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

Developments in the digital ecosystem

  • Oyo will pump in $200 million in its India and South Asia business to focus on expansion and customer experience, the company said in a statement. It has also launched Collection O hotels category. Oyo claims that 93% of its current sales are from repeat or word of mouth customers.
  • Facebook has launched Facebook Hubs, a program where startups will be mentored, trained etc across 20 locations in 9 cities – Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Navi Mumbai and Goa – in partnership with 91springboard, the company said in a statement.
  • T-Series and YouTuber PewdiePie are head to head once again when it comes to subscriber count. For interested readers, there’s even a live YouTube video dedicated to it.
  • Twitter has launched its prototype ‘twttr’ app which bundles old Twitter’s features, and new ones like different colours for replies etc. TechCrunch does a first look.
  • PayU is likely to acquire Wibmo, an online payment processing company, for $50-60 million, reports the Economic Times.
  • Quikr will acquire Zefo, a used goods marketplace, for Rs 200 crore in an all stock deal, reports the Economic Times, citing sources. Zefo will continue to operate independently post acquisition.
  • Kolkata headquartered Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Limited aka MSTC, a government owned ecommerce company, is planning to go the IPO route and raise Rs 226 crore in the process, reports BloombergQuint.
  • Amazon Prime Channels, a section on Amazon Prime Video where users can subscribe to TV channels, may launch in India, reports The Hindu Business Line. This service is available in the US, UK and Japan where users can watch HBO, CBS etc. Amazon did not specify a timeline, nor did it mention the channels that would be available.
  • Walt Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox will result in 300-400 job losses in India, reports the Economic Times.

Funding and moves

  • Moglix, a B2B marketplace, has raised $23 million from Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy in his personal capacity, reports the Financial Express.
  • Aibono has raised pre-Series A funding worth $2.5 million led by Menterra Venture Advisors, with participation from Milliways Venture, Artha Ventures, Rebright Partners and 3one4 capital, reports the Economic Times.
  • AgroStar has raised Series C funds worth $27 million led by Bertelsmann India and existing investors Chirate Ventures and Aavishkar Bharat Fund, reports the Economic Times. It will use the funds to scale operations and its tech platform.
  • Whatfix has raised Series B equity financing worth Rs 92 crore from Eight Roads Ventures, F Prime Capital and Cisco Investments, with participation from existing investors Stellaris Venture Partners and Helion Venture Partners, reports the Economic Times. It will use the funding for expansion and research and development.
  • Uber has roped in Taj Alavi as its global head of marketing communications, reports PRweek. Alavi will also be a senior director. She was previously the head of Instagram’s brand team, which launched Stories and IGTV.
  • YouTube has hired Lori Conkling to head global partnerships for YouTube TV and Google Fiber, reports Variety.
  • HT Media’s COO Ashu Phakey has resigned from the company after working there for 6 years, reports Exchange4Media. Phakey will work with the FMCG industry after this.

Policy

  • The Indian government is keen on attracting $100 billion in FDI over the next 2 years, reports the Economic Times.
  • Swiggy has made changes to its articles of association to avoid giving control to Uber Eats investors. It has done this to prevent Swiggy investors from getting a board seat in Uber or Uber entities, reports Mint.
  • Facebook is lobbying EU politicians to give it “more explicit control” over private messaging data by suggesting blocks to laws which oppose this, reports Business Insider. Facebook said that these laws would hurt its business model.
  • News Corp has said that Google should be broken up in Australia because of its ‘overwhelming market power in both online search and ad tech services’, reports the Economic Times. News Corp said that Google abused this dominant position.
  • Uber will dole out $20 million in a California lawsuit which challenged its classification of drivers as independent contractors and not employees, reports the Economic Times. Uber got away without paying for drivers’ employee benefits due to this classification.
  • A government review by Britain says that it needs to re-look at its competition rules to properly audit the dominance of companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, reports Reuters. Interestingly, the review also recommended that smaller companies should get access to data that social media companies have.