Published: 12/17/2020

Good morning, it's Thursday and wow we're almost at the end of 2020- the year certainly flew by quite quickly. In the news today, we have WhatsApp rolling out new products and Wakefit raising a monster round.

  • http://bit.ly/3876LZY: WhatsApp plans to roll out financial services
  • ➡️ In the latest edition of "Everything is Fintech", WhatsApp is set to roll out more financial services for its >400M MAUs in India- health insurance and micro-pensions through partnerships with licensed financial service providers.

    ➡️ WhatsApp was just allowed to expand their UPI payment service to 20M consumers last month and now plan to expand into the insurance and pension verticals in early 2021. It will be partnering with SBI General to launch sachet health insurance covers and with HDFC Pension to make the Nation Pension Scheme available through the messaging app.

    ➡️ As I talked about just last week covering the launch of Carts on WhatsApp- I've been super impressed with the velocity of announcing, building and shipping products by the WhatsApp team. Now it's probably only a manner of time before they truly become the Super App of India by expanding the platform even further.

    ➡️ As we move into 2021 and a post-pandemic India, I'm very excited to see what the WhatsApp team has in store- I assume they're going to start pushing WhatsApp Pay more (maybe through some sort of incentives) and maybe we even get to see a Mini-App ecosystem turning WhatsApp into the WeChat of India.

    2. http://bit.ly/3akiUxe: Wakefit raises a Series B led by Verlinvest & Sequoia

    ➡️ Direct to consumer mattress and furniture company Wakefit has raised a monster Series B led by Verlinvest & Sequoia Capital India. The company has raised Rs 185 Cr in a round of funding that would value them north of Rs 2000 Cr.

    ➡️ Following the fundraise, the founders of the company will hold >50% the company, with Sequoia controlling 31.9%, the company ESOP pool being 6-7% with the rest being owned by Verlinvest. The company had started with just mattresses but has since expanded into sleep accessories along with other furniture products.

    ➡️ 2020 has certainly been a mixed bag for D2C mattress companies- Casper (the original D2C mattress startup from the US) IPO'd this year but that hasn't gone great. It certainly seems like Wakefit might've been inspired by Casper and expanded into other sleep related products like Casper has- but expanding into other furniture categories is something the NY-based company has done.

    ➡️ I'd be really interested in hearing the reasoning behind expanding into furniture- especially at a time where furniture eCommerce companies haven't done great. But then again if people are shopping for mattresses, Wakefit might be able to upsell them a bed or sofa or desk increasing the number of items the average consumer buys and drastically increasing their average order values.

    ➡️ People also aren't likely to buy a new mattress every couple of years (a problem that Casper also faced), but are definitely more likely to buy a new piece of furniture every now and then- especially in 2020 and beyond while we are spending way more time at home.

    Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/Rahul_J_Mathur/status/1339429105071050752

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