Good late morning everyone! Apologies for no newsletter yesterday and a late one day, gearing up on some @fast work so have been a bit pre-occupied. Wanted to start this morning off on a hot take.
I saw a tweet yesterday which quite honestly left me a little miffed. The tweet was essentially claiming that the media is too hard on founders & companies because they’re laying people off, while the media in the US is praising American founders. This in all honesty is bullshit, no one in the US is praising founders for laying off people. Layoffs are hard and in these times some companies just don’t have an option of retaining employees and have to let go of folks. But if you’ve built a company with great culture and empathize with your employees, other people will recognize that. But if you build an abusive or non-great company culture, people will inherently not be nice to you when you layoff folks. Here’s my tweet on it- https://twitter.com/anmolm_/status/1258059600768561152
Coming to the day’s news, WhatsApp Pay could be less than a month away + alcohol delivery in India:
➡️ Seems like Facebook & WhatsApp have been getting a good run of good news. And looks like this has just gotten better, with WhatsApp Pay likely to launch by the end of May partnering with 3 banks- HDFC, ICICI & Axis (with SBI joining later on).
➡️ This is great news for the company as WhatsApp Pay had previously only been restricted to 1M users. There are currently likely about 100M users who have a VPA (Virtual Payment Address) on UPI and it’s quite safe to assume that almost all of them would already have WhatsApp on their phones.
➡️ And if WhatsApp comes up with an enticing launch (probably giving users some sort of cashback), a lot of folks will at least onboard onto the application. From there, it could be smooth sailing. Being a social app (as opposed to just a utility app), referrals would work much better on WhatsApp Pay and the network effects could lead to a large user base moving their UPI but the underlying product needs to be sticky to keep users using the platform.
➡️ I have, quite recklessly, made a bet that WhatsApp Pay will be the most popular UPI app by the end of this year and with a banger of a launch + tooling for Kiranas & SMBs that Jio build, I think it’s not unreasonable to assume that they could achieve that.
➡️ In some, only-during-a-pandemic-news, Zomato has been lobbying to be able to start delivering alcohol in India. And if they are allowed to, that genie is never going back into the bottle.
➡️ Dunzo had previously tried to do the same a couple years ago but had to discontinue the service since it din’t comply with regulations. Zomato wants to roll this out to areas that aren’t as affected by the pandemic (probably the Orange and Green zones), but will likely have to wait for some sort of government regulations to come up with a framework so delivery companies can legally deliver alcohol.
➡️ This would also help state governments with their revenue collections that have been significantly impacted during the pandemic, and there has been a lot of flip-flopping of state & cities’ decisions to open/close alcohol stores.
➡️ Interestingly, the state of Chhattisgarh has launched an online portal to order alcohol online and get it delivered to your house. And if that is the case, I would assume other states will soon follow suit and we might see a couple things: i) alcohol delivery startups (standalone apps as well as Zomato); ii) DVNBs (Bira, White Owl) being able to sell directly to consumers online (as well as maybe some new alcohol brands starting post pandemic); and iii) curated spirits/beers/wines as monthly subscriptions.
➡️ I wonder how this impacts the state of advertising alcohol. It will either result in a) companies not being able to advertise at all so they will have to find better hacks to grow (and will probably have lower CACs so might be build more sustainable businesses) or b) somewhat relaxed laws around alcohol advertising (I have no clue what the likelihood of this actually is but given India’s current stance it seems to be quite low).
Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated
More tomorrow :) BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/paper_vc/status/1258055181238927361