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Daily Tech Briefing: Mary Meeker’s BOND Capital Backs BYJU’S, Amazon Smart Stores In India & More

Daily Tech Briefing: Mary Meeker’s BOND Capital Backs BYJU’S, Amazon Smart Stores In India & More

BYJU’S has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Mary Meeker’s BOND Capital

Amazon will let customers pay for items in stores by scanning QR codes

YourNest has sold its stake in conversational AI tech startup Uniphore

Bengaluru-based edtech startup BYJU’S has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Mary Meeker’s BOND Capital. The company didn’t specify how it would be utilising the funds.  It was last valued at $8 Bn in the undisclosed funding round from General Atlantic in February 2020.

As of now, BYJU’s has over 57 Mn registered users and around 3.5 Mn paid subscribers. The company claims to have annual renewal rates of 85%. BYJU’S claims to have doubled its revenue from INR 1430 Cr in FY19 to INR 2800 Cr in FY20.

In a media statement, Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO, BYJU’S said, “This partnership is a testament to the role that BYJU’S is playing in helping students learn better by customizing our platform to their abilities. It also demonstrates the rising global interest in education technology as digital learning becomes increasingly accepted and embraced.”

Amazon Brings Smart Stores To India

Amazon Pay has launched Smart Stores, which allows customers to scan a QR codes to explore products within offline stores and pay for them using various payment instruments available on the payments platform. Apart from offering customers a wider suite of payment methods, including Amazon’s own credit facility under the ‘buy now, pay later’ scheme, Smart Stores will also expose product listings on the app, allowing customers to see details and reviews of them on its app.

Amazon India’s vice-president—seller services, Gopal Pillar said in an interview that the online marketplace has consistently witnessed 50% increase in seller registration and search terms like “sell online” and “sell on Amazon” post the opening up of lockdown when compared with the pre-COVID numbers. “This shows that ecommerce provides dual-purpose benefits. One is trying helping customers get their products while maintaining social distancing — they don’t have to step out of their homes. Number two — this can help small businesses and their livelihoods at scale,” Pillai said.

The tech giant also announced the acquisition of self-driving automotive company Zoox, in an effort to rev up its autonomous vehicle capability and compete against rivals Google and Apple. Amazon is reportedly paying more than $1Bn for the California-based startup . Zoox CEO Aicha Evans and chief technology officer Jesse Levinson would keep their roles at Zoox and run it as a standalone business in Amazon’s vast empire. 

YourNest Sells Stake In Uniphore

YourNest Venture Capital has sold its entire stake in conversational artificial intelligence technology startup Uniphore. YourNest had first invested in Uniphore in 2014 and had invested nearly INR 8 Cr across rounds in the company for a 5% stake. After selling off a stake in the last funding round, through this exit, it has earned about INR 55 Cr.

In August last year, it had raised $51 Mn in its Series C funding round led by March Capital Partners. Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures), Sistema Asia, CXO Fund, ITP, Iron Pillar, Patni Family also participated in the round. At the time, the startup intended to accelerate its go-to-market strategy in North America, invest in research and development for the next wave of innovation and hire more talent.

Earlier, it had raised $15.8 Mn from investors such as former Cisco chief John Chambers, Kris Gopalakrishnan, IDG Ventures India, India Angel Network, YourNest Angel Fund and Ray Stata.

eBloodServices App, IIT’s MegaLab

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan launched an eBloodServices App for checking online availability of blood in blood banks. An initiative of the Indian Red Cross Society, the app allows users to order up to four units of blood for the needy. The app has been developed by ERaktkosh and is expected to bring transparency in the blood donation process. 

The IIT Alumni Council, which is setting up viral infection testing lab with one crore monthly capacity, launched the country’s largest social initiative with a targeted investible corpus of INR 21K Cr for the proposed MegaLab. The IIT Alumni Council, along with its institutional partners Mumbai University and the ICT Mumbai, which are the two initial institutional partners for the MegaLab project, has over five million alumni and the corporate investment vehicles managed and controlled by these alumni have assets under management of over INR 5 Lakh Cr.

On completion, the lab will remain a permanent national facility focused on diagnosing and treating infectious diseases like the new coronavirus and TB among others.

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