Zomato to the rescue 💪
Reliance's battery move, Movies saved, and ARM lays off folks.
Market summary: 📊
India ended its streak of green days to turn south on Tuesday. US stocks had a strong positive session, with the techy-Nasdaq up more than 3%!
S&P 500 - up 2.14%
Nasdaq - up 3.16%
Nifty 50 - down 1.23%
Sensex - down 1.26%
What’s brewing hot?☕
🎥 Streaming saves movies — the growth in at-home streaming saved the movie industry from catastrophic decline. For the year of 2021, total revenue that the global movie industry made topped $99.7 billion — more than 2019 levels, finally. However, unlike before, digital movie viewing from the comforts of the couch formed 72% of the total revenues, from less than half in 2019. Money made by releasing movies in the theatre however continues to languish — down almost 50% from 2019, to a basic ~$21 billion!
🙅 Mansions for taking — multi-million dollar mansions belonging to Russian oligarchs all over Europe are becoming hot spots of anti-war protests. In the UK for example, the house of Russian-billionaire Oleg Deripaska is being vandalized, with people literally breaking in and squatting at the property. In France, people were arrested for occupying the home of Putin’s son-in-law. Local governments are now even considering using these properties to house displaced Ukrainian refugees who are flooding European cities.
Zomato brings its adopted-child home 👀
What’s poppin’ — TechCrunch says Zomato has signed an agreement with the struggling grocery delivery player, Blinkit (earlier known as Grofers), to merge the operations of both companies — in an all stock deal estimated to be worth over $700 million in value!
Folks closely watching the two businesses dance together for a while now are barely surprised. As the grocery delivery market in India exploded during COVID, and as Swiggy (Zomato’s food-delivery rival) launched its own product called Instamart, Zomato was forced to consider making a move here.
So at first, Zomato tried by itself — but miserably failed more than one time. Swallowing losses, they cozied up to Grofers instead — leading a mega round in the business, eventually raking up a 10% stake.
Meanwhile, Grofers, recognizing competition from players like Zepto and the looming shift to 10-minute grocery delivery across India, decided to make a pivot to 10-minute itself, rebranding to Blinkit.
However, the cash coffers quickly went dry, and Blinkit began to limp. Barely 6 months into the game, they were forced to shut 50 dark stores, lay off people, and even miss vendor payments. Total shitshow!
Hence, easy call for Zomato to bring them home and figure out a way to streamline costs. Also, if Zomato is serious about beating Swiggy and defending share in delivery, what better option do they have anyway?
Good sense? — one loss making business buying another loss making business, using not cash but stock, in a game where nobody has ever made a profit? Pass!
Zomato stock was trading down 3.5% on the news — that ought to tell you everything!
Who picked the bag in Venture Town? 💰
Licious, the Amazon of seafood in India, raised $150 million more in an extended Series F round from Amansa Capital, Kotak and a couple of angel investors — barely 6 months after turning a unicorn.
Licious is basically focusing on selling all things protein — saving urban folks a trip to stinky fish markets to get their daily dose of meat and seafood. In addition to raw food, the company is also a marketplace for a host of D2C brands selling ready to eat products on its platforms.
The company services over 2 million customers across 14 cities each month, and easily ranks in one of the hottest ventures to look out for on the Coffee list! 😉 Fresh funds raised in the round will go towards improving tech stack and fund acquisitions.
Worth mentioning — meat and seafood is a $40 billion opportunity in India. Licious has a long long runway ahead of it!
And then switching over to a Series A raise for a bit, 👇
inFeedo, a YC-backed employee engagement platform, closed a $12 million Series A from Tiger Global, Jungle Ventures and a bunch of others.
The 6-year old venture is selling an AI Chatbot called Amber that helps large enterprises capture mood on employee levels of satisfaction, burnout, and other aspects of emotional health, with the goal in mind to help companies understand HR problems and reduce attrition before it is too late. 175+ companies use the product, and fresh funds will go to expansion.
Reliance made another quick EV acquisition 🔌
Reliance New Energy, the newly formed green-energy business of RIL, acquired a Dutch lithium-ion battery maker called Lithium Werks BV, in a $61 million deal.
Lithium Werks, a 5-year old venture, is top of the game in manufacturing cobalt-free lithium batteries, with an annual production capacity of 200MWh. The company serves a wide spectrum of end industries — across Europe, US and China.
The deal gives Reliance unrestricted access to all of LW’s patent portfolio, manufacturing facility in China, as well as its customer relationships. FWIW, that would be Reliance’s 2nd pure-play battery-tech acquisition after UK’s Faradion at the end of last year.
All this tech is going to help the Reliance facilitate its own green energy storage, and ambitions in EV battery technology, and other related avenues.
Closing out — Layoffs all the way! ☹️
Remember chip-design giant ARM? After their $40 billion acquisition by Nvidia fell off due to regulator meddling, ARM is apparently laying off 15% of its workforce globally — as it cleans up operations to go public.
About 1,000 heads will be affected in the UK and the US, with possible downstream impact in India as well. Several vanity projects in the pipeline will be chopped off too, with R&D directed towards a few select initiatives.
FYI, ARM is owned by Masa Son’s Softbank — who even brought in a new CEO, Rene Haas, to lead the company and woo wall street investors.
Big picture — while it’s been a golden couple years for semiconductor firms — its hard to imagine what’s forcing ARM to be so prudent, despite raking in $2 billion+ in revenues last year. Perhaps just a mild FU to western politicians who blocked its marriage with Nvidia?
What else are we Snackin’ 🍿
💸 Mission Green - GOI will issue sovereign green-bonds worth $3.3 billion, all of which will be put to fast track renewable energy projects.
⚡ Doubling down - Tata Motors will invest another ₹15K crores on EVs in the next 5 years, with hopes of designing 10 new models.
Hit that 💚 if you liked today’s issue.
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