Business & Economy Startups Today’s top tech news, March 14: SoftBank, Toyota in talks to invest...

Today’s top tech news, March 14: SoftBank, Toyota in talks to invest US$1B in Uber’s self-driving unit




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In yet another breaking story, Alibaba-backed Paytm Mall is said to be very close to scaling down its B2C consumer business in India

SoftBank, Toyota in talks to invest US$1B in Uber’s self-driving unit: sources [Reuters]

A group of investors led by SoftBank Group Corp and Toyota Motor Corp is in talks to invest $1 billion or more into Uber Technologies’s self-driving vehicle unit, which would value the unit at US$5 billion to US$10 billion, said two people familiar with the talks.

The investment would provide a cash injection for Uber’s self-driving program that is costing the money-losing startup hundreds of millions of dollars without generating revenue.

It could also help underscore Uber’s value as the ride-hailing firm prepares for a stock market debut in which its value could top US$100 billion.

Bruised by cashbacks, Alibaba-backed Paytm Mall takes a call to scale down; shifting focus on B2B [Entrackr]

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It seems like cashbacks won’t be the flavour of 2019 after all. Paytm’s e-commerce play Paytm Mall powered massively by cashbacks so far, is very close to scaling down its B2C consumer business.

After a series of internal brainstorming meets and recent discussion between the board members, the company has taken a call to focus on B2B business, said three sources aware of the development.

“Paytm Mall has been failing to find volumes as well as unit economics in the consumer-facing e-commerce segment. Ultimately, its key backers, Alibaba and SoftBank have realised that cashback driven commerce is going nowhere. Now they find no merit in concentrating effort and capital on it,” said two sources on the condition of anonymity.

SC Malaysia reviews 60 proposals for US$245M pooled VC fund [DealStreetAsia]

The Securities Commission (SC) of Malaysia has reviewed about 60 proposals from local and foreign venture capital managers for the RM1 billion ($245 million) venture capital pooled fund that was allocated by state in the 2018 Budget.

“The GLICs (government-linked investment companies) are still reviewing [these proposals]. So, at this stage, we’re still not able to share how much allocation has been done,” said SC Malaysia deputy chief executive Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin at the launch of SC’s annual report 2018 today at Kuala Lumpur.

Mswipe raises US$32M from existing investors [The Economic Times]

Mumbai-based mobile point-of-sales (PoS) company Mswipe has raised around INR 220 crore (US$32M) in a new round of funding from existing investors — US-based hedge fund Falcon Edge, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin-promoted B Capital Asia, technology investment firm Epiq Capital and DSG Consumer Partners — according to filings with the Registrar of Companies.

This round came after the company’s Series-D round of funding in 2017, when Ratan Tata promoted UC-RNT infused around INR 200 crore into the company along with participation from its existing investors. Mswipe founder Manish Patel could not be reached for comment.

As per the filing, B Capital Asia and Epiq Capital pumped in around INR 70 crore while Falcon Edge put in nearly 57 crore and DSG Consumer Partners invested Rs 21 crore. The company is in the business of deploying PoS terminals at merchant outlets and processing card transactions for all major card schemes, including Visa, Mastercard, and RuPay.

Adtech startup Scibids opens APAC headquarters in Singapore [press release]

Adtech startup Scibids has opened its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, its first international office. This follows the company’s raising of SGD 3.3 million Series A funding last September.

Rahul Vasudev, former Managing Director of MediaMath (Asia Pacific) and the APAC Head of Digital at MediaCom, will head Scibid’s APAC expansion.

Based in Paris, Scibids has developed an AI-based intelligence layer, which acts as a virtual trader on top of demand-side platforms (DSPs) such as Google’s DV360, The Trade Desk, MediaMath and AppNexus. It sorts through as many as 22 million variables such as geography, gender, site placements and third party data to automatically build thousands of highly granular buying strategies in the DSP.

With these epiphanies at hand, media agencies and marketers who have in-housed programmatic buying can improve their return on ad spend by targeting the right contexts more accurately and optimise towards their own custom business metrics.

The post Today’s top tech news, March 14: SoftBank, Toyota in talks to invest US$1B in Uber’s self-driving unit appeared first on e27.

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