Hackers take control 😐
Didi screwed, Venture raises, and Marico savior.
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Kicking off the week ☕
✅ China takes on Didi — Didi, the Uber of China, just last week listed itself on the Nasdaq, ditching the Chinese markets to avoid local regulators’ scrutiny. Last night, China finally responded in kind. First, Didi was asked to block all new users from signing up. Then 24 hours later, Didi was blocked in the country entirely by regulators, claiming the company “illegally stores info on Chinese users outside China”. This is an extreme action that shows just how far the Chinese will go to tame its smart-actin’ tech giants, while sending a glaring message to global investors and capitalists who encourage Chinese companies. US investors are out enjoyin leftover hotdogs on Monday, but the $15 $DIDI stock on Nasdaq is going to be beaten to rubble when markets open Tuesday.
Another easy news Sunday, but a couple of big things kept the mills running…
Corporate hacking blows out of hands 🤯
What happened — a new high-profile ransomware attack is currently eating through thousands of corporations, from the US to Europe, infecting millions of customers, employees, and end partners these companies serve.
How did it happen — hackers, believed to be sponsored by Russia, exploited a vulnerability in a popular managed IT services provider called Kaseya based in Miami, and using a platform that helps IT teams to manage servers, desktops, network devices and printers to widely spread itself — forming something called a “supply chain” attack.
Series of attacks pestering global corporations and governments keeps getting longer:
Apr 2021, Colonial Pipeline ransomware hack — threatened oil supply cuts to more than 30% of the US population on the East Coast
May 2021, attack on JBS Meat Company, the largest meat processor in the world, which cost $11M in ransom to stop
2020 saw the major mess of Solarwinds, and the maximum ever attacks in a year
Reactions to the recent attack: 👀
Biden says the US is actively investigating, but remains unsure who’s behind the move
Swedish supermarket chain Coop, one of worst affected, had to close 800 stores overnight
Last night Kaseya directed all its partners to immediately shut down their systems — hurting operations
Going forward — if you’re a Fortune 500 corporation, a large chunk of your IT budget is inevitably going to secure yourself against such attacks near-term. This is great for SaaS stocks, IT service providers (even INFY, TCS, Wipro etc.), as well as managed service providers.
Big picture — while the media paints these attacks as money-motivated, they’re nothing but a new class of warfare that doesn’t rely on bullets and torpedoes anymore, and countries offering rogue actors shelter further proves the point.
Venture street had a good weekend 💰
Quite a few champagne bottles were popped in India’s startup town over the weekend. Quick rundown:
Online insurance giant Digit will raise $200 million from Sequoia, IIFL and a few others, doubling valuation to $3.5 billion, responding to rival Acko’s recent fundraise. Thanks to the pandemic, Digit has seen premiums grow 44%+ to ₹3,200 crores+ over the past year, with nearly 20 million customers served. Fresh funds will go to growth and claim settlement. BTW, we wrote a while ago about how they got started…
Back in the Gaming alley, vernacular gaming platform Winzo — a pioneer in social and casual games, closed a $65 million Series C round led by Griffin Gaming Partners. Nearly 50M users play 70+ games developed by independent developers on the platform, with 2.5B+ monthly transactions recorded. Revenues grew 10x last year, and with the popularity of game engines at all time highs (just look at the Unity, Roblox IPOs), and MTG’s $350M deal for Indian gaming studio Playsimple, it is a crime to be sleepin’ on this space!
Lastly, used cars marketplace Cars24 is courting DST Global for a $250 million fundraise, doubling valuation to $2 billion. The used-car marketplace is betting on fear of public transport persisting in consumers long after COVID, and that increased prices of cars will force consumers to give used vehicles a legit shot.
the party, ladies and gentleman, keeps going...
Google screws some bad apples 🍎
Google kicked off 9 prominent apps from the PlayStore, after researchers found out that the apps were stealing users’ Facebook login details.
PIP Photo with 5.8 million downloads, and Processing Photo with 500k downloads, were some of the top apps in the removed list. Other categories include photo editing, training and horoscopes. Basically luring users with a “login with FB” for an ad-free version, the apps would take control of FB accounts and read data for targeting.
This is one of the biggest app purges in recent days.
Closing out — a story of hope 👋
FMCG giant Marico, the maker of Parachute hair oil and a bunch of other consumer products, guided for 30%+ growth rates for the Apr-June quarter, despite lockdowns — surprising the markets and raising hopes for other companies in the segment.
Per management, supply chains, broken and hardened during the assault of the first wave, were ready for battle this time — all of which helped lower costs and even improved margins!
Why care — with hints of a stronger and mature supply chain, combined with an inevitable demand rebound going forward, as well as broad inflation helping with price increases, India’s FMCG segment is looking quite sexy in the short term.
What else are we snackin’ 🍿
💦 Leaky airports - Almost 300 flights scheduled for arrival at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York got delayed because… drum roll, water leakage inside the air traffic control tower.
🛡️ Protect it - Amazon launched its IP Accelerator programme in India, to help small sellers protect their brands from being copied by others across Amazon websites globally. What about Amazon themselves copying?
Hit that 💚 if you liked today’s issue.
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