Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
Pristyn Care acquires health-tech platform Lybrate
Healthcare provider Pristyn Care has acquired healthtech startup Lybrate for an undisclosed amount to to foray into primary care and strengthen its delivery service.
After this acquisition, both companies would work towards combining their business operations in the coming days, the unicorn said in a statement.
“Given the increasing demand for online health services, Lybrate makes a compelling strategic fit to give access to primary care to our patients via online consultation services,” Pristyn Care Co-Founder Harsimarbir Singh said.
“We truly believe there is a significant appetite for innovation and growth in healthcare, and similar acquisitions will help consolidate, scale and grow healthcare delivery assets,” he added.
Lybrate’s 150 employees would be absorbed into Pristyn Care, the company said. Tiger Global is a common investor in both startups. Apart from Tiger Global, it also counts Ratan Tata, and Nexus Venture Partners among its investors.
Rupeek lays off 180 employees, citing subdued macro-economic environment
Gold loans startup Rupeek has laid off 10-15 percent of its team, becoming the first fintech firm to lay-off employees amid tough marco conditions. The firm which has over 1,200 employees, has laid off over 180 people.
“With deep regret, we have taken the decision to part ways with 10-15 percent of our colleagues and friends. Globally, all the emerging markets including India are facing an extraordinary situation that has been caused owing to rising inflation, a hike in US treasury rates, and the Russia-Ukraine war. The subdued macro-economic environment has compelled us to re-calibrate our strategy, relook at our costs and make our organization structure leaner, so as to support our sustenance and growth,” CEO Sumit Maniyar said in an internal email to the employees.
“We acknowledge the selfless contributions made by all the employees who are being impacted and we are committed to supporting them through this transition,” the company added.
Other Indian startups, which have recently undertaken layoffs include — edtech ventures, Unacademy, Vedantu, Lido Learning, Frontrow; gaming startup, Mobile Premier League; social commerce startup, Meesho; healthcare platform, Mfine; car retailer, Cars24 among many others.
Meesho sends legal notice to marketing company CEO over alleged smear campaign: Report
E-commerce unicorn Meesho has sent a legal notice to an influencer marketing company’s CEO who was allegedly involved in a smear campaign against the company on social media.
The cease and desist notice, which was reviewed by Moneycontrol, has asked the influencer marketing manager to reveal on whose behest he was working, take down all defamatory content posted on his instructions, and tender an unconditional apology to Meesho.
Last week, several Twitter influencers posted screenshots of WhatsApp conversations where their services were sought to disparage Meesho’s business model — and investors like Sequoia and Elevation Capital in the tweets.
Meesho said that it is also sending a legal notice to an influencer who publicly admitted to have been paid to post negative content about the company. One of the purported conversations also showed the marketing company CEO claiming that one of Meesho’s competitors was his client.
IT ministry plans to reverse content moderation decisions by Big Tech
The Central government has republished a draft that reveals the plan to form an appeals panel that can reverse content moderation decisions by Big Tech companies like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The IT Ministry republished the draft changes on its website late Monday evening, after quietly withdrawing it last week.
In republished draft changes to IT Rules 2021, the IT Ministry (MeitY) stated that the new amendment “will not impact early stage or growth stage Indian companies or startups.” This brings relief to home-grown platforms like Dailyhunt, ShareChat and Koo.
The IT Ministry is seeking public comments on the draft proposal in a 30-day time-frame. The proposed “new accountability standards” are aimed at ensuring that the “constitutional rights of Indian citizens are not contravened by any Big-tech Platform.”
Amazon India launches its 2nd edition of ML Summer School
Amazon India has launched the second edition of Machine Learning (ML) Summer School with an aim to provide students the opportunity to learn key ML technologies from Scientists at Amazon making them industry ready for careers in science.
The students would be able to gain skills on ML topics, including supervised learning, deep neural networks, sequential models, dimensionality reduction, unsupervised learning and two new modules, reinforcement learning and causal inference. Participants would also have access to Amazon Research Days (ARD) conference — an engagement program held in November every year, a statement said.
“Our aim with the ML Summer School is to equip students with necessary practical experience and prepare them for science roles ahead,” said Rajeev Rastogi, the Vice President of International Machine Learning, Amazon.
Krishi Network expands its language offerings to connect with 10M farmers
Agritech platform Krishi Network has announced that it has added six new languages — Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Punjabi and Kannada to its platform.
The expansion of the platform’s regional capabilities will help the company reduce the access barriers to information accessibility and expand its reach to Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, a statement said.
“This language addition will further ensure that millions of vernacular speaking farmers can get easy access to information and have a frictionless experience,” said Ashish Mishra, Founder and CEO, Krishi Network.
Fintech giant PayU expands its India business leadership team
PayU, a Netherlands-based payment service provider, has announced a series of appointments to its business leadership team in India including Narendra Babu as the Chief Technology Officer for the India payments business.
The company has appointed Mohit Bedi, as the Senior Vice President (SVP), to lead strategic initiatives and the bill payments business, and Vineet Sethi, as SVP to lead PayU’s Diversified Financial Services portfolio.
Meanwhile, Mohit Gopal, PayU’s current senior executive, is expected to take on a new role as Chief Operating Officer, while Sudhir Sehgal has been promoted to Chief Business Officer.
This move will steer PayU’s growth to achieve its vision of developing a full-stack digital financial services platform to serve the tapped and untapped financial needs of merchants, banks, and consumers through technology, a statement said.
Indian cyber agency flags multiple bugs in Chrome OS, Mozilla
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has flagged several bugs in Chrome OS and Mozilla products that may put various sensitive data at risk.
In a report, the agency mentioned that the bugs could allow a remote attacker to disclose sensitive information, bypass security restrictions, execute arbitrary code, perform spoofing attacks and cause a denial of service (DoS) attack on the targeted system.
“These vulnerabilities exist in Mozilla Firefox due to SQL injection in the history tab, Cross-Origin resources length leaked, Heap buffer overflow in WebGL, Browser window spoof using full-screen mode…” CERT-In said on its website.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Spare ‘documented Dreamers’ from deportation, tech giants tell Biden official
The Biden administration must protect young adults who could lose US immigration status because of processing delays for permanent residency, tech companies including Amazon and Google said.
In a letter to US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the tech companies joined with industry and lawyer associations to urge him “to establish more robust aging out policies” that would let young people remain in the United States as long as permanent residency applications were under review.
Karan Bhatia, Google vice president of government affairs and public policy, said the administration could provide a temporary reprieve by interpreting regulations more favorably.
Google also supports lawmakers’ bipartisan efforts to pass the America’s Children Act, which would provide documented Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.
Uncertainty over their children’s status has discouraged some Google employees from working in the United States, Bhatia told Reuters.
Other signatories of the letter included IBM, Salesforce.com, Twitter and Uber Technologies.
Apple announces New MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, M2 chip, iPhone software and more
Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off WWDC with a prerecorded presentation featuring executives revealing the latest versions of Apple’s software for iPhone, iPad, Mac and Watch, as per a CNBC report.
It also announced two new laptops that run on its new M2 chips.
Apple announced Apply Pay Later, a service that lets users make interest-free installments. The business, which will work over the MasterCard network wherever Apple Pay is accepted, puts Apple in direction competition with payment providers like Affirm and PayPal.
EU agrees single mobile charging port in blow to Apple
Apple will have to change the connector on iPhones sold in Europe by 2024 after EU countries and lawmakers agreed on Tuesday to a single mobile charging port for mobile phones, tablets and cameras in a world first.
The political intervention, which the European Commission said would make life easier for consumers and save them money, came after companies failed to reach a common solution, as per a Reuters report.
Brussels has been pushing for a single mobile charging port for more than a decade, prompted by complaints from iPhone and Android users about having to switch to different chargers for their devices.
“By autumn 2024, USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU,” the European Parliament said in a statement.
EU industry chief Thierry Breton said the deal would save around 250 million euros ($267 million) for consumers.
“It will also allow new technologies such as wireless charging to emerge and to mature without letting innovation become a source of market fragmentation and consumer inconvenience,” he said.
Meta names Guy Rosen as Chief Information Security Officer
Facebook parent Meta Platforms has named a company Vice-President as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), the first person to fill that role at the social media company.
Guy Rosen, who has been at Facebook since 2013 and most recently led the company’s product safety and integrity efforts, said on Twitter in his new role he “will continue to oversee and look across the breadth of safety & security risks the people who use our services, our company and industry face.”
This is the first CISO Facebook has had. Facebook was renamed Meta Platforms in October 2021 but it kept the name “Facebook” for its social media app.
Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a memo seen by Reuters that he had asked Rosen to assume the job and said the move was “another step to elevate this security work in our DNA — and strengthen our leadership and governance on security issues.”
In his expanded role, Rosen “will have overall accountability for safety and security around on-platform abuse as well as the security of our products, infrastructure and company information – focused on both internal and external risks,” Zuckerberg wrote.