Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
upGrad’s subsidiary firm acquires Wolves India
upGrad Rekrut, a 100 percent subsidiary of online higher education platform major upGrad, has acquired recruitment and staffing firm Wolves India, for an undisclosed sum.
The Bengaluru-based Wolves India specialises in placing high-quality tech talent across startups, along with mid and large-sized organisations in India and overseas. Wolves India will continue to operate independently, said upGrad.
“While with upGrad Rekrut, we saw our learners receiving record-breaking CTCs during FY22, the joining of Wolves India will give us an edge in the tech ecosystem,” said Mayank Kumar, Co-founder and MD, upGrad.
The edtech giant said that it will also hire people from its own learners’ talent pool through its subsidiary upGrad Rekrut.
MediBuddy acquires rural healthtech startup Clinix
Digital healthcare platform MediBuddy has acquired online doctor consultation platform Clinix specialising in rural India for an undisclosed amount.
The acquisition will help MediBuddy further scale its operations and expand services to the interiors in rural India, the company said.
“Clinix has a wide presence in the rural areas and with our network and infra-tech support, we aim to further expand our reach and services and achieve our goal of covering a large section of the population, who have limited access to quality healthcare solutions,” said Satish Kannan, co-founder and CEO, MediBuddy.
Kubeshop acquires majority stake in InfraCloud’s OSS product BotKube
Kubeshop, an accelerator for open-source startups has acquired a majority stake in the Kubernetes ChatOps product called BotKube.
BotKube, is an open-source product developed by InfraCloud which monitors Kubernetes clusters and helps with interactive debugging. With this majority stake, BotKube will have access to capital, people, network, and expertise to grow its community and user base, a statement said.
“Helping BotKube grow made perfect sense to us – making the Kubernetes journey simpler and easier for developers, DevOps engineers, and teams is our main mission.”, said Dmitry Fonarev, CEO, Kubeshop.
Meta releases first human rights report
Meta has released its first annual human rights report, following years of accusations that it turned a blind eye to online abuses that fueled real-world violence in places like India and Myanmar, Reuters reported.
The report, which covers due diligence performed in 2020 and 2021, includes a summary of a controversial human rights impact assessment of India that Meta commissioned law firm Foley Hoag to conduct.
In its summary, Meta said the law firm had “noted the potential for Meta’s platforms to be connected to salient human rights risks caused by third parties,” including “advocacy of hatred that incites hostility, discrimination, or violence.”
The assessment, it added, did not cover “accusations of bias in content moderation.” In its report, Meta said it was studying the India recommendations but did not commit to implementing them as it did with other rights assessments.
India Accelerator launches edtech startup Envent
India Accelerator (IA) has announced the launch of its flagship edtech startup Envent, that provides an experiential learning environment to aspiring students, entrepreneurs, working professionals and first-time entrepreneurs.
As part of Envent, IA has launched an E-School, one of the exclusive entrepreneurship programs designed to allow aspiring entrepreneurs to explore, build, test, and work on their business ideas.
The platform provides comprehensive support, develops key entrepreneurial skills, and helps with risk management to turn ideas into successful business stories. The programme takes the students from idea generation to being prepared for a full-fledged startup launch, a statement said.
Bikayi launches marketing platform in partnership with WhatsApp
Bikayi has launched its new marketing platform BIK.ai in partnership with WhatsApp to become its first official ecommerce partner in India.
The powerful marketing tool aims to revolutionise the way ecommerce brands target, re-engage, and manage their customers on WhatsApp, helping them drive higher conversions and increase revenue by 11X through its AI-powered intelligent platform, the firm said.
“With changing trends in customer shopping behaviour and technological advancements, there is a major shift towards conversational commerce. Brands are now using messaging channels to sell directly to customers. Our partnership with WhatsApp was a strategic decision since it is one of the most widely used messaging platforms globally with a high open rate of 95 percent. Hence, customers are more likely to respond on WhatsApp,” said Sonakshi Nathani, Co-founder and CEO, Bikayi.
Save Solutions to hire 5000 employees amid layoffs saga in startup ecosystem
Banking correspondent network SAVE Solutions plans to generate over 5000 employment opportunities across the Northern, Eastern, Western, and Central parts of India in 2022-2023.
In the coming year, the company said it is looking to hire across 5000+ roles in various fields such as sales, credit, operations, and collection.
SAVE Group plans to hire over 3000 employees in Save Microfinance across the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand. For SAVE Financial, the company will generate job opportunities in the states of Delhi NCR, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. For its Housing segment, the branches will range across Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana with a total hiring target of over 2000 jobs in the two subsidiaries SAVE Financial and NHHFDL.
GEO IQ aims to expand its team by 2X in FY23
GeoIQ, an AI-led hyperlocal location startup said it plans to expand its team by 2X in FY’23. These roles are primarily in line with their expansion plans across India and overseas across both leadership and mid-level positions to lead their data teams in the financial and e-commerce sector.
“We are looking for agile and passionate individuals to join our mission of redefining how organisations use data across the world and shape the future of data analytics across industries,” said Ankita, Co-Founder, GeoIQ.
The firm claims to have clocked 10X ARR growth in the last 4 quarters and is on its way to reaching 5X growth in the next 2 quarters. The company is also planning to expand its global footprint starting with the US market and will target data teams in the financial and e-commerce sector.
HomeLane launches first home interiors studio with an all-women workforce
HomeLane, an end-to-end personalised home interior solutions provider, has launched their first Home Interiors Studio powered by a 100 percent women workforce in Bengaluru.
Aligned with the vision to promote diversity in hiring and empower women coming back to work after a break, HomeLane’s RR Nagar studio will operate with an all-women workforce, a statement said. The studio has appointed women across job roles like Sales, Community, Delivery and Design teams.
“Today over 29 percent of our overall workforce comprises of women but the vision behind this new studio is to empower more women in the home interior industry, even the larger cohort who have taken a break from work due to socio-economic factors,” said Tanuj Choudhry, COO and Co-Founder, HomeLane.
Gokwik pushes Neeman’s conversion rates by 30%
D2C sustainable footwear brand Neeman’s has witnessed a 30 percent jump in its prepaid conversion rates after a year of its partnership with e-commerce enabler GoKwik.
Besides improved conversion rates and bottomline, GoKwik has also helped Neeman’s expand its business into tier 3 and tier 4 cities. Further, using the proprietary AI-ML algorithms, GoKwik has also promoted Cash on Delivery (CoD) as a payment method for Neeman’s in a risk-free manner, a statement said.
“We are foreseeing tremendous growth opportunities with our new product launch of Tree Sneaker, made with sustainably sourced wood based fibres. The launch of India’s first Tree Sneakers has been aided by the seamless integration with GoKwik,” said Taran Chhabra, founder and CEO, Neeman.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Alibaba cuts a third of deals team staff after regulatory crackdown: Report
Alibaba is cutting over a third of staff in its in-house deals team, four people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, after Beijing’s sweeping regulatory crackdown sharply slowed the Chinese e-commerce behemoth’s dealmaking pace.
Alibaba plans to reduce its strategic investment team of more than 110 people, mainly based in mainland China, to about 70, said two of the people, adding the company has already informed a bulk of staffers of their redundancy.
The job cuts mainly involve mid-level and senior people in the mainland, said the two people, declining to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media. The company’s deals team also has staff in Hong Kong, they added.
Amazon-backed Tonal lays off 35% of its workforce
Amazon-backed connected fitness equipment maker Tonal is cutting 35% of its workforce, affecting all levels of its business.
According to CNBC, the company employs about 750 people, compared with a little more than 110 before the Covid-19 pandemic, Chief Executive Officer Aly Orady said in an interview.
Orady also emphasised the need to be profitable, particularly as the company eyes an initial public offering. As per the CEO, Tonal has not been profitable in the past. But the job cuts will put the company on track to make money in a matter of months.
Tonal did not disclose exactly how much money it plans to save through the layoffs. It also did not say if its valuation has been adjusted in the private markets.
US online sales during Amazon’s Prime Day jump to $12Bn: Report
US online sales during Amazon’s Prime Day shopping event jumped 8.5 percent from last year to nearly $12 billion, as inflation-hit Americans pounced on discounted essentials and electronics, showed data from Adobe’s Digital Economy Index.
Amazon said on Thursday the two-day shopping event, on July 12 and 13, was its biggest ever globally, with members of its Prime loyalty program purchasing more than 300 million items, or 100,000 products a minute.
Toys saw the biggest discounts across retailers, with average markdowns at 15%, according to Adobe. Apparel was discounted at 12 percent, while the electronics discount levels of around 6 percent.
Amazon acts to end EU antitrust investigations, avoid fine
Amazon has offered to halt online selling and marketing practices EU antitrust regulators regard as anti-competitive to try to end two investigations and avoid a possible hefty fine, ahead of EU rules that will target such methods from next year.
The European Commission in 2020 charged Amazon with using its size, power and data to push its own products and gain an unfair advantage over rival merchants that also use its platform.
The US online retail giant has offered to refrain from using sellers’ data for its own competing retail business and its private label products, the EU competition said. It will treat sellers equally when ranking their offers for the “buy box” on its website that generates the bulk of its sales, confirming a Reuters story.
Major crypto lender Celsius files for bankruptcy
US crypto lender Celsius Network has filed for bankruptcy in New York, becoming the latest victim in the cryptocurrency sector of a dramatic plunge in token prices, as per a Reuters report.
New Jersey-based Celsius froze withdrawals last month, citing “extreme” market conditions, cutting off access to savings for individual investors and sending tremors through the crypto market.
In a court filing at the US Bankruptcy Court for Southern District of New York, Celsius estimated its assets and liabilities as between $1 billion to $10 billion, with more than 100,000 creditors. The company has $167 million in cash on hand.
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