STARTUP DIGEST: Top tales of the day

There have been a number of vital startup updates throughout the day on Monday. Here’s a wrap of all the highest tales from the startup universe.

WinZO offers full exit to Hike by way of $12 mn share buyback

Vernacular social gaming platform WinZO stated its early investor Hike has exited the corporate by way of a $12 million share buyback programme. Hike had participated within the USD 5 million series-A funding spherical in WinZO in 2019, and has acquired 4X returns inside a span of 18 months, an announcement stated.

”This exit transaction, which has acquired a nod from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), noticed WinZO buyback Hike’s share for $12 million, making it one of many largest buyback transactions by an early stage start-up within the Indian start-up ecosystem,” it added. The growth comes after WinZO has raised $13 million capital from its current investors- Stephan Pagliuca, Makers Fund, and Courtside Venture, it stated. These buyers had led the $18 million series-B fundraise in WinZO in September final yr. With this, the corporate has raised a complete of $38 million.

Earlier this yr, Hike had introduced shutting down its major messaging enterprise and launched a conflicting gaming app Rush, just like WinZO.

Post the series-B spherical, WinZO had waived off the non-compete for Hike, alongside withdrawing entry to the board and the corporate, it stated. Hike’s been given an entire exit from WinZO. As founders, we’re tremendous satisfied and humbled to have a Board that’s extraordinarily bullish, and fully aligned with the audacious objectives now we have set for ourselves. They had immensely supported the corporate by way of the method, Paavan Nanda, co-founder of WinZO, stated.

Swiggy declares a 4-day week for the month of May

As the second wave of the coronavirus ravages India, Food tech unicorn Swiggy has introduced a 4-day work week for workers for the month of May.

In an electronic mail to staff, Girish Menon, Head of HR at Swiggy, wrote, “In these unprecedented times, understanding that the success of any company is intrinsically linked to the well being (both physical and mental) of its employees, Swiggy has decided to move to a 4-day work week for the month of May 2021.”

“As a mark of respect for the efforts and the month that May can be with the Covid cases escalating, we want to offer a 4 day work week to all of you. Please decide the 4 days that each of you would work and utilize the extra day to take rest, take care of yourself, take care of your family and friends. As many of you are aware, we have put together a Covid task force and we can definitely do more with more hands on the deck. Hence, if any of you would like to volunteer and actively help on the break day, you’re welcome,” Menon stated.

Under its Covid-19 efforts to assist staff financially, the corporate may even give wage advances, depart encashment and entry to loans.

Last week, the corporate stated it’s going to reimburse any lack of revenue attributable to residence isolation or quarantine and can totally cowl all hospitalization bills of supply companions, staff and their households.

Ethereum breaks previous $3,000 to quadruple in worth in 2021

Cryptocurrency ether broke previous $3,000 on Monday to set a brand new report excessive in a stunning rally that has outshone the larger bitcoin, with buyers betting that ether will probably be of ever larger use in a decentralised future monetary system.

Ether , the token transacted on the ethereum blockchain, rose 3% on the Bitstamp alternate to $3,144.81 in morning offers in London. It is up 325% for the yr to date, simply outpacing a 95% rise within the extra widespread bitcoin, Reuters reported.

In half, the large rally is a catch-up to late 2020 features in bitcoin, stated James Quinn, managing director at Q9 Capital, a Hong Kong cryptocurrency non-public wealth supervisor.

It additionally displays enhancements to the ethereum blockchain, he stated, and a rising shift in the direction of “DeFi”, or decentralised finance, which refers to transactions exterior conventional banking for which the ethereum blockchain is a vital platform.

“At first, the rally was really led by bitcoin because as a lot of the institutional investors came into the space, that would be their natural first port of call,” Quinn stated.

“But as the rally has matured over the last six months, you have DeFi and a lot of DeFi is built on ethereum.”

The launch of ether exchange-traded funds in Canada and surging demand for ether wallets to transact non-fungible tokens comparable to digital artwork have additionally pushed up the value.

The ether/bitcoin cross charge has soared greater than 100% this yr and hit a 2.5-year excessive on Sunday, pointing to a level of rotation into the second-biggest cryptocurrency as buyers diversify their publicity.

“Surging DeFi volumes continue to push ethereum prices higher as investors gain confidence in crypto and see ethereum as a safe second-place asset,” stated Jehan Chu, managing companion at Hong Kong blockchain enterprise capital agency Kenetic Capital.

Illustrating the momentum for such new transactions, Bloomberg reported final week that the European Investment Bank plans on issuing a digital bond over the Ethereum blockchain, whereas JP Morgan plans a managed bitcoin fund.

Venture capital big Andreessen Horowitz is seeking to elevate a brand new fund of as a lot as $1 billion to put money into cryptocurrencies and crypto start-ups, the Financial Times reported on Friday, underlining curiosity within the sector.

Bitcoin , the world’s largest crypto asset with greater than $1 trillion in market capitalisation, regained the $50,000 mark final week and hovered round $58,700 on Monday, up about 4% however properly beneath its report excessive at $64,895.22.

Sandeep Singhal, Co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners – investor in Unacademy, Postman, Delhivery and Druva – steps down: Report

Nexus Venture Partners, an investor in a few of India’s hottest unicorn startups comparable to Unacademy, Postman, Delhivery and Druva is seeing a co-founder and one among India’s earliest startup buyers depart the agency, signaling a change of guard for one of many nation’s largest startup buyers, as per Moneycontrol.

Sandeep Singhal, co-founder and managing companion of the agency is stepping down from his function and won’t be concerned with the agency’s $500 million sixth enterprise fund it’s presently raising- or any future funds, Moneycontrol stated quoting sources.

Fifty-eight-year-old Singhal began the agency in 2006 with Suvir Sujan and Silicon Valley-based Naren Gupta, and has helped make it one among India’s largest homegrown enterprise capital corporations, managing over $1.2 billion.

Singhal’s resolution to step down has been communicated to his companions and Nexus’ Limited Partners- the folks and establishments which have invested in Nexus through the years. His current portfolio may even be redistributed for different buyers to handle. Singhal might turn into an influence investor, becoming a member of a agency or investing by himself.

His investments embrace Eka Software, physician session agency Lybrate and meals evaluation agency Intello Labs amongst others. His exits embrace Netmagic Solutions’ sale to Japan’s NTT for about $120 million and Shell’s funding in photo voltaic agency d.gentle. Notably, Singhal hasn’t made many recent investments the previous couple of years and has spent extra time managing his current portfolio and in co-leading the agency.

Nexus didn’t reply to detailed queries from Moneycontrol in search of remark.

Digital Dollar Project to launch 5 US central financial institution digital forex pilots

The U.S. nonprofit Digital Dollar Project stated on Monday it’s going to launch 5 pilot packages over the subsequent 12 months to check the potential makes use of of a U.S. central financial institution digital forex, the primary effort of its type within the United States.
The private-sector pilots initially will probably be funded by Accenture and contain monetary corporations, retailers and NGOs, amongst others. The intention is to generate information that might assist U.S. policymakers develop a digital greenback, Reuters reported.

A partnership between Accenture and the Digital Dollar Foundation, the Digital Dollar Project was created final yr to advertise analysis right into a U.S. central financial institution digital forex (CBDC).

CBDCs are the digital equal of banknotes and cash, giving holders a direct digital declare on the central financial institution and permitting them to make immediate digital funds.

While debit playing cards or fee apps are a type of digital money, these transactions are created by industrial banks primarily based on cash central banks credit score to these banks’ accounts. They will not be totally government-backed, can take days to settle, and infrequently incur charges. Cryptocurrencies, in the meantime, are managed by non-public actors.

Central banks world wide, together with in China and Europe, are revving up CBDC tasks to fend off threats from cryptocurrencies and enhance fee techniques.

As guardian of the world’s most generally used forex, the U.S. Federal Reserve is transferring extra cautiously. It is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to construct a expertise platform for a hypothetical digital greenback, however chair Jerome Powell stated final week that it’s “far more important” to get a digital greenback proper than it’s to be quick.

The pilot packages, three of which can launch within the subsequent two months, will complement the Fed’s MIT mission by producing information on the purposeful, sociological, enterprise makes use of, advantages and different sides, of a digital greenback. The information is because of be launched publicly.

Accenture has labored on a variety of CBDC tasks together with in Canada, Singapore and France.

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