Ekta ain’t kidding 😎

Intel’s memory deal, SAIF’s reincarnation, and tales of our neighbors.

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Market summary: 📊

We’re eyeing another good week in India as both indices gained some more ground on Tuesday. US markets looked positive as well, with tech particularly showing promise.


  • S&P 500 - up 0.47%

  • Nasdaq 100 - up 0.37%


  • Nifty 50 - up 0.20%

  • Sensex - up 0.28%

Intel offloads a memory business 🖥️

Intel is selling off its NAND flash memory business to South Korean memory giant SK Hynix, in a $9 billion all cash deal.

Some content—in simple terms, NAND flash is basically a type of storage chip that’s most commonly found in USB flash drives or smartphones or digital cameras, because it does not need to be connected to a power source all the time to retain data. Also, this type of memory chip is well suited for repeated read and write operations of relatively large files.

Anyway, Intel hopes divesting units that are not part of its “core” processor business can help the company gain its mojo back, as the company scrambles to stand up to competitors in a rapidly heating semiconductor market. Once the deal is done, SK Hynix will take over Intel’s NAND SSD and NAND component and wafer businesses, and its NAND foundry in Dalian, China. 

SK Hynix will now become the world's second-largest provider of NAND flash memory chips behind Samsung Electronics and the memory business is slowly consolidating among a select few players now, including Toshiba, Western Digital and Micron.

Indian Cameo wins big 🎬

ALTBalaji has acquired a 17.5% stake in the online celebrity engagement platform Tring, overnight legitimizing one of India’s most promising CAMEO-alternatives. 

Backstory on the Cameo revolution—startup nerds would probably know, but Cameo, a US-based startup catalyzed a revolution by allowing fans to directly connect with popular celebrities. You could get your favorite celeb for say $100, to give a shout out for your friend, wish your mom on her birthday and such. Fans loved the idea. The success story led to a crop of look-alikes mushroom all around the world, and Tring was one of those in India.

Anyway, the Balaji deal values the company at over ₹100 crores, a meteoric rise for a startup that was founded barely 6 months ago in Feb 2020. So far the platform has thousands of celebs from across the list, engaging via personalized video messages, Q&A sessions, chat messaging—the full menu. 

Obviously, there are multiple synergies. Balaji has a slate of actors on their payroll who can thrive on the service, while Tring adds to the digital portfolio of the Kapoor empire. 🤝

A trend worth noticing: you can’t help but admire how smart and early Indian media companies are, compared to their western counterparts, in recognizing disruptive innovation on the horizon. Be it T Series, Times Internet, Balaji, Reliance Entertainment—there are countless examples of the biggies sowing proactive seeds through minor investments or buyouts of whatever meaningful new thing shines on the horizon.

Compare that to Disney, Warner Media, HBO or others in the West who adamantly sat on their cash cow businesses, simply refusing to acknowledge innovation in streaming, direct to consumer, and other digital facets of entertainment.

Finally, such activism from the old dogs is also a big win for Indian entrepreneurs because it incentivizes risk taking in hopes that there are ample number of wise investors capable of acknowledging their vision!

Can’t even ban an app bro 🙄

Pakistan has shamefully backtracked on its ban on TikTok, claiming that the company has now agreed to adhere to local laws and will allow for content moderation as per standards set by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. 

Tiktok, in its defense, stated that it has reached deep pockets of rural Pakistan and has gotten creativity and talent out through its app, giving a “platform” to countless content creators to showcase their talent to the world. Funnily, they also highlighted how Pakistani TikTok star ‘Jannat Mirza’ left the country and moved to Japan due to the ban of the app. LOL. 😂

Anyway, the company still hopes that the regional moderation of content will soon be hopefully cut back as they want creativity to have no filter. You wish.

Bottomline: we suspect Pak probably got a call from our other neighbors with the red flag demanding justification for why their baby was being bullied. Otherwise, hard to see a ban put in place solely on “content” practices being reversed so easily without local outcry. Basically, bik chuki hai gormint.

What’s up on Venture Street? 💰

SAIF Partners has reincarnated itself as Elevation Capital, shedding its old skin to embrace a sophisticated look. Sounds pretty cool actually. They’ve also raised a new early stage fund, its 7th so far, of about $400 million to continue investing in the India Growth narrative in the post COVID era. 

Considering their record in hitting it out of the park with Paytm, Swiggy, MMT, BookMyShow, Rivigo, Coverfox, FirstCry and ShareChat etc. in the past, it's fair to assume another stellar innings is in the making. This time they plan on putting an outsized emphasis on themes related to global SaaS, digitisation of SMEs, Content, Gaming and Consumer brands.

Some news from our nicer neighbors 🛒

SME digitization company from Bangladesh, ShopUp, raised a promising $22.5 million round co-led by Sequoia Capital India and Flourish Ventures. Apparently, this marks the largest Series A round in Bangladesh to date. VEON Ventures, Speedinvest, and Lonsdale Capital pitched in.

ShopUp offers small businesses easy access to B2B sourcing, last-mile logistics, digital credit, and business management solutions essentially allowing them to stock up, digitally pay and get stuff delivered seamlessly. 

There are about 4.5 million neighbourhood mom-and-pop shops in Bangladesh, who account for nearly 98% of the country's retail sector and digitizing them could help open a gold mine on the country’s unorganized B2B commerce segment for this company.  

Takeaway: don’t sleep on Bangladesh. Their emerging middle class with over 160 million smartphone users is showing a lot of hope, falling back heavily on benefits of technology and dismantling of regulation to harness the power of free markets. We truly wish them best of luck.  

What else are we snackin’ 🍿

☁️ Space and Cloud, straight gangsta! -  MSFT is planning to partner with Elon Musk’s Space-X to target space customers. MSFT will help deploy and connect new services using the Law Orbit spacecraft proposed by Space-X.

🚀 The constellation is getting ready - SpaceX launched a batch of 60 of its internet beaming Starlink satellites, with the latest launch taking place from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The total satellites now launched stands at 835, although not all of them are operational just yet.

Puma wins Mumbai’s heart - Sportswear brand, Puma has inked a deal with Mumbai City FC to become the official kit partner of the ISL ahead of the 2020-21 season which starts next month. Puma is also the kit partner of Mancity.

🚗 Merc to make AMG in India -  Luxury carmaker Mercedes Benz is planning to start local assembly of its performance vehicle range, AMG in India. The company hopes the new decision highlights its long term commitment to the Indian market.

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