Oil to the moon 💸
Jet’s new boss, Twitter’s podcast plans, and a mega VC raise.
Gm coffee fam! 👋
New week, old problems! Russia keeps pushing, further dragging us all into a geopolitical mess nobody was prepared for. The Westerners have adopted a hands-off policy with Ukraine — we won’t fight for ya, but we will send you arms, jets, and aid.
Meanwhile, unable to read his hand, Mr. Market is lost for direction, bouncing all over the place. With most earnings over, oil getting rekkt, and no other decisive catalyst on the horizon, we’re mostly looking at another bumpy week as the conflict extends. Let’s hit it. 🤜
Kicking off the week ☕
🌱 Oil is the new Bitcoin — as Russia gets sanctioned to hell, the world is worried who’s going to supply all that oil to help with post-COVID economic recovery. Global crude-oil prices just hit $130 a barrel, the highest since 2008. India, which imports 85% of its Oil needs, is looking at an economic train wreck incoming! Meanwhile, back in Biden’s own country, $4 for a gallon of gasoline is the national average, and citizen base hadn’t been roiled this bad in a long time.
✈️ Jet gets a new boss — Air India may be struggling to find a CEO, but the younger cousin Jet managed to fill up the top seat over the weekend, with aviation-executive Sanjiv Kapoor ready to take charge of the airline starting April. Sanjiv was previously the CEO of SpiceJet for a while in about 2015, after which he helped scale Vistara from 8 flights to a 40 flight operation as its Chief Strategy Officer. Most recently, Sanjiv was the President at Oberoi Hotels and Resorts.
India’s unicorn party knows no stopping 🦄
What’s poppin’ — CredAvenue, which runs an online lending marketplace for SMBs, picked up a $137 million check last-night from Insight Partners, B Capital, and others, at a $1 billion valuation!
Founded barely 18 months ago, CredAvenue basically runs a platform that connects lenders (banks, lending companies, high-net worth folks) with small and medium businesses looking for quick loans to finance their operation.
Business lending is an extremely fragmented, behind-closed-doors kinda activity. By digitizing these transactions, CredAvenue gives businesses a way to capture data, seek transparent terms, get better rates, and smoothly manage capital-raising ops.
Meanwhile, the banks get access to deal-flow, latest financials, and other info to better assess state of the these businesses in real time. CredAvenue is on its way to top ₹900 crores in revenues by the end of this financial year, with almost 72,000 transactions processed everyday!
And while we’re on mega raises, ☝️
Apollo.io, a software platform that helps sales staff become more efficient, raised a $110 million round from Sequoia.
Apollo basically has a database of 300 million+ buyers and decision makers across global companies, which it combines with users’ own enterprise customer contacts to help sales-staff understand which of their leads are most likely to convert. Annual revenues are growing at 3x rates, and Apollo sells to over 160K companies worldwide.
Hackers are holding NVIDIA at gunpoint 🔫
What’s happening — Lapsus$, a hacking organization that managed to get into Nvidia’s corporate servers, is asking the company to open source its drivers, and to remove software from its graphic cards (GPUs) that limits crypto mining speed.
Or else… it will leak Nvidia’s source code to the world!
Some context: Nvidia primarily sells chips (GPUs) to support gamers with high-fidelity graphics. GPUs are designed to be excellent at fast mathematical computations — which kinda also makes them ideal to solve math puzzles needed to mine crypto.
So in 2018, during the previous crypto boom, demand for Nvidia’s chips from miners went gangbusters. Things got so out of hand that Gamers couldn’t find enough stock — causing widespread backlash and even forcing people to diss Nvidia, and switch to rivals like AMD.
Handling crypto-demand became such a nuisance for the company, that in 2021 Nvidia released a whole set of software that would limit the hash-rate of its GPUs, making them slow for crypto mining. Gotta pick sides sometimes!
Anyway, so now the “decentralized” world is pissed that the best-in-class processors to mine Ethereum, and a bunch of other coins are no longer good enough. Lapsus$ decides to take matters into their own hands!
Quick timeline of the Lapsus$ crisis: ☝️
Lapsus gets into Nvidia servers, steals 1 terabyte of data
Starts publishing it online. Releases data including usernames and cryptographic hashes for 70K+ Nvidia employees
Issues Nvidia a warning — open source the drivers so we can further enhance speeds, or we will release your source code
Post COVID, verified cases of corporate cybercrime went up by 500-600% — embarrassing companies from Microsoft to Toyota. These attacks, coupled with the Ukraine mess, is giving global executives nightmares.
Big picture — scared corporations are now expected to respond by taking cybersecurity spending up several notches, making it one of the hottest investable categories in public as well as private markets.
Founders Fund closes a big one 🤝
What’s poppin’ — Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm, Founders Fund, closed a massive $5 billion new fund last week, bringing its total asset under management to a sweet $11 billion!
FF has backed legendary businesses from Airbnb to Affirm to SpaceX, and incubated giants like Palantir. The new fund comes in 2 portions — a $1.9 billion pot to bet on early ventures, and another $3.7 billion pot meant for more growth-y, mature tech businesses, right before they IPO.
Worth mentioning — that’s the 13th venture fund of over $1 billion raised in 2022 alone! Skeptics who were betting on liquidity drying out may have to wait a bit longer.
And while we’re on new funds, ☝️
Influencers and Creators keep stumping the market! The No.1 earner on TikTok for 2021, the 16-year old D’Amelio sisters, now have a VC fund of their own — after raising a $25 million pot under the banner of 444 capital!
The D’Amelio family themselves will manage the $$ and will direct capital to fund creator products as well as fintech and other consumer tech. FWIW, Charlie D’Amelio has been an investor in consumer apps like LightRicks and neobanks like Step.
Why care — another datapoint showing how creators are seamlessly leveraging their influence to venture into traditional lanes — from unicorns to capital markets!
What else are we Snackin’ 🍿
🎙️ Twitter wants podcasts - after testing out live-audio, which has been a great success tbh, Twitter is bringing podcasts to its platform. Watchout Spotify!
🛑 Small merchants screwed - PayPal will stop services in Russia. So will Visa. Small merchants relying on digital payments to keep trade going, especially cross border, will pay a heavy price.
🎶 Musical chair incoming - state election results across India will start rolling out starting this week, which could keep investors distracted.
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