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Lenskart acquires majority stake in eyewear brand Owndays in $400 million deal

India’s Lenskart is buying a majority stake in Japan’s Owndays, the two firms said, creating one of Asia’s biggest online retailers of eyewear. The firms did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but a person familiar with the matter said the merger values 32-year business Owndays at $400 million. The 12-year-old Bengaluru-headquartered startup is buying Owndays’ shares from L Catterton, Mitsui and Principal Investments, the two firms said. Owndays co-founders Shuji Tanaka Take Umiyama will continue to be shareholders and lead the management team at the Japanese firm. The deal will extend the merged entity’s reach to 13 Asian markets, including India, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan, the two said. “The way people buy eyewear is changing rapidly and at Lenskart it is our mission to drive this transformation globally. In today’s age, the customer wants great products, great prices, and delightful experiences all the time. With Owndays w

NFT giant OpenSea reports major email data breach

OpenSea, the popular NFT marketplace that hit a colossal $13 billion valuation in January, is warning users of email phishing after a data breach. A staff at Customer.io, an email vendor contracted by OpenSea, misused their employee access to download and share email addresses of OpenSea’s users and newsletter subscribers with an unauthorized external party, the world’s largest NFT marketplace said  Wednesday night. The scale of the security breach appears massive. “If you have shared your email with OpenSea in the past, you should assume you were impacted,” the company said, adding that it’s working with Customer.io in an ongoing investigation and has reported the incident to law enforcement. More than 1.8 million users have made at least one purchase through the Ethereum network on OpenSea, according to data collected by Dune Analytics, an open-source crypto analytics platform. We have reached out to OpenSea for more information. Crypto startups have emerged as a target for cy

Black Swan analyzes social media to predict which products will be successful

Consumer packaged goods companies — think PepsiCo or Nabisco — face steep challenges from the rising cost of living and distribution. As inflation continues unabated, consumers’ disposable income isn’t going as far as it used to while products are becoming more expensive to ship. The pressure is on businesses to place their bets on the right innovations, then. That’s true during less chaotic times, but the stakes are higher at the moment. While founded long before the pandemic, Steve King says that Black Swan Data , the data science and tech company that he helped co-launch in 2011, is well-suited to the current environment. Black Swan taps into data from conversations on social media and analyzes the data to map “growth opportunities” for companies, attempting to identify trend signals more accurately than traditional market research approaches. Prior to co-founding Black Swan, King was a technical director at creative agency Digital Jigsaw. Black Swan’s other co-founder, Hugo Amos,

Amazon Prime Video’s Watch Party feature is now available on smart TVs and streaming devices

Amazon Prime Video’s Watch Party feature, which lets you watch a movie or a TV show together with your friends remotely, is now available on smart TVs, streaming devices like Roku, and gaming consoles like Xbox or PlayStation. Before this expansion, the feature was available on desktops, Fire TV devices, and on the Prime Video app on iOS and Android. Now, you can watch titles with your friends through almost all kinds of devices that support Prime Video. Amazon first started testing the Watch Parties feature on Twitch with select streamers. The next year, after the Covid-19 pandemic started, the firm introduced this feature as Watch Party on Amazon Prime Video. In 2021, it extended support for the Watch Party feature to Fire TV devices, so you can enjoy social watching sessions on a big screen. “Prime Video Watch Party gives customers an immersive experience to share with friends, family, and other Prime Video users. A host gets to kick off the party by sharing his or her party li

GetVantage offers revenue-based financing to India’s founders

Some SMEs don’t want to get (or have access to) equity funding, but also want to stay away from high-interest bank loans. That’s the gap that revenue-based financing platforms like GetVantage want to fill. The Mumbai-based startup announced today that it has raised $36 million led by Varanium Nexgen Fintech Fund, DMI Sparkle Fund, along with returning investors Chiratae Ventures and Dream Incubator Japan. Varanium Capital partner Aparajit Bhandarkar will join GetVantage’s board. Other participants included Sony Innovation Fund, InCred Capital and Haldiram’s Family Office. This brings GetVantage’s total raised so far to $40 million, along with a seed round in 2020, the same year it was launched by Bhavik Vasa and Amit Srivastava. GetVantage says it also has several debt lines with non-banking financial companies to help scale its financing platform. Vasa told TechCrunch he co-founded GetVantage after working as chief growth officer at fintech Itzcash. “I came across the ‘ad for equit

Y Combinator announces Launch YC, a way for its portfolio to shout to the public

Y Combinator has announced Launch YC , a platform where people can sort accelerator startups by industry, batch, and launch date to discover new products. The famed accelerator, which has seeded the likes of Instacart, Coinbase, OpenSea, and Dropbox, invites users to vote for newly launched startups “to help them climb up the leaderboard, try out product demos, and learn about the founding team.” In a blog post announcing the news, Y Combinator said that the program has existed for years but only internally for YC founders. Y Combinator is using Launch to target founders, developers, investors, and job-seekers looking for the “Stripes and Airbnbs of the future.” Y Combinator founders, meanwhile, can launch on any day at any time. YC Head of Communications Lindsay Amos saidi that Y founders who are currently participating in an accelerator batch can announce via Launch before Demo Day. To me, it makes the biannual event a more evergreen affair. “​​We did this to solve a problem every

Arzooo raises $70 million to bring ‘best of e-commerce’ to physical stores in India

Arzooo, an Indian startup that is attempting to bring the “best of e-commerce” to physical stores, has raised $70 million in a new financing round as it looks to scale its platform to more cities. SBI Investment and Trifecta Leaders Fund led the Bengaluru-headquartered startup’s Series B funding. Tony Xu, founder of Doordash, Celesta Capital and 3 Lines VC also invested in the new round. Millions of retail stores in India are struggling to compete with larger retail chains and e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart because they don’t offer a wide selection of items and they are unable to provide customers with best prices. Founded by two former Flipkart alums, Arzooo is attempting to solve this by working with big brands to secure large inventories and selling them to retail stores at better prices. The startup, which currently operates in consumer durables and electronics category and provides stores with access to over 10,000 different products, says it works with over 30,000 ret

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