Grab a cuppa and sit back as we revisit the best explainers that ETtech Unwrapped delivered weekly to your inbox in a truly bonkers year for tech.
Is Meta losing its way?
In late June, Meta reported its first-ever yearly drop in revenue, the latest sign of trouble at the social media behemoth that has tethered its future to the fate of the metaverse, the theoretical ‘future of the internet’. Having brushed off scandals that would have wiped out smaller companies, Meta now faces a trio of existential threats that one analyst has described as “the perfect storm”, we wrote.
North Korea’s crypto-nukes
Halfway through October, it was already the worst month ever for crypto hacks, according to a report by blockchain data firm Chainalysis, putting 2022 on track to be the worst year ever, with $3 billion pilfered already.
North Korean hackers were responsible for a third of this theft – $1 billion – according to Chainalysis, far surpassing the $400 million they stole across seven cyberattacks on crypto exchanges in 2021. But why is North Korea, of all places, diving into digital assets?
Are we headed for dotcom bust 2.0?
To people of a certain age, the bewildering, vertigo-inducing bull run in internet stocks during 2020 and 2021, and their subsequent collapse in 2022, bring back unsettling memories of the OG – the 2000 dotcom bust – we wrote in mid-November.
While there’s little doubt the tech world has been in a pandemic-induced, stimulus-funded, number-go-up utopia for the best part of three years, there’s a significant difference between the dotcom bubble and this one.
How did FTX fleece the world’s shrewdest investors?
Later that month, we wondered aloud how FTX, the world’s second-largest crypto exchange when it collapsed in a matter of days, managed to raise billions of dollars from high-quality investors. Sequoia, SoftBank, Tiger Global, Temasek, Ribbit Capital, and Blackrock, among others, invested in FTX and FTX US – some as recently as January 31, 2022.
Elon Musk freed the bird, but who’ll free him?
The Tesla CEO’s acquisition of Twitter, which eventually cost him his perch as the world’s richest person, was in the headlines for most of the year.
When he finally completed the acquisition in late October, many pundits and investors said the billionaire – who was already heading four companies – might be spreading himself too thin.
Two months into his chaotic reign, the early indications are that those concerns were justified, with Musk himself looking for a way out, we wrote in late December.
Written by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai
Now we move on to the top stories of the first week of 2023.
Govt’s data localisation norms hit roadblock: The Indian government’s move to allow the transfer of personal data of Indians to ‘trusted geographies’ has hit a roadblock as Reliance Jio, Airtel – two of India’s largest telecommunication companies – and digital payments major Paytm are opposed to it.
No relief to Google from NCLAT on CCI order: In a setback for Google, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has refused to stay the penalty of Rs 1,337 crore imposed on it by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
Centre looks to regulate gaming among children: The Indian government is drafting new rules to limit the amount of time children can spend on a gaming app. It may also mandate gaming companies to submit anonymised reports on such usage, people in the know told us.
Government proposes self-regulation for e-gaming firms: The government has proposed a self-regulatory mechanism for online gaming firms. In draft rules released on Monday, it has also made verification of players through Know Your Customer (KYC) norms mandatory.
Quick commerce faces stern test in 2023: Quick commerce was one of the hottest tech properties during the pandemic. But 2022 saw most investors stay away from the cash-burning sector, and this cold shoulder is expected to reach a freezing point in the coming year.
Walmart’s $1B tax payout for PhonePe move to India: Walmart and other PhonePe shareholders paid nearly $1 billion in tax after the digital payments firm shifted its headquarters to India.
Top executive churn
Mukesh Bansal steps back from Tata Neu’s day-to-day operations: Tata Digital’s president Mukesh Bansal has stepped away from day-to-day operations at the Mumbai-based conglomerate’s new commerce arm Tata Neu, multiple people familiar with the matter told ETtech.
Suhail Sameer resigns: BharatPe’s chief executive, Shail Sameer stepped down from his current position and will transition to the role of a strategic advisor for the company, effective January 7.
Zomato cofounder and CTO Gunjan Patidar quits: Zomato cofounder and chief technology officer Gunjan Patidar resigned, the company informed stock exchanges on Monday.
Satya Nadella’s India visit
Technology is not an end, but a means to end for inclusive growth of all: Microsoft’s chief executive officer Satya Nadella during his India visit said that technology and economic growth should not be considered an end but a means to an end that meant inclusive growth for everyone.
Also read: Microsoft is now building global products in India
Also read: India is showing intense tech usage, Microsoft investments significant, says Nadella
Seed funding outshines overall deal growth in 2022: Seed-stage deals were robust in value terms last year, in line with the growth seen in 2021, data by London-based investment data platform Preqin, shared exclusively with ET, showed.
Exclusive | Dunzo likely to raise $100 million via convertible notes: Reliance Retail-backed Dunzo is in talks to raise up to $100 million (Rs 825 crore) through convertible notes, people aware of the matter said, joining a growing list of startups which have tapped alternate funding routes to preserve their valuations.
Kreditbee funding: Credit-based fintech startup KreditBee said it has raised $120 million more from investors in Series D funds, taking the size of the round to $200 million.
Lead to acquire Pearson India’s K-12 business: Edtech unicorn Lead is set to acquire the K-12 India business of British educational services company Pearson, which has been divesting its K-12 businesses in other geographies as well.
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