Published: 7/8/2020

Good Morning, it's Wednesday! America could potentially be following India's lead into banning TikTok w/ Sec. of State Mike Pompeo saying today that the US was "certainly looking at" it. Coming to the day's news, a co-living company raises money during these troubling times & Instagram gets into the TikTok space.

1. https://tcrn.ch/2O6PlmO: Instagram testing Reels in India

➡️ And we have yet another contender in the shortform video category- Instagram Reels. With the TikTok ban in the country there has been intense competition to grab the eyespace of the 200M ex-TikTok users.

➡️ The last couple of weeks has resulted in home-grown Indian apps gaining huge install & user numbers (the likes of Mitron, Chingari, Roposo & Moj), but it seems most of these apps don't have creator tools.

➡️ Moreover, a lot of the popular TikTok creators were asking their followers to follow them on Instagram when the ban was being announced. So for the top tier creators & consumers, Instagram is likely the best current alternative to TikTok.

➡️ And with that it makes sense that Instagram is testing it's TikTok copy, Reels, in India. Reels are discoverable from the normal feed and are also highlighted in the Explore section. Once you start viewing a Reel, the UI looks exactly like TikTok's and users would feel very comfortable with that interface.

➡️ The creator tools on Instagram (from what I've seen) are also significantly better than Mitron & Chingari (they also probably have licensing agreements with music labels) and Instagram already is an established platform so advertisers would feel more comfortable sponsoring creators as well.

➡️ It's worth noting that Facebook's other TikTok copy Lasso didn't do very well internationally so it yet to be seen how Reels does. But with a creator ecosystem, tools & a large userbase I might say Instagram might have a better chance.

2. https://bit.ly/2BRdjj8: Zolostays raises a $56M Series C

➡️ The co-living & rental startup Zolostays has announced a $56M Series C funding round led by InvestCorp, with participation from existing backers including Mirae Assets and Trifecta Capital.

➡️ The news comes on the back of co-living & co-working really struggling during the pandemic, with their demand and occupancy rates which have been impacted.

▶️ The company had previously raised a $30M Series B in 2019 at a $100M valuation. The company plans to use this capital to carry out its expansion plans, strengthen its technology, inventory.

▶️ It honestly seems like a really hard time for real-estate dependent companies to raise so it's quite commendable Zolostays was able to pull this off (despite potentially being a flat/down round).

➡️ The company has over 45k residents across 450 properties in 10 cities. The demand for co-living has certainly gone down during the pandemic, but so has the competition. So if Zolostays can continue to grow and survive, it can potentially acquire smaller competitors on the cheap and be positioned to thrive in 2021 and beyond.

Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/DanishSait/status/1280447839420596224

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