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ETtech Bytes on 21 Jan. 2021: Top 5 Tech News Today, in 10 Minutes


Wingreens Farms acquires Raw Pressery at a fifth of its 2018 valuation in a share swap deal. India’s parliamentary panel to question Facebook on WhatsApp’s privacy policy. Cred’s Kunal Shah invests in OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s new hardware venture.

Here’s a look at the top-five tech news today:

Wingreens Farms acquires Raw Pressery

Wingreens-Raw PresseryETtech

(Illustration: Rahul Awasthi/ETtech)

It shouldn’t have ended this way.

Raw Pressery, which in some ways forced Big Beverage to rethink its sugary and aerated strategy in India,
has been acquired by dips maker Wingreens Farms at a fifth of its 2018 valuation.

This means curtains on the seven-year-old startup, which took “freshly-squeezed” beyond oranges and introduced cold-pressed juices to fitness-obsessed Indian millennials. It was backed by the biggest names in the venture capital space, including Sequoia Capital, which in an irony of sorts is a prominent backer of Wingreens Farms.

So, what went wrong?

Raw Pressery perhaps paid the price of being too niche, and thus expensive, in a category that’s dominated by heavyweights — from Coca-Cola to Pepsi and Dabur India to ITC. It simply couldn’t match up the economies of scale at play here.

But perhaps there’s a bright side. Wingreens Farms, started by ad veteran and
ET Startup Awards winner Anju Srivastava, sells dips and sauces made by underprivileged women. The company has achieved Rs 100 crore revenue in just five years.

It remains to be seen, though, how she squeezes value out of the juice maker.

Parliament panel to question Facebook

Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp (1)ETTelecom

WhatsApp’s global head Will Cathcart.

An Indian parliamentary panel will question Facebook executives on Thursday about the changes to WhatsApp’s privacy, Reuters reported.

READ  Alphabet shares fall as Google misses on sales, debuts YouTube revenue

Why it matters: This comes days after the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) asked the instant messaging app to
immediately “withdraw” its proposed privacy policy changes. The government has also questioned the timing of the company’s “momentous change” to (its privacy policy) even as the Parliament prepares to
finalise the country’s Personal Data Protection Bill.

Following sustained outrage from Indian users, WhatsApp has deferred to May the implementation of its new privacy policy, which allows it to share extensive metadata and business chats with parent Facebook and its companies.

Also Read:
Amid WhatsApp privacy policy debate, Ravi Shankar Prasad bats for data rights of Indians

2. ETtech Done Deals

carl pei

Carl Pei, co-founder of Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus.

■ Cred founder
Kunal Shah
has made an undisclosed seed investment in OnePlus co-founder
Carl Pei‘s upcoming hardware venture. In December,
Pei raised $7 million seed financing from a clutch of prominent investors including iPod inventor Tony Fadell, Twitch cofounder Kevin Lin, Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman, and Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave among others.


Turnip, a gaming livestream and community platform,
raised $1.63 million in a seed funding round led by Elevation Capital along with participation from Better Capital. The Bengaluru-based startup plans to use the funds raised to expand its reach to millions of gaming communities and for hiring talent.

Vulnerabilities in Tata group websites

Tata group companies Croma and Tata Sky said
they had fixed the vulnerabilities in their websites after a cybersecurity researcher pointed out how the flaws could expose sensitive personally identifiable information to scammers even without hacking.

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The vulnerabilities were due to problems with the application programming interfaces (APIs) at both the websites, Rahil Bhansali, one of the researchers, said in a Medium post.

Why it matters: The information — names, addresses, phone numbers and purchase history — included personal data of celebrities, popular business people and doctors, among others.

Issue resolved: Infiniti Retail, the retailer of consumer durables and electronics which operates under the brand name Croma, said it had fixed the vulnerabilities on its website overnight following the blog post.

Google to pay French media for content


Google
has reached a deal with French media publishers wherein the tech giant will pay publishing companies and news agencies for using their content.

Why it matters: This move comes as the pandemic has created an advertising revenue crisis for several media companies across the world, while Big Tech firms are raking in significant profits. Last year, Google had
stated plans to pay $1 billion to publishers across the world over the next three years, while Facebook is paying publishers for content through its news product ‘Facebook News’ that is currently available in the US.

In December, Australia too finalised
plans to make Facebook and Google pay its media outlets for news content. However, earlier this week, the US government asked Australia to
scrap proposed laws that will make it mandatory for the internet giants to pay for news sourced from local media outlets.

Also Read:
ET Explains: Making internet majors pay for news content they make money from

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