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Early-stage VC funds lead $3B stockpile; Trouble in paradise for Dunzo

VC firms, especially those that back early-stage startups, cumulatively raised around $3 billion in 2023. Dunzo has deferred the balance payout of June salaries for some of its employees. ONDC has set a target to reach 200,000 transactions per day by the end of this year.

Early-stage VC funds lead $3B stockpile; Trouble in paradise for Dunzo

Thursday July 20, 2023 , 5 min Read


It’s AI again.

Seeing the increasing impact of artificial intelligence, the United Nations Security Council held its first meeting devoted to AI governance. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the intergovernmental organisation should create a new international body to help govern the use of AI. 

After all, this technology is expected to “fundamentally change the way” we live and work. 

Elsewhere, the Tata Group is to invest over $5.2 billion (4 billion pounds) in setting up an electric vehicle (EV) battery plant, or gigafactory, in Britain. Tata Motors’ UK-based luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will be the anchor customer of the new gigafactory, which will have an initial output of 40 GWh, making it one of the largest in Europe.

Closer home, informal workers in India are increasingly aspiring for a secure and inclusive lifestyle, revealed a Quess Corp report. Nearly 93% of the respondents expressed a preference for a job that includes health benefits and a formal agreement, even if it means opting for a lower salary compared to a higher income without a contract.

ICYMI: Last week, hundreds of golden retrievers gathered at the Guisachan House in Scotland to celebrate 155 years of the birth of the first golden retriever puppies.

Lastly, people who wear camouflage for work explain what it is like to be invisible. 

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Early-stage VC funds lead $3B stockpile
  • Trouble in paradise for Dunzo 
  • ONDC charts growth targets

Here’s your trivia for today: Which country has the highest number of living languages?


Early-stage VC funds lead $3B stockpile

While the Indian startup ecosystem may be in the midst of a funding winter, venture capital firms, especially those that back early-stage startups, have cumulatively raised around $3 billion in 2023, according to YourStory data. The total cash pile available for the ecosystem is a staggering $10 billion, the largest so far. 

“There is always a lag between funds raised and its deployment. This is one of the highest amounts of dry powder that is available with the VCs,” Siddharth Pai, Founding Partner, 3one4 Capital, tells YourStory

Investors choice:

  • Early-stage deals accounted for 57% of the total funding in H1 2023 (in volume terms), according to a PwC report.
  • The total funding for the first half of 2023 stood at $5.5 billion—a drop of 72%. Pai says there is a crisis of confidence due to stress in asset portfolios and investment cycle uncertainty.
  • While 2023 has seen zero unicorns till now, he believes companies with the potential to turn into unicorns in the next 4-5 years have already been funded. 

Funding Alert

Startup: o9 Solutions

Amount: $116M

Round: Equity

Startup: Blitz

Amount: $3M

Round: Seed


Trouble in paradise for Dunzo 

Quick commerce firm Dunzo has deferred the balance payout of June salaries for some of its employees to September 4, 2023. The salaries of all employees for July and August will be paid on the same date, as per an email sent to employees. 

Cash flow:

  • Dunzo said it is attempting to streamline cash flow to build a more sustainable business, as per the email.
  • The company earlier capped the salaries of its senior-level employees at Rs 75,000 for the month of June and assured that the salaries would be paid by July 20. 
  • The firm is reportedly likely to resort to a second round of layoffs this month after it let go of nearly 300 employees—30% of its strength—earlier this year.


ONDC charts growth targets

Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC) has set a target to reach 200,000 transactions per day by the end of this year. The government-promoted platform is aiming for 100,000 daily transactions from the retail sector and the rest from the mobility space, as per an ICICI Securities report.

Focus on scalability:

  • ONDC enables sellers who do not have an existing agreement with a delivery service to avail of last-mile services from Dunzo, Delhivery, and Shiprocket.
  • It is also working to add ratings for sellers through a network-wide scoring system, incorporating rating, scoring, and badging components.
  • ONDC said that it will not make its own app as it does not want to be seen competing with anyone and only wants to "create an ecosystem to enable commerce".

News & updates

  • Go-ahead: Broadcom’s proposed $61 billion takeover of VMware was provisionally waved through by the UK’s antitrust watchdog, easing the path toward one of the largest technology deals in history. Broadcom is still waiting for the US regulator.
  • Powered: Nissan became the first Japanese automaker to agree to adopt Tesla's electric-vehicle charging technology in the US and Canada, joining global peers in expanding their fast-charger network to boost EV adoption.
  • New rules: The FTC and Department of Justice announced new draft guidelines Wednesday for evaluating mergers. The update encapsulates the agencies’ push to keep pace with the digital age and a changing market, and applies to both vertical and horizontal mergers.

What you should watch out for

  • NSE, BSE to conduct special pre-open trade for RIL due to Jio Financial’s demerger.
  • IndiaMART board to consider share buyback plan.
  • Q1 results to be announced by Infosys, IndiaMART, Mphasis, and others. 

Which country has the highest number of living languages?

Answer: Papua New Guinea, the most linguistically diverse country in the world, has ~840 living languages.

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