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PhonePe Raises $200 Million Investment From Walmart in Its Ongoing Fundraise

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Indian digital payments firm PhonePe said on Friday it has raised $200 million (nearly Rs. 1,650 crore) from majority backer Walmart at a pre-money valuation of $12 billion (nearly Rs. 99,000 crore).

PhonePe, already India’s most valuable payments firm and among the country’s most highly-valued startups, said the investment is part of its ongoing fundraise of up to $1 billion (nearly Rs. 8,250 crore).

It has raised $350 million (nearly Rs. 2,900 crore) from private equity firm General Atlantic and $100 million (nearly Rs. 820 crore) from Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global and TVS Capital Funds in the past two months, at the same $12 billion valuation.

American retail behemoth Walmart, which acquired a majority share in PhonePe in 2018, will continue as a majority investor, the Indian company said, without disclosing its stake.

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Despite a funding winter, the Indian digital payments space has been a bright spot due to the popularity of online payments and startups’ ambitions to branch into the lucrative financial services space.

PhonePe said it plans to deploy these funds to build and scale new businesses including insurance, wealth management and lending.

PhonePe separated from Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart late last year, when it also shifted its registered headquarters from Singapore to India, with Walmart picking up the nearly $1 billion tax bill for the move.

The relocation, according to some reports, was to ensure an easier entry into the country’s highly-regulated financial services industry, especially lending.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Social Media Platforms Are Asking Users for Money. They Probably Don’t Mean You.

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Social-media companies are finally asking users to pay up. It isn’t personal—it’s strictly business.


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Diablo 4 open beta dates, details revealed. Get ready to battle Lilith’s minions

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As gamers eagerly await the official release of Diablo 4 on June 6, Blizzard is giving players a chance to preview the game during two open beta weekends in March. The second weekend has just begun, so here’s what you need to know to access the game, including start and end times.

Those who had pre-purchased Diablo IV received Early Access to the Open Beta from March 17–19. The Open Beta will be available to everyone from March 24–26.
Those who had pre-purchased Diablo IV received Early Access to the Open Beta from March 17–19. The Open Beta will be available to everyone from March 24–26.

When does the Diablo 4 open beta start?

The Diablo 4 beta is now on its second weekend, and players on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X can play for free. The Diablo 4 open beta started on Friday, March 24, with different start times depending on the region. Developer Blizzard has cautioned players to expect lengthy queue times, especially on the first day of the open beta launch.

The start times are as follows:

  • 9 a.m. PDT for the west coast of North America
  • 12 p.m. EDT for the east coast of North America
  • 5 p.m. CET for western Europe/Paris
  • 4 p.m. GMT for the U.K.
  • 1 a.m. JST on Saturday, March 25 Japan/Tokyo

The high influx of players allows them to stress test the servers in preparation for the full launch. Blizzard may take the game offline temporarily to deploy infrastructure adjustments or fixes as the weekend progresses. With that in mind, players should try to give themselves multiple opportunities to play over the weekend in case of long queues.

When does the Diablo 4 open beta end?

The open beta will end on Monday, March 27, with different end times depending on the region. Note that the clocks changing in Europe from Sunday means the end time will be one hour forward compared to the first weekend’s beta test end times.

How to access Diablo 4’s open beta?

All platforms have free and open access to the second beta weekend running from March 24-27. However, players need to sign in with their Battle.net account, which is also needed for the first beta weekend. Players who pre-ordered the game digitally got access to the open beta automatically on their platform.

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What’s in the Diablo 4 open beta?

Players will have access to the prologue and the first act in a region called Fractured Peaks. There will be a World Boss available to take on at select times during both weekends, which will require multiple players to work together to take down. There will be two options for co-op during the open beta, with the two-player couch co-op available during the early access weekend. Only one player needs to have pre-ordered for couch co-op, but both need Battle.net accounts linked to their platform accounts.

During the early access weekend, characters are limited to the Barbarian, Rogue, and Sorcerer classes, with the final two classes, Druid and Necromancer, opening up during the open beta weekend. Characters are capped at Level 25, but players can create up to 10 characters per Battle.net account.

Does Diablo 4 progress carry over to the full game?

Progress will carry over from the early access weekend to the open beta weekend, but overall beta progress won’t carry over to the full game. Characters will be deleted once the open beta is over. However, there are three open beta rewards that will carry over when the full game launches on June 6. These include the Initial Casualty Title, the Early Voyager Title, and the Beta Wolf Pack Cosmetic Item.

Also read | Diablo 4 shaping to be a worthy successor, leaves Diablo 3 graphics in dust

Diablo 4 open beta is a great opportunity to preview the game before the official release on June 6. With the beta now on its second weekend, players have until Monday, March 27, to take on Lilith’s minions and earn rewards that will carry over to the full game.

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The AirPods Pro 2 could soon get a new USB-C version to ease your cable woes

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One charger to rule them all? That’s the dream and now a new version of the AirPods Pro 2 could inch us closer to it, according to some leaks that suggest Apple could soon ditch the Lightning port on its flagship in-ear AirPods.

The initial rumor came from Twitter user @aaronp613 (opens in new tab), who spotted that iOS 16.4 references some new AirPods and an AirPods case. But crucially, one highly respected analyst – none other than Ming-Chi Kuo (opens in new tab) – quote-retweeted the post, casually surmising that they’re “likely the USB-C version of the AirPods Pro 2”. 

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