Startup news and updates: daily roundup (April 1, 2021)
Paytm Money, the wealth management arm of Indian fintech giant Paytm, on Thursday said it had opened a new research and development centre in Pune to drive product innovation in equity, digital gold, and mutual funds. The startup said it planned to hire over 250 front and back-end engineers, and data scientists to build new wealth products and services.
Homegrown short-form video app Chingari has raised $13 million in an investment round led by OnMobile, the telecom technology company focused on mobile entertainment. Chingari plans to use this capital to enhance its content portfolio, hire talent, and accelerate its growing user base. As part of this funding round, OnMobile will integrate and distribute its direct-to-consumer gaming platform, ONMO, on the Chingari app and collaborate on other mobile product integrations.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the government will withdraw orders to cut the interest rate on small savings schemes and assured to restore the rates to the last quarter of the financial year ended March 31. The Finance Ministry on Wednesday had reduced the interest rate by up to 1.1 percent across various small savings schemes including National Savings Certificates (NSC) and Public Provident Fund (PPF).
The government on Wednesday extended the deadline for linking PAN with biometric Aadhaar by three months till June 30. The income tax department said it had received representations from taxpayers that the last date for intimating the Aadhaar number may be further extended in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Easebuzz, a B2B-focused, API-driven full-stack payments solution provider, has raised $4 million in a Series A round led by 8i Ventures, Varanium Capital, and Guild Capital. Former Citrus Pay founders Amrish Rau and Jitendra Gupta also participated as angel investors in this round. The startup will use this fresh round of funding to strengthen the product team, enhance sales and marketing efforts, and offer more payment APIs and solutions for small and mid-size enterprises.
Tech major Apple said over 110 of its manufacturing partners around the world are moving towards 100 per cent renewable energy for production of Apple devices as part of its sustainability efforts. This will see nearly eight gigawatts of planned clean energy come online. Once completed, these commitments will avoid over 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of taking more than 3.4 million cars off the road each year, it added.
India's technology services industry's growth can accelerate by 2-4 percent over the next five years, reaching $300-350 billion in annual revenues on the back of a cloud, artificial intelligence AI, cybersecurity, and other emerging technologies, a report by Nasscom said
US President Joe Biden on Thursday let the ban on foreign workers visas, in particular H-1B, lapse as the notification issued by his predecessor Donald Trump expired, a move which is likely to benefit thousands of Indian IT professionals.
Image Credit: Twitter
The Reserve Bank has asked troubled digital wallet firm Mobikwik, which is facing data breach allegations, to get a forensic audit done without any delay. Though the Gurugram-based firm has been claiming that its systems are secure and that there is no basis to the allegations of data breach, a group of hackers said that they accessed personal and financial data of nearly 10 crore Mobikwik customers.
Home solutions provider Wakefit has seen strong growth in its business during a pandemic-hit year as people spent more time indoors and became comfortable with online shopping, and expects to log Rs 450 crore in revenue in the financial year 2021. The company has also scaled up its manufacturing operations and increased headcount to 2400 people during the fiscal.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde stated in an interview that ECB could launch a digital currency around the mid of this decade after getting a green light this summer from her fellow policymakers. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das had previously said the RBI has reservations regarding cryptocurrencies, and it is working on its own digital currency.
NCR Corporation that controls half of the automated teller machines (ATM) market has developed the first UPI-enabled interoperable cardless cash withdrawal (ICCW) ATMs in association with NPCI and City Union Bank. The mid-sized private sector lender has upgraded all its 1,500-odd ATMs to allow this facility, the bank has said.
IT services major Wipro on Thursday said it will acquire Ampion, an Australia-based provider of cybersecurity, DevOps, and quality engineering services, for $117 million (about Rs 857 crore). The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the quarter ending June 30, 2021.