Anti disruption 💲

Investor interest, markets ripping, and IPOs looming.

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Market summary: 📊 

Another terrific day of straight gains in India as early data on holiday spend shows promise. After a weak start to the year, US stocks saw an upward climb yesterday.

US:

  • S&P 500 - up 0.71%

  • Nasdaq 100 - up 0.85%

India: 

  • Nifty 50 - up 0.47%

  • Sensex - up 0.54%


What’s brewing hot?

1️⃣ Godrej agrees that everything’s okay—yesterday Marico claimed consumer demand last quarter was better than anticipated. Today Godrej’s consumer business echoed the sentiment, claiming nothing catastrophic took place during the last quarter, and that the company’s estimated growth targets between 10-20% will be met without problems.

FYI, they sell everything from Good Nights to Cinthols, and these positive nods matter to investors who look up to such guidance to understand how the broad economy is functioning.

2️⃣ Cameo isn’t gonna slow down—Cameo, the app that allows peeps to get customized video shouts from their favorite celebs literally exploded during the 2020 lockdowns, with locked-down citizens flocking to the service to “buy” custom shouts for their friends’ and family’s birthdays and such.

As the result, the company ended up selling 1.3 million+ vids, doubled its employee base, and added thousands of celebs to the service. Last week, they’ve beefed up their exec ranks adding a CTO, CPO, CFO, and a COO overnight. What a run, and god the things that 2020 showed us possible.

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Google & Snap jump on the ShareChat train 💲

ShareChat will see Google and Snapchat pitch in its $200 million Series E round, as global tech firms continue to sow seeds into the Indian vernacular-social arena. Post raise, ShareChat will be valued at over $1 billion, kicking off the 2021 unicorn list on a high.

Just 3 months ago the company was valued at some $630 million. Weirdly, credible rumors had emerged last month that Google was looking to buy the business out entirely for about a billion dollars. Mysteriously, soon thereafter Google went on and plowed some money in some of ShareChat’s rivals—Daily Hunt and InMobi’s Glance (although different product angles).

The trio are actually competitors in the short video game (with Moj, Josh, and Roposo respectively), so hard to say for sure what altered Google’s intentions, but we guess they’re shying away from fighting out an expensive, self-owned content driven short-video war, and probably are hoping that bringing Snapchat to the table can facilitate some knowledge sharing?

Anyway, ShareChat’s Moj has 80 million monthly active users apparently, while it caters to a large user base in small cities and towns in 15 Indian languages and growth of the platform is the biggest agenda item the company is pushing for going forward.

What matters: wild guess, but Google is probably thinking that if its Search dominance on the internet could be challenged, it's likely coming from a multi-lingual region like India where platforms winning from explosive engagement (and scale) are able to figure out how to archive, sort, and index trillions of pieces of regional content and information on the internet — virtually building sort of a regional search engine. Long shot, but these diversified investments seem like Google’s hedges against potential disruption, if at all.

In any case, their surgical focus on making the most of the explosive growth in the Indian vernacular content arena is unparalleled, and its undoubtedly great for the local ecosystem. 👏


Twitter amps up assault on audio-social 🐦

Audio-first social media is rapidly heating. To compete with category pioneer Clubhouse, Twitter had recently launched its own service, copied to the tee, called Twitter Spaces. Now they’ve gone out and acquired another company called Breaker that makes podcasts more social.

The company’s app basically allows users to see what their friends are listening to, which podcaster they’re following, and basic stuff like that, with the hope that social connections drive better discovery of good content. The same feature-set will now be leveraged to make Twitter’s audio-social platform better. 4 of Breaker’s key early hires will be joining the Twitter Spaces team.

Worth mentioning: the number of acquisitions and transactions in the podcast-tech arena has been staggeringly high in the recent past. With Spotify buying Anchor ($154 million), and then recently Megaphone ($235 million). SiriusXM buying Simplecast, and then Pandora purchasing AdsWizz.

Despite all the potential at its disposal, Twitter however is still playing from a position of a laggard, and we hope these talent-acquisitions help them bridge that gap because the opportunity at their disposal is huge.


Global investors can’t stop thinking about India 💭

Latest to buy a ticket to the Indian startup buffet is global alt-investment manager Mirae Assets. The company that usually invests in complex public market investment vehicles, ETFs, debt assets etc. will set up a $35 million fund for early stage ventures here. 

Mirae in fact already has about $200m spread across a dozen companies in late stages in India, including Swiggy, Zomato, Ola, and BigBasket, but an early stage focus was missing. The current fund now will exclusively eye seed to Series A round, with interests particularly circling fintech, consumer internet, and SaaS.

If things plan out as planned, a $75 million follow on raise is already on the cards.

Bottomline: with one of the largest internet populations at disposal, several structural changes opening floodgates on tech services, key seismic shifts enforced in the post-COVID world, it's a hard swallow for global investors to not have some kinda exposure to India at all levels. The trend is a huge win for the local ecosystem, obviously.

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What else are we snackin’ 🍿

🧨 Another hot IPO’s brewing - Indigo Paints got the green light from regulators to go ahead with his ₹1000 crore IPO bid. Surprisingly, the company is backed by Sequoia Capital India, and if we’re using Asian Paints’ success in the Indian market as a barometer, this bid could run big.


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