Idk if any of y’all watched the Trump speech in Ahmedabad yesterday but it was absolutely hilarious. On a similar theme, we do have some cross-border news today as well a startup in the train + bus booking space raising some money. And lastly, Blume Ventures also announced a new Opportunity Fund (following their Fund III announcement last week) which will be used to further back the winners from their existing portfolio.
http://bit.ly/32oCNxb (Inc42): PayPal, the US payments behemoth, is planning to launch a P2P (Peer-to-Peer) UPI service. The company, founded by Elon Musk & Peter Thiel (amongst others), started their India operations back in 2007 largely helping cross-border transactions until 2017 when they also started letting Indian merchants use the platform to accept payments from Indian consumers. I’m not really sure how hard they will go on the marketing side of things (like Google Pay & Paytm) but seems like the UPI apps are largely becoming a utility and companies in the space need to figure out how to monetize around it. I don’t think PayPal expects the UPI business to bring in a bunch of profits to the company but might help drive it’s adoption further by digital Indian businesses. I was also wondering if PayPal could somehow help foreign travelers use PayPal to transact in India in a cashless & cardless manner (but this is likely a pipedream).
http://bit.ly/2HP1GZF (Entrackr): On completely unrelated note, RailYatri (popular train + bus booking platform) has announced a new round of ₹100 Cr from the likes of Nandan Nilekani, Omidyar Network & Blume Ventures. The platform is fairly simple and allows users to book train tickets, check train statuses as well as book a meal for their journey. And while margins on train services is fairly low, the company launched an InterCity Bus service (think redBus but their own service which is also premium) which has been growing quite rapidly it seems. With India’s growing per capita income, more Indians are trying out air transportation but with a not-great network a majority of the country still relies on bus & train networks to get to some of the smaller cities & towns all over the country. Which is why I think it makes complete sense to expand their bus network & by owning a full-stack solution, they definitely have better margins on the service.