Inside the upheaval at Upstox

The Tiger Global-backed online broker has seen at least half-dozen senior-level departures over the past year, as it tweaked its business strategy and abandoned its US expansion plan, while also grappling with rapidly declining user numbers.

Inside the upheaval at Upstox

Saturday May 06, 2023,

5 min Read


It’s official. COVID-19 no longer represents a global health emergency, says the World Health Organisation.

The announcement, made on Friday, signals a major step towards the end of the pandemic that has killed more than 6.9 million people over the last three years.

However, this is only a sign of the progress the world has made in these areas and COVID-19 is here to stay, cautioned WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding, “If we go back to how things were before COVID-19, we will have failed to learn our lessons, and failed our future generations.” 

ICYMI: LinkedIn turned 20 yesterday. Earlier this year, Fast Company spoke to its founders, key employees, early users, independent observers, and current executives to trace the company’s ‘unlikely’ evolution.

Closer home, layoffs among Indian startups continue. Bengaluru-based edtech firm Teachmint reduced its workforce by 70 just five months after its last round of layoffs, reported Inc42, while social ecommerce platform Meesho let go of 251 employees (15%) as part of cost-cutting measures, announced during a townhall meeting on Friday.

In slightly better news, venture capital inflow continues to remain in the positive territory for two weeks in a row, with the first week of May seeing $184 million raised across 21 deals, slightly lower than the $214 million raised in the previous week.

Also, Paytm had a phenomenal FY23 with revenue growing 61% to just under $1 billion and losses down 26% from the previous financial year. It achieved operational profitability almost 17 months ahead of target which the company attributes to the "increased pace of monetisation, better cost management, and higher operating leverage."

Lastly, unlock the history of art with the help of seven key colours—from Picasso and Hokusai's Prussian Blue to Vermeer's shade of red.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Inside the upheaval at Upstox
  • Back to childhood with Toy Face Tour
  • Reducing maternal and infant mortality

Here’s your trivia for today: Which astronaut ​​holds the record for the longest single human spaceflight?


Inside the upheaval at Upstox

Stock brokerage firm Upstox has seen at least a half dozen C-suite exits in the past year or so, with chief technology officer, chief human resources officer, and chief growth officer leaving in just the last two months. Four former senior executives YourStory spoke with flagged a lack of autonomy in running departments.

Rough patch:

  • A few company executives said the tech team was pushed to meet tough targets and data breaches were ignored.
  • While Zerodha, Groww, and Angel One have gained market share and users, Upstox has registered among the steepest declines.
  • The company has decided to pause plans to expand to the US and instead will double down on the Indian market.

Top Funding Deals of the Week

Startup: BluSmart Mobility

Amount: $42M

Round: Series A2

Startup: Ace Turtle

Amount: $34M

Round: Series B

Startup: Pando

Amount: $30M

Round: Series B

Art and culture

Back to childhood with Toy Face Tour

Visual artist, 3D illustrator and art director Amrit Pal Singh's first solo art show, Toy Face Tour, evokes childhood nostalgia as it features a series of toy face artwork inspired by iconic pop culture references Charlie Chaplin, Frida Kahlo and Godfather, among others. 

NFT art:

  • The Toy Face Tour coincides with Singh's 100th NFT drop. Each Toy Face and Toy Room is priced at 3 ETH (approx Rs 5 lakh). 
  • The illustration project started in 2020 as Singh wanted to create something to spread cheer amid the doom and gloom of the pandemic.
  • In February 2021, he minted his first NFT—the Frida Toy Face—which sold for 3.9 ETH. 
Amrit Pal Singh


Reducing maternal and infant mortality

Sheena Gill was alarmed by the maternal and infant mortality rates and became one of the founding members of CognitiveCare. The startup has created an AI platform to detect, quantify and stratify the propensity of 48 maternal and infant health risks.

Solving challenges:

  • Gill joined as Chief Growth Officer to convert the pilot platform into a reality for women on ground and forge strong relationships.
  • In 2022, the company received a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide antenatal risk stratification AI support.
  • It has partnered with LV Prasad Eye Institute to advance the early detection of eye diseases and adverse eye conditions in infants and children.
Sheena Gill

News & updates

  • AI reviewer: The UK Competition and Markets Authority is launching a review of the AI market, including the models behind popular chatbots such as ChatGPT, as the industry comes increasingly into global regulators’ crosshairs.
  • Money talks: Warner Bros. Discovery reported a surprise profit in streaming TV even as its legacy cable networks continued to lose advertising and viewers. Advertising revenue decreased 14% in the first quarter, primarily due to audience declines in domestic general entertainment and news networks. 
  • Sky’s the limit: US private equity firm Bain Capital is nearing the final close of its fifth and biggest Asia-focused fund after having raised around $6 billion from global investors. The committed capital to the fund has exceeded the firm's initial target of $5 billion.

Which astronaut ​​holds the record for the longest single human spaceflight?

Answer: Valeri Polyakov, who spent 437 days and 18 hours on the Mir space station between 1994 and 1995.

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