"WEEK 6"

July 5 - July 11

Hi folks! Vedica here today, with our weekly recap of the week's news and one in-depth story (from the paid newsletter).


Weekly Recap

  1. Zomato is unable to access $100M of investment from Ant Financial: Food delivery start-up, Zomato, which received $150M in fresh funding from Ant Financial, has still been unable to access $100M of that total, in light of recent tensions between India and China.

  2. FICCI survey shows funding for 33% of start-ups currently put on hold. A nation-wide survey of ~250 start-ups jointly conducted by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Indian Angel Network (IAN) showed that 12% of startups saying they have had to shutdown in the wake of Covid-19.

  3. Sequoia announces a new Venture & Growth fund: Sequoia Capital India announced that it raised $1.35B from Limited Partners across two new funds- a $525 million venture fund and a $825 million growth fund- to be deployed across India and South East Asia.

  4. Unacademy to acquire Mastree & PrepLadder: Unacademy is set to acquire two EdTech companies- Mastree & PrepLadder- for an undisclosed amount. Mastree is an online tutoring company in the K-12 space (specifically Math & Science for 6-8th grade) started by IIT Bombay grads, one of whom worked at Blume Ventures (one of Unacademy's investors).

  5. Instagram testing Reels in India: Instagram is testing it's TikTok copy, Reels, in India. Reels are discoverable from the normal feed and are also highlighted in the Explore section. With the TikTok ban in the country there has been intense competition to grab the eyespace of the 200M ex-TikTok users.

  6. Zolostays raises a $56M Series C: The co-living & rental startup Zolostays has announced a $56M Series C funding round led by InvestCorp, with participation from existing backers including Mirae Assets and Trifecta Capital.

  7. Paytm has launched Mini Programs: With Google's Spot platform, Paytm has now entered the mini-app space by launching Mini Programs to enable businesses being able to leverage Paytm's app & payment facilities to build mini-applications.

  8. Blue Sky Analytics raises $1.2M led by BEENEXT: Geospatial data company Blue Sky Analytics has raised a $1.2M seed round from BEENEXT, Rainmatter Capital (Zerodha's venture arm) & Stanford Angel & Entrepreneurs. The company is building infrastructure to analyze data in physical world when it comes to air quality, water pollution, heat index & more.

  9. Zomentum raises $4.1M from Accel and SAIF Partners: SaaS company Zomentum announced that it has raised $4.1 million in a seed round of funding from Accel and SAIF Partners. The company provides multiple products and services for IT channel partners to grow their business.

  10. BrowserStack acquires Bay Area company, Percy: BrowserStack has completed a cash and stock deal to acquire Percy for an undisclosed sum. Percy is a software service that lets developers automate their visual testing.


Sequoia announces new venture and growth funds

Sequoia Capital India announced that it raised $1.35B from Limited Partners across two new funds- a $525M venture fund and a $825M growth fund- to be deployed across India and South East Asia.

The firm has been very active in 2019 (& 2020) investing across multiple stages and also focussing more closely on the seed stage with its accelerator program Surge. It is also probably one of the few funds in India that have returned some amount of cash returns to its LPs through partial exits through OYO primarily.

2020 has been a particularly good year for the firm as it owns stakes in some of India's largest EdTech companies- Unacademy, BYJUs & Doubtnut all of whom have seen tremendous growth once the lockdown in India started.

Sequoia has probably been India's top tier fund (as it has been in the United States for decades), and it's interesting now that the fund has separate funds for all stages of the companies it supports- Seed, Venture & Growth.

Sequoia has backed several unicorns (11 in India + SE Asia to be precise) including the likes of Zomato, BYJUs, GoJek and soonicorns which are experiencing hyper growth like Razorpay, Khatabook, Unacademy and the next couple of years will hopefully deliver more returns for the fund and its LPs


Reads of the Week

  1. Slate Star Codex and Silicon Valley’s War Against the Media by Gideon Lewis-Kraus

  2. Our Ghost-Kitchen Future by Ana Weiner

  3. India's Newfound Passion Economy by Yatti Soni (we got a shout out!)

  4. The Rise of the Solo Capitalists by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

  5. The Future of Fitness: lululemon Buys Mirror by Adam Keesling

  6. The Rise of Thirst Trap Culture by Shephali Bhatt


If you enjoyed reading today's newsletter and would like to get more regular updates, subscribe to the daily WhatsApp newsletter 👇🏽

Subscribe