A quick wrap-up of the week's news

Apr 18th

Hi all, Vedica here. I hope folks in India are staying safe. To be honest, the news over the past few days has been utterly devastating to follow. The dissonance on my twitter time line between people in India asking about hospital beds, and people in America (and else where) tweeting about life going back to normal has been almost too much to bear. We are keeping this newsletter short, with just a wrap-up of the news we covered on WhatsApp over the past week. We'll be back next week. Stay safe everyone.

🗞️ News of the week

  • Flipkart is finalising the acquisition of Cleartrip, one the oldest travel booking portals in India. The Flipkart-Cleartrip deal, which will be a mix of cash and equity, is likely to value Cleartrip at around $40 million. The acquisition is something of a distress sale for the 15-year-old Mumbai firm in the aftermath of Covid. Cleartrip was founded in 2006 by Hrush Bhatt, Matthew Spacie and Stuart Crighton, and positioned as a hotels and air travel booking marketplace.

  • Pine Labs has acquired Malaysia-based fintech Fave in a deal valued at $45 million as the Indian fintech looks to strengthen its consumer-focused offerings in the domestic and international markets. Fave helps an offline merchant connect and retain customers by using gift cards and vouchers. The startup allows merchants to accept digital payments by having a customer scan a QR code. Once the payment is made, the customer automatically receives cashback/loyalty points through the Fave app that can only be redeemed at that specific business during future transactions.

  • SoftBank is reportedly in talks to lead Zeta's ~$250M Series D, which will value the embedded finance startup at over $1B. We'd previously written about embedded fintech, where the core thesis is that eventually any application will embed financial services in their offerings (aka Lending is a feature). Companies like Zeta, Setu and Yap (amongst other) are building infrastructure along with partnering with banks and other financial institutions to let anyone embed financial services within their product.

  • Amazon announced it was setting up a $250M venture fund to invest in Indian startups focusing on the digitization of SMBs. The company says "it wants to invest in startups that focus on helping small businesses come online, sell online, automate and digitize their operations, and expand to customers worldwide". The fund has already made it's first investment in Gurgaon based M1xchange, which is an invoice discounting marketplace exchange for MSMEs.

  • Private equity investors Multiples Alternate Asset Management, Premji Invest and Goldman Sachs are reportedly looking to together invest $150-200 million in meat and seafood brand Licious. According to ET, India consumes meat worth around $30 billion a year and around 92% of the Indian meat and seafood industry is unorganised.