Polygon's fiery raise 🔥
TV is losing, Credit Card boost, and Peter Thiel is out from FB.
Market summary: 📊
India kicked off the week on a low, after worries of rate hikes globally weighed on investor mood. US opened soft too, as tech continues to remain volatile.
S&P 500 - down 0.37%
Nasdaq - down 0.84%
Nifty 50 - down 1.73%
Sensex - down 1.75%
What’s brewing hot? ☕
📺 TV takes a backseat — the painful decline in TV viewership is hurting major sporting events. Global broadcaster NBC says just 16 million people tuned in to watch the Beijing Winter Olympics — a record low since NBC started telecasting the event since like 1988. Young folks aren’t willing to watch anything that isn’t streamed, and old-school broadcasters won’t screen anywhere else but the cable-TV box where they can charge more money. World Cups, Grammys, Oscars have all seen similar drops!
🚗 2022, and chip problems still not sorted — Ford got hammered after announcing its cutting back production in 8 of its factories around the world — including in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Chips are hard to find, and employees are showing up to work with no parts to put on cars, which is adding to costs and making shareholders angsty. Meanwhile, the ongoing strike by truckers around the US and Canada is further complicating things.
Polygon raises a MEGA round 🔥
What’s poppin’ — homegrown crypto project, Polygon (aka Matic), raised a massive $450 million round from the VC-trinity — Sequoia, Softbank, and Tiger Global. That would be Polygon’s first major outside fundraise.
For the non-crypto nerds here, developed by a couple Indian programmers, Polygon has emerged as one of the most credible solutions to make the Ethereum blockchain cheaper and more scalable. It basically runs its own network (they call it a sidechain) that settles transactions by itself, and then lumps them into 1 single transaction to be confirmed on the Ethereum main blockchain — saving Ethereum from slowing down.
There’s a million companies trying to do something similar, but Polygon’s solution has been widely adopted — from NFT-marketplaces like OpenSea, to metaverse projects like Decentraland and Sandbox, some 7,000 apps run on Polygon. So far, they’ve processed more than 3.5 billion transactions, servicing more than 2.5 million monthly active users!
Besides, Polygon has been recently innovating on an approach called zero-knowledge scaling — which is expected to be a whole lot more secure, faster, and cheaper, in making Ethereum more widely available.
Worth mentioning — all Polygon had raised in VC was a $750K round in 2017. Also, this is the first major investment for these VC houses on a crypto Layer 2 project.
Meanwhile, who’s up for an MBA in the Metaverse? 🤔
Invact Metaversity, founded by ex-Twitter India boss, raised a round from the who’s who of India’s business landscape — to build a virtual learning platform inside the Metaverse. The venture is valued at $33M.
Still way early, Invact plans on building out a virtual university campus, letting people enjoy the routine university experience without moving from their couches, where students and teachers don virtual avatars. Invact currently offers an MBA alternative, with other courses to follow.
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NBFCs may be able to issue credit cards 💳
What’s poppin’ — RBI is apparently thinking of amending its guidelines to allow some NBFCs, aka non-banking financial companies, to issue credit cards in India.
For now, only fully regulated banks can formally issue one. For example, even the no-fee credit card that you so love from your favorite fintech is typically issued in support of a banking-partner who agrees to offer rails in the backend to process transactions.
Now while NBFCs are already major lenders, playing in everything from personal to auto to home loans, opening them up to a consumer-credit for routine spending could be a great way to foster innovation, drive adoption, and even open up these companies to chase more monetization options.
Big picture — India has 860M+ debit cards in circulation, vs <75M credit cards. With hundreds of millions yet to be onboarded into formal credit system, cards could be a nice, cheap, low-risk stepping stone.
Closing out — the pandemic ate Bollywood’s lunch 😐
What’s poppin’ — restricted operation of movie theaters and slow content production since the pandemic went into effect cost India’s silver-screen industry upwards of ₹15,000 crores in revenues.
At its peak in 2019, Bollywood made ~₹13-14K crores in revenues. For all of 2020 and 2021, the pot stood at a dismal ₹5.7K crores. Streaming, time snatched by gaming + social media, is all further eroding the foundations of the legacy industry.
Not to forget, the rising popularity of regional content — for example, the Telugu industry managed to grow its share of the revenues from under 25% in 2019, to over 40% in 2021! Here’s more.
Why care — the problems may be worse than we realize. Younger generations are leaning heavily towards new forms of entertainment (game streaming, e-sports, creator led shows, AVOD on mobile). Movie industry revenues could never possibly recover to 2019 levels of peak. 🤷♀️
What else are we Snackin’🍿
😌 Work & Chill - following giants like Shopify, Meesho will allow employees to work from anywhere in the world. All other perks stay the same!
🗣️ HODler exclusive - early sources suggest LIC policyholders may get a 5% discount in the upcoming IPO.
✌️ Peter is out - Peter Thiel quit the board of Facebook, leaving a spot he has held since 2004, when he put the first $500K in the company for a ~10% stake.
Hit that 💚 if you liked today’s issue.
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