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    Startup Digest: Zomato reports 42.7% hike in food revenue, Layoffs at DeHaat: Report, Tartan raises $4.5 million

    Startup Digest: Zomato reports 42.7% hike in food revenue, Layoffs at DeHaat: Report, Tartan raises $4.5 million

    Startup Digest: Zomato reports 42.7% hike in food revenue, Layoffs at DeHaat: Report, Tartan raises $4.5 million
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    By Aishwarya Anand   IST (Updated)

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    Here are the top headlines from the startup space.

    Zomato reports 42.7% increase in food revenue citing a rise in orders
    Food delivery aggregator Zomato has reported an 18 percent increase in revenue quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to Rs 1,800 crore, and a 56 percent as compared to the year-ago period.
    Its food delivery business was the biggest driver of this growth, accounting for Rs 1,430 crore for the quarter under review. In its quarterly earnings report, Zomato reported Rs 6,430 crore in Gross Order Value as against Rs 4,540 crore in the year-ago period.
    On the next quarter, CEO Deepinder Goyal said, "...monthly transacting customers are likely to drive larger growth in our view. If you compare Q1FY23 with Q1FY22, average monthly transacting customers have increased by 36 percent."
    He added, "Growth in monthly transacting customers will be a function of higher repeat rate of the existing customer base of Zomato (50+ million annual transacting customers in FY22) and new customer addition which remains robust," he added.
    Zomato moving to multiple-CEO structure: Report
    Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal has mooted a new identity and mission for the food delivery company, even as its stock witnessed massive sell-off pressure last week, Moneycontrol reported.
    Goyal's note, posted on the company's Slack channel, was written last week after shareholders approved its acquisition of Blinkit, a grocery delivery startup that was previously called Grofers.
    "Now that the Zomato Blinkit deal is approved, we have three companies- Zomato, Blinkit, and Hyperpure - in the order of business size/impact. In addition to these three, we also have Feeding India. We are now at a stage of life where we are maturing from running (more or less) a single business to running multiple large companies," Goyal wrote in the message, which Moneycontrol has viewed.
    "We are transitioning from a company where I was the CEO to a place where we will have multiple CEOs running each of our businesses, all acting as peers to each other, and working as a super team with each other towards building a single large and seamless organisation. Starting today, we are going to call this larger organisation 'Eternal'," he added.
    Goyal explained that Eternal is a mission statement in itself, as it means forever, something that will last for more than just a few lifetimes.
    Layoffs at agritech startup DeHaat: Report
    Agritech startup DeHaat has become the latest startup to resort to layoffs. A source told Moneycontrol that 500 people were sacked, a number disputed by founder and CEO Shashank Kumar.
    In a virtual interaction with Moneycontrol on August 1, Kumar confirmed that the company had let go of people but the number of employees affected was not in the triple digits.
    "The number of layoffs is incorrect. It (layoffs) was more of a corrective measure around performances and due to culture misfit but the number is definitely not in three digits,” he said.
    According to the company, it has an employee count of over 2,000. Kumar said in the last 14 to 15 months the company recruited more than 1,200 to 1,300 people.
    Tartan gets $4.5 million in Pre-Series A round from 500 Global, InfoEdge Ventures and others
    Fintech startup Tartan has raised $4.5 million in its Pre-Series A round of funding led by 500 Global, InfoEdge Ventures, Naval Ravikant-backed AngelList Quant Fund, WorldQuant Ventures, Varanium GenNext Fund, 9Unicorns, Yatra Angel Network, Emphasis Ventures (EMVC) and Naveen Kukreja.
    The fresh capital will be utilised to scale the company’s go-to-market operations, expand its in-house engineering team and further enhance its product offering, the firm said in a statement.
    Tartan offers a data API suite through which financial institutions can access their consumers’ payroll data with their consent to verify their income and employment status better. It claims to cover more than 20 Mn white collared employees and gig workers in India, while its API requests have reached 150,000 per month.
    Combonation secures $2 million in Pre-Seed round from unknown investors
    Combonation, an e-commerce platform that offers combo deals, has secured $2 million in a Pre-Seed funding round led by an undisclosed group of private investors.
    The company will use the funds for the expansion of technology and hiring. Additionally, the firm is also looking to roll out over 50 offline retail stores across Delhi NCR in the next six months. It has a plan to expand to more than 100 locations in Northern India, a statement said.
    We Founder Circle leads $100,000 seed round in EVIFY
    EVIFY, an EV logistics startup has raised $100,000 in a seed funding round led by We Founder Circle. The round also witnessed participation from angel investors like Gaurav Singhvi, Gaurav Juneja, Saurabh Agarwal, Rajeev Goel, and others.
    As per the company, the fresh capital will be primarily used for the expansion of operations, and team building. A part of the freshly raised investment will also be directed towards technological development, it added. The startup has signed deals with several large players, such as Hero Electric, BigBasket, and Swiggy.
    "We are focused on setting our strong foot in Surat and developing our SOPs for expansion in the coming months in multiple cities which includes Vadodara, Ahmedabad, and Rajkot," said EVIFY's co-founder and CMO, Pragya Mittal. The startup plans to have a fleet of 2000 vehicles by the end of March 2023.
    Bebe Burp raises undisclosed capital from angel investors
    Surat-based baby food company Bebe Burp has raised an undisclosed amount in a new round of funding from investors such as Priyam Patel of Tirupati Oil, Lalpit Gandhi of Vadilal Group, Prashant Sanghavi of Ratnamani Metals and Tubes, Anish Mehta of Aadi Infrastructure and others.
    The latest round takes the firm’s total funding to $375,000. In March 2022, the startup had raised $280,000 from investors such as Lead Angels, Lets Venture, and 100X.VC.
    The fresh capital will be used for business development, fresh marketing strategies to boost sales and expand the customer base. It will also use the funds for research and development to expand the product line and onboard fresh talent, a statement said.
    PhonePe alleges mass burning of QR codes by Paytm employees: Report
    Digital payments giant PhonePe has approached police authorities against employees of competitor Paytm, alleging that some officials burnt PhonePe's QR codes.
    The incident is said to have taken place in Greater Noida and the company has approached Surajpur Lakhnawali police station, said a PhonePe spokesperson told Moneycontrol.
    Walmart-owned PhonePe has lodged the complaint based on a video of a pile of its QR codes being set ablaze. The spokesperson added that it was able to identify three employees of Softbank-backed Paytm in the video, including a Paytm Area Sales Manager (ASM). One of the three identified is a former PhonePe employee.
    In response to detailed queries by Moneycontrol, a Paytm spokesperson said, "This matter is between Phonepe and its ex-employees. We condemn the act committed by these rogue employees, who have already been suspended from the company pending a detailed investigation."
    "We do not tolerate any act of misconduct and always stand by the highest standards of work ethics. Paytm has been the pioneer of QR code payments in the country and takes great pride in significantly contributing to the growth of India’s digital ecosystem," the spokesperson added.
    Moneycontrol reviewed a copy of the complaint letter filed against the three Paytm employees dated July 29. The letter alleges that the act was carried out in order to cause harm to the reputation and business of PhonePe.
    Garuda Aerospace gets first ever loan for drones from AIF
    The Agri Infra Fund (AIF) has sanctioned the first ever drone loan for a Kisan drone manufactured by Garuda Aerospace. "Garuda Aerospace has already pre-booked over 2500 drones and firmly is on the path to manufacture 1 Lakh Made in India Kisan Drones by 2024," said Agnishwar Jayaprakash, founder and CEO of Garuda Aerospace.
    After receiving the loan, the beneficiary Ram Kumar, one of the 25 drone service providers, said, "Kisan drones cover 25 acres per day for precision spraying operations, save pesticide usage by 70 percent, save water usage by 80 percent and I’m generating Rs 1 lakh a month in revenue."
    The Agri Infra Fund, announced in May 2020, has a plan of disbursing Rs 1 lakh crore in loans across the agricultural infrastructure ecosystem.
    EVeium partners with Reliance General Insurance
    EVeium, a two-wheeler EV brand, has announced its partnership with Reliance General Insurance. Following the deal, Reliance General Insurance will exclusively provide motor insurance to all EVeium customers.
    "The electric 2-wheelers penetration in India is expected to rise from 2 percent in FY21 to 10-15 percent by FY26. With such projections and growing demand, we see a great scope for us to be an enabler in the space,” said Anand Singhi, chief distribution officer of Reliance General Insurance.
    The brand has been on an aggressive launch spree, announcing three electric scooters within a month- Czar, Comet, and Cosmo. The firm aims to manufacture at least 40,000 units in the first phase of the plant launch. The company is also aggressively working to create the charging and battery swapping infrastructure aligned with the Indian government’s vision to achieve EV Transformation in the country.
    Data analytics, Java, Cloud, the most-wanted digital skills in June quarter: Quess Corp Report
    Data analytics, Java technologies, cloud infra technologies, full-stack technologies, and UI/UX were the digital skills that were most in demand during the April-June quarter, according to a Quess Corp report.
    The report highlighted that the top 5 tech skills in demand were application development, testing technologies, data analytics, Java technologies and Dot Net technologies. The demand was primarily seen in Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad, it added.
    "While there are seeming headwinds in the tech hiring market, certain skills continue to be high in demand such as Full Stack roles and Data Analytics roles.
    As organizations continue in their digital and cloud transformation journeys, we are witnessing a hiring uptick in the same. Startup hiring is in moderation, however, on the other hand, India continues to see growth in captives, particularly in tech & R&D," said Vijay Sivaram, CEO, Quess IT Staffing.
    GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
    China grants licences to 136 online games
    China's gaming regulator has granted publishing licences to 136 online games, including titles belonging to developers such as G-bits Network Technology Xiamen and iDreamSky, Reuters reported.
    Titles belonging to tech companies Tencent and NetEase were not on the approved list published by the National Press and Public Administration.
    US SEC charges 11 individuals in $300 million crypto pyramid scheme
    The Securities and Exchange Commission said it has charged 11 people for their roles in creating and promoting a fraudulent crypto pyramid and Ponzi scheme that raised over $300 million from retail investors worldwide, including in the United States.
    As per a Reuters report, those charged included the four founders of the scheme named Forsage. They were last known to be living in Russia, the Republic of Georgia, and Indonesia, the SEC said in a statement.
    According to the SEC's complaint, the scheme's website was launched in January 2020 and allowed millions of retail investors to enter into transactions via smart contracts. It allegedly operated as a pyramid scheme for more than two years, in which investors earned profits by recruiting others into the scheme, the SEC said.
    Forsage also allegedly used assets from new investors to pay earlier investors in a typical Ponzi structure, the SEC complaint added.
    Elon Musk files countersuit under seal vs Twitter over $44 billion deal
    Elon Musk countersued Twitter, escalating his legal fight against the social media company over his bid to walk away from the $44 billion purchase, although the lawsuit was filed confidentially.
    While the 164-page document was not publicly available, under court rules a redacted version could soon be made public. Musk's lawsuit was filed hours after Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick of the Delaware Court of Chancery ordered a five-day trial beginning October 17 to determine if Musk can walk away from the deal.
    Musk was sued by a Twitter shareholder who asked the court to order the billionaire to close the deal, find that he breached his fiduciary duty to Twitter shareholders, and award damages for losses he caused.
    Musk owes a fiduciary duty to Twitter's shareholders because of his 9.6 percent stake in the company and because the takeover agreement gives him a veto of many of the company's decisions, according to the lawsuit, which seeks class status. The lawsuit was filed by Luigi Crispo, who owns 5,500 Twitter shares, in the Court of Chancery.
    Insignia Ventures raises $516 million, bets on Southeast Asian tech firms
    Insignia Ventures Partners has raised $516 million for its latest funds as the Southeast Asia-focused early-stage tech venture fund doubles down on the region's digital economy, Reuters reported.
    "We could have raised a much higher amount but we have learned that smaller, tighter funds do better," Insignia's founding managing partner Yinglan Tan said.
    The fundraising includes $388 million for Insignia's third fund, $28 million for an entrepreneurs' pool that invests alongside the main fund, and an Annex Fund I at $100 million, said the five-year-old firm that has backed more than 70 companies.
    Kenyan ministers rally around Meta's Facebook after watchdog's ultimatum
    Kenya has no intention of shutting down Facebook, which is owned by Meta, its ICT minister said after the national cohesion watchdog gave the platform seven days to comply with rules on hate speech or face suspension.
    The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) on Friday accused Facebook of contravening Kenya's constitution and laws for failing to tackle hate speech and incitement on the platform ahead of the August 9 national elections.
    "We do not have a plan to shut down any of these platforms," Joe Mucheru, the minister for information, communication, and technology, told Reuters. "Press freedom is one we cherish, whether it is (traditional) media or social media."
    His statement echoed that of the interior minister, Fred Matiangi, who accused the NCIC of making haphazard decisions over the weekend, and vowed that the platform will not be shut down.
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