Startup news and updates: daily roundup (April 19, 2021)
Fintech major Razorpay said it has raised $160 million at a valuation of $3 billion in Series E funding. The round was led by existing investors GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and Sequoia India, along with participation from Ribbit Capital and Matrix Partners. The Bengaluru-based company's latest funding comes in less than six months after it attained the unicorn status.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday expressed confidence that lithium-ion batteries would be manufactured fully in the country in the next six months, and India will become number one electric vehicle maker in the world in due course of time. Addressing Amazon's Smbhav Summit virtually, Gadkari further said that the government wants to encourage automakers to introduce flex-fuel engines in India and he is in the final discussion with manufacturers.
Cyber experts have warned users from falling into the prey of a virus link, which claims to turn WhatsApp in pink colour and comes with new features. According to cyber security experts, clicking on the link claiming to be an official update from WhatsApp will hack users phone and they may lose access to their WhatsApp.
Non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) have requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to extend the one-time restructuring scheme of MSME advances till March 31, 2022, as these players are unable to revive their businesses. In February last year, the Reserve Bank had permitted one-time restructuring of existing MSME advances, classified as 'standard' without downgrade in the asset classification subject to certain additional provisioning and other compliances.
With the resurgence of COVID-19 cases posing risks to economic recovery, leading brokerages have downgraded India's GDP growth projections for the current fiscal year to as low as 10 percent on local lockdowns threatening fragile recovery. While Nomura has downgraded projections of economic growth for the fiscal year ending March 2022 to 12.6 percent from 13.5 percent earlier, JP Morgan now projects GDP growth at 11 percent from 13 percent earlier. UBS sees 10 percent GDP growth, down from 11.5 percent earlier and Citi has downgraded growth to 12 percent.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have pulled out a net Rs 4,615 crore from Indian markets in April so far amid sharp escalation in COVID-19 cases and the consequent restrictions imposed by various states, unnerving overseas investors. According to the depositories data, overseas investors pulled out Rs 4,643 crore from equities but invested Rs 28 crore in the debt segment.
Amidst an exponential surge in COVID-19 cases, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced the national capital will be under lockdown for six days, starting from today at 10 PM and will conclude on April 26 at 5 AM. However, essential services will be exempted during the weeklong curfew, sources said, adding that all private and government offices will work remotely. Curfew pass for marriages will be mandatory, and it will remain unaffected. Only 50 people will be allowed in marriage ceremonies.
Mumbai Angels Network, along with California-based accelerator Expert DOJO, and three other angel investors, has invested close to $150,000 in Delhi-based cloud kitchen platform and Huddle-backed ZFW Hospitality.
Mumbai-based integrated incubator Venture Catalysts has led a $1.8 million funding round in defence technology startup Optimized Electrotech (OEPL). The funding round also saw participation from OEPL’s existing investor GVFL and other angel investors. Founded in 2017 by Sandeep Shah, Anil Yekkala, Dharin Shah, Kuldeep Saxena, and Purvi Shah, this Ahmedabad-based defence-tech startup produces indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured surveillance systems for security forces, national assets, as well as defence and aerospace companies.
Instant messaging app WhatApp on Monday said it has addressed two bugs that existed on its outdated software, and that it had no reason to believe that "these vulnerabilities were ever abused". The official statement came in the wake of a recent advisory issued by the CERT-In which cautioned WhatsApp users about certain vulnerabilities in the app (application) that could lead to breach of sensitive information.
To support small businesses and households hit by the pandemic, digital debt platform Northern Arc Capital has raised Rs 40 crore debt from Kotak Mahindra Bank. The debt is backed and partly guaranteed by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, it said.