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Deals RoundUp: ICICI Bank, Pi Ventures, AskMe, nhance, Zerodha, Digio, Scale Ventures, Guerrilla Ventures, Speridian Technologies, Sesame Software, Quikr India, Brand Capital, Wipro & Intsights

Wipro has acquired minority stake in Israeli cyber security company, Intsights Cyber Intelligence for an amount of $1.5 million.


ICICI Bank Introduces ‘iMobile SmartKeys’, To Make Transactions As Easy As Texting

ICICI Bank has unveiled Asia’s first payment service using a smartphone keyboard. Christened ‘iMobile SmartKeys’, which enables ‘iMobile’ users to make quick and secure payments on any mobile application including chat, messenger, email, games or search browser without having to exit their current application in their smartphone. This is in lieu of customers having to switch tabs or applications within their smartphone to access ‘iMobile’. It provides the convenience of completing transactions in lesser steps than earlier, thereby reducing the transaction time.

The ‘iMobile SmartKeys’ solution is developed by one of the winners at the ‘ICICI Appathon’, the country’s largest virtual mobile app development challenge. Using ‘iMobile SmartKeys’, customers can transfer money to their registered beneficiaries, pay their utility bills as well as recharge their mobile numbers, which are classified as ‘Favourites’ in their iMobile app. They can access the ‘iMobile SmartKeys’ by long pressing the ‘globe icon’ on their smartphone keyboard while they are chatting, gaming, browsing the internet or even sending mails. This allows them to make payments without having to exit the current application and launching another tab. Available currently for iOS phones, this innovative feature will soon be made available on the Android Operating Systems (OS) as well. In phones with Android OS, customers can simply shake the phone while they are on any application screen to change the keyboard to ‘Smartkeys’.

Pi Ventures Plans to Raise $29M For Its First Fund

Pi Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, is looking to raise around $29 million for its first fund, to make investment in startups across artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT). The fund has raised commitments from institutional investors and entrepreneurs like Sanjeev Bikchandani, founder of InfoEdge India Ltd, the parent company of, and the founders of Sling Media Inc. The fund is likely to become operational in another couple of months and it will look to invest in around 20 startups, making very early-stage bets in companies and follow-on investments till the series A stage, as reported by LiveMint.

AskMe Shuts Down, Lays Off All the Employees

Gurgaon-based consumer Internet search platform AskMe has shut down its operations and has laid off its remaining staff. Astro Holdings, its principal investor which holds 98.5% stake in AskMe Group, refused to participate in the next round of funding and also didn’t do the MBO (management buy out), which was on the cards. As per NextBigWhat report, Astro earlier skipped the company’s board meeting widening the differences with the minority shareholders. Minority shareholders have also alleged that Astro hasn’t cleared dues of Rs 300 crore. The site is still alive but it is not accepting any new orders.

nhance, a Personalized Mobile Learning Platform for Professionals, Gets Seed Funding

nhance, a personalized mobile learning platform for professionals in emerging markets, has raised seed funding of $300k earlier this year from education entrepreneur and investor, Mohan Lakhamraju.

Launched in 2015 and led by graduates from Wharton and INSEAD - Indranil Sarkar and Anant Gupta, nhance’s mission is to bridge the delivery gap between content platforms and learners by making learning easy, engaging and effective. nhance does this through its proprietary mobile learning platform, which transforms learning content into games and delivers interactive, bite-­‐sized experiences to users’ on their smartphones. This enables professionals to learn a little every day and make learning a continuous daily habit. nhance currently focuses on business skills which are essential to all early career professionals working in or looking to work in business roles.

Online Discount Firm Zerodha Invests $375K in Signature-enabling Platform Digio

Online discount firm Zerodha has invested $375K in tech-based digital signature-enabling platform Digio. The investment was made through Zerodha’s in-house incubator and fund Rainmatter.

The company aims to utilize the raised funding for hiring purposes and for operational activities over the next 12-14 months.

Launched in July 2016 by Sanket Nayak and Abhinav Parashar, Digio claims to be the first document e-signing platform built atop Aadhar, which enables Indian businesses and consumers to gain access to digital signatures for documents.

Scale Ventures Acquires the Portfolio of Delhi Based Guerrilla Ventures

Delhi-based venture capital firm Scale Ventures has acquired the portfolio of Delhi-based tech-focussed early stage fund Guerrilla Ventures. Ritesh Malik, founder of Guerrilla Ventures will be joining the board of Scale as part of the acquisition. Malik, who is also the founder of co-working space Innov8, will also be mentoring the portfolio companies, the company said in a statement to DealStreetAsia. Launched in 2013, Guerilla Ventures has funded over 26 startups, including Flip, Wigzo and MyChildApp, and has exited from seven startups.

US-based Speridian Technologies Buys Majority Stake in Kerala-based Sesame Software

Speridian Technologies, a US based global IT firm, has invested an undisclosed amount of funding in Kerala-based financial technology solutions provider Sesame Software in lieu of majority stake. The other terms and conditions of the deal are still undisclosed. “This acquisition adds to our capacity and geographic presence and enables us to deliver exceptional service to our customers and prospects,” Vinod VC, founder and MD, Sesame Solutions said. It will also boost Speridian’s growth plans for the coming years, by enabling their foray into additional service verticals, reported DealStreetAsia.

Quikr India raises $20M from Brand Capital

Online classifieds firm Quikr India Pvt. Ltd has raised around Rs.130 crore from Brand Capital, the private treaty arm of media company Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL), as reported by DealStreetAsia.

With the investment in Quikr, BCCL will soon have an investment in three big home-grown consumer internet startups. The company is in advanced talks to pick up a small stake in Flipkart Ltd for Rs.500 crore and had picked up a stake in Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd) in February this year, Mint reported on 4 June.

Wipro Buys Minority Stake in Israeli Cyber Cyber Security Firm Intsights

Wipro has acquired minority stake in Israeli cyber security company, Intsights Cyber Intelligence for an amount of $1.5 million. Intsights is an early-stage company founded in 2015, it offers a threat intelligence driven security platform employing cyber intelligence, rapid mitigation and one-click remediation. The transaction is expected to be completed by August 31, 2016.

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