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India's No. 1 Digital Wallet Paytm Raises $1.4B from SoftBank at $7B Valuation

India's No. 1 Digital Wallet Paytm Raises $1.4B from SoftBank at $7B Valuation

SoftBank Group Corp. (TYO: 9984), which will join Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) as a major shareholder and will take a seat on the board of Paytm, One97’s flagship brand and India’s largest digital payments platform. The deal reportedly brought Paytm’s valuation to about $7 billion. Last year, Paytm raised $60 million from Taiwanese chip maker MediaTek at a $5 billion valuation. Paytm is said to have 220 million wallet users and 5 million merchants of its e-commerce platform. “This investment by Softbank and support of the incredible entrepreneur Masa Son is a great endorsement of our team’s execution and vision. We believe we have a great opportunity to bring financial inclusion to half a billion Indians,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm. “Paytm plans to invest 10,000 crore over the next three to five years towards its commitment to enabling half a billion Indians to join the mainstream economy.” “In line with the Indian government’s vision to promote digital inclusion, we are committed to transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of Indian consumers and merchants by providing them digital access to a broad array of financial services, including mobile payments,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group. Paytm also said that it has received final regulatory approval for its mobile-first Paytm Payments Bank, which is set to begin operations later this month. “India has presented us with the world’s largest opportunity in terms of financial services and we are confident its market will grow exponentially over the next decade,” said Eric Jing, CEO of Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial. We are proud to be Paytm’s strategic partner and we will continue to extend our tech know-how to support Paytm’s growth in the country. We welcome SoftBank to a great ride together to provide equal access to financial services in India, Headquartered in New Delhi, One97 has more than 4,500 employees with regional offices in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata, and a global presence in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The company’s backers include Alibaba Group, Ant Financial (AliPay), SAIF Partners, Mediatek, Sapphire Venture and Silicon Valley Bank. SoftBank is a global technology player that aspires to drive the information revolution. The SoftBank Group holding company owns a global portfolio of companies, including advanced telecommunications, internet services, AI, smart robotics, IoT and clean energy technology providers. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm.]]>

Snapchat Said to Acquire Israeli AR Startup Cimagine Media for $40M

Snapchat Said to Acquire Israeli AR Startup Cimagine Media for $40M

Startup Nation. Cimagine was founded in 2012 by Yonmi Nevi (CEO), Nir Daube (VP Prodduct) and Ozi Egri (VP R&D), bringing together a team with expertise in computer vision, real-time image processing, mobile development, international marketing and business development, from leading technology companies such as Rafael Defense Systems, HP, IBM, Dassault Systemes, P&G, Amdocs and ECI Telecom. With further support from a multi-disciplinary advisory board in the fields of retail, architecture, user experience and technology, Cimagine says it is taking augmented reality (AR) in commerce to the next level. Cimagine is said to have launched the world’s largest implementation of AR in retail to date with Shop Direct, the largest global brand AR deployment with TCCC and the world’s first augmented showroom. Cimagine has been featured by the BBC, CNBC, Wired, and NRF, and was designated as one of Israel’s most promising and notable startups by Inc, Microsoft, and Forbes. Cimagine is headquartered in Israel with a global presence in the UK, USA and Australia. Cimagine has developed the most solid AR engine available today. Its patent-pending markerless technology automatically scans and identifies surfaces in scenes captured by a user’s mobile or wearable device camera and overlays life-like 3D images of products onto real-time video. Cimagine brings intuitive AR to commerce and to enterprise through a markerless solution that is launched at the click of a button. Unlike other solutions, Cimagine’s AR engine does not require the user to print and place a reference marker in order to identify surfaces and estimate scale. By combining information from a mobile device’s internal sensors with deep image processing and applying unique computer vision algorithms, Cimagine embeds 3D objects realistically into live video scenes, anchoring them to their position. Virtual products do not drift while the user moves around a room, thereby allowing users to view items from all angles and distances in order to make informed buying decisions. Cimagine’s proprietary rendering engine supports a high poly-count of 3D assets with textures that are ten times higher than the industry standard. This allows customers to experience life-like 3D product representations that are rendered in real-time at 30fps, the industry’s highest live video rate. Products appear life-like and to scale, so customers can simply and easily see if items fit their homes and offices from different angles and perspectives. The company’s platform is delivered as a cloud-based SaaS solution. Snapchat is a photo messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to recipients. The company was founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, when they were students at Stanford University. Snapchsat is said to have raised a total of $2.65 billion in venture funding from investors including Alibaba, Saudi Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding, Yahoo, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tencent, Benchmark, Fidelity Investments, General Atlantic, IVP, and others. In August, Snapchat acquired San Francisco-based startup Vurb, a card-based contextual search engine app for Apple and Android devices, for $110 million, as previously reported by ExitHub. In March, Snapchat agreed to acquire Bitstrips Inc., a Toronto-based maker of personalized emojis known as bitmojis, for $100 million, and in June it acquired Obvious engineering.]]>

Leading Chinese Travel Agency Ctrip to Acquire Scottish Travel Site Skyscanner for $1.75B

Leading Chinese Travel Agency Ctrip to Acquire Scottish Travel Site Skyscanner for $1.75B

in January 2016 Skyscanner had raised a $192 million funding round at a $1.6 billion valuation (double its value since its previous funding round in October 2013), from five investors including UK investment manager Artemis; Scottish investment group Baillie Gifford; the sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Malaysia, Khazanah Nasional Berhad; European private equity firm Vitruvian Partners; and Yahoo! Japan, which was already engaged in a joint venture with Skyscanner. “Skyscanner is one of the largest travel search platforms in the world,” said James Jianzhang Liang, co-founder and executive chairman of Ctrip. “We are excited to welcome Skyscanner into the Ctrip group.” “Ctrip is the clear market leader in China and a company we can learn a huge amount from,” said Gareth Williams, co-founder and chief executive of Skyscanner. “Ctrip and Skyscanner share a common view – that organizing travel has a long way to go to being solved. To do so requires powerful technology and a traveler-first approach.” In late August, Ctrip and General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm based in New York with $19.6 billion in assets under management, created a strategic partnership with Ocean Link and its affiliate Ocean Management, which last month announced the acquisition of Beijing-based Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd (NASDAQ: QUNR), China’s leading mobile and online travel platform, in a $4.44 billion going private merger deal. Ctrip is said to already own a 45% interest in Qunar, as a result of a share swap with giant Baidu last year. China’s tourism sector has grown steadily over the past decade as Chinese nationals increase their travel both in and out of the country. According to data released by the China National Tourism Administration earlier this year, from 2014 to 2015, the total number of Chinese residents travelling domestically rose 10.5% to 4 billion, while the total number of Chinese residents travelling internationally rose 12% to 120 million. In addition, the total number of Chinese residents travelling internationally is expected to double from 120 million in 2015 to 220 million in 2025, according to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research from November 2015.]]>

@Airbnb Raises $850M Growth Equity E Round Led by @GoogleCapital and TCV

@Airbnb Raises $850M Growth Equity E Round Led by @GoogleCapital and TCV

Equidate. The new growth-equity round is led by Alphabet Inc.’s Google Capital, and Technology Crossover Ventures, The Wall Street Journal reported. Airbnb has previously raised nearly $3.4 billion in multiple equity and debt funding rounds from leading venture capital investors and financial institutions. As part of this private offering round, early Airbnb employees were reportedly offered the opportunity to cash out about $200 million, through an employee share buy-back program. In June this year, Airbnb raised $1 billion in debt funding led by JP Morgan Chase to support its growth without diluting its valuation and earlier venture capital investors, and to delay an IPO until public market conditions are more favorable. Founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky (CEO), Joe Gebbia (CPO), and Nathan Blecharczyk (CTO), Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet. “Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month,” Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 191 countries. Google Capital is the late-stage growth venture capital fund financed by Alphabet Inc., and based in San Francisco. Founded in 2013, it focuses on larger, growth stage technology companies, and invests for profit rather than strategically for Google. Since 2013, Google Capital has invested in nearly two dozen companies, in areas such as big data, financial technology, security, and e-learning. In 2013, Google Capital announced its first two investments in SurveyMonkey, a cloud-based online survey and questionnaire tool, and Lending Club, a peer-to-peer lending company based in San Francisco. In 2014, Google Capital made private investments in an additional nine companies, including the Bangalore-based online real estate startup CommonFloor, Freshdesk, a San Francisco-based customer support platform, Credit Karma, a free credit and financial management platform, and China-based optical component company, Innolight. In April 2015, Google Capital announced an investment in ZenPayroll. In September 2015, Google Capital announced an investment in Oscar Health Insurance Corp., a U.S.-based health insurance startup. In March 2016, Google Capital invested in India-based Girnar Software, owner of CarDekho and many more portals. In July 2016, Google Capital made its first investment in a public company, becoming the largest shareholder in online care portal Care.com.]]>