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Here’s what the Indian startup ecosystem is wishing for

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Ahead of February 1, all eyes are on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as she readies to present Union Budget 2022. Business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders from the Indian startup ecosystem are hopeful that the crucial budget will announce measures to fire up India’s pandemic-hit economy.

The Budget Session of Parliament will commence from January 31 with President Ram Nath Kovind’s address. COVID-19 protocols are in place as several ministers have tested positive for the virus in recent times.

An optimistic outlook towards sustained growth prevails in every sector in the Indian startup ecosystem, the third largest startup ecosystem of the world, despite concerns over the likely impact of the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the advance estimates of the National Statistical Office (NSO), the economy is expected to record a growth of 9.2 percent during the current fiscal following last fiscal’s 7.3 percent contraction, still a tad lower than the 9.5 percent projected by the Reserve Bank.

Deloitte has predicted that the Union Budget is likely to “put the economy on an accelerated growth path after the impact caused by the pandemic”.

“Amendments in the tax law to bring about sustainable growth, infrastructure investment, focus on R&D spending, nurturing incentives to the core sectors including manufacturing and services, tapping the huge experience of running captive centres are some of the priority items on the agenda,” Deloitte said.

Here’s a look at what Indian business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders across the Indian startup ecosystem expect from Union Budget 2022.

Harshvardhan Lunia, CEO & Co-founder, Lendingkart

“As the economy gradually recovers from the pandemic, India continues its march towards becoming a 5 trillion-dollar economy by 2025. To achieve this ambitious vision, the MSME sector will play a critical role. This sector is expected to increase its share of the GDP above the 50% mark, making rapid strides from its current share of ~30 percent of a $2.7 trillion GDP.”

“We urge the government to further incentivise the banking sector to partner with fintech lenders on various risk-sharing co-lending models to extend capital support to MSMEs as well as simplify and standardise financing norms. We also appeal to the government to allocate budgetary support to encourage development of new technologies giving impetus to paperless digital lending and stronger collaboration within the lending ecosystem.”

“It is evident now that small businesses can benefit by expanding to online channels. This is because of two factors: i) business operations in a purely offline manner can be severely restricted and ii) customers are showing increasing preference for online shopping. Expansion of online businesses may not be easy for small business owners. Hence, they need to be encouraged to adopt the ways of the digital ecosystem. The Indian government has shown its inclination towards digitisation in various fields. Similar efforts and policy changes are needed to ensure that digitisation of small businesses happens in Tier 2/3 towns, tehsils, talukas, and villages. MSMEs from such places need support to embrace digital workflows, cost optimisation techniques, inventory planning, and new ways of providing customer service. There is a lot of potential that is waiting to be unlocked via innovative business models. Aligned to such models will be building of capacities and improving skills levels of small entrepreneurs. All of this will help insulate MSMEs from losses such as the ones they faced during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. Further, this can also lead to higher employment opportunities for all kinds of skilled/unskilled labour.”

Vaibhav Singh, Co-founder, Leap Scholar

“The 2022 budget is expected to have a higher focus on the edtech sector as a whole, with significant investments to enhance greater access to robust and improved digital infrastructure. The GST for educational services is expected to be brought down to 5% from the existing 18%, to increase accessibility and feasibility for students from lower and middle-class families. With greater internet penetration, the upcoming budget is expected to announce various initiatives to accelerate digital innovation in the edtech sector.”

Amit Bansal, CEO, Solv

“We believe tech-led transformations in the Indian B2B ecommerce space need to be inclusive of India’s traditional distribution channel players who have supported the country’s large manufacturers for decades. With the success of GEM in the public sector, the next significant leap in digitising and growing the vital MSME sector, could come from establishing similar models through PPPs with pure-play B2B ecommerce marketplaces which create robust platform ecosystems. This will help the smallest of the players get a level-playing field to compete and establish credibility, as well as access a larger pool of customers, on-demand credit and essential business services – all without disrupting their businesses, livelihoods, and potential for growth.”

“Warehousing, a critical growth enabler of commerce, is currently a highly unorganised sector in India, with more than 90 percent of warehouses in the sub 10,000 sqft segment. Integrating & reviving India’s warehousing network through investment in a ‘national warehousing grid’ can help significantly increase capacity, leverage economies of scale, minimise wastage in perishables, as well as provide value-added services such as consolidating and breaking up of cargo, packaging, labelling, bar coding and reverse logistics. Developing the national warehousing grid as a plug-and-play ecosystem with easy access to MSMEs, will help eliminate several traditional growth blockers and rev-up the economy through a major uptick in both commerce, and generation of mass employment.”

Aditya Sharma, CEO, Affordplan

“The pandemic has shown us what improvements are required and where. The government commendably raised spending on healthcare by 137 percent last year, but the percentage of GDP spent on healthcare can still be increased significantly. This will be required to improve vaccine delivery as well as shore up critical healthcare infrastructure and public-private partnerships will prove key in this regard. Special attention should be paid to innovations that help households on the brink of poverty deal with their healthcare expenses, for both chronic as well as sudden or acute conditions. The recent Startup Day announcement is a positive first step for fintech and healthcare startups looking to provide ready solutions to these households”

Subhadeep Sanyal, Partner, Omnivore

“The pandemic emerged as an added challenge to the doubling of farmers’ income. I expect the government to bolster this objective via better credit availability, robust storage and logistics infrastructure and strengthening backward linkages. However, farm income is also intertwined with the deepening impact of climate change. Recognising India’s vulnerability on this front, the government can add to its efforts for finding long-term sustainable solutions. Incentivising private investments in agrifood life sciences is certainly a step in that direction.”

Anjali Bansal, Founder, Avaana Capital 

“We expect continued support for the startup ecosystem in the form of higher outlay under the Start-Up India Seed Fund, for providing institutional support and boosting startup growth. Large scale deployment of public digital infrastructure, including the Ayushmann Bharat for Healthcare and the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) for ecommerce will provide the digital rails for new business models and start-ups to emerge. Start-ups innovating in priority sectors such as sustainability, climate, healthcare and life sciences typically face lower capital flows from the private market. Availability of pools of catalytic capital can enable these start-ups to produce technology-led solutions to core issues.”

“We also expect significant measures to promote the ease of doing business in India, including regulatory support for debt structures that are more suitable to the requirements of start-ups; rationalisation of GST mechanism for startups, who often end up paying GST at high rates under reverse charge mechanism; increased speed of IP and trademark approval; and reduced cost and complexity of regulations and compliance. Budget 2022 to continue supporting the mobilisation of domestic pools of institutional capital, that will increase the flow of investments in India’s thriving startup ecosystem.”

Mayank Tiwari, CEO & Founder, ReshaMandi

“The government has been lobbying for and supporting the traditional handloom and handicraft sectors over last few years; but it is necessary to look at creating a robust and healthy sector across full value chain, right from fibre, yarn, fabric, to apparels. There is a need to reinforce, encourage, and recognise natural fibre growers as an integral element of the agricultural economy. We need to achieve synergy between technology and public policy, as well as to propose relevant solutions to increase income and job prospects. There is strong optimism that the priority sector, which has not been explicitly defined, will be addressed, and standardised over the following fiscal year. In addition, the government must offer subsidies to private companies for the industry to flourish overall.”

Charu Noheria, Co-founder & COO, Practically

“The much-anticipated Union Budget comes at a time when we are introducing necessary reforms in the edtech space. Having a central body to regulate best practices in the education and edtech space will be largely beneficial for the consumers. Ideally, the budget this year should consider important factors such as stronger adoption of the blended learning model and investment in a stronger digital infrastructure beyond Tier I cities as well. Digitisation is expected to be an effective solution in bridging the literacy gap for our country. Additionally, for  educational institutions and courses, the revision of the 18 percent GST slab will be largely beneficial in offering more conducive rates or fees to students. Being one of the youngest nations in the world, we are moving towards a brighter future and with some basic reforms in place, we will undoubtedly be one of the strongest countries in the world.

Kapil Makhija, CEO, Unicommerce

“Amidst the pandemic, ecommerce has become an integral part of India’s retail industry. India has the world’s fastest-growing ecommerce and SaaS markets. Both sectors have garnered attention from investors and companies across the globe. We are an ecommerce focused SaaS solution company and we expect that the upcoming budget should focus on increasing digitisation in Tier II+ cities of India. The young aspirational Indians from these regions have started adopting ecommerce extensively and if the government continues to focus on the infrastructure there is immense growth potential. Also, we expect that the government will further provide clarity on the tax obligations of e-commerce companies and brands as it will help them further streamline their operations. We also believe that logistics infrastructure will play a pivotal role and any reform in improving India’s supply chain infrastructure will help in further driving the growth of India’s ecommerce industry.”

Saahil Goel, CEO & Co-founder, Shiprocket

“We have a lot of expectations of support to the startup ecosystems which can really boost the economy. There should be a single window for all the relevant registrations like company incorporation, shop establishment, GST registration, MSME certificate etc. which will help save time, efforts, and money considerably. For startups, ESOPs are key to attract and incentivise talent, these should not be taxed on vesting as recipients do not have ready cash in the hands at that point, the taxation should be on the final sale of shares. Further, there is a deduction of TDS by the ecommerce operators on sale of goods, which leads to blockage of capital – that should be done away with.”

 

“India’s logistics cost are high. Steps towards subsuming petroleum products under the GST regime have been under discussion for long; these will reduce fuel cost and progress needs to be made in that direction.”

Kinner N Sachdeva, Co-founder & CEO, Knorish

“When Benjamin Franklin was thinking of a bright future for America, he decided to focus mostly on building the Public Library System. The gurukul system of ancient India was also based on the premise that the ‘Guru’ is the best source of knowledge and learning. As India stands on the verge of becoming a global powerhouse in all spheres, we are not just competing with ourselves but the world altogether. Today, the thirst for good learning content amongst students, lifelong learners and corporates is witnessing unprecedented growth. So, if we are to compete with the best in this global economy, access to learning that teaches new-age skills needed to survive and thrive in the 21st century must be made available to all. As such, I believe that GST on all online learning programs and enablers should be exempted from GST to make it more affordable for all.”

Shiv Sharma, VP International, Stocktwits

“Based on our social media surveys, most retail investors “avoid trading” during the Budget, likely because many own blue-chip, secular winners for the long-term. Meanwhile, active retail traders usually ride momentum on sectors expected to hear bullish commentary in the Budget session. This year our data shows retail investors expect renewable energy to see increased focus. Retail investors are also hoping for relaxing of Long Term Capital Gains Tax and clarity on crypto tax policy.”

Kartik Shah, CEO, Coldrush Logistics

“The logistics industry is dealing with non-predictable fuel prices, and its non-inclusion in the GST regime is already making it hard for companies in this space. This sector also has a higher CAPEX cost, making the liquidity cycle more stringent for businesses. Currently, the processed food segment is growing rapidly and needs reefer transport. But the GST on fully built reefer vehicles is 18 percent; thus, reducing it would significantly encourage businesses to invest in it and thrive in their journeys. Similarly, extending the subsidy scheme on these vehicles would also be a step in the right direction and help players operate more seamlessly without any financial burden.”

“Moreover, the central and state governments currently have huge unused land parcels at prime locations. These can be leveraged to create warehouses and cold storage. The government has also pushed for the use of solar in this sector. However, it is not viable for medium-level players like us. As a result, the government can incentivise this and explore other possibilities to make solar power duty-free for cold storage providers. This move will serve a bigger goal of reducing carbon footprints and building a sustainable ecosystem for businesses.”

Anil Nagar, Founder & CEO, Adda247

“The edtech industry has flourished at an accelerated rate as it broke new territory and entered Tier III and IV cities of the country. It will play a major role in educating our workforce for a better tomorrow. This is possible only if we make online education affordable to all. The government should support this through a lower GST, while focusing on creating a strong digital infrastructure to improve the quality & experience of online education for students in cities as well as remote areas. The government should also forge alliances with edtech companies to accelerate the learning outcomes with the help of cutting-edge technologies in the education ecosystem.”

Vivek Tiwari, CEO, Medikabazaar 

“The pandemic exposed the deficiencies in our healthcare infrastructure and now it is imperative for the nation that the allocation to healthcare be increased and raised at least 2.5 percent of the GDP. This will help to ensure universal healthcare access across the country especially in Tier II, Tier III centres and beyond. There is a need for enabling policies that will boost and promote public-private partnerships in ramping up healthcare infrastructure and medical equipment manufacturing. Policies that encourage local technology-driven innovations in the field of medical devices are the need of the hour. This will also encourage increasing adoption of healthtech to access healthcare.”

 

“India has the potential to be a centre for R&D and manufacture of high cost medical equipment and reduce the import dependency. A long term plan to incubate and support innovations across healthcare delivery infra building, patient care, supply chains and advanced equipment manufacturing will help India bridge the structural gaps, generate employment and deliver healthcare as per the growing needs of the vast population of India.”

Madhusudan Ekambaram, Co-founder & CEO, KreditBee, and Co-founder, FACE (Fintech Association for Consumer Empowerment)

“The Union Budget 2022-23 is a crucial one, considering the economy’s efforts to fully recover and set on a growth path. In this imperative, focus on financial inclusion is very significant. The government’s recognition of the enhanced operations and effectiveness of fintechs to reach out to the unserved and underserved population, as evident from multiple initiatives in recent times, is encouraging. We expect this emphasis to become more prominent in the upcoming budget. It is essential that the government announce measures to ease the liquidity flow to NBFCs and fintechs. Further, while ensuring the right degree of regulation, relaxation of norms and tax liberalisation to some extent will allow the fintech sector to boost their reach and operate effectively to offer innovative credit solutions to the borrowers. Focus should also be on enhancing the country’s digitisation bid, to empower the consumers to avail various credit products.”

Varun Goenka, Co-founder & CEO, Chargeup

“Sustainable transportation needs have seen a lot of developments in the EV sector in India. However, the pace of growth is not adequate and it is expected that the government will declare the EV industry to be a priority sector in the Union Budget. So far, various companies have launched electric 2-wheelers with a focus on last-mile connectivity. However, with the growth of business and commercial activities, there has to be a greater emphasis on last-mile delivery. This year, we anticipate significant growth in the B2C as well as B2B segments. Food delivery companies such as Zomato are moving towards a 100 percent EV fleet for their operations, and some of the cities such as Gurgaon have declared EV-only zones. We expect the government to take policy measures to build more EV zones that will drive the adoption of such vehicles. Further, strengthening of initiatives such as infrastructure and financial support to EV manufacturing, charging and battery swapping service providers to augment operations are also anticipated in the upcoming budget.”

Sahil Chopra, Founder & CEO, iCubesWire

“Ever since the pandemic started, we have transformed our way to work and handling our business. From rapidly shrinking budgets to events’ going virtual to the new hybrid workforce, we have surely come a long way. Considering a lot more similar factors, this year we are expecting a major push in the digital marketing and advertising sector. From higher rates for digital media buying to challenges in bringing the right talent on board to engaging increasingly digitally savvy buyers, we have seen higher customer expectations and so considering it as a base we expect the government to bring new schemes that will eventually enhance the marketers skill sets to improve their team’s effectiveness without creating burnout.”

“Raising marketing budgets to pre-COVID levels (if not higher) will be crucial. A lot of entrepreneurs are hoping for relief measures in the form of credit lending. Subsidies at ground level will make entrepreneurs feel protected & safe. We also expect to see decisions to fuel the growth of startups in several domains. If the right incentives on both the marketers’ and consumers’ sides are announced in this budget session, it would push the quick and wide adoption of digital advertising and marketing.”

Akash Gupta, Co-founder & CEO, Zypp Electric

“India is undergoing a massive EV revolution – which will get a further boost in 2022 following the rapid growth of charging infrastructure and advanced EV models. We are optimistic that the government will announce new initiatives to encourage local EV manufacturing, facilitate easy finance, and create an innovative EV ecosystem.”

 

“With that said, we urge the government to reduce GST on EV purchases and rentals from 5 percent to 2 percent. A reduced GST would allow consumers to smoothly shift to EV. The Finance Ministry can also reduce taxes levied on loans taken to purchase an EV. GST reduction and tax benefits would play a crucial role in making EVs accessible to everyone. Additionally, the government can also subsidise electricity pricing for EV charging to further improvise the existing EV charging infrastructure.”

Arun Vinayak, Co-founder & CEO, Exponent Energy 

“The government’s done a splendid job of supporting the EV ecosystem in India till date. However, there are a few areas they can address to further spur growth. Due to the inverted tax structure that currently exists (where EVs are taxed at 5 percent and battery packs alone at 18 percent). Several constraints are placed on new OEMs as well as the development of new models like Battery As A Service.”

“While the nodal and state level delegation of charging station deployment and policies around that make the process faster, infrastructure spending support for DISCOMS to support EV charging will accelerate deployment of charging stations across the country. The government has rightly introduced the PLI scheme to foster domestic production of Li-ion cells but the time taken to set up a cell manufacturing ecosystem will take at least three to five years. In the interim, reducing the import duties on Li-ion cells would greatly benefit EV startups to make EVs affordable and spur consumer demand.”​

Edited by Suman Singh, Anju Narayanan and Teja Lele Desai

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Cyber Monday shopping expected to set record but annual growth has slowed | Adobe

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Cyber Monday shopping sales hit at least $6.3 billion through part of the day in the U.S. today, according to the latest online shopping data from Adobe Analytics.

It’s not unusual for Cyber Monday and Black Friday online shopping results to break records, but it this economic climate it’s encouraging to see it happen. Still, growth has slowed from 2021 and 2020 holiday seasons.

Consumers spent $6.3 billion up through 3:00 pm Pacific time for Cyber Monday. Adobe expects that when the final tally is in, consumers will spend between $11.2 billion and $11.6 billion for the day, making Cyber Monday the biggest online shopping day of the year (and of all time).

Today, the top 15 hot sellers (not in ranked order) have included Legos, Hatchimals, Disney Encanto, Pokémon cards, Bluey, Dyson products, strollers, Apple Watches, drones, and digital cameras. Gaming consoles also remain popular, along with games including Mario Party, FIFA 23, Madden 23 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

Over the past weekend, the top sellers were included Hot Wheels, Cocomelon, Bluey, Disney Encanto, L.O.L. Surprise dolls, Roblox, and Fortnite in the toys category. Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 remain the top selling gaming consoles, with popular games including FIFA 23, God of War Ragnarök, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Madden 23, and NBA 2k23. Other hot sellers included Apple iPads, Apple MacBooks, digital cameras, Roku devices, drones, gift cards and Instapots.

Black Friday online shopping sales were $9.12 billion, up 2.3% from a year ago, and Thanksgiving itself came in at $5.29 billion, up 2.9% from a year ago. Those were above Adobe’s projections. Last year, consumers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday.

Strong consumer spend has been driven by net-new demand, and not just higher prices. The Adobe Digital Price Index, which tracks online prices across 18 product categories (complements the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, which also includes prices for offline only products and services like gasoline and rent) shows that prices online have been nearly flat in recent months (down 0.7% YoY in October 2022).

Adobe Analytics says Cyber Monday will set a record.

Adobe’s numbers are not adjusted for inflation, but if online inflation were factored in, there would still be growth in underlying consumer demand, the company said.

On a category basis, toys were a major growth driver in the days leading up to Cyber Monday, with online sales up 452% over the average day in October 2022. Appliances (up 305%) and baby/toddler products (up 289%) also saw strong demand, in addition to electronics (up 276%) and apparel (up 258%).

Shoppers will find record discounts today for computers (peaking at 27% off listed price). Deals will also be found in nearly all categories tracked, including apparel (19%), toys (33%), electronics (25%), sporting goods (16%), televisions (15%), and furniture (11%). Those looking to buy an appliance should consider waiting until Thursday (December 1), when discounts are set to peak at 18% on average.

Weekend spending remained strong

Consumers spent over a Black Friday’s worth of ecommerce over the weekend at $9.55 billion, up 4.4% YoY ($4.59 billion on November 26, up 2.6% YoY / $4.96 billion on November, up 6.1% YoY). Season-to-date (November 1 to November 27), consumers have spent a total of $96.42 billion online, up 2.1% YoY.

And while the big days (Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday) have reached new heights, consumers spent at record levels all season. Since November 1, shoppers spent over $2 billion every single day, with 19 days above $3 billion in online spend. Broad, early discounts were the main drivers for the shift in consumer spending.

“Shoppers have seen massive discounts this past week, which is the exact opposite situation from last season when supply chain constraints kept prices elevated,” said Vivek Pandya, lead analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, in a statement. “While discounting will have an impact on margins for retailers, it is also driving a level of demand that can help brands build long-term loyalty and net some short-term gains.”

Additional Adobe Analytics Insights

Over the weekend, online sales of toys were up 383% (compared to average daily sales for the category in October 2022), with baby toys seeing strong demand (up 252%). Other categories that surged over the weekend include jewelry (up 230%), sporting goods (up 239%), and apparel (up 217%).

With online spending hitting new records and inflation impacting consumers, flexible payments have become a big story this season. In the last week (November 21 to November 27), “buy now, pay later” orders have risen 68% and revenue has increased 72%, when compared to the week prior.

Over the weekend, smartphones drove over half of online sales for the first time (52%, up from 48% last year). Adobe expects mobile shopping to dip on Cyber Monday however, based on historical trends. Many people are back at work and using laptops, which will be the preferred device for shopping online.

Forecast for Cyber Week

Adobe expects Cyber Week (the five days from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday) to generate $34.8 billion in online spend, up 2.8% YoY, and represent 16.3% share of the full November through December holiday season.

Cyber Monday is expected to remain the season’s and year’s biggest online shopping day, bringing in between $11.2 billion and $11.6 billion. Black Friday generated a record $9.12 billion in online spend, up 2.3% YoY, while Thanksgiving brought $5.29 billion in online spend, up 2.9% YoY.

Adobe analyzes direct consumer transactions online. The analysis covers over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs, and 18 product categories.

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Snowflake 101: 5 ways to build a secure data cloud 

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Today, Snowflake is the favorite for all things data. The company started as a simple data warehouse platform a decade ago but has since evolved into an all-encompassing data cloud supporting a wide range of workloads, including that of a data lake

More than 6,000 enterprises currently trust Snowflake to handle their data workloads and produce insights and applications for business growth. They jointly have more than 250 petabytes of data on the data cloud, with more than 515 million data workloads running each day.

Now, when the scale is this big, cybersecurity concerns are bound to come across. Snowflake recognizes this and offers scalable security and access control features that ensure the highest levels of security for not only accounts and users but also the data they store. However, organizations can miss out on certain basics, leaving data clouds partially secure. 

Here are some quick tips to fill these gaps and build a secure enterprise data cloud.

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1. Make your connection secure

First of all, all organizations using Snowflake, regardless of size, should focus on using secured networks and SSL/TLS protocols to prevent network-level threats. According to Matt Vogt, VP for global solution architecture at Immuta, a good way to start would be connecting to Snowflake over a private IP address using cloud service providers’ private connectivity such as AWS PrivateLink or Azure Private Link. This will create private VPC endpoints that allow direct, secure connectivity between your AWS/Azure VPCs and the Snowflake VPC without traversing the public Internet. In addition to this, network access controls, such as IP filtering, can also be used for third-party integrations, further strengthening security.

2. Protect source data

While Snowflake offers multiple layers of protection – like time travel and fail-safe – for data that has already been ingested, these tools cannot help if the source data itself is missing, corrupted or compromised (like malicious encrypted for ransom) in any way. This kind of issue, as Clumio’s VP of product Chadd Kenney suggests, can only be addressed by adopting measures to protect the data when it is resident in an object storage repository such as Amazon S3 – before ingest. Further, to protect against logical deletes, it is advisable to maintain continuous, immutable, and preferably air-gapped backups that are instantly recoverable into Snowpipe.

3. Consider SCIM with multi-factor authentication

Enterprises should use SCIM (system for cross-domain identity management) to help facilitate automated provisioning and management of user identities and groups (i.e. roles used for authorizing access to objects like tables, views, and functions) in Snowflake. This makes user data more secure and simplifies the user experience by reducing the role of local system accounts. Plus, by using SCIM where possible, enterprises will also get the option to configure SCIM providers to synchronize users and roles with active directory users and groups.

On top of this, enterprises also should use multi-factor authentication to set up an additional layer of security. Depending on the interface used, such as client applications using drivers, Snowflake UI, or Snowpipe, the platform can support multiple authentication methods, including username/password, OAuth, keypair, external browser, federated authentication using SAML and Okta native authentication. If there’s support for multiple methods, the company recommends giving top preference to OAuth (either snowflake OAuth or external OAuth) followed by external browser authentication and Okta native authentication and key pair authentication.

4. Column-level access control

Organizations should use Snowflake’s dynamic data masking and external tokenization capabilities to restrict certain users’ access to sensitive information in certain columns. For instance, dynamic data masking, which can dynamically obfuscate column data based on who’s querying it, can be used to restrict the visibility of columns based on the user’s country, like a U.S. employee can only view the U.S. order data, while French employees can only view order data from France.

Both features are pretty effective, but they use masking policies to work. To make the most of it, organizations should first determine whether they want to centralize masking policy management or decentralize it to individual database-owning teams, depending on their needs. Plus, they would also have to use invoker_role() in policy conditions to enable unauthorized users to view aggregate data on protected columns while keeping individual data hidden.

5. Implement a unified audit model

Finally, organizations should not forget to implement a unified audit model to ensure transparency of the policies being implemented. This will help them actively monitor policy changes, like who created what policy that granted user X or group Y access to certain data, and is as critical as monitoring query and data access patterns. 

To view account usage patterns, use system-defined, read-only shared database named SNOWFLAKE. It has a schema named ACCOUNT_USAGE containing views that provide access to one year of audit logs.

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WhatsApp rolls out new ‘Message Yourself’ feature globally • TechCrunch

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To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here.

We’re joining the Cyber Monday fun with 25% off annual subscriptions to TechCrunch+ content and analysis starting today until Wednesday, November 30. Plus, today only, get 50% off tickets to discover the vast unknown and attend TechCrunch Sessions: Space in Los Angeles!

Okay, we haven’t done a newsletter since Wednesday, and while the U.S. team was chillin’ like villains, the rest of the team was hard at work, so here’s some of the highlights from the last half-week of TechCrunchy goodness! — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Talking to yourself just went digital: Instead of having that internal monologue stay in your head, now you can play out all of your thoughts to yourself in WhatsApp, Jagmeet writes. The messaging platform began rolling out an easier way to talk to yourself today after completing beta testing.
  • Great Wall of porn: That’s how Rita and Catherine describe the bot surge in China that is making it difficult to get any legitimate Twitter search results when trying to find out something about Chinese cities. Why, you ask? Rita writes that “the surge in such bot content coincides with an unprecedented wave of (COVID) protests that have swept across major Chinese cities and universities over the weekend.”
  • Your calendar, only more productive: Get ready for your calendar to be more than just a place to record things you have to do that day. Romain writes about Amie, a startup that grabbed $7 million to link your unscheduled to-do list with your calendar. The app also enables users to be social with coworkers.

Startups and VC

Dubai-based mass transit and shared mobility services provider SWVL has carried out its second round of layoffs, affecting 50% of its remaining headcount, Tage reports. The news is coming six months after SWVL laid off 32% (over 400 employees) of its workforce in a “portfolio optimization program” effort geared toward achieving positive cash flow next year.

There’s a couple of new funds in town, too! Harri reports that Early Light Ventures plots a second, $15 million fund for software ‘underdogs,’ while Mike writes that BackingMinds raises a new €50 million fund to fund normally overlooked entrepreneurs. He also writes about Pact, an all-women led VC for mission-driven startups, backed by Anne Hathaway.

And we have five more for you:

Lessons for raising $10M without giving up a board seat

Blackboard showing soccer strategy

Image Credits: Ihor Reshetniak (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Over the last two years, intelligent calendar platform Reclaim.ai raised $10 million “using a more incremental approach,” writes co-founder Henry Shapiro.

“We’ve done all this without giving up a single board seat, and Reclaim employees continue to own over two-thirds of the company’s equity,” rejecting conventional wisdom that founders should “raise as much as you can as fast as you can.”

In a TC+ post, Shapiro reviews the process they used to identify follow-on investors, shares the email template used to pitch the SAFE, and explains why “a larger cap table means more founder control.”

Three more from the TC+ team:

TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!

Big Tech Inc.

Amazon’s recent cost-cutting measures seem to be affecting more than just its delivery business. Manish writes that the company is shutting down its wholesale distribution business, called Amazon Distribution, in India. Amazon had started this unit to help neighborhood stores secure inventory. The company didn’t say why it was closing this particular business down, but Manish notes that this is the third such Amazon unit to be shuttered in India.

Meanwhile, Natasha L reports that Meta has gotten itself into trouble again with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (aka, the agency that regulates data protection). Facebook’s parent company is being hit with $275 million in penalties for what the agency said was breaches in data protection that resulted in some 530 million users’ personal information being leaked.

Now enjoy six more:



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