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Zepto becomes 2023’s first unicorn; Swiggy to go for IPO in 2024

Also, CaratLane has a new CEO. Avnish Anand, who previously served as the chief operating officer of the omnichannel jewellery retailer, will take charge effective immediately.

Zepto becomes 2023’s first unicorn; Swiggy to go for IPO in 2024

Saturday August 26, 2023 , 5 min Read

Hello,

India’s startup ecosystem has reasons to cheer!

The total venture capital funding for the fourth week of August stood at $229 million cutting across 16 deals—with India’s latest unicorn Zepto alone raising a whopping $200 million—a significant rise from the meagre $4.5 million raised last week.

Elsewhere, artificial intelligence (AI) took centre stage at B20 Summit India 2023. 

Microsoft President Brad Smith asserted the need for "real clarity" around goals and principles of AI regulation, as he called for a "regulatory blueprint" that will require action at the private sector, national, and global levels. 

Meanwhile, B20 India Chair N Chandrasekaran said he believes AI will create more jobs in India, as it will empower more people with little to no skills to perform higher-level jobs. 

Also, CaratLane has a new CEO. Avnish Anand, who previously served as the chief operating officer of the omnichannel jewellery retailer, will take charge effective immediately.  

The development comes about a week after Titan—a Tata Group fashion accessories brand—disclosed its acquisition of an additional 27.18% stake in Caratlane, increasing its stake to 98.28%.

ICYMI: Will AI, with its ability to closely monitor employee behaviour, become the ultimate micro-manager from hell? At least one professor thinks it could.  

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Zepto becomes 2023’s first unicorn
  • Swiggy to go for IPO in 2024
  • Delivery agents feeding from their pockets

Here’s your trivia for today: Which element was discovered on the Sun before it was found on Earth?


Ecommerce

Zepto becomes 2023’s first unicorn

Zepto

Quick commerce startup Zepto secured a Series E funding of $200 million at a valuation of $1.4 billion from new and existing investors, making it the first startup in the country to attain unicorn status in 2023. The funding round is led by StepStone Group. 

Founded by Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohra, Zepto aims to use the funds to deepen its presence in the top seven cities, including Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, and parts of Kolkata. 

Welcome to the club:

  • The grocery delivery firm now aims to hit EBITDA-level profitability in the next 12-15 months by keeping a laser-sharp focus on achieving both growth and profitability at the same time.
  • The hyperlocal grocery delivery startup said it is looking to expand its Zepto Cafe offering to major cities, including Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, by June 2024.
  • The constraints of a bear market—including investor pessimism and aversion to risk—have empowered the team to take more disciplined and high-quality decisions, and "juice out every penny of operating leverage", Palicha said.


Foodtech

Swiggy to go for IPO in 2024

swiggy food delivery instamart

Swiggy has reportedly restarted its IPO plans after halting it earlier this year following weak market sentiment. The Bengaluru startup, which was last valued at $10.7 billion after it raised $700 million, has initiated talks with bankers to assess its valuation.

Go to market:

  • It aims to list the company on Indian bourses by July-September 2024.
  • The food and grocery delivery company has reportedly invited eight investment banks, including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, and Bank of America, to make pitches in early September to work on the IPO.
  • The company is using its last funding round valuation of $10.7 billion as a benchmark for its IPO planning but is yet to decide on the potential stake sale or final valuation.


Inspiration

Delivery agents feeding from their pockets

Chennai delivery agents sponsor food drive for those in need.

Chennai delivery agents sponsor food drive for those in need.

Mohammad Dasthageer was well acquainted with hunger and food growing up. While his father ran a catering business, there was always food cooking at home, but none to eat. 

In the last six months, he, along with 14 friends—all of whom are delivery agents with Zepto, Swiggy, and Zomato—have used their earnings to feed almost 500 people with various vulnerabilities, in partnership with NGOs across Chennai.

Feeding hands:

  • Every group member keeps aside Rs 250 from their weekly earnings, contributing Rs 1,000 per month. 
  • With the contribution—which goes up to Rs 15,000 per month—they pick a charity or non-profit of their choice and place an order with their regular cook to provide meals for all residents and staff. 
  • Over the last seven months, the group has donated meals to Sastha Old Age Home in Kundrathur, Anbagam Home for People with Mental Illness, and Paradise Home for Children with Mental Illness.


News & updates

  • Crypto tax: Cryptocurrency brokers, including exchanges and payment processors, would have to report new information on users' sales and exchanges of digital assets to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under a proposed US Treasury Department rule published on Friday.
  • A surprise: Nvidia's move to buy back $25 billion of its shares after its stock has more than tripled this year caught some investors off-guard, even as they cheered a stellar second-quarter report.
  • AI model: Alibaba has launched a new artificial intelligence model that the company says can understand images and carry out more complex conversations than the company’s previous products, as the global race for leadership in the technology heats up.


Which element was discovered on the Sun before it was found on Earth?

Answer: Helium. The second most abundant element in the universe was discovered on the Sun before it was found on the Earth. 


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