Close to 11 years ago, when the Indian ecommerce ecosystem was still in the nascent stages, one company, with an investment of Rs. 4, 00,000 did not know it would become India’s leading ecommerce player. Launched by IIT Delhi alumnus Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, today, Flipkart is valued at $11.6 billion. Slowly but surely, the firm gained investors such as Tiger Global Management, Tencent Holdings and Naspers.
But, the company faced some major competition in these ten years. From Snapdeal to eBay, the Bengaluru based ecommerce firm fought tooth and nail to gain a majority of the Indian online retail market. After a long drawn out battle, last year Flipkart and India’s next ecommerce major Snapdeal almost joined hands to become one entity. However, the deal didn’t come through as the Gurgaon based startup, Snapdeal, wanted to pursue an ‘independent path.’ The silver lining of this merger was Flipkart gained one of it’s biggest shareholders after ending the merger talks with Snapdeal. With backing from Japan’s venture firm SoftBank, US based Microsoft and eBay among other investors, Flipkart was finally prepared to take on the world. However, the company faced a bigger threat in the form of the American retail giant Amazon led by Jeff Bezos.
The Flipkart versus Amazon battle was always present from the very word go. The real war, however, started back in 2015, when both Flipkart and Amazon decided to move into the online smartphone market. At that point, Amazon lost its foothold in the Chinese market, with other ecommerce platforms figuring out they could do what Amazon was doing in a faster and cheaper way.
With that happening on the side, founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, decided to do whatever it takes to keep their foothold strong in the Indian market. This included signing a cheque worth $ 2 billion to anyone who stood in its way! While this matter in itself was worrisome for Flipkart, the fact that Amazon was entering into the world of smartphones made things exciting.
Over the years, the Flipkart and Amazon war gave rise to a lot of exciting eyeballs, making everyone stand on edge with excitement. Flipkart wanted to be the reason Indians bought products on the Internet. Its focus on technology to solve product ecommerce for the domestic market put it in a league of its own. Even the storied Indian IT and BPO industry derived nearly 90% of its profitable revenues from global enterprise clients.
What makes the two ecommerce platforms stand neck to neck is the fact that the number of coders, as well as the technology used by both the companies. Refined to its core, this battle is a classic “homegrown pioneer vs. giant multinational” story on the grounds of Nirma vs. Hindustan Lever, Thums Up vs. Coca Cola, or Mahindra & Mahindra vs. Toyota Motors; with technology as the mid ground. Flipkart has the scale and local footprint. Amazon has staying power and a platform it has seasoned globally for 21 years.
With SoftBank’s recent investment into Flipkart, the battle stands at an interesting level. As of 2017, the homegrown ecommerce platform raised $ 3.9 billion in two rounds of funding from SoftBank and Tencent. At such a time, even the idea of a potential investment from the biggest retail giant, USA based Walmart would give the boost it requires to beat Amazon once and for all. However, before that could happen Amazon decided to show its hand in the game as well. The Seattle based company recently offered Flipkart a breakup fee of $ 2 billion to convince it to discuss an offer which analysts say would bring with it substantial antitrust challenges, as Flipkart and Amazon dominate the online shopping space in Asia’s third largest economy. Furthermore, Amazon is interested in buying about 51 to 55 % stake in the ecommerce platform. Whichever way the deal plays out, it is safe to say Flipkart has garnered a great deal of attraction from the international ecommerce marketplace.
Whether the deal goes through between Flipkart Amazon.com Inc., or with Walmart and Flipkart, it will be the biggest deal made by a US based company in terms of buying out another similar online platform. Regardless of how this flips, it would also be a win win situation for the Indian ecommerce company!
Bernard Arnault Replaces Bill Gates As Second Richest Man In The World
According to a report released by Bloomberg, Bill Gates, the co founder of Microsoft, was replaced as the world’s second richest person by Bernard Arnault, the Chairman of LVMH. Bill Gates was ranked as the 2nd richest person in Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index for the last 7 years. However, he was replaced by Arnault after the French businessman added $ 39 billion in 2019 to his wealth, pushing his net worth to $ 108 billion.
Arnault, aged 70, joined world’s most exclusive wealth club after Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, when his fortune surpassed the $ 100 billion mark for the first time in June 2019. As the chairman and CEO of the luxury goods maker LVMH, most of Arnault’s wealth comes from his holdings in Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. He holds a 97 % stake in Christian Dior. Apart from Louis Vuitton, Bernard also oversees 70 other luxury good companies like Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Sephora and Fendi, to name a few.
Arnault and his family are among the list of luxury titans who pledged more than $ 650 million for the reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was destroyed by a massive fire in April 2019.
Bill Gates, with a net worth of $ 107 billion, lost the title of being the world’s second richest man because of his philanthropic work. Gates donated over $ 35 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2000 by him and his wife Melinda Gates. The primary focus of the Foundation is to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. Amazon’s Bezos’ net worth was up slightly this year to $ 125 billion, despite his divorce settlement with his former wife MacKenzie Bezos, which saw MacKenzie keep 4% stake in his multinational technology company. This made MacKenzie Bezos the 4th richest woman in the world.
Declared the richest man in Europe, Bernard Arnault has been climbing the ladder to success continuously. His $ 39 billion addition to his wealth in 2019 alone, according to Bloomberg, is the biggest individual gain among the 500 people it ranks.
iPhone Unknown Facts
Introduced by Steve Jobs in the year 2007, the iPhone is a technological revolution which changed the fate of smartphones forever. It is also safe to say, the iPhone is one of the most coveted smartphones in the world.
Here is a list of few things you may not know about this amazing piece of technology.
Unknown facts about iPhone
1) The iPhone was originally called ‘Purple.’ Scott Forstall, the ex software head of Apple, revealed, the phone was initially named ‘Purple,’ after ‘Purple Dorm,’ the building where it was built and developed.
2) Cisco Systems owns the patent for the name iPhone for its VoIP phone. When Apple released its iPhone, Cisco sued Apple for using its name. Both the companies then reached a settlement and agreed to work together on products later in the future.
3) If you ever observed the iPhone commercials, you will notice, all the iPhones show the time as 9:41 A.M. Apparently, 9:41 A.M., was the time when Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone.
4) The retina display on the iPhone is its most expensive feature.
5) We are all aware of the rivalry between Apple and Samsung. Samsung was seen trashing the iPhone in many of its commercials. Still, it looks like these companies are not rivals after all. According to technology intelligence experts, the processor that powers the iPhone is actually manufactured by Samsung. Now that’s a shocker.
6) When the iPhone was introduced, founder Steve Jobs first used it to make a prank call to order 4,000 lattes from a nearby Starbucks store.
7) iPhones are the most profitable products created by Apple. They account for up to 70 % of Apple’s total revenue.
8) The iPhone earned 73 % of the profit of the smartphone industry in 2018.
9) In 2007, iPhone was awarded the Invention of the Year by TIME magazine.
10) By 2015, Apple sold around 700 million iPhones. Reports also suggest, the users of iPhone are more loyal to their brand than Android users.
Do you know any other interesting facts about the iPhone? Comment below and let us know.
Union Budget 2019 – Startups Get Major Advantages
The Union Budget of India is mostly about giving us an insight into how the government decides to spend public funds for the overall development of the Country.
India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, presented her maiden budget to the Parliament on Friday and walked us through the various plans which may take India’s economy to $ 5 trillion by 2025.
The Indian startup ecosystem felt, the Interim Budget, which was helmed by Piyush Goyal in February, had overlooked their problems.
However, giving a major boost to thousands of startups across the Country, the Narendra Modi led Government announced a list of measures the Government is going to take to “release the entrepreneurial spirit” in the Country.
Keep reading to find out what the Budget for new India has in store for business heads and startup founders.
Budget 2019 highlights for startups
1) The Modi Government will soon launch a TV program exclusively for the startups in India, which will air on the Doordarshan channel. This program will serve as a medium through which emerging startups could meet venture capitalists and investors. This TV program will be directed, executed and run by startups themselves.
2) The Startup India Scheme, which was launched in 2016 to support entrepreneurship among women and marginal segments of the society by providing them financial assistance, has produced more than 300 entrepreneurs as of today. Mrs. Sitharaman said, this scheme will continue till 2025. This can prove to be a major boost for aspiring entrepreneurs.
3) A reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Income Tax for electric vehicle (EV) makers and owners has been proposed in the Parliament. This move could prove to be profitable for EV startups in the Country.
4) Sitharaman announced, startups will no longer be under the scrutiny of Angel Tax. Angel tax is applicable to startups which have raised their capital by selling shares above the market value. This excess capital is considered as income and taxed accordingly, a move which was started in 2012. The waiver of angel tax could be a huge relief for startup owners.
5) The Finance Minister proposed a 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) to insurance intermediaries. The FDI limit is currently 49 %. Apart from this, the Government also announced 100 % FDI in single brand retail startups. Startups like PepperFry and UrbanLadder, which operate single brand stores, will benefit from this move.
6) The Government will also establish around 100 business incubators—80 for livelihood businesses and 20 for tech, in the financial year 2019-20. According to the Government, this will help create up to 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs.
7) Businesses with an annual turnover below Rs. 5 crores can file quarterly GST returns, said Sitharaman.
Apart from all this, the several measures announced for labour laws, rental segment and education can have an indirect impact on the startups of our Country. With so many incentives announced to boost the Indian startup ecosystem, we may see a substantial growth in Indian startups.
What is your opinion about Union Budget 2019? Comment below and let us know.
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