And we’re back! Sorry once again for no newsletter yesterday but we’re back! and with a bang! Monday (in the US) was also Y Combinator’s first completely virtual demo day and we had a bunch of Indian companies who “presented”, 24 to be exact (though I believe a couple more did go through the program). As a bonus, I’m letting y’all know about my 5 favorite companies from all of them. In other news, one of India’s most successful SaaS company posts their FY19 financials & another celebrity invests in another growing India startup (and it isn’t a consumer co!):
Zoho, the Indian SaaS OG, posted great growth in revenue & profits in the financial year ending in March 2019, with ₹3,308 Cr ($450M+) in revenue & ₹516 Cr ($70M+) in profits.
The company that is based in both the US & India (global HQ in Chennai) kickstarted the wave of Indian SaaS companies building in India, and selling in the US (& globally).
Their metrics have also been very impressive with an equally impressive product suite (which they keep adding on) and the company has been profitable for several years at this point.
There are only a handful Indian SaaS companies who’ve reached $100M in ARR so the fact that Zoho is almost doing that in profit just speaks to what a great company Sridhar Vembu has been able to build.
He still has remained silent about Zoho possibly going public at some point, but Zoho could really also kickstart Indian SaaS companies going public in the US as well (thought might be unlikely).
Khatabook, the #KiranaTech app for SMEs in India, has an interesting figure on their cap table now- the ex-Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni.
I really think this is a really smart decision for both sides. We’ve seen a lot of sporting figures in both the US (Kevin Durant, Shaquille O’Neal and the late Kobe Bryant) and India (Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli among others) invest in companies through angel deals or start their own venture funds.
This also makes sense for Khatabook (to have Dhoni on as an investor) as I presume he will now become the de facto Brand Ambassador of the app, and they [Khatabook] might not even need to pay Dhoni’s usual rate.
Compared to BharatPe getting Salman Khan as their brand ambassador, I think the investor route makes more sense for both parties since the incentives are more aligned (as opposed to the celebrity just taking a fixed amount as a brand ambassador).
Dhoni is also one of THE most recognizable figures in India, given cricket’s broad population (I presume Virat, Sachin, SRK, Salman, Big B & Aamir Khan fall in that top tier of recognition) and is also popular with both rural & urban Indians so this is a huge score for the Khatabook team.
At the end of the day, this is just a growth leverage for the company, they still need to figure out how to best their competition & eventually revenue generation (and profitability) but I’m excited to see what Dhoni can bring to the field 🏏