We got a unicorn 🦄

Week ahead, international arbitration, and Twilio made moves.

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Things that matter this week… 💥

1️⃣ Flagging off a horse—hogging all limelight this week will be the IPO of UTI, the 2nd largest asset management company in India, which will raise ₹2,160 crore in a bid that has been oversubscribed 2.3 times. If you’re in, good luck to you. 

2️⃣Another oneDalal Street is also awaiting Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders’ listing on Monday. The PSU will raise some ₹444 crores and the IPO has been oversubscribed almost 157 times already, the highest for any listing this year, setting a solid stage for other PSU IPOs like LIC and others to follow on.

3️⃣ What else —

  • Earnings galore—70+ companies are scheduled to report numbers this week, giving a read into how the economy has been breathing for the last 3 months.

  • Some macro data—both CPI and WPI inflation data, with the former showing inflation at the consumer level while the latter at the business level, for September is expected to be out.

  • What’s the Cook serving—eyes are set on Apple to launch 5G phones, which analysts are hoping will drive a much awaited smartphone upgrade cycle.

x files coffee GIF by The X-Files

We got a unicorn 🦄

Clinching a stellar home run for Indian fintech, payment processor Razorpay raised a whopping $100 million in a Series-D round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund (GIC) and Sequoia India, with existing investors Ribbit, Tiger, Matrix pitching in.

Their story has been nothing short of outstanding—in under 6 years, the company has grown to process an estimated $25 billion in payments volume this year, for enviable digital-first franchises including Oyo, Zomato, Swiggy, Byju’s—you name it. And now with the strong tailwinds forming in COVID’s aftermath, things only look bright.

With ~12% of the market share (last known in 2019), the company is now vigorously expanding into adjacent arenas, selling debit cards and other staple fintech products, reception for which has been promising. Funds will go to accelerate growth there. 👏

EdTech beyond teaching toddlers to code

End-to-end teacher software vendor, Winuall, raised $2 million last week from Prime Venture Partners, Beenext and other quite notable angel investors.

Founded in 2019, the company’s plug and play SaaS platform allows individual tutors and coaching institutes to run self-branded online tutorials—an increasingly important value add at the intersection of EdTech and the passion economy

So far the startup has gotten itself to work with over 3,700 coaching institutes across the country, onboarding about 5,000 tutors to run on its tech. Fresh capital will be utilized to enhance product capabilities and hire across technology and business dev. Onboarding more independent teachers is a priority as well. Sounds like a win!

Takeaway: while there is little done here that disrupts the status quo, we can hope that the “good” teachers, empowered by such tools, find the courage to break away from establishment, go solo, and bring much needed change to India’s education landscape.

Namaste Rangbaaz GIF by ZEE5

Finally, an update from the neighbors ✋—

Pak has gotten itself to ban TikTok, citing not security or data malpractices, but (….drum roll….) ‘immoral and indecent content’. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) overnight blocked the service claiming the app did not help with maintaining socially conservative customs.

The purge is in line with similar bans of Tinder and Grindr. Wonder how are their Chinese pals feeling about that?

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Not trusting local regulators 🤔

In what could be read as a sign of mistrust and even disrespect, Amazon has woken up Singapore’s international arbitration authority to check on Future Retail’s misdeeds, after the Biyani led retail giant sold itself off to Reliance in a multi-billion dollar deal.

Backstory—a few years ago, Amazon had purchased a substantial stake in Future Coupons, and as per legal fine-print, the Bezos-led party had earned itself the right to purchase more stake into Future Retail if a transaction came about in the future. Biyani’s management had wholeheartedly agreed to this arrangement at that time.

Now that RIL and Future got married, Amazon feels cheated and citing its contractual obligation, dragging both parties to international court. What a mess!

Bollywood Haste GIF by MX Player

Anyway, the Singapore International Arbitration Center (SIAC)—a non-profit that helps with cross border business conflict resolution, will look into the matter and is likely to work with the trio + the Indian government to iron things out.

Takeaway: this has become more about politics and power grab than its about business. By dragging foreign entities, AMZN has further risked irritating Indian regulators, and giving RIL a “we told you so” opportunity to turn this debate from a competitive battle to something else entirely (like foreigners muscling local companies).

While these cash-rich spoiled brats keep news headlines running, thousands of small enterprises on Mainstreet, India continue to struggle in the wake of the pandemic. 🙄

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Splashy cloud deal ☁️

Investors were tearing through docs and reports over the weekend to make sense of the latest hot deal in the cloud arena—with API-based communications infra provider Twilio acquiring a hot valley startup, Segment, in a $3.2 billion deal. 

Some context—Twilio, as many of you devs may know already, offers a broad range of communications API services that simplify the process of embedding calling, messaging, emailing, associated analytics seamlessly for your web apps.

Segment, on the other hand, allows enterprises to unify customer data—essentially data originated when users visit your website, interact with your app, place orders, and such. Segment then churns that data, and serves it via an API so your other apps downstream or your product/marketing teams can use it to serve customers better.

As you can see a common theme already, both companies solve different pieces of a broader value chain—customer experience delivery and communications. Twilio creates lots and lots of data by interacting its messaging and call tools with customers, and it can offer Segment as a natural extension for data management to its customers. 

Anyway, so far the reception for the deal has been beyond amazing. Analysts and investors were cheering all day, most of whom have already been joyfully numbed by Twilio’s almost 4x stock move since bottoms in March. 

bring it on cheer GIF

Bottomline: expect more consolidation coming in the cloud arena over the next few months, as software winners keep winning big and leverage their dominant position to acquire those that are a natural fit but perhaps have been out of favor with the market. 


Tweet of the day - 🐦

What else are we snackin’ 🍿

🙁 More layoffs - OLX will let go 250 employees from its sales and support systems division. A hard shift amidst the pandemic is forcing the company to focus away from certain verticals.

👕 Won’t back down - Betting on the long term potential of India, apparel retailer H&M is planning to continue expanding its physical stores in India, looking to expand its footprint from the existing 50 something stores here.

🖥️ WFH balance - Providing greater flexibility to its employees, MSFT will allow most of its employees to work remotely for upto half their weekly working hours, once offices reopen. Sounds like the ideal balance. You hearing CEOs?

🤖 Unstoppable at 70 - inventor of the gaming console PlayStation, Ken Kutaragi, has started a new career at 70, developing affordable robots to aide humans in factories and logistics centers. Exoskeleton suit market is suddenly showing signs of activity. 

cardi b goodbye GIF by Billboard Music Awards

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