Startup news and updates: daily roundup (April 14, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, April 14, 2022.
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Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter for over $41B in cash

Billionaire Elon Musk has offered to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share, in an all-cash deal, according to a regulatory filing.

Musk bought a 9.3 percent stake in the company earlier this month, becoming the biggest shareholder in the social media platform.

At $54.20/share, the offer price represents an 18.21 percent premium from Twitter's closing price on Wednesday. From April 1, when Musk's investment in the company was first announced, the offer price represents a 38 percent premium.

Musk said Twitter has "extraordinary potential", and that he will unlock it. He also added Twitter needs to be transformed into a private company.

OYO says received three lakh bookings over the Navratri festive weekend

The travel-tech platform said this was the biggest booking for it so far in 2022, surpassing weekend bookings for Holi, Republic Day, and Valentine's Day.

The Navratri weekend booking (April 8 to April 10) also overtook overall gross bookings for New Year's weekend.

Leisure destinations, including Srinagar, Manali, Shirdi, Gwalior, Chandigarh, etc., saw the highest growth during the Navratri festive weekend, with over 200 Oyo hotels witnessing 100 percent occupancy, the startup said.

PhonePe reaches out-of-court settlement for Indus OS acquisition

Nearly a year after it announced the acquisition of a significant majority stake in indigenous app store Indus OS, Walmart-backed payments company PhonePehas reached an out-of-court settlement with investors in the company blocking the deal.

PhonePe had valued Indus OS at $60 million as part of the deal, which was expected to give an exit to early investors in Indus OS, including Omidyar Network and Ventureast. Affle Global Pte (AGPL) had also invested in Indus OS in 2020 and held a 25 percent stake in the company.

The trouble started when Ventureast Proactive Fund-II (VPF) and AGPL approached Singapore High Court seeking an injunction on the deal. AGPL said PhonePe had undervalued Indus OS, which it said should be valued at $90 million. While PhonePe bought out 32 percent from other investors, AGPL did not want to sell its stakes to PhonePe at a low valuation. 

China’s financial associations propose regulations for NFT trading

China's banking association on Wednesday released a statement urging member companies to monitor the non-fungible-token (NFT) trading in the country. The association further urged the companies to not engage in NFT investment directly or indirectly.

In a joint statment, China’s banking, securities, and internet financial associations said, "NFTs or the tokens used to prove the ownership and authenticity of an item must not be used for securitisation or transacted in cryptocurrencies."

The statement said the decision to monitor NFT trading was made to prevent money laundering and other illegal financial activity.

WhatsApp gets NPCI nod for additional 60M users for UPI

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) told WhatsApp it could roll out its UPI payments service to 60 million additional users.

With 40 million users, WhatsApp has already rolled out its UPI services to Meta Platform's messaging service, which now stands to serve 100 million total users.

The reason behind the staggered release of serviceable users is the NPCI has been exceptionally cautious about giving digital payment players access to process more than 30 percent of the total transaction volumes of UPI during a three-month period, saying unprecedented access could disrupt financial infrastructure in the country.

Meta to charge creators nearly 50pc of sales as fees

Meta will charge creators 47 percent of their sales of digital assets and experiences as fees on its new virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds, which will comprise a 30 percent hardware platform fee for sales through the Meta Quest Store, and a 17.5 percent Horizon platform fee.

The Meta Quest Store is where Meta plans to sell apps and games meant for its virtual reality headsets. It is an early equivalent of an App Store or Play Store design for Apple and Android phones.

Earlier this week, Meta had announced it was testing tools for creators to sell virtual assets on Horizon Worlds. These tools are limited to a select set of creators in America at the moment.

NFT of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's first tweet sold for $2.9M last year, highest bid on resell just $278

Embattled crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi bought an NFT of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's first tweet for $2.9 million last year but has discovered it is nearly worthless today.

Sina Estavi, an Iranian-born crypto advocate, who was released from prison after nine months, is attempting a comeback to the crypto world. His first attempt at raising funds was to re-sell the NFT of Jack Dorsey's tweet, which he purchased for $2.9 million last year at the height of the first NFT boom.

Estavi put the NFT up for auction last week for an initial price of $48 million. He clearly assumed it would sell at an even better price, stating he would donate half the proceedings to charity, or an estimated $25 million, once the auction went through.

However, Estavi was to be left disappointed as the auction only received seven total bids, with the highest offer being 0.09 ETH, or around $278. Estavi has two days to decide if he wants to accept the bid.

CoinSwitch Kuber loses payments partner in Kotak Bank

In the latest blow to the cryptocurrency ecosystem in India, Kotak Bank has temporarily halted payments to and from their exchange partner CoinSwitch Kuber.

While there has been no official communication on halting financial services for crypto exchanges, the current regulatory environment has encouraged caution.

"There has been no fresh Reserve Bank of India directive asking banks to stay away from cryptos. But senior supervisory managers [of RBI] are telling some banks to exercise caution on cryptos till there is regulatory and legal clarity," said a senior official of another bank to The Economic Times.

Edited by Suman Singh

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