QSR brands take on India's non-metros

Quick Service Restaurant brands have been a hot segment for investments with these companies raising as much $1.3 billion so far. Now, they want to pivot to smaller cities within India.
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Ether, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, is taking market share from Bitcoin ahead of an all-important "Merge" software upgrade, which could sharply reduce the energy usage of its Ethereum blockchain, should the developers pull it off in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Meta Platforms is eyeing the Indian startup ecosystem as it raises its bet on the metaverse. 

Meta, along with MeitY Startup Hub, will launch XR Startup Programme. The accelerator will work with 40 early-stage startups and help them with R&D and develop workable products and services. Each startup will also receive a grant of over $25,000.

South Korean series Squid Game won top honours at this Emmy Awards. Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk won for outstanding directing, and Lee Jung-jae (main character) won the Emmy for best actor in a drama series.

With that, shares of Korean entertainment companies related to television production also rose as investors look for the next big hit to emerge from the country.

ICYMI: French-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard, a key figure in French New Wave Cinema, the film-making movement that revolutionised cinema in the late 1950s and 60s, passed away aged 91. 

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Rise of QSR brands in Tier II, III cities
  • Get ready for the ‘Merge’
  • FASTag for fuel payments

Here’s your trivia for today: How long does it take a sloth to digest its food?


Foodtech

Rise of QSR brands in Tier II, III cities

Quick-service restaurants (QSR) are gaining a rapid foothold in India's Tier II and III cities, leading to a $134.3 million industry outside metropolises.

"There is a huge scope of success for QSR brands in tier II and tier III cities as these cities are the emerging markets for fast food chains," says Kabir Jeet Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder, Burger Singh.

Scope of delivery:

  • Annual spending of middle-class households on fast-food restaurants in India’s Tier II and III cities has grown by 108% in the last two years. 
  • The average time spent by partners per delivery in non-metros is much lower as traffic situations tend to be better.
  • Indian QSR brands have raised $1.3 billion in 64 deals, with the industry expected to reach Rs 827.63 billion by 2025.

Blockchain

Get ready for the ‘Merge’

A great shift is about to happen in the Web3 world as the Ethereum blockchain will transition from a Proof of Work (PoW) system to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network.

Calling it the “Merge”, the Ethereum Foundation estimates that Ethereum's carbon footprint will be reduced by over 99%—making the Ethereum blockchain faster, more scalable, and much more energy efficient.

Sustainable blockchain:

  • Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin believes transaction costs will reduce in the longer term after the event.
  • Users have reportedly already staked over $30 billion worth of ETH on its new PoS chain.
  • Layer-2 (L2) solutions built on Ethereum—including Polygon, Optimism, Arbitrum, Loopring, and Boba Network—are set to become more energy efficient.

Startup

FASTag for fuel payments

With the introduction of FASTag, toll collection has become faster and smoother. What if FASTags are used for other digital vehicle payments?

Goa-based Numadic offers a simplified solution for banks, as well as logistics and automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), to issue FASTags. It provides the infrastructure to use FASTags at places such as fuel stations, parking spots, traffic stops for fine collection, etc.

Digitising payments:

  • NU Issuance handles the digitisation of FASTag purchases for various platforms like Google Pay and Amazon Pay, along with apps for banks.
  • NU Toll provides mobile and web applications for digital tolling, user success monitoring, and toll transaction analytics.
  • The startup has tied up with Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil to use FASTags for fuel payments.

News & updates

  • Flying cars: A car equipped with magnetic levitation (maglev) technology has been successfully tested on a highway in China, according to local media. The 2.8-tonne vehicle hovered 35 mm above the road surface, powered by electromagnetic force and guided by pre-installed conducting rails.
  • EVs on fire: Reports of electric two-wheelers catching fire continue to emerge. In a related incident in India, a fire broke out at a Secundrabad-based electric scooter showroom, killing at least eight people and injuring 11.
  • Bank layoffs: Goldman Sachs plans on cutting several hundred jobs this month, making it the first major Wall Street firm to rein in expenses amid a collapse in deals volume. It is reinstating a tradition of annual employee culls, historically targeted at 1-5% of lower performers, in positions across the firm.
  • A very royal funeral: In one of the largest diplomatic gatherings in decades, nearly 500 foreign dignitaries, including US President Joe Biden, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron are due to join the bereaved royal family in London to pay their last respects to Queen Elizabeth II.

What you should watch out for

  • Harsha Engineers IPO opens for subscription
  • Ford Mustang to make global debut
  • Hindi Diwas 2022

How long does it take a sloth to digest its food?

Answer: Two to four weeks


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