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How The COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Startup Investments And  IPOs In 2020

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HOW THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECTED STARTUP INVESTMENTS AND  IPOs IN 2020


GUEST POST by Vedant Goel

With the ever increasing number of Covid-19 cases in India, the economy is facing major mayhem, thereby resulting in a slowdown.  It is vividly visible how the public markets are volatile, with huge swings every day.  Nonetheless, some startups in a few sectors have also had a good incline in their business prospects. 

Are you one of those using Zoom for daily conferences and meetings?  Or are you playing Pictionary on gaming apps like Houseparty?  You might definitely be watching something on Netflix or Amazon Prime.  If yes, you are already part of  this  trend!

During the same period, the Software as a Service (SaaS) video conferencing company, Zoom, has seen tremendous growth in its market capital by the rate of 77%.  Not only Zoom, but the targets of Gaming apps such as Psych and Houseparty have also seen a spike in their customer base.  The major streaming applications like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. and online education content providers like Byju’s, and Khan Academy have also reported a considerable boost in users with the total time spent by individuals on their platforms.  This pandemic has profited online entertainment and communication startups.  However, do you know if investing in these startups is a good idea right now?  An expert from Initial Public Offering  Corner, suggests “It is a very crucial time for investors to understand the future of companies listed in the IPOs before making a stock investment.  The current market scenario being turbulent, one needs to assess all the conditions through in depth research and prediction to gain fruitful results (sic.)”  With a team of devoted and passionate stock market enthusiasts who have great expertise in IPO research, IPO Corner is one such platform that assists investors and educates them about the latest IPO Listings.

The startups from the travel industries which provide flight and hotel bookings have seen a major downfall.  The eminent gig-economy travel startups like Uber, Ola, and Airbnb have seen an extensive drop in demand.  Airbnb also had planned to file for an IPO in 2020, which seemingly has been postponed due to the huge impact of Covid-19 on the travel industry.  SoftBank backed insurance aggregator Policy Bazaar and the Indian ride hailing app Ola, which planned to go public in 9 to18 months, may indefinitely defer those plans due to the current turbulent market scenario. 

ALSO READ: How Social Networking App Houseparty Is Entertaining Generations During Quarantine Lockdowns 

As per data compiled by Bloomberg, India’s stock exchanges have stooped down by 25%, and eight companies listed in India raised just $7.3 million, a five year low.  Fundraising has become a serious challenge for many businessmen and startup companies.  Looking for the next round of investment has become arduous for leading startups.  IPO researchers state that “IPO window” (good market conditions for going public) is unpredictable and the investors must wait until the market stability returns.  In India, the recent amendments made to the Companies Act in March 2020, will allow Indian companies to directly list on specific foreign stock exchanges.   This will ensure easier access to diversified pools of capital, better valuations, a broader investor base and in turn, boost India’s brand globally.  This is a splendid opportunity for Indian startups to look forward.

The whole COVID-19 situation has taken a toll on the world and has led to terrible market turbulence.   The volatility of the market caused by the impact of coronavirus has made all startups and enthusiasts go under a wrap, be it in regards to valuation or critical timing. 

Researchers at IPO Corner explain the two major challenges the IPO market is facing and first being high market volatility, which makes it almost impossible to price IPOs in the listings.   Secondly, investors will be held back if the market witnesses weak performance over the next quarter.  The future months might see many mergers and acquisitions if this environment continues. 

ALSO READ: How To Ensure Team Meetings Are Productive During Work From Home Due To Lockdown

Many Indian startups that are profiting from the lockdown are from e-commerce and online retail websites.  As the consumers are stocking up on the essentials, the major grocery retailers like Bigbasket and Grofers are facing a supply crunch and struggling to keep up.  However, they are committed to sticking to honest prices when the market prices are skyrocketing.  The air of uncertainty surrounding the investment market is equally the same in India as in the global world. “In times like this, one must educate oneself on the future market trends and look out to grab the next best opportunity to score wealth.” says an expert from IPO Corner.

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Types And Details About Corporate Loans

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Types And Details About Corporate Loans

Guest post by Ashish Gupta

Corporate loans are loans that are taken for the purpose of business. There are many banks which provide corporate loans.  However, the eligibility criteria and the upper limit for the sanction of such loans would differ.  The loans are generally sanctioned for those businesses that have been in existence for at least 5 years and have been making profits for a period of at least 2 years before making such an application for the loan.  The funds of the loan when sanctioned can be used for long term as well as short term business expenses.

Corporate loans can be either secured or unsecured loans.  Secured corporate loans require collateral like business assets, for the sanction of the loan, and such collateral can be seized in case of non payment of principal or interest amount depending on the contract between the lender and the borrower.  On the other hand, unsecured corporate loans are those that do not require any collateral as such.  However, unsecured loans can be obtained only if the borrower has a good credit score.

Types of Corporate Loans

There are various types of corporate loans offered to be lent by financial institutions.  Few of them are:

  1. Term loan is a loan that can be secured for the purposes of buying property for business, or for buying new equipment with better technological advancement.
  2. Loans against securities are those where the borrower can obtain a loan by pledging securities like mutual funds, bonds, insurance policies, and any other securities of similar nature.
  3. Letter of Credit Facility and Bank Guarantee is when the bank acts as a surety for transactions made by the concerned person for business purposes.
  4. Cash Credit Facility is wherein the borrower can avail up to 70% to 80% of the value of assets that he/she pledges for business needs.
  5. Overdraft Facility is an offer by the bank to debit your current account beyond the money that is present in there. Such a facility is generally provided according to the assets pledged by the borrower.
  6. Channel Financing helps the distributors in obtaining the funding required for buying new equipment, tools and other items.
  7. Working Capital GST Corporate loans help in attaining quick cash on the basis of the applicant’s GST returns and also eliminates some cumbersome paperwork.
  8. Drop-line overdraft facility is where the lender deposits certain money in a separate account for the borrower, from which the latter can utilise business expenses.  The speciality of this kind of loan is that the borrower only needs to pay interest up to the amount of loan that has been used by him/her from the money deposited in the account.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

The eligibility criteria for each financial or lending institution may vary according to their policies and rules.  However, few of the basic requirements that are necessitated by almost all lending institutions for availing a corporate loan are as follows:

  1. AGE: The applicant must at least be 21 years old, but less than 65 years.
  2. INCOME: The expected annual income of the applicant is generally Rs.1, 00, 00,000. However, some financial institutions may provide loans for a slightly lower income level as well.
  3. INCOME TAX RETURN: The income tax return for at least one year must be filed before applying for such a loan. Some lenders may even expect the applicant to have filed income tax returns for two years before applying for the loan.
  4. PROFIT: Most lenders require that the business must have made profits for at least 2 years before submitting the application for a corporate loan.
  5. CREDIT RATING: The applicant must have good credit ratings and credit score before making an application for a corporate loan, especially for those who wish to obtain unsecured loans.
  6. STABILITY: The history of the business is also looked into by financial institutions to know the stability and growth of the business. 

Documents Required

The documents required may also be subjective depending upon the lender.  However, few documents are fundamental that all lending institutions would need when an application for a corporate loan is submitted. They are:

  1. Permanent Account Number card, or the PAN card
  2. Identity proof
  3. Address proof
  4. Bank Statements for the past 6 months of one years
  5. Continuance proof of the business
  6. The latest Income Tax Returns which have been filed
  7. Other Documents like the certified copies of Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association of the company, or a declaration of sole proprietorship or partnership deed.

Things to consider before applying for a corporate loan

  1. CREDIT SCORE: The applicant must check his/her credit score before applying for such a loan, as credit scores would drastically affect the availability of a loan.
  2. INTEREST RATE: It is important to analyse the interest rates of each bank to ensure that more of the profits in business do not end up getting spent for interests.
  3. TENURE: The tenure of the loan is another important aspect that needs to be considered and analysed for the benefit of the applicant’s business.  If the applicant knows that more profits can be made quickly, then he/she must opt for a shorter term of repayment of loan.  On the other hand, if the applicant is aware that the business might not make profits immediately, then it is better to opt for a long-term loan.
  4. FILING INCOME TAX RETURNS:  The applicant must ensure that the ITR has been filed for at least 1 or 2 years before applying for a corporate loan.
  5. OTHER ALTERNATIVES: The applicant must consider other feasible alternatives than loans while in need of funds for business. For instance, if the business is a registered company, then alternatives such as shares, and debentures must also be considered.

Term of repayment for corporate loans

The term for repaying corporate loans depends on the contract between the lender and the borrower, and the kind of loan that has been secured by the borrower.  The repayment period of some corporate loans may be about 12-48 months, or it can even extend up to 5 years.

 

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How The Events Industry Is Impacted By The COVID-19 Pandemic

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How The Events Industry Is Impacted By The COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way businesses will operate in the future once the world recovers from the aftermath of the virus.  The demand across various sectors went haywire and in some cases has completely dried up, which means these are the industries which are the worst affected.  These are industries which rely on mass gatherings of people and in the current scenario governments across the world are cracking down heavily on large gatherings.  Aviation, Tourism, Movies, Malls, Hospitality, Transportation, sports and events are the worst hit amongst all the sectors.  Events industry in particular falls under the bracket of Meetings-Incentives-Conventions-Exhibitions (MICE) and is a Trillion dollar industry worldwide.  The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for impacting almost 25 millions jobs across the world.  This is just the tip of the iceberg and the actual impact could be much higher when we consider indirect jobs and sporting events.

Multiple large scale events across the globe have been cancelled or deferred until further notice.  The cancellations began in February when the world is waking up to the fact that the virus is highly contagious and is spreading across borders with ease.  The first major cancellation was the Mobile World Congress 2020 edition, which takes place in Barcelona and is an event to exhibit mobile communication technologies.  This was just a premise for what was to follow in the coming months.  

In a survey done by Events and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) and which was shared with Ernst & Young the events and exhibitions sector in India is expected to take a one trillion rupees hit.  According to the report, in India alone it is estimated that 60 million people are unemployed and another 10 million directly affected by the crisis.

Business events like Annual General Meets (AGM,) corporate retreats, product launches, partner meets, conferences and seminars have been cancelled and have instead shifted online to Zoom, Google Meets, Skype and YouTube.  The best example would be the much anticipated OnePlus product launch of their OnePlus 8 series of smartphones.  The event was live telecasted on YouTube and the smartphone is now available for purchasing on e-commerce platform Amazon.

Exhibitions and trade fairs have been cancelled all over the world.  One of the biggest trade fairs which is the Dubai Expo 2020, has cancelled in light of the pandemic.  Some of the largest sporting events in the world like Tokyo Olympics, Football’s Premier League, National Basketball Association (NBA) and the much anticipated Indian Premier League in India stands cancelled at the moment.  

Corporates have been using video conference facilities for conducting internal meetings already, mostly with the intention of trying to run the operations effectively with due consideration to the ‘work from home’ initiative.  Video conferencing solutions by Go-to-Webinar, Kaltura and Zoom have seen an unprecedented surge in demand.  In India Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) have urged the government to extend processes such as tax refunds, loan facilities for the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector and artistes to help reduce the negative impact on the livelihood of people involved in the entertainment and event space.  The Indian Government has responded with initiatives for the MSME sector with its Atma Nirbhar Package.

At present, technology applications such as video-conferences, webinars, virtual (events, meetings) and others are playing their individual parts to try and keep the operations running, especially for the corporate segment.  In the future however, we can see a hybrid approach to hosting events by integrating both virtual and physical components.  However, we will have a better understanding once the industry resumes its operations in three to four months down the line.

 

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How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

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How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

If you own a smartphone, there is a very high chance that you are a WhatsApp user.  The simple and lightweight online messaging application has embedded itself into our lives and has become indispensable.  Family groups, friend groups, office groups, play groups and many other groups like these see millions of conversations happening on a daily basis.  But have you ever wondered how this leading online messaging application makes its money?  There are no ads on WhatsApp and if that is the case from where does Whatsapp generate its revenue?

The answer to the question goes back to the beginning of WhatsApp which was founded by Brain Acton and Jan Koum, both of whom were ex- Yahoo employees.  When Whatsapp was first developed and deployed for public use it became an instant hit with users but the founders quickly realised they required data centers to handle the huge volumes of data from the user conversations to keep WhatsApp running.  So, they set a price of $1 for some countries and for some other countries it was free for the first year but charged $1 for renewal from the second year onwards.  In short this was a subscription model and Whatsapp had 700 million users at the peak of this model which meant it was generating 700 million dollars in revenue.

Facebook ended up purchasing WhatsApp in 2014 for $ 19 billion but one of the founders Jan Koum decided to leave WhatsApp because of a disagreement with Facebook over its use of user data and its desire to allow advertisements on WhatsApp.  Both the founders were vocal supporters of user data privacy.  As of 2020, WhatsApp has over 2 billion users, the second largest user database after Facebook.

ALSO READ: 4 Useful And New WhatsApp Features That Released During The COVID-19 Lockdown 

But How is Whatsapp generating its revenue now since there are still no ads on display in the mobile app.  In a 2016 blogpost WhatsApp said “Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.  The goal is to have people communicate directly with their banks, airlines, etc. over the app, while the businesses pick up the bill previously paid through subscriptions.”  Facebook also uses the data from the user messages in WhatsApp to increase the reach of its ads on Facebook.  However, a user has the ability to turn off the settings which allow Whatsapp to share the data with Facebook.  According to a Forbes estimate, WhatsApp is generating a revenue of $ 5 billion at an average revenue of $4 per user.

Facebook is benefiting from Whatsapp by generating a huge wealth of consumer behavior data which inturn is being used to improve the ads on Facebook.  WhatsApp has a growing revenue stream because of the new users it keeps adding to its database and still has a lot of room to grow.

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