Jack Dorsey did not inspire the market when he took on the leadership position at Square (NYSE: SQ). Analysts were worried that he wouldn’t be able to juggle both Twitter and Square at the same time. But, if the recent performance is an indicator, he does seem to have turned Square around for the better.
Analysts may have forecast lofty growth for Indian e-commerce till some time back when they forecast an industry worth $60-$100 billion by the year 2020. But recent reports suggest that the medium-term future may not be as rosy. After recording a stellar 180% growth in 2015 to $13 billion, the industry grew a modest 12% last year to $14.5 billion. The slowdown has caused some of the Billion Dollar Unicorn club members in the sector to delay their listing plans.
Launched in 2010, Freshdesk is a proud flag bearer of India’s presence in the global cloud CRM space. Six months back, it raised $55 million at a valuation of $700 million. This takes its total funding to $149 million. In a recent interview, founder Girish Mathrubootham has said that he plans to do a multi-billion dollar IPO in two-three years. Freshdesk was incubated at 1Mby1M, and I have a tremendous soft spot for the company. Girish has since emerged as a hero for the Indian entrepreneurs, and Freshdesk is now India’s most celebrated product company, hoping to become India’s first billion dollar SaaS success story. A Unicorn.
Is raising this much money a good idea for the company? Perhaps the best way to answer this would be to compare its journey with that of rival Zendesk. >>>
Cloud-based enterprise services provider ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) continues to outperform market expectations. It recently announced a leadership change when it brought over former eBay and Bain & Co. CEO John Donahoe as the new CEO. ServiceNow’s exiting CEO Frank Slootman took the company from $75 million in revenues to revenues of $1.4 billion last year. And now, the new leader is aiming to grow faster to cross the $5 billion milestone.
Meal-kit delivery services like Blue Apron have seen stellar success in the recent past, driven by convenience offered to the consumers. By providing recipe instructions along with pre-portioned ingredients, consumers can prepare delicious home cooked meals. Researcher Packaged Facts pegs the US meal kit delivery services market to be worth $1.5 billion last year. It estimates that the industry will grow to be a multi-billion dollar market over the next five years.
In 2016, fintech companies raised about $12.7 billion across more than 800 deals, according to CB Insights data. Another Billion Dollar Unicorn from this sector is Robinhood, which is trying to democratize stock trading through its technology-driven brokerage.
Last year, I had suggested that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) may well be a dark horse in the five horse tech race. Its recent performance confirms that analogy. And the horse is running a good race. The company continues to compete with the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet across multiple offerings to make sure it no longer lags.
Flipkart last month announced that it has raised $1.4 billion in funding from Tencent, eBay, and Microsoft and that it will be buying eBay’s Indian business. It is also in talks with Snapdeal for a possible merger or acquisition. But would buying these broken businesses help Flipkart fight Amazon? This question haunts the aficionados of the Indian startup movement. If Flipkart manages to somehow find success, the nation’s nascent startup momentum will continue. If it fails, it will fail in a very public way, and it will take down the entire industry’s momentum with it. Especially, it will dramatically dampen the Indian e-commerce sector’s hopes and dreams. This post is an attempt to look for a silver lining that may be able to turnaround the company. >>>