Inc42 – Startpreneur Newsletter

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Top news & stories of the startup ecosystem from India & around the world
Coverfox has received an INR 40 Cr capital infusion from its existing investors. According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings accessed by us, Coverfox has issued Series C5 compulsorily convertible preference shares to investors such as International Finance Corporation, Aegon Digital Investments, Transamerica Ventures, Accel India and SAIF Partners.
Bengaluru-based online classifieds marketplace Quikr has raised INR 20 Cr in debt funding. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings accessed by Inc42, the company has raised debt by issuing 200 compulsorily convertible debentures to Trifecta Capital in May.
In a bid to join in the electric mobility ambitions of the Indian government, Uber Technologies has partnered with Sun Mobility to deploy electric autos on its platform.
Enterprise tech, ecommerce, and media and entertainment combined made up 45% (63) of the total funding deals at the seed stage in H1 2019. Increased investor confidence towards ecommerce was primarily driven by vertical ecommerce models, whereas in the case of media and entertainment, gaming and content-focused startups were the driving force.
Wedding Wishlist was founded in 2016 and began life as a wedding gift registry. The founders, extended Wedding Wishlist’s model to become an app-based platform with a multitude of services such as guest management, logistics, private social media experience and more. The company has raised over $290K in seed funding from angel investors.
SOLV is now inviting applications for what it claims is India’s first hackable digital billboard. ‘Hack Your Future’ is a digital billboard designed to change how traditional recruitment works, and unlike the typical process of shortlisting candidates, followed by interviews and negotiations, this is a real-time test of skills and talent.
Gusto announced yesterday that it has raised $200 million of venture capital from wealth manager Fidelity Management & Research Company and Generation Investment Management, which was founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to create a vehicle for “sustainable” investments.
In the agreement filed on July 24, the FTC alleges that Facebook violated the law by failing to protect data from third parties, serving ads through the use of phone numbers provided for security, and lying to users that its facial recognition software was turned off by default. In order to settle those charges, Facebook will pay $5 billion.


“Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.”

via Today’s Quote

8 Self-Check Questions That Keep Leaders Up At Night

Leader-awake-at-nightEven entrepreneurs who have built many startups, or sold their last one for millions of dollars, know they make occasional people leadership mistakes. They know leadership is all about managing their own complicated, illogical, and fallible human foibles, as well as the people they depend on. These can trip up even the best, often at the cost of more than a good night’s sleep.

Thankfully, most mistakes won’t be as spectacular as the America Online merger with Time Warner for $350 billion, back in 2000, engineered by then superstar entrepreneurs Stephen M. Case and Gerald M. Levin. They apparently ignored all conventional wisdom and advisors, and struck a deal which crashed both companies, now a case study in many business schools.

By most accounts, this case exhibits almost all the lapses identified in a classic book by Dr. Nicole Lipkin, “What Keeps Leaders Up At Night.” She provides some great guidance, based on coaching experience and a doctorate in clinical psychology, on recognizing and resolving the most troubling management issues for leaders in all stages of an organization:

  1. I’m a good leader. So why do I sometimes act like a bad one? According to the evidence, good bosses go bad (temporarily versus the chronically horrible), for three overarching reasons – too busy to win, to proud to see, or too afraid to lose. Every leader needs to check and enhance his self-awareness to recognize and avoid these.
  1. Why don’t people heed my sage advice? Many people use the terms influence, persuasion, and manipulation interchangeably. But each carries its own specific meaning. Influence requires winning minds and hearts to inspire action. Persuasion intellectually stimulates a person to action. Manipulation is seen as insincerity, and it gets non-action.
  1. Why do I lose my cool in hot situations? Stress comes in two distinct forms: good stress and bad stress (distress). Managed effectively, stress is a good thing, leading to survival. But chronic stress and distress results in overreaction to non-life-threatening events. Schedule an on-going reality check with trusted advisors to know the difference.
  1. Why does a good fight sometimes go bad? A good fight in business is called healthy competition. Unfortunately, feelings of envy and inferiority can quickly turn healthy competition into a knock-down, drag-out fight between people and companies, turning a win-win situation into a lose-lose one. Check all your emotions at the gate.
  1. Why can ambition sabotage success? Every leader needs to balance ambition with humility, restrain one’s ego, treat others with respect, create positive impressions, and adopt a long-term perspective of success. Don’t let a “nearsighted” view cloud the “big-picture” view; success in the best interests of all. Contemplate your legacy to others.
  1. Why do people resist change? The brain’s hard wiring pre-disposes us to habitual behavior and decision making. We let biases influence our reaction to change and our ability to make decisions that cause change. To thrive you need to become more aware of biases and psychology behind your own and your people’s responses to change.
  1. Why do good teams go bad? Humans have always affiliated with groups and teams in order to survive and thrive. Group dynamics are not always good, including “us” versus “them” mentality, group conformity, social loafing, and emotional contagion. Leaders need to manage these dynamics to keep from falling prey to negative group behaviors.
  1. What causes a star to fade? When start performers fade, it’s almost always a failure to remain engaged with the people and the job. Smart leaders must constantly monitor the four essential elements of engagement: social connection, leadership excellence, aligned culture, and meaningful work and life. Engagement drives performance and satisfaction.

These questions should all be contemplated and understood by every entrepreneur and startup founder, starting on day one of their quest. Remember, we are all human, and we will make mistakes. The challenge is to learn from these, and just as importantly, learn from others who have been there before you.

So when you find yourself losing sleep at night, don’t get mired in the quicksand of self-pity and self-destruction. Every personal admonition of “What was I thinking?” should be followed with some objective analysis, maybe some help from a trusted ally, and a determination to get back on track and have fun. Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle you must enjoy to be successful.

Marty Zwilling

DataLabs Newsletter

Did you know that after the demonetisation move in November 2016, the transaction volume of UPI surged 51X from INR 17.9 Mn in FY2017 to INR 915.2 Mn in FY2018. Similarly, the total volume of debit and credit card transactions surged by 50.6 % from INR 5.45 Bn to INR 8.2 Bn, during this period.
This should indicate increasing financial inclusion and digital payments penetration in India. Or does it?
“Only 2% of the rural population in India above the age of 15 years has used the internet to pay bills.”
That shows India has a long way to go before fintech inclusion matches some of the more developed economies in the world and in Asia. China and India together make up around 52% ($14.83 Tn) of the total nominal GDP of Asia ($28 Tn), and in the context of the population, the contribution is more than 60%.
Furthermore, a study in 2018 concluded that India could add up to $770 Bn to its GDP by 2025 if female labour force participation in the country is brought at par with male workers. As of 2018, the contribution of women to the India’s GDP was just 17%, while the contribution of women in China’s GDP was 40%.
This prompted DataLabs by Inc42 to study the financial inclusion readiness of India through the lens of the MSME sector, digital lending, fintech gender gap in India.
Here Are The Stories That DataLabs By Inc42 Published This Month: