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Byju’s has offered a group of warring shareholders a chance to invest in the company’s $200-million rights issue. This and more in today’s ETtech Top 5

Also in this letter:

■ SAP eyes GenAI boost

■ ETtech Deals Digest

■ PM Modi interacts with Bill Gates


Byju’s offers warring investors to participate in funding, secures 50% votes on rights issue


Byju shareholders

To avoid a dilution in shareholding, founder and CEO Byju Raveendran has offered estranged investors of the edtech firm a chance to invest in its rights issue — at a 99% discount to the company’s peak valuation.

EGM details: Byju’s held an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) this morning to increase its authorised share capital. None of the participating investors objected to the proposal.

The result of the voting — including the postal ballot — will be known after the formal process is completed, likely on April 6.

Letter to shareholders: In a letter to shareholders before the EGM, Raveendran said the company has secured more than 50% votes through the postal ballot — first announced on March 7 — to increase the authorised share capital to account for the $200-million rights issue.

“In good faith, the board is considering making an offer of renounced shares to existing shareholders to ensure that there is no more dilution to their shareholding. We will share more details with you shortly,” he said in the note.

Top shareholders in Byju

Also read | NCLT refuses to stay Byju’s EGM over $200 million rights issue

Significance of the offer: The offer to dissenting investors is of significance as the rights issue is happening at a 99% discount to the company’s peak valuation of $22 billion. This means any investor not participating in the funding will see their shareholding wiped out after the completion of the rights issue.

Byju new valuation

Investor animosity: Raveendran and a group of investors have been involved in a public spat for a few months now over the management of the company. This group of investors is seeking to remove Raveendran as chief executive. They also want his wife and cofounder Divya Gokulnath and brother Riju Ravindran to leave the board.

Also read | I continue to remain CEO: Byju Raveendran to staff


TCS starts fresher hiring for 2024 batch


TCS hiring

IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) kicked off its recruitment process for IT and business outsourcing roles and announced its national tests exclusively for engineers and others graduating in 2024, amid an overall slowdown in the $250-billion industry.

Now hiring: TCS has invited final-year engineering and computer science students graduating in 2024 to participate in the upcoming National Qualifier Test (NQT) to be held on April 26. The last date for sending applications is April 10.

The NQT is an online assessment used to identify top talent for TCS’s Ninja and Digital fresher hiring programmes. The test evaluates candidates’ aptitude and coding skills.

The Mumbai-headquartered firm has also started to hire for TCS business processing specialists (BPS) with openings for arts, commerce, and science graduates from 2024.

What’s the pay? Typically, TCS offers annual salary packages for freshers in the range of around Rs 3-4 lakh for undergraduates, going as high as Rs 11-12 lakh per annum for postgraduate candidates.

Slowdown: While the exact hiring target could not be ascertained, the total fresher hiring is likely to be slower than the previous years. ET reported that TCS and Infosys are also rolling out smaller recruitment drives to hire junior and mid-level talent with a focus on specific technology skills.

However, ET also reported on Wednesday that the IT industry is seeing a pickup in hiring mandates by major software services firms.


ETtech Deals Digest: Startup funding in March falls 37% to $623 million


Funding

Technology startups logged a total funding value of about $622.5 million in March 2024, down 37% from the same month a year ago.

Startups across stages, mostly early and late, raised the funds across 63 rounds. In March last year, they had raised a total of $990 million across 133 rounds, as per Tracxn data. The funding winter was in full force by then, having begun from September 2022.

Overall funding trend for Indian startups

The deals across the month were almost evenly spread in ranges of 5-10 deals among sectors such as fintech, edtech, deeptech, software-as-a-service and healthtech. The ecommerce sector saw the most number of deals at 13, while food, mobility, logistics and agritech saw five or fewer deals.

Top funding rounds during

Bengaluru-based Blume Ventures emerged as the topmost investor by deal volume in March. It deployed capital in startups such as health monitoring device maker Ultrahuman, supermarket chain SuperK, digital lender Optimo Loan, immersive audio experiences startup Vobble and sustainable packaging solutions startup Bambrew.

most active VCs this week



SAP expects 10-15% more revenue via new GenAI use cases


Philipp Herzig

SAP’s chief AI officer Philipp Herzig

Europe’s tech giant SAP, which builds enterprise application software, is aggressively expanding its use of generative AI (Gen AI) by aiming to quadruple current applications by the year-end, which is expected to be a major sales booster, its first chief AI officer Philipp Herzig told ET.

New use cases: In the new AI-focused unit led by Herzig, SAP currently has 30 different use cases or tasks via GenAI in domains such as customer experience, HR, and documentation and sales.

The most “famous use case” of gen AI for SAP is job description generation, i.e. formulating interview questions — SAP SuccessFactors, its HR solution.

Quote, unquote: “We have got very good feedback (from customers). And they have more requirements as an extended part of it. This gives us strong conviction for this year because we have a roadmap of a little bit more than 100 scenarios,” the top executive said.

India play: Herzig also highlighted how crucial India is for SAP’s AI aims. “When it comes to AI, this is such a large customer base, it has an amazing ecosystem here, and in the context of both SAP and AI, we’re spending a lot of time with our partner ecosystem,” he said.

Also read | Large action models gearing up to turn AI’s promise into action


PM Modi details India’s technology plans in interaction with Bill Gates


Modi Bill Gates meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates about how technology can help boost sectors such as agriculture, education and health, and highlighted the efforts of his government towards the same.

Highlights from the interaction:

On scientific R&D: Modi said if his government wins a third term after the general elections in April-May, he wants to set aside funds for research into cervical cancer to help develop low-cost vaccines and make them accessible, especially for young girls.

On AI, deepfakes: The prime minister highlighted his use of AI during the G20 summit for speech translation and delivering addresses in various languages at different events. He suggested leveraging technologies like ChatGPT for continuous self-improvement, pointing out that one shouldn’t become lazy due to such tools.

“If such a good thing (AI) is given to someone without proper training, it is likely to be misused. I suggested that we start with clear watermarks on AI-generated content. In a democratic country like India, anybody can use deepfakes. It’s crucial to acknowledge that deepfake content is AI-generated,” Modi said.

On digital India: Gates said India is leading the way in digital public infrastructure, lauding the country’s efforts towards digital innovation showcased during the G20 summit.

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

Roy Walsh

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