Reliance Jio plans to invest in more startups; Flipkart valued at $15 B – $19 B; Bizongo raises funds
Reliance Jio Infocomm posted the second successive profitable quarter in less than two years of its launch. Parent Reliance Industries Limited announced Jio had made a profit of Rs 510 crore for the quarter ended March 31. Jio is said to be scouting for potential investment opportunities in healthcare, fintech, transportation and travel, and content and entertainment startups. The telecom operator has already invested in music-streaming service Saavn, and followed it with an investment of $180 million in AI-led edtech platform Embibe.
US-based fund house Valic, which holds around 4,502 shares in Flipkart, and Vanguard World Fund, which has four lakh shares, have pegged the valuation of the e-commerce company between $15 billion and $19 billion. Flipkart was last valued at about $12.5 billion when it raised $2.5 billion from Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank last year. In recent US SEC filings, while Valic marked its Flipkart shares at $87.6 apiece (for its series ‘A’ investment) and $118.3 (for its series ‘G’), Vanguard World Fund marked them at $119.7 (Series ‘G’) and $142.2 (Series ‘H’).
Online marketplace for B2B packaging Bizongo recently raised Series B funding of $22 million led by B Capital, a global tech fund for B2B companies, and International Finance Corporation. Existing investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures also participated in the funding round. This is the third round of funding raised by the Mumbai-based startup.
Launched in 1998 as a social blogging site in the US, Sulekha went on to become a technology-driven matchmaking platform for local services and has over 50,000 SMEs on board, along with more than 30 lakh businesses listed for free. In the last two years, Sulekha has built a tech platform and has extended its presence to over 40 cities, 225 categories, and 1,000 sub-categories. No business has survived the wave of new peers and ideas without innovation and scalable vision. Sulekha is surely writing a winning story, with its innovation stemming from solid experience.
Until two years ago, Amazon Echo was the sole smart speaker in the market. Amazon continues to lead the market, but its share is declining as consumers take to more pocket-friendly options like the Google Home Mini. A new study by eMarketer estimates Amazon Echo’s share is down to 66.6 percent now from 70.6 percent less than a year ago. It is seen falling further to about 60 percent by 2020.
The first day of Facebook’s two-day F8 conference saw a bunch of major new announcements and updates, including the launch of a new Clear History tool to allow users to wipe some of their browsing data from Facebook, the reveal of a planned dating feature on Facebook, the official retail release of the cheap and standalone VR headset Oculus Go, the launch of video chat on Instagram (amongst other new features), the announcement that Facebook would soon resume suspended app reviews, and more.
Two major quarterly earnings reports published on the same day presented two very different states of companies. Apple’s quarterly earnings report revealed a steady continuation of its profitability, with the company posting $61.1 billion in total revenue, a 16 percent year-on-year increase. Snapchat, on the other hand, had a terrible day, reporting its slowest user growth rate ever in a quarter, although revenue saw a healthy 54 percent year-on-year increase to $230.7 million.