And it's Wednesday, good morning!
My twitter timeline was flooded with SF Tech Twitter & Indian Tech Twitter raving about their Hey.com invites. My contrarian self is happy with using the last hyped paid email client, Superhuman, and if any of y'all get bored of Hey shoot me a message and I'll hook you up with a Superhuman referral.
Coming to the day's news, Jio enters the UPI game & Classplus makes an interesting acquisition.
➡️ Reliance Jio, which has been in the news lately for raising huge amounts of capital, has announced the launch of Jio UPI ID for users in several cities. This would allow Jio's MyJio App to become a super-app for all digital transactions for a user.
➡️ I can definitely see a super app comprising of Jio Mart, AJIO, Jio UPI and several other partner apps as Jio could go up against the likes of Google Pay & Phone Pe. The other interested aspect is that Jio is in talks with NPCI to power UPI transactions on Jio feature phones.
➡️ And while we talk a lot about the number of digital subscribers on Jio, we don't really shine light on customers with Jio feature phones. Jio actually has two versions of feature phones, JioPhone (₹699 but launched as ₹1,500) & JioPhone 2 (₹2,999)
➡️ Jio has actually sold 100M feature phones, and these phones make up 26% of Jio's total subscriber base, which I hadn't realized earlier. These phones are powered by KaiOS and mostly run Jio & Facebook apps (WhatsApp, Facebook)
➡️ It doesn't seem like anyone is really building applications and products for this user segment so Jio can run a monopoly on this market. And while Google Pay & Phone Pe are capturing the premium & mid market Indian consumers, Jio's UPI ID might be very popular with the feature phone population.
2. https://bit.ly/2zETz1l: ClassPlus acquires Merak AI
➡️ I swear I don't only choose EdTech stories but yet another EdTech co is in the news today. ClassPlus, a verticalized SaaS product digitizing coaching centers, has acquired Merak.ai which is a data-entry automated service.
➡️ Merak's product suite seems quite interesting and they do have a couple big clients including Swiggy and Policy Bazaar. The company has plug-and-play APIs & services which help companies digitize and automate forms and other documents & data.
➡️ In Swiggy's case, I believe they use Merak.ai to digitize restaurant menus into structured data that can be fed into Swiggy's systems. I couldn't find much information on Merak.ai's fundraising history and according to LinkedIn the company has just 2 founders and no other employees so this is quite likely just an acqui-hire.
➡️ Blume Venture's HR advisory unit (Passion Connect) has been running a program for early stage companies looking to be acqui-hired and it seems like that was the origination of this acquisition after talks began in April 2020.
➡️ As part of the acquisition, Merak.ai's founder, Vibhor Kalra, will be joining ClassPlus as the AVP of Product. I'm not entirely sure what would happen to the IP built by the team and if any of that would be helpful for the ClassPlus.
➡️ I think we will see a larger trend of early stage companies who aren't able to raise capital be acquired by larger startups on the cheap and will see some consolidation in certain sectors.
Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated
More tomorrow :) BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/sehaj23/status/1272971766634123264
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