Apple goes monthly ☝️
Netflix's new buy, Bhavish spots his bro, and stuff from the week before.
Market summary: 📊
Another straight down day for India, with Sensex finishing down 0.5% over the week. US had a similar day, as global food shortages, trade uncertainties, and inflation weigh on investor mood.
S&P 500 - up 0.51%
Nasdaq - down 0.07%
Nifty 50 - down 0.41%
Sensex - down 0.41%
What’s brewing hot? ☕
🍎 Apple going monthly — Apple is moving to let people “subscribe” to hardware devices instead of buying them out with full money. People will be able to pay a token amount for an iPhone or a computer, and then pay for things as they use them month over month — along with Apple’s subscription services. To think of it, Apple already does work with Barclays and Goldman Sachs to enable buying on credit, but this is the first time the company plans to take the “liability” on its books. Could work great as they build out a BNPL and services-focused empire.
👀 Reality bites Instacart — the company that pioneered global grocery delivery, Instacart, is forced to cut its valuation by nearly 40% to under $24 billion this week as demand in the post-COVID world softens up, while competition from Uber, Doordash catches on. Instacart had been struggling for well over a year, which had led to swapping founder-CEO Apoorva Mehta out for Facebook-exec Fidji Simo as its CEO, but things continue to look dire. Acquisition by Uber or Amazon incoming?
Netflix made another gaming bet 🎮
What’s poppin’ — days after acquiring mobile game-developer Next Games, Netflix has now purchased its 3rd gaming studio — buying out Texas-based, Boss Fight Entertainment.
Boss Fight, founded in 2013, is well known for its mobile game called Dungeon Boss — a role-play based strategy game that has over 5 million downloads on Google Play. The company’s team has deep expertise and years of game-R&D experience, which is what Netflix is really after it appears.
Netflix’s gameplay — as streaming growth matures globally and competition intensifies, Netflix is betting on immersive entertainment as its next lever of growth — which includes gaming as we see it in its most primal form today, but also bit more diverse and engaging, enabled via emerging tech like AR, VR, through the decade.
Anyway, to build a strong foundation, Netflix has so far launched 16+ games — self developed or acquired or tied into its IP like Stranger Things, and is actively building a base of development and production talent. Let’s see how it all plays out!
While we’re on acquisitions, ☝️
Ola made a quick fintech acquisition — buying out a neobank called Avail Finance, started by Bhavish Aggarwal’s brother, in a deal worth over $50 million.
Avail was building a new-age banking platform for blue collar workers, offering a fee-free alternative for a mostly daily-wage user base, served in multiple local languages. The platform has ~3 million active accounts opened, and Ola will now bundle the product into its existing financial services suite, all meant to build a stickier relationship with drivers. 🤙
Quick look at some weekend Venture Deals 💰
A sexual-health platform called Janani.life raised $2.2 million from YC, Olive Tree Capital, and a couple of others for its first institutional raise.
Janani is building a comprehensive personal care platform, offering teleconsultations, at-home tests and curated programs for both men and women — mostly dealing with reproductive, fertility, and sexual health issues. Fresh money will be used to expand tech chops and fuel growth.
Worth mentioning — sexual wellness is estimated to be a $20 billion+ market in India. Historically labeled taboo, digitization is helping unlock tremendous opportunities.
Meanwhile, Sharechat wants some more 🤷
The vernacular social giant is apparently in talks with Temasek and Times Internet to raise another $200 million, at a $5 billion valuation.
FYI, Sharechat had raised big money barely a quarter ago at a $3.7 billion valuation, and just a month ago had acquired short-video platform MX TakaTak to strengthen its own offering Moj. Things moving pretty fast!
Aight folks, that’s all we have at Filter Coffee! Here’s some of the major stuff that went down this week.
😓 Governance issues hurt startups — a billion dollar venture in India, Infra.Market, had India’s tax department sniffing around for misappropriation of funds and sub-par reporting. Authorities conducted raids on 20+ locations of the company and accused Infra of raising money through the hawala network, faking purchase orders, and sliding in unaccounted cash expenses of over ₹400 crores.
🛢️ India got some cheap Oil — India went ahead and finally purchased oil from Russia, about 5 million barrels of crude, despite western sanctions discouraging trade with the country. The deal happened through the state-owned Indian Oil Corp. While the US chastised India’s actions, local administrators are citing how tiny (and inconsequential) the volumes are as % of India’s total trade.
💰 Big money for NFTs — Yuga Labs, the creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, raised a massive $450 million seed round — from the top guns like Andreessen Horowitz, at a $4 billion valuation! Barely days ago, Yuga had acquired Crypto Punks and Meebits, to increase the range of NFT projects in its kitty, all meant to help the startup build out its own metaverse, called Otherside.
☀️ Solar IPO hitting Dalal Street — Vikram Solar, one of India’s largest makers of solar modules, filed its papers with SEBI, to raise ₹1,500 crores from the public markets, drawing some serious eyeballs as renewable energy becomes a hot theme locally. So far, the company has an installed base of over 2.5GW deployed across India and several other countries, with about ₹1,610 crores in revenues.
🦄 More unicorns this week — India booked its 12th and 13th unicorn of 2022 this week. CommerceIQ, an e-commerce-management platform, raised a $115 million Series D round led by SoftBank at a $1 billion+ valuation. Later, Oxyzo, the lending arm of B2B commerce-platform OfBusiness, closed India's largest Series A round ever, raising $200 million, at a $1 billion valuation.
And then finally, a quick look at some acquisitions this week — 🤝
Apple acquired open-banking startup Credit Kudos in a $150 million deal, as the tech giant seeks to deepen its “services” footprint through financial products.
Snap acquired a French neurotech startup, NextMind, known for making a brain-interfacing headband.
Berkshire bought out a century-old insurance business called Alleghany for $11.6 billion — making it BRK’s 2nd biggest acquisition ever.
Thoma Bravo, a private equity giant, is buying out Anaplan, a business-planning software company, in a deal worth $10.7 billion.
And lastly, Reliance Retail acquired an 89% stake in a direct-to-consumer women’s undergarment brand called Clovia in a $125 million deal, making its 6th investment of the year!
Hit that 💚 if you liked today’s issue.
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