ETtech Evening Briefing on Feb. 4, 2021: BigBasket rebounds, Elon Musk backs Dogecoin, Greta Thunberg meets Noida

Good evening,

India’s biggest online grocery BigBasket
recorded a 36% jump in revenue in the past fiscal, even before a pandemic-induced lockdown caused a surge in home deliveries.

Meanwhile, as trains across the country start creaking back to life after almost a year, travel portal Ixigo is betting on a quick revival. It has
acquired train discovery and booking platform Comfirmtkt for an undisclosed sum.

In Elon Musk news, the billionaire took a brief hiatus from his self-imposed Twitter exile
to tweet about Dogecoin, a “meme-based cryptocurrency”, causing its price to jump 50%. He just can’t help himself, can he?

Here’s a look at the top tech news today.

1. BigBasket revenue rose 36% before pandemic


Revenues of online grocery BigBasket
rose by over a third in FY20 from the previous fiscal. Losses, however, also grew for the same period. The company clocked a 36% growth in revenue to Rs 3,818 crore for the year ended March 31, 2020.

Rebound after rough start: The homegrown e-grocery had faced disruptions during the initial days of the lockdown in March. It, however, went on to double its business, servicing over 300,000 deliveries a day compared to around 150,000 deliveries before the shutdown.

Going going… ET reported last month that BigBasket is currently in the
final stages of closing a deal to sell a majority stake to the Tata Group. Tata will shell out a total of $1.2 billion, in a mix of a primary and secondary sale of shares, giving it a 60% stake in BigBasket. The salt-to-software conglomerate is likely to provide a full exit to two of BigBasket’s biggest investors, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and scandal-hit private equity firm Abraaj Group.

2. Ixigo buys Confirmtkt

Travel portal Ixigo has
acquired Bengaluru-based Comfirmtkt, an online train discovery and booking platform, for an undisclosed amount in a cash-and-stock deal.

Details: As part of the deal, Ixigo founders Aloke Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar will be joining the board of Confirmtkt and existing investors including Venture Catalysts will exit the company. Both companies will continue to run independently, Ixigo said in a statement. The deal is expected to help the group consolidate its presence in tier 2, 3 and 4 markets.

Betting on an express revival: Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 25 million people in India travelled by train every day, making this an $8-billion market. The resumption of train services and relaxation of lockdown norms have led to a quick recovery of reserved train ticketing to near pre-Covid levels.

3. ETtech Deals

■ Microblogging app
Koo has
raised $4.1 million in Series A funding from existing investors Accel, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and Dream Incubator, and participation from new investor 3one4 Capital. Founded in 2020, Koo allows users to connect, comment, and engage in 13 local languages – like a Twitter for Indian languages.

■ Online gaming platform
Mobile Premier League (MPL) said it is now
valued at $945 million after picking up $95 million in its Series D funding round, more than double from the valuation when it raised capital in September last year. ET was the
first to report about MPL’s fundraise on Wednesday.

4. Elon Musk backs ‘meme-crypto’ Dogecoin on Twitter

Dogecoin surged more than 50% on Thursday after billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk
tweeted his support for the cryptocurrency, two days after he said he was
taking a break from Twitter “for a while”.

We were on a break! This comes two days after the meme-crazy billionaire said he was taking a break from Twitter.

  • A growing number of Musk’s recent tweets have fuelled buying frenzies. Last week, a tweet in support of a group of retail investors on Reddit who had coordinated to buy shares in Gamestop triggered a rapid jump in the share price of the gaming company. And when he updated his Twitter bio to “#bitcoin” last Friday, the cryptocurrency’s price temporarily skyrocketed by around 20%.

5. Greta vs Delhi police: is this real life?

And finally, the strangest story of this, or almost any other day. Rumours on social media suggested that the Delhi police
had filed a case against Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday afternoon. We’re firmly through the looking glass at this point.

  • Things got so out of hand that the Delhi police were forced to call a press conference to clarify that the FIR wasn’t against Thunberg, who the last time we checked wasn’t an Indian citizen. It was, rather, against the unknown and thus unnamed creators of a protest toolkit that Thunberg had tweeted on Wednesday before deleting it hours later. Which is, if anything, even stranger.

Meanwhile, Thunberg reiterated her support for the farmers’ protest. “I still #StandWithFarmers and support their peaceful protest. No amount of hate, threats or violations of human rights will ever change that. #FarmersProtest,” she tweeted.

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