Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 25, 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 Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

WhatsApp won't limit functionality for users till data protection law comes into force

WhatsApp on Monday said it would not limit the functionality for users not agreeing to its new privacy policy but will continue to remind users about the update, and maintain this approach till the forthcoming data protection law comes into effect.

Days after the government directed the messaging platform to withdraw its new privacy policy, a WhatsApp spokesperson said the company had responded to the letter and has assured that the privacy of users remains the highest priority for the Facebook-owned entity.

Bharat Biotech submitted 90pc of documentation to WHO for emergency use listing for Covaxin: Sources

Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) has conveyed to the government that it has submitted 90 percent of the documentation to the WHO for obtaining an emergency use listing for the Covaxin vaccine and the remaining details will be supplied next month, sources said on Monday.

In a separate development, the BBIL is in the final stages of negotiations with the US FDA for conducting small-scale phase-III clinical trials of Covaxin in the US, sources said.

Image source: Bharat Biotech Twitter page

Raghunath Subramanian invests undisclosed amount in Simple Energy; appointed as board member

Bengaluru-based EV maker Simple Energy on Monday announced the appointment of Raghunath Subramanian to its board and said he has invested an undisclosed amount in the company.

The on-boarding of Subramanian, who has been active in the startup ecosystem by investing in various deep-tech and high-growth startups, comes ahead of Simple Energy set to roll out its maiden vehicle model in August this year, according to a statement.

MSMEs need to embrace tech to enhance global competitiveness: Pratap Chandra Sarangi

Domestic micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will have to embrace technology and focus on value addition to enhance their global competitiveness, said Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Minister of State for MSME, at an ASSOCHAM webinar on Monday.

Asirvad Microfinance raises $15M from WorldBusiness Capital Inc (Funding)

Asirvad Microfinance, a subsidiary of Manappuram Finance, on Monday said it had raised $15 million (around Rs 110 crore) in a seven-year external commercial borrowing loan from the US-based WorldBusiness Capital Inc (WBC).

The loan is supported by the US International Development Finance Corporation, Asirvad Microfinance said in a statement.

Mobile users may soon be able to switch from postpaid to prepaid and vice versa using OTP

Mobile phone subscribers may soon be allowed to switch from a postpaid connection to prepaid and vice versa by using an OTP-based authentication and without a need to change SIM card, according to an official DoT note.

Industry body Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) has proposed the mechanism to the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the department has asked telecom operators to carry out proof of concept (PoC) on the same.

Flipkart strengthens supply chain with 23,000 new hires

Flipkart said on Tuesday in the past three months, over March - May 2021, it has hired 23,000 people across the country in various capacities across its supply chain, including delivery executives.

The company said in a statement it is also undertaking training programmes for its direct hires in various aspects of the supply chain.

Aim to comply with IT rules, working to implement operational processes: Facebook

Facebook on Tuesday said it is working to implement operational processes and aims to comply with the provisions of the IT rules that come into effect from May 26.

The new rules were announced in February requires large social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person, and resident grievance officer.

Stride Ventures launches second debt fund with target corpus of Rs 1,000 Cr

Stride Ventures, a leading venture debt fund in the country is launching its much larger second fund. Called the Stride Ventures India Fund II, it will have a targeted corpus of Rs 1,000 crore and a greenshoe option to raise an additional Rs 875 crore.

According to Stride Ventures, it will continue to invest in early to late-stage startups with ticket size from the new fund expected to go up to Rs 70 crore.

PharmEasy buys Medlife to become India's largest medicine delivery platform

E-pharmacy startup PharmEasy said Tuesday it has acquired peer Medlife for an undisclosed amount in a deal that skyrockets its position to number one as India's largest medicine delivery platform.

Medlife will discontinue operations from May 25, 2021, and its existing retail partners will be swiftly onboarded onto PharmEasy's platform, the startup added.

Barclays cuts India's FY22 GDP estimate to 9.2 pc

Barclays cut India's FY22 GDP growth estimate by a sharp 0.80 percent to 9.2 percent, saying the economic impact of the second wave of infections has been deeper than initially expected.

Barclays Chief India Economist Rahul Bajoria also mentioned the slow pace of vaccinations in the country and the rolling lockdowns across many states for the estimate.

Mumbai man sets up community kitchen to help poor migrants amid COVID-19 curbs

Faiyaz Shaikh, who is in his mid-40s, lost his job in August last year, but that did not stop him from helping the poor families in the Ambujwadi slum locality at Malwani in suburban Malad.

Now, his community kitchen is providing food to around 500 people every day, Shaikh told PTI.

He is also providing them ration and medicines since last year, he said.

Scenes by Avalon raises Pre-Series A round (Funding)

Scenes, a community platform by Avalon, on Tuesday, announced that it has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-series A funding round from angels including Kunal Shah, Gaurav Munjal, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Tanmay Bhat as well as giants like Tanglin Ventures, Better Capital, Whiteboard Capital, iSeed Ventures and Blume Founders Fund. 

The funds will be used towards further product development and growth of the platform. 


FDI jumps 19pc to $59.64B in 2020-21: Commerce ministry

Foreign direct investments (FDI) into the country grew 19 percent to $59.64 billion during 2020-21 on account of measures taken by the Indian government, Union commerce and industry ministry said on Monday.

Total FDI — including equity, re-invested earnings, and capital — rose 10 percent to the "highest-ever" of $81.72 billion during 2020-21 as against $74.39 billion in 2019-20.

FarEye raises $100M in Series E round led by TCV, Dragoneer (Funding)

FarEye, an end-to-end, global delivery management platform, on Tuesday announced that it has raised $100 million in Series E round led by TCV and Dragoneer Investment Group. Existing investors including Eight Roads Ventures, Fundamentum, and Honeywell also participated in the round.

The Delhi-based company said the funds will be used to accelerate its mission of empowering brands to provide Amazon Prime-like delivery experiences and redefining how products are delivered across diverse logistics networks.

Atlan raises $16M Series A investment led by Insight Partners (Funding)

Data democratisation startup Atlan has raised $16 million Series A funding led by global venture capital and private equity firm, Insight Partners. The round also saw participation from Bob Muglia, former CEO of Snowflake; Bob Moore and Jake Stein, Founders of Stitch; Auren Hoffman, Founder of Safegraph and Liveramp; and Akshay Kothari, COO of Notion.

Founders of Atlan

Bharat Biotech's US partner Ocugen submits 'Master File' to FDA on Covaxin

Ocugen, Bharat Biotech's American partner for COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, has submitted a "Master File" to the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) prior to seeking an emergency use authorisation in that country.

Ocugen has submitted key information and data to date including preclinical studies, chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC), and clinical studies as a Master File for FDA review and input prior to a planned EUA submission.

COVID-19 doesn't remain active in nasal, oral activities after death: AIIMS forensic chief

Coronavirus doesn't remain active in nasal and oral cavities 12 to 24 hours after the death of an infected person, as a result of which the risk of transmission from the deceased is highly unlikely, AIIMS Forensic Chief Dr Sudhir Gupta said.

A pilot study was conducted over the last year at the Department of Forensic Medicine at AIIMS on COVID-19 positive medico-legal cases which were subjected to post-mortem.

FISME recommends guidelines for survival of MSMEs amid COVID-19 second wave

The Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME) has requested the central and state governments to announce guidelines that will help sustain the livelihood of MSMEs and the lives of fellow countrymen.

Sentieo raises $20M in Series B round led by Ten Coves Capital (Funding)

Sentieo, the US and India based fintech startup founded by Alap Shah and Naman Shah, has raised $20 million in a Series B round of funding.

This round was led by Ten Coves Capital with participation from existing investors Centana Growth Partners and Studio Management. Ned May, founder and Managing Partner at Ten Coves Capital, will join Sentieo’s board of directors.


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