July 17, 2024

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Unlimited Technology

Nykaa gets IPO ready; FRHAI opposes OYO IPO; PhonePe withdraws suit against BharatPe, to file fresh case



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Nykaa set to launch Rs 5,352-crore IPO on Oct 28, says strong response from investors

Online marketplace for beauty and wellness products Nykaa is all set to launch its Rs 5,352-crore initial public offering (IPO) on October 28. Nykaa has fixed the price band of Rs 1,085-1,125 for its IPO.

Ahead of launching its IPO, Founder Falguni Nayar said Nykaa is witnessing a strong response from foreign as well as domestic institutional investors. The company’s revenue grew at a CAGR of 48.3 percent in the last three years.

The company representatives said that they wanted to list company as it is the best way to allow investors to enter and exit stock.

The D2C major said it’s looking to grow as a House of Brands and is eyeing expansion in Middle East, UK and Europe.

The three-day Nykaa IPO will conclude on November 1, according to the company’s draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) approved by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Nykaa shares are expected to list on November 11 on the BSE and the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

The beauty and fashion marketplace plans to use the proceeds from the IPO for expansion, by setting up new retail stores and establishing new warehouses.

FHRAI asks SEBI to reject Oyo’s DRHP and suspend IPO 

The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has sent a letter to market regulator SEBI, asking it to suspend hospitality startup Oyo’s IPO process.

FHRAI says Oravel, the parent company of Oyo, has been involved in “unfair, anti-competitive and fraudulent dealings and business practices, which include entering into anti-competitive agreements as well as abusing its dominant position,” as per the letter, a copy of which CNBC TV 18 has seen.

Oyo on October 1 filed its DRHP with SEBI for raising Rs 8,430 crore through an IPO. Oyo did not comment till the time of filing this story.

This comes days after Zostel sent a letter to SEBI claiming that that Oyo’s DRHP is “illegal” since it is in contravention of SEBI (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018.”

Apart from alleging that Oyo is engaged in “anti-competitive business practices,” FHRAI also said there was a lack of disclosure of litigation and criminal proceedings against the company in the draft prospectus.

Livspace forms JV with Alsulaiman Group; invests $50 mn in Middle East

Omnichannel home interior platform Livspace has formed a joint venture (JV) with Alsulaiman Group (ASG) to expand into the Middle East region.

With its maiden joint venture with ASG, Ikea’s operating partner in the region, Livspace will aim to capitalise on the vast opportunities in the home interiors and renovation segment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Both Livspace and ASG have invested about $50 million to fuel regional growth, and the JV further plans on strengthening the team by investing in top talent across levels while also aiming to reach 500 design and execution partners in the region by 2022, the companies said.

Livspace is looking to expand across 80 new cities globally, starting with the APAC geography over the next 18-24 months.

”We are launching in KSA initially and will be looking to capitalise on the massive opportunity in the home interiors and renovation segment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the next 24 months,” Livspace Founder and CEO Anuj Srivastava said.

The JV will be fully operational by the first half of 2022, Srivastava added.

Livspace,  which has raised funds from Kharis Capital, Bessemer Ventures, and others, brings homeowners, design professionals, vendors, and brands together on a single tech-led platform.

PhonePe withdraws suit against BharatPe’s BNPL product PostPe; to file fresh case

Flipkart-owned PhonePe has withdrawn a petition it had filed against BharatPe over the use of the ‘Pe’ suffix in the latter’s newly-launched ‘buy now pay later’ product, ‘PostPe.’

In a statement, PhonePe said it had approached the Bombay High Court for an injunction to restrain Resilient Innovations, the operator of BharatPe, from misusing PhonePe’s registered trademarks.

The statement added that the court, during the hearing, said the PostPe mark adopted by Resilient Innovations is so phonetically, structurally and visually similar to the PhonePe mark that the court thought PostPe/postpe is a natural evolution of the word PhonePe and emanated from PhonePe.

“However, to address certain observations made by the court in the pleadings filed by PhonePe, the suit was withdrawn with liberty to file a fresh suit challenging the adoption of mark PostPe/postpe by Resilient Innovations,” PhonePe said.

The Court granted PhonePe permission to file a fresh suit.

Meanwhile, BharatPe released a statement saying, “By withdrawing the suit before the Bombay High Court, PhonePe has given up its claim for exclusivity over the word “PE” by consent. We were rather surprised by the statements made by spokespersons of PhonePe on Friday [October 22] on the outcome of Friday’s proceedings in the Bombay High Court, which did not reflect the correct outcome of the Friday’s proceedings in Court.”

“We will bring such misconduct by PhonePe to the attention of the Bombay High Court as well. We are happy that BharatPe’s stand is again vindicated regarding its use of PE. We will continue to take all legal remedies in law, not only to defend ourselves against any ill-conceived actions taken by PhonePe, but also to protect our rights in law,” the company added.

GlobalBees acquires Prolixr to enter personal care segment

GlobalBees, a Thrasio-style venture that aggregates and invests in e-commerce brands, has bought home-grown millennial skincare brand Prolixr marking its entry into the personal care space. However the financial details were not disclosed.

With the acquisition of the new-age brand, global investor SoftBank-backed GlobalBees has entered the personal care industry, which is expected to reach $37.2 billion in India by the year 2025, the company said in a statement.

Earlier this month, GlobalBees had announced the purchase of Matrix Partners-backed andMe in its second buyout  making entry into the femtech space, preceded by the purchase of homecare brand The Better Home in August.

Facebook failed to curb hate speeches and misinformation in India: Reports

Facebook in India has been selective in curbing hate speech, misinformation and inflammatory posts — particularly anti-Muslim content — according to leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press.

From research as recent as March 2021 to company memos that date back to 2019, the internal company documents on India highlight Facebook’s struggles in quashing abusive content on its platforms.

According to the documents, Facebook saw India as one of the most “at risk countries” in the world and identified both Hindi and Bengali languages as priorities for “automation on violating hostile speech.” Yet, Facebook did not have enough local language moderators or content-flagging in place to stop misinformation that at times led to real-world violence.

The Wall Street Journal report, published on October 22, said a top Facebook executive in India refused to apply the company’s hate speech rules to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) politicians and other “Hindu nationalist individuals and groups.”

The WSJ said the three-day rioting in the national capital in February was also organised via Facebook-owned WhatsApp, according to court documents filed by police and published in Indian newspapers.

As per New York Times, the documents include reports on how bots and fake accounts tied to the country’s ruling party and opposition figures were wreaking havoc on national elections. They also detail how a plan championed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to focus on “meaningful social interactions,” or exchanges between friends and family, was leading to more misinformation in India, particularly during the pandemic.

India is Facebook’s largest market with at least 340 million users — nearly 400 million Indians also use the company’s messaging service WhatsApp. But both have been accused of being a medium to spread hate speech and fake news.

Bollywood stars, Indian celebrities launch NFTs amid global craze

Bollywood celebrities and cricketers are increasingly launching digital memorabilia through non-fungible tokens (NFT), hoping to rake in thousands of dollars by cashing in on growing interest in such assets.

Superstars such as Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan are planning to launch NFTs soon. While Bachchan’s NFTs will include autographed posters of his movies, Khan has been building excitement on his Twitter account by telling his 43 million followers about the planned NFT launch.

“NFTs are right now alien to Bollywood but I am sure film stars will see this as another platform where they can use their existing content and generate revenue,” said Ayaan Agnihotri of Bollycoin, an NFT marketplace for Bollywood assets told Reuters.

Agnihotri said within days of the launch this month, his platform sold eight million of the 20 million available so-called ‘BollyCoin’ crypto tokens that can be used to buy NFTs when they are launched. One BollyCoin is worth 10 US cents.

But it’s still early days for celebrity NFTs in India.

Indian cricketer Dinesh Karthik is auctioning a digital art reel from a cricket match where he hit a match-winning six on the last ball for around 5 Ethereums, a digital currency, worth around $20,000. But he has yet to receive any bids.

“NFT has picked up a lot in the West in the last one year with now iconic moments from basketball being bought by fans digitally, which gave us the idea,” Karthik told Reuters.

Top fashion designer, Manish Malhotra, recently sold NFTs of digital sketches of some of his most famous creations for $4,000 apiece. Malhotra’s website shows one can purchase some of his bridal wear outfits at a lower price range of $2,500-$3,500.

Global sales volumes of NFTs have galloped to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, making an eightfold increase from the previous quarter, data from market tracker DappRadar showed.

GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS

Australia plans to force parental consent for minors on social media

Australia unveiled plans to make social media companies obtain parental consent for users under the age of 16, with multimillion dollar fines for failing to comply, Reuters reported.

Draft legislation to enhance online privacy protections would require companies such as Facebook, Reddit, Bumble and WhatsApp to take all reasonable steps to determine users’ ages and prioritise children’s interests when collecting data.

If made into a law, the Online Privacy Bill would put Australia among the most stringent countries in terms of age controls for social media, and build on the country’s efforts to rein in the power of Big Tech. The government has already introduced mandatory licensing payments for media outlets and plans to toughen laws against online misinformation and defamation.

The new law would raise penalties for any breaches of the code, with fines of either 10 percent of the company’s domestic annual turnover, three times the financial benefit of the breach or A$10 million ($7.5 million). The current maximum fine is A$2.1 million.

In a previously-commissioned report, privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner found that while most social media providers had an age minimum of 13, the limit was enforced by “self-attestation” rather than independent verification.​

Epic Games opposes Apple’s effort to pause antitrust trial orders

‘Fortnite’ creator Epic Games has opposed Apple’s efforts to put on hold orders handed down in an antitrust trial as a potentially lengthy appeals process plays out.

According to Reuters, US district Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in September struck down some of the iPhone maker’s App Store rules, including a prohibition on developers directing their users to other payment options besides Apple’s in-app payment system, in a partial win for Epic and other app makers.

Apple has until December 9 to comply with the injunction, but earlier this month the company said it will appeal the ruling and asked Gonzalez Rogers to put her order on hold as the appeals process, which could take more than a year, unfolds.

Epic on October 22 argued in a court filing that Apple has not met the legal standard for that pause, which requires Apple show that it will be irreparably harmed by even temporarily complying with the order if the injunction is later reversed on appeal.

Epic said Apple’s positive comments about the ruling shortly after it landed, and its delay in asking for a pause, showed that it would not be harmed by enacting the orders.

A hearing on Apple’s request is set for November 9.

Apple updates App Store payment rules in concession to developers: Report

Apple has updated its App Store rules to allow developers to contact users directly about payments, a concession in a legal settlement with companies challenging its tightly-controlled marketplace.

According to updated App Store rules, developers can now contact consumers directly about alternative payment methods, bypassing Apple’s commission of 15 or 30 percent, AFP reported.

They will be able to ask users for basic information, such as names and e-mail addresses, “as long as this request remains optional,” said the iPhone maker.

Apple proposed the changes in August in a legal settlement with small app developers.

But the concession is unlikely to satisfy firms like ‘Fortnite’ developer Epic Games, with which the tech giant has been grappling in a drawn-out dispute over its payments policy.

Adobe will put US employees on unpaid leave if they’re not vaccinated by Dec 8: Report

Software company Adobe told US employees that they have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8 or they will be placed on unpaid leave.

In an email to employees viewed by CNBC, Adobe said the policy was due to President Biden’s executive order for federal contractors to have all employees vaccinated.

The email, which was sent by Adobe’s Chief People Officer Gloria Chen, also said 93.5 percent of US employees who responded to an internal company survey already said they were fully vaccinated or going through their series of vaccines.

Chen said Adobe would consider religious and medical exemptions for employees who can’t get the vaccine.

Hackers lay claim to Donald Trump’s social app before its launch: NYT

Former US President Donald Trump declared on October 20 evening that he would start a “media powerhouse.” Its flagship operation would be TRUTH Social, a Twitter-like social network that would “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” he said in a statement.

Within two hours, hackers had gained access to a private version of the social network, creating fake accounts for Trump; far-right personality Steve Bannon; Ron Watkins, a QAnon conspiracy theorist; and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who barred Trump from Twitter after his supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, according to the New York Times.

Using a false ‘donaldjtrump’ account, hackers posted images of defecating pigs, wrote expletive-laced rants aimed at Dorsey and inquired about the whereabouts of former first lady Melania Trump. Images of the hackers’ handiwork were circulated on other social media platforms.

The hackers, who are affiliated with Anonymous, a loose hacking collective, said the effort was part of their “online war against hate.”

The activity forced the Trump Media & Technology Group’s app developers to bar new accounts and eventually shutter the development platform.

PayPal says it is not pursuing acquisition of Pinterest

PayPal is not pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest at this time, the payments company said, responding to media reports that it was in talks to buy the digital pinboard site for as much as $45 billion.

Bloomberg News first reported on the companies’ talks last week that was later confirmed by Reuters. A source at that time told Reuters that PayPal had offered $70 per share, mostly in stock, for Pinterest.

At that price, a deal would have been the biggest acquisition of a social media company, ​surpassing Microsoft Corp’s $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn in 2016.

Tesla pulls its new Full Self-Driving beta due to software ‘issues’

United States-based electric car maker Tesla has rolled back the latest version of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software on October 24, less than a day after its release, after users complained of false collision warnings and other issues, Reuters reported.

The setback comes as Tesla is under regulatory scrutiny over the safety of its semi-autonomous driving technology, which it calls ‘FSD,’ the report said.

“Seeing some issues with 10.3, so rolling back to 10.2 temporarily. Please note, this is to be expected with beta software. It is impossible to test all hardware configurations in all conditions with internal QA (quality assurance), hence public beta,” CEO Elon Musk said in a Twitter post.

The release of the new driving assist system to some owners of Tesla models, which the company said featured several improvements, had been announced for Friday, October 22.

On October 23, Musk said the release would probably be delayed by a day. “Regression in some left turns at traffic lights found by internal QA in 10.3. Fix in work, probably releasing tomorrow,” he had tweeted.

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