There aren’t many happy executives at Meta India.
As part of the recent round of job cuts at the company announced in March, Amrita Mukherjee, Director – Legal of the Facebook parent’s India operations, has been reportedly laid off.
Her exit followed that of Avinash Pant, Director of Marketing, and Saket Jha Saurabh, Director and Head of Media Partnerships, as the company aims to cut 10,000 roles across business and operation units.
That’s not all. With global markets largely trending red, Amazon has now reportedly postponed the joining dates of several IIT and IIM hires. This follows the company’s announcement in March of slashing 9,000 jobs, primarily affecting people experience and technology teams, AWS, Twitch, and advertising.
On a brighter note, online travel aggregator ixigo recorded a nearly 5X growth in operating revenue from the pre-pandemic levels, generating over Rs 500 crore. As the company waits for the tides to turn for its Rs 1,600 crore-IPO, it is now targeting a 40% jump in revenues in the current fiscal.
In other news, the electricity bill of Finnish citizens…is negative. Even as Europe struggles with an energy crisis, Finland reported its spot energy prices slipping below zero, driven by an unexpected glut of renewable energy.
There can’t be a better upside to going green!
In today’s newsletter, we will talk about
- QED Investors close $925M fund
- Data cloud co Snowflake acquires Neeva
- Gupshup to add UPI to feature phones
Here’s your trivia for today: What was the late rock ‘n’ roll singer Tina Turner’s real name?
QED Investors close $925M fund
Indian fintech firms are likely to see a notable flow of capital from the latest $925-million fund closed by US-based QED Investors. The development comes at a time when the disclosed funding value of VC deals in India fell 77.8% YoY to $2.7 billion in the first four months of 2023, according to GlobalData.
- The fintech-focused global VC recently announced an “oversubscribed” $650 million early-stage fund and a $275 million growth-stage fund.
- While QED Investors remains neutral on geographies and would back fintech firms based on merit, it is looking to deploy a significant share in the Asian market, particularly Southeast Asia (SEA) and India.
- It is looking to place bets on startups in lending (including lending for B2B and SMEs), B2B payments, and insurance.
Data cloud co Snowflake acquires Neeva
Data cloud company Snowflake acquired Neeva, a search startup founded by former Google employees, in an undisclosed deal. The acquisition enables Snowflake to gain access to advanced search technologies, allowing it to elevate the search and conversation capabilities within its platform, said Benoit Dageville, Co-founder and President of Products at Snowflake.
- The development comes a few days after Neeva said it would shut down and “shift to a new area of focus”. As part of the acquisition, individuals from Neeva’s leadership and other team members will join Snowflake.
- Neeva, which offers an ad-free, private search engine, was founded by Sridhar Ramaswamy (former SVP of Ads at Google) and Vivek Raghunathan (former VP of Monetisation at YouTube).
- The search startup has developed a unique search experience that uses generative AI and other innovative technologies, enabling users to explore and uncover data in new ways.
Gupshup to add UPI to feature phones
Gupshup has partnered with Nokia (HMD Global) to pre-load its UPI payments app, GSPay, on the latter’s feature phones. With GSPay, the startup claims to be the first to develop a native payment app for feature phones (non-smartphones) that uses SMS messaging to allow UPI payments without a data plan or internet connectivity.
In one click:
- The conversational engagement platform has leveraged UPI 123 Pay—an instant payment system launched by RBI and NPCI last year, allowing users of feature phones to make payments without internet connectivity.
- For now, the new app is preloaded on Nokia 105 (2023) and Nokia 106 4G feature phones.
- Gupshup’s GSPay won NPCI’s Grand Challenge in 2020, beating 750 innovators globally who submitted ideas and solutions towards a payment system for feature phones in India.
News & updates
- Downslide: Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, entered a recession as high inflation dented household spending. Its GDP fell 0.3% in January-March 2023—the second consecutive quarter as the economy shrunk 0.5% in the last three months of 2022.
- Race to the top: Nvidia’s stock surged 23% at the start of trading on Thursday, putting the company on course to become the first chipmaker with a market cap of $1 trillion. In its Q4 results, Nvidia claimed to be the only company to meet the demand for computing power in building generative AI systems.
- Repercussions: The new owner of Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) US operations, First Citizens, is cutting around 500 roles held by former SVB workers. First Citizens CEO Frank Holding said in an email, the cuts will affect “select SVB corporate functions and do not include any personnel in client-facing positions.”
What you should watch out for
- Naukri.com parent Info Edge to announce Q4 FY23 results.
- Chennai will host the second edition of the India International EV Show.
What was the late rock ‘n’ roll singer Tina Turner’s real name?
Answer: Anna Mae Bullock. She debuted as Tina Turner in 1960 with the hit duet single “A Fool in Love” featuring Ike Turner.
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