Few companies have quite invested in the future like Softbank. SoftBank has invested more than $1bn each in a total of 19 companies. This includes developed companies such as Coupang, South Korea’s answer to Amazon, leading mobile gaming company Supercell, which is behind titles such as Clash Royale and Clash of Clans, and Indian internet retailer Flipkart, which now generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. The values of companies that SoftBank has invested heavily in range from the $72bn Uber down to the $2.2bn Brightstar. A complete analysis of Softbank’s investments here.

Looking at the Indian news media and its relationship with the political establishment and the corporate elite through the lens of Manufacturing Consent’s famous “propaganda model” with its “five filters” of editorial bias (the seminal work by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman), the parallels in recent times seem striking. The filters include ‘Media ownership and the profit motive’, ‘Advertising Revenue’, ‘Complicity in sourcing (Official sources)’, ‘Flak’ and ‘Fear of the common enemy’. Full details in this story here.

Since Binny Bansal’s exit from Flipkart, founders – from early to growth-stage – have woken up to the need to protect their turf from investors who could go on to control the company. Founders of successful startups have begun lobbying for shares with differential voting rights, while smaller entrepreneurs are educating themselves about how to protect themselves while raising capital. Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal sensed that such a situation could arise, and in 2017, when it seemed like SoftBank was muscling in on strategy, had certain clauses in Ola’s articles of association altered to give him tighter control. But what does a founder do when she or he has to raise capital to make sure the business is scaling up?

Devi, a street vendor in Delhi, sold fresh roses until three months ago, when another vendor showed up on her turf with LED balloons, which appeared to be selling much faster than her roses. Devi wanted in on these new “light balloons.” She’d never seen such a thing.
“I instantly knew I had to sell them,” she says.
So she went to a wholesale market in New Delhi and asked a shopkeeper to sell her some LED balloons and show her how to assemble them.
With an impaired right arm, Devi struggles to stretch the plastic balloons and inflate them with a manual pump. But she believes in the product and in her own talent in sales.
“I used to peel thorns off roses with one hand!” she exclaims, laughing. “If that didn’t kill me, assembling balloons won’t.” And then, the balloons are ready for their final destination after their 3-month, many-thousands-of-miles journey..

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