Jun
11
2019
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WhatsApp is finally going after outside firms that are abusing its platform

WhatsApp has so far relied on past dealings with bad players within its platform to ramp up its efforts to curtail spam and other automated behavior. The Facebook -owned giant has now announced an additional step it plans to take beginning later this year to improve the health of its messaging service: going after those whose mischievous activities can’t be traced within its platform.

The messaging platform, used by more than 1.5 billion users, confirmed on Tuesday that starting December 7 it will start considering signals off its platform to pursue legal actions against those who are abusing its system. The company will also go after individuals who — or firms that — falsely claim to have found ways to cause havoc on the service.

The move comes as WhatsApp grapples with challenges such as spam behavior to push agendas or spread of false information on its messaging service in some markets. “This serves as notice that we will take legal action against companies for which we only have off-platform evidence of abuse if that abuse continues beyond December 7, 2019, or if those companies are linked to on-platform evidence of abuse before that date,” it said in an FAQ post on its site.

A WhatsApp spokesperson confirmed the change to TechCrunch, adding, “WhatsApp was designed for private messaging, so we’ve taken action globally to prevent bulk messaging and enforce limits on how WhatsApp accounts that misuse WhatsApp can be used. We’ve also stepped up our ability to identify abuse, which helps us ban 2 million accounts globally per month.”

Earlier this year, WhatsApp said (PDF) it had built a machine learning system to detect and weed out users who engage in inappropriate behavior such as sending bulk messages or creating multiple accounts with intention to harm the service. The platform said it was able to assess the past dealings with problematics behaviors to ban 20% of bad accounts at the time of registration itself.

But the platform is still grappling to contain abusive behavior, a Reuters report claimed last month. The news agency reported about tools that were readily being sold in India for under $15 that claimed to bypass some of the restrictions that WhatsApp introduced in recent months.

TechCrunch understands that with today’s changes, WhatsApp is going after those same set of bad players. It has already started to send cease and desist letters to marketing companies that claim to abuse WhatsApp in recent months, a person familiar with the matter said.

May
13
2019
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India’s Locus raises $22 million to expand its logistics management business

Locus, an Indian startup that uses AI to help businesses map out their logistics, has raised $22 million in Series B funding to expand its operations in international markets.

The financing round for the four-year-old startup was led by Falcon Edge Capital and Tiger Global. Existing investors Exfinity Venture Partners and Blume Ventures also participated in the round. The startup has raised $29 million to date, Nishith Rastogi, co-founder and CEO of Locus, told TechCrunch in an interview.

Locus works with companies that operate in FMCG, logistics and e-commerce spaces. Some of its clients include Tata Group companies, Myntra, BigBasket, Lenskart and Bluedart. It helps these clients automate their logistics workload — tasks such as planning, organizing, transporting and tracking of inventories, and finding the best path to reach a destination — that have traditionally required intensive human labor.

“Say a Lenskart representative is visiting a house or an office to offer an eye checkup, and suddenly two more people there are interested in getting their eyes checked. The representative could attend these two new potential clients, or wrap things up with the first client and take care of his or her next appointment,” said Rastogi.

Locus looks at a client’s past data, identifies patterns and automates these kind of decisions on a large scale. In an example shared earlier with TechCrunch, Rastogi talked about how Locus had built a scanner for e-commerce companies for measuring products.

Rastogi said he will use the fresh capital to develop products and expand Locus in Southeast Asian and North American markets. The startup says half of its 110-person workforce is outside of India. Half of the IP it has built and the revenue it generates comes from its team outside of India.

He said the startup has spent the recent quarters studying these international markets, and has secured some anchor clients to expand the business. Locus is operationally profitable already and any additional capital goes into expanding its business, he added.

The logistics market in India has long been riddled with challenges. A growing number of startups, including BlackBuck — which raised $150 million last week — have emerged in recent years to tackle these problems.

The new funding also illustrates Tiger Global’s new strategy for the Indian market. The VC fund, which has invested in B2C businesses Flipkart and Ola in India, has made a number of investments in B2B startups in recent months. Last month, it invested $90 million in agritech supply chain startup Ninjacart, and weeks later, it gave cloud-based solutions provider Zenoti $50 million. It also participated in customer marketing service ClearTap’s $26 million round.

Jul
06
2017
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Moglix raises $12M Series B to digitize India’s manufacturing industry

 Moglix launched in 2015 as an online store for tools and construction supplies, but now it’s venturing into enterprise software with the launch of GreenGST to help Indian manufacturers become compliant with the country’s new tax codes. The Noida-headquartered startup announced today that it has raised a $12 million Series B, which it will use to develop its supply chain… Read More

Mar
10
2016
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Contract management software maker Icertis raises $15M Series B

shutterstock contract Icertis, which develops cloud-based software that helps large companies manage contracts, has raised a $15 million Series B led by Ignition Partners. Read More

Jan
19
2016
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Storm Ventures Launches $10M Fund For Indian SaaS Startups

shutterstock india Earlier this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced a set of initiatives, called Startup India, designed to help the country’s fledgling tech companies and their investors. One of the first Silicon Valley venture capital firms to take advantage of Startup India is Storm Ventures, which just launched a new fund for SaaS startups in India. Read More

Apr
09
2014
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Indian Software Product Startups Pitch Ideas To Fortune 500 CIOs

IMG_20140410_103404 After years of working with India’s over $100 billion IT services industry for maintaining their software systems, application development and back office work, CIOs of Fortune 500 companies are now looking to tap into the country’s software product ecosystem. And this time, it’s not just about setting up a corporate accelerator like Target did and Coca Cola is… Read More

Apr
08
2014
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Pitney Bowes Launches Startup Accelerator In India To Hunt For Its Next Big E-Commerce, Mobile Ideas

photo-25 Pitney Bowes, the 94-year-old producer of stamp postage meters attempting to become an e-commerce platform, is the latest to tap into India’s engineering talent for incubating startup ideas. The accelerator program will be conducted jointly with India’s technology industry association, Nasscom, as part of its year-old startup incubator called “10,000 Start-ups”. For its… Read More

Apr
01
2014
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Appiterate Raises Seed Funding From SAIF Partners, Joins Growing List Of A/B Testing Startups

Dashboard screenshots-07 Testing design and content features on-the-go to identify what users want is nothing new — it’s over a decade old process used by Google (and now Facebook among several others) to tell which products are likely to succeed. While both Google and Facebook are known for running dozens of A/B testing at any point in time to find what’s the most popular design or feature in a new… Read More

Mar
19
2014
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Ezetap Gets Additional Funding From Amex To Expand Its Mobile Payment Platform Across Emerging Markets

Ezetap, a Bangalore-based mobile payment startup that uses a rectangular device to turn any mobile phone into a point-of-sales terminal when plugged in, is raising additional funding from American Express. Last month, the startup had raised $8 million in Series B funding led by Helion Advisors, Social+Capital and Berggruen Holdings. “The investment will allow us to turn on additional… Read More

Mar
14
2014
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India’s TeaBox Raises Seed Funding From Accel To Build An Online Starbucks For Disrupting Global Tea Market

In a world rediscovering its old tea drinking habits, finding a freshly-brewed cup of the hot beverage is still very tough, especially if you are a tea aficionado based in the U.S. or Europe. For the world’s second most popular beverage after water, the distribution and production models are still very ancient, perhaps waiting for their own version of Starbucks to happen. Now TeaBox, a… Read More

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