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Billionaire Azim Premji helps create India’s newest tech unicorn

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Billionaire Azim Premji has helped create India’s latest tech unicorn: a fast-rising software startup that symbolizes the growing investor interest in the Asian nation’s enterprise technology space.

Icertis, which competes with SAP SE and Oracle Corp. to help businesses manage contracts in the cloud, has raised $115 million, propelling it to unicorn status as investors flock to enterprise software makers.

The advanced-stage funding round in Bellevue, Washington and Pune, India-based Icertis was co-led by Greycroft Partners LLC and PremjiInvest, the fund managed by the family office of Indian tech billionaire Premji. Existing investors including B Capital Group and Cross Creek Advisors participated. With this, Icertis has raised over $211 million.

The enterprise software segment is heating up as investors from Tiger Global Management to Sequoia and Accel scour the industry for India’s next startup giants. Many are expected to be business- rather than consumer-focused, as the country’s talent pool shifts from IT outsourcing services for global clients toward designing and providing online software.

Icertis said it now helps customers worldwide manage over 5.7 million contracts, from supply chain and procurement deals to employee agreements and nondisclosure pacts, that have a total value of more than $1 trillion.

“As contracts get converted from static documents to digital assets for the first time in history, every dollar in or out is governed by a contract, putting them at the heart of every enterprise,” said Samir Bodas, Icertis’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “Every global company faces unprecedented global competition and needs software to manage contracts.”

Icertis is currently valued at “well north of one billion dollars,” Bodas added. The company will use the additional funding to grow its business, including by expanding sales and marketing. Global compliance demands involving Brexit, tariffs, European data privacy regulations as well as rapid digitization has worked in Icertis’s favor, while technologies like artificial intelligence helped enhance the sophistry of its services.

“We have been able to ride the technology wave and assert leadership in the space despite large competitors,” Bodas said, citing consultancies Forrester Research and Gartner.

Icertis works on a subscription model, charging customers based on the number of contracts drawn up and tracked using its software. MGI Research forecasts the total spending by companies for such contract management at over $20 billion from 2018 to 2022, with services on the cloud growing around 37% annually over the same period.

Founded in 2009 when Bodas and friend Monish Darda began exploring cloud-based applications, Icertis in 2015 homed in on building a contract management platform. Today, more than 600 of its 850 employees are based in Pune, where the product is developed. The startup operates a dozen offices from Sofia to Sydney.

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Digital Detox: Check out Google’s six new Digital Wellbeing apps

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Google introduced ‘Digital Wellbeing’ last year with Android 9 Pie. The search giant started a move to help users take a digital break from their smartphones. It recently launched six new Digital Wellbeing apps which are part of ‘Experiments with Google’.

The new experimental apps from Google include Paper Phone, Desert Island, Unlock Clock, Morph, Post Box and We Flip. All these apps are available to download on Google Play Store.

Paper Phone

The most popular and truly experimental of the list would be the ‘Paper Phone’ which is indeed a paper phone. This app essentially lets you print out a paper phone with only the necessarily details you require. Once all the details are selected you can print it out, fold it and use it as a paper phone. You can download the Paper Phone here.

Desert Island

Desert Island lets users choose only the essential apps. Once you select the most used apps, Desert Island will show how many times you used these apps compared to others. Desert Island wants users to “find focus by going a day with only your essential apps”. You can download Desert Island here.

Unlock Clock

Unlock Clock is an interesting experiment to find out how often you unlock your phone. Unlock Clock wallpaper will count and display the number of times you unlock your phone in a day. Once you download Unlock Clock app you will find this wallpaper from your Live Wallpaper library. You can download Unlock Clock here.

Morph

Morph app helps users divide their day by arranging apps according to their use. Work apps go under the work folder and similarly travel apps go under the travel folder. Doing so will make your phone automatically adapt and give you the apps based on the time or place. You can download Morph here.

Post Box

Post Box wants to schedule notifications for you so that your distractions are minimized. On Post Box you can schedule when you wish to receive notifications. Once the ‘delivery time’ arrives, you’ll find all your unread notifications neatly categorized. Post Box can be downloaded here.

We Flip

We Flip is another interesting experiment for groups. Once all your group members are ready you’ll pull down to flip together and keep your phones aside. When the flip session is over it will show how each of you fared and which member took a peek into their phones. We Flip can be downloaded here.

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Reliance Jio, Samsung join hands for 5G in India

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Reliance Jio and Samsung Electronics showcased real-world use cases driven by next-generation 5G technology at the ongoing India Mobile Congress in New Delhi. The two companies presented new opportunities that can leverage 5G NSA mode along with advanced 4G LTE and 5G technology used a dual-connected mode network. Reliance Jio is aiming at enterprise as well as home users with its 5G partnership.

Samsung and Reliance Jio demonstrated 5G-based solutions including Samsung Network’s 5G product lineup, including its 3.5GHz solution for 5G Massive MIMO Unit (MMU), its 28GHz Access Unit (AU) and CPE device, its virtualized radio access (vRAN) and core, and 5G mobile devices. The two companies demonstrated how 5G can help create virtual classrooms and help attendees watch content in 360-degrees. The two companies used the high speed network to stream high resolution content on Samsung Galaxy S10 5G as well as tablets. The resolution of the content ranged from full HD to 4K.

“The two companies demonstrate live at the event a “public safety network over LTE” featuring MissionCritical-Push-To-X (MCPTX) communication. Conceptualised as “OneNet”, a potential India’s Emergency Communication Network, this will enable first responders to connect with each other using a broadband network in a controlled and “geo-fenced” manner,” Reliance Jio said in a press release.

5G is the biggest highlight of the ongoing IMC conference. Earlier, Ericsson and Airtel showcased 5G-powered ‘connected music’ at the event. The demonstration included combining two parts of a performance using a live 5G network and presenting it as one.

Huawei also showcased new applications in 5G + safe city, 5G + smart city, 5G + virtual reality (VR), 5G + airport (boarding gate) and 5G + education (smart classroom).

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WhatsApp tips & tricks: 5 ways you can make most of the instant messaging app

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WhatsApp is possibly one of the simplest instant messaging apps. The company also takes its time to update WhatsApp with new features. But there is a lot that users can do on WhatsApp which they may not be aware of.

WhatsApp has a bunch of features which may not offer much customisation but make the app more interactive. There’s additional security with two-step verification, adding contacts to home screen, custom notifications, and more. Here’s a look at five tips and tricks for every WhatsApp user.

Two-step verification

WhatsApp offers a seamless way of switching phones while retaining your account and chats. It also requires users for a verification PIN every time they register WhatsApp on a new phone. For additional security, users can enable two-step verification on WhatsApp. This will add a six-digit PIN for the registration of WhatsApp on a new device. To do this, go to Settings > Account > Two-step verification.

Add WhatsApp contacts to home screen

WhatsApp has this feature where users can add contacts or groups to their phone’s homescreen. This enables a shortcut to the chat without having to open the app. For this, users need to choose the contact, open the settings menu, click on more and add shortcut. The WhatsApp contact shortcut will be automatically added to the homescreen.

Custom notifications for contacts

If you’re bored with the same notification tone on WhatsApp, you can change it up by adding custom notifications. This can be done for individual and group chats on WhatsApp. Tap on the profile of the WhatsApp contact, scroll down and select custom notifications. Once you turn it on, you can change the notification tone, vibrate mode, popup notification, light and high priority notifications.

Free up space

WhatsApp lets users store data on their accounts and unless users delete them it just keeps piling up. WhatsApp’s data storage features offer easy ways for users to manually check and delete data. Under the settings menu open data and storage usage. Here, you will see contacts ranked according to the most data exchanged. You can also check individual chats and delete data to clear up space.

View unknown contacts

It’s easy to identify an unknown number on WhatsApp by simply tapping on their profile. This can also be done for unknown numbers in group chats. If there’s a certain user you would like to know about you can long press on the number and select ‘message contact’. Here a new chat box will open and you will be able to see the contact details.

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