Published: 1/7/2021

Good morning, it's Thursday and my gosh what a day America has had- it's certainly something I'd have never expected to see. But welcome to all the new subscribers and I hope for most of you folks in India, 2021 is off to a better start. We have a couple more monster rounds in the US today- Udaan and boAt:

  • http://tcrn.ch/38j5U9M: Udaan raises $280M at a flat valuation
  • ➡️ The B2B eCommerce company Udaan has started off 2021 on a strong note- raising an additional $280M at a $3.1B valuation. This however isn't exactly a new round of funding but instead an extension of the company's $585M Series D that the company raised in October 2019.

    ➡️ Octahedron Capital and Moonstone Capital are the new investors in the company with participation from existing backers Lightspeed, DST Global, GGV Capital, Altimeter Capital and Tencent. Octahedron isn't entirely new to Udaan as the firm's founder Ram Parameswaran was previously at Altimeter Capital which invested in the Series D.

    ➡️ Udaan was founded by 3 former Flipkart execs and are solving the problem of the unorganized biz-to-biz commerce market. It connects small retailers with wholesalers and traders, with over 3M retailers and businesses on the platform along with thousands of brands including the likes of Coca-Cola, ITC, HUL and P&G.

    ➡️ In India a majority of commerce still happens at small and medium sized retailers and this was severely brought to light again when the initial lockdown in India restricted eCommerce companies heavily. Udaan is already the largest B2B marketplace in India and is planning to use the capital to cement its dominance and bring eCommerce to all parts of the country.

    ➡️ Another big element of the company's business is their lending feature- small businesses in India usually don't have a ton of capital at their disposal to buy inventory. Since Udaan is so well integrated in the merchant's workflow, they can effectively lend working capital to buy goods on the platform.

    ➡️ The last year has certainly been huge for small retailers and MSMEs in the country with both a lot of companies building products for the merchant base (Khatabook, Dukaan, Pagarbook) as well as the attention from Indian and global giants (Facebook, Reliance, Amazon) and I'm excited to see Udaan help these businesses digitize as they form the backbone of the Indian economy.

    2. http://tcrn.ch/398C1Iz: Electronics and Lifestyle co boAt raises $100M

    ➡️ The creator of the popular headphone and electronic accessories, boAt, announced it had raised $100M from Warburg Pincus, which values the company at around $300M. This is fascinating for a couple of reasons as the company had not raised at the kind of scale in its history.

    ➡️ The company had previously raised a small-ish round of around $1M from Fireside Ventures and has raised a couple rounds of venture debt over the years, but nothing of this scale- and that certainly makes its investors and founders very rich (on paper), as prior to the round the founders + employees owned >90% of the company while Fireside owned <10% of it.

    ➡️ boAt has been able to make electronics products at a reasonably low price point which are insanely popular amongst the younger demographic, who also tend to upgrade very couple of months. The last 4 years has seen hundreds of millions of new Indians with smartphones, so it only makes sense that an electronics company emerged that made accessories for the new Indian Internet user at a price point they can afford (I haven't seen many Beats headphones in India fwiw).

    ➡️ boAt definitely has its set of competitors- be it Xiaomi and other phone manufacturers who also make accessories along with the big retailers who have their own private labels (Chroma, Flipkart)- but as long as can continue to maintain its aura of a premium brand and expand into other electronics categories, it could be a rare hardware success story in the country,

    Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/MohapatraHemant/status/1346858624920875009

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