Smear campaigns rife on Twitter; Byju’s defers Aakash deal funds

On June 7 we reported that social commerce Meesho had despatched authorized notices to some social media influencers and their associates for allegedly operating smear campaigns in opposition to the corporate on Twitter. However Meesho isn’t the one firm that has been the goal of a Twitter smear marketing campaign in latest months – Easemytrip and even Sequoia have confronted comparable assaults. Our high story right now delves deep into the problem.

Additionally on this letter:
■ Byju’s pushes again funds for billion-dollar Aakash deal
■ Zomato market cap down almost $1 billion in two days
■ Cert-in defers new cybersecurity guidelines by three months

Smear campaigns are rampant on Startup Twitter


What’s widespread on Political Twitter has spilled over to Startup Twitter, one of the crucial lively communities on the microblogging platform in India.

What’s occurring? Over the previous few weeks, the chatter has been about how startups in India are utilizing paid advertising and marketing instruments to defame rivals.

It began when ecommerce platform Meesho despatched out authorized notices to some social media accounts and sure folks, based on sources, for allegedly operating smear campaigns in opposition to the corporate. These embrace Jaymin Shah, who runs influencer advertising and marketing digital company SocialGrid.

Clear pattern_Graphic_ETTECH

Final week, on-line journey portal Easemytrip turned the newest to face a focused assault on the platform.

VC agency Sequoia Capital India got here below assault in Might, after its fallout with Zilingo cofounder Ankiti Bose. Bot-generated Twitter hashtags like #Sequoialeakedtapes #SexistSequoia trended on Twitter.

Smear central: Working smear campaigns in opposition to rivals is an age-old advertising and marketing tactic.

However trade executives say Twitter, with its quick, text-first format and well-known techniques for making posts pattern on its platform, is a go-to medium for such campaigns.

Influencers instructed us they’ve been approached by companies or entities to make focused assaults in opposition to sure manufacturers.

Modus operandi: Trade executives mentioned it’s pretty simple to identify pretend posts and tendencies, since they replicate a model of the identical textual content. These are usually posted from “low-quality content material” accounts or these which can be outright bots, they mentioned.

Smear campaigns on startup Twitter

Principally working as an off-the-cuff trade, these smaller digital advertising and marketing companies leverage faculty college students searching for some simple cash and who might not perceive the intention behind these campaigns.

Sometimes, a collection of middlemen are concerned in producing pretend tendencies, thus safeguarding the last word beneficiary.

Byju’s pushes again funds for billion-dollar Aakash deal

Byju Raveendran

Byju’s sought a two-month extension from Blackstone and different shareholders of test-preparation supplier Aakash Instructional Providers on funds that have been due this month, sources instructed us.

The fee deadline has been prolonged to August, they mentioned.

Denial: A spokeswoman for Byju’s denied that there was a delay in funds. “The acquisition course of is totally on observe and all funds are anticipated to be accomplished by the agreed upon date – August 2022,” the spokeswoman mentioned.

Additionally Learn: Accessing every kind of capital to shut massive multi-billion greenback buys: Byju Raveendran

Mega deal: The Aakash acquisition was value $950 million and touted as the most important within the Indian edtech house. It helped Byju’s get a foothold within the offline studying market and supplied entry to high quality academics for the take a look at preparation section.

Offline play: Following the acquisition, Byju’s has been firming up plans to bolster its development offline, ultimately launching tuition centres to cater to college students from grades 4 to 10.

In February, the corporate mentioned it was seeking to make investments $200 million to develop these tuition centres throughout 200 cities.

Fundraising machine: Byju’s, which was final valued at $22 billion making it essentially the most beneficial Indian startup, has been on the frontend of elevating capital through the funding increase final 12 months. It was additionally in talks with a number of special-purpose acquisition corporations, to go public.

It mopped up $1.7 billion in fairness funding final 12 months.

WhiteHat Jr lays off 300: In the meantime, Byju’s subsidiary firm, WhiteHat Jr, on Tuesday laid off 300 folks throughout departments. Byju’s had acquired the corporate in August 2020 for $300 million.

startups layoffs

Over the previous few months, a number of edtech corporations together with Unacademy group, Vedantu, and Lido Studying have undertaken layoffs to streamline prices and scale back general money burn.

Zomato market cap down almost $1 billion in two days after Blinkit deal


Shares of Zomato fell as a lot as 8.2% on Tuesday, extending losses for a second straight day as traders questioned its buy of fast commerce startup Blinkit.

Zomato mentioned on Friday it might purchase Blinkit for Rs 4,447 crore ($568.16 million) in inventory because it tries to achieve a foothold within the fiercely aggressive fast supply market.


The corporate’s shares have fallen as a lot as 14% since then, shedding almost $1 billion in market capitalisation. They’re additionally down almost 48% since going public final July.

The Blinkit deal got here after Zomato purchased a greater than 9% stake within the SoftBank-backed agency for almost Rs 518 crore in August 2021, and promised to speculate as a lot as $400 million within the Indian quick-commerce market over the following two years.

zomato blinkit

Analysts weigh in: “We imagine Blinkit would require investments past the $400 million envisaged by Zomato, given rising aggressive depth,” analysts at Kotak Institutional Equities wrote in a word.

Issuance of latest shares by Zomato to Blinkit, together with worker inventory choice pool, would quantity to dilution of about 7.25% of complete excellent shares publish acquisition foundation, based on a Morgan Stanley consumer word.

“E-grocery economics have been robust to crack given value competitors, comparatively decrease margin nature of the class, excessive variety of merchandise per order which want environment friendly fulfilment, and really excessive competitors,” Kotak analysts mentioned.

Stiff competitors: India’s quick-commerce sector is rising at a speedy clip, with rivals Swiggy, Reliance-backed Dunzo, Tata-backed BigBasket and Zepto making huge investments. The trade was value $300 million final 12 months and is predicted to develop 10-15 occasions to $5 billion by 2025, based on analysis agency RedSeer.


Cert-in provides a three-month breather to VPN suppliers, small companies


The Indian Laptop Emergency Response Staff (CERT-in) has given a three-month extension to VPN suppliers, small and medium companies, and knowledge centres to adjust to its cybersecurity guidelines.

Issued on April 28, the foundations have been to come back into impact right now (June 28). They’ll now come into power on September 25.

Temporary aid: Cert-In’s extension will come as a aid to small companies, which had requested the federal government for extra time to adjust to the foundations, which require them to report any knowledge breach inside six hours.

In the meantime, VPN suppliers ExpressVPN, Surf Shark and NordVPN have already shut down their servers in India, refusing to adjust to the brand new guidelines, which require them to retailer buyer knowledge for 5 years and hand it over to the federal government when requested to.

This marks the primary time the federal government has made a concession on the problem, having mentioned earlier that corporations unwilling to stick to the rules have been free to go away India.

Bertelsmann India raises $500 million to make early-stage bets

Pankaj bio pic

Bertelsmann India Investments, the VC arm of the German media large, Bertelsmann, has raised $500 million to again extra early-stage Indian startups, Pankaj Makkar, managing director, Bertelsmann India Investments, instructed us.

Quote: “We shall be writing bigger cheques owing to the elevated entry level-valuations. The bigger pool provides us the power to again portfolio corporations longer,” Makkar mentioned.

The corporate, which has invested in over 16 Indian startups, together with unicorns Licious and Eruditius, plans to make six to eight further investments every year.

Early-stage buzz: Amid a drop in massive funding rounds, early-stage funding has change into the flavour of the season amongst enterprise capital corporations. We reported earlier that Seed and Collection A investments had risen 88% and 22% year-on-year on this 12 months’s January-March quarter. A couple of days in the past, Sequoia’s accelerator programme Surge introduced it is elevating the ceiling for its investments in seed-stage Indian startups.

Different Prime Tales By Our Reporters


Virtually half of advertisements ASCI reviewed in 2021-23 have been digital: Digital advertisements comprised 48% of the 5,532 advertisements processed by the Promoting Requirements Council of India (ASCI) processed throughout print, digital, and tv in 2021-22, based on its newest report, titled Complaints Insights 2021-22. In complete ASCI processed 62% extra advertisements than within the earlier 12 months, the report mentioned.

Dangerous Android apps: A separate report by safety testing platform Appknox revealed that about 75 of India’s high 100 Android apps comprise safety dangers. Whereas about 79% have been affected by community safety misconfiguration, 78% lacked adequate code obfuscation, it mentioned.

Redington on digital pivot to journey cloud wave: Provide chain options supplier for expertise merchandise Redington could have half of its enterprise streaming in by way of its e-commerce platform inside two years, a high government instructed ET, because it transitions to a digital-centric enterprise framework.

International Picks We Are Studying

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