Tata Neu misses first-month sales target; MeitY plans online gaming rules & More Latest News

 

After several delays, Tata Digital’s ‘super app’ Neu was launched on April 7 to coincide with the IPL, of which the Tata group was the title sponsor. Despite a marketing blitzkrieg, Tata Neu missed its first-month sales target by $50-70 million.

Also in this letter:
■ MeitY plans egaming policy to help firms grow, play by rules
■ Platforms can set up their own appeals body: Chandrasekhar
■ PolicyBazaar stock falls over 11% as founder sells shares in bulk


Tata Neu misses first-month sales target

tata

Tata Digital, which launched its super app Tata Neu during the Indian Premier League (IPL), is aiming to clock gross sales of around $2-2.5 billion in the first year, people briefed on the matter said.

Missed target: In its first month of operations since launching the app, Tata Neu has clocked gross sales in the range $120-$150 million, sources said.

This is lower than the internal target of $200 million in gross merchandise (GMV) value per month, the people added.

We reported in April that the Tata group’s top brass including Tata Sons executive chairman N Chandrasekaran and Tata Digital president Mukesh Bansal had talks with their top lieutenants on smoothening the shopping experience on the app, which was launched after multiple delays.

Diwali plans: Another person said Tata Neu will aggressively ramp up in time for the Diwali sales, during which large e-tailers such as Amazon and Flipkart generate a significant chunk of their annual sales.

This will be the first major festive sale for Tata Digital.

Story so far: According to data sourced from App Annie, Tata Neu was downloaded more than 11 million times in April and May across Apple’s and Google’s app stores. The company had earlier said the app was downloaded 2.2 million times within a week of launch.

tata neu

“It is a good start but considering the size and scale of the market I would have liked to see 40-50 million downloads. That could have been considered a much more successful number,” said Ashutosh Sharma, director of market research firm Forrester.


MeitY plans egaming policy to help firms grow, play by rules

online gaming

The government is developing a national framework for online gaming platforms, sources in the know told us. This is aimed at ensuring that these platforms are “effectively regulated” without impeding their growth, they added.

Driving the news: On Tuesday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology held a meeting with nearly 40 online gaming platforms, including Galactus Funware Technology, which owns Mobile Premier League; Sporta Technologies, which owns Dream11; Nazara Technologies and others, as well as representative trade bodies such as the All India Gaming Federation.

“The idea is to support and facilitate the growth and expansion of all gaming platforms while also effectively regulating them. However, the regulations should not impede their growth,” a senior government official said.

Concerns: At the meeting, gaming platforms raised concerns about various regulations currently in place or being proposed by state governments. They sought a central regulatory framework that would be “stable and predictable” so that there are no sudden shocks to the industry.

“One of the major concerns raised in the meeting was the debate on skill versus chance. Most gaming platforms said that there were no uniform regulations or regulatory bodies which could decide on the issue. They also requested for changes to be made to the Gambling Act so that there is a clear interpretation of the law,” another official said.

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Platforms can set up their own appeals body, says MoS Chandrasekhar

Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Social media intermediaries and internet platforms can set up their own self-regulated grievance appellate body in place of a government-backed committee, according to minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who said the centre is “open to such an idea.”

He said the government had to introduce the idea of a grievance appellate committee in its draft amendment to the Information Technology Rules 2021 – released on Monday – as citizens currently don’t have a way to appeal against the decisions of social media intermediaries and other large tech platforms.

“It is our thinking that if the industry and these platforms come up with their own self-regulatory, self-redressal appellate mechanism, we are open to it. Today there is nothing,” Chandrasekhar told a select media briefing on Tuesday.

He added that any such industry-led committee could not be a replacement for the courts but could provide users with an additional avenue for grievance redressal.

Industry pushback: Despite the government’s assurance that there will be ample public consultation before the final rules are put in place, it is yet to placate several technology policies lobbies, some of which are calling for proposed changes to be withdrawn.

“MeitY will essentially be able to appoint itself to sit on top of social media platforms & decide what millions of Indians can or cannot say on their Facebook or Twitter profiles. This is being done with no transparency or accountability measures built into the Rules,” Internet Freedom Foundation, a tech policy, and cybersecurity group said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday.

“For these (& several other reasons), we reiterate that @GoI_MeitY must withdraw the Rules in their entirety. The proposed amendment doesn’t address existing concerns,” it stated.


PolicyBazaar stock falls over 11% as founder sells shares on open market

yashish

Shares of PolicyBazaar parent firm PB Fintech plunged 11.5% to close at Rs 582.90 apiece on Tuesday, 60% below its all-time high of Rs 1,470 in November. This was after the company informed stock exchanges late on Monday that cofounder Yashish Dahiya would sell up to 3.77 million shares on the open market.

Dahiya plans to sell the shares via bulk deals, PB Fintech said in the regulatory filing.

On Tuesday, Dahiya sold 3.769 million shares at Rs 610.24 apiece, for a total of Rs 230 crore, in a bulk deal on the NSE. Following the transaction, his stake fell from 24.5 million shares (5.45%) to 20.7 million shares (4.61%).

He will use the proceeds to pay current and future taxes, the company had said in the exchange filings. In February, Alok Bansal, another cofounder of PB Fintech, also sold 2.85 million shares for Rs 236 crore.


ETtech Done Deals

physicswallah

  • Physics Wallah, a bootstrapped online education startup, has raised $100 million at a valuation of $1.1 billion in its maiden funding round led by WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures. This makes it the 16th startup to enter India’s unicorn club this year, where it joins fellow edtech companies Byju’s, Unacademy, Eruditus, Vedantu, UpGrad and Lead School.

TWEET OF THE DAY


Rupeek lays off 200 employees amid funding slowdown

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layoff

Gold loans provider Rupeek is the latest startup to lay off employees in what has been a turbulent 2022.

Driving the news: Sources told us the company has sacked almost 200 employees (10-15% of its workforce) as it looks to cut costs.

Rupeek’s founder and chief executive Sumit Maniyar announced the layoffs in a note to In a note to employees on Tuesday morning.

“Globally, all the emerging markets including India are facing an extraordinary situation that has been caused by rising inflation, a hike in US treasury rates, and the Russia-Ukraine war. The subdued macro economic environment has compelled us to re-calibrate our strategy, relook at our costs and make our organisation structure leaner, so as to support our sustenance and growth,” Maniyar said in the note.

Founded in 2015, Rupeek provides gold loans at consumers’ doorsteps. It operates in more than 35 cities, and claims to have disbursed loans worth over Rs 6,500 crore since inception.

The company raised $34 million in January in a round led by Lightbox. Other investors include GGV Capital, Binny Bansal and Bertelsmann India Investments.

Several prominent venture capital firms including Beenext, Sequoia and Y Combinator have warned their portfolio founders to prepare themselves for a ‘funding winter’.

startups

Layoffs: Other Indian startups that have laid off workers this year include edtech firms Unacademy, Vedantu, Lido Learning, Frontrow; gaming startup Mobile Premier League; social commerce startup Meesho; healthcare platform Mfine; and car retailer Cars24.


Staffing firms win big amid record attrition

Hiring

Companies the world over may be battling unprecedented attrition levels but staffing services providers are directly benefiting from this.

What’s happening? Two of India’s largest staffing firms — Quess Corp and Teamlease Services – say their double-digit revenue growth will continue in this fiscal year after they posted record numbers in the previous one.

“The revenue growth is sustainable as we have not seen any slowdown so far in the April-June quarter. We are 30% higher in terms of open mandates compared to the same period last year,” Guruprasad Srinivasan, chief executive of Quess Corp told us.

“The ‘great resignation’ definitely contributes to our growth. Quess’ selection business under workforce management vertical now clocks business worth usually done in a year within a quarter,” he said.

The active users on Quess’ job portal Monster.com more than doubled in the year to 14.6 million. It has been adding one million users every 45 days, which is also another example of benefiting from the ‘great resignation’, said Srinivasan. Monster.com clocked sales worth Rs 104 crore in the previous fiscal year.


Other Top Stories By Our Reporters

Meesho sends legal notice to influencers: Ecommerce company Meesho said it has sent a legal notice to social media influencers and certain people in contact with them for allegedly running smear campaigns against the company.

CERT-In flags bugs in Chrome, Mozilla products: The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) has flagged vulnerabilities in older versions of Google’s Chrome OS and Mozilla’s Firefox browser which could allow hackers access to sensitive information.


Global Picks We Are Reading

■ Meet the YouTubers exposing the dark side of making video games (Washington Post)
■ Pakistan’s startup boom has triggered a ‘war for talent’ (Rest Of World)
■ A Long-Awaited Defense Against Data Leaks May Have Just Arrived (Wired)

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