A New York Times report said that companies such as Facebook, Signal and Telegram are working on Cryptocurrency projects which they plan to launch over the next year. The companies will allow users to send money to contacts on their messaging systems. Facebook-owned WhatsApp is reportedly developing a coin for WhatsApp users which they can send to friends and family instantly. The company has already reached out to Cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers. The Cryptocurrency plan of Facebook is being led by former president of PayPal, David Marcus, along with more than 50 engineers.
Unified Payments Interface (UPI) clocked 674.19 million transactions in February 2019, up 0.3% from 672 million transaction in January 2019. The value of the transactions for February stood at Rs 1.06 Lakh crore, marginally lower than the Rs 1.09 Lakh crore in January. UPI has recorded a 300% year-on-year growth rate since February 2017 when it clocked 171 million transactions.
Online restaurant discovery and food delivery platform Zomato has reportedly raised $62.5 million (about Rs 441 crore) as part of the ongoing Series l funding. The fund-raising round was led by German food-tech major Delivery Hero which infused Rs 350 crore to acquire a 2% stake. The funding round also saw participation from a couple of Chinese investors. The funding round valued the Gurgaon-based firm at about $2 billion. Zomato had also raised $40 million last month from US-based investor Glade Brook Capital Partners.
The Tamil Nadu government is reportedly planning to discuss with the central government on banning the video sharing platform TikTok to check the spread of harmful content. Tamil Nadu state IT minister said that the platform is being used to incite hate-filled speeches and debates and share sexually explicit content. TikTok allows its users to create and share small lip-sync videos. Indian users account for 39% of its 500 million global users.
Increasing number of sports-crazy users are getting drawn to Indian fantasy sports leagues which offer higher user engagement, excitement and rewards. Users grew from just around 20 lakh in 2016 to over 2 crore in 2018. In 2019, users more than doubled to 5 crore. Cricket is the most loved sport in this space with a market share of more than 90%. Among other sports, Kabaddi is fast getting user traction followed by football, basketball, badminton and tennis.
According to a research report, the e-commerce sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27% while the offline retail space is expected to grow at 16% between 2017 and 2021. Brick-and-mortar or the offline retailers are confident of a more level playing field with their online counterpart after the government introduced revised FDI norms for the ecommerce sector with effect from February 1.
Fintech portal, PSBloansin59minutes.com, has emerged as the largest online lending platform in just three months. The platform was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November last year to offer credit of up to Rs 1 crore to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in just 59 minutes. The platform has already sanctioned loans worth Rs 30,000 crore and disbursements are pegged at Rs 25,000 crore. Upon approval, the loans are usually disbursed within 7-8 working days.
In an unprecedented move in India’s start-up ecosystem, online restaurant discovery and food delivery firm Zomato has awarded its Chief Operating Officer (COO), Gaurav Gupta, with the title of ‘co-founder’. Gupta had joined Zomato four years back and was elevated to the position of COO in January 2018. “Starting today, we are going to call GG ‘co-founder and COO”, co-founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said.
Ola Electric Mobility (OEM), a sister concern of homegrown cab-hailing firm Ola, has raised a sum of Rs 400 crore led by Tiger Global and Matrix India. Both have been long-standing investors in Ola. OEM was launched in February 2017 to provide support for the Electric Vehicle (EV) ecosystem in India by assisting in infrastructure development. Ola had last year committed to bring one million EVs to India by 2021.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched its own payment gateway system, IRCTC iPay. IRCTC iPay will provide payment options like credit card, debit card, UPI and International card to passengers availing online travel related services through the IRCTC website. IRCTC iPay will soon offer the facility of a prepaid card cum wallet and auto debit.
Some 2,000 start-ups that have received tax notices u/s 56(2)(vii)(b) and 68 of the Income tax Act are expected to get some relief this week. The CBDT plans to issue a notification asking tax officers to “accept valuation certificates” submitted by the start-ups. CBDT may also write to principal commissioners of income tax to seek details from the investors where the source of funding seems to be dubious. The income tax department had challenged the valuation norms adopted by these start-ups and sought to tax the capital raised by them in excess of the fair value of the shares issued.
In the last few months, major crowdfunding platforms have applied for registration as Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) with SEBI after the market regulator observed a violation of private placement norms by them. crowdfunding platforms mainly cater to small start-ups. With limited operational flexibility as an AIF, these platforms will be able to pool money only from individuals who have a minimum liquid net worth of Rs 2 crore. Further, the minimum size of investment has to be Rs 1 crore. As a registered AIF, crowdfunding platforms can invest only DIPP-approved start-ups.
Online supermarket Grofers has raised close to $60 million in fresh funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund and existing investors US-based Tiger Global Management and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. The new Series F funding round valued the Gurgaon-based Grofers at an estimated $425 million. Grofers had raised $62 million in March last year as part of the Series E funding.
A small Indian legal tech startup has been able to do what many early-stage entrepreneurs only dreamt. SpotDraft has recently raised $1.5 million in a pre-series A round from Binny Bansal’s 021 Capital and several marquee investors like Girish Mathrubootham (Freshworks), Peeyush Ranjan (VP Engineering, Google Inc – former CTO Flipkart) and Indus Khaitan (Chief of Growth, Chargebee) among others. SpotDraft, which started off as an online platform to help people create contracts and automate their invoices, has evolved to offer contract creation, contract management and contract analysis.
The Indian government has reportedly granted the licences to the domestic airlines to begin in-flight internet services. The company to get the license is Hughes Communications India Ltd (HCIL), a majority-owned subsidiary of global broadband satellite technology and service company Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES). According to the company, it has already set up a base mobility platform and is in discussion to enhance the services in India, reported Tech Portal.