3 ways SA ‘supercell’ storms have hammered businesses
Power is gradually coming back on in South Australian homes and businesses after a mega-storm battered the state in the middle of the week. Many small businesses were forced to close their doors, while some major businesses suspended operations, after the extreme weather wiped out electricity statewide. Here we recount where the damage was worst, and for whom.
Mining major BHP Billiton was forced to halt production at its Olympic Dam mine, which is the world’s single largest supplier of uranium and also the fourth biggest copper deposit globally. On Friday, a spokesperson for the company said that he couldn’t yet predict when activity at the mine might restart.
Steel production also cools
The Whyalla steelworks was reported to be in a ‘critical’ condition on Thursday, with hundreds of tonnes of molten steel at risk of solidifying inside its blast furnace. Production of 3,500 tonnes of steel a day has been halted, as well as the mining of iron ore which feeds the mill. The Whyalla works’ Financial Administrator, Mark Mentha, said that it could be up to a week before power is restored at the site.
Traders look for raw materials elsewhere
Prices on the London Metal Exchange have risen as commodities traders hedge their bets on Asian buyers looking outside Australia for their raw materials. Lead prices also leapt up after the world’s biggest lead smelter encountered power failure.
A metal trader in Sydney told Reuters: "You can't remove this much metal from the market for that amount of time and not expect people to scramble around for new supplies."
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Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.