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NEWSLETTER - February, 2020
PORTFOLIO UPDATES

HR tech firm Phenom People raises $30 million in Series C round led by WestBridge Capital

Phenom People, a US-based company in the Talent Experience Management (TXM) industry, has raised $30 million in Series C funding, bringing the total funding raised to $61 million. The latest round was led by WestBridge Capital and saw participation from New York-based AllianceBernstein Private Credit Investors’ Growth Stage Capital. Existing investors AXA Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures, Omidyar Technology Ventures, Sigma Prime Ventures, and Karlani Capital also participated in the round.

 

To support the global demand for AI-driven talent experiences, Phenom People said it will use the funds for the company’s growth and to scale.

BSNL partners with YuppTV to roll-out Bharat AirFibre services in South Zone

YuppTV, a global leader in South-Asian OTT content, is working with BSNL to facilitate brand’s plan of offering triple-play services to BSNL customers and rural Indians. Announcing the open policy for Bharat AirFibre business partnership model, BSNL’s brand for radio-based high-speed broadband services, BSNL Director CFA Vivek Banzal expressed his delight in enabling a framework for rural homes with high-speed broadband services.

 

Last year, YuppTV and BSNL had signed a memorandum of understanding to offer bundled content to the subscribers of the telecom operator. Subsequently, BSNL has already started triple-play services in tandem with YuppTV, giving voice, data and TV services in select circles.

Accolade, which helps employees navigate health benefits, has hired banks to prepare a 2020 IPO

Accolade, a start-up that helps workers navigate their health benefits and dealings with insurance companies, has hired banks including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to advise ahead of a possible initial public offering, according to people familiar with the matter.

 

Accolade offers an app and web service for workers to get information from trained human coaches on things like in-network primary care doctors or what’s included in corporate benefits packages. The company’s largest customers include Comcast and Lowe’s, which are charged a fee based on total number of employees. Comcast, through its ventures arm, is also an investor

AXELL and Blaize Collaborate to Integrate Blaize AI Processing Technology into AXELL ailia AI Framework

Blaize announced that it is collaborating with AXELL Corporation and ax Inc. to integrate Blaize Graph Streaming Processor (GSP) technology solutions into the AXELL ailia AI framework. The result will be extremely efficient commercially available (2H 2020) AI solutions aimed at the automotive, retail and gaming industries worldwide.

Swiggy partners with HealthifyMe after its health-food orders rise by 249%

Fitness platform HealthifyMe partnered with Swiggy, a food delivery startup to curate and deliver ‘FitPicks’ – listing restaurants that offer healthy food. Health-conscious users in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bangalore can benefit from this. The collection curated by dedicated nutritionists will offer food from over 700 of Swiggy’s partners.

YuppTV to handle the digital broadcast rights for BCCI Home Season

OTT platform YuppTV has bagged the broadcast rights for the BCCI Home Season. With this, YuppTV users across the globe will be able to stream their favorite sporting action live on the platform. The streaming platform is bringing sporting action to its users spread across Continental Europe and Central Asia. YuppTV users in the SAARC countries (except India) can also catch the live sporting action. Furthermore, users in the Middle East and North Africa, can also watch the sport live.

 
INDUSTRY UPDATE

India’s Economy: When Will the Elephant Dance?

Thirty years ago, the world saw the Indian and Chinese economies as being comparable. Both were considered engines of global growth. Today, the view looks different. China’s GDP and per capita income are nearly five times those of India. Meanwhile, India’s economic engine is sputtering — GDP growth today is the lowest it has been in six years.

 

In order to prevent the situation from worsening, the Modi government should pay undivided attention to getting growth back on track, says Duvvuri Subbarao, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, and a research fellow at the Center for Advanced Study of India (CASI) at the University of Pennsylvania. He recently gave a talk at Penn titled, “Will the Indian Elephant Dance Again?”

After an Annus Mirabilis, what does 2020 hold for Indian SaaS?

India’s SaaS companies had a breakout year in 2019, with multiple companies breaching the hallowed $100 million ARR mark. In mid-2018, Freshworks became the first VC-funded Indian SaaS company to breach this $100 million milestone. Druva followed suit in 2019, and there are at least half a dozen Indian SaaS startups that are lined up to emulate the two over the next year or so.

 

For Indian SaaS startups, 2019 was Annus Mirabilis–a “year of miracles”. A perfect storm of ingredients along all dimensions—markets, capital, strategy, macro-trends—provided a platform for Indian SaaS companies to thrive like never before. For one thing, the Indian SaaS playbook is now getting commoditised. Startups from all over the world are adopting the same desk-selling/inbound marketing techniques and are competing on an even keel.

London Police Are Taking Surveillance to a Whole New Level

London’s police department said that it would begin using facial recognition to spot criminal suspects with video cameras as they walk the streets, adopting a level of surveillance that is rare outside China.

 

The decision is a major development in the use of a technology that has set off a worldwide debate about the balance between security and privacy. Police departments contend that the software gives them a way to catch criminals who may otherwise avoid detection. Critics say the technology is an invasion of privacy, has spotty accuracy and is being introduced without adequate public discussion.

Grocery Delivery Goes Small with Micro-Fulfillment Centers

Grocers looking to fill online orders more quickly are testing micro-fulfillment systems that can spit out as many as 4,000 orders a week but can still be housed in the back of stores or in urban areas where space is at a premium. The store owners are evaluating whether automation can help tamp down costs while speeding up deliveries and they are turning to a new set of startups aiming to make e-commerce fulfillment more efficient in a small footprint.

 
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