Healthcare startup Pristyn Care is in talks with investors to raise $90-110 million. If the latest funding round goes through, it will book itself a spot in India’s very rapidly growing unicorn club. Very rapidly here means adding a couple of unicorns every week! We’ll get you more details on our big story.

Also in this letter:

  • Salman Khan to launch his NFT collection soon
  • A war of wages for crypto tech experts
  • Amazon’s ‘imitation game’ in India

Exclusive: Pristyn Care in talks to close new round at over $1.2 billion valuation


Pristyn Care founders (from left) Vaibhav Kapoor, Harsimarbir Singh, and Garima Sawhney

Pristyn Care, a three-year-old Gurugram-based healthcare startup is in talks with investors like Sequoia Capital US and others to raise $90-110 million, which may value the company at $1.2-$1.4 billion, according to three people with knowledge of the development.

If the latest funding round goes through, the healthcare startup will see its valuation double in six months after it raised $53 million from investors led by Tiger Global valuing it at $550 million in April this year.

Riding the wave: Healthtech companies have seen unprecedented growth in business traction due to the pandemic. In the recent past startups like MFine, Visit, ConnectedH, HealthPlix, mHealth have received funding from risk investors.

Other done deals…

■ Adtech firm InMobi said it has signed a definitive agreement to buy Appsumer, a UK-based performance insights platform for mobile app advertisers, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition of Appsumer extends InMobi’s recent enterprise expansions. Last month, InMobi launched InMobi Telco to help mobile carriers and handset makers optimise their customer experiences and diversify their revenue streams.

■ Direct-to-consumer jewellery brand Melorra has raised $24 million in a funding round led by 9Unicorns, Symphony International Holdings Limited, Value Quest, Venture Catalysts, and Param Capital. The funds raised will be used to strengthen technology, ramp up brand marketing, and open retail outlets across India.

Arcana Network, a blockchain startup that offers decentralised storage and data privacy platform for Ethereum, has raised $2.3 million led by Republic Crypto and Woodstock Fund. Digital Currency Group (DCG), Hyperedge, Sahil Lavingia’s, Fenbushi Capital, LD Capital, and Paradigm Shift VC also participated in the round.

■ Technology company Nothing, founded by OnePlus cofounder Carl Pei, said it has raised $50 million from strategic and private investors, and has partnered with US chipmaker Qualcomm. A tie-up with Qualcomm, whose chips are present in a range of devices from cars to phones, would help Nothing to build future products.

■ Insurtech startup GramCover announced that it has raised $7 million in a Series A round co-led by Siana Capital and Inflexor Ventures in a Series A round. The fresh capital will be used to strengthen the technology and product offerings and also scale up the business and support functions.

Salman Khan to launch his NFT collection

Salman Khan NFT

A digital art piece, Everydays – The First 5000 Days by Beeple, sold at an auction for nearly $70 million. That transaction made headlines around the world and buoyed the rising interest in these kinds of digital objects — known as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs — that has caught the attention of celebrities and collectors alike. This trend is a true FOMO moment.

Joining this NFT craze is Bollywood actor Salman Khan. The actor today announced that he will launch a collection for his fans soon.

This development follows Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan’s announcement of launching his own NFT-backed videos, signed posters, and digital collectables.

What is NFT? Simply put, NFTs are crypto tokens that represent ownership of unique items, whether digital or physical. NFTs can represent real estate, art, music and even a tweet. Read our full explainer on NFTs here.

Khan’s NFTs will be available on an NFT marketplace and will be purchasable through its native token by Bollycoin which will open for presale later this month. The NFT platform will go live in December this year, according to the website.

Tell me more: The founding team of the marketplace included Khan’s brother-in-law Atul Agnihotri. The marketplace has partnered with Arbaaz Khan Production, Sohail Khan Productionz and Salman Khan Films to begin with. It plans to partner with other celebrities and production houses too.

According to the white paper of its native token Bollycoin, the marketplace will sell digital collectables from Bollywood which will be auctioned on the Ethereum blockchain.

Khan is jumping on the NFT bandwagon amid keen interest among cricketers and celebrities to tap into NFTs to monetise their creations.

  • NFT platform Rario launched a cricket-based digital collectibles platform in August and has partnered with former Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan.
  • Fashion designer Manish Malhotra also recently sold fashion themed NFTs on WazirX NFT marketplace. The platform said they were sold out within a couple of minutes.

Global celebs: Celebrities from Snoop Dogg to Reese Witherspoon are embracing this new trend of crypto art.

On Monday, actor Reese Witherspoon said she has purchased her first-ever non-fungible token. The actor made the announcement on Twitter and said she’s keen on knowing about “amazing women creating” NFTs.

Other global celebrities who have joined the NFT bandwagon include Ellen Degeneres, Eminem and Emily Ratajkowski

Globally, NFT startups have raked in over $3 billion this year, according to data sourced from industry tracker Traxcn. Investors have invested nearly $41 million into NFT startups in India this year.

The growing NFT ecosystem

Data from DappRadar shows that sales volumes of NFTs surged to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, up more than eightfold from the previous quarter, data from market tracker DappRadar shows. The third-quarter figure was up from $1.3 billion in Q2 and $1.2 billion in Q1.

Related coverage

As the buzz surrounding cryptocurrency and blockchain continues to rise, so have job openings in this new and niche sector. A war of wages is brewing!

A war of wages is on for experts in crypto tech

crypto (1) (1)

As we continue to see significant disruption to a range of sectors and the global workforce, blockchain technologies have emerged as a viable long-term career option. All of this comes amid regulators tighten the screws on cryptocurrencies and related businesses.

Nonetheless, there is a war of wages that is brewing for experts in cryptocurrency technologies such as blockchain, fuelled by demand from IT services companies serving global clients, consulting firms and fintech startups.

The demand for crypto-tech talent has soared over the last 8- 10 months in India, with the number of active job openings this month at more than 12,000—a 50% increase from a year earlier, according to a report by specialist staffing services firm Xpheno.

Limited talent pool: As crypto tech itself is just over a decade old, the number of experts in this domain is limited. This crunch in crypto talent is pushing the salaries to up to Rs 80 lakh per annum for those with 8-10 years of experience.

  • “Despite the 12-year life of the crypto domain, its mainstream visibility and talent-related attention is under a decade,” Xpheno cofounder Kamal Karanth said.

With more jobs chasing a small niche pool of accessible crypto-tech talent, the number of offers per candidate is on the rise. “Candidates negotiating with 4-5 offers in hand have become a common occurrence for the top tech skills,” said Karanth.

This is translating to a 30-60% shortage of talent supply in high demand skill sets. For certain niche skills in crypto, cybersecurity, data science, AR/VR and AI/ML, the gap has widened to as much as 50-70%, according to the Xpheno report.

Expert speak: “The way the domain is growing in India, we expect 30% more jobs to be created in coming months,” Nasscom senior vice president Sangeeta Gupta told us.

According to a report by Nasscom and cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, there are 50,000 professionals working in the crypto-tech industry in India.

What are companies looking for? The top skills companies are looking for include blockchain, machine learning, security solutions, RippleX solutions, front-end (including ReactJs, VueJS and Typescript) and back-end (such as NodeJs, Python and Golang) skills, data analysis, and UX/UI.

According to the 2021 Global Blockchain Employment Report, global demand for blockchain developers is expected to increase 300%-500% yearly.

What is driving this trend? The primary thing that affected the crypto market in the past and to the job market is the price of bitcoin. Interest in the cryptocurrency and blockchain tech was slow and steady until 2017 when the price of bitcoin reached almost $20,000. And then the market boomed. Earlier this week, bitcoin climbed above $57,000 for the first time since May as speculators bet that the largest cryptocurrency will retest the record highs reached earlier this year.

Also Read:Many Indian techies get paid in crypto, say it’s faster and easier

Tweet of the day

Inside Amazon’s systematic campaign to boost its private brands

Amazon Inc. has been repeatedly accused of knocking off products it sells on its website and of exploiting its vast trove of internal data to promote its own merchandise at the expense of other sellers. The company has denied the accusations.

But thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents examined by Reuters—including emails, strategy papers and business plans—show the company ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to boost its own product lines in India, one of the company’s largest growth markets.

The documents reveal how Amazon’s private-brands team in India secretly exploited internal data from to copy products sold by other companies, and then offered them on its platform. The employees also stoked sales of Amazon private-brand products by rigging Amazon’s search results so that the company’s products would appear, as one 2016 strategy report for India put it, “in the first 2 or three … search results” when customers were shopping on

Apple likely to cut iPhone 13 production due to chip crunch

Apple iPhone 13

Apple Inc. is likely to slash production of its iPhone 13 by as many as 10 million units due to the global chip shortage.

The company was expected to produce 90 million units of the new iPhone models by the end of this year, according to a Bloomberg report. The report said Apple told its manufacturers that the number of units would be lower because chip suppliers including Broadcom Inc and Texas Instruments are struggling to deliver components.

Double whammy: In July, Apple forecast slowing revenue growth and said the chip shortage, which had started hitting its ability to sell Macs and iPads, would also crimp iPhone production.

The chip crunch has put immense pressure on industries from automobiles to electronics, leading many automakers to temporarily suspend production.

Apple gets display parts from Texas Instruments, while Broadcom is its longtime supplier of wireless components.

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was written by Arun Padmanabhan in New Delhi. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.