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Staying bullish on early-stage funding


ChatGPT seems to have made its way to Indian classrooms. 

While teachers across the rest of the world are trying to stop students from relying on ChatGPT for studies, the Indian government has found a different use for AI—to get their doubts answered.

And there’s an added perk. It can be used in any Indian language along with English, reported Moneycontrol.

The government is leveraging the Bhashini platform, which translates between languages using AI, the Diksha platform that digitises school curriculum, messaging platform WhatsApp, and edtech platform Doubtnut to build the first version of this tool.

Elsewhere, big tech continues with layoffs.

The latest to join is Microsoft’s LinkedIn, which reportedly laid off from its recruitment team. In a cruel twist of fate, these individuals are now taking to the platform to look for new job opportunities. While the exact number of impacted employees remains unclear, it looks like these are part of Microsoft’s plan to cut about 10,000 jobs across various divisions.

Meta is also looking at a fresh round of job cuts in March due to a lack of clarity around budgets and the future headcount at the company. 

ICYMI: Finding the measure of love—a Cupidoscope.

Is this the way to find everlasting bliss?

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

Y Combinator betting on early-stage dealsTaural India’s aluminium businessPhonePe raises more $100M

Here’s your trivia for today: Which is the only national flag not to include the colours red, white, or blue?


Y Combinator betting on early-stage deals

It’s obvious why Arnav Sahu would be gung-ho about the early-stage startup space, given his role at Y Combinator, the accelerator programme for new-age tech companies still figuring their way. 

His reasoning goes beyond that. The seasoned investor says growth-stage investments will likely be tepid at least in the first half of this year.

Funding in winter:

He expects the first half of 2023 to be subdued for growth investments, mainly because the best startups have already raised a lot of capital and at valuations that are not justified relative to traction.For early-stage founders, Arnav expects the VC market to be active. There is a lot of investment capital, and because of the valuation slump, most growth investors are chasing early-stage deals.Arnav, now based in Silicon Valley, primarily leads investments in enterprise infrastructure startups and serves on the boards of companies, including Mattermost and SoftSecurity.


Taural India’s aluminium business

Pune-headquartered Taural India provides aluminium casting solutions across energy, defence, railways, aerospace, and marine industries.

In 2016, metallurgist Bharat Gite started Taural India to create aluminium casting solutions, which could potentially replace imported products in the energy, defence, healthcare, railways, and aerospace sectors. 

The company was launched as a joint venture with Thoni Alutec—a German company with 50 years of experience in aluminium castings—with an investment of $40 million.

At the core:

Up until 2020, the company operated out of a rented space. The turning point came in August 2020 when it opened its first 24,000-sq mt foundry in Pune.For the defence sector, it created an import substitute for a cylinder block crankcase (CBCC) of the infantry combat vehicle of the Indian Army (BMP-II) in 2020. For 40 years, the item was imported from Russia. The company sees China, the US, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Vietnam, and the Middle East as its key export markets.


PhonePe raises more $100M

PhonePe continues to raise funding. Now, the fintech company has raised an additional $100 million from Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global, and TVS Capital Funds at a pre-money valuation of $12 billion. The deal follows the $350 million primary fundraise it closed in January. 

Money in the kitty:

PhonePe will use the funds to scale up its payments and insurance businesses in India. It will also launch and scale new businesses, including lending, stockbroking, ONDC-based shopping, and account aggregators, over the next few years.Post its domicile shift to India, PhonePe announced that it planned to raise as much as $1 billion in tranches and “expects further investments from prominent global and Indian high net worth investors soon”.

News & updates

Added to cart: Air India has agreed to buy 250 jets from Airbus, part of a mammoth deal for 470 planes that is also expected to include 220 Boeing jets, as the airline heralds a decades-long transformation under its new owners, Tata Group.Word of advice: “Father of the Internet” and Google “internet evangelist” Vint Cerf warned entrepreneurs not to rush into making money from conversational AI just “because it’s really cool.” Cerf said the technology is not advanced enough to place near-term bets.Fresh plans: Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has vowed to double down on the company’s struggling grocery store business, despite recently announcing that its growth plans were on hold. The ecommerce giant was ready to “go big” on bricks-and-mortar stores, he told Financial Times.

Which is the only national flag not to include the colours red, white, or blue?

Answer: The flag of Jamaica, which is made of black, green, and gold colours.

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