Every week day, Forbes India tech briefings will bring you essential tech news from around the world that has a bearing on India—covering everything from big tech to the subcontinent's growing tech startup ecosystem
Amazon Academy to wind down; Ultraviolette launches performance bike F77; Transition VC targets Rs. 400 crore first fund
Amazon will be shutting down Amazon Academy, an online learning platform it launched in India for high-school students last year, TechCrunch reports. Ultraviolette Automotive, an EV technologies company, yesterday announced the commercial launch of its first product, a high-performance motorcycle called F77, starting at an ex-showroom price of Rs. 3.8 lakh. And Transition VC plans to raise Rs. 400 crore for its first fund.
Amazon will be shutting down Amazon Academy, an online learning platform it launched in India for high school students last year, TechCrunch reports.
Amazon will wind down the edtech service in a phased manner starting August 2023. Those who signed up for the current academic batch will receive a full refund, according to TechCrunch.
India’s first roundtable on the changing dynamics between big tech and digital media starts online today, with the Digital News Publishers Association as the event host, The Hindu reports.
During the webinar, the event’s keynote speaker will be Rod Sims, an economist and former chair of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. The session will largely cover antitrust issues concerning the world’s biggest tech companies, and explore how they affect digital media professionals.
The Dialogues aim to bring together stakeholders from diverse sectors to help Indian news publishers understand how other governments have addressed the market dominance of big tech companies in their jurisdictions, according to The Hindu.
Ultraviolette Automotive, an EV technologies company in Bengaluru, yesterday announced the commercial launch of its first product, a high-performance motorcycle called F77, starting at an ex-showroom price of Rs. 3.8 lakh.
The bike is powered by an integrated 10.3 kWh Lithium-ion battery architecture in the top variant, the F77 Recon, that produces 95 Nm of peak torque and 29 kW (38.9 HP) of peak power, the startup said in a press release.
The bike offers a range of 307 km per charge under test conditions, currently the highest for any electric two-wheeler in India, according to Ultraviolette.
The bike is on offer in three colours and detailing, Airstrike, Shadow, and Laser. Deliveries of the F77 will start in January 2023, starting with Bengaluru.
Earlier this week, the company also announced that it was expanding its series D funding round to include investments from Qualcomm Ventures and Lingotto. The money will help Ultraviolette ramp up its presence in India, develop its tech further and expand into international markets, the company said in a press release.
Transition VC, an energy transition-focused venture capital firm has launched its first fund with a target corpus of Rs. 400 crore, including a green shoe option of Rs 200 crore, the firm said in a press release.
Transition VC will make seed investments in startups in sectors such as e-mobility, green hydrogen, energy storage, net zero solutions for buildings, and climate tech.
Founded last year by a group of entrepreneurs and professionals in Bengaluru, Transition VC will make investments ranging from $500,000 to $1 million to support up to 40 early-stage startups over the next three years.
Before launching Transition VC, these investors have backed startups including Charge+Zone, a charging point network provider, and Exponent Energy, which is making EV batteries.
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AWS opens Apac region in Hyderabad; UK to investigate Apple, Google browser ‘stranglehold’; Amagi acquires Streamwise
Amazon Web Services yesterday announced the launch of its second Indian data centre facility in Hyderabad, called the AWS Asia Pacific (Hyderabad) Region. The first was opened in Mumbai in 2016. Britain’s top competition authority will launch an investigation into the Apple-Google duopoly in the web browser market after many developers and businesses in the country complained of harmful restrictions imposed by the tech giants. And SaaS broadcast tech provider Amagi has acquired Streamwise, a company in the US.
Amazon Web Services yesterday announced the launch of its second Indian data centre facility, which it calls an infrastructure region, in Hyderabad.
The new data centre facility, AWS Asia Pacific (Hyderabad) Region, “is part of our long-term investment in the country since opening our first office in 2011,” Prasad Kalyanaraman, vice president of Infrastructure Services at Amazon Data Services, said in a press release.
Amazon established its first Indian data centre facility in Mumbai, in 2016.
AWS plans to invest an estimated $4.4 billion (about Rs. 36,300 crore) in India by 2030 through the new Hyderabad facility.
Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority said in a statement yesterday that it will launch an investigation into what it called the “stranglehold” that Apple and Google have on the internet browser market.
The UK’s top competition authority consulted on launching a market investigation alongside its Mobile Ecosystem Market Study report, which found that Apple and Google have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that allows them to exercise a stranglehold over operating systems, app stores and web browsers on mobile devices, according to the statement.
Responses to the consultation, which were published yesterday, reveal substantial support for a fuller investigation into the way that Apple and Google dominate the mobile browser market and how Apple restricts cloud gaming through its App Store, according to the statement.
Web developers have complained that Apple’s restrictions, combined with suggested underinvestment in its browser technology, lead to added costs and frustration as they have to deal with bugs and glitches when building web pages, and have no choice but to create bespoke mobile apps when a website might be sufficient.
Sarah Cardell, interim Chief Executive of the CMA, said in the statement: “Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google.”
“When the new Digital Markets regime is in place, it’s likely to address these sorts of issues. In the meantime, we are using our existing powers to tackle problems where we can. We plan to investigate whether the concerns we have heard are justified and if so, identify steps to improve competition and innovation in these sectors,” she added.
Amagi, a SaaS technology provider for the broadcast and connected TV businesses, has acquired Streamwise, an early-stage data aggregation and reporting platform for content distributors, the company said in a press release.
Streamwise specializes in automating and standardizing data collection for streaming platforms. The acquisition will help Amagi enhance its data solutions capabilities with comprehensive reporting and dashboards, it said in the release.
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HCL Tech launches climate change learning for employees; Pixxel’s third satellite to launch on November 26
India has released a framework to curb fake and misleading reviews on ecommerce platforms and portals offering tour and travel services, restaurants, eateries and consumer durables, TechCrunch reports. HCL Technologies is launching a climate change course to get its 220,000-strong workforce to reduce its carbon footprint. And hyperspectral imaging satellites company Pixxel plans to send its next satellite up on an ISRO PSLV later this week.
India has released a framework to curb fake and misleading reviews on e-commerce sites offering tour and travel services, restaurants, eateries and consumer durables, TechCrunch reports.
The government announced these new guidelines will come into force from November 25. The Department of Consumer Affairs has created a standard titled “IS 19000:2022” that will be managed by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
HCL Technologies has launched a Sustainability School and a climate literacy learning series, developed by Axa Climate, to raise awareness of the impact of climate change among the IT services company’s 220,000 employees.
The learning series will educate employees on how each of them can contribute to the efforts of governments, NGOs and enterprises to address the causes of climate change, the Noida-based company, India’s third biggest IT services provider, said in a press release.
Pixxel, a Bengaluru startup that is building a constellation of earth imaging satellites, expects to launch its third hyperspectral imaging satellite, named Anand, on an ISRO PSLV on November 26 from the Sriharikota Launch Complex in Andhra Pradesh.
Anand is a hyperspectral microsatellite which weighs 15 kg and has a total of 150+ wavelengths to see our planet in a lot more detail than today’s non-hyperspectral satellites with not more than 10 wavelengths, Pixxel said in a press release.
ReshaMandi, which operates a farm-to-fashion online commerce platform for natural fibres in India, has launched an app for iOS devices. Presently, 34,000 users have installed the app with 40 percent of them using the app’s payment system and receiving payment acknowledgements on the app.
The iOS app is available in five Indian languages – Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi, besides English, the Bengaluru company said in a press release.
Bonatra, a doctor-led IoMT (Internet of Medical Things) startup for men’s health issues, has raised Rs. 5.5 crore in a pre-seed round led by ITI Growth Opportunities Fund and several angel investors.
The money will be used to expand technology and product offerings, build the company’s team and grow its customer base, according to a press release.
ProcMart, a B2B procurement marketplace, has raised $10 million in series A funding, led by Sixth Sense Ventures, the company said in a press release.
ProcMart was started in 2015 by Anish Popli, a first-generation entrepreneur with experience in procurement and project management from BHEL and Energo Engineering. The company is an enterprise-focused maintenance, repair and operations aggregator with a tech-enabled digital platform. Its customers include Colgate, Mondelez, Harman, Dana, and Vedanta.
The company will use the money for international expansion, strengthening vendor partnerships and upgrading technology and warehousing capabilities.
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India releases data protection bill for feedback; Target 10,000 deep tech startups by 2030 – Nasscom
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has released a draft bill, titled ‘The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022’ for public feedback. The last date to provide feedback, via the ministry’s website, is Dec. 17. This brings India a step closer to formulating rules that will govern the individual rights of the ‘digital citizen’ and the need to process data for lawful purposes. And deep tech startups in the country need much more money at various levels to thrive, Debjani Ghosh, president of Nasscom, India’s main tech lobby, said last week.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has released a draft Bill, titled ‘The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022’ for public feedback, the ministry said in a statement last week.
The purpose of the draft Bill is to provide for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognizes both the right of individuals to protect their data and the need to process personal data for lawful purposes, according to the statement.
The feedback on the draft bill in a chapter-wise manner can be submitted at https://innovateindia.mygov.in/digital-data-protection/ by December 17, 2022.
India’s Central Depository Services Limited, or CDSL, the country’s leading central securities depository, said its systems have been compromised by malware, TechCrunch reported on Friday.
The securities depository said in a filing with India’s National Stock Exchange that it detected malware affecting “a few of its internal machines.”
“As a matter of abundant caution, the company immediately isolated the machines and disconnected itself from other constituents of the capital market,” the filing said.
CDSL said it continues to investigate the breach and that it has so far “no reason to believe that any confidential information or the investor data has been compromised” due to the incident, according to TechCrunch.
Mohit Gupta, a top executive at Zomato, who was elevated to the status of co-founder in 2020, has quit, Economic Times reports. Mohit held various positions at Zomato including being the chief executive of its food delivery unit and head of its new initiatives, according to ET.
That makes for the third top-level exit in the Mumbai-listed loss-making food delivery services provider, according to ET. Rahul Ganjoo, head of new initiatives, resigned earlier this week while Siddharth Jhawar quit the company as vice president and head of intercity legends service earlier this month.
Lenskart, the online retailer of eyewear, has raised $39.6 million in Series I funding from Chiratae, DSP Mutual Fund and Axis Growth, according to data sourced from private markets intelligence provider Tracxn.
This takes Lenskart’s total funding to $1.05 billion and post-money valuation to $4.26 billion, according to Tracxn data.
India's deep tech startups need higher levels of seed and early-stage funding to grow faster, but currently, only 11 per cent of technology-related funds reach this ecosystem, Debjani Ghosh, president of Nasscom, said on Friday, Press Trust of India reports.
Speaking at a workshop on ‘Startups and Entrepreneurship: Vision India@2047,’ Ghosh called for encouraging 10,000 deep tech startups in India by 2030.
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India rises in climate performance rankings; Meta names Sandhya Devanathan as VP for India
India ranked eighth on the annual climate change performance index, jumping two positions since last year, Carbon Copy reports. India is among the high-performing countries in the index, preceded by Denmark, Sweden, Chile, and Morocco, while the first three positions for “very high” performance remained empty, according to the report. And Meta Platforms is appointing Sandhya Devanathan – with 22 years in the industry with multinational experience from finance to gaming – as the Vice President of Meta India.
India ranked eighth on the annual climate change performance index, jumping two positions since last year, Carbon Copy reports. India is among the high-performing countries in the index, preceded by Denmark, Sweden, Chile, and Morocco, while the first three positions for “very high” performance remained empty, according to the report.
Released by Germanwatch, NewClimate Institute and Climate Action Network, the Climate Change Performance Index 2023 (CCPI), evaluated and compared the climate protection performance of 59 countries and of the European Union (EU), which together are responsible for more than 90 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The CCPI assessed countries’ performance in four categories: GHG emissions, renewable energy, energy use, and climate policy. India earned a high rating in the GHG emissions and energy use categories and a medium one for climate policy and renewable energy.
The index said that the country is on track to meet its 2030 emissions targets, compatible with a well-below-2°C scenario. However, the renewable energy pathway is not on track for the 2030 target.
Meta Platforms is appointing Sandhya Devanathan as the Vice President of Meta India. Devanthan will focus on bringing the organisation’s business and revenue priorities together and supporting the long-term growth of Meta’s business in India, the company said in a post yesterday.
Sandhya, who will move back to India, will transition to her new role on January 1, 2023, and will report to Dan Neary, Vice President, Meta APAC and will be a part of the APAC leadership team.
The traditional PC market in India, including desktops, notebooks, and workstations declined by 11.7 percent year-over-year in Q3 2022 after eight consecutive quarters of growth despite strong shipments of 3.9 million units, according to new data from the International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker.
Amadeus, the largest technology provider for the travel industry, is expanding its operations with the opening of a new Engineering and R&D centre in Pune. The launch in Pune will be Amadeus’ second R&D and engineering site after Amadeus Labs in Bengaluru, which is the second largest engineering site for Amadeus worldwide.
Gallabox, a conversational commerce platform provider, which helps Small and Medium Businesses increase their sales through WhatsApp has raised $1.2 million in seed funding. The funding was led by Prime Venture Partners with participation from 100x Entrepreneur Fund, the company said in a press release.
Founded in 2021 by Karthik Jagannathan, Yogesh Narayanan and Yathin Panchanathan, Gallabox has more than 500 paying customers including PVR, ShipRocket, Pickyourtrail, Credit Mantri, and Goireland. Its customers come from areas including D2C, Education, Health & Wellness, and Financial and Travel services in India and 20 other countries.
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Tatas to employ 60,000 at iPhone plant; SoftBank to sell partial stake in Paytm – report; Microsoft, NVIDIA team up on supercomputer
Tata group’s iPhone components factory in Hosur, near Bengaluru, is set to employ 60,000 workers, with a large proportion being women, Press Trust of India reports, citing Telecom and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. SoftBank Group is set to sell part of its 12.9 percent stake in Paytm in a transaction that will fetch the Japanese telecom and internet investor at least $200 million, Mint reports. And Microsoft and NVIDIA have teamed up to build a supercomputer to train AI models.
The biggest factory to manufacture Apple iPhones in India is coming up at Hosur near Bengaluru, which will employ around 60,000 people, Telecom and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Tuesday, Press Trust of India reports.
The minister was speaking at a ceremony that was part of India’s ongoing celebrations of tribals, the Janjatiya Gaurav Divas.
“Apple's iPhone is now getting made in India and it's the biggest plant in India, being set up at Hosur near Bengaluru. 60,000 people work in a single factory. The first 6,000 employees of these 60,000 employees are our tribal sisters from places nearby Ranchi and Hazaribagh. Tribal sisters have been trained to make Apple iPhone,” the minister said, according to the report.
Apple has outsourced the manufacturing of iPhone enclosures to Tata group, which has a plant at Hosur, where the Indian conglomerate was previously reported to be hiring 40,000 workers.
SoftBank Group will sell a third of its stake in One97 Communications Ltd, the owner of the Paytm payments app, through a $200 million block deal, Mint reports, citing deal terms it has reviewed.
SoftBank, the Japanese internet and telecom investor that owns 12.9 percent of Paytm, plans to sell 29 million shares or 4.5 percent of the fintech company on Thursday, according to Mint.
The shares are being offered to institutional investors at ₹555-601.45. At the lower end of the band, it is a 7.7 percent discount to the closing price of ₹601.3 on Wednesday. If completed, the sale will fetch SoftBank at least ₹1,628.9 crore or $200 million.
Microsoft and NVIDIA yesterday announced a multi-year collaboration to build one of the most powerful AI supercomputers in the world, combining Azure’s advanced supercomputing infrastructure and NVIDIA GPUs, networking and AI software.
These new computers will help enterprises train, deploy and scale AI, including large, state-of-the-art models, NVIDIA said in a press release.
As part of the collaboration, NVIDIA will use Azure’s scalable virtual machine instances to research and further advance generative AI, an emerging area of AI related to foundational models involving unsupervised, self-learning algorithms to create new text, code, digital images, video or audio.
Evernote, the notetaking and task management app founded over 20 years ago, whose elephant icon was familiar to millions of users, has been acquired by Milan-based app developer Bending Spoons.
In a post on Evernote’s newsroom, Evernote CEO Ian Small said that Bending Spoons will take ownership of Evernote in a transaction expected to close in early 2023, TechCrunch reports. For Evernote, the acquisition — the terms of which weren’t made public — marks the end of a roller coaster of a journey, TechCrunch notes.
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