Week 6, 2022

This week highlighted many of the achievements of the tech industry as well as those of technopreneurs. From ShareChat acquiring TakaTak to 14 new unicorns added to the Indian tech start-up ecosystem in Q4 2021 – all these showed the momentum and success stories. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 series get a mixed reaction from the fans and followers.

‘Cryptocurrency not legalized yet’

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in Parliament on Friday, February 11, that the government has not done anything to legalize or ban cryptocurrencies at this stage. “We have only taxed the profit emanating from the transactions,” she has been quoted in media.

Ms. Sitharaman stated, “The government has sovereign right to tax profit made from cryptocurrency transactions, and the decision on banning or not banning will be taken based on feedback from consultations. I’m not doing anything to legalize or ban cryptocurrencies at this stage. We have only taxed the profit emanating from the transactions.”

In 2021, the Government of India had formed a committee led by Lok Sabha member and former junior minister for finance Jayant Sinha. This Committee had invited India’s top crypto exchanges, members of the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), and analysts for the discussion.

14 new Indian tech unicorns in Q4 2021

More than USD 7 billion was raised by Indian start-ups during the fourth quarter of 2021, which was 18 percent higher than the previous sequential quarter, according to a report by NASSCOM and Praxis Global revealed that fintech and retail tech were the top sector in Q4 CY21 (calendar year 2021) cornering almost 46 percent of the total funding.

As many as 14 new unicorns were added to the Indian tech start-up ecosystem in Q4 2021. Fintech and retail technologies were the two top sectors that attracted 46 percent of the total funding.

In the last two quarters of the calendar year 2021, Indian start-ups raised more than $6billion each in funding, the report noted. Interestingly the deal sizes also have gone up with enterprise technology start-ups remaining the most active. The NASSCOM-Praxis joint report noted that 23 deals were of ticket size greater than $100 million compared to 14 in the third quarter of CY21.

 The Economic Survey released last week indicated that “India has 3rd largest start-up ecosystem after US and China”. The Survey also indicated that a record 44 Indian start-ups bagged unicorn status in 2021, taking the total count of unicorns in the country to 83 and that India had emerged as the third highest country in a number of unicorns after the US and China. Overall macroeconomic stability indicators also suggested that the economy was well placed to take on the challenges of 2022-23. Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, around 75 start-ups have registered under the space technology category in the Startup India portal.

The Forbes 30under30 list for 2022 was out this week, and of the 30, there were many technopreneurs who made it to the list. These young entrepreneurs have disrupted several industries, bringing many innovative solutions. Read about these exceptional technopreneurs here.

ShareChat to acquire TakaTak for $700 million 

The deal will see MX Media, the parent firm of MX TakaTak, and its shareholders become strategic shareholders in ShareChat parent Mohalla Tech in a cash-and-equity deal worth around $900 million, according to TechCrunch. Reuters reported a deal value of roughly $700 million.

TikTok had become a big part of everyone’s life in India till the government of India banned it in 2020. This ban was one of the hundreds of Chinese apps banned, including PUBG mobile games. The number of TikTok users in India was estimated to be up to 119 million, creating ample opportunities for influencers to make a sizeable income from the platform. It was estimated that banning the App had caused an income loss of about ₹120 crores each year for the top 100 influencers. 

Many home-grown apps emerged to fill in the gap and take advantage of the space. Moj (founded in June 2020), Josh from India’s local news apps Dailyhunt, Roposo. MX TakaTak, Chingari are few those took the lead. Though these Apps are yet to match the popularity TikTok enjoyed. Nonetheless, daily active users spend close to 30 minutes on average on the apps.

Indian short-video apps have become popular since New Delhi banned ByteDance’s TikTok and some other Chinese apps in 2020 following an India-China border clash. After TikTok was banned, ShareChat’s parent entity, Mohalla Tech, launched a similar short-video sharing app named Moj, which has over time garnered 160 million users and counts Meta Platforms Inc’s Instagram Reels as its key rival.

In a cash-and-stock deal, ShareChat’s parent entity will acquire MX’s short-video platform called TakaTak, the sources familiar with the discussion said.

The deal, valued at around $700 million, could be announced within days, said one of the sources. Reuters is first to announce the two sides have reached a deal.

Who wants to be in Shiba Lands?

Screenshot from Shiba Inu Tweet

Shiba Inu has announced that it is foraying into Metaverse. The blog mentions that the biggest Metaverse platforms that it would opt for introducing virtual real estate are Sandbox and Decentraland.

We understand the potential, expandability, and performing evolution that this type of Metaverse option brings to the community.
We are happy to announce and proudly introduce Shiba Lands! These “lands” found inside our Metaverse will be available for purchase/auction really soon, and it will be our first step towards allowing the community to jump into the Metaverse prior to its full release.

YouTube: All set for Web 3 and NFT

In a blog ‘A Look at 2022: Community, Collaboration, and Commerce’ Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer, YouTube, talked about new products, tools, and features for the creators, viewers, and partners.

He wrote about the emerging technologies and what YouTube can offer to its creators:  

Web3 also opens up new opportunities for creators. We believe new technologies like blockchain and NFTs can allow creators to build deeper relationships with their fans. Together, they’ll be able to collaborate on new projects and make money in ways not previously possible. For example, giving a verifiable way for fans to own unique videos, photos, art, and even experiences from their favorite creators could be a compelling prospect for creators and their audiences. There’s a lot to consider in making sure we approach these new technologies responsibly, but we think there’s incredible potential as well.

Android 13 to focus on privacy

In a blog, Dave Burke, VP of Engineering writes that Android will continue with some important themes: privacy and security, as well as developer productivity. This was the first developer preview of Android 13.

The features that the latest version is:

A system photo picker– a standard and optimized way for users to share both local and cloud-based photos securely.

Android’s long-standing document picker allows a user to share specific documents of any type with an app, without that app needing permission to view all media files on the device. The photo picker extends this capability with a dedicated experience for picking photos and videos. Apps can use the photo picker APIs to access shared photos and videos without needing permission to view all media files on the device. We plan to bring the photo picker experience to more Android users through Google Play system updates, as part of a MediaProvider module update for devices 

Nearby device permission for Wi-Fi – Android 13 introduces the NEARBY_WIFI_DEVICES runtime permission (part of the NEARBY_DEVICES permission group) for apps that manage a device’s connections to nearby access points over Wi-Fi.

The new permission will be required for apps that call many commonly-used Wi-Fi APIs, and enables apps to discover and connect to nearby devices over Wi-Fi without needing location permission. Previously, the location permission requirements were a challenge for apps that needed to connect to nearby Wi-Fi devices but didn’t actually need the device location. Apps targeting Android 13 will be now able to request the NEARBY_WIFI_DEVICES permission with the “neverForLocation” flag instead, which should help promote a privacy-friendly app design while reducing friction for developers

Infosys Named the Fastest-Growing IT Services Brand in the World

Infosys announced this week that it has been recognized as the fastest-growing IT services brand, by Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation firm, in its Global 500 2022 report. The brand valuation records a quantum leap in brand growth for Infosys, marked by a 52% increase in its brand value year on year, and over 80% since 2020, positioning it among the top 3 most valuable IT services brands globally.

Salil Parekh, Chief Executive Officer, Infosys, said:

Our clients have rapidly scaled their digital adoption in the last two years and have reposed tremendous trust and confidence in our ability to help them transform. Our employees have responded with extraordinary efforts that take advantage of our differentiated digital and cloud capabilities to speed up and scale innovations that help our clients remain competitive in a changing economic and business environment. This has triggered a virtuous cycle that has firmly consolidated Infosys’ brand position as the industry’s preferred digital transformation partner.

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S22 series

Samsung announced the Galaxy S22 series this week – the Samsung Galaxy S22 series comprising the Galaxy S22, S22+ and the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Three new tablets with the Tab S8 series, including the Tab S8, Tab S8+ and Tab S8 Ultra were also unveiled.

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