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top tech news: ETtech Evening Briefing on Feb 24, 2021: RBI’s crypto concerns, startup jobs incoming


That central banks across the world fear cryptocurrencies is no secret, but the Reserve Bank of India seems more keen to ban them than most. Earlier today, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the central bank has “major concerns” about cryptocurrencies, but didn’t elaborate.

In more positive news, almost three-quarters of startup founders surveyed by debt fund InnoVen Capital said the pace of recruitment will rise this year. Those in the fields of logistics, digital media, e-commerce and deep tech were the most bullish on this.

RBI guv has ‘major concerns’ about cryptocurrencies

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das today
voiced his concerns about the impact cryptocurrencies could have on India’s financial stability.

  • “We have certain major concerns about cryptocurrencies. We have communicated them to the government. It is under consideration in the government… I think sooner or later the government will take a call and if required parliament also will consider and decide,” Das told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.

Why it matters: This comes at a time when India cryptocurrency exchanges are
seeing a selloff owing to tax fears and a possible government ban in the coming weeks.

bitcoinETtech

The central bank had attempted to
sneak in a ban on virtual currencies in 2018 by preventing banks from touching cryptocurrencies, arguing that they could be used for everything from money laundering to funding terrorists. The Supreme Court, however, ruled this ban was unconstitutional last March.

Dorsey doubles down: Meanwhile, US payments company Square Inc. has
invested $170 million more in Bitcoin. Its chief executive Jack Dorsey, who also heads Twitter, promised to “double down” on Square’s commitment to the world’s biggest cryptocurrency. Square allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrency through its Cash App, which had 36 million users in December.

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Crypto craze: The company said that more than a million Cash App users bought bitcoin for the first time in January alone. By contrast, around three million users bought or sold bitcoin on the app in the whole of 2020.

Startups to see increased hiring in 2021

hiring. thinkstockGetty Images

Startups
are expected to see an increase in hiring this year, aided by a bounce-back in revenues of companies. The growth of some companies has even surpassed pre-pandemic levels. The pace of recruitment will rise this year, said about 72% of startup founders surveyed by debt fund InnoVen Capital in its annual Startup Outlook Report.

Sectors to watch: Logistics, digital media, e-commerce and deep tech.

By the numbers

  • Hiring in startups grew nearly 20% in 2020 compared to 2019
  • Over 52% of founders said hiring the right people is their biggest challenge

ET reported earlier this year that startups that became unicorns in 2020 are
on the prowl to ramp up their headcounts across product, tech, engineering, sales, operations, and data sciences teams in 2021. Six of these unicorns—Pine Labs, Zenoti, Postman, Razorpay, Cars24, and Glance—told ET that they will hire about 2,000 to 2,500 employees in the coming months.

Also Read:
Startups in India actually stepped up hiring in a pandemic year

Tweet of the Day

Snap wants to take its India strategy to the world

snapchat_unsplashETTelecom

Snap Inc. plans to
extend its localisation strategy in India to expand its user base in several other countries, chief financial officer Derek Andersen said at the company’s first ever investor day.

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Vocal for local: After ignoring the country in its early years, the social media company is doubling down on the Indian market by rolling out localised versions of its offerings. These include rebuilding Snapchat’s Android app with support for nine Indian languages, and an India-specific version of its content discovery platform Discover, which now has over 85 local channels. In October 2020, it announced its
first slate of mobile-first licensed and original shows for the Indian market along with its first gaming partner in the country.

  • “We have made significant progress in implementing our playbook in India, and we are encouraged to see that our DAU (daily active users) in India has more than doubled year over year in each of the last four quarters,” Andersen said.

Earlier this month, Snapchat said that it has crossed 60 million users in India, clocking 150% year-on-year growth.

Flipkart wants 100% electric delivery fleet by 2030

FlipkartETAuto

Flipkart said it would
deploy over 25,000 electric vehicles in its supply chain by 2030, helping it achieve 100% electrification of its first- and last-mile delivery fleet.

Electric Commerce: The Walmart Inc.-owned marketplace has partnered with Hero Electric, Mahindra Electric and Piaggio to introduce two- and three-wheeler electric vehicles, and plans to begin adding larger four-wheeler EVs to its fleet as well.

Long way to go: The online retailer has so far deployed over 450 EVs through its logistics partners in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati and Pune. It plans to add another 1,000 EVs to its fleet by the end of the calendar year.

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ET had last month reported that Amazon.com Inc. was in
talks with Mahindra Electric to source electric three-wheelers for some of its global operations. Mahindra Electric has delivered a few test mules of its Treo Zor electric three-wheeler to Amazon’s logistics partners in Japan and Vietnam, a source said.

ETtech Done Deals

■ Workspace management platform
Saltmine has
raised $20 million in Series A funding from Singapore-based Jungle Ventures, Xplorer Capital and JLL Spark, the strategic investment arm of real estate services firm JLL.

■ Online learning platform for pre-school students,
Kutuki has
landed $2.2 million in its seed funding round led by Omidyar Network India. AET and existing angel investors Better Capital, First Cheque, and Abhishek Nag also participated.

■ Mid-size tech services firm
UST has
acquired
ServiceNow business from abhra Inc. The portfolio includes providing consulting, implementation, extension, and integration services and ongoing support to users of ServiceNow software.





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