Indian fintechs request central bank to treat full-KYC PPI same as bank account to survive crackdown

Payments giants and fintech startups in India on Saturday requested the central bank to treat widely used prepaid payment instruments on par with bank accounts for customers who have undertaken certain verifications, days after the monetary authority signalled industry-wide crackdown. The Payments Council of India, a unit of influential industry body IAMAI, said in a letter to the Reserve Bank of India that by treating prepaid payment instruments — prepaid purchasing cards and wallets –- as bank accounts, regulated lenders will be able to disburse credit to customers who have performed their comprehensive know-your-customer verifications. The Reserve Bank of India informed dozens of fintech startups earlier this week that it is barring the practice of loading non-bank prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) using credit lines, in a move that has prompted panic among — and existential threat to — many fintech startups, TechCrunch reported earlier . Several startups including Slice, Jupite

Crypto community or crumbling cult? And other TC news

This week on the TechCrunch Podcast I talk with Jacquelyn Melinek about the power and pitfalls of crypto communities and Devin Coldewey about why Pornhub’s COO and CEO have unceremoniously stepped down. And as always, you’ll get a rundown of the week’s top news on TechCrunch. Articles from the episode: Crypto’s emphasis on community could lead followers off a cliff CEO and COO of Pornhub parent company MindGeek abruptly resign Other news from the week: Twitter to expand into long-form content with upcoming Twitter Notes feature  FDA orders Juul to stop selling its vaping products in the US Meta to roll out new monetization tools on Instagram and Facebook, including a creator marketplace source

25 French unicorns, 25 French unicorns, do I hear 100?

Welcome to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by the daily TechCrunch+ column where it gets its name. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here . My home country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, wants to have 100 French unicorns by 2030. Economy minister Bruno Le Maire, 10 homegrown decacorns. But shouldn’t we all dream of centaurs instead? Let’s explore.  — Anna Moderation brewing There must be 100 French unicorns by 2030, Macron said at the VivaTech conference in Paris earlier this month. “It is achievable,” he later argued on Twitter . “And because startups have a role to play in the ecological transition, let’s set another goal: 25 green unicorns by 2030!” It isn’t new for Macron to set unicorn-related goals for the country. He famously already did so in 2019 , when he wished for the country to count “25 unicorns by 2025.” And despite some debate around France’s exact unicorn tally, the consensus is that Macron’s goal has a

Startup layoffs, the art of reinvention and a MasterClass in change

Just as one company’s success shouldn’t cast a halo on its vertical’s brethren, one company’s layoffs don’t quite mean that its competitors are equally screwed. Instead, I think that changes within a particular startup can be used as benchmark questions for their larger market; in other words, we can use the micro to better understand the macro. With that in mind, I want to talk about MasterClass’ decision to lay off 20% of its staff, around 120 people, across all teams. The workforce reduction, per CEO David Rogier on Twitter, was made “to adapt to the worsening macro environment and get to self-sustainability faster.” Put differently, the company — which sells subscriptions to celebrity-taught classes — is in search of operating discipline and needs to cut staff in order to get there. The layoffs place a spotlight on the premise behind MasterClass. When I first covered the company in March 2020 , I got stuck on its pitch of aspirational learning. [MasterClass] also touches on th

3 views on why startup math may soon get a lot more creative

Given this year’s changing venture capital climate, it’s not a stretch to imagine that we’re going to see a lot more of the following: down rounds disguised as extension rounds, recapitalization events conflated with secondary activity and vaguely defined references to growth, burn and other key startup metrics. As the downturn threatens the ability of companies to meet growth targets, simultaneously emphasizing the need for them to get there faster while not losing too much money, we expect to see more creative math from founders. We are somewhat accustomed to founders bigging up their wins and spinning their losses, but such sins can threaten to become whole-cloth heresies during a downturn. Of course, it’s not all out of malice. For decades, those within startup land have not been able to agree on a definition for recapitalization or, heck, even bootstrapping, because the terms in and of themselves are so vague. Every few months, Tech Twitter wants to rethink how we name rounds,

Dublin-based corporate gifting platform &Open raises $26M Series A led by Molten Ventures

Last year we covered how “&Open” (yes, “ampersand open,” pronounced “And Open”) had raised a raised $7.2 million seed to make it easier for brands to send gifts to customers to boost loyalty and engagement. According to one study customers who feel emotionally connected to a brand after receiving gifts have a 306% higher lifetime value. &Open competes with Sendoso and ReachDesk which are in a similar space. Because the pandemic made us all work remotely, being able to send gifts remotely suddenly took on a whole new significance. Plus, now “the Great Resignation” means companies need to keep clients and employees a lot sweeter. So the Dublin-based &Open, which launched in 2017, has now raised $26 million in a Series A led by Molten Ventures, including participation from First Round Capital, LocalGlobe, Tribal VC, as well as new investor Middlegame Ventures. Other new and existing investors also contributed to this round. The Series A brings &Open’s total capital rais

Parellelz brings a new approach to seamlessly convert native mobile apps to websites

Over the last few years, developers and authorities have questioned Apple and Google’s power over app distribution on mobile operating systems. If you have an Android app, there’s a chance that you can use alternative app stores like the Amazon app store . But if you have an iOS app, you have no option but to go through Apple’s App Store. But a startup called Parellelz has another solution: convert your native app to a web app without loss of quality and increase its visibility through web distribution. For that, the company is planning to offer a unique set of tools that could convert a developer’s app without needing any SDK or having to make changes through the app. To build this platform, Parellelz has raised $3 million in a pre-seed round from investors like former VP of Growth at Uber Ed Baker, ProductHunt founder Ryan Hoover, and Maple VC general partner Andre Charoo. Other investors include organizations like Global Founders Capital, Play Ventures, Garage Capital, and ind

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