Continuing its amazing funding spree since April, Reliance Industries Limited and Jio Platforms have received an investment of INR 1,894.50 Cr from Intel Capital at an equity value of INR 4.91 Lakh Cr and an enterprise value of INR 5.16 Lakh Cr. Intel Capital, the investment arm of chip giant Intel, will pick up 0.39% equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis, after this investment.
Intel Capital joins the list of marquee firms, including Facebook, TPG Capital, Silver Lake, General Atlantic as well as sovereign funds from Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, who have recently invested in Jio Platforms. With Intel capital’s investment, the total funding received by Jio has gone up to over INR 1.17 Lakh Cr.
Mr. Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital President, said, “Jio Platforms’ focus on applying its impressive engineering capabilities to bring the power of low-cost digital services to India aligns with Intel’s purpose of delivering breakthrough technology that enriches lives. We believe digital access and data can transform business and society for the better. Through this investment, we are excited to help fuel digital transformation in India, where Intel maintains an important presence.”
Zetwerk Bags Series C Funding
Indian B2B marketplace for manufacturing items Zetwerk has raised $21 Mn in Series C financing round led by San Francisco-based investment firm Greenoaks. Existing investors Accel, Kae Capital, Lightspeed and Sequoia Capital India also participated in the round.
The company is looking to scale its operations in the nation and help local businesses find customers overseas. Currently, Zetwerk works with more than 150 enterprises and 2,500 small and medium-sized businesses. It typically works with suppliers of mechanical parts and machinery components. In January, Zetwerk raised $2.2 Mn (INR 16 Cr) in a fresh funding round from InnoVen Capital.
Prior to this round in December 2019, Zetwerk raised $32 Mn in its equity Series B funding round from new investors Lightspeed and Greenoaks Capital as well as existing investors Sequoia India, Accel and Kae Capital. Along with this, the company had raised INR 100 Cr ($14.1 Mn) debt funding from a consortium of banks and non-banking financing companies.
JioMeet Officially Launched
After announcing the video conferencing service in May, Reliance Jio has officially launched JioMeet, available on the Google Play Store and App Store as well as through browsers on PCs. While JioMeet has been available in beta, the stable release brings further support for bigger video calls. The FAQ page of JioMeet said its HD video conferencing can support up to 100 participants at once and users do not need codes or invites to start calls.
Besides using native clients, anyone can join a call from the desktop version of the app by clicking on the invite link without downloading the application. Other features of JioMeet include scheduling meetings, sharing screens with other callers and more.
Fresh Funding For 1mg; Omidyar Wraps Up Covid-19 Grants
- Online pharmacy 1mg is raising INR 133 Cr ($17 Mn) in debt from existing investors MPOF Mauritius, MAF Mauritius, HBM Healthcare Investment, AG’s subsidiary KWE Beteiligungen and World Bank’s investment arm International Finance Corporation (IFC).
- Chennai-based edtech startup Flinto Learning Solutions has raised $7.2 Mn in a Pre-Series B round, led by Lightbox Ventures. Flinto will look to build on its new product, in view of the uncertainties regarding the pandemic.
Further, Omidyar Network India announced that it has fully utilized the capital pool of INR 10.75 Cr and 67 proposals have been approved. Of this, INR 3.25 Cr was contributed by employees of Omidyar Network India.
The investment has been deployed towards direct relief work, grassroots awareness campaigns, on-ground programs to mobilize volunteers; data, apps and other technological solutions; economic resilience of NHB workers and small businesses etc.
India-China Tensions Escalate
After the ban on 59 Chinese apps, Google and Apple have started to comply with Centre’s order and have removed these apps from the platform. TikTok, UC Browser, Shareit, and Club Factory and other apps that India has blocked are no longer listed on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store.
This comes after some developers including ByteDance have voluntarily made their apps inaccessible in India. Further, a TikTok India spokesperson said that the company has “no plans to pursue such action. We are committed to working with the Indian government to address its concerns.”
In its statement posted on Twitter, TikTok reiterated its commitment to “comply with the laws and regulations of the government of India. Ensuring the data sovereignty, security and privacy of our users has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us.”
While Chinese lawmakers have so far only expressed regret about India’s ban, there has been no action taken on Indian companies. In light of these moves by India, startups such as hospitality unicorn OYO as well as travel tech startup RateGain and others may have to adapt to criticism from the Chinese public.
Meanwhile, other Indian IT companies including Wipro, Infosys and TCS that have subsidiaries in China are also preparing for any changes in the market conditions that may adversely impact the operations.
Flipkart Expands 2Gud For Social Commerce
Flipkart is reportedly piloting a new social commerce platform named 2GudSocial to onboard consumers from small towns and lower-income groups.
2GudSocial will use video content to help resellers sell products across categories like fashion retail, mobiles and electronics and accessories, according to the live interface seen by Inc42. The interface, social.2Gud.com, is currently live for mobile phones and looks a lot like short video app TikTok with its swipe up or down feature, icon placement and more. The development was first reported by journalist Aditi Shrivastava on Twitter.
upGrad Revokes Salary Deductions
Edtech platform upGrad, on July 1 at its quarterly town hall, announced that it has revoked all salary deductions from the second quarter of the financial year 2021, starting July. upGrad’s cofounder and MD Mayank Kumar said this has been possible due to business growth over the last quarter. The company has also decided to return 100% of the amount that was deducted from the employee’s salary due to the cash crunch caused by Covid-19 and the resultant lockdown. Besides this, the company has also extended its work from home till the end of this year. upGrad had announced almost 30% salary deductions for its employees on the basis of seniority.
Though the pandemic hit all sectors, edtech was one space that sparkled. With students locked up in their houses, people started opting for online courses. Edtech sector has contributed to the business growth of upGrad, the company said.
Marico Completes Beardo Acquisition
Marico has now fully acquired men’s grooming startup Beardo by buying 55% additional shares, a move which will help FMCG firm to extend its play into the segment. Marico has acquired the remaining 55 % share of Zed Lifestyle, Beardo’s parent firm, in an all-cash deal, making a step-down company.
Marico had made an investment in the company in March 2017, which was equivalent to 45% of the issued and paid-up share capital of Zed Lifestyle. Beardo, which sells beard oils, beard waxes, soaps, and other products for men’s facial hair, had a turnover of INR 78.49 Cr in FY20.
With the acquisition, one of Beardo’s early investors Venture Catalysts has taken a complete exit from its investment of $500K in the company and has made 5-8 times of the investment.
BookMyShow Launches Streaming Platform
BookMyShow has launched its online video streaming platform BookMyShow Online for live entertainment shows. BookMyShow Online will cater to BMS customers in India as well as the USA, UK, Germany, UAE, Southeast Asia, and West Indies. While BookMyShow had arranged live online entertainment such as concerts and comedy shows during the lockdown months, BookMyShow Online will host virtual music festivals starting with the Sunburn Home Festival. The festival will feature top DJs from across the globe in a never-seen-before avatar with 3D animations and special effects with end-to-end production of stage, lights, LED, lasers, special effects.