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    Startup Digest: Paytm Mall says data 'safe' after report of cyber breach; PriceLabs raises $30M; ChattyBao bags over $5M seed round & Jack Ma plans to cede control of Ant Group

    Startup Digest: Paytm Mall says data 'safe' after report of cyber breach; PriceLabs raises $30M; ChattyBao bags over $5M seed round & Jack Ma plans to cede control of Ant Group

    Startup Digest: Paytm Mall says data 'safe' after report of cyber breach; PriceLabs raises $30M; ChattyBao bags over $5M seed round & Jack Ma plans to cede control of Ant Group
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    By Aishwarya Anand   IST (Published)

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    Here's a quick wrap of all the startup stories that matter.

    Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
    Paytm Mall says data 'safe' after report of cyber breach affecting 3.4M users
    After cyber-security company Firefox Monitor claimed that Paytm suffered a massive data breach two years back that may have exposed data of over 3.4 million users, the digital payments leader said that the data of its users is "completely safe".
    In a statement to IANS, a Paytm Mall spokesperson said that the data of "our users is completely safe" and "claims related to data leak in the year 2020 are completely false and unsubstantiated".
    "A fake dump uploaded on the platform haveibeenpwned.com appears to wrongly alert of a data breach on Firefox browser. We are getting in touch with Firefox and the platform to resolve the matter," the company spokesperson added.
    According to Firefox Monitor, a security tracker by popular web browser Mozilla, Paytm was breached on August 30, 2020. "Once the breach was discovered and verified, it was added to our database on July 26, 2022," it said.
    According to the report, the data compromised included phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, genders, geographic locations, income levels, names and purchases of the nearly 3.4 million users.
    PriceLabs raises $30M from Summit Partners
    PriceLabs, a provider of dynamic pricing and revenue management solutions for the short-term rental industry, has raised $30 million minority growth investment from Summit Partners.
    This funding will support PriceLabs in building leading revenue management solutions and fuel global team growth, a statement said.
    “Pricing can be the single biggest growth lever when running any business, particularly in the hospitality space, where most businesses still use archaic methods and static pricing that can leave anywhere from 10-40 percent of revenue on the table. We purpose-built PriceLabs from the ground up to serve the needs of short-term rental operators, offering an easy-to-use and highly configurable solution that allows operators to combine our AI and algorithms with their own unique knowledge of the local market and property,” said Richie Khandelwal, Co-founder, PriceLabs.
    ChattyBao raises over $5M seed round from Info Edge Ventures and Vertex Ventures
    ChattyBao, a shopping platform built on WhatsApp has raised over $5M as part of its seed funding round co-led by Vertex Ventures South East Asia & India and Info Edge Ventures.
    The round also saw participation from 7Square Ventures and other marquee angel investors.
    “The entrepreneurial spirit of local businesses in India has always helped them survive and fight competition from larger players. ChattyBao will significantly enhance their ability to provide an e-commerce experience to their users, helping them compete effectively with online players.” said Kumar Aditya, Co-founder at ChattyBao.
    General Catalyst, Better Capital lead Rs 9.5 Cr seed round in GetSupp
    GetSupp, an AI-driven nutrition and food supplements marketplace, has raised Rs 9.5 crores in seed funding round led by General Catalyst and Better Capital.
    Angel investors including Saurabh Garg (Founder, NoBroker), Ankit Nagori (Founder, Curefoods), Kunal Shah (Founder, Cred), Rohit Kapoor (Global CMO, Oyo), Mohit Sud (VP Marketing, Unilever), We Founders Circle and others, also participated in the round.
    The firm will use the fresh capital to strengthen its technology across the value chain. It would partner with major brands in the nutrition space to provide best options to all customers, a statement said.
    The Nestery raises over Rs 6 crore from Inflection Point Ventures
    Contextual e-commerce platform, The Nestery has secured over Rs 6 crore in a Pre-Series A funding round led by Inflection Point Ventures.
    The startup intends to use the fresh capital for expanding the team, technology enhancement, and generating original content.
    With 400+ brands, the company focuses on the "Play, Learn, Read, and Create" categories for child's development and to engage them meaningfully.
    The Nestery has community of more than 100,000 parents.
    Propsoch gets undisclosed investment in angel funding
    Proptech startup Propsoch has raised an undisclosed angel funding from Godrej Properties’ chief and Bhaskar Bhat, former managing director at Titan Company.
    The company plans to use the fresh funding for brand building, key hires and scaling up technology.
    “We are currently tracking close to 1.5 lakh homes in Bengaluru on 200+ data points related to the location, accessibility, design, pricing, legal and approval. Mohit, Bhaskar and other investors will help Propsoch deliver on its mission and gain a significant Market share in the $1 billion transaction advisory business,” said Ashish Acharya, Founder, Propsoch.
    Rural India with 351M users pips urban centres in Internet usage: IAMAI-Kantar Report
    Rural population is now driving Internet growth in India as urban India appears to have hit a plateau, a new report showed. There are 692 million active Internet users in India, and much of the growth continues to be driven by rural India (351 million users with 37 percent).
    The urban centres now have 341 million users with 69 percent penetration, according to the report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and data and analytics company Kantar.
    However, around 762 million Indians have not adopted the Internet yet, out of which 63 percent are rural Indians. "Difficulty to understand the Internet" continues to be the primary deterrent along with lack of awareness, especially in rural India, the report mentioned.
    According to it, nearly 346 million Indians are engaged in actual online transactions such as e-commerce and digital payments, a number which is greater than the total US population estimated at 331 million.
    The global pandemic witnessed a record 51 percent increase in digital transactions in just two years from 230 million in 2019 in India.
    The penetration of OTT services in rural India is at par with that in urban India, however, the penetration of other digital services such as online gaming, digital commerce and digital payments is still skewed in favour of urban users.
    BluSmart receives VERRA accreditation on carbon emission
    Ride-sharing company BluSmart to secure carbon credit accreditation with its electric vehicles fleet. The firm has announced that it has got registered under the Verified Carbon Standard program by Verra, a global nonprofit standard-setter.
    Verra is an international carbon accounting and certification system and widely used to certify carbon offsetting activities. BluSmart has used United Nation approved carbon methodology “Emission reductions by electric and hybrid vehicles” for carbon certification.
    All the fleet of BluSmart will generate certified positive climate impacts and will receive the carbon credits for 10 years.
    The company said that it aims to expand its operations to major metros of India in near future. Recently BluSmart has partnered with a leading OEM of India for 10,000 EVs.
    Millennials aged between 20-29 most exposed to job scams: Hirect Report
    Millennials aged between 20-29 are the most exposed to job scams, as per a report by Hirect, a chat-based direct hiring platform. It revealed that 56 percent of the people reported scams during their job hunt process.
    Shedding light on the hiring patter, the report said 43.5 percent of the survey respondents have claimed it takes around one week to hire from receipt of an application to an offer letter.
    AS many as 37.4 percent of the companies reported that it takes them around 2 weeks (8 to 15 days) to make a new hire; whereas 10.7 percent of the companies are capable of filling a vacant role within 4 weeks (16-30 days), while 8.4 percent of the companies take somewhere between 30-60 days to fill a position, it added.
    Meanwhile, Tier 1 cities are predominantly hiring for both technical and non-technical positions. Specifically, the non-technical positions that are in demand in Mumbai include Sales & BD, Marketing, Operations, and Finance.
    Fable Fintech partners with Muthoot Finserve to create One Muthoot Platform
    Fable Fintech, a SaaS banking infrastructure company for cross-border corporate, trade, and forex transactions, has partnered with non-banking financial services (NBFC) company Muthoot Group to create One Muthoot Platform.
    Fable’s technology platform would power Muthoot Group’s US-India corridor of cross-border payments venture—a newly launched outward remittance platform.
    MoneyApp and MyShubhLife partner to provide loans to creators
    Early-stage fintech startup MoneyyApp has partnered with financial services platform MyShubhLife to provide capital access to digital creators.
    “Our vision is to serve Millions of Creators/Solopreneur users via our platform, starting with 25K loans worth $100M. We are confident that our partnership with MyShubhLife will help us get to our vision faster and closer,” said Fayyaz Hussain, Co-Founder and CEO of MoneyyApp.
    The loans extended by the startup could be used for building studios, purchasing hardware for shoots, software subscriptions for editing videos, and building teams, a statement said.
    LenDenClub introduces an investment plan offering expected returns of 10 to 12% pa
    P2P Lending platform, LenDenClub has 'Fixed Maturity Peer-to-Peer Plan' (FMPP), a new-age, term-based P2P plan that enables investors with expected returns of 10-12 percent p.a. for a minimum of Rs 10,000 per investment.
    “FMPP is a pioneering, customer-first investment offering in this era of low FD rates and volatile stock-market conditions. It has a completely new algorithm for capital allocation. It has been under development and testing for the past 18 months and it is finally live. LenDenClub’s FMPP investment plan is truly an ‘alternative investment avenue’ for all classes of investors, whether retail or HNI,” said Bhavin Patel, Co-founder and CEO of LenDenClub.
    While the minimum investment is Rs 10,000 per investment, the structure of the plan enables investors to open multiple FMPP accounts with the total portfolio value not exceeding 5 million which is in line as per guidelines set by RBI. Auto investment and portfolio optimisation offered through an enhanced app experience makes FMPP an indispensable investment option for smart investors, a statement said.
    The company aims to onboard 1 million investors and clock-in an AUM of Rs 10 billion from FMPP by the end of FY23.
    GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
    Billionaire Jack Ma plans to cede control of China's Ant Group: WSJ
    Chinese billionaire Jack Ma plans to give up control of financial technology company Ant Group Co in an effort to move away from affiliate Alibaba Group Holding, the Wall Street Journal reported.
    While Ma only owns a 10 percent stake in Ant, he exercises control over the company through related entities, according to Ant's IPO prospectus. The Journal said he could cede control by transferring some of his voting power to Ant officials including Chief Executive Eric Jing, citing unnamed sources.
    The Wall Street Journal report said that Ant had informed officials of Ma's intention as the firm prepares to become a financial holding company, regulated by China's central bank.
    Twitter accepts October 17 trial but is concerned Musk will try to delay
    Twitter does not object to a proposal by Elon Musk to start on October 17 a trial over Musk's bid to walk away from his $44 billion acquisition deal but the social media company wants a commitment to complete the trial in five days, Twitter said in a court filing seen by Reuters.
    Musk has said he needs time to complete a thorough investigation of what he says is Twitter's misrepresentation of fake accounts, which he said breached their deal terms.
    He originally sought a February trial, but on Tuesday proposed an October 17 trial after a judge ruled the proceeding was to start in three months.
    Twitter has called the fake accounts a distraction and pushed for the trial to hold Musk to the deal to start as soon as possible, arguing that delay damages its business. It said in its court filing that Musk has offered no assurance a trial would be completed in five days, as ordered by the judge, Kathaleen. McCormick of the Delaware Court of Chancery.
    Meta posts first-ever revenue drop as inflation throttles ad sales
    Meta Platforms issued a gloomy forecast after recording its first ever quarterly drop in revenue, with recession fears and competitive pressures weighing on its digital ads sales.
    The company said it expects third-quarter revenue to fall to $26 billion and $28.5 billion, which would make it a second year-over-year drop in a row.
    Analysts were expecting $30.52 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
    Total revenue, which consists almost entirely of ad sales, fell 1 percent to $28.8 billion in the second quarter ended June 30, from $29.1 billion last year. The figure slightly missed Wall Street's projections of $28.9 billion, according to Refinitiv.
    Monthly active users on flagship social network Facebook came in slightly under analyst expectations at 2.93 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 1 percent year over year, while daily active users handily beat estimates at 1.97 billion.
    Russia fines WhatsApp, others over data storage violations: Agencies
    A Russian court on Thursday fined WhatsApp messenger, Snapchat owner Snap and other foreign firms for their alleged refusal to store the data of Russian users domestically, news agencies reported.
    Moscow has clashed with Big Tech over content, censorship, data and local representation in disputes that have escalated since Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on February 24.
    Moscow's Tagansky District Court fined WhatsApp 18 million roubles ($301,255), Tinder owner Match Group 2 million roubles and Snap and Hotels.com, owned by Expedia Group, 1 million roubles, news agencies reported. WhatsApp was fined for the same offence last August.
    The RIA news agency quoted a lawyer for Hotels.com as saying that the company did not recognise the charge as an offence, adding that the company had stopped processing any data of users from Russia since April 1.
    Top model Bella Hadid joins metaverse with NFT collection
    US supermodel Bella Hadid has stepped from the catwalk into the metaverse with the launch of CY-B3LLA — a collection of Non-Fungible Tokens featuring artwork based on 3-D scans of her face and body.
    Hadid told Reuters in an interview from New York that she was intrigued by shared virtual world environments and that she wanted to make "cool versions" of herself after becoming obsessed with video games during the COVID-19 lockdown.
    Earlier, she said on her Instagram account that she had created the NFTs to "encourage travel, community, growth, fantasy and human interactions".
    "It was super fun," Hadid said of the process, saying the end results really have her "exact facial expressions".
    Her collection comprises 11,111 NFTs and they were made in collaboration with the NFT minting platform reBASE. Inspiration for the CY-B3LLA NFTs came from 10 different countries, with input from local artists.
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