Read the top tech stories that made news today

Engineering undergraduates in India are landing internships with monthly stipends exceeding Rs 1 lakh from the likes of Amazon, Google and Goldman Sachs. This and more in today’s ETtech Top 5.

Also in this letter:

■ Truth Social’s market debut

■ WhatsApp raises OTP rates in India

■ Societies that startup stars call home

Google, Amazon, Microsoft paying Rs 1 lakh stipends for internships

Internship salary

An increasing number of undergraduate engineering students have secured internships, with monthly stipends of Rs 1 lakh or more from companies like Amazon, Google, Intuit India, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks and Goldman Sachs.

What’s in demand? These internships, which can last for 3-6 months, are a golden ticket to full-time roles in high-demand fields like data science, cloud computing and analytics.

The offer: At IIT Mandi, 27 students have received stipends of Rs 1 lakh or more this year. In Bengaluru, RV College of Engineering has seen 39 students getting over Rs 1 lakh in monthly stipends compared to 8 last year. Around 30 students at Vellore Institute of Technology have also bagged Rs 1-lakh stipends, with companies like Couchbase and Amazon offering Rs 1.2 lakh and Rs 1.1 lakh, respectively.

Internship salary

Who’s offering what: Professor Ranganath D, RV College of Engineering’s dean of placement, said Amazon, UiPath, and Microsoft have offered stipends up to Rs 1.4 lakh for various tech roles. Similarly, Walmart, Goldman Sachs, and Palo Alto have provided Rs 1-lakh stipends.

High conversion rate: Himani Sood, pro-chancellor at Chandigarh University, said companies like Atlassian, Uber, and Google have also offered stipends of Rs 1 lakh. Sood pointed out a high conversion from internships to full-time positions, with top tech firms in India offering annual compensation between Rs 40 lakh to Rs 65 lakh, and international roles reaching up to Rs 1 crore.

Google in talks to buy plot in Navi Mumbai for maiden India captive data centre

Google Data centre

Alphabet’s Google is in advanced talks to buy a 22.5-acre land parcel in Navi Mumbai’s Juinagar to establish its first captive data centre in India, people in the know told ET. This comes as India is working to build its own compute capacity.

Google’s first: Google and its tech peers Microsoft and Amazon are setting up hyperscale data centres in India to take advantage of this market, which is on a digitalisation high after the Covid-19 pandemic. While the search engine major has struck some deals to lease space at colocation data centres in Navi Mumbai and Noida, this will be the first data centre to be developed by the company.

Finer details: California-headquartered Google is currently doing due diligence for the leasehold land parcel owned by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC). The deal is likely to be worth around Rs 850 crore, depending on current property rates in the area and MIDC’s transfer charges, sources added.

“The proposed captive data centre may have a capacity of a couple of hundred megawatts given the large size of the land parcel,” one of the persons cited above told ET.

Also read | Union Cabinet approves Rs 10,372-crore India AI mission

Data centre growth: ET has been reporting that the compute infrastructure in the country is due for a major upgrade with internet usage rising more than ever before.

ET reported earlier this week a digital public infrastructure (DPI) to create a network of interoperable data centres in the country is taking shape, with Oracle and another AI infrastructure company NeevCloud set to join the network.

Also read | Small-town edge: How 5G, OTT is driving demand for data centres beyond big cities

Donald Trump’s Truth Social soars on market debut: all you need to know

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s social media company Truth Social saw its shares soar about 16% on the first day of listing on Nasdaq. The former US president holds a nearly 60% stake in the company, which is now worth $4.9 billion on paper.

What’s the news? Shares of Trump Media and Technology Group closed at $57.9, up 16.1%, giving the company a market value of $7.8 billion.

Trump Media, the parent company of Truth Social, successfully listed on the Nasdaq following its merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp, subsequently replacing Digital World on the stock exchange.

Investor frenzy: A significant portion of shareholders in Trump Media consists of small-scale investors who are either showing their support for Trump or seeking to capitalise on the excitement, as opposed to large institutional or professional investors, AP reported.

Also read | Reddit soars after NYSE debut: here are top things to know

Financials: Despite its bumper listing, investors are wary because Truth Social, launched in 2022 by Trump after he was banned from major social media apps like Facebook and Twitter (now X), does not have impressive numbers.

The social media company lost $10.6 million from its operations in the first nine months of 2023 on revenue of $3.4 million. It has been funding itself by borrowing $40.7 million through convertible promissory notes that can be paid back in stock.

According to estimates, Truth Social had roughly 5 million active mobile and web users in February, lagging far behind TikTok’s more than 2 billion and Facebook’s 3 billion.

Also read | Trump’s micro-blogging platform Truth Social loses $73 million since launch

WhatsApp ends global companies’ cheap-OTP run

WhatsApp new pricing

Messaging application WhatsApp has launched a new category for international OTPs (one-time passwords). To increase revenue from such services, it has priced enterprise messages in India at 20 times its earlier rate.

New category: Last week, WhatsApp introduced a new category called ‘authentication-international’ messages priced at Rs 2.3 per message for the domestic market. The new category is applicable in India and Indonesia starting June 1, an update on its website showed.

Yes, but: Despite the sharp increase, the pricing for India is still half of what enterprises pay for conventional SMSes, as WhatsApp tries to attract more enterprises to this growing segment.

The move is likely to significantly impact communication budgets of international businesses like Amazon, Google and Microsoft who had been challenging unfairly high rates for international SMSes in India and had started relying on WhatsApp as an alternative, say experts.

Expert take: “Many large foreign companies have started using WhatsApp as their primary authentication medium because of high price arbitrage between domestic and international SMS rates,” said Aniketh Jain, founder of customer communications startup Fyno.

Know thy context: Telecom companies currently charge Rs 0.12 per SMS for local companies versus $ 0.05 (or Rs 4.13) for overseas ones. This large arbitrage created an opportunity for WhatsApp to peg its OTP delivery charges at Rs 0.11 for all enterprises alike. With the new system, however, WhatsApp will be charging foreign companies at Rs 2.3 per message.

Also read | Google pushing an alternative to WhatsApp enterprise messaging

Whale tank: Upscale societies where tech, startup czars stay connected

Tech homes

Altamount Road, the South Bombay Billionaires’ Row that’s home to Reliance group boss Mukesh Ambani, appears to have company in other Indian metros such as Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR, for the uber-rich tech and startup czars to stay connected and network with one another.

Where the rich live: In Bengaluru, houses in Billionaires’ Street (Koramangala), Epsilon Villas or Adarsh Palm Retreat (APR) are owned by the likes of Flipkart cofounders Sachin and Binny Bansal and its CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, along with a few Infosys cofounders and the Raveendrans of Bjyu’s.

The owners of several new-age companies such as Unacademy’s Gaurav Munjal, PhonePe’s Sameer Nigam, Meesho’s Vidit Aatrey, the Zetwerk founders dot the palm tree – and Mercedes-lined – APR.

‘Network effect’: There’s a ‘network effect’ that attracts more and more such individuals as these communities start building up, Sandeep Reddy, cofounder of real estate sales digital platform Zapkey, told ET.

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Erick Massey in New Delhi and Vaibhavi Khanwalkar in Bengaluru.

Harry Byrne

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