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ONEST seeks to democratise education; Together Fund doubles down with Fund II

Open Network for Education and Skilling Transactions, or ONEST, aspires to democratise the education sector. Together Fund has achieved the first close of its $150 million fund. The Ministry of MSME will now share data of businesses registered on Udyam with GeM.

ONEST seeks to democratise education; Together Fund doubles down with Fund II

Thursday July 27, 2023 , 5 min Read

Hello,

Jio Financial Services and global investment giant BlackRock have agreed to form a joint venture, called Jio BlackRock, as Reliance’s finance unit eyes India’s asset management industry. 

Also, Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is in early discussions to buy a minority stake in Reliance Retail for about $1 billion. 

In other news, BYJU'S continues to face more trouble as Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India) has reportedly informed its limited partners (LPs) about its plans to mark down the value of its holding in the edtech firm.

Meanwhile, foodtech startup Swiggy has launched a co-branded credit card with HDFC Bank. The credit card, a first one for Swiggy, will offer 10% cashback on Swiggy and 5% cashback across more than 1,000 platforms, including Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra.

The development comes months after rival Zomato discontinued its co-branded card partnership with RBL Bank—a partnership that had lasted nearly three years.

ICYMI: Internet cafes, which were once at the centre of techno-optimism, have almost vanished, with India alone losing more than half of its 200,000 cybercafes between 2005 and 2016. Rest of the World documents a few of the last remaining internet cafes across the globe. 

And lastly, whether it is circling back to get on the same page, hitting the ground running, or moving forward, corporate jargon is everywhere. Here’s a survival guide to understanding the buzziest of business buzzwords.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • ONEST seeks to democratise education
  • Together Fund doubles down with Fund II
  • GeM-Udyam tie-up unlocks MSME growth

Here’s your trivia for today: What is the only sport to have been played on the moon?


Edtech

ONEST seeks to democratise education

Modelled on the Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC) project that transformed the ecommerce landscape, Open Network for Education and Skilling Transactions, or ONEST, aspires to democratise the education sector. The interoperable, platform-agnostic and decentralised network seeks to offer users access to diverse educational content, skill development programmes, scholarships, internships, and mentorship.

"Largely the idea is to take the ONDC model and apply it for education and skilling,” Sujith Nair, Co-founder and CEO of Foundation for Interoperability in Digital Economy (FIDE), tells YourStory.

Collaboration is key:

  • Students and other learners can access diverse courses and training opportunities while educational institutions, edtech firms, and training providers can offer a diverse catalogue of educational content and skilling programmes.
  • The ONEST ecosystem currently comprises ONDC as the network facilitator, EkStep as the network incubator, FIDE as the protocol partner, and network participants including Vedantu, Protean, ShikshaLokam etc.
  • ONEST plans to provide open-source sandboxes and developer access to support providers who wish to learn the Beckn Protocol and link their products/services to ONEST. 
ONEST

Image credit: Nihar Apte


Funding Alert

Startup: Effectiv

Amount: $4.5M

Round: Seed

Startup: Grano69 Beverages

Amount: Rs 8.5 Cr

Round: Equity

Startup: Newtral.io

Amount: Rs 64 lakh

Round: Undisclosed


Funding

Together Fund doubles down with Fund II

Bengaluru-headquartered early-stage venture capital fund Together Fund has achieved the first close of its $150 million fund. The new fund will be deployed starting from the first quarter of 2024, with the final close expected to be completed by the third quarter of next year.

SaaS focus:

  • Together Fund raised its first fund in July 2021 with a corpus of $85 million. The firm has invested in 20 startups so far from the first fund.
  • The second fund has invested in three generative-AI companies across healthcare, developer infrastructure, and modern marketing stack in the last three months. 
  • “In light of this once-in-a-generation SaaS and AI opportunity, we are extending our founder-first philosophy with our second fund, supporting founders from the inception stage of their journey,” Girish Mathrubootham, Founding Partner of Together Fund, said.
Together Fund

Team of Together Fund


Government

GeM-Udyam tie-up unlocks MSME growth

To enable more MSMEs to procure goods and services from the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), GeM and Udyam joined forces where the Ministry of MSME will now share data of businesses registered on Udyam with GeM. Stakeholders are optimistic about GeM's potential to support the growth of small businesses in India. 

“With GeM, we can find all the opportunities and orders from different government departments in one place. It is convenient,” Kalavathy Sridharan, MD of Shree Apparels, tells SMBStory.

Public procurement:

  • GeM will help Udyam-registered businesses by organising workshops and training sessions. GeM will also facilitate online market linkages for last-mile MSEs in public procurement.
  • Vinod Kumar, President of India SME Forum, highlights that the partnership will enable the ministry to improve monitoring of the number of orders placed with MSE sellers, women-owned, and SC/ST-owned enterprises. 
  • Anjenay Agarwal, Founder of Royal Bee Natural Products, says that small producers can get good orders from government departments via GeM that were earlier limited to registered old suppliers. 
Indian businessman


News & updates

  • Bumble BFF: Bumble is releasing a separate app called “Bumble for Friends” aimed at finding friends in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the Philippines, the UK, and the US. The dating company originally launched BFF mode in the main app in 2016. With this new app, it aims to cater to people looking for platonic connections.
  • Safety first: OpenAI, Microsoft, Alphabet's Google and Anthropic are launching a forum to regulate the development of large machine learning models, the industry leaders of artificial intelligence said on Wednesday.
  • Lone survivor: Porsche has a plan to gradually electrify its car lineup so that electric vehicles make up 80% of sales by 2030, and aims to make the iconic 911 the only internal-combustion engine model left standing, a top executive said.


What is the only sport to have been played on the moon?

Answer: Golf. NASA astronaut Alan Shepard took a few moments during the Apollo 14 landing to show off his golf skills during a live broadcast from the lunar surface on February 6, 1971. 


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