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Satya Nadella praises India’s digital push


US visas may be getting expensive. 

The Biden administration has proposed a massive hike in immigration fees for H-1B (from $460 to $780), L-1 ($460 to $1,385), and O-1 ($460 to $1,055) visas. Of these, the H-1B—a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers—is very popular among Indian tech professionals.

In other news, hospitality unicorn OYO has written to the National Company Law Tribunal alleging that FHRAI members are fighting tooth and nail to “intimidate and harass” the hotel industry. It urged NCLT to take action against “erring” executive committee members of the hospitality industry body.

Meanwhile, take a look at all the cool stuff unveiled at this year’s largest tech trade show—CES 2023—in Las Vegas.

Spoiler alert: Shower heads infused with aromatherapy scents, a wearable air purifier, and the future of foldable tech.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

Nadella praises India’s digital pushUpScalio trims workforceIndian startups’ gold rush

Here’s your trivia for today: Vietnam won its very first Olympic medal in 2000 in Sydney. In which event and which medal did it win?


Nadella praises India’s digital push

Digital public goods such as Aadhaar and UPI are proving to be game-changers in bringing technology to the masses as well as increasing competition in the industry. 

Speaking at a fireside chat at the Microsoft Future Ready Technology Summit in Bengaluru, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella said that the emphasis on building digital public goods is something that he doesn’t see anywhere else in the world.

Also, hold on to your jobs as Nadella believes that while AI in the future would be used as a “frontline” or a “knowledge worker” to assist in various tasks, with the promise of greater productivity and creativity, there could be unintended consequences such as issues with AI ethics and job displacement.

The future is now:

The CEO said that the usage of cloud-native applications as a percentage of the overall applications used by organisations was still in single digits, highlighting the great potential for growth.He said the work on Bhashini–a programme of the National Language Translation Mission–can be helpful in building state-of-the-art AI to democratise language translation in India.Microsoft is innovating across the tech stack to support the country’s ecosystem of developers, startups and companies across every industry, Nadella said. 

<Funding Alert>

Startup: SirionLabs 

Amount: $25M

Round: Series D

Startup:  Jupiter

Amount: Rs 100 Cr

Round: Debt

Startup: ElectricPe 

Amount: $5M

Round: Pre-Series A

Job cuts

UpScalio trims workforce

Ecommerce roll-up company UpScalio has laid off 15% of its staff. The job cuts, which took place in December, were a part of its annual employee appraisal process, Ankur Singh, Head of People and Culture at UpScalio told YourStory

Key takeaways:

UpScalio currently has an employee base of 220 across functions; it let go of 24 full-time employees as part of its performance appraisal process in December 2022. These lay-offs were not restricted to a single business division, the company added. According to data from Xpheno, nearly 24,000 to 25,000 people were laid off in the technology sector in India in 2022. 


Indian startups’ gold rush

In 2000, it took a startup in India around 18 years to reach $100 million in revenue. In 2017, that number has decreased to five years due to a rapidly growing startup ecosystem. 

Today, the country has about 100 unicorns and 170 soonicorns. Of these, over 40 startups in fintech, ecommerce, and logistics have crossed over $100 million in revenue as of FY22, according to a recent study by Redseer Strategy Consultants.


India has about 12,000 startups ranging in revenue classification from emerging (<$10 million), growth stage ($10 million – $100 million), to large ($100 million – less than $1 billion). Around 95% belong to the emerging category, 3-4% are in the growth stage, and less than 0.5% of companies are large.  Venture capital firms have invested about $143 billion over the last 15 years (CY08 to CY22) in the startup ecosystem, which is currently valued at $804 billion.

News & updates

Not as lucrative: The technology industry led job cuts last year in the US, totalling more than 97,000 across the sector, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Tech job cuts were up 649% in 2022 from the nearly 13,000 announced in 2021, Challenger reported. Looking for options: Bed Bath & Beyond might not be able to continue, bringing another US retail chain to the precipice of bankruptcy. The company said it’s pursuing strategic alternatives, including restructuring debt, selling assets or filing for bankruptcy-court protection, but “these measures may not be successful.” Cost of not complying: US-listed crypto exchange Coinbase has reached a $100 million settlement with New York regulators for anti-money laundering failures including a backlog of more than 100,000 unreviewed transactions and a reliance on social media profiles to verify customers’ identities.

Vietnam won its very first Olympic medal in 2000 in Sydney. In which event and which medal did it win?

Answer: Silver in Taekwondo.

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