Good morning. It’s Earlybird here, dropping you the latest happenings in business, tech, and economic wreck.
In this edition:
🔋 Ola pays up with refunds
✈️ GoFirst airlines files for bankruptcy
🤖 IBM may swap out 7,800 staff for AI
*Stock data as of market close. Source.
Markets: The bulls were charging in the Indian stock market as Sensex surged 242 points and Nifty approached 18,150 — all thanks to positive momentum in sectors like IT and banking.
Ola Electric to refund EV chargers after government probe
🔋 Ola Electric, the ride-hailing giant's electric vehicle arm, has announced plans to refund Rs 130 crore to customers who purchased S1 and S1 Pro electric scooters and were sold chargers separately. Here’s why:
Declared in writing. Ola Electric informed the government of its pinky promise to give this cash back after the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI) launched an investigation against it for (ironically) overcharging customers.
The dirt on Ola
Ola is not alone. The EV firm, along with Ather Energy, TVS Motor, and Hero Motocorp, were all investigated by the government earlier this year.
Why? Because allegations were made against these original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), claiming they were artificially lowering their vehicle prices in order to claim subsidies under the Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) scheme.
Hence, chargers sold separately. And now they’re fixing that with the aforementioned refunds.
BJP dangles Rs 5,000 fund of fund carrot to woo voters
💵 The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Indian state of Karnataka has made pre-state election promises to set up a Rs 5,000 crore fund of funds to support startups. Here’s what you need to know:
The move is part of the BJP's plan to boost the state's startup ecosystem and attract more investment to the region.
The fund of funds would be used to invest in a variety of startups in sectors such as biotech, agritech, and fintech, among others.
The BJP has also promised to create a dedicated startup cell within the state government to provide support and guidance to entrepreneurs.
Long-term vision. The state government also emphasized the need of growing the number of startups outside of Bengaluru from 2,955 today to 10,000 by 2032, a goal disclosed in an action plan produced by the Department of Planning, Programme Monitoring, and Statistics and FICCI to make Karnataka a $1 trillion economy by 2032.
GoFirst flights grounded as company files for bankruptcy
✈️ GoFirst, formerly known as GoAir, has filed for bankruptcy and is suspending all flight operations for at least three days. Here’s are the specifics:
Why it’s drowning. The Indian budget airline has been facing financial difficulties for some time, with reports of unpaid salaries and lease rentals for its aircraft.
The filing. The cash-strapped airline filed the unfortunate news in an application with the National Company Law Tribunal, particularly for a voluntary insolvency resolution.
Low on fuel. Go First flights would also be stopped for three days – May 3, 4, and 5 – due to a serious cash shortage.
INDIA EDITION: WHAT ELSE IS ON THE BIRDWATCH
🚨 Angel broken slapped with a SEBI fine. SEBI has fined Angel Broking, a Mumbai-based brokerage firm, Rs 10 lakh for violating regulatory norms. The SEBI found that the company had failed to comply with rules governing the prevention of money laundering and the use of clients' funds.
💵 BharatPe grabs controlling stake in Trillion Loans. BharatPe has acquired a majority stake in non-banking financial company Trillion Loans, which will help the fintech firm expand its lending offerings to merchants and small businesses.
✨ Bollywood meets the Met Gala. Indian stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Alia Bhatt, Isha Ambani, and Natasha Poonawalla turned heads at the 2023 Met Gala, as the group took the star-studded New York fashion event by storm.
Catch up on the Indian funding flows from the past 24hrs:
Swiggy, one of the country’s leading food delivery platforms, is reportedly in talks to secure $300M in funding from its existing investors. If successful, this funding round would help the Zomato rival maintain its position as a forerunner in India's competitive food delivery market and expand its services to new regions.
Pocket FM, an audio entertainment platform, just locked in $16M in debt funding from (you guessed it… or not) Silicon Valley Bank. The startup plans to use the funds to expand its content library, develop new technology, and enhance its marketing efforts to reach a wider audience.
ace turtle, a tech platform that provides omnichannel retail solutions, has raised $34M in Series B funding from Vertex Growth and other backers. The startup plans to use the capital to strengthen its technology and logistics capabilities, expand into new markets, and scale its business operations.
🤖 IBM may swap out 7,800 staff for AI. IBM, the American tech giant, has reportedly hit pause on its hiring spree and, taking a sharp left, may replace around 7,800 jobs with artificial intelligence (AI) in the coming years.
🏦 Morgan Stanley looks to prune 3,000 jobs. Global investment bank Morgan Stanley is planning to cut around 3,000 jobs over the next six months. According to a source, bank is reviewing its staffing due to sluggish dealmaking and a challenging economic climate.
💸 Investors remain unsettled despite First Republic sale. Following the JP Morgan ‘rescue’ of First Republic, top investors have warned against complacency, arguing that this third bank seizure by US regulators since March threatens to constrain credit and worsen an economic slowdown.
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