May 19, 2020

Australian Opposition MPs Want to Protect Produce

Australia
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Coles
government
Bizclik Editor
2 min
Australian Opposition MPs Want to Protect Produce

The business world is abuzz after supermarket giant Coles announced it would be slashing its prices on fruit and vegetables.  Its major competitor, Woolsworths, is bracing for a fight, but there’s more at stake than corporate dominance.  In the opinion of opposition MP’s, if nothing is done to balance this aggressive market trend, Australia’s farming community may be facing long-term extinction.

“There's an enormous power imbalance in the supply chain, between the big supermarkets and smaller suppliers,” said Bruce Billson, shadow small business minister.  “Where that market dominance is detrimental to suppliers in the longer term, consumers will also be disadvantaged.”  He went on to accuse the Gillard government of being “asleep at the wheel”.

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Distilled, the fear is that smaller, local competitors will be muscled out of business entirely by their globally sourced rivals.  The end result of such a process, critics suggest, will be the deterioration of Australian farming and, once a near-monopoly has been established, an eventual price hike to consumers.

“Clearly Coles intends that there be no fruit and vegetable growers in Australia,” said Bob Katter, independent Queensland MP whose electorate includes many farmers.  “We are already a net importer of fruit and vegetables.  Within four years the country will not be able to feed itself. Do you seriously think our farmers can work for less than they are working for now?”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard stressed that farmers should be treated “fairly and appropriately” by the big retail chains, but her heart doesn’t seem to be in reform.  “The government has confidence that farmers and supermarkets will continue to work together to ensure the long-term viability of primary production in Australia,” said parliamentary secretary David Bradbury.

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Jun 8, 2021

Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days

India
Unicorns
Startups
tech
Kate Birch
2 min
We chart an historic week in India’s startup tech industry, where from April 5-9 the country achieved six unicorns

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. 

 

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