Weekly recap: June 14 - June 20
Hi folks! Vedica here again, with our weekly recap of the week's news and one in-depth story (from the paid newsletter). I had the day off on Friday in recognition of Juneteenth, a day whose significance I was frankly unaware of till this year. Against the broader global climate of calling out institutionalised and systemic privilege and racism, Anmol and I spent a lot of the past week chatting about the problems in India when it comes to representation and diversity in the corporate and start-up environment. Our reading list today focuses on articles that discuss some of these challenges. This is also a topic we both feel very strongly about, and is something we will probably write a longer take on in the coming weeks.
Two more senior Paytm execs quit the firm. Puneet Jain, Senior VP for Paytm's online payment business lead and Siddharth Pandey, Vice President of Paytm First are just the latest string of departures of senior execs from Paytm.
Udaan is experimenting with B2C via a new app Pickily. The app (currently in live beta) on the Android Play Store offers FMCG products across five locations in Bengaluru. A full-fledged launch is apparently in the works for July.
The EdTech sector in India is one of the few sectors which has not only not been affected by the pandemic, but has actually thrived. Detailed story below!
The Ken is making its popular newsletters Beyond the First Order and The Nutgraf subscription based (at ₹99/month each). I'm personally a big fan of The Nutgraf, and since I've cancelled my The Ken subscription, might have to consider subscribing to the newsletter now!
Jio launched Jio UPI ID in several cities, which gives Jio's MyJio App a chance to become a super-app for all digital transactions for a user. Jio is also in talks with NPCI to power UPI transactions on Jio feature phones.
ClassPlus, a verticalized SaaS product digitizing coaching centers, acquired Merak.ai, a data-entry automated service. Merak.ai has plug-and-play APIs and services which help companies digitize and automate forms and other documents and data.
Hike launched Hikeland. India's only social media and messaging unicorn has had a tough couple of years. Hike is now trying something new by launching a platform where people hang out virtually.
Mindhouse offers online classes. Founded by Zomato's ex-founder Pankaj Chaddah and ex-executive Pooja Khanna, Mindhouse is a mental wellness company that offers a mix of live and on-demand yoga and meditation classes and content in both audio and video formats, and the content is largely yoga and meditation classes.
Indian EdTech 🚀🚀🚀
The EdTech sector in India is one of the few sectors which has not only not been affected by the pandemic, but has actually thrived. Here's how well some of the companies have done.
BYJUs has added over 7.5M students on the platform since making it's content free and generated ₹350 Cr (~$47 M) in revenue in April alone! The online learning platform Vedantu has also exponential growth and added 650k learners across K-12 & competitive exams, and the company also recorded an 80% revenue growth in May over last month!
Unacademy has also seen insane growth and the company generated more revenue this April compared to all of 2017, 2018 & half of 2019 combined (wow)! The company had hit $36M ARR before the pandemic, but that has now grown 3x to >$100M.
Toppr, the competitive exam preparation platform, has seen a 100% growth in their paid user base, with the free users engaging with the platform twice as much.
Covid has definitely been the catalyst for Indian EdTech, a lot of these platforms have thrived when students potentially haven't been able to access live classes from their own teachers. Alongside these Indian startups, Zoom & Google Classrooms has seem tremendous growth in the country empowering teachers to conduct their lessons online.
And while, school will go back to normal in a couple of months some of the online learning products will continue to be a bigger & bigger part of the Indian student's life.
Reads of the week:
Caste: Why it’s still an issue for India Inc. by Ashish Gupta
Why India's women VCs get a raw deal by Mihir Dalal, M. Sriram
India Inc’s caste biases crept in at the cost of future profit and growth (Full IIM Bangalore and Pomona College paper, "Firms of a Feather Merge Together: Cultural Proximity and M&A Outcomes" accessible here)
Looking for funding in India? VCs have a soft spot for the male, IIT-ian entrepreneur by Ananya Bhattacharya
Breaking caste barriers: stories of 5 Dalit entrepreneurs who reached the top by Saurabh Ray
If you enjoyed reading today's newsletter and would like to get more regular updates, subscribe to the daily WhatsApp newsletter 👇🏽