Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 27, 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, May 27, 2021.

Pfizer says its vaccine is "highly effective" on COVID-19 variant prevalent in India, suitable for 12 years and above

Seeking a fast-track approval for its COVID-19 vaccine, US major Pfizer has told Indian authorities that its jab has shown "high effectiveness" against the SARS-CoV-2 variant prevalent in India and on people of Indian ethnicity or nationality. It is suitable for everyone aged 12 years or above and can be stored for a month at 2-8 degrees, sources said on Wednesday.

Jeff Bezos will step down as Amazon CEO on July 5

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has picked a date to step down as CEO. Bezos, who grew Amazon from an internet bookstore to an online shopping behemoth, has said that Amazon executive Andy Jassy will take over the CEO role on July 5.

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

IIT Delhi-backed personal care startup Clensta raises Rs 5Cr from N+1 Capital (Funding)

Clensta, a startup in the personal care and homecare space backed by IIT Delhi, has raised Rs 5 crore from N+1 Capital. The fund will be utilised for scaling up upcoming products for homecare category, Clensta said in a statement.

The personal care startup recently entered into a strategic tie-up with pharma firm Cipla for its first commercialised products "Waterless Bodybath and Waterless Shampoo'', it added.

Google committed to comply with local laws, work constructively with govts: CEO Sundar Pichai on new social media rules

Google is committed to complying with local laws and engages constructively with governments as they scrutinise and adopt the regulatory frameworks to keep pace with the fast-evolving technology landscape, CEO Sundar Pichai said on Thursday.

"It's obviously early days, and our local teams are very engaged... we always respect local laws in every country we operate in, and we work constructively. We have clear transparency reports. When we comply with government requests, we highlight that in our transparency reports," Pichai said in a virtual conference with select reporters from the Asia Pacific.

Facebook, Instagram to allow users to hide 'likes'

Social networking giant Facebook has said it will now allow users on its platform as well as those on Instagram to hide their public 'like' counts. This is part of the company's efforts to give people control over their experience, a statement said.

Agritech startup FarMart raises $2.4M in pre-series A round led by Omidyar Network India, Avaana Capital (Funding)

Gurugram-based FarMart, a mobile-based agritech platform, has announced that it has raised $2.4 million (approx Rs 17.7 crore) in pre-series A round led by Omidyar Network India and Avaana Capital. Existing investors Indian Angel Network and LetsVenture also participated in this round.

According to the press statement, the funding will be used by FarMart to focus on product development, user base expansion, and to scale its market linkage capabilities.

FarMart Founders

Social commerce startup Yalo raises $50M in Series C round led by B Capital Group (Funding)

Yalo — a conversational commerce platform — recently raised $50 million (about Rs 363.8 crore) in a Series C funding led by existing venture investor B Capital Group. Yalo, previously known as Yalochat, said the total capital raised by the startup stands at $75 million.

Survey of 6,000 MSMEs, startups reveals 59 percent likely to scale down, shut or sell their business this year

In a survey that received 11,000 responses from 6,000 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups, community platform LocalCircles revealed that 59 percent of the participants are likely to scale down, shut down, or sell their businesses this year on account of the impact of the second COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Hospitality sector appeals to PM for Covid relief measures

The Hotels Association of India has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce relief measures for the hospitality sector immediately, saying 70 percent of the jobs supported by the industry are in danger.

In a press statement, the industry lobby said it has sought sops including one-time settlement of loans, extension of loan moratoriums till September 2021 and waiver of all statutory liabilities for the pandemic period.

GMAC Intelligence Joins Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator Program to enable AIoT-as-a-service products

GMAC Intelligence, an on-device AI/ML software company, today announced that it has joined the Qualcomm® Smart Cities Accelerator Program to offer GI4ALL – a suite of AIoT-as-a-service products to enable smart cities. GI4ALL comprises an AI/ML app, an intelligent cloud and a real-time dashboard.