Akriti Chopra, who joined Zomato as a senior manager in 2011, has been elevated to co-founder ahead of the company’s public listing.
Also in this letter:
🚨 El Salvador adopts
💰 Instagram’s new monetisation features
🔍 Google loosens its hold on search in EU
Zomato elevates Akriti Chopra to co-founder
Zomato, which is gearing up for a $1.1-billion IPO, has elevated long-time executive Akriti Chopra to co-founder, according to an internal email from chief executive Deepinder Goyal. She has also been appointed as chief people officer.
Background: Chopra joined Zomato in 2011 as a senior manager of finance and operations. She became the chief financial officer in April 2019, before the role was taken over by Akshant Goyal last November as the company began planning for its IPO.
- She played a key role in building the company’s in-house legal, governance, risk and compliance teams. She has also been instrumental in facilitating multiple funding rounds and acquisitions, and setting up the company’s international presence.
Started by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah in 2010, Zomato counts executives Gunjan Patidar, Gaurav Gupta, Mohit Gupta, and now Akriti Chopra, among its founders. Chaddah quit the firm in 2018 to start mental wellness venture Mindhouse.
Board revamp: In April, Zomato overhauled its board, adding four new independent women directors including professional badminton player Aparna Popat, Zalora Group chief executive Gunjan Tilak Raj Soni, Airveda founder and former Zomato chief product officer Namita Gupta, and behavioural insights advisor Sutapa Banerjee. Kaushik Datta was named chairman of the board.
Goyal, InfoEdge founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani, and Ant Group senior vice president Douglas Feagin remain on the board.
Financials: Zomato made a loss of Rs 2,385.6 crore on revenues of Rs 2,604 crore in FY20, compared to a loss of Rs 1,010 crore on revenues of Rs 1,312 crore in FY19. For the nine months that ended December 31, 2020, the firm reported a loss of Rs 682 crore on revenues of Rs 1,301 crore.
Over the years, several startups have elevated long-servicing executives to co-founders. These include Rebel Foods, Medlife (recently acquired by Pharmeasy), Shiprocket, Dailyhunt, and Pesto Tech.
Also Read: How Zomato’s cap table has evolved over the years
El Salvador is first country to make Bitcoin legal tender
El Salvador has become the world’s first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender. Lawmakers in the central American country approved President Nayib Bukele’s proposal to embrace the cryptocurrency on Wednesday.
What’s in the proposed law?
■ Prices can now be displayed in Bitcoin and citizens can pay tax with the digital currency. Every “economic agent” must now accept Bitcoin as a form of payment in exchange for goods or services.
■ The government will provide alternatives to help users carry out transactions in Bitcoin. It will also create a trust at the Banco de Desarrollo de El Salvador for automatic and instant convertibility from bitcoin to the US dollar, which will remain the reference currency for accounting purposes.
Why is this important? The bill notes that around 70% of El Salvador’s population does not have access to traditional financial services and the digital currency is being considered a way to facilitate financial inclusion.
Earlier in the week, Bukele had said on Twitter that “Bitcoin has a market cap of $680 billion. If 1% of it is invested in El Salvador, that would increase our GDP by 25%.”
In a conversation on Twitter Spaces on Wednesday morning, Bukele also announced plans to offer permanent residency to any individual investing 3 BTC in El Salvador.
Finally some good news: Bitcoiners welcomed the news, since the price of the cryptocurrencies has been tanking in recent weeks for a variety of reasons, including a massive crackdown from Chinese regulators and a public rebuke by Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. It had dropped to $31,035.49 from a peak of $65,000 in mid-April before recovering slightly to $35,224 on Wednesday.
Tweet of the day
💰💰 ETtech Done Deals
■ Fintech startup Refyne has raised $16 million in a Series A round that included new and existing investors such as DST Global, RTP Global, QED Investors, XYZ Capital and Jigsaw VC. It had previously raised a $4.1 million seed funding in December 2020.
The firm, which allows real-time access to pay for both full-time and contracted employees, plans to use the money to expand its technology team and scale growth initiatives.
■ Pune-based green energy technology firm Greenjoules has raised $4.5 million from Blue Ashva Capital’s Blue Ashva Sampada Fund. The funding, a mix of debt and equity, will be used to set up commercial scale waste-to-energy plants, and R&D initiatives.
■ Education startup Masai School, which offers online courses in web and mobile app development, has acquired Design Shift Academy, an institute that provides guidance on user interface and user experience design, in a cash-and-stock deal.
The deal is expected to help the firm move from a coding-centric to a career-focused learning platform by introducing learning programmes on UI & UX design, and product management in its existing curriculum.
■ PremjiInvest-backed primary healthcare startup Iora Health is being acquired by healthcare company One Medical. PremjiInvest had led a $126 million funding round in the US-based startup last February. The all-stock deal will value Iora Health at $2.1 billion and give shareholders in the startup a 26.75% stake in the Nasdaq-listed One Medical.
Instagram unveils new monetisation features for creators
Facebook unveiled new monetisation features on Instagram at its first Creator Week event, to make it more attractive to creators.
■ In the coming months, a new native affiliate tool will allow creators earn commissions for the product purchases they drive through recommendations to their followers on Instagram. Users will see “eligible for commission” at the top of the post from the creator. The feature will initially be tested with a small group of creators in the US and businesses like Benefit, Kopari, MAC, Pat McGrath Labs and Sephora.
■ For creators who want to sell their own merchandise, Instagram is making it easier to add an existing shop or open a new shop on their Instagram profile. The ability to link a shop to a personal or a business profile is available globally starting today (June 9), while the feature to set up a new merchandise shop will roll out to all eligible creators in the US by end of the year.
■ Starting this week, Instagram creators will be eligible for additional cash bonuses for hitting certain milestones with badges and stars.
How does Instagram work? Instagram head Adam Mosseri also shed some light on how the platform surfaces and ranks content across various parts of the app, such as the main feed, Explore, Stories and Reels.
- “Each part of the app – Feed, Explore, Reels – uses its own algorithm tailored to how people use it. People tend to look for their closest friends in Stories, but they want to discover something entirely new in Explore. We rank things differently in different parts of the app, based on how people use them,” Mosseri said.
Also read: Instagram is changing, and some creators are not happy
Google to show more search options on Android in Europe
Google is dropping a controversial auction format and giving Android users in Europe more search engine choices, after receiving “further feedback” from the European Commission.
Recap: Since an antitrust ruling in 2018, Google has been letting Android users in Europe pick their default search engine from a list of four. However, these four services were chosen through an auction, which forced other providers to bid for the right to be featured.
DuckDuckGo, however, had criticised the auction model, saying it was fundamentally flawed since it encouraged bidders to maximise profits by exploiting users. It has also sought a change in the process, with either no auctions or providing a long list of alternatives without charging the search providers.
What’s next? Google is now making participation free for eligible search providers and will increase the number of search providers shown on the screen. Users will be able to scroll through a list of up to 12 eligible search engines, which will vary by country.
- The five most popular search services, according to StatCounter, will be displayed at the top in random order, followed by the remaining seven.