A New Unicorn

$210 million

What is it? The amount India’s largest online food ordering startup Swiggy said it has raised from a set of investors, led by Naspers and DST Global.

Why is it important? With this, the total amount raised by the startup is $465.5 million and it has achieved the status of unicorn (privately-held companies valued above $1 billion), only the second one after Zomato in the food technology space. The funds, which would be used to improve its supply chain network and expand into new markets, would help it to better compete with Zomato and new entrants such as UberEats and Ola’s Foodpanda.

Tell me more: The new investors in this deal include DST Global and Coatue Management, who joined existing ones, Naspers and Meituan Dianping.


What is it? The time provided to announce the price band of an initial public offering (IPO), according to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), from the earlier five days’ duration.

Why is it important? The markets regulator announced some measures on Thursday, especially related to IPOs and share buybacks, with the aim of reducing redundancies and simplifying language. The other changes include harmonisation of shareholding limits across market infrastructure institutions, auditor disclosures to be in line with Kotak committee recommendations and mandatory auditor disclosures effective from April.

Tell me more: SEBI said it has begun initiating action against entities and individuals in the case where National Stock Exchange officials had allegedly provided high-frequency traders unfair access to co-location servers at the exchange site.

1 million 

What is it? The amount in barrels per day by which countries belonging to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies are likely to increase production of crude oil.

Why is it important? The group meets on Friday in Vienna for its biannual meeting, which will decide output policy. The meeting is happening in the backdrop of calls from major consumers like US, China and India to increase production, which would lower prices. Iran, the third-largest producer in Opec and which saw new sanctions from the US in May, is opposed to the deal.

Tell me more: Since last year, OPEC and its allies have cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day. In the past 18 months, crude prices have increased from $42 a barrel to about $70 in the past year.

Rs 75-80 crore

What is it?The amount that the white water rafting industry earns from this activity in Uttarakhand.

Why is it important?On Thursday, this was temporarily in peril after the Uttarakhand High Court released its order in a case banning paragliding, white water rafting and other water sports until the administration put in place a policy to regulate them across the state. It gave the state two weeks to draft a policy.

Tell me more: Besides environmental violations and excesses, the rafting industry in Uttarakhand has also been rocked by deaths in recent years.


What is it? The number of World Cup matches that talismanic Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi has failed to score in now.

Why is it important? On Thursday, Croatia made Argentina pay for defensive lapses, and beat them 3-0 in group match in the 2018 world cup to leave them on the brink of elimination. Argentina now have only 1 point from two matches, and will need a big win in their last match against Nigeria, and some help from other results.

Tell me more: France on Thursday qualified for the round of 16, beating Peru 1-0.

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The way to a man’s purse

$80 million

What is it? The Series E funding raised by online food delivery startup Swiggy (Bundl Technologies) from Naspers and existing investors such as Accel Partners and SAIF Partners.

Why is it important? The funding will help Swiggy take on its rivals, including the well funded Zomato Media, in the highly competitive hyperlocal food delivery space. This is Swiggy’s largest funding to date accounting for 51% of the amount it has raised so far. The startup will use the money to step up its investments in automation and customer behaviour prediction to improve user experience.

Tell me more: Naspers, South Africa based internet and entertainment group, has been making a series of investments in food delivery startups across the world – including iFood in Brazil, SinDelantal in Mexico and Delivery Hero in Germany.


Rs 25,000 crore

What is it? The debt amount Reliance Communications (RCom) has said it would repay by September 30, 2017.

Why is it important? The money, to be recovered from two transactions, is over 50% of its debt (Rs 44,34547,332 crore till March, 2017). The reassurance follows a few days that saw RCom’s stock get pounded, to a record low of Rs 20.5 on Monday, as investors were wary about its debt. Rating agency Moody’s has downgraded the company on the back of its “weak operating performance, high leverage and fragile liquidity position.”

Tell me more: Compounding its problems is the telecom market’s intense price competition with Reliance Industries’ Jio’s entry. The price war led to a Rs 948 crore-loss for RCom in the March quarter.


1 billion Euro

What is it? Development assistance Germany has pledged to India during prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country.

Why is it important? PM Modi is on a four-country tour with Germany as the first stop to strengthen trade ties. Germany has alsobeen reported to push for the European Union free trade agreement with India during a meeting between Modi and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Tell me more: The free trade agreement is seen as a counter to the growing protectionism propagated by US President Donald Trump, including his recent rant against German-made cars sold in the US. China’s One Belt One Road policy is also a cause for concern for European trade as it strengthens its hold on Asian trade networks.



What is it? Underwriting fees charged by investment banks for initial public offerings in the US.

Why is it important? Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in a recent report, cited absence of competition as a reason for the high fees. It said it was akin “akin to tacit collusion” and called for review by competition authorities. In Europe, the underwriting fee is about 3%, while in China it has doubled to 8% in the last few years.

Tell me more: The high fees is a strain on businesses that want to raise money from capital markets, and it’s particularly so for smaller businesses which shell out 11% of the amount raised as expenses. In India, IPO related expenses come to about 7% on average and 10% for smaller companies.



What is it? The number of harassment cases filed by “Anti-Romeo” squads of Uttar Pradesh police.

Why is it important? The drive to check harassment of women in public places is among the most criticised policies launched by Yogi Adityanath government. Rights activists called for disbanding the squads, arguing that it won’t stop harassment, and will increase the risk of infringement on civil liberties.

Tell me more: According to data released by the state, 3.38 lakh people, among the 7.42 lakh who were checked, were warned between March 22 to May 28.  Lucknow zone had the highest number of people who were warned by the squads – 1.14 lakh.

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News in Numbers, Nov 18, 2016: The right note…

15 million

What is it? The number of new Rs 500 notes that have reportedly been printed by the Security Printing and Minting Corp of India, the government agency that prints notes and coins.

Why is it important? There seems to be a delay in the printing of this denomination as the order is to print 400 million by the end of this month. The reason for the delay is due to the presses at Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) and Nashik (Maharashtra) are running below capacity. The presses operated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which are to produce the new Rs 2,000 notes, are now likely to take up the printing of the new Rs 500 notes to meet the demand. Printing of currency notes in Rs 100 denomination has been stalled, according to unnamed RBI officials, as the focus has now shifted to the new ones.

Tell me more: Before the demonetisation move, there were 16.5 billion Rs 500 notes and 6.7 billion Rs 1,000 notes in circulation.


789,000 barrels per day

What is it? India’s oil imports from Iran, according to a report by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts and ship tracking data.

Why is it important? This exceeded Saudi Arabia’s oil supply to India by 92,000 barrels per day (bpd) and Iran is now the top oil supplier to India. However, Saudi Arabia still retains the top slot over the January-October period. With the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting at the end of this month to take its final call on cutting down production to boost oil prices, it remains to be seen if Iran continues to enjoy the exemption to be excluded from these price cuts, given its recent dominant position in oil supply to India, the world’s third-largest oil importer.

Tell me more: Due to the western sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear development programme, the country had slipped to the seventh position in 2013-14 and 2014-15 among the 50-odd countries from which India imports oil.


25 million

What is it? The capacity of a vaccine facility (in terms of number of doses) set up in Gujarat by CPL Biologicals, a joint venture of Cadila Pharmaceuticals and US-based Novavax at an investment of Rs 100 crore.

Why is it important? The company says it has become the first Indian company to have developed a vaccine to treat seasonal influenza (Cadiflu-S), which is also the world’s first influenza vaccine based on virus-like particle technology (VLP). The vaccine does not contain any viruses, which means it completely does away with the possibility of any infection to the vaccinated person from the vaccine (viruses present in vaccines can sometimes replicate in the human body, causing disease by itself).

Tell me more: CPL Biologicals says with the VLP technology, it can develop the new strain specific vaccine in 12-14 weeks compared to the 24-32 weeks it takes to develop a conventional vaccine. Cadiflu-S doesn’t contain egg proteins, antibiotics and preservatives, which would help those who are prone to allergies.


Rs 137.18 crore

What is it? Losses posted by food delivery startup Swiggy (owned and operated by Bundl Technologies) in 2015-16.

Why is it important? This is an increase of nearly 65 times of the loss it posted in 2014-15 (company started operations in August 2014). Swiggy’s revenue increased to Rs 23.59 crore in FY16 (from Rs 11.59 lakh a year ago) while its total expenses were Rs 160.77 crore, indicating that it burnt cash in order to scale up (a trend observed in many other startups such as Flipkart and Ola). Food startups have been struggling to get their economics right with some of them such as Eatlo and Dazo shutting down, some being acquired (FoodPanda acquired TastyKhana) and others downsizing their operations.

Tell me more: Swiggy reportedly has started charging consumers delivery fees for orders from a few food outlets, which have refused to pay a commission to the startup. Earlier, it was delivering for free from these outlets, which is unlikely to be feasible in the long-term.


5-100 basis points

What is it? The cut in deposit rates offered by various Indian banks. A basis point (bps) is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Why is it important? This is a result of the government’s recent demonetisation move, which saw customers depositing old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, which have ceased to be legal tender since over a week ago. Lending rates are expected to come down as well. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has noted on several occasions that banks have not been passing on interest rate cuts to their customers. Between January 2015 and March 2016, the RBI has reduced its benchmark repo rate (the rate at which the apex banks lends to other banks) by 125 bps but public sector banks have lowered their base rate by an average of 55 bps while the private ones have decreased it by 50 bps.

Tell me more: The RBI introduced a new methodology for setting interest rates since the beginning of this financial year after which public sector banks have reduced their base rates by 15 bps on an average while the private banks have lowered it by 25 bps.

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News in numbers, Jan 19, 2016: Divide between rich and poor, India’s markets at 20-year lows…


$1.76 trillion

What is it? Wealth owned by the world’s 62 richest people in 2015, according to Oxfam, an international anti-poverty confederation of 17 organizations. It’s down from 388 individuals in 2010.

Why is it important? Highlights the growing divide between the rich and the poor as this amount is equivalent to that owned by 3.6 billion people, the poorest half of the world’s population. Since 2000, the latter have received just 1% of the total increase in global wealth whereas 50% of that increase has gone to the top 1% of the population.

Tell me more: The wealth of the richest 62 people has seen an increase of 44% since 2010 while that of bottom half fell by 41%. The report says the average rate of return for billionaires in the last five years was 5.3%, which means the richest made $5 million per day from interest payments alone.


$35 million (~ Rs 240 crore)

What is it? The amount food delivery startup Swiggy has raised in Series C funding from existing investors SAIF Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Accel Partners and new investors including Harmony Partners, RB Investments and an undisclosed global investment entity.

Why is it important? This comes at a time when food tech companies including Zomato, FoodPanda and TinyOwl have been facing a series of problems –  funding slowdown and layoffs. The latest round of fund raising shows the rapid pace at which Swiggy, founded in August 2014, is attracting investor money. The Bengaluru-based startup has attracted its Series C funding from a year since it raised its Series A funding of $2 million. And, it raised its Series B funding of $16.5 million last June. The firm is now valued at $125 million.

Tell me more: Swiggy plans to utilise the funds to strengthen its presence in the existing locations besides technology upgradation for reducing overall delivery time and improving customer experience. Food delivery market in India is estimated to be $6 billion.



What is it? The annual subscription fee that Whatsapp plans to scrap. It has been charging some users in US and UK a fee of $0.99 a year after a year of use.

Why is it important? Mobile apps depend on ads and/or subscription fee for revenues. Whatsapp had for long ruled out advertisement as a revenue source. By closing the subscription tap as well, it will now focus on new revenue streams. It plans to “test tools” that would allow its users “to communicate with businesses and organizations” of their choices. Whatsapp, which was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in 2014, has not been in too much of a hurry to monetize its services, unlike its competitors. For instance, WeChat’s estimated average revenue per user is $7 compared to Whatsapp’s $1 per user.

Tell me more: Whatsapp has 990 million users across the world.



What is it? The number of students who have cleared the Chartered Accountancy (CA) Final exams held last November.

Why is it important? This is a pass percentage of 5.7% – a total of 42,469 students took the exam. The pass percentage in November 2015 is higher than November 2013’s pass percentage of 3.1%, which was the lowest in the previous five exams. It is much less than the highs recorded in the last decade or so: 28.3% in November 2007, 26.8% in November 2006 and 22.8 in May 2006.

Tell me more: The exam, which is widely considered a tough one to crack, is held twice a year – May and November. James John Britto from Chennai, Nagulu Mohan Kumar from Tirupati and Avinash Sancheti from Kolkata have been ranked first, second and third respectively in the country.


24,188.37 points

What is it? The level at which India’s benchmark stock index, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex, closed on Monday.

Why is it important? This was the lowest closing in 20 months – it had closed at 24,121.74 points on May 16, 2014. The Sensex has tumbled 18.5% from the highs of January 2015, close to the 20%-mark, which is considered bear-market territory by some investors. This slip has erased almost all the gains made by companies after the NDA’s landslide victory in the Lok Sabha Elections in May 2014.

Tell me more: The 20-year lows have been because of a combination of factors: export numbers released on Monday (which saw a 13th straight month decline), oil prices slipping below $28 per barrel, falling rupee and concerns over the health of China’s economy.



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