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Deals RoundUp : Flyrobe, Sequoia Capital, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Eko, Monsanto, Forever 21, Happily Unmarried, Ola, Meru, Microsoft, Flipkart, Azim Premji, KIMS Hospitals, Practo and SpectraVR

Mumbai-based virtual reality content studio SpectraVR has raised an undisclosed amount as seed funding from US-based technology venture capital firm Rothenberg Ventures for its expansion plans.


Fashion rental platform Flyrobe raises seed funding from Sequoia, others

Online fashion rental platform Flyrobe has raised Rs 11.3 crore (around $1.7 million) in seed funding led by Sequoia Capital, regulatory filings show.
Snapdeal founders Rohit Bansal and Kunal Bahl, and FreeCharge founders Sandeep Tandon and Kunal Shah also invested in this round.

The deal was closed last year, according to VCCEdge, and an official announcement is expected to be made later this month.

When contacted, both the Sequoia spokesperson and the founder of Flyrobe, Shreya Mishra, declined to comment on the development.

Mumbai-based Flyrobe is an on-demand apparel rental platform that provides premium designer wear and branded outfitson rent. The nine-month-old company claims to have partnered with designer labels such as Outhouse, Masaba Gupta, Ritu Kumar and Shehla Khan.

Omapal Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs Flyrobe, was founded in September last year by IIT Bombay alumni Shreya Mishra, Pranay Surana and Tushar Saxena.

Supreme Court Slams Google, Microsoft and Yahoo for Showing Sex Determination Content

The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed search engines Google, Microsoft and Yahoo for showing sex determination contents on its websites and called on the Centre to come up with a memorandum to stop the ‘abuse’. The Apex Court also directed the government to hold a meeting with the major search engines and petitioners in the case.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra directed Modi government to take urgent steps to stop the search engine trio from hosting advertisements of kits for foetal gender determination, and displaying the addresses of foreign clinics that provide assistance in the act, which is an offence in India as quoted by India Today.

According to UNICEF, India has lost over two crore girls since 2007 to female foeticide. Since 1991, 80 per cent Indian districts have recorded an increasingly masculine sex ratio."Call your technical people. They (search engines) need to be controlled. They are violating the laws of India. It seems that they do not have any respect for the law of this country", an angry Justice Misra told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar.

Eko partners NPCI to allow Aadhaar-linked money transfers

Mobile-based fintech startup Eko partners with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch Aadhaar-based remittance service that will allow the former's 12.5 million customers to send and receive money in a hassle-free manner.

"Eko has successfully integrated with Aadhaar Based Remittance Service (ABRS) extended by NPCI," the fintech firm said in a release.

"With the advent of this association, customers will reap various benefits as transactions will be made independent of information like bank name, account number, IFSC code, etc. that are currently required for any financial transfers," it added, as reported by ET.

Eko also added that it is amongst the few wallet issuers or Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) issuers which provide this particular facility.

"The partnership with the Aadhaar system is certain to bring forth a revolution in offering hassle-free yet secure financial transactions to customers," said Abhishek Sinha, Co-founder and Chief.

Monsanto and Microsoft Announces Partnership to Invest in Agricultural Technology Startups

U.S. biotech company Monsanto and Microsoft announced on Monday a partnership to invest in agricultural technology startups in Brazil.

Monsanto will join a Brazilian investment fund with up to 300 million reais ($92 million), managed by Microsoft, evaluating ideas for new digital tools to be applied to agricultural production in the country, executives said.

Selected ideas will receive initial funding of up to 1.5 million reais ($459,000) for early development. Project owners will have the option to pay back the investment after three years or convert the money into equity as reported by TechTub.

“We want to foster new startups in the agricultural sector. There is a vast area for research and development,” Rodrigo Santos, head of Monsanto in Latin America, told reporters on the sidelines of the Global Agribusiness Forum (GAF 2016).

Aditya Birla Fashion To Acquire Forever 21 In India For $26 Million

Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL) on Tuesday (05 July) said it will acquire global clothing brand 'Forever 21' in the Indian market for $26 million (around Rs 175.52 crore).

"The company has today executed a business transfer agreement with Diana Retail and DLF Brands for acquisition of the business undertaking of Diana Retail... under the Forever 21 brand and also through e-commerce channel on a going concern basis, in the Indian market," ABFRL said in a BSE filing.

Diana Retail is the franchisee of Forever 21 brand in India.

Giving details of the transaction, the company said: "The transaction involved acquisition of the Forever 21 Undertaking of Diana Retail with effect from July 1 through a business transfer agreement not share transfer. The consideration for acquisition is $26 million".

In May this year, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL) announced that it will enter into a binding MoU with Forever 21 to acquire its online and offline rights for the Indian market.

Forever 21 is among the fastest growing fashion retailers in the world with a network of more than 700 stores worldwide. Its India operations reported a turnover of Rs 262 crore in 2015-16.

Happily Unmarried Raises $740K More from Naukri Parent Info Edge India Ltd.

Delhi-based Happily Unmarried Marketing Pvt Ltd, which owns and operates, has raised Rs. 5 crore from Info Edge (India) Ltd, which runs a slew of consumer internet properties such as Naukri, 99acres, Jeevansathi and Shiksha. Info Edge’s total investment in Happily Unmarried is now Rs 21.3 crore and it holds about 48% stake in the firm. With this funding round, Happily is valued at around Rs 72 crore ($10.5 million) given fresh issue of equity convertible securities in the latest transaction, as per VCCircle report.

Founded in 2003 by Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli — both alumni of Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad — Happily Unmarried designs and sells fun products through a hybrid model of offline and online retail. It has also entered mens grooming products business under its brand Ustraa.

After Ola, Now Meru Accuses Uber For Disrespecting Indian Laws

After Ola, New Delhi-based, radio taxi aggregator MeruCabs has now accused Uber in its recent blog post for breaking local laws and putting pressure on regulators to change the laws.

This was an attempt to confront Uber on the basis of the blog post by Bhavik Rathod, Uber’s general manager of South and West in India.

“Their play book globally is the same: First break the law – then use billions of dollars of funding to kill the competition through unrealistic and predatory pricing to consumers and massive incentives to drivers – then if regulators react to any violation of laws, create huge social media campaigns using the consumer base created though subsidized pricing to put pressure on regulators to change the laws,” Meru said in Blog Post.

Last month, Ola accused Uber India of flouting all norms, and doing business in India only for profit.

Meru also added, ““The law clearly mandates that All India Tourist Taxi Permit (AITP) cabs can’t be used for point to point service within a city. But does it matter? Uber actively encourages the drivers to buy an AITP car (to avoid local taxi regulation) and ply within city.”

The post also highlights the history of Uber pointing out how it is breaking rules since its entry into Indian markets in 2013.

“Reserve Bank of India mandated two factor authentication for all online payments way back in 2010. In 2013, a hugely funded company called Uber enters India with a payment system that does not adhere to 2FA and calls it a great technology innovation. This isn’t even some smart method of finding a loophole in the RBI guidelines but a blatant breach of the law of the land. RBI took almost a year to finally call their bluff and forcefully put a full stop to this violation,” as mentioned by Meru in the post.

Uber has also been accused for not paying service tax, putting diesel cabs on road (only CNG cabs are allowed since April 2001), not allotting taxi badges to drivers in Mumbai (which is mandatory as per local rules) and surge pricing during peak hours.

Microsoft Introduces ‘Skype Meetings’, a Free Standalone Video Conferencing Tool for SMBs

Microsoft has introduced free Skype Meetings—a new online meetings tool that provides small businesses with real-time audio and HD video conferencing. Skype Meetings includes collaboration features like the ability to share screens and content during meetings.

With Skype Meetings, you can quickly set up meetings and share a personalized URL that participants click to join the meeting. During the meeting, participants can IM, share their screen or PowerPoint presentation or use the laser pointer and whiteboard features to make it more engaging and productive. The meeting organizer also gets professional meeting controls such as the ability to mute the audience in order to be heard.

Flipkart Legal Head Rajinder Sharma Resigns After 10 Months of Service

Flipkart's legal head Rajinder Sharma has quit, just 10 months after joining Indian eCommerce firm. Sharma, who was reporting to Flipkart CEO Binny Bansal, had joined the Bengaluru-based company in September 2015.

Sharma, who has earlier worked with Samsung, Reliance ADAG, JSW Group and Tata Group, said he has yet to finalise his next move as a professional. "That's work in progress but not formalised. Will be so finalised next week for sure as I am travelling for two days," he told ET.

Azim Premji to Acquire KIMS Hospitals in $220M Deal

Tech billionaire Azim Premji is among the four shortlisted bidders to buy controlling shares in private healthcare chain KIMS Hospitals in a deal estimated at around $220 million (nearly Rs 1,400 crore), as reported by ET. Kerala-based KIMS operates 2,000 beds through a network of hospitals in the Middle East and southern India.

N M Rothschild is advising the existing foreign investors - Orbimed and Ascent Capital - on a secondary sale of shares, besides a fairly large primary capital infusion into the company. Private equity investors TPG Capital, India Value Fund and an entity backed by Singapore's Temasek Holdings are the other suitors in the fray.

Practo in Talks to Raise $50-60M at $600M Valuation

Healthcare startup Practo is in talks to raise a new round of funding of $50-60 million, at a valuation of over $600 million, as per ET report. US-based investment firm Thrive Capital, Russia’s ru-Net Holdings and existing investor Chinese online giant Tencent are in advanced negotiations with the company. A term sheet is still being hashed out and may take two more weeks to finalise.

The deal, when it is finalised, will mark the first Indian investment by Thrive Capital, founded in 2009 by 31-year-old Joshua Kushner.

SpectraVR Raises Undisclosed Amount of Seed Funding

Mumbai-based virtual reality content studio SpectraVR has raised an undisclosed amount as seed funding from US-based technology venture capital firm Rothenberg Ventures for its expansion plans.

The startup specialises in producing high-end, 360-degree videos and animated interactive virtual reality-based content. The funds raised will be used for product development, which includes creating VR-based games for brands, creating travel-oriented experiences, movies and other short-format content, as ET reported.

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