Dunno about Dunzo
Also in today’s edition: Why Azim Premji is not smiling; Fenway on the fairway; TikTok’s GoTo in Indonesia; Cash bonfire in startup winter
Good morning! Google just announced its Year in Search for 2023. Understandably, the war in Israel topped the global list. In India though, Chandrayaan-3 was the biggest newsmaker. Additional details show that Indians were extremely curious about G-20, looked the most for coding classes near them, really wanted to go to Vietnam and laughed the hardest at Bhupinder Jogi memes. Thank God, we don’t have a personalised year in search because that’d be scary.
Dinesh Narayanan and Venkat Ananth also contributed to today’s edition.
The Market Signal*
Stocks & Economy: Inflation data will rule the roost as India will release November numbers later today. A Moneycontrol.com survey of 15 economists revealed expectations of high food prices contributing to a rise in the inflation rate.
The US will also publish retail price trends for November even as the Federal Reserve begins its much-awaited rate-setting meeting. Wholesale prices cooled in Japan as expected. Most Asian markets, except Shanghai, ticked up in morning trade.
Indian equities may open flat, going by GIFT Nifty’s movement. Indian shares, like their US counterparts, are at record highs and are expected to close the year on a high note. Traders expect benchmark indices to set new records in the coming days.
Oil prices remained subdued despite the OPEC+ group of producers restricting supplies.
Wipro Catches The Flu
Azim Premji is reportedly miffed with the folks running Wipro, whose business has stagnated in the past few quarters.
Why: The doyen of the Indian IT industry is unhappy with the lack of growth, talent erosion and the drying up of what is referred to as mega deals with big western IT spenders, Mint reports. Deals, typically in excess of $1 billion in value, with Fortune 500 companies, form the core of big software services providers. Wipro hasn’t scored a single deal in three years while rivals, TCS, Infosys and HCL Technologies together bagged nine.
The latest high-profile exit is chief of growth Stephanie Trautman who was hired from Accenture to net the big contracts.
The report hints that changes introduced by CEO Thierry Delaporte might be responsible for the state of affairs but Wipro chair Rishad Premji stoutly defended him.
Birdie Or A Bogey?
Who knew golf could provide so much drama? The sport’s premier competition, PGA Tour, is nearing a potential deal with a Fenway Sports Group-led consortium. If the deal goes through, PGA and its Saudi-backed competitor LIV Golf will merge together.
Backstory: PGA and LIV had announced they’re getting together back in June. They had decided to create a for-profit entity to look after their combined commercial interests. But it would require additional funding, which is where the Fenway-led consortium comes in.
Uncertain future: The June agreement has a deadline of December 31, 2023. While there is no clarity on the merger yet, LIV Golf is making moves. It has snapped up World No. 3, John Rahm, for a reported fee of $300 million. In case the merger fails, golf could be looking at the bleak prospect of two parallel and equally watered-down tournaments.
Done In By Reliance
As The Doors would have put it, Dunzo needs its only friend: Reliance Retail. The quick-commerce company is at the end of its tether as Reliance drags its feet on giving the company cash. Dunzo has delayed salaries and vendor payments for months as it scales down quick commerce operations and B2B deliveries
Countdown: In October, cofounder and CEO Kabeer Biswas reportedly promised to bring in money within 3-4 months. The deadline is nearing. Dunzo is experimenting with higher delivery charges while Biswas works out alternative funding sources. Meanwhile, top executives are leaving the firm; cofounder Dalvir Suri has already exited while a third cofounder Mukund Jha is also planning his exit.
Marquee investors are no guarantee of startup success. Dunzo’s other shareholders including Blume Ventures, Lightbox VC, and Google are unwilling to step in if Reliance doesn’t take the lead.
Even if the money eventually comes in, the damage is probably done. Quick commerce and hyperlocal delivery are highly competitive, emerging e-commerce segments where rivals Zepto, Swiggy (Instamart), and BlinkIt are gaining ground and access to capital. Swiggy is preparing for an IPO, while Zomato says its quick-commerce arm BlinkIt is inching towards making money (pdf). Besides, quick-commerce firm Zepto was one of only two unicorns birthed this year, raising $200 million at a $1.4 billion valuation.
TikTok Says Selamat Via GoTo
TikTok’s 125 million Indonesian users will be able to shop again on the platform. ByteDance’s $1.5 billion investment into GoTo will restart its e-commerce operations, which were shut after Indonesia banned the business line. The deal is critical to TikTok’s global e-commerce ambitions, with nearly $20 billion in revenue riding on it.
The deets: ByteDance will merge its TikTok Shop business with Tokopedia, GoTo’s e-commerce arm, to form a 75:25 joint venture. Tokopedia will buy TikTok Shop for $340 million, following which TikTok would acquire the combined entity. GoTo’s other businesses such as payments and logistics are expected to benefit from this deal.
Workaround: A local partner helps market access and ease compliance. Closer home, several big technology companies — from platforms such as Meta to chipmaker Nvidia, for instance, have invested in or partnered with Reliance’s Jio Platforms for similar reasons.
Started But Never Reached
2023 was funereal. The world buried scores of startups which burned billions of dollars.
The winter: Indian startups raised just $7 billion this year, less than a third of last year and below a fifth of the previous year. India minted 24 unicorns in 2022 taking the total number of highly valued firms to 115. That number plummeted to two in 2023. Except Zepto and InCred, no other firm reached the much-vaunted billion dollar valuation.
In the US, 3,200 companies, which had raised $27.2 billion venture capital, folded up. That list doesn’t include blowouts such as WeWork and Hopin.
The worst affected have been women-only founding teams which collected just 2.8% of the funding doled out between January and October this year. Not only was it the lowest in four years, but also the share—13%—of women starting up was the lowest in six years.
Upheld: India’s Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the 2019 abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. It also called for the restoration of J&K’s statehood, while directing the Election Commission to hold elections in the state by September 30, 2024.
BFD: Fortnite maker Epic Games has won an antitrust suit against Google’s parent Alphabet. A California jury said Google “Play store wilfully wields monopoly power”.
Beyond X: Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson is launching an eponymous subscription-based streaming service. A subscription to the Tucker Carlson Network, per the Wall Street Journal, is priced at $9/month or $72/year.
Netflix Slam: Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz will face off in a show-match in Las Vegas on March 3, 2024, which will be live-streamed by Netflix in its latest foray into live sports.
Incoming: An investor group, which includes Arkhouse Management and Brigade Capital Partners, has made a $5.8 billion offer for departmental store chain Macy’s.
New loan: Adani Green is raising $410 million via bonds to refinance an existing $500 million US dollar-denominated debt due next December.
New face: The victorious Bharatiya Janata Party ended the Shivraj Singh Chouhan era in Madhya Pradesh, choosing Mohan Yadav (58) as the new chief minister of the state.
THE DAILY DIGIT
Or ₹8,672 crore, the estimated gross revenue from Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” after 60 shows. Swift’s gross comfortably eclipsed Elton John’s five-year-long “Farewell Yellow Brick Tour” ($939 million), Ed Sheeran’s ‘Divide Tour” ($776 million), and U2’s “360 Tour” ($735.3 million). (Pollstar)
Rearview: You’ve heard of Spotify Wrapped but what about “Dating Wrapped”? It’s the latest trend on TikTok where young singles are posting year-end roundups of their dating lives. On focus are themes like where they met their dates, their date’s occupation, star signs, money spent etc. Compiling and curating this data is easier said than done, though. Some have purchased services like Hinge Wrapped, a tool that translates users’ personal data on Hinge into readable charts. The rest are putting in the hard yards by going through their bank accounts, notes app and chat history. As far as trends, this surely takes the crown of the most depressing ones.
‘Non’-stop: Like to munch when stressed? It might be time to stop. A new study by Professor Jet Veldhuijzen van Zanten looked at the impact of fatty foods on healthy young adults. The result? Consuming fatty foods when mentally stressed reduces vascular function by 1.74%. In simpler terms, it means an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. On top of that, these foods deteriorate mental health and reduce cognitive capacity. Instead, one should nibble on fruits and vegetables. Look, we love science but c’mon… don’t take away the little joys of life.
F-ing sad: Uncles and aunties, listen up. Your long-held belief that modern movies and TV shows are getting more profane by the day is probably true. An analysis by EnjoyMoviesYourWay showcased this uptake in numbers. Use of the F-word rose from 511 in 1985 to 22,177 in 2023 while the S-word went from 484 in 1985 to 10,864 in 2023. But what caused this surge in expletives? There are two theories - one, writers have slowly increased expletives in scripts as audiences have grown used to them. Second, there’s a deluge of content today and that inflates the overall numbers. Time’s ripe for the comeback of Sanskrit Babu Ji.