each year to create awareness around the safety measures one needs to undertake — be it on the road, workplace, or any other environment. Organised by the National Safety Council, this year’s theme for National Safety Week is ‘Sadak Suraksha’ (road safety), which will be observed from March 4 to March 10, 2021, highlighting the importance of road safety.