Meanwhile, Pine Labs is eyeing the Asian business of beleaguered German payments company Wirecard.
Jio Platforms fundraising
There is a saying among startup founders: You never stop raising money. It looks like Jio Platforms, which Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has termed as the “world’s largest startup”, has taken this phrase to heart.
The digital business unit of Reliance Industries has landed a new investor in the form of Intel Capital which will invest Rs 1,894.50 crore for a 0.39% stake. With this, Intel is joining a roster of dozen investors including Facebook, KKR, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, taking the total financing to Rs 1,17,588.45 crore for just a shade over 25% holding.
What’s the plan?
The idea here is likely to tap into cutting-edge technologies which could help Jio Platforms’ future growth.
Ambani said that he is “excited to work together with Intel to advance India’s capabilities in cutting-edge technologies that will empower all sectors of the economy” while the US chipmaker said that through this investment, it will be able to help “fuel digital transformation in India, where Intel maintains an important presence”
Intel Capital has invested globally in technology companies across various areas like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and 5G while Jio Platforms is making significant investments across technology areas like broadband connectivity, smart devices, cloud and edge computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, augmented and mixed reality and blockchain, the company said. Read more.
Pine Labs eyes Wirecard’s Asia biz
Pine Labs has held initial discussions to buy out the Asian business of beleaguered German payments company Wirecard.
Wirecard’s Asia business services about 20,000 merchants in India, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia, and Malaysia markets among others, as per disclosures made by the company to media outlets earlier this year.
Mastercard-backed Pine Labs has already had partnerships with Wirecard for its India business, sources tell ET. It also has a strong presence in the merchant payment space in Malaysia and Singapore.
Are there others in the fray?
At least four major payment deployers including Hitachi Payments and Atos-backed Worldline Technology have made enquiries about the sale, sources close to the matter tell ET. Wirecard’s various businesses globally are also up for sale including its America business, according to the Financial Times.
How will this deal help?
The partnership could help the Mastercard-backed company expand its foray into the rapidly digitising South Asian payments market where Wirecard has banking tie-ups and requisite regulatory permissions to ply business, as per industry observers that ET spoke with.
It also comes at a time when several large Indian companies with global backers such as Facebook, Walmart, and Alibaba among others are focusing on acquiring small businesses onto their payment platform to provide value-added services such as invoice management, digital accounting, and access to quick credit. Read more.
Mobility firms‘ fleets downsizing
Shared mobility companies like Ola and Zoomcar may downsize their fleets, as demand stagnates amid increasing cases of Covid-19 infections across the country. These companies have approached top pre-owned car dealers, such as Mahindra First Choice (MFC) and Maruti True Value, to find prospective buyers for their vehicles.
Why are they doing this?
Players like Ola are looking to liquidate fleets as their value was quickly depreciating and utilisation was at all-time lows, a senior industry executive told ET.
Many drivers are expected to dump their vehicles in the used cars market after the government’s loan moratoriums end in August and lenders will also repossess vehicles over non-payment of loans. This is expected to create more supply, further lowering the value of vehicle fleets, the executive said. Read more
Gig workers back in demand
The demand for gig workers is increasing since many big technology firms and offline retailers are unable to fill roles quickly as many workers have returned to their hometowns following the Covid-19 induced economic crisis.
What’s the current situation?
Open positions for gig and blue-collar staff jumped to 600,000 in April from 250,000 in March and is currently at around 500,000, according to data shared by TeamLease. Among the vacant positions include jobs in warehouse management, packaging and delivery, and for electricians, cooks, ward-boys, operations, and healthcare workers.
What’s the incentive?
Companies like Amazon, Zomato, Swiggy, and PharmEasy, as well as Future group’s BigBazaar are offering the gig workers three-times their previous salaries and an additional 15% incentive compared to levels prior to the pandemic. They have also offered flight tickets and are going ahead with virtual onboarding, experts tracking the space said. Read more.
Back-to-work strategy of BPMs
Business process management (BPM) companies are getting employees to work from offices in small towns, due to severe curbs on movement of people in metro cities which are exploring lockdown extensions with varied restrictions.
The move comes as clients in the banking and finance sectors have asked them to cut back on work from home due to data security concerns.
Why is this shift happening?
Small cities and towns have been relatively less impacted by the outbreak and will therefore provide a good alternative to driving economic revival, said Rajiv Ahuja, president of BPM firm Startek.
IT-BPM industry body Nasscom said member companies have realised that the work model for the sector will be blended one in the long run and that the percentage of work from offices would depend on clients. Read more.