/ETtech Bytes On 20 Jan. 2021: Top 5 Tech News Today, In 10 Minutes

ETtech Bytes On 20 Jan. 2021: Top 5 Tech News Today, In 10 Minutes

Good evening, ETtech reader.

Indigo Paints IPO has brought with it bumper gains for Sequoia Capital and technical glitches for Zerodha. Fireside Ventures has announced the final close of its second fund, and Indian IT firms aren’t giving up on their campuses yet. Also, Jack Ma is back!

1. Indigo Paints IPO: Sequoia gains, Zerodha fumbles


The Indigo Paints IPO, which opened for subscription on Wednesday, brought with it bumper gains for Sequoia Capital and technical glitches for Zerodha.

Driving the news: The Silicon Valley-based venture capital is expected to garner up to Rs 650 crore by selling 7-8% stake in the company at Rs 1,488-1,490 per share. It will continue to hold nearly 28% stake upon listing.

And such is the demand for Indigo Paints IPO that Zerodha’s platform faltered, throwing up technical snags for users looking to buy shares of the company through the app’s IPO console. “For a little time, but not completely down. Multiple tries would have worked,” Zerodha CEO Nithin Kamath told ET when asked about the temporary outage. “The IPO has a lot of people trying to apply at the same time. It is slow, but working.”

2. Tech firms aren’t giving up office campuses just yet

Infosys campusReuters

IT services firms are treading cautiously on rationalising office campuses, despite the success of the work-from-home model and remote working culture. And while some have decided to desist from new leases and are going slow on real estate investments, others have reaped savings from diluting assets.

The Indian angle: Infosys will “wait and watch”—from a real estate rationalisation perspective —COO Pravin Rao said, given the uncertainty about the number of employees required to work from offices in the future. But the company has taken steps to save costs. TCS, however, has no plans to part with real estate for the time being.

The global angle: NYSE-listed Startek has given up almost 10% of its global real estate following the adoption of a hybrid work model. UST Global may also look to redraw its real estate presence to support a hybrid work model in the coming months.

What about salaries? Moving to a small town allows employees to save on rent that they may be paying in cities like Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, where the biggest IT campuses are located. That fact isn’t lost on employers, as some of them in the services sector have started evaluating salary reduction for migrating employees, according to an ET report.

But niche skills will continue to get rewarded, says an industry expert, as location won’t have a bearing on salaries of the talented.

Tweet of the Day: Signal’s Twitter game is 💯

3. ETtech Done Deals

â–  Fireside Ventures has raised $ 118 million toward the final close of its second fund, including an $ 18 million greenshoe option.

Why it matters: Venture capital investors are lapping up new-age brands, which have seen unprecedented traction over the last few months. The Covid-19 pandemic had come as a shot in the arm for digital shopping and getting consumers and brands online.

Already in play: Launched in 2017 by Kanwaljit Singh who co-founded Helion Venture Partners, Fireside Ventures has already started deploying capital from its second fund, with around Rs 70 crore invested in four companies — GynoVeda, Sarva Yoga, Fable Street and Slurrp Farm. With a larger second fund, it will be able to invest in 15-20 consumer brand startups while continuing to keep its focus on digital-first brands.

■ South Korea’s Naver has acquired social storytelling platform Wattpad in a cash-and-stock transaction valuing the Toronto, Canada-based firm at more than $ 600 million. The acquisition will help in creating a stronger ecosystem across visual and textual storytelling content, with a combined reader base of over 160 million monthly users across the world.

â–  AlphaICs, a startup that designs and develops chipsets for processing AI workloads, raised $ 8 million in a Series B funding round led by Endiya Partners and Emerald Technology Ventures. Existing investors ReBright Partners and 3One4 Capital also participated in the round.

â–  ShopG, a social e-commerce platform, has raised $ 1.5 million in a seed funding round. The funds will be used for expanding the community leader network in Tier III and IV cities, scaling technology, building a supply of small regional brands and creating a suite of D2C branded products, the startup said.

Flipkart-ABFRL deal gets CCI approval

flipkart BirlaETtech

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the Rs 1,500-crore Flipkart-Aditya Birla Fashion deal, giving a leg-up to the online fashion retail business of the Walmart Inc.-owned company.

Why it matters: The Flipkart-ABFRL deal, announced in October 2020, will give much-needed capital to Aditya Birla Fashion Retail Ltd., at a time when the pandemic kept its stores closed and offices shut for most of last year. Flipkart’s move to acquire stakes in offline fashion retailers is part of its broader strategy of expanding operations and leveraging strategic partnerships while keeping cost structures lean.

Jack Ma is back in public


Jack Ma made his first public appearance in nearly three months in a live-streamed video on Wednesday. The founder of Alibaba Group spoke briefly during an annual event he hosts to recognise rural teachers, triggering a spike in the Hong Kong-listed stock of the e-commerce giant.

Why it matters: The English teacher-turned-entrepreneur was not been seen in public since a late October forum in Shanghai, where he blasted China’s regulatory system in a speech that put him on a collision course with officials, resulting in the suspension of the $ 37-billion IPO of Alibaba’s Ant Group fintech arm.

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