Also in the letter:
■ Krithivasan bonds with TCS rank in Chandra-like style
■ Dunzo likely to get $35-million lifeline
■ Big Tech gets a chance to show age-gating plans
ET Startup Awards 2023 stars to be feted on October 7
In a star-studded ceremony in Bengaluru, the ninth edition of The Economic Times Startup Awards (ETSA) will be held on October 7 to crown this year’s winners across eight categories.
The most coveted recognition for the country’s entrepreneurial talent, ETSA will host top policymakers, entrepreneurs, company executives and investors in an invite-only gathering of 350 guests.
Who are the winners?
- OfBusiness, a business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce platform, won the top honours as the Startup of the Year.
- Jishnu Bhatacharjee, MD of Nexus Venture Partners, won the Midas Touch Award for Best Investor.
- The Bootstrap Champ award went to online gaming company Gameberry Labs, while the Top Innovator prize was bagged by biotech startup String Bio.
- ZopSmart, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform servicing companies in the retail sector, won the Comeback Kid award, while FIA Global won in the Social Enterprise category.
- Digantara Technologies, a space situational awareness company – started on a campus – was adjudged the Best-on-Campus, while Heads Up for Tails founder Rashi Narang won the Woman Ahead prize.
ETSA 2023: Financial security for the poor is Fia Global’s next target
When Seema Prem founded Fia Global, which won the ETSA 2023 award for Social Enterprise, over a decade ago to bring banking services to India’s poor, she was unaware of the challenges that awaited her.
She quickly realised that financial inclusion was not about technology alone, but also about people’s confidence in Indian banks. “People were impacted by the chitfund scams back then, so they would deposit money in the morning and withdraw in the evening due to the fear of losing their hard-earned savings,” Prem told ET.
But slowly, things began to change, and eventually, the government’s Jan Dhan Scheme took banking to remote areas. Fia Global and other players rode that wave. What’s next for Fia Global? Read here.
DGGI raises Rs 55,000-crore tax demand from Dream11, other gaming companies
The Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) has sent out a dozen pre-show cause notices to online real money gaming (RMG) companies over goods and services tax dues of about Rs 55,000 crore, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Affected companies: These include a GST notice of about Rs 25,000 crore to fantasy platform Dream 11, possibly the largest indirect tax notice ever served in the country, they said. Industry sources add that this figure might even touch one lakh crore if pan-India figures are calculated.
The other companies which have been served the pre-show cause notices include Play Games24x7 Pvt Ltd and its affiliates and Head Digital Works Pvt Ltd, said the people, who did not wish to be identified.
Details: The notices were issued after the recent change in GST rates for real money games increased the levy to 28% on the total bet placed at entry level of each gaming session on RMG platforms.
According to industry sources, Dream11 has moved the Bombay High Court against the pre-show cause notice issued to it.
Quote, unquote: “While Dream11 has been served a pre-show cause of over Rs 25,000 crore on Monday, a similar notice seeking GST dues of Rs 20,000 crore has been issued to Play Games24x7 and its affiliates, including RummyCircle and My 11 Circle. In the case of Head Digital Works a pre-show cause notice raising a demand of over Rs 5,000 crore has been served,” one of the persons told ET.
Other notices: The pre-show cause notice sent to Dream11 surpasses the Rs 21,000 crore notice sent to Gameskraft, which has contested the levy in the Supreme Court.
Krithivasan bonds with TCS rank in Chandra-like style
K Krithivasan, the CEO of TCS who assumed his role in June this year, has hit the ground running to execute the board’s tough customer-centricity mandate, conducting roadshows across the country and abroad to meet key clients, taking personal feedback from employees and building a more engaging organisational culture, say insiders.
Pivot to AI: Top officials close to the development said Krithivasan is preparing TCS to pivot towards artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure future readiness. This includes pushing innovation and incubation of start-up ideas, upskilling and cross-skilling employees with AI-based tools to leverage the potential arising from AI deployment in businesses.
Restructuring: Krithivasan is said to be turning back TCS’s organizational culture to that which existed during the tenure of Chairman N Chandrasekaran, who is mentoring him closely and keen that TCS become the employer of choice soon. Two months after taking over at TCS, Krithivasan initiated a restructuring exercise based on industry verticals where about 200 industry service units (ISUs) started reporting to the seven business groups within the company.
More details: Reviews are conducted more openly, frequently, and not selectively, which is seen similar to the culture during Chandrasekaran’s time as CEO, insiders said. Krithivasan has been meeting top employees across the country personally to get on-ground feedback and encourage a culture of camaraderie and collaboration.
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Accel SeedtoScale Specials: Timeless lessons by cofounder Jim Swartz
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As Jim Swartz decodes persistence, patience and the philosophy of the prepared mind, tune in to learn from his exceptional playbook of mentoring visionary startup founders to build lasting businesses of the future. Watch the episode to catch snippets of his extraordinary story as he stresses on the values that it takes to build rock-solid business foundations.
Dunzo may raise only $35 million from Reliance, Google, others, strict riders likely
Kabeer Biswas, CEO, Dunzo
Cash-strapped Dunzo may be able to raise $30-35 million in funding, but with strings attached. The fundraise will come with onerous terms that are loaded in favour of existing investors, sources told ET.
Driving the news: Reliance Retail, which owns nearly 26% in Dunzo, along with Google, Lightrock and DS Group, is among the existing investors likely to participate in the funding round. A board meeting is expected to be held at the end of the week to approve the funding. Sources said the company’s priority has been to secure new cash to clear existing dues of employees and vendors.
Conditions apply: Dunzo has proposed to reduce its burn to $300,000 a month, with a team of just around 200. Going forward, it will focus on the B2B vertical, Dunzo Merchant Services, which will account for 70-80% of its business, with the rest being consumer-focused. Grocery delivery will only take place through third-party stores.
Big Tech gets a chance to show age-gating plans
The government has given big technology companies such as Meta and Google a chance to present their proposals on how to implement the age-gating provision for children under the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act, 2023, minister of state for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar told ET, a week after he held an industry consultation.
Transition: While big tech companies have six months to comply with the new law, the clause on obtaining parental consent for minors may get an extended transition window for implementation, “subject to all of us agreeing on what is the way to do it,” the minister told ET.
What’s the law? The data protection law, notified on August 11, mandates that platforms obtain parental consent to process data of children – defined as those below 18 years of age.
Digital India Bill out for discussion soon, says official
The draft of the Digital India Bill is prepared and will soon be released for consultation, according to a top official speaking to ET. The Digital India Bill is set to replace the 23-year-old IT Act and is expected to be introduced in the later part of the Winter Session of Parliament, the official confirmed.
The government is gearing up for the third major overhaul of digital laws, following the Digital Personal Data Protection Act and the Telecom Bill. The much awaited draft is expected to also contain provisions to govern emerging technologies.
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Rahul Khanna, managing partner, Trifecta Capital
Trifecta Capital announces final close of third venture debt fund at Rs 1,777 crore: With this closing, Trifecta Capital has raised nearly Rs 5,000 crore, spanning three venture debt funds and one growth equity fund in the last eight years.
AI, machine learning key for businesses’ short-term goals: KPMG report | Artificial Intelligence (AI), including generative AI, and machine learning will be the most important technologies for businesses to fulfill their short-term ambitions, according to a report by KPMG.
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