Since the paid daily newsletter does really well, I thought I'd also start a free weekly version with a quick recap of the week's news and one in-depth story (from the paid newsletter) each week.
This has been a very tough week in America. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor & Ahmaud Arbery and subsequent protests highlighted the systematic and on-going problem of police brutality against the Black community in United States. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel like the Indian American community has done enough to support our fellow Americans despite benefitting from the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s & 1960s. And while everyone is paying attention to the issue of racism in America right now, marginalization and violence against minority communities isn't a uniquely American phenomenon as India too struggles with these issues. Indian Americans have been able to migrate to the United States and be successful because of the charge led by the Black community, and we need to do more to help.
So to kick things off this week, we had a bunch of news (announcements & rumors) about Indian telcos as well as some new product launches & funding announcements. Also if you liked the recap and want daily in-depth stories delivered to your WhatsApp every morning, feel free to subscribe 👇🏽
Dunzo integrates with Google Pay: Dunzo, the hyperlocal delivery service, has partnered up with Google Pay to deliver essentials & groceries for orders placed through the app.
Instamojo sachet loans on WhatsApp: Instamojo has taken its "sachet loans" to WhatsApp. Merchants on the platform can apply for the loans through WhatsApp and be approved for it within minutes.
Rajiv Srivatsa joins Antler ventures: Rajiv Srivatsa, who is one of Urban Ladder's founders and ex-CTO has been named as a partner and the India head of an early stage venture fund called Antl.
UPI transactions recover in May: Business is back to usual for payment services. UPI recorded 1.23B txs in May after a significant lull in April (990M) and a normal-ish March (1.25B).
Mitron was temporarly suspended: The Indian consumer social upstart has had a whirlwind of a month with over 5M downloads in May, as Google had taken the app down from the play store. The app is back on the store as of Friday June 5th.
Travel co QuaQua raised $1M: Travel startup, QuaQua, has raised $1M from Anthill Ventures. The company integrates VR-enabled content, information & travel bookings for tourist destinations.
Google Pay & PhonePe lead Paytm: In May, over 75M users transacted on Google Pay, 60M on PhonePe while only 30M on Paytm. Paytm still leads Google when it comes to merchants.
CarTrade raises a $42M Series H: CarTrade is set to raise a ~$42M Series H round from existing investors Temasek, Warburg Pincus and March Capital Partners, which will value the company at $525M.
Cult Live Subscriptions (Free Story):
I came across a tweet this week from a Cult user who received a notification from the app that he had been enrolled in a 14 day trial on the app. And I further did a little digging to find out that the company is turning the live fitness product into a paid subscription.
The company's live membership offerings will bundle live & recorded fitness classes along with dance, meditation and cooking classes. And all of Cult's celebrity masterclasses will be available to paid members.
The pricing also seems very reasonable, the company has three different subscription plans (3, 6, and 12 months) and the price comes out to ₹241 (12 mon) - ₹399 (3 mon). With a yearly subscription, users would be paying <₹10/day which honestly seems like a great deal!
The company had recently hit 1M Daily Active Users on the live product, so it's quite evident that the product is very popular. Assuming a 10% DAU/MAU ratio (10M MAU) and a 1% free-to-paid conversion rate (100k) would mean the company would be generating $396k in MRR (Annualized to $4.75M).
That is quite phenomenal for a product that is only a couple months old, and could potentially help Cult lean further into an asset-light model (especially in smaller cities where it might not make as much sense to open physical locations).
The current product is also priced quite conservatively (and I could see it going up), but it also leaves some space for Cult to do a premium live product (virtual personal training) which they have been doing at a smaller scale already.
I can see them creating a powerful funnel that could turn Cult Live into a huge product: Make the celebrity masterclasses free to drive users to cult → free (14-day) membership to cult.live with x% conversion → free virtual private training session with y% conversion.
Other great reads of the week:
If you enjoyed reading today's newsletter and would like to get more regular updates, subscribe to the daily WhatsApp newsletter 👇🏽