Apple's WWDC day one today will likely reveal XR headset; Google joins $36 mln funding at Pixxel

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Apple's annual flagship meet, the worldwide developer conference starts today at 10:30 p.m. India time. On day one of the week-long event, most everyone is expecting Apple to announce an extended reality headset. Much of the rest of the week will be more around developer sessions.  

 

Apple, which has come under scrutiny for taking as much as 30 percent of the in-app sales made by developers via its ecosystem, is hitting back with a report in which it says the App Store ecosystem generated an impressive $1.1 trillion in developer billings and sales in 2022. 


That report is from a study conducted by economists from Analysis Group, commissioned by Apple. The study showed that over 90 percent of the billings and sales went directly to developers and businesses without any commission paid to Apple the iPhone maker said in a press release last week. The iOS app economy now supports 4.8 million jobs in the US and Europe combined, according to the press release. 


The report highlighted the various ways developers monetize their apps, including the sale of physical goods and services, in-app advertising, and digital goods and services. Small developers saw exceptional success, outpacing larger developers with a 71 percent revenue growth between 2020 and 2022. 


The study also attributed the growth to the rebounding demand in sectors such as travel and ride-hailing, with an 84 percent increase in travel sales and a 45 percent increase in ride-hailing sales. Additionally, food and grocery sales on iOS apps more than doubled since 2019, while enterprise apps and app-based entertainment experienced notable growth. The study also showed there was increased advertising spend in social media and retail apps. 


The App Store's global distribution platform, supporting numerous payment methods and currencies, allowed developers to reach users worldwide. In 2022, more than half of the downloads occurred in storefronts outside developers' home countries. The App Store attracted over 650 million average weekly visitors and witnessed millions of app downloads per week. 


Puneet Chandok, the head of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in India and South Asia, has resigned, surprising industry insiders just weeks after AWS announced a $12 billion investment plan for India by 2030, TechCrunch reports. 


Chandok is leaving four years after he joined the company and is likely to join a rival business, according to TechCrunch, at a time when India’s enterprise cloud business is set to grow strongly, to touch $13 billion by 2026. 


AWS confirmed the development to TechCrunch, adding that Vaishali Kasture, head of enterprise, mid-market, and global businesses at AWS India and South Asia, will assume the role of interim leader of commercial business at the unit with immediate effect. 


Pixxel, a private commercial satellite company in India, has raised $36 million in a Series B funding round. The funding includes participation from new investors such as Google, alongside existing investors Radical Ventures, Lightspeed, Blume Ventures, GrowX, Sparta, and Athera, according to a press release last week. 


The investment will advance Pixxel's mission to build the world's first and highest-resolution hyperspectral satellite constellation, delivering actionable climate insights globally, according to the company. It will also support the development of Aurora, Pixxel's AI-powered analytics platform for accessible hyperspectral analysis. 


The funds will enable the launch of six satellites in 2024 and 18 satellites by 2025. Pixxel, founded by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal five years ago, has so far raised $71 million in VC money, according to the company. 


A study by Venture Intelligence reveals that less than one-third of startups that receive seed funding are able to secure follow-on funding in the form of a Series A round. Venture Intelligence, which tracks the VC and private equity investments in India, has released the findings of its study in the 2023 edition of its series A landscape report. 


Out of over 2,500 startups that raised seed funding between 2015 and 2022, only 29 percent managed to raise a Series A round, according to Venture intelligence. However, the success rate improves significantly once a startup secures a Series A round, with 50% of companies going on to raise a Series B round and 62% of Series B-funded startups obtaining a Series C round. Further, 70% of Series C-funded companies managed to raise subsequent rounds beyond Series D. 


The number of companies raising Series A rounds increased by 8% annually from 2017 to 2022, which is an indication of the maturity and quality of the startup ecosystem in India, according to Venture Intelligence. The study also highlights Sequoia Capital India as the top investor in creating successful pipelines for Series A rounds, followed by Blume Ventures, Chiratae Ventures, Accel India, Elevation Capital, 3ONE4 Capital, Axilor Ventures, India Quotient, and Kae Capital.


Summary

Apple's annual flagship meet, the worldwide developer conference starts today at 10:30 p.m. India time. On day one of the week-long events, almost everyone is expecting the iPhone maker to finally reveal its version of an extended reality headset. Apple is also widely expected to release the next iterations of its Mac computers as well as the beta version of iOS 17 operating software for its iPhones. Also in this brief, Puneet Chandok, head of AWS in India and South Asia has quit; and Venture Intelligence on how startups are faring in India at the series A level