Karnataka blinks, allows app-based auto aggregators to charge 5% fee; ex-Nykaa CFO joins PayU India

The Karnataka government on Friday announced that it has decided to allow app-based aggregators to charge a convenience fee of 5% to customers who book autorickshaw rides through their platforms in Bengaluru.

Credit: Giphy

Also in this letter:
■ Ex-Nykaa CFO Arvind Agarwal joins PayU India
■ Elon Musk announces ‘amnesty’ for banned Twitter accounts
■ Apple makes $1,820 every second

Karnataka allows app-based auto aggregators to charge 5% convenience fee


App-based autorickshaw aggregators can now charge customers a 5% convenience fee. This is exclusive of the GST that aggregators charge on the overall fare.

Forthcoming hearing: The state government took the decision ahead of its deadline to file an affidavit before the high court on Friday. The case will be heard by Justice CM Poonacha on Monday.

Recently, transport secretary NV Prasad and transport commissioner SN Siddaramappa met chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and chief secretary Vandita Sharma on the matter.

Court order: The court is hearing writ petitions filed by Uber and Ola challenging an October 6 order of the transport department asking them to stop allowing auto rides to be booked on their apps in Bengaluru. The order followed media reports that said the aggregators were charging minimum fares of as much as Rs 100. The state had capped the base fare at Rs 30.

The aggregators have continued to accept bookings for autorickshaw rides on the basis of an October 14 interim order of the high court by Justice MG Shukure Kamal, which capped the convenience fee at 10%, exclusive of GST.

Ex-Nykaa CFO Arvind Agarwal joins PayU India

Former Nykaa CFO Arvind Agarwal to take over as chief financial officer of PayU India

PayU has appointed former finance chief of Nykaa Arvind Agarwal as the chief financial officer for PayU India Payments, replacing current CFO Maneesh Goel, who is set to leave the company. Agarwal’s last day at Nykaa was on Friday.

Who is Agarwal? Arvind Agarwal joined Nykaa in 2020 from Amazon India, where he was financial planning and analysis leader for almost three years. At Nykaa, Agarwal oversaw the bumper IPO of the omnichannel beauty retailer in October 2021. Prior to Amazon, he worked in the telecom sector with Vodafone India for more than five years and Tata Teleservices for over two years, before which he had several stints at various telecom companies. He started his career as a finance executive with the Ahmedabad-based Adani Group.

What happened at Nykaa? The timing of Agarwal’s departure from Nykaa had raised eyebrows, with the announcement coming just a few weeks after the company’s bonus shares issue. That move has come under the regulatory spotlight of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), according to a report by online news site Moneycontrol. “Arvind deserves kudos for the critical role he has played in Nykaa’s emergence as a listed and profitable start-up. While we do regret losing him, we are conscious of his personal dreams, and wish him all the luck,” Falguni Nayar, Nykaa CEO and Chairperson had said announcing Agarwal’s resignation.

What next? Agarwal will join PayU India, which is the fintech and payments arm of Dutch internet giant Prosus, starting next week. India is the largest payments market for Prosus and PayU has been eyeing a stronger foothold in the sector. Earlier this year, Prosus scrapped its $4.7 billion deal to acquire payments company BillDesk through PayU India, a year after it was announced. If it had gone through, the acquisition would have been the second-largest M&A deal in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Prosus results: Declaring its April-September financials earlier this week, Prosus had said that its consolidated payments and fintech revenue grew 57% to $412 million.

In India, Prosus’ largest payments market, the company’s overall total payment value (TPV) grew 59% to $28 billion, while revenue increased 48% to $183 million.

Elon Musk announces ‘amnesty’ for banned Twitter accounts

Elon Musk puts Twitter Blue on hold, to start hiring for key roles

A day after posting a Twitter poll on whether the microblogging platform should offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, owner Elon Musk said that many previously suspended users would be allowed back on the platform. A landslide of users responded to the informal poll in favour of the move.

Yes and Yes: Of 3.16 million respondents to Musk’s Wednesday poll question, 72.4% said Twitter should allow suspended accounts back on Twitter as long as they have not broken laws or engaged in “egregious spam”.

Musk says: Responding to the poll, Musk tweeted: “The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week.”

“Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” he added, a Latin adage that translates to “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.

Notably, former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated recently after a narrow majority of respondents supported the move.

Trump has, however, said that he had no interest in returning to Twitter. He was banned from the platform early last year for inciting the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters in a bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, European Union Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders has said that Twitter’s decision to shut its Brussels office and the laying off of thousands of employees are drawing concerns about whether the company can comply with tough new EU rules against illegal online content.

Reynders, who met with Twitter representatives at the social media platform’s European headquarters in Dublin, sought clarifications from the company, a European Commission official told Reuters.

Infographic insight: Apple makes $1,820 every second


iPhone maker Apple makes a staggering $1,820 (over Rs 1.48 lakh) per second, making the phone maker the world’s most profitable company — generating about $157 million (more than Rs 1,282 crore) a day.

In the second spot, Microsoft makes about $1,404 (Rs 1.14 lakh) per second, while Berkshire Hathaway makes $1,348 (about Rs 1.10 lakh) a second.

Alphabet (the parent company of Google) also draws in more than a thousand dollars each second ($1,277), according to new research by Tipalti, an accounting software financial technology business. Meta Platforms fellow below that bar, generating $924 in profit every second.

How much money world's biggest companies generate every second_Graphic_ETTECH

ETtech Deals Digest: The moment of truth cometh: Amid ‘Tech Winter’, startups set to face turmoil

Startup Fund

Amid the ongoing tech winter, funding taps for Indian startups are running dry. While global macroeconomic headwinds and rising interest rates are making investors cautious about taking risks with new businesses, geopolitical volatility and rising energy prices have made matters worse.

Last week, speaking at the Economic Times Startup Awards 2022, Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said Indian startups will go through a lot of turmoil and volatility over the next 12-18 months, as the funding crunch will start to affect new-age tech companies only by the early part of next year.

“It is going to be tough next year. I think a lot of people will hit the market (for fundraising) between April and June next year. That’s probably the moment of truth for all of us in the ecosystem,” Krishnamurthy added.

With funding continuing to be scarce, Indian startups are looking at debt and convertible notes as alternatives to raise money. B2B startup Udaan announced raising $35 million through debt and convertible notes this week and led the funding charts.

Here is a look at all the startups that raised money in funding this week.

Deals Digest

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Megha Mishra in Mumbai and Siddharth Sharma in Bengaluru. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.

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