Hike in fund-raising talks with WeChat parent Tencent; ed-tech firm GreyCampus raises $1 mn

Messenger app Hike is in talks with Tencent Holdings to raise funds while ed-tech firm GreyCampus has raised $1 million in angel funding. Meanwhile, online jewellery retailer Bluestone is in talks with venture capital firm Iron Pillar to raise about Rs 200 crore.

Hike in talks with WeChat parent Tencent Holdings to raise funding

hike23Messaging app Hike Ltd is in talks with Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd to raise at least $100 million in funding, Mint has reported quoting two unidentified people familiar with the matter. Hike's existing investors Tiger Global Management and Bharti SoftBank are likely to participate in the round. Tencent runs WeChat messaging app, but the app has not found too many takers in India. In January this year, Hike had raised undisclosed amount of funding from investors led by Quora founder Adam D'Angelo and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. Hike is seen by Tencent as the local app that can best compete with Facebook Inc.-owned WhatsApp.

Bluestone in talks with VC firm Iron Pillar for fourth round of funding

Ratan Tata-backed online jewellery retailer Bluestone is in talks with venture capital firm Iron Pillar to raise about Rs 200 crore (around $30 million) in a fourth round of funding, according to a report in Mint. Existing investors Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital and IvyCap Ventures will also participate, it said, quoting two unnamed people familiar with the development. Bluestone had raised $15.8 million in a Series C round last July, from IvyCap Ventures, Accel Partners, Dragoneer Investment Group, Kalaari Capital and Saama Capital. Iron Pillar had participated in a $200 million funding round in Snapdeal in February, its first investment in India.

PayU rolls out PoS devices

Online payment services firm PayU India has ventured into the hardware devices market launching its own point-of-sale (POS) machines as the number of debit/credit card transactions grow in the country, according to a report in Mint. PayU expects the new segment to generate revenue of about $50 million in the next 24 months and aims to sell a million POS machines in the next three years. It also plans to sell these POS machines in other markets such as Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America by the end of the current financial year. Currently, PayU's POS machines are made in China and the company hopes to manufacture them in India after reaching a certain scale. There are about 1.2 million POS machines in India, with about 0.7 million small and medium merchants having access to these machines.

Meanwhile, other payments players such as Paytm, Mobikwik and Freecharge are trying to replicate physical transactions with mobile wallets and QR (quick response) codes.

Hyderabad-based ed-tech firm GreyCampus raises $1 mn in angel funding

GreyCampus, operated by GreyCampus Edutech Pvt. Ltd, has secured $1 million in angel funding from Sarath Sura, co-founder of Sierra Atlantic, according to a report by Deal Street Asia. The funds will be used for digital marketing, technology enhancement, course development and hiring. The firm is also in the process of raising a pre-Series A round of funding to take its operations abroad. The firm was seed funded by Sura in 2014. The firm provides certification training for working professionals in project management, big data, data science, service and quality management.

Uber applies for licence to operate in Karnataka

UberUber has applied for a licence to operate in Karnataka under the new rules governing app-based cab aggregators, even as its appeal against the new rules is pending before the Karnataka High Court, according to a report in Business Standard. Uber, which has several run-ins with the Karnataka government, had alleged that the state rules were unconstitutional. The taxi aggregator has had trouble with the local government in several places around the world.

Homegrown rival Ola has already filed for such a licence in Karnataka. The Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules-2016 requires aggregators to obtain licences to operate cabs and taxis, comply with the cap on fares prescribed by the government and end surge pricing.

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