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Paytm Faces Uncertain Future as Octopus Co-Founder Resigns Amid Controversy

Macquarie cuts Paytm target on ‘serious risk of exodus of customers’

Dear Reader, Global financial services Group Macquarie dramatically cut its 12-month price target on One97 Communications, the parent of Paytm, citing risks to customers. The stark reduction in Paytm reflects escalating concerns over regulatory pressures and the potential flight of customers from the Indian fintech platform. With a substantial slash to 275 rupees, down 57.7%, Macquarie underscores the gravity of the situation, signaling a significant decline from Paytm’s previous market valuation. India’s central bank’s (RBI) recent directive, essentially halting operations at Paytm Payments Bank, amplifies these challenges. Analyst Suresh Ganpathy’s team foresees a substantial revenue decline and a looming risk of customer exodus. The impending migration of accounts amid the regulatory deadline poses formidable obstacles, further compounded by potential setbacks in retaining lending partners due to regulatory constraints.Meanwhile, a report has emerged that SoftBank Group sold a major chunk of its stake in Paytm just before RBI imposed sanctions that sent the firm’s share price tumbling by over 42% within three days. The Japanese conglomerate trimmed its exposure in Paytm from 18.5% to nearly 5% between November 2021 and January this year. The unfolding scenarios cast a shadow of uncertainty over Paytm’s future trajectory, raising existential questions about the leading financial service provider’s resilience amidst regulatory turbulence and market pressures. Sainul, Editor.


Macquarie cuts Paytm target on ‘serious risk of exodus of customers’

Macquarie, which famously predicted the slump at Paytm before the listing, lowered its target to US$3.3, the most brutal by any major brokerage firm; Paytm is reeling from the Indian central bank’s clampdown. SoftBank cut down most of Paytm stake before the crackdown by India’s central bank

SoftBank’s stake in Paytm had gone down from 18.5% in November 2021, when the fintech firm was listed in India, to nearly 5% in January; Paytm has landed in hot water since the Reserve Bank of India froze most of its banking operations on January 31.

Singapore-based electrical infra company Amperesand raises US$12.4M

Lead investors are Xora Innovation and Material Impact; Amperesand offers grid infrastructure solutions that can help improve EV charging hardware; Its system contains high-frequency transformers that are more efficient than traditional ones.

Octopus co-founder Hamish Daud steps down for ‘personal reasons’

In January, it was reported that Moehammad Ichsan, who serves as CEO of Indonesian waste treatment startup Octopus, had shared misleading information about Daud’s academic degrees on multiple platforms, which he denies he wrote.

Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund made US$200M crypto investment before bull run

The previously unreported move by the prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm underscores some institutional investors’ return to token investments, once the hottest investment strategy before the crypto market crashed in 2022.

Astrotalk nets US$20M funding for international expansion

Left Lane Capital is the investor; The Indian spiritual tech startup connects consumers with over 15,000 astrologers for services such as horoscope reading, birth chart analysis, and virtual prayer.

Modalku co-founder steps down after 8 years of service

Iwan Kurniawan has left his role in the P2P lending firm to take a career break to explore my passions; Modalku helped the firm with its expansion in Indonesia and its entry into Thailand.

X will soon let advertisers run ads next to a ‘curated list’ of creators

The move will allow advertisers to ensure that their ads don’t run next to controversial or offensive content; The launch of the new offering comes as numerous brands pulled their ads from X last year after their ads appeared next to pro-Nazi content.

Singaporean ex-Googler’s AI startup launches new model to rival Bard, ChatGPT

Reka was founded in 2022 by former researchers from Google DeepMind and Meta, including Yi Tay, a Singaporean who serves as Reka’s chief scientist; The new launch follows a US$58 million funding round in June 2023.

North American robot orders dropped 30% last year

31,159 industrial robots were purchased by North American companies in 2023, down from 44,196; These numbers throw a bit of cold water on what has been regarded as a white-hot industry dating back at least to the beginning of the pandemic.

Bitcoin hits US$50K level for first time in more than two years

The cryptocurrency has risen 16.3% so far this year, on Monday touching its highest since Dec. 27, 2021. At 12:56 pm. EST, bitcoin was up 4.96% on the day at US$49,899, having oscillated around the US$50,000 level.


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