In today brief we have Ola securing $50 million, Amazon doubling seller base, Uber CEO’s unclear future & more stories.

1. Ola secures $50m from NY hedge fund

India’s largest taxi aggregator Ola has continued its fundraising momentum, adding hedge fund Tekne Capital Management to its growing set of investors.

The New York-based investment firm has infused less than $50 million in the company as part of its ongoing round, which has also seen participation from Ratan Tata’s venture fund RNT Capital Advisors and US hedge fund Falcon Edge. The funding momentum comes after Ola decided to raise capital at a lower valuation of $3 billion, from $4.5-5 billion in 2015, from SoftBank in November last year.

2. Offline stores get a spot on Paytm Mall

Online retailer Paytm Mall, backed by China’s Alibaba, has launched an online-to-offline (O2O) commerce platform catering to organised retail players, small merchants and brands.

The QR-code-based platform allows these offline stores to create an online presence and catalogue that will enable consumers to buy from the stores directly. The Paytm Mall QR code, which will be installed in these stores and is different from the payment-based QR code channel, will also help customers order products which are out of stock online.

3. Uber Board To Diminish CEO Travis Kalanick’s Role Post His Return

After a year rocked with scandals and downward news spirals, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has stated that he will take an indefinite leave of absence to grieve for his mother – who died last month – as well as to become a better leader.

After months of issues and scandals, while Travis Kalanick signs off the letter with “see you soon”, however, he might have a diminished role when he comes back. Yesterday, the Uber board has accepted all recommendations given by the Former Attorney General Eric Holder and his law partner Tammy Albarrán, who undertook an investigation of the company’s workplace practices and offer remedies. One of the major recommendations includes “reallocating the responsibilities” of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and increasing the profile of Uber’s head of diversity Bernard Coleman.

4. Ecommerce Enabler Shopmatic Secures $5.7 Mn Funding

Ecommerce enabler Shopmatic has raised about $5.7 Mn in Series AA funding round led by tech focussed VC firm ACP Pte Ltd. The round also saw participation from Singapore-based fund Spring Seeds Capital Pte Ltd.

As a part of the funding round, Sameer Narula, Managing Partner, ACP, is joining Shopmatic’s board. Shopmatic was launched in December 2014 by three Paypal veterans – Yen Ti Lim, Anurag Avula and Kris Chen. In 2015, it raised $1.5 Mn from undisclosed investors.

5. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative just invested $5 million in a startup that helps teachers buy homes

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s $45 billion project, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, has invested $5 million in the Y Combinator startup Landed. The company helps educators buy property by fronting up to half of a home’s down payment.

What Landed offers is not exactly a loan—there are no monthly fees or interest. Instead, Landed makes money when the house is sold or refinanced and owners share up to 25% of the appreciation or depreciation.

6. Apple focusing on autonomous car system, says CEO Tim Cook

After years toiling away in secret on its car project, Apple Inc. chief executive officer Tim Cook has for the first time laid out exactly what the company is up to in the automotive market: It’s concentrating on self-driving technology.

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” Cook said in a 5 June interview on Bloomberg Television that amounted to his most detailed comments yet on Apple’s automotive plans. “It’s a core technology that we view as very important.” He likened the effort to “the mother of all AI (artificial intelligence) projects,” saying it’s “probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on.”

7. Amazon India doubles seller base in less than a year

E-commerce marketplace Amazon India has now on-boarded two lakh sellers on its platform, a company statement said.

The company claims to have achieved this number early this month, when it registered jewellery seller BnJ on the platform. Amazon also said it achieved this in less than a year, after reaching the 1-lakh mark in July 2016.

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Biplab Ghosh

Biplab lives his life around technology and is particularly keen to explore the intersection of technology and human behaviour. Always looking for new ideas, and ways that can make things simpler. He is a geek with the flair for travel and has great passion for music and theatres.

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