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Startup Newsletter - Mar'24

Updated: Apr 30

In this issue:

 

When should your Business Break-even?

Here’s the deal - On one side, we have the younger generation championing startups that disrupt businesses and make it large. Meanwhile, on the other side, Gen X is shocked at the massive amounts of cash these startups burn in pursuit of growth, coupled with the lofty valuations they command. This makes us wonder, is it standard practice for businesses to burn cash during their early stages, or should they strive for profitability from day one?


We believe that the best way to answer this is to draw lessons from some of today’s biggest tech companies from the West that were once mere Startups fueled by disruptive business models and a fervent dream of achieving greatness. Here’s what we found:

 

India Agritech Podcast – Ep.2 with co-founder of Yuktix

The success of Agritech is critical for India. That’s because the Agriculture sector of India is a source of livelihood for more than 50% of the Indian population and contributes over 15% to the GDP of the country. But the Agri scene is not all sunshine and monsoons. We’re talking reducing productivity, weather tantrums, chemical overload, and a market more fragmented than a broken papad. So, we decided to dive headfirst into India’s Agritech value chain to break down – what startup founders have been creating and how it’s impacting Indian farmers, and of course to get more people talking about it.

In this episode, we dive deeper into the Farm IoT space with Shailendra, co-founder of one of India’s first Farm IoT startup Yuktix

 

Are EVs any good for India?

The biggest reason why EVs are lauded today is because it results in zero emission of smoke or carbon dioxide at the point of usage. But people often wonder whether EVs are actually beneficial to the environment, because more EVs à more consumption of electricity à more fossil fuels burnt to generate electricity. Well, here’s some insight into how the entire status quo changes for good when EVs replace Internal Combustible Engine (ICE) Vehicles:

  • Government of India has taken innumerable measures in the past to reduce carbon footprint of citizens, but all in vain. Today India ranks 3rd amongst countries with the world’s worst air quality. 13 North Indian cities are among 15 of the world’s most polluted...

 

Is EV another Plastic like Disaster?

When plastic found its way to mainstream commercial applications in early 1900s, it was lauded for its properties, low cost and the fact that it helped save natural resources (mainly wood). Fast forward to 2022, plastic waste is one of our biggest environmental concerns because humans failed to dispose it responsibly. So much so, that we are now shifting to alternatives of plastic, one of which is paper, which is where we started from.

We did not write this to give you a lecture on how to save the environment, but to tell you that we’re at the genesis of another plastic-like revolution – EV batteries...

 

Recent Stake Grabs in Indian Startups

 

What else is Buzzing?

  • EV fires may be due to “Indian jugaad” 🤷🏽

Speaking with MoneyControl, dutch semiconductor design company NXP’s chief technology officer (CTO) Lars Reger blamed the use of “cheap” laptop chips in complex battery management systems (BMS) of EVs that have been responsible for the EV fires in India during the peak summer season. He said this is being done to overcome the issue of paper-thin profit margins in the Indian EV space.


  • Byju’s gives a 2nd chance to its disgruntled investors 💆🏽‍♀️

Earlier this year, Byju’s declared a rights issue of $200Mn at a 99% haircut in valuation. A faction of the investors decided to stage a protest for myriad reasons, by not subscribing to the issue. However, this would lead to virtually complete erosion of their shareholding in the Company. In a bid to regain their confidence, Byju has proposed to re-offer the renounced shares to the disgruntled investors.


  • Swiggy cuts losses but still in RED 📈

10 years old startup Swiggy, reported a loss of $207Mn in the 9 months period Apr-Dec’23 as against a loss $500Mn recorded in the whole of FY 22-23. Meanwhile, revenue soared to $1Bn in the 9 months period. Swiggy is looking to raise $1Bn in its upcoming IPO. Its listed counterpart Zomato has been profitable since the beginning of FY 23-24.


  • Zetwerk bags big order💪🏽

B2B contract manufacturing Unicorn Zetwerk bags order from Indian Oil to set up 1,400 EV chargers in their existing network of oil and gas stations.


  • Myntra turns EBITDA positive finally!! 👨🏽‍🎓

17 years old Fashion e-commerce major Myntra.com turned EBITDA positive in Q4, FY 2023, as per a statement released by the company. The company recorded MAU of 60Mn users by the end of 2023, by expanding its focus to non-metro cities.


  • IRDAI sets the stage for the much-awaited Online Insurance Marketplace 👩🏽‍💻

IRDAI has cleared all the steps for the establishment of Bima Sugam- Online Insurance Marketplace- which aims for the universalization and democratization of insurance products to achieve the vision of “Insurance for all by 2047”. It will act as a one-stop-shop for all insurance stakeholders, including customers, insurers, intermediaries and agents.


  • The Global GenAI race is heating up 🔥

Amazon has invested a whopping $4Bn (its largest external investment since inception) in Anthropic’s GenAI- Claude which is a competitor to ChatGPT. The company has raised more than $10Bn till date.


  • FTX’s celebrated founder gets 25 years jail time 👮

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has been sentenced to 25 years in jail for the fraud committed by once world’s 2nd largest crypto exchange FTX that saw losses of $8Bn for customers, $1.7Bn for investors and $1.3Bn for lenders.

 

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