Weekly recap: June 7 - June 13
Hi folks! Vedica here, with our second weekly recap of the week's news and one in-depth story (from the paid newsletter). Don't know about all of you, but I've definitely enjoyed the weekend, after pulling some crazy all nighters this week to wrap up the project I'm working on for my day job. It definitely been weird to be so focused on corporate work with everything going on in the US and the world right now, so the weekend has been a good time to regain a little bit of perspective. I'll have some hot takes on working in corporate America soon enough.
Anmol here and I have had a very chill week, unlike Vedica. Just wanted to drop in here real quick to mention that one of my favorite Substack (everything.substack.com) [A bundle w/ multiple publications] tweeted out that they would discount their publication (only $100/yr for several posts a week) for subscribers from India so wanted to give them a shoutout here.
Reliance started the week by announcing its 8th deal in 7 weeks with a raise from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority ($750M). Jio also closed its 9th and 10th deals yesterday with raised from TPG and L Catterton for $600M and $250M respectively.
SEBI released guidelines for a regulatory sandbox: The sandbox will serve as a testing ground for new business models and technologies applicable to the securities markets ecosystem.
Yolobus raised a $3.3M Series A: The inter-city bus company, announced a new Series A round led by Nexus Venture Partners with participation from India Quotient as well.
Arkam announced the first close of their maiden fund: Arkam Ventures (formerly known as Unitary Helion), has marked the first close of their maiden ₹700 Cr (<$100M) fund.
Flipkart rolled out a voice assistant: The Indian eCommerce behemoth, has rolled out a voice assistant that helps users navigate the in-app shopping experience.
PhonePe launched domestic travel insurance: PhonePe is partnering with ICICI Lombard to launch a domestic travel insurance product priced at ₹499/yr.
WhiteHat Jr is seeing impressive growth in the Covid environment. The edtech company focuses on teaching kids coding and is growing MoM at ~100%.
Postman raised $150M at a $2B valuation: Indian API Platform Postman has announced a $150M Series C round led by Insight Partners valuing the company at $2B, with existing investors CRV & Nexus Venture Partners participating as well.
Quizizz is entering the Indian market: The Indian EdTech company that initially built out its product for the US market and is now launching in India.
Unacademy Group launches Graphy (Free Story)
About a month ago I saw something interesting on Gaurav Munjal's (Unacademy CEO) twitter bio. He had changed it from Founder, Unacademy → Founder, Unacademy Group CEO. Which got me wondering what they had cooking up.
And now we know! The couple has a completely separate team that has spun out a new app called Graphy, launching with an Android app currently and an iOS app coming soon. The app is being targeted as an "interactive book" of sorts, with the launch video having the caption- "Books haven’t changed since a really really really long time. Maybe it’s time to change that"
I took the app for a spin today and was pleasantly surprised. I do want to mention that it doesn't really feel an alternative book to me, but more so high quality production of short form video content (Think TikTok's video interface meets Netflix quality content).
To me, it was quite similar to the new American media app, Quibi, but Graphy (to me) has much more engaging content though currently limited. The platform currently only has a handful of "Graphers" (content creators) who individually price their content upwards of ₹99.
Graphers release their content chapter by chapter (every week I presume) and I'm excited on the pricing side for a couple of reasons- Initially it makes to not have a subscription for all the content until you have enough content so I believe Graphy will switch to that at some point. But I'd also be interested to see if they try out payments on a micro-transaction level (imagine you could pay for each chapter instead of the whole story).
The product is still in beta so this is all very early days, but I'm very curious and excited to see where this hybrid paid entertainment-education product goes.
(Also, the app is available here and the platform just dropped a Graphy with comedian Tanmay Bhatt which is hilarious as heck)
Other great reads of the week:
India’s Comfort Food Tells the Story of Its Pandemic by Alia Allana
If Lending Isn’t The Answer, Does The Question Change For Fintech In India? by Rahul Sanghi
The Observer Effect Interview with Marc Andreessen by Sriram Krishnan
Attack of the Clones: TikTok’s Rival Kuaishou Lands in the US by Turner Novak
healthOS by Rob Litterst and Nathan Baschez
How Utah's Tech Industry Tried to Dirsupt Coronavirus Testing by Rober P. Baird
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