Good morning, Anmol here and it's Tuesday. There's been a lot of talk about Indian app stores lately and Paytm is "launching" it's mini-app store (which isn't what you think it is). And we have yet another Fintech exec raising yet another mango seed round.
➡️ Amidst their battle with Google and it's play store policies, Paytm took out full-page advertisements across all major newspapers introducing their mini-app store. And while this has been on the platform for a while already, it is certainly a pretty smart move given the recent anti-foreign sentiments in the startup industry recently.
➡️ However this app store isn't really an app store. It is an ecosystem within Paytm's existing app- users can navigate to the mini-app section and use hundreds of mini apps without having to download the native apps directly to their phones.
➡️ I think there are both pros and cons to this- on one hand, companies get instant distribution through Paytm to hundreds of millions of users that don't have to acquire themselves but they do have to follow Paytm's policies (using Paytm's gateway for all transactions and cannot link out to their own app). Both Google Pay (Spot) and PhonePe (Switch) have their own versions of this though no one has really publicly talked about this much, until now.
➡️ These mini-app platforms resemble WeChat's famous mini program ecosystem which has certainly helped WeChat as well as companies on the platform significantly, though I'm curious how this plays out in India where you have 3 competing mini-app ecosystems with no clear market leader.
➡️ Would we see the platforms try to entice companies to exclusively partner with them through lowered rates or free ad/promotion credits or would companies choose to keep & manage their mini apps on all platforms along with their native and web presences? Only time will tell.
2. https://tcrn.ch/3iA23qS: Nitin Gupta's Uni raises a whopping $18.5M for their seed round
➡️ Fintech veteran Nitin Gupta, who founded PayU and worked on Ola's financial services arm, has a new company (somewhat in stealth) that has just raised $18.5M from Lightspeed and Accel in their seed round.
➡️ It seems like the company is tackling the problem of the lack of credit cards in the country (30-35M). One of the reasons why Indians can't get credit cards is because of the lack of credit history and a credit score and it sounds like this is the area where the company plans to tackle.
➡️ The company still hasn't launched a product but Nitin seems to have raised a huge seed round without much difficulty and this is alone in line with what we've seen from other fintech veterans raising capital without launching products (Jitendra Gupta with Jupiter, Sujith Narayanan and Sumit Gwalani with EpiFi and even Kunal Shah with CRED).
➡️ Nitin is joined by Laxmikant Vyas (ex-Bajaj FInserv & PayU) and Prateek Jindal (ex-Ola) so they definitely have a solid founding team already. I'm still not sure how I feel about these massive pre-product startups raising boatloads of capital since presumably founders dilute very heavily and don't really have too much to spend the actual capital on- but it has worked well for CRED so let's see how Uni plays out.
Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/akm1410/status/1313311921236443136
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