ETtech Top 5: Unocoin layoffs, Live streaming edtech classes & more
Edtech firms see money in live streaming classes

What’s the news?

Live streaming of classes online is fast emerging as a potential monetisation tool for education technology companies including Unacademy, Vedantu, Toppr and Byju’s, helped majorly by falling costs of mobile Internet.

What are the companies doing?

Sequoia and SAIF Partners-backed Unacademy has launched live video subscription on its platform. It currently hosts about 10,000 students and more than 600 live classes take place on the platform with 400 teachers. Vedantu says it reached a milestone of 1 million live learning hours on its platform in December. This move mirrors trends in China, where several billion-dollar startups including VIPKid and Yuanfudao use live learning as a medium to democratize education. Read more.

ETtech Top 5: Unocoin layoffs, Live streaming edtech classes & more
Unocoin lays off majority staff

What’s the news?

Cryptocurrency trading platform Unocoin has let go half of its remaining employees, in a bid to conserve cash after talks to raise another round of funding failed to take off. The startup has scaled down its team to just 14 employees last week from a peak of a little more than 100 people.

What’s the reason?

Investments through venture capital or ICOs in India’s blockchain startups have been extremely low due to the lack of regulatory clarity. Unocoin was one of the better-funded startup, having raised $1.5 million from investors including Blume Ventures and Bitcoin Capital.

The development also comes at a time when several other cryptocurrency exchanges have moved out of the country or wound up operations, after the Reserve Bank of India prohibited Indian banks from crypto-related trading last year. The case is pending in the Supreme Court, and is set for hearing in July. Read more.

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ETtech Top 5: Unocoin layoffs, Live streaming edtech classes & more
Google & Apple asked to pull down TikTok

What’s the news?

Google and Apple have been asked by the government to take down popular Chinese short-video mobile application TikTok from their app stores. This comes after the Supreme Court refused to stay an earlier order by the Madras High Court to ban the app.

What’s the case?

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on April 3 had passed an order directing the government to prohibit downloading of the TikTok app in the country. It also restricted media companies from telecasting the videos made using the application, calling the Chinese app “dangerous for children.”

TikTok owner Bytedance had claimed the app was like any other social media platform, adding that singling out TikTok was discriminatory and arbitrary. The ‘disproportionate’ ban has resulted in infringement of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression, it said. Read more.

India Inc’s election incentives

What’s the news?

India Inc is pulling out all the stops to get its employees to vote in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

What are they doing?

Flipkart is organising voter registration camps for staffers, Samsung is allowing employees days off to travel and vote, promising not to count those days as leave. Domino’s and Dunkin Donuts, both run by Jubilant FoodWorks, have authorised a day off for voting and Swiggy is running a ‘pledge to vote’ campaign for its delivery staff.

A large number of companies, including L&T, Mahindra & Mahindra, Infosys, Deloitte, Accenture, H&M, and Titan, have also given employees a day off for employees to cast votes. Read more.

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Ex-IT CEOs turn mentors

What’s the news?

A small, but growing number of chief executives at large technology firms are mentoring smaller tech firms post-retirement, passing over the more popular choice of joining a venture capital or private equity firm.

ETtech Top 5: Unocoin layoffs, Live streaming edtech classes & more
How are they helping?

Cognizant’s outgoing CEO Francisco D’Souza said he will working with a small group of startup companies “to help them realise their own version of the American Dream”. Ganesh Natarajan is investing in startups through his venture, 5F World, after moving out of Zensar three years ago. He is also on the board of three companies where he works with the CEO and the senior leadership to execute a strategy that includes help with mergers and acquisitions.

Former iGate CEO Phaneesh Murthy spends over half his time working with boards or CEOs through his venture Primentor Inc. Read more.



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