Amazon Spearheads $12M Funding Campaign in India

Acko General Insurance, an online-only InsurTech start-up based in Mumbai, has raised an investment of $12 million led by Amazon, bringing the company’s total equity funding to nearly $42 million, according to a report. This announcement confirms rumors from January that Amazon was on the verge of making its first investment in the disruptive Indian start-up, which had recently received in-principal approval from the financial market regulators in India, the report said. This latest funding round, which pegs Acko’s valuation at about $100 million, also saw investments from Ashish Dhawan, founder of private equity fund ChrysCapital, and Narayana Murthy, founder of investment firm Catamaran Ventures. Acko was established by Varun Dua in 2016, and leverages data and analytics to provide highly personalized insurance products through its digital platform. Dua commented in the report on the latest round of investments: “We are thrilled to have Amazon and Mr. Ashish Dhawan as our investors. This investment is a validation of Acko’s strategy to innovate ever more for tomorrow’s financial needs of users.” Amit Agarwal, senior VP and country manager for Amazon India, also commented in the report: “Acko is a young and nimble start-up bringing technology and data-led innovation to the insurance sector to deliver a better insurance experience for customers.”

Infosys Completes Acquisition of WONGDOODY

Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology and next-generation services, has completed the acquisition of WONGDOODY, a U.S.-based, full-service creative and consumer insights agency. WONGDOODY, an award-winning creative agency with studios in Seattle and Los Angeles, brings to Infosys globally recognized creative talent and deep marketing and brand engagement expertise. Through this acquisition, Infosys enhances its digital experience services ecosystem with services ranging from strategy, design and user experience, to creative and digital marketing across the customer experience value chain. Infosys further expands its worldwide network of Digital Studios that are fulfilling the needs of global clients for comprehensive digital transformation solutions required to meet customer demand for next-generation, enhanced customer experiences. Infosys has concluded the acquisition for a consideration up to $75,040,000 including conditional deferred consideration and employee retention amounts.

The Hyatt Regency Brand Enters the Holy City of Amritsar

Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced the rebranding of the Hyatt Amritsar into a Hyatt Regency hotel. Hyatt Regency Amritsar is the 11th Hyatt Regency property in India and joins a network of more than 180 Hyatt Regency properties worldwide. Located on Grand Trunk Road, Hyatt Regency Amritsar is the closest upper upscale hotel to the magnificent Golden Temple. The hotel is located within 3 miles of the Golden Temple and a 25-minute drive from the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International airport. “We are excited to bring the Hyatt Regency experience to Amritsar,” said Sunjae Sharma, VP of operations, Hyatt, India. “This transition reflects our continuous effort to do what we do best – providing local knowledge and connecting guests to what matters most; all within the close vicinity of the iconic Golden Temple.” The hotel offers 248 comfortable and modern guest rooms, inclusive of suites and Regency Club rooms, with an indoor and outdoor area of more than 11,000 square feet, a spa, a swimming pool and a vitality pool. All rooms feature a bay window providing a view of either the pool or the picturesque cityscape.

World Bank Lends India $500 for Road Building

The World Bank is continuing to finance road construction in India after it signed an agreement to lend the country’s government $500 million for numerous new projects. The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana Rural Roads Project has been running since 2004, and is now planning to add another 7,000 km of climate-resistant roads to connect India’s most isolated communities. Around half of these new roads will be built using green technologies and sustainable products, including local and marginal materials and industrial by-products such as sand, local soils, fly ash, brick kiln wastes, a news release said. Sameer Kumar Khare, India’s Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, commented: “The PMGSY over the years has brought about a paradigm shift in the way rural roads are mapped, designed, monitored and built, involving communities especially women. The additional finance will bring a new shift in construction technology using green and low carbon designs and climate resilient techniques. Now more rural communities will have access to better economic opportunities and social services.” The World Bank has invested $1.8 billion in PMGSY over the years, helping to construct and maintain 35,000km of rural roads, which translates into connecting approximately 8mn people. 

Signifyd Secures $100M in Series D Funding

Signifyd, a global provider of guaranteed fraud protection for e-commerce businesses based in San Jose, Calif., has secured $100 million in a Series D round led by Premji Invest, with participation from existing investors Bain Capital Ventures, Menlo Ventures, American Express Ventures, IA Ventures, Allegis Cyber and Resolute Ventures. Signifyd pioneered guaranteed fraud protection that combines machine learning algorithms, proprietary behavior technology and advanced data science research to help identify fraudulent orders for more than 10,000 retailers globally. Sandesh Patnam, lead partner at Premji Invest in the U.S., said, “We are impressed with the velocity of Signifyd’s growth, the breadth of its customers and partners, the culture that Raj and his team have built and the company’s vision for the future. More than that, it comes down to the high quality of Signifyd’s innovation and technology. It couldn’t be clearer that guaranteed fraud protection is reaching mainstream adoption, and Signifyd is leading this space.” Added Signifyd’s Indian American CEO and co-founder Raj Ramanand, “The fraud detection and prevention market is estimated to reach nearly $42 billion by 2022. However, while fraud remains a serious concern, transactions wrongly declined due to suspected fraud represents a bigger problem of more than $150 billion a year. A wrong decline can push consumers to abandon the merchant and thereby erode customer lifetime value. With this funding, we’re looking to continue to enable friction-free e-commerce for enterprise and omnichannel retailers globally.”

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