Mingout, an Indian startup, just hosted the first Metaverse date in the world - Business Guardian
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Mingout, an Indian startup, just hosted the first Metaverse date in the world



On the back of a metaverse wedding, Mingout, a dating app building a uniquely Indian solution to romance, took two of its loyal users to a date in outer space.

(Watch here- https://mingout.page.link/mingout-metavers)

“We thought about the most romantic date possible – and in an instant, the answer was clear,” Navdeep Kamboj, Co-Founder and Chief Wingperson, Mingout, said. “The moon represents the two tenets of Mingout – romance and revolution. What’s more romantic than moonlight, and what’s more revolutionary than humanity’s first step on the moon?”

Out to ‘disrupt dating’, Mingout has built a niche in the world of romance by ‘bringing the date back in dating’. Standing out as the only app in the world where you can date, not just match, Mingout has, over the last year, conducted 1000+ dates on the app.

“With Valentine’s week approaching during a time where the physical world is less accessible, we decided to host a virtual festival on the app,” Devanshu, Co-founder and head of product, said. “Our team worked day and night and we hosted 9 shows – with musicians like Osho Jain and Avanti Nagral, to comics like Munawar, Rahul Dua and Swati, India’s top mixologist, Ami Shroff and wholesome dates with Leeza Mangaldas and Divija Bhasin. Harshveer, our co-founder, hosted the final date on Valentine’s, launching his new song with Sagar Verma.”

With these virtual events and 100+ other date ideas,

Mingout provides a place not just for singles, but for people with partners to come and experience romance.

“You don’t have to be single to date,” Harshveer says. “Romance hits you with puberty and stays with you till your last breath.” An SRK fan, Harshveer has always wanted to simplify romance for Indians. “It’s funny – that in a country that loves love so much, we still find it difficult to express and experience romance freely. And that’s why we built Mingout. Copy-pasted American solutions of casual swiping don’t work in India.”

Powered by Yugverse,

Mingout’s Metaverse date is just the start of a dating revolution. Mingout hopes to disrupt dating, and make it more accessible, fun and immersive.

Mingout is a lifestyle and dating platform that aims to connect individuals over common experiences. Started by graduates from IIM Calcutta, IIT Bombay and IIT BHU, Mingout is a seed funded startup in its launch phase.

Out to ‘disrupt dating’, Mingout has built a niche in the world of romance by ‘bringing the date back in dating’. Standing out as the only app in the world where you can date, not just match, Mingout has, over the last year, conducted 1000+ dates on the app.

This story is provided by PRNewswire. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/PRNewswire)


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New movies, shows aim to boost promotion through social media snippets



Film producers and streaming platforms are adopting a new strategy to lure viewers to watch their titles at a time when attention spans have shrunk amid a surfeit of entertainment options. They are increasingly releasing short clips or snippets, usually lasting between five and 10 minutes, on social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, giving away major dialogues, scenes, and songs of the titles to get the viewers hooked. From introducing pivotal characters to revealing major story arcs, these are circulated across channels on both the studio or platform’s own accounts as well as via collaborations with content creators and entertainment portals.

While some industry experts say this is one way to build volume and generate buzz around a film or a show through means other than just the trailer and traditional marketing techniques, others say the strategy can backfire with significant chunks of the film or the show available on social media for free, diluting the need to sign up and pay to watch it either in theaters or on an OTT platform. Illegal leakages from the film or show via pirated means can add to the crisis.

“Attention span of audiences on the internet is low and it takes a lot more to get someone hooked to your content, than it did before. Especially for platforms or producers that do not boast of huge budgets, more clips increase the chances of the content going viral organically, since merit is no longer the only criterion for content to catch on to viewers’ algorithms,” said Girish Dwibhashyam, vice-president, strategy and business head at DocuBay, a documentary-streaming platform. Dwibhashyam conceded that releasing multiple clips does take away a part of the story’s reveal, but was quick to add that the bigger priority is to get noticed.

Social media is replete with clips from movies and shows, often without spoiler warnings, Avinash Mudaliar, CEO, OTTPlay, the recommendation and content discovery platform for streaming services launched by HT Media Labs (part of the same organization as Mint) said. These can be of three kinds: promotional videos including trailers of movies and shows, celebrity interviews, and songs posted by the production house or OTT platforms where content is often scripted and reviewed and thus, rarely divulge the plot or storyline of the movie. Then there is influencer-led content including clips on social media in reaction to popular or newly-released movies and shows, which do contain snippets of storylines (or more), but the majority are accompanied by spoiler warnings, he said.

But there are also illicit or bootlegged clips that are often recorded in theaters via mobile phones or other devices, distributed online via social media and websites where people can quickly download content, often revealing entire storylines, including plot twists and endings. “Of these, the first category alone is controllable. Influencer-led content, while controllable to some extent, is not in collaboration with the production company,” Mudaliar added. “While most influencers are careful enough to include spoiler warnings, or restrict divulgence of the storyline, leaks around certain plot lines do happen. In most cases, this ends positively, contributing to the promotional buzz and piquing interest.”

However, the last category, of pirated content, is completely uncontrollable, and highly detrimental to paid viewing options, impacting both production companies and OTT platforms. Rajat Agrawal, director and content syndication head, Ultra Media & Entertainment Group, said in the case of old films, releasing snippets on social media channels can be a conscious decision or even a marketing strategy to lure the viewer to watch the complete film on the OTT platform or YouTube channel where the title is being streamed. “Though, if the film is newly released and is running in theaters, clips secretly shot in cinemas and uploaded to these platforms have the potential of giving away some important scenes and (part of the) narrative,” Agrawal said.

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Indian fintech funding plunges 63% in 2023, reaching $2 billion



In 2023, financial technology (fintech) startups in India witnessed a notable decline in funding, amassing a total of $2 billion—a stark 63% drop from the previous year’s $5.4 billion, according to data sourced from Tracxn and reported by Financial Express (FE). This dip reflects a broader trend of reduced funding across various sectors, signifying a significant slowdown in the fintech domain compared to its funding zenith in 2021 when it attracted a massive $8.4 billion.

Despite the funding downturn, the Indian fintech sector maintained its global standing as the third-highest funded in 2023. Additionally, the sector’s substantial growth has positioned it as the fourth-highest funded startup ecosystem globally within the fintech arena, based on cumulative funding till date.

The decrease in funding rounds for fintech firms in 2023 was conspicuous, witnessing a substantial drop from 504 rounds in 2022 to 144 rounds last year. Among the standout segments within fintech, alternative lending, payments, and banking tech emerged as the top performers. Alternative lending firms secured the most considerable funding within the sector, totalling $835 million in 2023.

The decline in funding rounds was more pronounced in early-stage and seed-stage financing than in late-stage rounds. Late-stage rounds saw a 56% decrease to $1.4 billion, while early-stage rounds plummeted by 73% to $489 million, and seed-stage rounds experienced a 69% decline to $145 million.

Specifically, payment startups amassed $753 million in funding in 2023, while those focused on banking tech services raised $331 million from investors, both segments witnessing a significant downturn compared to the previous year’s figures.

Amidst these funding shifts, only five funding rounds exceeding $100 million were recorded among fintechs in 2023. Notable recipients included PhonePe, Perfios, InsuranceDekho, KreditBee, and Mintifi. PhonePe led the way with the largest round of $623 million, followed by Perfios at $229 million and InsuranceDekho at $150 million.

InCred emerged as the sole unicorn in the Indian fintech space in 2023, a notable decline compared to five unicorns in 2022. Additionally, two fintechs—Zaggle and Veefin—launched their initial public offerings (IPOs) during the year, a decrease from five such IPOs in the preceding year.

The funding landscape across Indian cities showcased Bengaluru leading in fintech funding, followed by Mumbai and Jaipur. Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India), Y Combinator, and LetsVenture were among the top investors supporting fintech growth in the country.

The shift in funding dynamics within India’s fintech sector reflects broader market trends and investor sentiment. The decline in funding rounds, particularly in early-stage and seed-stage financing, indicates a cautious approach among investors, possibly driven by market uncertainties or a recalibration of risk appetites. However, despite the funding contraction, certain segments like alternative lending, payments, and banking tech managed to sustain investor interest, showcasing resilience amidst the challenging investment landscape.

The reduced number of unicorns and IPO launches in the Indian fintech space in 2023 signifies a more discerning approach by investors, emphasizing quality over quantity. This trend aligns with a maturing ecosystem where investor scrutiny and a focus on sustainable growth become increasingly paramount. While the funding landscape witnessed a contraction, the continued interest of notable investors like Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India) and Y Combinator underscores enduring confidence in the long-term potential of India’s fintech market.

Bengaluru’s prominence as the leader in fintech funding underscores the city’s robust ecosystem and supportive infrastructure for burgeoning startups. The city’s continued appeal to investors and innovators alike reflects its conducive environment for fostering fintech innovation. Mumbai and Jaipur also emerge as notable players in the fintech funding arena, contributing to India’s diverse and evolving fintech landscape, highlighting the growing geographical spread of fintech innovation and investment opportunities across the country.

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S Korea deepens ties with India through Asia Model fest




S Korea deepens ties with India through Asia Model fest

Asia has become a notable force within the fashion business. It is rightly said that if the proportion of Asian customers increases by one unit, the proportion of Asian models also increases in the subsequent year. Asian models from round the world have reached top runways making an impact in this business known for its need for greater diversity and representation. The 2022 grand finale held in Pune recently.

The internationally acclaimed Face of India (FoI) fest, in association with the AMF, held its grand finale in Pune and crowned six winners from over 6,000 entries received from various parts of the country. The property opens gates to endless opportunities for aspiring models and plays the role of a mentor in their fashion journey.

The extensive judging panel included FoI chairman Badal Saboo, Sonigara Corp co-director Rajiv Sonigara and acclaimed Indian actors that included Sahil Shroff, Elakshi Gupta, Nikki Tamboli, Ayeesha Aiman and Kabir Singh.

The whole world of fashion, glamour and culture was present as contestants all across India spiritedly walked the ramp to be the next Face of India 2022 with acclaimed designers such as Amin Farista (Collection Gandhian Fab), Niti Singhal (Collection Twee in One), Bhavini Parikh (Collection Bunko Junko), Ivodia London, Sumit Das Gupta, Ashok Maanay (Collection Suroor) and Siddhant Agrawal. The showcased collection was a story beautifully woven through sustainable fashion in different styles.

Alisha Chandrakar from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh, Vedant Mahewar from Nanded, Maharashtra, Ravi Naval from Mumbai, Niharika Joshi from Gujarat, Kriti Karmakar from Gauripur, Assam, and Rohit Rana from Chalisgaon, Maharashtra, were crowned as Face of India winners and qualified for the semi finale round of Face of Asia, 2022.

After an extensive round of voting across Asia through online and social platforms, Kriti Karmakar and Ravi Naval were declared winners to represent India and compete with the winners from other 26 Asian countries for the most coveted ‘Face of Asia’ title which has a prize money of $1 lakh.

“India is a country with high potential for global development, and FoI has been a cultural exchange platform for India and South Korea. Let’s hope for good results when the Indian winners come to Korea. I am positive AMF will serve as an opportunity for fashion and beauty industry exchange between the two countries,” Yang Eui-Sik, Chairman, AMF, said.

“This year, AMF will be held at Uijeongbu in Gyeonggi province, north of Seoul, South Korea, which was also dubbed as a ‘military town’, as it hosted the US military for seven decades. The ultimate goal of organizing such an event is to transform Uijeongbu into a fashion and beauty mecca in Asia,” said Uijeongbu Mayor Kim Dong-geun.

Mayor Dong-geun also plans to hold Uijeongbu’s flagship festivals like the ‘Hoeryong Cultural Festival’ and ‘Haengbokro Festival’ at the time of the upcoming AMF. He also announced that this year, the winners of the upcoming Face of Asia competition will become Uijeongbu’s promotional ambassadors.

Talking about the pageant Saboo, who is also the managing director of Pune Fashion Week, shares, “It is unquestionably an immense joy to see top Indian models at this global stage. This pageant has surely brought the best of opportunities for aspiring models from all over the country. AMF is a great concept and an initiative that opens trade opportunities between 27 Asian countries including India.”

“I have been associated with South Korea and, particularly AMF for a long time now, and it makes me proud to see how welcoming and open both countries are with the economic and socio-development of the people of their country and, are taking bold steps towards investing into various sectors.”

“I am happy to have successfully opened gates for the Fashion industry in both South Korea and India and am hopeful to do so with the other sectors as well. India is at its peak of development and it is the right time for the Korean companies to roll their eyes towards India especially in the R&D and technology sector.”

“I hope I am able to play the crucial role of being a fair representative for both the countries as both the countries have set a target to increase bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2030. It’s the right time and the perfect opportunity,” added Saboo.

Sonigara Corp also teamed up with Face of India and launched ‘Codename Vogue’, a new ultra-fashionable residential project near Aundh, on a 9+ acre land parcel. This property will add a fashionable sentiment to the city and claims to create a New Aundh in Pune.

Talking about the launch, Rajiv Sonigara, co-director of Sonigara Corp, said, “Sonigara Corp’s new property ‘Codename Vogue’ is truly a unique project aimed at setting the highest levels when it comes to luxury and fashionable property offerings in Pune. We are enabling the community to make their style statement through their new address.”

“This will create the next benchmark in fashionable living with cutting edge design and a trendiest lifestyle. The glamour associated with the iconic Face of India is only matched by Sonigara’s standards for delivering unique homes and lifestyle experiences,” added Sachin Sonigara.

To promote the recognition of blogging as a profession, Bloggers Alliance Education Society (BAES) along with Pune Fashion Week chose to proudly announce the launch of the Pune Bloggers Alliance at the Face of India event and appointed Saboo as the President of the BAES Maharashtra Chapter.

The event also recognized various achievers of India who have contributed tremendously in their fields with the Face of India Achievers Awards 2022.

The following were the awardees: Dr Amit Nagpal (President, BAES, India), Devendra Jaiswal (Co-Founder Story Mirror), Vikram Kotnis (Founder and Managing Director, Beyond Walls), Aman Mehra (Director, Tribe Co-living), Abhishek Mishra (CEO of Dada Saheb Phalke International Film Festival (DPIFF), Jimmy Mistry (Founder Della Leaders Club), Amita Deshpande (Founder, Recharkha, The EcoSocial Tribe), Raqesh Bapat and Isha Bapat (Earth Canvas & Co), Ganesh Bakale (Director, Maha Ngo foundation), Dimple Vaghela and Laveena Keswani (Previous FOI Winners) and Lalit Dhanwe, a young force of figurative art from Karaha Studio who performed a live on-spot sculptor at the event.

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80K visitors in 4 mths: PMs’ Museum a hi-tech hit




The Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya, which has been built with an aim to show the work and development of the Constitution of India and all the Prime Ministers, has seen 80,000 visitors in past four months.

Using modern technology, this museum is a place where all – youth, children, parents and elderly people – can gather information about India before Independence till now. Different galleries of 15 Prime Ministers have been set up in this museum. Along with this, there are a total of 43 galleries in the museum with cutting-edge technology, light and sound shows, holograms, virtual reality, multi-touch, multimedia, interactive boxes, computerised screens, and smartphone applications.

Prime Ministers’ museum is the perfect amalgamation of history and art in which immersive digital technology brings to life the words and lives of the Prime Ministers so far. On April 14 this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled this museum to showcase historical facts about the leaders of free, modern India. This museum has great tools to revisit the past, look into the future and know how the nation was shaped by its top leaders, with the 3D printed national emblem swirling in the air attracting people as soon as they enter.

The Pradhan Mantri Sangrahalaya is a tribute to every Prime Minister of the country since Independence in 1947 and a record of how each one of them has contributed to the development of the country in the last 75 years.

This museum, at the Teen Murti Bhavan, is a history of collective effort and a powerful testimony to the success of democracy.

Each of the Prime Ministers left a significant footprint in the country’s journey to development, social harmony and economic empowerment, which has enabled India to realise the true meaning of freedom. The country was rebuilt after gaining independence from British colonialism and all the Prime Ministers together have contributed towards turning the dreams and inspiration into reality.

Teen Murti Bhavan was the former residence of the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and was considered the appropriate site for the Prime Ministers’ Museum.

The museum was started from the renovated Nehru Museum building in which the things related to the life and contribution of Nehru have been showcased among the people in a technically, more simple way and a new section has been started in it.

In the Prime Ministers’ Museum, a large number of rare gifts received by each Prime Minister from across the country are on display. Earlier, these were not displayed. The foundation for the expanded museum was laid in 2016.

The idea of design of the Prime Ministers’ Museum came out of the idea of a new emerging India. The construction of the museum was started in October 2018 while taking special care of the environment.

The total area across which the Prime Ministers’ Museum stands is 15,619 square metre, of which the area which the Nehru Memorial Museum occupies is 5,128 metres.

Special care has been taken to protect the environment and the logo of the museum ‘Dharma Chakra’ has been designed which is a symbol of our democracy. A total amount of Rs 306 crore had been spent on this entire project.

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Netflix becoming more traditional than before




Netflix has had a terrible 2022. In April, it said it lost subscribers for the first time since 2011 and its stock has tumbled more than 60% so far this year, the media reported.

Yet its recent struggles may not be the start of a downward spiral or the beginning of the end for the streaming giant. Rather, it’s a sign that Netflix is becoming a more traditional media company, CNN reported.

Netflix was originally valued as a Big Tech company, part of the Wall Street acronym, “FAANG”, which stood for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. Wall Street once valued the company at about $300 billion, a number on par with many Big Tech companies that Netflix’s business model ultimately couldn’t live up to.

“I think Netflix was extremely overvalued,” Julia Alexander, director of strategy at Parrot Analytics, told CNN Business. “Unlike those companies that have different tentacles, Netflix does not have a lot of tentacles.”

But Netflix was never really a tech company, CNN reported. Yes, it relied on subscriber growth like many companies in the tech world, but its subscriber growth was built on having films and TV shows that people wanted to watch and pay for. That’s more like a studio in Hollywood than a tech company in Silicon Valley.

Netflix looked a lot more like a tech company than, say, Disney, Comcast, Paramount or CNN parent company Warner Bros. Discovery. But as those traditional media companies start to look a lot more like Netflix, the OTT platform in turn is starting to take page out of its rivals’ playbooks: It’s going to start serving ads and it has been releasing some shows over the course of weeks and months rather than all at once.

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INOX share zooms 20%, hits record high; PVR’s jumps 10%



Shares of PVR and Inox Leisure zoomed up to 20 per cent on the BSE in Monday’s intra-day trade after they announced merger between the two major multiplex owners, in an all-stock amalgamation of Inox with PVR. Shareholders of Inox will receive three shares of PVR in exchange for 10 shares in Inox. In trades so far, INOX Leisure hit a record high of Rs 563.60, zooming 20 per cent in intra-day trade. 

The stock surpassed its previous high of Rs 510.80 touched on February 25, 2020. As of 09:17 am, the stock traded 15 per cent higher at Rs 540, as compared to 0.06 per cent decline on the S&P BSE Sensex. PVR, meanwhile, surged 10 per cent to Rs 2,010, also its 52-week high on the BSE. The stock trimmed gains mildly and was up 5 per cent at Rs 1,925.25 later. It had hit a record high of Rs 2,081 on February 20, 2020. Post-merger, PVR promoters will own 10.62 per cent stake while Inox promoters will have a 16.66 per cent stake in the combined entity with equal representation in the board with two seats each for promoter entities in a 10-member board. 

The combined entity will be named as PVR INOX Limited with branding of existing screens to continue as PVR and INOX respectively. The new cinemas opened post the merger will be branded as PVR INOX. The combined entity will become the largest film exhibition company in India with 1,546 screens, at around 50 per cent multiplex screen market share and around 42 per cent box office collection market share.

Key synergy of both companies will be bargaining power in costs (especially rental) wherein they compete for premium space as well revenues such as advertisement [wherein Inox whose normalised (precovid) ad/screen/annum was at Rs 29 lakh vs. Rs 44 lakh for PVR ~36 per cent discount] or ATP discount of 6-7 per cent between Inox and PVR, which could catch up, ICICI Securities said in a note. Furthermore, they would have higher leverage in convenience fee deals (with Bookmyshow and Paytm) and distribution revenues. Some administrative cost rationalisation on overlaps is also possible. 

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