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“Dire straits” for electric two-wheeler makers; India's internet economy set to boom

Blockade of subsidies has led to investors losing confidence in India's EV story, says Hero Electric CEO Sohinder Gill. India's consumption trends reflect increased prosperity driven by strong digital growth. Tumble Dry aims to establish a pan-India laundry services network.

“Dire straits” for electric two-wheeler makers; India's internet economy set to boom

Friday July 07, 2023 , 5 min Read


Another social media platform has entered the chat.

In just seven hours, Meta Platforms’ Threads recorded 10 million users, says CEO Mark Zuckerberg. This may be the most direct threat to Elon Musk-led Twitter, which is currently struggling with unhappy users complaining about recent changes to the platform.

However, the product is yet to launch in EU countries due to stricter data protection laws until Meta figures out how data sharing between Threads and Instagram will be regulated.

Meanwhile, fintech unicorn PhonePe has introduced Point-of-Sale (PoS) devices enabling merchants to accept payments via debit cards, credit cards, and UPI. With 35 million merchants, the Bengaluru-based fintech firm is aiming to deploy 1,50,000 devices by next year in a market dominated by companies such as Paytm, Pine Labs, BharatPe, Mswipe, and Ezetap, among others.  

Elsewhere, OpenAI’s ChatGPT saw monthly traffic to its website and unique visitors decline for the first time ever since its launch in November. The amount of time visitors spent on the website was also down. Is the magic wearing off already? Or are other players winning over users? 

Speaking of OpenAI, authors Mona Awad and Paul Tremblay have filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming it breached copyright law by “training” ChatGPT on novels without the permission of authors. 

Lastly, on the occasion of World Chocolate Day, read how São Tomé and Príncipe, once the biggest producer of chocolate in the world, is revitalising its chocolate trade.

Or you could feast your eyes on some mind-blowing chocolate sculptures by French-Swiss pastry chef Amaury Guichon.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Electric two-wheeler makers struggle
  • India's internet economy set to boom
  • Changing India's laundry market

Here’s your trivia for today: Which company is credited for producing the first-ever solid chocolate bar?


Electric two-wheeler makers struggle

While Hero Electric’s CEO Sohinder Gill believes the government's FAME II scheme has helped in EV adoption, he says the distribution of subsidies by regulators to electric two-wheeler (E2W) manufacturers has been “inadequate”.

“We’re in the ICU now, this is the dire straits, and we’re barely hanging on”, he laments as the company has been struggling financially and searching for strategic investors to participate in its $250-million fundraise.

Difficult times:

  • FAME II scheme set aside Rs 2,000 crore out of Rs 10,000 crore for E2W manufacturers. However, nearly Rs 1,200 crore is yet to be paid out, points out Gill.
  • Hero Electric and other manufacturers weren't able to meet the localisation requirement by September 2022, and proposed to refund subsidies when they meet the 50% localisation cutoff.
  • Gill noted that if the reimbursements didn't materialise, E2W companies like Ather Energy, Ola Electric, and Matter would shut shop or resort to cutting up to 10,000 jobs.
Sohinder Gill

Funding Alert

Startup: Battery Smart

Amount: $33M

Round: Pre-Series B

Startup: Luzo

Amount: $250,000

Round: Pre-seed

Startup: insideFPV

Amount: Rs 2.5 Cr

Round: Seed


India's internet economy set to boom

By 2030, India's GDP is projected to grow to $6.5 trillion, with a retail market size of $2 trillion, according to a report by Redseer Strategy Consultants. This growth comes on the back of a surge in internet usage, fostering a digital economy and accelerating industrial growth.

Consumption trends:

  • India's private consumption is expected to surpass $2.4 trillion in Q4 FY24 with sectors including credit card spending, air travel, and vehicle sales showing signs of recovery.
  • The report shows education, personal vehicles, personal care, food, and clothing will see long-term growth due to premiumisation, brand proliferation, and digitisation.
  • Hyper-localised selection, simplified user journeys, trust-building initiatives, loyalty programmes, and affordability measures are key strategies to boost growth.


Changing India's laundry market

Tumbledry is Gaurav Nigam and Navin Chawla's solution for a consistent and standardised laundry service. Launched in 2019, the Noida-headquartered startup aims to establish a robust laundry service network throughout India, particularly in Tier II and III towns, and build a hyper-local network. 

Modern dhobi:

  • Tumble Dry operates on a franchise model, opening 604 stores across 198 cities in three years.
  • The company offers a free-of-cost Tumble Dry Technical Training Academy programme which provides a 15-day training course covering various aspects of laundry and dry cleaning operations. 
  • It reached a company-wide breakeven in January 2022, and generated a revenue of more than Rs 16 crore in FY22.
Tumble Dry

News & updates

  • Record high: Last month was the hottest June globally on record, with abnormally high temperatures recorded on both land and sea, smashing through the previous temperature record for June - which was in 2019 - by a substantial margin, Copernicus said.
  • Thrifty days: Venture capitalists are funding fewer startups, especially at the earliest stages. In the US, investors financed 3,011 startup funding deals last quarter, about a third fewer than a year ago. And they spent a lot less cash: $39.8 billion, down by nearly half from the same period last year. 
  • Gold rush: The world’s 722 biggest companies collectively are making more than $1 trillion a year (£780 billion) in windfall profits on the back of soaring energy prices and rising interest rates, according to research by development charities.

Which company is credited for producing the first-ever solid chocolate bar?

Answer: British company J.S. Fry & Sons produced the first-ever solid chocolate bar in 1847. The company merged with Cadbury Brothers in 1919.

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