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Startup Digest: Clear acquires Xpedize, Razorpay fifth acquisition with IZealiant & Masayoshi Son loses $25 bn

Startup Digest: Clear acquires Xpedize, Razorpay fifth acquisition with IZealiant & Masayoshi Son loses $25 bn

Startup Digest: Clear acquires Xpedize, Razorpay fifth acquisition with IZealiant & Masayoshi Son loses $25 bn
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By Aishwarya Anand  Mar 16, 2022 9:15:10 PM IST (Updated)

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Here are the top headlines from the startup space.

Here are the top headlines from the startup space.

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SaaS-led fintech startup Clear acquires Xpedize, forays into SME credit & B2B payments space
SaaS-led fintech startup Clear (ClearTax) has acquired supply chain financing technology firm Xpedize for an undisclosed amount. This is Clear’s second acquisition after taking over B2B payments platform Ybanq in July 2021.
With this acquisition, the firm has marked its foray into the SME credit and B2B payments segment. It will also help Clear scale faster in the invoice discounting space, by offering technology-led supply chain financing to its network of enterprise customers.
Post the deal, Xpedize which will now be rebranded as Clear Invoice Discounting and will provide capital and liquidity to suppliers. Founded in 2017, its 25+ member team will continue to run the invoice discounting platform, a statement said. The startup is expected to process Rs 1,000 Cr GMV annualized by the end of FY22.
The invoice discounting solution will be available to Clear’s existing 3,000-plus enterprise customers. By providing working capital solutions to the vendors of their enterprise customers, Clear is targeting to achieve $3 billion throughput by FY24.
Razorpay makes its fifth acquisition, takes over IZealiant to bolster offerings for banks
Razorpay has announced its fifth acquisition by bringing into the fold Pune-based IZealiant, which provides payments technology solutions for banks. The value of the deal remains undisclosed.
With this acquisition, Razorpay is looking to strengthen its banking solutions arm as financial institutions increasingly look to adopt advanced yet secure solutions to keep pace with fast-evolving consumer needs and increasing regulations for digital payments.
Recently, Razorpay launched solutions such as Razorpay TokenHQ (an RBI-compliant card tokenization solution) and MandateHQ (a plug-n-play recurring payments interface) to help more than 45 partner banks overcome regulatory hurdles.
“The team at IZealiant has extensive experience in developing and implementing complex, high-performance acquiring and issuing systems and I am confident that together we will be able to build industry-first solutions for the banks in India,” said Harshil Mathur, Co-founder and CEO, Razorpay.
Ecommerce rollup firm Evenflow partners with Eunimart to take domestic brands global
Thrasio-style startup Evenflow has partnered with e-commerce enabler Eunimart to help local brands launch and scale in international markets.
The companies would work together to help in strategising the global expansion of the brands that the former acquires in the Indian market, a statement said.
Since inception last year, Evenflow has acquired seven homegrown brands, across categories such as home and kitchen, sports and fitness, garden and outdoors among others.
The ecommerce rollup is now planning to aggressively promote these brands in the global markets and boost their brand value as well as sales.
Tata 1mg launches first reference lab in India
Deepening the spectrum of offerings in clinical and preventive diagnostics, digital health platform Tata 1mg has launched its first Reference Lab based in Delhi.
The diagnostics laboratory will enable an extensive catalog of tests, can process upto 4000 tests an hour and joins Tata 1mg’s already network of 8 diagnostic labs that serve over a million customers each year, across 30 cities, the firm said in a statement.
Tata 1mg makes strategic investment in 5C Network
Online pharmacy Tata 1mg has made a strategic investment in digital diagnostic platform 5C Network. The round also saw participation from angel investors including Vikram Vuppala, founder, and CEO at Nephroplus. Dr. Om Manchanda, Managing Director, Lal Pathlabs and Viren Prasad Shetty, COO, Narayana Health.
Founded in 2016, 5C reported over 1.5 million scans last year from diagnostic centres in 334 cities across India. With this partnership, the startup said it will continue to innovate and deliver a superior experience to patients, client-partners, and radiologists.
SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son loses $25Bn
SoftBank Group’s billionaire founder Masayoshi Son’s fortune has crashed by $25 billion in the past year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Son’s wealth currently stands at $13.7 billion.
The company’s stock has has tumbled almost 60% in the past year and the loan-to-value chart keeps ticking higher, indicating SoftBank’s net debt is getting unwieldy relative to the equity value of its holdings, the report added.
In February, Son described SoftBank as being “in the middle of a winter storm” and announced a 1.55 trillion yen ($13 billion) decline to 19.3 trillion yen in the net value of the company’s assets for the three months through December.
In the latest sign that SoftBank is strapped for cash, its Vision Fund sold $1 billion of shares in South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang at a discount last week.
Alibaba and Tencent readying big job cuts amid China crackdown, sources tell Reuters
Alibaba and Tencent are preparing to cut tens of thousands of jobs combined this year in one of their biggest layoff rounds as the internet firms try to cope with China's sweeping regulatory crackdown, sources told Reuters.
While Alibaba is yet to specify a group-wide target for the layoffs, China's biggest e-commerce company could ultimately axe more than 15% of its total workforce, or about 39,000 staff, estimated one of the sources with knowledge of the company's plans.
Tencent, the owner of China's dominant messaging app WeChat, also plans to make employees redundant this year in some of its business units, said three separate sources with knowledge of the matter. Its unit overseeing businesses including video streaming and search will see a 10%-15% headcount cut this year, said one of the three people.
The job cuts at the two companies would be their first major layoffs since Chinese regulators launched an unprecedented campaign a year-and-a-half ago to rein in its internet giants after years of laissez-faire approach that drove growth at breakneck speed.
SoftBank-backed Bear Robotics raises $81M for waitering robot rollout
SoftBank-backed food service robot startup Bear Robotics has raised $81 million in a Series B funding round with investors that include Cleveland Avenue, a venture capital firm founded by a former McDonalds chief executive.
Other investors include South Korean private equity firm IMM and telco KT, the startup's co-founder and chief operating officer Juan Higueros told Reuters, declining to disclose the firm's latest valuation.
The California-based startup aims to expand beyond its home market and Japan and South Korea, where it has partnered with SoftBank and KT respectively, into Europe and Southeast Asia amid industry labour shortages.
The startup plans to roll out two new robots this year, one that can detect air quality on the move and another that can carry deliveries from the lobby to upper floors of a building via the elevator.
Irish watchdog fines Meta 17M euros for data breach
Ireland's data regulator said it was imposing a 17 million euro ($18.7 million) fine on Facebook parent Meta Platforms after an inquiry into 12 data breach notifications the regulator received in 2018, Reuters reported.
The country's Data Protection Commissioner said it had found that "Meta Platforms failed to have in place appropriate technical and organisational measures which would enable it to readily demonstrate the security measures that it implemented in practice to protect EU users' data".
Ireland regulates Meta and a number of other large U.S. Internet giants because their European Union headquarters are in the country.
The Data Protection Commissioner, which has a number of ongoing investigations into Meta, last year fined its WhatsApp subsidiary a record 225 million euros for failing to conform with EU data rules in 2018.
A spokesperson for Meta said that it would "carefully consider Tuesday's decision", adding that its "processes continue to evolve".
Amazon introduced metaverse-like game to train people how to use AWS
Amazon has launched an online role-playing game designed to make it easier for people to pick up cloud-computing skills, as per a CNCB report.
The game, AWS Cloud Quest: Cloud Practitioner, has users create their own avatar who moves through a virtual city, helping its denizens solve technology-related cloud issues.
Users earn points for completing Amazon Web Services simulations and puzzles that will unlock such things as new character styles, pet companions, city themes and virtual items like a hoverboard and a unicorn pool float.
Amazon said Cloud Quest was launched to help explain “core AWS services and categories,” including computing, storage, database and security services, as well as to guide the building of basic cloud solutions.
Tesla fired an employee after he posted driverless tech reviews on YouTube: Report
Tesla has fired a former Autopilot employee named John Bernal after he shared candid video reviews on his YouTube channel, AI Addict, showing how the company’s Full Self Driving Beta system worked in different locations around Silicon Valley.
Following Bernal’s dismissal, Tesla also cut off his access to the FSD Beta system in the vehicle he personally owns, a 2021 Tesla Model 3, despite having no safety “strikes” in the software, CNBC reported.
He still has FSD, Tesla’s premium driver assistance software. Tesla’s technology does not make its cars autonomous today.
Although Tesla did not put details into writing saying why he was fired, Tesla and other Silicon Valley companies often foster a culture of loyalty. Internal criticisms may be tolerated, but criticism in public is viewed as disloyal.
Tesla halts work at Shanghai factory for two days amid China COVID curbs: Notice
Electric vehicle giant Tesla is suspending production at its Shanghai factory for two days, according to a notice sent internally and to suppliers, as China tightens COVID restrictions to curb the country's latest outbreak.
The Shanghai factory runs around the clock, and suppliers and Tesla staff were told in the notice, reviewed by Reuters, that production would be suspended for Wednesday and Thursday.
Many cities across China, including Shanghai, have been rolling out strict movement controls to stem the country's largest COVID-19 outbreak in two years. The measures have also caused factory shutdowns in parts of the country, putting pressure on supply chains.
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