In a major fillip for the Indian EV industry, Ola is launching a fleet of 10,000 electric car taxis in the coming weeks.
The new “premium” fleet, currently in pilot, will be operated by top-rated drivers, and provide 100% ride assurance post allocation of the cab, zero cancellations, and 100% cashless payments.
In other news, Byju Raveendran is seeking funds to finance the buyback of stakes in BYJU’S by using his shares as collateral. According to Bloomberg, the founder aims to raise his stake in BYJU’S to as high as 40%.
Meanwhile, the biggest tech trade show of the year is back.
Starting today, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 is set to showcase the latest developments in TVs and laptops, smart home gadgets, and plenty of phones, cars, and also smart toilets in Las Vegas.
The CES is scheduled to go on till Jan 8 and will reveal the latest trends, announcements, and ascendant product categories we will see throughout the rest of 2023.
Catch all the action from CES 2023 here.
In today’s newsletter, we will talk about
BluSmart’s fresh fundraiseSharks back JhaJi StoreDelivery fee dilemma
Here’s your trivia for today: On which continent did modern humans first evolve?
BluSmart’s fresh fundraise
Electric ride-hailing company BluSmart is in advanced talks to raise $250 million in its latest Series B round, $50 million of which will come from existing investors and founders. The remaining $200 million will be provided by a large climate fund and a pension fund, Co-founder Anmol Jaggi told YourStory.
Driving into the future:
The startup has also secured a $100 million credit line to expand its fleet via the purchase of 7,000 electric vehicle cars.BluSmart’s founders will contribute $10 million to $20 million to the $250 million equity investment round, while existing shareholders, including British oil company BP’s investment arm, BP Ventures, will put up the remaining.By the end of March 2024, BluSmart expects to set up 8,000 charging stations, up 5X from the 1,600 charging stations it currently has, and operate over 40,000 EV cabs.
Sharks back JhaJi Store
The dynamic duo of Kalpana and Uma Jha, founders of JhaJi Store, failed to receive funding in Season 1 of Shark Tank India. Despite the setback, the entrepreneurs, who make pickles and chutneys, continued on their journey to build the brand. In Season 2, Sharks Namita Thapar and Vineeta Singh visited their factory and presented them with an Rs 85 lakh cheque.
A tasty treat:
JhaJi Store makes pickles and chutneys using recipes traditional to the Mithilanchal region.Since its appearance on the show about a year ago, the company has grown over 400%, with monthly sales touching over Rs 25 lakh.JhaJi now has 20 SKUs and hopes to include more according to seasonal demand. It will soon move to bigger premises.
Delivery fee dilemma
Image credit: Yash, YS Design
Would you pay for a delivery fee or wait for groceries? Most consumers in India would skip paying extra to get their orders early, a survey by community and poll platform for governance, public and consumer interest, LocalCircles, has found.
The survey also indicates that unless quick commerce startups were willing to offer discounts and differentiation, they might not be able to sustain themselves.
Add to cart:
Only 3% of the 20,751 respondents said that they opted for delivery timelines of less than 30 minutes for grocery ordered online and were willing to pay for it. Nearly 33% wanted products delivered within 24 hours at no delivery fee for a certain order value, and 25% sought grocery services offering delivery within three days at no extra cost. The market size of quick commerce in India is set to grow to $5.5 billion by 2025, according to a report published by research consulting firm Redseer in March 2022.
News & updates
Meta fined: Meta suffered a major defeat on Wednesday that could severely undercut its Facebook and Instagram advertising business after European Union regulators found it had illegally forced users to effectively accept personalised ads. Regulators have also imposed a fine of 390 million euros ($414 million) on Meta. Hired more: Salesforce is cutting some 10% of its workforce, impacting more than 7,000 employees, while it will also shutter offices in “certain markets.” CEO Marc Benioff said that Salesforce had hired too many people through the pandemic during the boom times. For context, the company claimed 79,000 employees last February, a 30% increase in 2020.Maths till 18: In his first speech of 2023, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will announce plans to force school pupils in England to study math up to the age of 18, according to a Downing Street briefing. The initiative attempts to tackle innumeracy and better equip young people for the workplace.
On which continent did modern humans first evolve?
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