Dammit chickins 🐔

Apple surprises, venture raises, and influencaaa teachers.

Hi 👋, Tanvi here.

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Market summary: 📊 

With a couple solid earnings reports thus far, Indian markets look unstoppable. 50K for Sensex is in sight. US markets took a dump last night though, with tech suffering a painful day.

US:

  • S&P 500 - down 0.66%

  • Nasdaq 100 - down 1.55%

India: 

  • Nifty 50 - up 0.96%

  • Sensex - up 1.00%


What’s brewing hot?

1️⃣ Goddammit chickens, not right now—just in case one viral infection wasn’t cutting it for you, 7 states have now confirmed cases of an avian bird flu in India. The poultry industry literally stands ravaged, with the lockdowns first crushing the business by putting inventory to waste, and now the government asking farms to cull possibly infected flock.

Stocks have already started moving—Venky’s had a 2% down day yesterday, and so did Godrej Agrovet. Consumer fear could quickly spiral out too. Damn, too much gloom. And poor Chickens ofc. 

2️⃣ The bank of the internet boots him too— yeah by now it's getting boring, but payment processor Stripe dumping Trump, refusing to process any donation or online merch payments warrants a discussion. Mind you, this guy is still sitting in the Oval office for 7 more days, holding the most powerful office in the free world. 

We’re unsure if tech companies’ independence should be lauded, or the partisan actions of these supposedly “independent” services should be questioned. In any case, “neutrality” as we knew it, is over.

We also have a thesis—the recent actions by American tech companies made them more restrictively American than anything else. Their global operations, and supposed “global” appearance has been shattered into pieces. Every foreign government, corporation, will evaluate the risk of rejection of service going forward. Which means, tech platforms emerging in India, offering critical services just got a free boost in the domestic market.

AWS vs. Jio Cloud? Stripe vs. RazorPay? The options will be a bit easier going forward.

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Firstcry doubles valuation 💰

FirstCry—one of the largest digital marketplaces for baby products in India will see some of its earliest backers liquidate their holdings, selling 7-9% of shares in the company in a secondary transaction. Best part? The transaction will see the company’s valuation revised to over $2.1 billion, nearly double from 2019 levels.

Founded in 2010, the company has had a grinding climb to the top, slowly growing to dominate the baby and new-mom segment in the digital space. COVID obviously dealt a huge boost to business, altering trajectory forever. Softbank is one of their big backers, owning more than 40% in the venture—and they had plowed ~$300 million into the company just this year.

Some 13 million unique parents use the website each month, and this year they’re eyeing over 2000 crores in revenues, booking a staggering 250%+ growth rate (FYI, couldn’t substantiate these nos. with another source, but looking at the valuation revision, we’re inclined to believe that). An IPO is expected in the next 2-3 years. 

What matters: 2021 kicked off the big money startup game on a high note. That tells you everything you need to know about COVID’s impact on the digital economy in India, and the underlying fundamental business transformations that have been delivered. Not gonna stop.


Apple’s moves raise eyebrows 😯

WTF, why on earth them?”—that was the consensus opinion when rumors broke out that Apple’s secretive car project will be rolled out in partnership with Hyundai.

Apple had its pick at the buffet—you know, this is a $2 trillion company sitting on a pile of nearly $250 billion in green cash. They could literally buy any auto company in a blink (other than Tesla of course) and not think about it twice. But, they choose to go with the Korean vendor that, let’s just say, doesn’t have a lot of car fans raving about them.

Hard to say what moved hands to sign off on this—some like Gavin Baker say it was Hyundai’s manufacturing prowess that ruled the decision. But it could also be because Hyundai was allowing Apple engineers secrecy and control over design, willing to take a back seat while the software engineers from California toyed around their assembly plants? Hard to judge. 

But… the company has been quietly making some moves with advanced technology. Remember they recently bought cute dancing robots maker Boston Dynamics from Softbank for about a billion dollars. Do these things tie in somehow?

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Closing out — buy em’ all, fast as you can 👋

Just yesterday had we called out how IT giants are running high on an acquisition spree. Last night Cognizant acquired a niche specialty shop called Linum, which basically helps clients implement ServiceNow products. 

ServiceNow is a popular cloud platform which helps IT teams gain operational visibility into how IT processes are running, what needs help, what doesn’t. The tool has grown quite popular on the back of the cloud-boom, and now traditional enterprises can’t get enough expertise in the market fast enough, driving bills up with their consultants.

Anyway, the 150 team members at Linium will all be joining Cognizant starting next quarter, directly boosting Cognizant’s business topline.


What else are we snackin’ 🍿

💻 AR hardware moves - Lenovo has launched ThinkReality A3, a pair of enterprise AR glasses that look to follow the lead set by companies like Epson and Microsoft. The headset sports a 1080p resolution, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chip. Launch date is set somewhere in the middle of next year.

📚 Game level, Influencer teachers - Edtech startup Unacademy has gotten GATE exam educator Ravindrababu Ravula (who has over 600K subs online and is a favorite among students) as an exclusive teaching partner on its platform. Ravula is the founder of a GATE exam preparation platform called Raudra Eduservices and aspirants will now be able to attend lectures on Unacademy from 14 January. Expect others to respond with counter hires fo sho.


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