Published: 12/9/2020

Good morning, it's Wednesday and this week we've seen a bunch of cool news in the startup world. Today we're covering WhatsApp's shopping carts & HDFC participating in Smallcase's Series B. Also, it's Vedica's birthday today!!!

  • https://tcrn.ch/3gsdJMK: WhatsApp adds Shopping Carts
  • ➡️ This has probably been the year where we've the most new feature additions to WhatsApp- catalogs, larger rollout of WhatsApp Pay and now shopping carts. WhatsApp is on a mission to enable SME eCommerce in India and I'm here for it.

    ➡️ Today's launch of carts just shows how thoughtfully Facebook is thinking about enabling commerce for small businesses in India- Consumer (C) messages Business (B) about purchasing something. B sends C their catalog (in-built in WA). C creates a cart (in-built) and sends it to B. B sends C a payment request through WhatsApp pay, and C pays it. The entire process can now be completed end-to-end on WhatsApp 🤯

    ➡️ India essentially runs on WhatsApp and a bunch of companies (social, commerce, logistics) began on WhatsApp itself so it comes as no surprise that eventually WhatsApp has built out these products themselves.

    ➡️ The one thing I'd be interested in seeing is how WhatsApp promotes these new products and features- I can't remember WhatsApp really running any large scale ad campaigns in India and with the current crop of commerce-enabling companies emerging I would assume WhatsApp might need to push its products a bit more.

    ➡️ All in all I'm very bullish on WhatsApp (eventually) becoming the Super App of India. And if the roll out of catalogs & carts is successful along with WhatsApp Pay gaining popularity (which it hasn't yet), WhatsApp could even launch a mini-app platform to further increase how India uses the app.

    2. https://bit.ly/3oGMFfX: HDFC invests in Smallcase

    ➡️ India's largest private sector bank HDFC has invested in Smallcase's recent Series B round, which was led by the DSP Group. Existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Blume Ventures, and Beenext also participated in the round.

    ➡️ We've talked about Smallcase a couple times in the past (I am a user and a fan)- the company lets retail investors invest in a number of themed portfolios having stocks and exchange-traded funds (EFTs). Smallcase does this by placing orders through one's brokers directly.

    ➡️ Users of Zerodha, 5Paisa, Upstox and even Axis Direct, HDFC Securities and Kotak Securities can use Smallcase to choose, build and invest in these cases. As in the US, India has seen an increase in its retail investor base and products that make investing easy (i.e Smallcase) have benefited from this trend.

    ➡️ I find the news of the investment interesting because as far as I can tell, HDFC has never directly invested in a startup directly in the past. HDFC itself has been in some hot water recently as the RBI has advised it to temporarily stop all digital launches and sourcing new credit card customers when the bank suffered a major outage recently.

    Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/AmritPa1/status/1336335431491674120

    This post is only for paying subscribers, but it’s ok to forward every once in a while. If you received this as a forward, consider subscribing here 👉🏽 https://keepingupwithindia.com/