ED issues show cause notice to Byju’s for alleged FEMA violations
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday confirmed that it issued a show-cause notice to Byju’s, alleging Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations amounting to Rs 9,000 crore. CEuroJournal-TV18 has reported about this earlier.
“ED had initiated investigation on the basis of various complaints regarding the foreign investment received by the company viz. M/s Think and Learn Private Limited and the business conduct of the company. The company was also stated to have made significant foreign remittances outside India and investments abroad which were allegedly in contravention of provisions of FEMA, 1999 and caused loss of revenue to the Government of India,” the central agency said in a statement.
The notice extends to Byju Raveendran, founder of Byju’s, and Think and Learn Pvt Ltd. The ED’s action follows an investigation into potential FEMA contraventions by the prominent edtech company.
Meanwhile, Byju’s had denied the report. The company has said in a statement, “BYJU’S unequivocally denies media reports that insinuate it has received a notice from the Enforcement Department. The company has not received any such communication from the Enforcement Department.”
Bizongo acquires Better Capital-backed FactoryPlus
Vendor digitisation startup Bizongo has acquired FactoryPlus, a factory digitization app for MSME factories. Bizongo plans to integrate FactoryPlus’ mobile-first SaaS capabilities like factory inventory management, real time raw material prices, news feed, and digital catalogs among others, a statement said.
hrough this acquisition, the company will offer local manufacturers an AI powered raw material procurement solution, which will enable them to source raw materials from the best vendors at the least possible costs. Further, Bizongo will also facilitate embedded financing on the go to help manufacturers combat delays in raw material procurement and supply chain challenges arising from blocked working capital.
Vatsal Rustagi, Sparsh Koyarala, and Bikash Dash from FactoryPlus along with their team will be joining Bizongo.
Scapia secures $23 million from Elevation, Binny Bansal’s 3State
Travel focused fintech startup Scapia has received $23 million in its Series-A funding round led by Elevation Capital and 3STATE Ventures.
The round also saw participation from its existing investors, Matrix Partners India and Tanglin Venture Partners. Within five months of launch, Scapia claims to have distributed its card across 7500 pin codes.
With the new capital, Scapia said it will continue to grow its customer base, add more banking partners and further strengthen its product suite, ensuring more travellers enjoy seamless, rewarding experiences.
Kiwi bags Rs 108 crore in funding round led by Omidyar Network India
Fintech company Kiwi has raised $13 million (about Rs 108 crore) in a funding round led by Omidyar Network India. Existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Stellaris Venture Partners also participated in this round
The fundraise will enable Kiwi to further expand its ‘credit cards on UPI’ offerings in India. Currently, Kiwi has issued 25,000 credit cards and aims to on-board 5 lakh customers byend of 2024. It has partnered with Axis Bank and plans to collaborate with two large banks in the next six months, according to a statement.
“We started a few months back and looking at the positive response we have received in the last six months of our existence, this fresh round of financing comes at a critical juncture in our business. The funds will enable us to further develop our services and offer innovative products to our customers as we enter the next phase of product development and growth,” said Anup Agrawal, co-founder and CEO of Kiwi.
Vama raises $1.5 million in seed round from Wavemaker Partners and others
Vama.app, a platform for temple-related services, has bagged $1.1 million in a seed funding round led by Wavemaker Partners. Existing investors such as Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, and Harit Nagpal including, Blume Founders Fund, Alluvium, Untitled VC, as well as notable angels such as Burak Buyukdemir and Dhruv Bahl, also participated in the funding round.
The freshly raised funds will be used by the startup to acquire talent, bolster product development, and improve its technology, with a vision to further expand its user base, a statement said.
VAMA.app is gearing towards a more extensive integration of temple-related services alongside scaling its astrology vertical. It plans to introduce new products and services to significantly enhance user experiences in the coming year.
Hanto gets Rs 15 crore in seed funding round
Hanto, a managed commercial real estate solutions provider, has secured Rs 15 crore in seed funding led by Anurag Jain (Founder, KredX) and other angel investors in a mix of equity and debt to fund growth and expansion across India.
The firm operates nearly 70 offices (floors) across Bangalore currently and counts CRED, Capillary, Chaipoint, JK Technologies, among others as its clients. As per the company, 80 percent of Hanto’s revenues come from large enterprises and 20 percent from retail clients.
Hanto aims to expand its operations to other metros and tier 2 cities in the next 5 years and plans to grow its revenue to over 700 crore by 2028.
SeaFund invests in 5 deeptech startups as part of it sustainability thrust
Early stage focused Seafund Ventures has invested Rs 5 crore across 5 sustainability focused startups — Redwings, Docker Vision, Swapp Design, Simatricals and Evhicle.
The fund further plans to invest 20 percent of its entire investible corpus in Clean Energy and the EV value chain including sectors like Transportation, Logistics and Circular Economy.
Seafund is currently raising its second fund with a target corpus of Rs 250 crore. The VC intends to invest a larger amount in one or more of these startups as they scale and meet their performance milestones and show growth — in consonance with its fund philosophy of deploying more than 50 percent of its corpus in follow-on rounds.
India Accelerator partners with Hatcher to nurture promising startups
India Accelerator has partnered with venture capital firm Hatcher+ to discover and nurture promising startups, harnessing the latter’s AI-driven ‘Funds as a Service Technology’ (FAAST) platform.
Leveraging India Accelerator’s network of over 200 start-ups and 1,800 mentor-investor lineup and Hatcher+’s technology, the collaboration aims to catapult start-ups in sectors such as fintech, health tech, agritech, impact, B2B SaaS, D2C as well as sports, media and entertainment to newer heights over the next three years, a statement said.
“India has built a strong and fast-paced entrepreneurial ecosystem, giving rise to 110 unicorn startups and $99+ Bn combined funds acquisition. Though the Indian startup ecosystem continues to remain lucrative, there is still a mismatch between the valuation expectations of founders and investors – creating a push-and-pull effect in the market. We are delighted to partner with Hatcher+ which will go beyond traditional VC operations and focus on the scalability of the Indian startup ecosystem,” said Ashish Bhatia, Founder & CEO of India Accelerator.
TVS Capital Funds appoints Ramesh Iyer as board member
Rupee capital private equity (PE) firm TVS Capital Funds has appointed Ramesh Iyer as a member of its board of directors.
Iyer is the vice-chairman and MD of Mahindra Finance and his primary responsibility has been to promote inclusive growth and rural prosperity.
“Financial services is a sector we have a deep presence in and this sector focus has helped us generate attractive alpha for our client partners. Ramesh’s deep insights into the financial services space will further help us deepen our investing in the sector,” said opal Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, TVS Capital Funds.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Satya Nadella says governance needs to change at OpenAI
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told CEuroJournal that there is a pressing need for a governance overhaul at OpenAI following the sudden removal of CEO Sam Altman. Nadella stressed the necessity of changes in OpenAI’s governance structure, signalling that Microsoft intends to engage in a constructive dialogue with the OpenAI board regarding these modifications.
“At this point, I think it’s very clear that something has to change around the governance,” Nadella told CEuroJournal. He added that Microsoft would have “a good dialogue with their board on that.”
While dispelling concerns about potential long-term damage to OpenAI, Nadella assured that the crucial artificial intelligence research and the partnership with Microsoft would persist. However, uncertainties remain about the future roles of ousted CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman, who served as the company’s chairman.
OpenAI appoints new boss as Sam Altman joins Microsoft
OpenAI named ex-Twitch boss Emmett Shear as interim CEO, while outgoing chief Sam Altman moved to backer Microsoft, in a surprise turn of events that clouded the future of the startup at the heart of the artificial intelligence boom.
The appointments followed Altman’s abrupt ousting just days earlier as CEO of the ChatGPT maker and ended speculation that he could return.
Close to all of OpenAI’s more than 700 employees threatened to quit in a letter demanding the resignation of the board and reinstatement of Altman and former President Greg Brockman, according to a copy viewed by EuroJournal and a person familiar with the matter. The document was signed by employees including OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, the board member who fired Altman.
EU antitrust regulators raid online food delivery companies
EU regulators have raided several online food delivery companies in two EU countries on concerns that they may have breached EU rules against cartels, with the focus also on their no poach agreements.
The European Commission, which did not name the companies nor the EU countries, said the ongoing dawn raids were conducted in the context of those made in July last year.
“The scope of the investigation, initially including alleged market allocations, has now been extended to cover additional conduct in the form of alleged no-poach agreements and exchanges of commercially sensitive information,” the EU competition watchdog said in a statement.
US seeks more than $4 billion from Binance to end criminal case: Report
The U.S. Justice Department is seeking more than $4 billion from Binance Holdings as part of a proposed resolution of a years-long investigation, EuroJournal News reported.
Negotiations between the Justice Department and Binance include the possibility that the cryptocurrency exchange’s founder, Changpeng Zhao, would face criminal charges in the United States, the report said.
Any resolution is likely to play a crucial role in investor sentiment toward crypto, which has taken a hit over a wave of government investigations and charges against firms and individuals in the industry, including the recent fraud conviction of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
Discord, Snap and X CEOs subpoenaed to testify at US hearing on child exploitation
The CEOs of Discord, Snap and X, formerly known as Twitter, were issued subpoenas to compel them to testify at a December 6 hearing on online child sexual exploitation, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee said.
The committee said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew are expected to voluntarily testify at a future hearing but it is not clear when.
The committee said Discord and X, owned by Elon Musk, refused to cooperate by accepting service of the subpoenas on behalf of their CEOs, “requiring the committee to enlist the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service to personally serve the subpoenas.” The committee released copies of the subpoenas served to Snap’s Evan Spiegel, Discord’s Jason Citron and X’s Linda Yaccarino.