Today’s top tech news, August 16: Oyo’s valuation set to cross US$4B in new round

Sainul Abudheen
Today’s top tech news, August 16: Oyo’s valuation set to cross US$4B in new round

Oyo is in talks with two consortiums — a combination of SoftBank Vision Fund and WeWork, and a set of US-based strategic investors in the travel space

Oyo Rooms

Oyo’s valuation set to cross US$4B in new round [Economic Times]

India’s budget hotel chain Oyo is in advanced talks to raise up to $1 billion in a deal that could usher the company into India’s crowding Unicorn club with a valuation of over US$4 billion, three people familiar with the development told Economic Times.

The Gurgaon-based startup, which has been aggressively expanding in China, is in talks with two consortiums — a combination of SoftBank Vision Fund and co-working giant WeWork, and a set of US-based strategic investors in the travel space, two of them said.

A pre-money valuation above US$4 billion would vault Oyo, founded by 24-year-old college dropout Ritesh Agarwal five years ago, to the league of most valued Indian internet companies behind Flipkart (US$20 billion) and Paytm (US$10 billion). Ola, India’s largest taxi-hailing service, is estimated to be worth about US$4 billion.

Bayut.com’s parent company EMPG raises $50M investment [press release]

Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), the parent company of property portals in the MENA and South Asia regions, has announced that it has wrapped up a first close of US$50 million as part of a substantially larger investment round.

In addition to Bayut.com in the UAE, EMPG owns and operates Zameen.com in Pakistan, Bproperty.com in Bangladesh, and recently announced its acquisition of Mubawab in Morocco.

Haider Ali Khan, the CEO of Bayut.com, said US$25 million of these funds would be deployed in the Emirates with a focus on further consolidation. “The remaining funds will be used to further strengthen EMPG’s leading position in its other markets,” he added.

Together, these portals generate over two million leads for their clients every month.

Mileslife debuts in Hong Kong [press release]

Mileslife, an app that allows users to earn miles from everyday spending, is now available in Hong Kong.

Mileslife users can earn miles in their favourite frequent flyer programmes at high-end restaurants and retailers, luxury hotels, spas, activities, cruise and train services. Users can also earn miles from daily exercise such as walking through the Mileslife Health feature.

Mileslife users earn up to HK$1=1 mile for spending with Mileslife, on top of their credit card miles. To celebrate Mileslife’s Hong Kong launch, users will earn 4X miles from now till 5 September 2018. Users also have the chance to win one million Avios, enough for 25 round trips to London with British Airways (off-peak, paying taxes, fees and carrier charges. Dependent on availability).

Facebook says it was ‘too slow’ to fight hate speech in Myanmar [Reuters]

Facebook has been “too slow” to address hate speech in Myanmar and is acting to remedy the problem by hiring more Burmese speakers and investing in technology to identify problematic content, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The acknowledgement came a day after a Reuters investigation showed why the company has failed to stem a wave of vitriolic posts about the minority Rohingya.

Some 700,000 Rohingya fled their homes last year after an army crackdown that the United States denounced as ethnic cleansing. The Rohingya now live in teeming refugee camps in Bangladesh.

“The ethnic violence in Myanmar is horrific and we have been too slow to prevent misinformation and hate speech on Facebook,” Facebook said.

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