In Brief: Baidu, Weibo banned in India; Byju’s, Razorpay, ShareChat to raise capital

In Brief: Baidu, Weibo banned in India; Byju’s, Razorpay, ShareChat to raise capital
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4 Aug, 2020

Chinese search engine company Baidu and microblogging site Weibo have been blocked in India, according to a Times of India report, citing sources. The two apps have been asked to be taken off from the app stores of Google and Apple, while internet service providers (IPSs) have also been told to block them, the report added. The Indian government reportedly banned 47 apps of Chinese origin late July, in addition to the 59 banned late June. Unlike the first, the second decision was not made public.

Bolo Indya secures $300,000 Series A funding

Homegrown short video platform provider Bolo Indya on Tuesday said it has raised $300,000 in a series A round of funding from new investors in Eagle10 Ventures, India Accelerator and others. It has totally raised a sum of $500,000 in the funding round. The Gurugram based startup will use the fresh capital to develop its personalization and recommendation technology engine, develop language evangelists, hire and further product development, according to a statement. Currently, it claims to have over 40 lakh monthly active users on the vernacular platform.

Byju’s to raise $400 mn from DST Global

Homegrown edtech major Byju’s is in advanced talks to raise $400 million from Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s venture capital firm DST Global, multiple media reports said citing sources. The deal, at company valuation to $10.5 billion, is likely to be signed as early as the next few days, a Bloomberg report said on Monday. The deal would make Byju’s India’s second-most valuable startup after Alibaba Group Holding-backed financial payments brand Paytm, the report added.

Razorpay out to raise capital

Payments startup Razorpay is in talks to raise new capital at a valuation of over $600 million, a jump of over 50% since its previous fund-raise a year ago, according to a Times of India report citing sources. Existing investor Sequoia Capital India has held talks to co-lead the $60-$80 million round, the report added.

ShareChat to raise $200 mn

Vernacular social media platform provider ShareChat is in preliminary talks to raise $200 million from Sequoia Capital and other unnamed investors, a Reuters report said on Tuesday, citing sources. The deal could value the Bengaluru-based startup at over $1 billion, the report said, adding that the fresh capital will be used to grow its video app further, bring more content creators to its platform and raise its marketing spend.

ICICI, Yes Bank asks BharatPe to quit branding deposits feature with the bank names

ICICI Bank and Yes Bank have asked digital payments and lending platform provider BharatPe to stop using their names to collect deposits from merchants under its ‘interest income’ feature owing to risk management concerns, an Economic Times report said citing sources. The deposit feature allows merchants accepting digital payments using the Quick Response code stickers of BharatPe to lock their money with the company for interest returns of up to 12%, the report added.

Tech Mahindra launches ‘Mhealthy’ solution for safety against Covid-19

Information technology services firm Tech Mahindra on Monday said it has launched a Covid-19 screening solution for workforces and communities alike for safety against the pandemic’s outbreak. The digital diagnostics solution, Tech Mahindra said, enables screening of the individuals at the workplace on a regular interval to check for risk factors of Covid-19, such as comorbid conditions, immunity status, and biomarkers of infection. The initiative will kick start with a three-day screening campaign for over 4,500 Press Club of India (PCI) members at PCI premises, according to a statement.

Facebook launches official music videos feature in India

Social media giant Facebook on Saturday said it launched a new feature to its Facebook Watch offering in India. The feature will let users watch official music videos across genres. The platform has on boarded content from domestic music label companies such as T-Series Music, Zee Music Company, and Yash Raj Films, according to a statement. The feature is currently only available in India, Thailand, and the United States.

Vernacular.ai partners with Axis Bank for voice-enabled customer service

Software as a service (SaaS) startup Vernacular.ai, which offers multilingual artificial intelligence artificial intelligence-based (AI) voice automation services, on Tuesday said it has partnered with Axis Bank to launch AXAA, an AI-enabled multilingual voice bot to resolve customer queries. AXAA can converse in English, Hindi and Hinglish, and is capable of handling one lakh customer queries and requests per day, the statement added.