Happy Thursday! In the midst of the COVID slowdown, Notion and Index came out with a banger! Notion raised $50M at a $2B valuation!!! (up from their previous valuation of $800M back in July). Apparently Sarah Canon has been chasing the company for over a year and the company decided to bolster their coffins in these uncertain times (plus I’m sure they’ve seen usage shot up like crazy recently), and has already hit an annualized run rate of $30M. Coming to 🇮🇳, a lot of the major VCs came to together to tell startups to prepare for the worst (Think “RIP Good Times” but Sequoia + Lightspeed + Accel + many others). And I recently came across yet another Cameo clone so wanted to write out some thoughts on that
In the last couple of months a bunch of Cameo clones have been popping up in India. For the uninitiated, Cameo is a service that lets users pay celebrities for short shoutout videos.
The two most recent ones I’ve come across are Tring & TagMango (YC W20) and both look alright with C/D list Indian celebrities on the platform (the Caroline Calloways of India) but I’m not super bullish on either of them.
The Cameo for India will be Cameo itself (I tweeted about this a couple days ago but I will expand). The company already has plans to launch in the country in the coming future and will be able to get more popular celebrities + sports personalities because of the success they’ve had in the past.
And once all the big celebrities are on Cameo, I’m sure everyone else will follow since Cameo will have all the eyeballs. Another point that I’ve been thinking about recently is how Netflix has made content globally relevant.
When Netflix launches a popular original show, it becomes a hit globally (and is usually shot in the US). Then Cameo is able onboard those reality show personalities/actors on their platform being the de-facto player in the States. But imagine if instead of only Americans requesting shoutouts from those celebrities, Indians (or anyone in the globe) being able to request shoutouts as well.
The globalization of content has given a huge headstart and I’m betting on them to capitalize on it and capture the India market.
In (ik this word has been super overused) these unprecedented times, something quite interesting has happened: A lot of the Indian VCs have banded together to come out with a statement on COVID, how it will impact Indian Startups, and how raising money is going to get significantly harder.
We’ve already seen a huge drop off in the # of deals being funded and amount of money being raised ($2.86B in 104 deals to $496M in 79 deals from Feb to March). It seems like later stage rounds are getting impacted more while early stage appetite has also decreased to an extent.
The VCs have also told companies to try to extend their runway as long as possible and some companies have had to take drastic measure to do so: layoffs, salary cuts, cutting out experimental product lines, or even shuttering portions of operations temporarily.
I think the scariest line was “Through the lockdown most businesses could see revenues going down to almost zero”. How many startups can really survive if they have no cash flow into the business. It doesn’t seem like India has developed a stimulus plan for small business and startups, so we might see a bunch of startups (good and bad) who just don’t have the capital to make it out of this pandemic.