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NAMA Digest: Developments at Oyo, Ola, Network 18, Truecaller, MobiKwik, Naspers and more

A quick roundup of the developments in the Indian and international digital, tech and business ecosystem.

Developments in the digital ecosystem

  • Naspers wants to invest $1 billion in India, which could see it increasing its presence in food delivery, reports Mint.
  • Former Paytm VP Sonia Dhawan was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court after being jailed since October for allegedly stealing personal data and extorting money from Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, reports The Economic Times.
  • Video content discovery platform Dailymotion has entered into a content partnership with production company Rajshri Entertainment, reports Business Standard.
  • Paytm Payments Bank has launched its own mobile app which enables balance checking, requests for debit cards, etc, reports Business World. The service claims to have 43 million savings accounts customers.
  • Oyo Rooms is in talks with several venture debt firms and private banks to raise funds to expand its Townhouse property vertical in India, reports Mint. Meanwhile, Oyo and MakeMyTrip have renewed their commercial agreement for another 5 years, per the Economic Times. The agreement would exclude Oyo’s rivals Treebo Hotels and FabHoetls from MakeMyTrip’s platforms. Oyo is reportedly charging the travel company a commission of 15-25% for the deal.
  • Network18 has reorganized its channels around three clusters: English and Business cluster, Hindi cluster, and Languages cluster, per Exchange4Media. It has hired heads for each cluster: Basant Dhawan joins as CEO of the English & Business cluster, Mayank Jain for Hindi cluster, and Karan Abhishek for the Languages cluster.
  • Nik.ai has partnered with Google Pay to provide voice-enabled transactions on a chat interface which supports multiple languages, reports Asian Age.
  • Wattpad has partnered with Times Bridge to growth its readers and writers, and to work with local partners to turn Wattpad Stories into books, TV shows, films, etc., reports Adage India.
  • Truecaller’s lending business will focus on small loans ranging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh offered across 22 cities. reports Inc42.
  • Ola Cabs is in talks with Indian car makers to procure custom-made electric and connected vehicles, which would be partially designed by Ola, reports Mint. The talks also focused on battery management systems for electric vehicles.
  • MobiKwik has partnered with ICICI Lombard to provide cyber insurance to protect against unauthorized and fraudulent online transactions for its users.

Funding & acquisitions

  • Insurance startup Acko has raised $65 million in a Series C round from Binny Bansal, RPS Ventures, and Intact Ventures, reports YourStory.
  • Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd. has invested an undisclosed amount in Machaao Inc. via its investment arm Brand Capital, reports Times of India. Machaao provides live sports updates and peer-to-peer challenges.
  • Women’s health startups &Me has raised an undisclosed amount from Matrix Partners India and Sauce.vc, reports Inc42.
  • PoS solutions provider Innoviti has raised $11.5 million in debt from Trifecta Capital and a group of NBFCs, per Inc42.
  • Oyo has acquired coworking startup Innov8 for Rs 220 crore, reports Inc42. Innov8;s founder Ritesh Malik will drive expansion under Oyo, and Innov8’s existing team will remain intact.
  • Rebel Foods (formerly known as Faasos) has raised Rs 110 crore from existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Lightbox Ventures and Evolvence India as part of its Series D1 round, reports the Economic Times.

Policy

  • The Department of Telecom has reconstituted officers assigned to operationalise some of its ambitious mobile connectivity programs such as mega BharatNet-II, Wi-Fi pilots, Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-II and Northeast. More details on the Economic Times.
  • Chinese phone manufacturer OnePlus said it hopes the Indian government will not make any policy changes detrimental to the e-commerce industry, reports The Economic Times.
  • CAIT and Swadeshi Jagran Manch have announced their boycott of Chinese goods, in display of their anger against China put on “technical hold” India’s request to blacklist Masood Azhar, head of Jaish-e-Mohammad.
  • The Cellular Operators Association of India has written to Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal asking them to stop sale of mobile signal boosters, explaining that it is illegal to sell them without a government license, reports Mint. The industry body also said that the devices cause network interference and impact quality of service.

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MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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