Also in this letter:
■ Cult.fit eyes IPO in 12-18 months
■ India well positioned to become a high-growth Web3 market: Nasscom
■ Ather Energy raises $50 million and other deals closed
India, key growth engine in the face of cloud demand: SAP
India is an ‘engine of innovation’ for the world and a key driver of growth for SAP, says a senior executive at the major German tech company, with business growing rapidly thanks to strong demand for services cloud-based.
Calling India “one of the fastest growing markets (for SAP) in the enterprise and mid-market segment,” Scott Russell, board member, Customer Success, told us in a exclusive interview that “(Indian companies) are trying to expand their business to other parts of the world, and we are able to take advantage of that.
The enterprise software maker recorded triple-digit growth in India for three out of four quarters in 2021.
India Growth Story: The company is increasing its reliance on its innovation labs located in India to fuel the next stage of its growth. This work relies heavily on relationships with local startups and the digital native community fostered by SAP Labs in India.
Last year, SAP said it would invest up to $500 million to expand its business in India, boosted by the companies’ “global reach” as “momentum remains strong in the Indian market”.
“With big companies like Asian Paints and Tata Motors migrating to the cloud, it allows us to showcase the use of technology and drive a strong narrative,” Russell said.
Large talent pool: The availability of talent, a highly skilled workforce and the culture of innovation and risk-taking put Indian businesses on a solid pedestal, the executive noted.
Russell said part of the new demand for automation comes from changing business models, with companies increasingly wanting to simplify structures and free up talent performing operational tasks.
SAP is also seeing increased demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) products and in India too, demand for sustainable solutions is increasing, in part because it is part of globally connected value chains.
Tata-backed Cult.fit eyes IPO in 12-18 months
Cult.fit is targeting an IPO in 12 to 18 months as its core gym business has turned an operating profit, its business manager Naresh Krishnaswamy told us.
He added that Cultfit’s revenue had increased by more than 50% compared to pre-Covid levels.
Focus on the core: The company – which counts Tata Digital and Zomato among its investors – is doubling down on its core fitness and fitness products business for now, Krishnaswamy added.
“Other businesses like Mind.fit and some of our wellness categories like diagnostics have been put on the back burner,” he added.
The company also spun off its Care.fit business to Sugar.fit, which it said was doing “extremely well” in the diabetes care space.
How is business going? Cult.fit’s operating revenue was around Rs 161 crore in FY21.
Chief Financial Officer Bishnu Hazari told us FY22 revenue would be in a similar range due to the pandemic. However, the company expects higher revenue for this fiscal year, with business increasing 50% from pre-pandemic levels.
It was valued at $1.5 billion following a $145 million funding round led by Zomato in December 2021.
Cult.fit, which was formerly known as Cure.fit, has made 14 acquisitions over the past few years, including home fitness equipment companies like RPM fitness and Fitkit.
India well positioned to become a high-growth Web3 market: Nasscom
According to a report by the IT industry association Nasscom, India’s rapid adoption of new technologies, its growing ecosystem of startups and the potential of its huge pool of skilled digital talent are the elements of basis that will allow it to emerge as a key player in Web3.
Web3 leverages blockchain technology to decentralize the web and deliver the use cases that were centrally controlled – with opaque execution – in Web2.
While Web3 is still nascent, India’s economic, demographic and technology adoption factors position it well to become a high-growth Web3 market, according to the report.
By the numbers: There were over 450 Web3 startups in India in the first half of the calendar year, with over $1.3 billion invested in Web3 since 2020, according to the report titled The India Web3 Startup Landscape: An Emerging Technology Leadership Frontier.
“A third of these startups have emerged in the past year alone,” said Achyuta Ghosh, Principal and Chief Information Officer, Nasscom.
Not just crypto: Indian Web3 startups are working on creating varied solutions in major application areas such as finance, decentralized communities, entertainment, and infrastructure, not just cryptocurrency. Most people associate Web3 with crypto alone, and that needs to be fixed, Ghosh said.
ET E-Commerce Index
We have launched three indices – ET Ecommerce, ET Ecommerce Profitable and ET Ecommerce Non-Profitable – to track the performance of recently listed technology companies. Here’s how they’ve fared so far.
Closed deals ETtech
Electric scooter maker Ather Energy has raised $50 million in a round led by existing backer Caladium Investment, according to regulatory filings from Tofler. Herald Square Ventures also participated in the latest round, which valued the company at $700-800 million, sources said.
Enterprise financial modeling software provider Drivetrain AI has raised $15 million in a new funding round led by Elevation Capital, Jungle Ventures and Venture Highway. More than 25 startup founders, advisors and investors participated in the round, including Notion’s Akshay Kothari; Khadim Batti and Amit Sharma of Whatfix; and Chargebee’s Krish Subramanian and Karthik Srinivasan.
Blockchain startup Shardeum raised $18.2 million in a seed funding round attended by around 50 investors, including Jane Street, Struck Crypto, The Spartan Group, Big Brain Holdings, DFG, Ghaf Capital Partners and Foresight ventures.
TWEET OF THE DAY
L&T Tech Q2 Earnings Up 22.8%; the company updates its annual forecast
L&T Technology Services’ second-quarter net profit rose 22.8% year-on-year to Rs 282 crore, driven by the ramp-up of previously closed deals and strong performance in verticals. The software services provider raised its dollar revenue growth forecast for the current fiscal year amid largely robust demand.
Company performance: Revenue soared 24.1% to Rs 1,995 crore as all verticals recorded double-digit growth rates. Sequentially, net profit increased by 3% while revenue increased by 6.5%.
Operating margins were 18.3%, down 10 basis points (bps) sequentially and 20 bps year-on-year due to higher employee compensation.
The company raised its dollar revenue growth forecast for this fiscal year from 13.5-15.5% to 15.5-16.5%.
PhonePe FY22 results: Meanwhile, Walmart-owned fintech firm PhonePe said on Tuesday that its operating revenue rose 138% to Rs 1,646 crore in FY22. excluding Employee Share Ownership Plan (Esop) costs, narrowed slightly to Rs 827 crore over the same period.
Other Top Stories by our journalists
Microsoft is planning a hyperscale data center in Pune: Microsoft plans to develop a large hyperscale data center in Pune as part of its multi-city data center strategy for India, two people with direct knowledge of the development told us.
Microsoft lays off 1,000 workers: Microsoft has laid off around 1,000 employees in a new round of layoffs, according to a report by Axios. This is the third round of layoffs at the Big Tech company since July. Microsoft laid off nearly 1% of its 180,000 employees in offices and product divisions that month as part of a “realignment.” He laid off another 200 people in August.
Global Choices We Read
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■ The most popular application of the moment? The one where teens have to say nice things about each other (WSJ)
■ The mysterious reappearance of China’s missing mega-influencer (Rest of the World)