Market summary: 📊
Yet another day of gains in India, setting a firm stage for the year to roll on. US quickly turned south tho, with Tech giving up most gains added on the first day.
S&P 500 - down 0.063%
Nasdaq - down 1.35%
Nifty 50 - up 1.14%
Sensex - up 1.02%
What’s brewing hot? ☕
💻 Year of Tech — private equity investors, typically known to chase boring businesses, continue to gun for Technology. A record $401 billion or 41% of all investments led by private equity went to technology companies in 2021, surpassing records of 2020. Work from home, devices, SaaS software, were some exciting opportunities topping the list.
🚗 Maruti falls short — while camp Tata pops champagne after becoming India’s 2nd largest auto player, budget-king Maruti continues to stumble. For December, Maruti’s production dropped 2% YoY to 1.52L cars, as semiconductor components become harder to get. Not great news for an increasingly anxious investor base — who continues to be concerned about share losses, slowing innovation, and the brand’s struggle to lose its budget tag, as consumer tastes shift.
Apple is a $3 trillion giant 💪
A surprise device supercycle over the past 20 months — supporting WFH and edtech demand for smartphones + laptops, culminated in Apple blasting through a $3 trillion market cap on Tuesday — making it the free world’s first corporation to do so.
The first trillion happened in August 2018, taking Apple 42 years. The next trillion came in 2 years. The last one took less than 1.5 years.
Where next — iPhones, Apple’s cash cow business, is expected to hold fort as a 5G-led upgrade cycle slowly plays out. Markets like India, South East Asia are just starting to show momentum too.
Analysts meanwhile are betting on payments, banking, credit cards, subscriptions, and wearables to drive growth, while wishful ideas like the Apple Car, AR glasses form the next assault.
Worth mentioning — Apple forms 7% of the S&P 500 now. Last time a company was so big, it was IBM forming 6.4% of the index in 1984.
Who got the monies? 💸
Tons of smaller deals these days! First up, Customer engagement platform Exotel closed a $40 million Series D round from Steadview Capital and a few others.
The BLR-based company plays in the same field as Twilio, selling APIs for communications services — think programmable SMS, chat bots, contact center software, and other services stretching the whole comms menu. Ops are scattered across India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, with 4,000+ customers including Ola, Swiggy and TCS, adding up to $50 million+ in annual revenue.
Worth mentioning — amidst post-COVID digitization, communications-as-a-service category has been on fire, with API-first platforms being big beneficiaries.
Then switching over to commerce for a bit 👇
Another B2B e-commerce platform, GenieMode, raised $7 million for its Series A from Zomato-seeder and internet-index Info Edge.
Started barely 10 months ago, GenieMode powers cross-border trade — connecting global wholesale buyers with local Indian and Southeast Asian suppliers in product categories like home, furnishing and fashion.
Holmes found guilty 🚨
Elizabeth Holmes, the turtleneck fashioning Steve Jobs-esque biotech innovator, who promised to create a rapid blood testing solution through her company Theranos was found guilty of 4 out of 11 US federal charges levied against her — ending a 4-month long trial that kept the tech world on the edge of its seat.
The story is pretty beat up — Holmes kept touting progress, while raising billions, lying to everyone about R&D capability, putting patients and partners at risk.
Anyway, quick rundown of how we got here: 🤔
Dropped out of Stanford at 19. Founded Theranos in 2003. Claims to have developed an affordable, portable blood-testing machine called Edison, capable of diagnosing any disease with just a single drop of blood.
Hotshots from Oracle’s Larry Ellison, to media mogul Rupert Murdoch, to Walmart’s Walton family poured a combined $945 million in total into the business, at a $10 billion peak valuation.
Meanwhile Theranos continues to miss deadlines, burn cash, with no respectable solution brought to market.
A 2015 Wall Street Journal report finds Theranos’ testing results inaccurate. Alleges Theranos lied about partnerships, faked total tests it conducted to date, and apparently sent samples to old school labs routinely in the back end to get blood results done.
Legal battle begins. Theranos goes kaput in 2018, shutting operations. Soon a trial is launched against Holmes — but the pandemic and the birth of her baby delayed things.
Holmes found guilty.
What now — charges that stuck mostly involved defrauding investors, with Holmes now facing a 20-year prison stint along with a fine of $250,000. Conviction will be announced after other lawsuits are heard.
If you’d like to know more, may we recommend Bad Blood.
Closing Out — more like 2020-too 😫
Just when you thought we were done, it's “back to normal” again. Country wide COVID cases are rising, with new caseload growing to 37K yesterday, the highest in 4 months!
Major urban centers and states are going batshit crazy.
Mumbai, the hub for the second wave, reports ~7K new cases. Good ol’ lockdowns are being mulled, but post 20K levels. Huh.
Delhi has resorted to weekend curfews because Omicron is a known introvert who likes to sleep off Saturdays and Sundays.
Other states from Kerala to Rajasthan have come up with own limits
Fyi, during peak Delta assault, new cases hovered around 400K each day, while the first-wave assault saw peaks of 90K a day. So things aren’t exactly nuts yet.
How the defense looking — GOI claims 60%+ of the population is fully vaccinated. A well earned economic recovery is in the balance if we mess this up.
What else are we Snackin’ 🍿
👸 More power - Alka Mittal will be ONGC’s first woman chairman and managing director, accepting an interim 6 month appointment.
⭐ Year of gold - India imported gold worth $55.7 billion in 2021, more than double the amount in 2020. Wedding season max?
🤑 Big opportunity - Accenture says the global social-commerce market will more than double to $1.2 trillion by 2025. India showing the fastest growth.
Hit that 💚 if you liked today’s issue.
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