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Walmart To Invest In Flipkart. Should Amazon Be Worried?

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The world’s biggest retailer, Walmart Stores Inc., is in talks to invest in homegrown ecommerce firm Flipkart to acquire a minority stake. According to people close to the development, the deal could be finalized as soon as March this year.

The retailer has reportedly started advanced talks to buy a 15% to 20% stake in Amazon.com Inc’s main competitor. The Economic Times reported, Walmart’s Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon along with ecommerce CEO Marc Lore and future CEO and President Judith McKenna visited Flipkart’s Bengaluru office early last week.

Both Flipkart and Walmart declined to comment regarding the rumors stating, “As a policy, we don’t comment on market speculation.” Walmart spokesperson added, McMillon had been in the country to review its three units in the country.

This potential investment by the retail giant in Flipkart could mar Amazon’s expansion in India. On the global front, Amazon acquired the 400 store network of Whole Foods last year. In India, Amazon has invested close to $ 3 billion in Amazon Seller Services in line with Jeff Bezos’ commitment to invest $ 5 billion in the Indian retail industry.

Walmart’s investment in Flipkart combined with backing from SoftBank could provide the homegrown ecommerce firm the firepower to capture the majority of the market share. In September last year, Walmart completed the $3 billion acquisition of Jet.com following which the company further acquired 15 startups seeking talent and technology to make it a dominant online player as well.

Last year, Flipkart claimed to have a higher sale during the festive season sale, beating Amazon for the top spot. Although Amazon refuted the claim, Flipkart reported a 43% rise in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) for the six months quarter which ended on 30 September 2017. Amazon Inc., on the other hand, claims it is the second largest player in traffic, accounting for 58% traffic on personal computers, 129% on mobile web and has 52% more app downloads.

The Indian food retail industry has been gaining a lot of attention from international investors including Alibaba which is in talks to buy 40% stake in BigBasket. If Walmart’s investment in Flipkart goes through, the Indian ecommerce industry could see a significant change soon.

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Carl Pei’s Nothing Invites Retail Investors 

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Carl Pei said the time came for him to leave OnePlus and focus on other interests, following which he resigned from OnePlus in October 2020.  Since then, Pei had been working on his new startup in the audio hardware sector.  Carl Pei unveiled the name of his startup which is now called as Nothing, on January 27th, 2021.  Since the unveiling of Nothing, Pei’s startup has attracted a lot of attention from Silicon Valley and venture capitalists.  

Carl Pei now seems to be emulating his success formula at OnePlus with his new startup Nothing.  OnePlus is highly customer centric, because as a company they take in inputs from their consumers and adapt them to their products.  Pei seems to be using the same strategy with Nothing, as he invited retail investors to invest in his new startup.  Normally a startup raises Series A funding to begin product development and then goes on to Series B and so on.  For a normal retail investor to invest in a stock, they could only do it at the time of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) at the time of which the company would be valued highly.  However, Carl Pei is letting in investors from the beginning.  

ALSO READ: Alphabet Invests In Carl Pei’s Startup Nothing

This lets the investors be a part of the product development process and makes Nothing more personalised.  Moreover the investors would also act as promoters for the products.  Currently, there are $ 1.5 million worth of shares available.  Users can invest a minimum of € 50 and a maximum of € 20,000.  However, the demand to invest is off the charts and was unexpected as Carl Pei confirmed there was an interest worth of $ 10 million from 8,700 users.

Nothing’s first wireless earphones will be unveiled in the summer of 2021.  Nothing aims to build an ecosystem of listening devices which talk to each other.  Initial investors of Nothing include the likes of Tony Fadell (Principal at Future Shape and the Inventor of the iPod,) Casey Neistat (YouTuber,) Kevin Lin (Co founder of Twitch,) Steve Huffman (CEO of Reddit,) Liam Casey (Founder and CEO, PCH,) Paddy Cosgrave (Founder of Web Summit,) Kunal Shah (CEO of CRED) and Josh Buckley (CEO of Product Hunt.)  Alphabet’s investment arm Google Ventures was the latest investor in Nothing as they invested $ 15 million.

 

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Startup India Seed Fund To Be Disbursed From April 1st

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There is no doubt India has a strong foothold in the startup ecosystem.  India currently ranks third in the world for the number of startups, next only to the United States of America and China.  This was possible due to the Indian Government’s initiatives to develop the startup ecosystem and also due to a strong presence of unicorn startups like PayTM, Zomato, Unacademy and many more.

The Government of India announced it would begin to disburse INR 945 crores seed capital from April 1st, 2021 under the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme in a  bid to boost the startup ecosystem in India.  These funds would be distributed through select incubator partners all over the country.  This scheme will be implemented by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT.) 

In a gazette notification, DPIIT announced that Startup India Seed Fund Scheme will provide financial assistance to startups that have been recognised by the DPIIT and incorporated not more than two years ago at the time of application.

ALSO READ: How The Events Industry Is Impacted By The COVID-19 Pandemic

The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme will have a common central application on the Startup India portal for startups on an ongoing basis.  An Experts Advisory Committee (EAC) will be formulated to oversee and monitor the overall execution of the scheme.  The EAC will evaluate and select the incubators for allotment of the seed funds and place measures for the efficient disbursement of funds.

The government also mentioned preference will be given to startups working in the areas of agriculture, education, food processing, healthcare, social impact, waste management, water management, financial inclusion, biotechnology, energy, mobility, defence, space, railways, textiles and oil and gas.

 

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CRED’s Kunal Shah Invests In One Plus Founder Carl Pei’s Startup

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Carl Pei is one of the most well known names in the startup circles considering he gave the world one its best smartphone brands OnePlus.  Since the debut of OnePlus One. The smartphone maker earned the moniker ‘flagship killer’ and has grown in leaps and bounds.  Today OnePlus boasts on an impressive product line up apart from its smartphones and is one of the leading electronic brands in the world.  In October 2020, Carl Pei said the time came for him to leave OnePlus and focus on other interests.  Since then, Pei had been working on his new startup in the audio hardware sector.

The name of Carl Pei’s new startup will be unveiled on January 27th, 2021 but in the past three months the unnamed startup received almost $ 7 million in seed funding.  The investors include Tony Fadell (Principal at Future Shape & Inventor of the iPod,) Casey Neistat (YouTuber,) Kevin Lin (Co-founder of Twitch,) Steve Huffman (CEO of Reddit,) Liam Casey (Founder and CEO, PCH,) Paddy Cosgrave (Founder of Web Summit) and Josh Buckley (CEO of Product Hunt.)

The latest to invest in Carl Pei’s startup is Indian based CRED founder Kunal Shah who invested an undisclosed amount.  Shah is not new to being an angel investor as he already has a portfolio of investing in almost 80 startups.  “Carl is working on a new consumer electronics company that I am sure will be a disruptor in the tech industry. I am excited to be part of this journey (sic,)” the CRED founder said in a statement.

While Pei’s startup is headquartered in London, more details will be known on January 27th, 2021.

 

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