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Inside Zoho’s R&D push; A dedicated app for ONDC

Zoho is trying to do many things at the same time to strengthen its R&D muscles, either through investments, partnerships, or self-initiated.

Inside Zoho’s R&D push; A dedicated app for ONDC

Wednesday April 05, 2023 , 5 min Read

Hello,

Finally, some good news for BYJU'S.

The edtech decacorn is set to raise funding—a whopping $700 million—at a flat valuation of $22 billion, people familiar with the development told YourStory. Reportedly led by two West Asia-based sovereign wealth funds and large private equity firms, the round is expected to close in the next one to two weeks. 

This much-needed capital infusion comes at a time when BYJU’S has been plagued with mounting losses, layoffs, and pending loans after the end of the pandemic-led edtech boom. The company has also come under scrutiny for its accounting practices.

In other news, Apple too is joining the legion of tech giants laying off employees. According to a report by Bloomberg, the iPhone maker is expected to fire a small number of people in some of its corporate retail teams in a bid to improve its operations.

These employees have been told that they would have the ability to reapply for similar roles within the company. For those who aren’t able to take up a new role, Apple is offering as much as four months of pay.

ICYMI: Twitter has a new look as CEO Elon Musk replaces Larry the blue bird on the social media site’s home button with Doge the dog.

This, of course, had some other effects on the market as well with Dogecoin rising to 10.2 cents from around 7.7 cents. And, Doge also began to trend on Twitter.

Lastly, here are the best scientific pictures shot in March—from a dying star to alien dunes.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Inside Zoho’s R&D push 
  • A dedicated app for ONDC
  • Polkadot’s parachain play

Here’s your trivia for today: Where is the world’s longest suspension bridge located?


SaaS

Inside Zoho’s R&D push

Zoho

Zoho is trying to do many things at the same time to strengthen its research and development muscles. 

Its projects—either through investments, partnerships, or self-initiated—are exploring the use of technologies in farming, telemedicine, and computer-aided design, Co-founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu told YourStory in an exclusive interview. 

New horizons:

  • Zoho earns about 38% from the US region, which is its largest market, followed by the European Union and India.
  • The company is also seeing “tremendous growth” in markets such as Nigeria, Brazil, Columbia, Jordan, and Mexico.
  • Talking about the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI), Vembu said that this is going to be Zoho’s third transformation after surviving the dot-com bubble and transitioning to the cloud.


Funding Alert

Startup: BYJU'S

Amount: $700M

Round: Undisclosed 

Startup: Spendflo

Amount: $11M

Round: Series A

Startup: Dozee

Amount: $6M

Round: Series A2


Ecommerce

PhonePe’s new dedicated ONDC app

PhonePe ONDC Pincode app

Digital payments company PhonePe has set its next target–India’s ecommerce segment. On Tuesday, the company launched a dedicated hyperlocal consumer app—Pincode—linked to the Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC) protocol.

While it did not divulge the investment into or the budget set aside for the project, PhonePe executives said it is targeting over 100,000 orders on the new app by December.

Shop now:

  • The app is launching in the company’s homeground Bengaluru with six categories to begin with—fashion, home decor, electronics, pharmacy, food, and grocery.
  • PhonePe’s Pincode app will allow users to “multitask” and have multiple carts with separate checkouts while shopping across different categories.
  • Across multiple buyer apps, including Paytm, ONDC receives only a few hundred daily orders on average.


Blockchain

Polkadot’s parachain play

polkadot india

The latest entrant in India’s Web3 startup landscape is Polkadot—a leading global blockchain ecosystem comprising a growing set of specialised, interoperable chains known as ‘parachains’ (short for parallelised chains).

Besides helping with funding and regulatory compliance, Polkadot parachain projects are seeking to support Indian developers with infrastructure and interoperability in the ecosystem.

Join the club:

  • Polkadot is the brainchild of Gavin Wood—an Ethereum co-founder who coined the term ‘Web3’.
  • Its primary chain—the Relay Chain—is the base layer into which parachains are plugged. It provides security, consensus, finality and voting to the Polkadot ecosystem, while the parachains separately support functionality for the apps built on them.
  • Some Polkadot stakeholders believe there will be an emergence of promising projects building the rails to drive mainstream adoption in Web3.


News & updates

  • Walkout: Hundreds of Google employees staged a walkout at the company’s London offices on Tuesday, following a dispute over layoffs. In January, its parent company Alphabet announced it was laying off 12,000 employees worldwide, equivalent to 6% of its global workforce.
  • Crackdown: The UK data regulator fined TikTok £12.7 million ($15.9 million) for collecting children’s personal information in a way it said could have been used to deliver harmful content, amid mounting concerns over the platform’s use of data. 
  • Money-ed: LayerZero Labs, a web3 messaging protocol, has closed a $120 million Series B round at a valuation of $3 billion. Unlike Web 2.0 messaging platforms, it lets users send different types of messages between blockchains, like cross-chain interactions, eliminating the need for intermediaries.


Where is the world’s longest suspension bridge located?

Answer: The 1915 Çanakkale Bridge in Turkey, at 2,023 m (6,637 ft).


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