Amarcast India Tech News Update 27 July 2020: Sharechat raises $40 million, BYJUs raises $23 million, Indian Govt bans 47 more Chinese apps, makes list of another 275 apps
1. Google will let employees work from home until at least next summer: Google (GOOG) will let employees work from home until at least July 2021, a company spokesperson said on Monday. The company had previously said most employees would be working remotely through the end of 2020, with some employees being allowed back into the office sooner. But the decision to extend the remote work policy well into next year indicates that one of the world’s largest tech companies is bracing for a long pandemic — and could prompt other businesses to follow suit. In a memo to employees, a copy of which was obtained by CNN Business, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has reopened 42 offices around the world.”To give employees the ability to plan ahead, we’ll be extending our global voluntary work from home option through June 30, 2021 for roles that don’t need to be in the office,” Pichai wrote. “I hope this will offer the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months.”
2. The Union government has banned 47 Chinese apps, that were functioning as clones of the 59 banned apps, two people aware of the development said. In June, the Indian government had banned 59 Chinese apps, including Bytedance’s TikTok, Alibaba’s UC Browser, citing security concerns.
“A ban on 47 apps was ordered late last week on grounds of national security and privacy concerns,” the first person cited above told Mint. Name of these apps could not be immediately confirmed. There are many apps with names, functionalities as well as operational ethics similar to the 59 banned Chinese apps. “All such apps are under the scanner,” he added.
An official statement is awaited.
Reportedly, the government has drawn up a list of 275 Chinese apps and will see if there is any violation in terms of national security and user privacy. According to a report in The Economic Times, “Tencent-backed PubG, Alibaba-owned Ali Express, phone maker Xiaomi, music streaming app Reso, owned by ByteDance among others are a part of the list of apps that could be banned by the government”.
3. Byju’s raises $23 Mn from BOND Capital; Raveendran’s family holds $3.25 Bn worth stake: Edtech decacorn Byju’s has recently raised a funding round from Mary Meeker’s BOND Capital and regulatory filings reveal that it has infused $23 million in the Bengaluru-based edtech firm. The infusion from BOND Capital is the third round of funding for the company this year.
Byju’s has raised the sum from BOND Asia Holdings, regulatory filings show. The company has made an allotment of 8,070 Series F compulsorily convertible preference shares (CCPS) at an issue price of $2850.06 per share to the American investment firm.
Several media reports had speculated that the new financing from BOND valued Byju’s at $10.5 billion, but Fintrackr’s estimate confirms the valuation of $10 billion and BOND Capital would hold 0.23% of share capital on a fully diluted basis.
Prior to the infusion from Bond, Byju’s had raised two large rounds in 2020 including a $200 million round each from hedge fund Tiger Global and General Atlantic. As of now, the Byju Raveendran-led firm has raised around $1.2 billion in investment from Tencent, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Sofina and Lightspeed among others.
. ShareChat raises $40 Mn from existing investors: Vernacular language social media platform ShareChat has raised $35-40 million in an internal financing round from existing investors including Lightspeed India, according to four people familiar with the details of the transaction.
The fresh financing comes almost a month after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, leading to a sudden uptick in usage of other local language social media apps including ShareChat and its newly-launched short video app Moj.
“The infusion was done to gain momentum after the ban of 59 China-linked apps,” said one of the sources, requesting anonymity. “In the absence of apps such as TikTok, the company is hoping to capitalize on the gap that has been created.”