What’s keeping upGrad on investors’ radar?

Amid the flux in the edtech market, what seems to be working in upGrad’s favour is the greenfield segment it’s present in—upskilling and reskilling—catering to working and mid-career professionals.
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Hello Reader,

Ronnie Screwvala-backed edtech startup Lido Learning has filed for insolvency and bankruptcy with the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal due to a cash crunch. This announcement comes after it laid off 1,200 employees in January.

In other news, the much-awaited Bollywood fantasy film Brahmastra: Part One - Shiva is releasing today. The Rs 410-crore star-studded affair, led by Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, and Alia Bhatt is expected to revive the industry back to its pre-pandemic levels.

Last but not least, an international research team at the University of Birmingham said it has discovered two "super-Earth" planets orbiting a star 100 light-years away.

Spoiler alert: One of them “may be habitable”.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • What’s keeping upGrad on investors’ radar? 
  • India’s first virtual influencer Kyra
  • RBI’s tokenisation: Who’s ready?

Here’s your trivia for today: When was the first home video game console released?


Edtech

What’s keeping upGrad on investors’ radar? 

At a time when the edtech sector is trimming its workforce to conserve cash, Ronnie Screwvala-led upGrad is flush with capital. 

In August, upGrad raised $210 million and acquired Exampur, an online learning startup for competitive examinations, for an undisclosed amount in a cash-and-share swap deal.

Money, money:

  • Analysts believe the reasons for upGrad’s growth are the segments it focuses on—reskilling and upskilling—and its niche target audience, who are outside the traditional K-12 ambit. 
  • For working professionals, the platform offers university-partnered programmes and also its own B2B enterprise learning suite. 
  • The startup says it has never been a cash-guzzling business. In fact, it did not raise external capital for the first five years of its journey. 

Metaverse 

India’s first virtual influencer

Virtual influencers are all the rage these days, with the likes of Samsung and IKEA using them to promote their products. One such influencer is Kyra. 

When you first look at her, you are led to believe she’s just like anyone else. At first glance, she holds herself in a strong, confident pose. You are quickly whisked away by her flawless complexion and picture-perfect body–captivated by her expressive eyes. 

However, she isn’t real.

On the reels:

  • Kyra is a virtual influencer created by Himanshu Goel and his colleagues at social media agency TopSocial India. 
  • She has been creating significant buzz across social media, with over 179,000 people flocking to her Instagram on a daily basis.  
  • boAt Lifestyle recently collaborated with her to market its products.

BTS of Kyra


Fintech

RBI’s tokenisation: Who’s ready?

As the deadline for complying with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) directive mandating card-on-file tokenisation (CoFT) for merchants inches closer, industry experts share a mixed reaction to the readiness of the ecosystem.  

Hiccups:

  • Large merchants are able to maintain their own payment infrastructure. However, smaller merchants who are limited by a lack of resources and rely on Payment Aggregators/Payment Gateways  for this are yet to begin testing. 
  • Recurring payments, also known as autopay, continue to remain a chief concern for tokenisation. 
  • While Infibeam Avenues has enabled almost 6 million merchants with card-on-file tokenisation, Mastercard has touched over 200,000 merchants. 

News & updates

  • London Bridge is down: Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. Her eldest son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, will lead the country in mourning as the new King and head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms. 
  • Celebrity stakes: Reality TV star Kim Kardashian launched a private equity fund, Skky Partners, co-founded with Jay Sammons, a former partner at Carlyle Group. Alongside investing in consumer and media companies, the firm will target the hospitality, luxury, and digital and ecommerce sectors.
  • Breakneck speeds: The US military is racking up deals with commercial rocket companies to explore the idea of using rockets typically tasked with launching satellites or astronauts to shuttle military cargo around the world at record speeds.
  • Playing it right: In a first, Amazon has obtained exclusive, season-long rights to NFL games in the US, and it presents a big challenge to major networks—like CBS, ESPN, NBC and Fox—that have dominated televised sports for generations.

What you should watch out for

  • President Droupadi Murmu to launch ‘Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan’ virtually, aimed at eliminating tuberculosis by 2025.

When was the first home video game console released?

Answer: In September 1972, Magnavox Odyssey was released as the first commercial home video game console. It was designed by German-American inventor Ralph Henry Baer, often referred to as the “father of video games”.


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