🦄🦄A homegrown insurance startup has become the first unicorn of 2021. Jeff Bezos-led Amazon has asked India’s market regulator to not grant a no-objection certificate to RIL-Future deal. Smartphone giant Xiaomi is the latest victim of the US-China trade war.
Here are the top-five, must-read technology news today:
1. First Indian unicorn of 2021
Non-life insurer Digit, backed by Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa, has become the first startup unicorn of 2021.
The Bengaluru-based general insurer’s latest Rs 135-crore funding round, led by existing private equity investors A91 Partners, Faering Capital and TVS Capital, has valued the company at $1.9 billion, making it the second insurtech startup after Policybazaar to enter the coveted unicorn club, or those with valuations of over $1 billion.
Why now? The capital infusion was predominantly to shore up its solvency ratio to comply with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India’s (IRDAI) norms, Kamesh Goyal, founder and chief executive, told ET. The regulatory norms stipulate that insurance companies must maintain a minimum solvency ratio of 150% always. (
Earlier this month, ET reported that Indian tech startups added a record number of unicorns in 2020, the highest ever in a calendar year.
Another big funding round, global software consultancy ThoughtWorks has secured $720 million from Singapore’s GIC, Mubadala Investment Company, Siemens AG, and Fidelity Management and Research, valuing the company at $4.6 billion. This financing comes a day after ThoughtWorks acquired Gemini Solutions, a software development and consulting services firm.
2. Suspend review as Future-RIL deal in court: Amazon to Sebi
Amazon has asked the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to suspend its review of the Future Group-Reliance deal and not grant it a no-objection certificate, since the transaction is under dispute in the Delhi High Court.
Backstory: Reliance Retail Ventures, a unit of Reliance Industries, agreed to buy the retail assets of Future Group on a slump sale basis for about Rs 25,000 crore. The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) had
stayed the Reliance-Future deal after Amazon said that Future Group breached a contract that gave the e-commerce giant the right of first refusal and barred a sale to entities including Reliance.
Amazon, which owns a 49% in Future Coupons, a Future Group holding company, had asked regulators to consider the interim order passed by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) in October, putting the transaction on hold until it gave a final ruling on the plea filed by Amazon. (
3. Piyush Goyal asks Indian investors to support startups in South Asia
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Friday asked Indian investors to invest, mentor and support startups in South Asia and pitched for startup-to-startup collaboration in the BIMSTEC region.
BIMSTEC, or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a grouping of countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia – Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. (
At the virtual finale of ET Startup Awards on Thursday, Goyal called upon India Inc. to set up a Rs 10,000 crore fund for early-stage funding as overseas investors are picking up large stakes in startups.
4. Xiaomi faces heat in US
With six days left in office, the Trump administration is continuing to target Chinese tech firms with smartphone maker Xiaomi being the latest victim. The Chinese tech major along with 10 other companies have been added to its list of alleged Chinese military companies.
What does this mean? US investors will be unable to purchase securities in these companies and will ultimately have to divest its holdings by November 11, 2021, unless the order is overturned by the incoming president Joe Biden. US chip giant Qualcomm is a key investor in Xiaomi.
Huawei, chip giant SMIC and China’s top three telecom operators are among other companies mentioned in the US Department of Defense’s previous lists.
Impact: Xiaomi, which overtook Apple last year to become the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer, saw its shares plunge by 11% in Hong Kong following the announcement. It also dragged down the shares of component suppliers like Largan Precision, Sunny Optical and AAC Technologies while FIH Mobile saw its shares decline by 14%, according to Bloomberg.
What are they saying? Xiaomi said it is not owned, controlled, or affiliated with the Chinese military. The company also added that it will take an appropriate course of actions to protect its interests and those of its shareholders. (
5. OneWeb secures funding from SoftBank, Hughes Network
SoftBank Group and Hughes Network Systems will together pump an additional $260 million into OneWeb, the low Earth Orbit Satellite Communications company jointly owned by the UK Government and Bharti Global.
Why it matters: With this additional funding, the total received by OneWeb will reach $1.4 billion. SoftBank will also hold a seat on the board of directors of OneWeb.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Bharti, the UK Government and Hughes to help OneWeb deliver on its mission to transform internet access around the world,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman & CEO of SoftBank. (