/ETtech Morning Dispatch on Feb 22, 2021: Dream11’s valuation may double, Bounce halves workforce (via Qpute.com)
ETtech Morning Dispatch on Feb 22, 2021: Dream11's valuation may double, Bounce halves workforce

ETtech Morning Dispatch on Feb 22, 2021: Dream11’s valuation may double, Bounce halves workforce (via Qpute.com)


Good morning,

If the story of the pandemic was a tale of two startups, Dream11 and Bounce could very well be the protagonists—albeit with diametrically opposite narratives.

With live sporting events being shelved in the early days of the pandemic and people staying at home, India’s online gaming industry saw a major bump-up in engagement. In contrast, shared mobility continues to be out of favour as those venturing out are choosing personal vehicles over public transport for their commute.

It’s only logical then: Dream11 is looking to double its valuation. Bounce is halving its workforce.

Elsewhere in today’s edition:

1. Scoop:
Dream Sports’ valuation may double to $4 billion

Dream11
pulled off a virtual coup by winning the title sponsorship rights for the truncated Indian Premier League,
raising many an eyebrow over Chinese interest in the firm. It was replacing a Chinese company as IPL’s title sponsor, after all.

But India’s largest fantasy sports company responded the very next month,
raising a little more than what it paid for having its name emblazoned across paraphernalia and on players’ sleeves.

To be sure, Dream11 isn’t IPL 2021’s title sponsor—
Vivo is back—but that hasn’t stopped the online gaming startup
from seeking funds at double its existing valuation.

Driving the news: Dream Sports, which owns Dream11, is in talks with a clutch of investors, including Abu Dhabi’s Alpha Wave Incubation managed by Falcon Edge, for a fresh round of funding at a valuation of $4 billion. The funding, estimated at $300 million, will be through a secondary sale of shares by early investors, including China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd.

If not IPL, then what’s the money for? Diversification.

  • Dream Sports has launched FanCode, a multi-sports aggregator which offers a mix of content, commerce and community engagement.
  • Dream Pay, the company’s bet in the fiercely competitive payments space, caters to online merchants who can use the platform for deposits, settlement and withdrawals.

Rivals: Dream11 isn’t the only online gaming startup looking to double its valuation—in fact, its rival Mobile Premier League
has already done that, raising $95 million to achieve near-unicorn status.

2. ETtech Exclusive: Bounce lays off nearly half of its staff

LayoffETtech

Bounce, an on-demand two-wheeler rental service,
has laid off 40-60% of staff, as the demand for mobility remains subdued 11 months after initial lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: With social distancing becoming the new normal, shared mobility has taken the biggest hit due to the pandemic even as lockdown restrictions eased. Commuters are
choosing personal vehicles over public transport to reduce the risk of contagion.

And that pandemic impact is showing in the workplace of mobility startups.
Ola and
Uber—the biggest companies in the sector—laid off staff to reduce costs as revenue eroded in the initial months of the lockdown. True, they are trying
various ways and means to make money, but business is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Driving the news: This isn’t the first round of layoffs at Bounce. The company had laid off 130 workers, or 22% of its workforce of about 600 employees, in June last year. That number has now come down to just 200. The company has offered three months of severance pay, with medical benefits till the end of the year, employees who have been asked to go said.

“2020 has affected mobility more than any sector,” Vivekananda Hallekere, co-founder and chief executive of Bounce, said in response to ET’s emailed queries. “We have decided to focus on EV two-wheeler mobility and double down on our efforts around electrification. Accordingly, we have made some decisions which have affected a few employees at Bounce.”

Also Read:
Vogo gets $11.5 million funding from existing investors

Tweet of the Day

3. IPO rules — win some, lose some

Indian technology companies eyeing a US listing
got a fillip after the ministry of corporate affairs on Friday clarified that such firms would not be considered as listed companies in India. The government eased the rules after several startups expressed concerns over being regulated by multiple agencies if they choose overseas listing.

But holding crypto assets
may become a hindrance for companies looking to list in India as the country’s capital markets regulator wants promoters of such companies to sell off digital monies before raising funds via an initial share sale.

4. BigBasket vs Daily Basket

India’s largest online grocery BigBasket
has slapped a legal notice on a tiny upstart, Daily Basket, over the use of the term ‘basket’ in the brand name.

The Bengaluru-based seller of fruit and vegetables online, which is
on the cusp of divesting a majority stake to Tata Group at a valuation of about $2 billion, has claimed that the bootstrapped startup—founded in June last year by Ramesh Vel and Ajit Kumar in Coimbatore—infringes on its trademark and brand.

Daily Basket, which started operations in August, received a ‘cease and desist’ notice from BigBasket’s lawyers on February 17.

“…the mere mention or reference of a name containing “basket” in word or logo form for any e-commerce business and related products conjure in the minds of relevant class of consumers and members of trade as that of being associated with our client,” the notice says.

Infographic Insight

deals digestETtech

5. Amazon: Ghosts of Future, and the past

The Enforcement Directorate has sent a letter to Future Coupons Pvt. Ltd. seeking details of the contours of its deal with Amazon.com Inc. The query is part of a probe started by ED after a Delhi High Court observation in December said Amazon’s agreements with Future Group companies, if combined, could violate forex rules.

Meanwhile, according to documents dating back to 2010, three years before Amazon’s India debut, the US giant circulated an investment proposal to select potential local partners for a retailing venture. The proposal offered a minimum return on investments at a pre-determined internal rate of return.

6. Drag and Drop

Indian IT services providers
are seeing increased traction for low-code, no-code technology solutions, as clients look to build and customise their own applications.

What is it? Low-code, no-code solutions are ones that do not require coding to build an app. They allow non-technical professionals, or citizen developers, to quickly build apps through simple drag and drop features and user-friendly layouts.

Why the demand? The pandemic heightened interest in low-code, no-code technology as companies scurried to create digital applications for customers. Businesses have started using such technology as non-technical executives are creating applications when entire workforces have shifted to a remote working model.

Top Stories We Are Covering

Azim Premji 2

Azim Premji bats for private vaccination drive: Wipro Ltd.’s Founder Chairman Azim Premji
has urged the government to immediately allow the private sector to participate in the country’s covid vaccination drive, as that would help the country inoculate 50 crore people in 60 days.

“Deploying and administering the vaccine in large proportion is the key requirement today. Government is doing its best but I would strongly suggest they should supplement the effort by involving private parties,” Premji told Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a post-budget interaction organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce on Sunday.


Lido Learning in talks to raise $30 million:
The edtech startup
is in talks to raise $30million in funding from Singapore-based investment fund Temasek, according to a senior executive. If the new round of funding goes through, the company will be valued at $100 million, said the person.

Qualcomm support for Jio-Google smartphone: Qualcomm, the world’s top supplier of mobile phone processors,
is likely to play a key role in supporting the Jio-Google combine to launch the much-awaited, low-cost Android smartphone in India.

“Qualcomm played a critical role in massification of Jio’s 4G VoLTE feature phone, and having had a partnership with Jio, I think we will continue that legacy of collaborating and supporting them in bringing new devices and offerings, across price tiers that they would wish to drive,” said Rajen Vagadia, president at Qualcomm India.

Global Picks We Are Reading

Restaurants, startups try to outrun UberEats, DoorDash: Apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats have provided restaurants a flood of customers in the Covid-19 pandemic. Now a host of food-ordering tools, along with some restaurants, are finding ways around those apps and the commissions they charge.
(The Wall Street Journal)

Microsoft’s big win in quantum computing was an ‘error’ after all: In March 2018, Dutch physicist and Microsoft employee Leo Kouwenhoven published headline-grabbing new evidence that he had observed an elusive particle called a Majorana fermion. His discovery buoyed Microsoft’s chance to catch up with rivals IBM and Google and build a quantum computer. In fact, Microsoft
planned to have a commercial quantum computer “within five years.”

Three years later, Microsoft’s 2018 physics fillip has fizzled.
(Wired)

The big lesson from Google and Facebook’s Australia news crisis: As someone who worked at News Corp’s The Wall Street Journal writing about Google and Facebook for nearly a decade, I’ve found the faceoff between all three companies over the future of news in Australia both fascinating and deeply frustrating.

On the fascinating side, it’s been the culmination of a yearslong fight over how publishers make money from their content on the internet, the kind of heady debate that’s too important to ignore. Publishers—News Corp chief among them—are rightly concerned with the fact that Facebook and Google benefit from using their content and don’t pay for it.
(The Information)

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