SoftBank’s Vision clears (somewhat); ZestMoney raises fresh capital

As per reports, Co-founder Sai Srinivas, in an internal email to all employees, said that the 28% tax levied will increase the tax burden on MPL by 350-400%.

SoftBank’s Vision clears (somewhat); ZestMoney raises fresh capital

Wednesday August 09, 2023,

5 min Read


Layoffs continue. 

This time, it is on the back of a government policy. Real money gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) has let go of about 350 employees, citing the new GST regime for gaming companies as one of the reasons for the move. 

As per reports, Co-founder Sai Srinivas, in an internal email to all employees, said that the 28% tax levied will increase the tax burden on MPL by 350-400%.

In other news, Infibeam Avenues will soon list its digital marketing subsidiary—Odigma Consultancy Solutions—on Indian exchanges. The payments infrastructure firm also reported a standalone net profit of Rs 27 crore for Q1FY24—a 17% jump from the corresponding period a year ago.

Meanwhile, MobiKwik reported its first-ever consolidated profit at Rs 3 crore for the Apr-Jun quarter. "We expect to continue the growth momentum and achieve full-year profitability," Co-founder and COO Upasana Taku said.

Also, US-based crypto payments app Juno has acquired Indian music NFT platform Swaraj Labs (previously known as Humit). As per sources, Swaraj Labs will lead Juno's global expansion charter.

Speaking of M&As, Ananya Birla-headed Svatantra Microfin has acquired Chaitanya India Fin Credit—Sachin Bansal’s microfinance business—for Rs 1,479 crore. This move will sunset Navi Group's foray into the microfinance segment as Bansal now wants to focus only on digital-led businesses. 

ICYMI: Mattel has announced a new limited edition “Weird Barbie”, modelled after Kate McKinnon’s character in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. Incidentally, the movie recently made history by raking in over a billion dollars in global box office gains.

Clearly, the Barbie buzz is far from over. 

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • SoftBank bounces back (somewhat)
  • ZestMoney raises fresh capital
  • Cleartrip’s superapp mission

Here’s your trivia for today: Which city is most diverse in terms of language?

Venture Capital 

SoftBank bounces back (somewhat)


SoftBank Vision Fund recorded a quarterly profit of $1.1 billion (on a standalone basis) for the first time in six quarters, driven by an increase in valuations of its public portfolio companies. 

In India, Vision Fund has backed Paytm, Policybazaar, and Delhivery, among other startups.


  • Japan's SoftBank Group posted a net loss of $3.3 billion in the first quarter of FY24 for the third straight quarter, as tech startups struggle through yet another difficult year.
  • The Japanese entity will continue to accelerate its investments with a focus on artificial intelligence, said Yoshimitsu Goto, CFO and CISO at SoftBank Group Corp, during the earnings briefing on Tuesday.
  • Last year, Rajeev Misra—SoftBank Founder Masayoshi Son’s chief lieutenant—relinquished a key role at the Japanese conglomerate just months after he took on additional responsibilities as he prepared to launch a new fund.


ZestMoney raises fresh capital


Fintech startup ZestMoney on Tuesday said it has raised fresh capital from existing investors—Quona Capital, Omidyar Network India, Flourish Ventures, Zip, and Scarlet Capital—to support its business and to continue operations.  

Life support:

  • The undisclosed fundraise comes two months after the firm received a new lease of life from existing backers, along with a leadership overhaul, post its buyout deal fallout with PhonePe over due diligence concerns. 
  • With a new management team and fresh funds, ZestMoney will look to drive its business towards profitability.
  • On May 15, co-founders—Lizzie Chapman, Priya Sharma, and Ashish Anantharaman—announced their resignations to 175 employees while the investors stepped in to take charge.


Cleartrip’s superapp mission


Online travel aggregator Cleartrip was one of the COVID-19 pandemic’s many casualties. Now, more than two years after its acquisition by Flipkart, the company says it has been recording a 2X growth in business annually. 

It expects this momentum to continue in the near future as it expands into newer categories. But the ultimate goal is to become a travel superapp.

Clear skies:

  • The travel industry is soon expected to reach the pre-pandemic level of business. 
  • According to Mordor Intelligence, India’s online travel market is expected to grow from $15.60 billion in 2023 to $25.69 billion by 2028, at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.49%.
  • Affordability, which is vital to a price-sensitive market like India, is one of the key business philosophies of Cleartrip.

News & updates

  • The right degree: Becoming an IIT one-percenter is often a ticket to tech success. Many big names in India’s startup scene are IIT alums. Of the country’s 108 unicorns, 68 were founded by at least one IIT graduate, according to data from analytics firm Tracxn.
  • Mickey’s AI bet: Walt Disney has created a task force to study artificial intelligence and how it can be applied across the entertainment conglomerate, even as Hollywood writers and actors battle to limit the industry's exploitation of the technology.
  • House cleaning: Google is moving ahead with its plan to delete accounts that have been inactive for at least two years. While accounts won’t be deleted until December 1, Google will start sending warnings to affected users who will have an eight-month window before deletion.

Which city is most diverse in terms of language?

Answer: New York City. There are over 800 languages spoken in the city, and the Queens borough is the most linguistically diverse neighbourhood in the entire world.

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