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Inside gaming studios’ new lobby


The fallout of the funding winter continues to impact the Indian startup ecosystem.

ShareChat laid off 600 employees—around 20% of its workforce—just a few days after raising $255 million. Cloud kitchen startup Rebel Foods let go of 2% of its employees, and grocery delivery startup Dunzo laid off 3% of its organisational strength.

Even the crypto sphere hasn’t been spared. will be reducing its global workforce by 20% following the FTX fallout, although the markets are making investors hopeful as Bitcoin nears the $21,000 mark.

While the job market may be a little steady, the neighbourhood market is a little upbeat. India’s annual wholesale price index (WPI) inflation eased to 4.95% at a 22-month low.

Meanwhile, OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT is not just helping students write essays but is also aiding scammers to write better phishing emails. Analysis show attackers can make use of the AI’s coding abilities to generate individual realistic-sounding emails.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about

Gaming studios’ new lobby Indian crypto firms and Budget 2023Lighthouse Canton’s venture debt fund

Here’s your trivia for today: The national anthems of which four countries have no lyrics?


Gaming studios form new lobby

A group of mostly gaming studio founders set up an unofficial lobby body called the Consortium of Indian Video Games and E-sports Companies to provide suggestions on the draft rules for online gaming released earlier this month.

This lobby—comprising 35-40 gaming studios across India—hopes to build a different narrative from the one set by real-money gaming (RMG) firms.

Enter to play:

Gaming studios feel it is unfair for them to be clubbed with RMG firms. The new lobby will put forth several proposals before the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY) coinciding with its deadline for responses on January 17. Online fantasy sports also has a consortium—the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports—comprising at least 25 startups. Its founding member is Dream11, and it deals with bringing standardised practices in online fantasy sports.

<Funding Alert>

Startup: Locad

Amount: $11M

Round: Series A

Startup: Zlade

Amount: $1.5M

Round: Undisclosed

Startup: SheerDrive

Amount: Undisclosed

Round: Pre-Series A


Indian crypto firms and Budget 2023

The year 2022 was particularly harsh for cryptocurrencies. Even before the meltdown of several global crypto firms, startups in India had a rough start with the rollout of the new crypto tax regime during the Union Budget 2022.

Industry stakeholders hope that the Union Budget 2023 will finally bring some good news.

The wishlist:

Some industry leaders are calling for the classification of virtual digital assets (VDAs) as a regulated asset class, the repeal of the 1% TDS rule, and the ability to set off or carry forward losses in VDAs.To foster more Web3 startups locally, the crypto sector in India is looking for a more innovation-friendly regulatory environment for Web3 in the upcoming Union Budget. Colexion, an NFT marketplace, is calling for the government to establish a clear legal framework for boosting the use cases of blockchain in the country.


Lighthouse Canton’s venture debt fund

Lighthouse Canton, the Singapore-headquartered wealth and asset management firm, has completed the first close of its maiden venture debt fund in India at Rs 155.4 crore.

The Rs 550 crore fund has an additional green shoe option of Rs 550 crore and will focus on investing in Indian technology-enabled startups.

Key takeaways:

Lighthouse Canton oversees over $3 billion worth of assets under management and advisory, with a presence in Singapore, Dubai, and India. Separately, the firm is raising a Rs 200 crore venture debt fund for startups in the Southeast Asian region.The venture debt fund for India will back startups in Series A and beyond, with cheque sizes ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 15 crore.

News & updates

Shifting gears: Edtech giant BYJU’S has reportedly changed its sales strategy of visiting students’ homes and meeting parents. The entire sales workforce now works from inside the office in a move to distance itself from its much-criticised practices.Gloomy future: Two-thirds of private and public sector chief economists surveyed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) expect a global recession in 2023. Some 18% considered a world recession “extremely likely”.Wealth inequality: The richest 1% in India now own more than 40% of the country’s total wealth, while the bottom half of the population together share just 3%, as per rights group Oxfam International.

The national anthems of which four countries have no lyrics?

Answer: Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and San Marino.

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