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Time for an audit ⌛
Rihanna’s ambitions, Byju’s bet, and stuff from the week before.
Market summary: 📊
India capped off the week with another positive day, finishing the week almost 5% higher. Western markets continue to bleed as a mix of factors, from inflation to souring political climate, making things hard to read.
S&P 500 - down 1.30%
Nasdaq - down 2.13%
Nifty 50 - up 0.21%
Sensex - up 0.15%
Quick Weekend Caffeine Shot ☕
👧 Riri got ambitions — pop-singer Rihanna’s D2C lingerie brand, Savage X Fenty, is apparently in talks with bankers from JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs to go public at a $3 billion+ valuation! Launched barely in 2017, Fenty's made a name for itself by focusing on the Insta-crowd, marketing heavily through influencers, and positioning itself as an alternative to the perfect-body image marketed by legacy vendors like Victoria’s Secret. The business apparently made over $550 million in annual revenues in 2020, growing over 200% YoY! what!
RBI turns the heat on PayTM 🧐
What’s poppin’ — India’s top banking regulators last night dropped a bomb on the boys and gals running shop at PayTM, by stopping PayTM Payments Bank from onboarding any new customers until it’s technology is thoroughly audited.
Fact is, bunch of other hotshots like HDFC, American Express and Mastercard have previously received similar punishment from the regulator for slippery systems or lax guardrails.
But we ain’t sure what to make of things when a supposedly modern era “digital” company gets the same bill, but hey it’s 2022 and nothing’s a surprise no more! There’s little clarity on what’s forcing the regulators’ hand — other than standard legalese comments that the ban comes based on "material" supervisory concerns.
Worth mentioning — Payments banks are basically a type of a lite-bank created by the RBI, 5 or so years ago, to allow modern fintechs to easily offer savings accounts, digital wallets, debit cards, and such, but without the ability to offer loans or process credit.
Anyway, PayTM has ~100 million KYC’ed users using products powered by it’s Payments Bank services, and while regulators haven’t stopped it from servicing those users, we could see serious market share losses if growth engines have to be slowed down.
Bottomline — if there isn’t more clarity soon, an increasingly anxious investor base could possibly bury the stock even more.
Couple weekend raises kept the markets busy 💰
100ms, a live-video infrastructure platform, closed a $20 million Series A round from Alpha Wave Incubation, Matrix India and a few others.
100ms basically sells video and audio SDKs along with pre-built templates, so developers in large companies can easily integrate video features into applications. For example, the company’s infra powers apps managing virtual events, live shopping, webinars and game streaming, you get it.
Thanks to the boom in video-consumption post-COVID, business has grown 20x in the last 3 months, with 2,200+ clients served — from PayTM, to Kutumb, or even WhiteHat Jr.
And then switching back to edtech, 👇
Byju’s raised another mammoth $800 million from founder Byju Raveendran himself and a couple of other investors — revising valuation to $22 billion. what a baller!
Bjyu’s is preparing for an IPO in the US right now, and not only does the cash help with general cleanup, but also builds investor confidence about the founder doubling down in the operation.
Worth Mentioning — Byju Raveendran, top management, and employees now hold a 29% stake in the company. Not bad for an operation this size!
Aight peeps, its Saturday… so that’s it for today. Here’s a quick look at the major stuff that went down this week…
📈 Inflation is high AF — thanks to all the rampant money printing and those stimulus checks, the Americans are battling almost 7.9% retail inflation for the month of Feb 2022. This is the highest inflation recorded in the country since 1982, and economists and analysts are warning of a jump up to 10% by mid-March, April, following the Ukraine crisis. Good time to move east.
🎮 PUBG maker places a big bet in India — Krafton, the Korean gaming company that owns PUBG, joined hands with a few other investors to invest $42 million in the Series A of game streaming platform Loco — which is basically building the Twitch for India. This raise values Loco at $200 million.
💰 Google made a $5 billion security deal — Pichai’s boys acquired Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm in a $5.4 billion all-cash deal — beefing up cybersecurity offerings through Google Cloud. Mandiant, which basically sells a traffic monitoring solution, had originally approached Microsoft for a takeout a few months ago, but the deal fell through as the 2 couldn't agree on a price.
🤝 Blockbuster merger of theater chains — India’s largest movie chain, PVR Cinemas, is in talks to merge its operation with the No.4 in the game, Cinépolis — in a deal worth over ₹13,600 crores. With footfalls falling and production stalled, the Indian film industry has already lost over ₹15,000 crores in revenue in the last 2 years. So by consolidating their operations, the two chains are looking to cut down expenses and negotiate better deals with distributors and producers as demand crawls back.
🤯 Founders Fund raises big — Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm, Founders Fund, closed a massive $5 billion new fund, bringing its total assets under management to a sweet $11 billion! That’s the 13th venture fund of over $1 billion raised in 2022 alone. Skeptics who were betting on liquidity drying out and valuations pulled back may have to wait a bit longer.
🦄 India’s unicorn party isn't stopping either — CredAvenue, barely an 18-month-old online lending marketplace for SMBs, raised a $137 million round, at a $1 billion valuation. CredAvenue’s platform helps businesses manage their capital raising operations, while banks and NBFCs on the other end get easy deal flow. The company is on its way to top ₹900 crores in revenues by the end of this financial year.
✈️ Last, Jet Airways got a new boss — as part of its revival plan, Jet Airways hired aviation-executive Sanjiv Kapoor to take charge of the top job as the Airline’s CEO 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.
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