Sep 13 - 19
Another week, with some pretty awful news: 2020 is really a gift that keeps on giving. You don't have to be an American to be sad about RBG's death. She's left behind a pretty incredible legacy and in a world that is genuinely short of female icons, her story is really inspirational. In more usual news, it was a busy week for start-ups and tech in India as usual (including news that Amazon will roll out Big B as an upgraded voice of Alexa in India, which I find very amusing).
Also got something exclusive today. The Product Folks is hosting India's largest Product conference next month about building High Growth Companies for India. Speakers include Harsha Kumar (Partner @ Lightspeed, ex-Ola), Miten Sampat (ex-Times Internet), Nithin Kamath (Zerodha) and others. They're also giving y'all a 25% discount (for 25 people) for their Delegate Pass (originally ₹999), which gives you access to the conference. Here's the link to conference & the coupon code is "AnmolTPS25"
Reliance is actively looking to acquire start-ups: Reliance is actively looking to acquire startups, as well as mature companies, to strengthen its digital commerce, 5G and fibre-to-the-home businesses to create India’s largest digital ecosystem spanning telecom, retail and payments.
Navi emerges as one of the top consumer lenders during the pandemic: Sachin Bansal's new venture, Navi, has become one of the country's top lenders by being one of the few lenders to disburse loans to low-income groups during the pandemic. According to sources Navi has disbursed loans worth over Rs. 130 crore since its launch in May this year.
Dream11 raises $225M, valuing the company at $2.5B: Dream Sports (the parent company of Dream 11) has announced a new financing round totaling $225M from the likes of Tiger Global Management, TPG, and other which will value the company at $2.5B.
Dot launches Digital Dukaan - entering a crowded field: Digital storefronts for SMEs & Kiranas seems to be in vogue currently and we have yet another entrant in the space. PayU-backed Dot that has launched "Digital Dukaan" to help people launch digital stores instantly.
Airmeet raises a $12M Series A: Virtual events platform, Airmeet, announced that it raised a $12M Series A round led by Sequoia India. Redpoint and existing investors Accel India, Venture Highway, GFC and Gokul Rajaram also participated in the round. This was also Redpoint's first investment in the country.
CashKaro raises a $10M Series B: Cashback and coupon platform CashKaro has raised a $10M Series B from Korea Investment Partners and existing investor Kalaari Capital. This is the company's first fundraise in over 5 years.
Acko raises $60M in a Series D from Munich Re Ventures: Digital Insurance provider Acko, which is well known for tying up with ridesharing and travel companies to provide insurance products, has secured a $60M Series D led by Munich Re Ventures along with existing backers including Amazon, RPS Ventures and Intact Ventures.
ShareChat acquires HPF Films: ShareChat's Corp Dev/M&A team have been quite active lately and have announced the acquisition of HPF Films - a video production company specializing in digital content. In the last 6 months, the company has acquired Elanic, Circle Internet, Memer and now HPF Films.
Lightspeed announces the official launch of its SE Asia operations: Lightspeed announced the launch of it's South East Asia operations today in a blog post by Akshay Bhushan, partner on the India team. Along with him, partner Bejul Somaia (who helped set up Lightspeed India 10+ years ago), VP Pinn Lawjindakul (ex-Grab & Tiger Global) and Senior Investment Associate Marsha Sugan (ex-L Catterton & Goldman Sachs) complete the team.
MPL raises $75M from SIG Global: After Consumer Social & EdTech, Gaming companies seem to be heating up on the fundraising front with Winzo raising a Series B, Dream11 raising $225M and now MPL (it's rival) raising $75M in a Series B led by SIG Global with participation from Sequoia Capital, RTP Global and others.
Dot launches Digital Dukaan- entering a crowded field
Digital storefronts for SMEs and Kiranas seems to be in vogue currently. And we have yet another entrant in the space- this time around it's the PayU-backed Dot that has launched "Digital Dukaan" to help people launch digital stores instantly.
Over the last 2-3 months we've seen a lot of these apps by companies come to the market - Dukaan, Khatabook, OKCredit, Bikayi, MSwipe & Magicpin. I wonder if there is really a need for 5+ apps all doing the same thing without much differentiation?
Dukaan and Bikayi were probably the early adopters here with Khatabook also launching in that time frame. Dukaan and Khatabook have already seen their Dukaan product been downloaded by over a million users, with Bikayi having over 500k downloads & the others further behind (Dot only has 100+ installs currently).
These apps mostly function the same way - a business signs up, uploads their inventory, shares a link of their store over WhatsApp with its customers, and watches orders trickle in. In some cases the app has an integrated payment gateway and in others the business just collects cash-on-delivery or over UPI. These apps usually are free, other than Bikayi which has several different paid plans
I'm quite certain that some of these apps will definitely die out and I wonder if a first movers advantage is helpful here - OKCredit & Dot are severely behind in this regards. Enabling the digitization of SMEs and Kiranas is definitely a big trend, but given the crowded space, we will have to see how many of these company actually survive and thrive.
What we've read this week
Designing Swiggy Instamart by The Hard Copy (tagging Srinath Rangamani, Meeta Malhotra)
OCEN: A Conversation by Rahul Sanghi and Aryaman Vir
If you enjoyed reading today's newsletter and would like to get more regular updates, subscribe to the daily WhatsApp newsletter 👇🏽