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PhonePe’s expensive homecoming

Happy Republic Day! Don’t forget to watch the parade where Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will be the Chief Guest. 

But for Google, January 26 is also the deadline put in place by the Supreme Court for meeting regulatory compliance. 

On Wednesday, it announced changes to its Android operating system and Google Play Store in India following the top court’s refusal to grant a stay on the CCI’s October order, which imposed a fine of Rs 1,337.76 crore on the company for “abusing its dominance” on the Android market.

The changes, which will come into effect starting today, will allow manufacturers to licence individual Google apps for pre-installation on devices. Additionally, users will now be able to choose a default search engine other than Google. 

Elsewhere,  in the US, the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Google for abusing its dominance (sounds like a pattern, doesn’t it?) in the digital advertising market. 

If successful, it will have a significant impact on the company’s ad empire, which generated $54.5 billion in the quarter ended September 30. This is the DoJ’s second antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant in two years.

ICYMI: Remember the virtual asteroid launcher simulator? Well, its creator has a new way you can spend even more time on the internet now—a site that generates random images from Google Street View.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

PhonePe’s expensive homecomingShareChat loses two co-founders Ultraviolette reports wider losses

Here’s your trivia for today: Who was the Chief Guest at India’s first-ever Republic Day Parade?


PhonePe’s expensive homecoming

Investors of digital payments firm PhonePe ended up paying Rs 8,000 crore in taxes to shift its domicile to India from Singapore last year. Sameer Nigam, Co-founder and CEO, PhonePe revealed the company’s tussle with India’s regulations during a live YouTube session. 

Shifting base:

Sameer said at least 20 existing unicorns want to shift their base to India if regulations are simplified.In October 2022, the fintech firm moved its domicile to India, followed by its separation from Flipkart, which acquired it in 2016.The company recently raised a large late-stage round of $350 million at a valuation of $12 billion from General Atlantic, becoming a decacorn.

<Funding Alert>

Startup: Rigi

Amount: Rs 100 Cr

Round: Series A

Startup: Studio Sirah

Amount: $2.6M

Round: Pre-Series A

Startup: GENLEAP 

Amount: Rs 27 Cr

Round: Pre-Series A

Social Media

ShareChat loses two co-founders 

After eight years of building the social media platform ShareChat, Co-founders Farid Ahsan and Bhanu Pratap Singh have stepped down from their active roles in the company. The development comes within days after the unicorn laid off nearly 20% of its employees as part of cost-cutting measures. 

The shake-up:

Independent sources confirmed to YourStory that Co-founder Farid stepped aside from his active role at the company in 2021.Mohalla Technologies, which owns and operates ShareChat and the short video platform Moj, had let go of 420 employees earlier this month to control rising employee costs and difficulty in raising a follow-on funding round.So far, the startup has raised $1.72 billion across 17 rounds of funding. 

Founders of ShareChat

Electric Vehicle

Ultraviolette reports wider losses

E-motorcycle company Ultraviolette Automotive Pvt Ltd’s losses ballooned in the financial year 2021-22 on the back of rising expenses. Loss for the year, after tax, was Rs 1.81 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2022, compared to a loss of Rs 1.34 crore in the previous year. 

In red:

Revenue jumped 2.3X to Rs 1.73 crore during the period, but it was eclipsed by an 80% rise in expenses.Total expenses were Rs 4.26 crore, compared to Rs 2.37 crore in the financial year 2020-2021.The startup recently launched its much-awaited F77 at an event in Bengaluru, after six years of production and fine-tuning.

News & updates

AI everywhere: Shutterstock unveiled its own generative AI tools called Creative Flow. The online design platform will now be able to create images based on text prompts, powered by OpenAI and Dall-E 2.  The company says the images are “ready for licensing” right after they’re made.Within reach: Boeing’s losses widened for 2022 on weakness in its defence unit but the US planemaker reported its first yearly positive cash flow since 2018 on stronger commercial aeroplane deliveries. It missed Wall Street expectations on revenue and earnings per share in the final quarter.In a pickle: South Korea imported a record amount of kimchi last year as inflation hit prices of cabbage and other key ingredients used to make the pickled dish. The value of imported kimchi totalled $169.4 million last year, up more than 20% from the year before.

Who was the Chief Guest at India’s first-ever Republic Day Parade?

Answer: Indonesia’s first president Sukarno.

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