Google charges only 6% for some apps; Freeze another Rs 46 crore ED in case of loan applications

The revised Google Store billing policy, which is set to take effect in India on October 31, may bring good news for app developers who earn less than $1 million in annual revenue and startups offering video, audio or book content. A Google source told us that such apps may only attract 6% commission on in-app purchases.

Credit: Giphy

Also in this message:
■ Chinese Loan Apps: ED Freeze over Rs 46 crore in Payment Gateway Accounts
■ Google-backed DotPe raises $54.4 million in funding led by Temasek
Layoffs at big tech companies won’t affect telecom projects in India, recruiters say

Video, audio and book apps on the Play Store may only attract 6% commission

Google Play Store

App developers and small Indian startups that offer video, audio or book content may have to pay just 6% commission for in-app purchases on the Google Play Store, a senior company executive told us.

This follows recent changes, such as allowing alternatives to billing systems, that Google has announced in select markets. The Play Store commission is set to come into effect from October 31 in India.

Yes, but: Our source said that other apps, excluding those that offer gaming content, will pay a commission close to 11% if they choose to adopt alternative billing systems. 6% and 11% commissions will be applied to non-game apps that generate less than $1 million in revenue per year.

big climb: Sure enough, this is a significant reduction on Google’s part from the 30% commission it said it would charge when announcing the Play Store’s commission policy two years ago.

The announcement led to a coordinated retreat from the local startup ecosystem and led to an investigation by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which is now in its final stages, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google has also been criticized for not allowing developers alternatives to its in-house billing system.

Read also | HC rejects WhatsApp and Facebook appeals against CCI investigation

Recent changes: Earlier this month, Google said it was rolling out the next phase of its user option beta billing program, and that India would be among the markets where this would be available. The new system will allow all non-game developers to offer users an alternative billing system besides Google’s.

On September 8, Google said it was conducting a beta trial to allow Indian daily fantasy sports (DFS) and Rumi apps to be distributed on the Play Store in India. Currently, such apps – which include Dream11, Mobile Premier League, and many others – are not available on the Play Store because they fall under the gambling realm.

The pilot program is scheduled to run from September 28, 2022 to September 28, 2023.

China App Loans: ED Freeze over Rs 46 crore in Payment Gateway Accounts

ED probe

The Enforcement Directorate said Friday it has frozen Rs 46.67 crore held in payment gateways Easebuzz, Razorpay, Cashfree and Paytm after it conducted raids this week against China-controlled loan applications and investment tokens.

Sixteen bank offices and payment gateways in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Bengaluru were also searched in connection with an investigation into an application-based code called HPZ, the agency said in a statement.

Read also | India cracks down on China-backed fintech lenders in the country

The funds were frozen under the Indian Anti-Money Laundering Act.

details: The searches began on September 14 at multiple corporate headquarters in Delhi, Mumbai, Ghaziabad, Lucknow and Gaya.

She said the money laundering case stems from the first media report issued in October 2021 submitted by the Kohima Police Cybercrime Unit in Nagaland.

“During the search, many incriminating documents were found and seized,” she added.

“Huge balances being held in virtual accounts of entities involved in payment pools were found… Rs.33.36 crore with Easebuzz Private Limited, Pune, Rs.8.21 crore with Razorpay Software Private Limited, Bangalore, Rs 1.28 crore using Cashfree,” the agency added. ‘Payments India Private Limited, Bangalore and Rs 1.11 crore with Paytm Payments Services Limited, New Delhi’.

Read also | Parent company Paytm says the money ED seized does not belong to us

Previous searches: On Wednesday, ANI reported that ED was conducting searches at several headquarters of fintech companies Paytm and PayU in connection with the issue of Chinese loan applications.

Sources told the news agency that searches are taking place in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurugram, Lucknow and Kolkata. On September 3, the agency conducted similar searches on the premises of online payment gateways including Razorpay Pvt Ltd, Cashfree Payments and Paytm Payment Services Ltd.

Read also | Paytm, Razorpay and Cashfree offices stormed in China loan application case

A message from SoftBank Group

Lessons from India’s Top Startups on Scaling, Even in Tough Markets


Powered by more than 70,000 tech startups, India’s digital economy has the potential to be the biggest pull factor for the public good in the next decade, and is expected to spur a new India. However, as the Indian founders reach adulthood, they have to shift into a mode of self-preservation also in the face of increasing overall pressures and transformation in the operating environment.

While most of the founders of Indian startups come from stubborn middle-class backgrounds and have a strong will about a gradual change in collective fortunes, the stresses of confrontation in a volatile and rapidly growing environment can test the best entrepreneurs of a generation.

At ‘Global Unicorn Chain’, Manoj Kohli, President of SoftBank Group International India in India, hosts some of the country’s leading startups, including founders of Nykaa, Zomato, Oyo, Cars24 and Globalbees, and asks about their growth ambitions, survival instincts and lessons learned on their extraordinary journeys in the field of entrepreneurship.

Watch the full conversation with India’s digital startup champions here.

Google-backed DotPe has raised $54.4 million in funding led by Temasek

DotPe founders Shailaz Nag, Anurag Gupta and Gyanesh Sharma

DotPe founders Shailaz Nag, Anurag Gupta and Gyanesh Sharma

Google-backed DotPe, founded by PayU India co-founder Shailaz Nag, is raising 434.5 crore (about $54.4 million) in funding led by Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek.

DotPe helps small and medium businesses set up their online payment and delivery systems. It also provides them with store management and marketing management tools.

The company’s board of directors issued a special resolution at an extraordinary general meeting held earlier this week to start the company by raising the amount.

break up: According to the regulatory documents accessed, Temasek – through its investment arm V-Sciences Investments – is investing Rs 150 crore ($18.7 million). Investments by Naya Global, MUFG Bank and PayU Fintech will invest approximately Rs 82.5 crore ($10.3 million), Rs 75 crore ($9.3 million) and Rs 91.7 crore ($11.4 million) respectively.

Credit to invest $10 million in LiquiLoans: Meanwhile, fintech startup Cred led by Kunal Shah is investing $10 million to acquire a minority stake in non-bank peer-to-peer (P2P) finance company LiquiLoans, the two companies said Friday. Cred will take a minority stake – roughly 5-6% – in the company, and is estimated to be worth about $200 million.

ETtech Offers Summary

startup financing

The funding winter for Indian startups continued into the third week of September. Although there was a slight increase in the total amount raised from last week, the numbers are still significantly lower than what startups raised in 2021.

The number of funding rounds of $100 million and above decreased from 29 in the first quarter of the calendar year to 18 in the second quarter and only three in the third quarter (as of August 24).

With large private equity and VC funds continuing to position their bets cautiously amid a volatile macroeconomic environment, the drought may continue for some time. EV startup Yulu and Google-backed DotPe led the funding schemes this week.

Here is a list of all the startups that raised money this week.

Deal Summary

Big tech layoffs won’t affect telecom projects in India: recruiters


Recruiters have told us that layoffs at global tech giants such as Meta, Microsoft and Google will not affect the projects these companies are undertaking for Indian telecom clients.

These technology companies still have enough manpower to serve their major telecom customers, they said, adding that Indian telecom firms Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) have been hiring engineers, software and application developers in large numbers over the past two years. Roll out 5G services, which should more than offset any potential impact from layoffs.

“No matter the size of the team, most tech companies will honor contracts, so workflow/support for telecom companies will not be affected,” Sachin Alug, CEO of staffing firm NLB Services, told us.

layoffs: Over the past few months, Microsoft has laid off about 2,000 employees, and Google has warned of layoffs if the company’s performance does not improve. Meta and Apple have laid off 60 and 100 employees respectively so far.

Elon Musk accuses Twitter of fraud in amended court filing

Elon Musk

Citing a court filing, Reuters reported that Elon Musk accused Twitter of committing fraud by concealing serious flaws in data security, saying that this would allow him to terminate his $44 billion deal with the company.

Changes in the lawsuit: Musk modified his earlier lawsuit by adopting allegations from a Twitter whistleblower, who on Tuesday informed Congress of interference by foreign agents in the influential social media platform.

The Tesla chief also alleged that Twitter hid from him that it was not in compliance with a 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission regarding user data.

“Needless to say, the latest findings undeniably demonstrate that the Musk parties have the full right to depart from the merger agreement — for numerous and independently sufficient reasons,” the amended counterclaim states.

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter is organized by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai and Gaurab Dasgupta in New Delhi. Drawings and drawings of the middle Rahul.

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