"EDITION 83"

Published: 6/5/2020

Good morning, it's Wednesday. Facebook has been in the news a bunch this week, with employees protesting internally when Mark didn't take a tough enough stance against Donald Trump's statement last week. Facebook (and PayPal) also announced an investment in GoJek, the Indonesian ride-sharing, food delivery & payments company.

Coming to the day's news, India's TikTok clone is suspended from the PlayStore and a travel company (???) raises a seed round.

  • https://bit.ly/2ZXZ0TM: Mitron is suspended from Google's Play Store
  • ➡️ The Indian consumer social upstart has had a whirlwind of a month, as Google has now taken the app down from the play store.

    ➡️ The app was released early in May clocked 5M downloads within a couple of weeks on the back of an organic social media viral movement across WhatsApp, Youtube and Sharechat. The app was seen as an Indian alternative to TikTok (built by ByteDance, a company from 🇨🇳), and has done well with anti-🇨🇳 sentiments are at an all time high.

    ➡️ The app has allegedly violated the play store's "spam and minimum functionality" policy. According to some news reports, Mitron might have violated the policy by now having a valid privacy policy until a couple days ago. ➡️ I also did see several TikTok videos on the app, so that might/might not have something to do with the suspension as well. Google has previously suspended several apps in the past, so we could likely see Mitron back in the app store within days if not weeks.

    ➡️ I personally just just very intrigued and confused by Mitron's trajectory in the last 2 weeks. It has gone from being braded as an Indian product, a Pakistani product (the source code was purchased from a Pakistani source code marketplace) to being suspended from the app store, along with 5M+ downloads with some videos hitting 900k views (wow this is so crazy).

    2. https://bit.ly/3dwCYeS: QuaQua raises $1M from Anthill Ventures

    ➡️ A travel startup, yes a travel startup, has raised $1M from Anthill Ventures and existing backers. The company claims to integrate VR-enabled content, information & travel bookings for tourist destinations.

    ➡️ I briefly tried out the company's website and don't really see the point of VR-enabled content in a country like India where only probably a handful of people have VR headsets. The company has a bunch of videos of various tourist destinations, and while a lot of the videos seem to be well made, it doesn't compare to physically visiting another city.

    ➡️ The platform also sets users book flights & various experiences in different cities. This is probably where the company is generating money through by acting as an affiliate to various online platforms that let people book flight tickets (Skyscanner) and attractions & activities at destinations (Viator).

    ➡️ The company says it has 2.5M users from 100+ countries who have viewed 20M videos on the platform. I'm slightly suspect of this number because the company's android app only has 1000+ downloads.

    ➡️ It also seems a little odd to me that a travel company is raising money (or moreso announced their fundraise) at a time when most travel is inaccessible. And while humans will probably always yearn to travel, I'm not sure many of know what travel will actually look like in the next several months.

    ➡️ I personally don't think I would want to use an app like QuaQua in place of actually travelling places, but am also cognizant of the fact that travel isn't very accessible from a price standpoint, and maybe this video-esque becomes an equalizer for other people to somewhat experience other cities and countries.

    Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated

    More tomorrow :) BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/ankitkr0/status/1268040819333726208