In today's startup digest, we have the report card of the festive season sale, followed by the fundings of the day and other interesting stories that kept the entrepreneurs busy -- let's have a look at them.
The top startup stories of the day:
Over 666 million visits on Flipkart were recorded during the Big Billion Day
As Flipkart’s The Big Billion Days 2020 draws to an end, this year, The Big Billion Days saw 1.5X number of transacting sellers compared to last year, amongst whom more than 35% witnessed 3X more sales vis-a-vis TBBD 2019. Over 666 million visits on Flipkart were recorded during the Big Billion Days, with over 52% of these visits recorded from Tier III cities and beyond. The platform witnessed 110 orders placements per second and made 10 million deliveries, with more than 3.5 million deliveries done through Kirana partners in the first five days of the sale.
80% of Snapdeal’s Diwali shoppers chose regional & local brands
E-commerce marketplace Snapdeal concluded its “Kum Mein Dum” Diwali sale. The 5-day sale saw increasing participation by offline sellers, and 80% of Snapdeal’s Diwali shoppers chose regional & local brands. At the end of the “Kum Mein Dum” Diwali Sale, nearly 70% of the orders were received by sellers located beyond the country’s top 5 metropolitan areas. These include sellers in major non-metro commercial hubs like Jaipur, Surat, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, who receive a large volume of orders every year, including in the festive season.
Continuing the trend of Bharat leading the way, more than 90% of Snapdeal’s orders were placed from non-metro cities. At the conclusion of the sale, buyers from 3700+ towns across India (accounting for 92% of India’s ~ 4000 towns & cities) bought on Snapdeal. While popular gift choices included Kitchenware, watches, LED diyas, dry fruits, photo frames, sarees, also festive masks.
Online retail sales cross $4.5 bn during the festive week: Forrester
Online retail sales in the first week of the festive month between October 15-21 are expected to have crossed $4.5 billion, as per early estimates from consultancy firm Forrester, a nearly 20% growth over the same festive week period last year.
Smartphone sales were around $1.7BN, the consultancy firm said, while demand in fashion was muted.
Flipkart held its annual Big Billion Day sale from October 16 to October 21, while Amazon kicked off its month-long festive sale from October 17, with early access to Prime members on October 16.
The firm had estimated sales to touch $4.85 BN in the first festive week from October 15-October 21 and estimates that the overall festive month will see online retail sales of $6.5 billion, with 50% coming from smartphones (34% ) and consumer electronics (17%).
2. Indian app developers meet Google, ask for lower Play Store fees
Several Indian app developers asked Google to lower its 30% fee on in-app purchases of digital goods, in a meeting with the global team of Google Play on Wednesday, as per sources.
Google on Wednesday held its first industry meeting with Indian app developers and founders on the raging issue of its Play Store billing policy, after weeks of strong backlash by the Indian startup community, which also approached the IT Ministry and the Competition Commission of India on the matter.
3. Funding of the day
SUGAR Cosmetics raises $2 Million in debt funding led by Stride Ventures
Cosmetics brand Sugar Cosmetics has raised $2 million in debt funding led by venture debt fund firm Stride Ventures. According to a statement issued by Stride Ventures, the fund has partnered with a leading private bank for this deal.
Sugar will use the funds to meet working capital and inventory requirements and fuel aggressive growth through the peak sales and festive season.
The latest infusion is Stride Ventures’ tenth investment from its maiden fund and marks its first foray into the lifestyle segment. Since its inception, Stride Ventures has focused on investing in market leaders across sectors. Stride Ventures launched its maiden fund in 2019 and planned to invest in 25-30 startups for Stride Venture India Fund I.
9Unicorns leads seed round in TagZ Foods
9Unicorns has led a seed investment in an urban GenZ snack brand-TagZ Foods. The round also saw participation from Umang Bedi of DailyHunt, Malhar Anaokar (Head – Cloud Business, NetApp), AL Jagannath (Sr Director –VMWare), Shesh Kondi (Sr Director – Salesforce), among others. Shailesh Ghorpade (Managing Partner – Exfinity Ventures) has been on the Board of the company.
With the funding, TagZ Foods will now improve its distribution and capacity in other major cities across the country. TagZ Foods is available on all online platforms such as Amazon, Big Basket, Supr Daily, and over 1,000 premium retail stores in Bangalore and other cities.
Supplynote raises $600K from SOSV and others
Supply chain automation platform Supplynote has raised $600K in a bridge round. The round has been led by the US-based multi-stage venture capital firm SOSV and Australia-based global VC firm Artesian Ventures. Existing investors SucSEED Ventures, CIO Angel Network, Venture Catalysts, and angel investors Arjun Soni, Angad Soni, and Sunny Vohra also participated in the round.
The funding will be utilized in business development activities and expansion pan India. A part of the funding will also be utilized in product development. The funds will be deployed in a phased manner, given the current unprecedented times when the markets are uncertain across the globe.
4. Jio Platforms, Qualcomm jointly test 5G solutions; achieve over 1GBPS milestone
Qualcomm Technologies and Reliance Jio Platforms, along with its wholly-owned subsidiary Radisys Corporation will join hands to fast-track the deployment of 5G mobile internet based on homegrown technologies, putting India in an exclusive club of nations with the capability to offer superfast speeds of 1 gigabyte per second (Gbps) to users.
With an indigenous network, India will not have to rely on equipment from Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE, thus obviating a potential security threat to crucial national infrastructure.
The two companies also announced that they achieved speeds of 1 Gbps on Jio’s 5G solution using a Qualcomm platform. For illustration, what this means is that it will be possible to download a typical movie with a file size of one gigabyte in just one second.
5. Aditya Birla Fashion Retail in talks with Walmart for a strategic tie-up in India
Aditya Birla Fashion Retail, which has been hit hard due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown, is looking to expand its online presence. The group is in talks with global giants like Walmart and Amazon to explore various options for a strategic tie-up, sources told CNBC-TV18.
According to the sources, who did not want to be named, Aditya Birla Group has been actively exploring various options with Walmart for an alliance through Flipkart or through its online fashion retail player, Myntra.
ABFRL could be open to a joint venture or hiving off business into a special purpose vehicle as part of the deal, which may or may not have an equity sale component. The company sees online reach as key to growth in the post-COVID world and eyes an integrated retail model beyond the omnichannel approach.
ABFRL will also be holding a board meeting on October 23 to consider fundraising options. The company had recently raised Rs 995 crore via a rights issue.
6. Ant Group to launch $35 billion IPO after final nod from China regulator: Report
China's Ant Group has won the final nod from the country's top securities watchdog for the registration of its Shanghai offering, the regulator said on Wednesday, clearing the last regulatory hurdle for its $35 billion dual-listing.
Ant, the fintech company backed by Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba Group Holding, plans to list simultaneously in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the coming weeks, sources have said.
The listing could be the world's largest initial public offering, surpassing the record set by Saudi Aramco's $29.4 billion float last December. The IPO would also be the first simultaneous listing in Hong Kong and on the year-old STAR Market in Shanghai.
7. US files landmark antitrust case against Google
The US Justice Department sues Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising — the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. Other major tech companies, including Apple, Amazon, and Facebook, are under investigation at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.
8. Uber offers more than €1 billion to buy Daimler/BMW's freenow: Manager Magazin
Ride-hailing firm Uber has offered more than 1 billion euros to buy Daimler and BMW's joint mobility services company Freenow, Manager Magazin said on Wednesday.
While Daimler is ready to sell, BMW's Chief Executive Oliver Zipse is wavering about selling up, and is instead open to offering Uber a stake, Manager Magazin added.
9. Amazon extends work from home option for employees till June 2021
Amazon to allow employees whose work can be done from home to do so until June 2021, extending the timeline on a return to the office due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazon had earlier allowed that option until January 2020.
The development comes less than three weeks after the world’s largest online retailer said more than 19,000 of its United States frontline workers contracted the coronavirus this year.
In May, Twitter became the first major tech company to allow employees who can work remotely to do so indefinitely. Tech giant Microsoft earlier this month said that it would let most employees work remotely for up to half their weekly working hours. Facebook had said it would allow its employees to work from home till July next year, while Google had extended the remote working period for employees who do not need to be in the office till June.
First Published: IST