Published: 10/21/2020

Good morning, it's Wednesday and I really hope I don't get hit with more ad hominem attacks by Indian founders today. In the news today, we have ex-Paytm execs starting a new company & a startup from Bangladesh raising a sizable Series A from Sequoia India.

  • https://bit.ly/3kiCuwd: Former Paytm execs working on a kids-focussed fintech Junio
  • ➡️ Former Paytm execs Shankar Nath (ex-CMO & SVP) and Ankit Gera (Head of Growth) are the co-founders of Junio- a fintech company that is building financial products for kids. The company aims to impart financial discipline to children and seems to be in a similar space as the YC-backed FamPay & Walrus.

    ➡️ Shankar and Ankit have now joined the long list of Paytm alumnus working on new companies- Amit Bagaria & Saurabh Vashishtha with SimSim+, Amit Lakhoti with Park+ and Deepak Abbot & Nitin Misra with Indiagold.

    ➡️ The app is yet to be launched but it will let parents control cards for their children and send their allowance (or "pocket money") on a recurring basis. It is still yet to be seen if the company raises venture capital to accelerate their growth and I don't think it'll be very hard for the founders to do so.

    ➡️ I am still honestly skeptical of the model itself though. Do kids really need debit and credit cards in India? First off, just from the way these websites are designed it seems like the companies are targeting affluent Indians, which is still not a huge demographic in India. Secondly, I'm not really sure who the real customer is- when I was a teenager (in a not-as-digital era) I honestly didn't care very much about the medium of payment I used which was either usually cash or memorizing my dad's credit card.

    ➡️ And for the parents, I guess I don't really see what really the benefit of giving your kid their own card vs your own card details (assuming they don't abuse it which is probably a very tiny segment). I think this product would tend to do better in the European or American markets where teenagers have a little more freedom, but I honestly have no clue why kids would even want to use this. I also consulted my younger Gen Z brother on Junio/FamPay this morning and he thought it was stupid.

    2. https://tcrn.ch/2Tbc17E: ShopUp raises a $22.5M Series A led by Sequoia Capital India

    ➡️ ShopUp wants to digitize the millions of small neighborhood shops in Bangladesh and has just raised the country's largest Series A round. The $22.5M Series A was co-led by Sequoia Capital India & Flourish Ventures- the first Bangladeshi investment for both firms.

    ➡️ The company was also part of Sequoia's Surge inaugural program and has raised several million prior to the current round of fundraising. The company also merged with Indian eCommerce company Voonik (also backed by Sequoia) earlier this year with Voonik's founders joining ShopUp as co-founders & their B2B team being absorbed in the new company.

    ➡️ 95% of all retail in Bangladesh still happens in these neighborhood stores, most of whom have no digital presence. There are about 4.5M such stores in the country and ShopUp is building software and products for these set of merchants.

    ➡️ The company has a couple of core services for these businesses- a wholesale marketplace to purchase inventory, logistics (last-mile delivery for customers) and working capital. In the pandemic, a lot of these stores are facing a major cash crunch and their sales often rely on credit instead of digital payments or cash.

    ➡️ We've seen the massive opportunity of building products to serve these stores and merchants in India, so it's no surprise that we're seeing a similar trend in other emerging economies like Bangladesh, Indonesia and even Nigeria.

    Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/anmolm_/status/1319110908644257792

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