May 20, 2020

Five Japanese companies bidding for Iranian oil contracts

2 min
Five Japanese companies bidding for Iranian oil contracts

Keen to capitalise on opportunities arising from reduced sanctions on Iran, businesses from across the world are bidding for lucrative state contracts, and none more so than these five businesses from Japan.

With the fourth largest oil reserves in the world, Iran presents attractive opportunities – sanctions or otherwise. National Iranian Oil has announced that a number of global players who will be allowed to successfully bid for contracts, including Royal Dutch Shell and Gazprom. In no particular order, here’s a rundown of the Japanese companies that have achieved bidding certification.

1. Inpex

With roughly 2,000 staff, Inpex is a relatively small player compared to others in a very crowded industry. The company ownership is divided among a number of investors on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, as well as a major stake held by the Japanese government.

2. Mitsui & Co

One of Japan’s largest general trading companies, Mitsui has a number of interests outside oil which include everything from energy, logistics, and finance, to food, textiles, and chemicals.

When it comes to oil specifically, Mitsui is specialised in upstream development and oil and gas trading. It has two major projects America - the Marcellus Shale and the Eagle Ford Shale. This aspect of its business is, by far, the company’s largest in terms of revenue.

3. Mitsubishi Corp

Employing over 60,000 people across a range of industrial segments, Mitsubishi is Japan’s largest general trading company. Its energy portfolio includes assets in crude oil, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, shale gas, and biofuels, amongst others.

4. Itochu

Second only to Mitsubishi when it comes to size, Itochu trades in oil and gas, as well as a number of other industrial chemicals. It builds machinery which could well be utilised by the industry.

5. Japan Petroleum Exploration Company Limited 

Japan Petroleum Exploration Company Limited (JAPEX) is a globally present oil and gas company involved in every aspect of the value chain, with operations in exploring and producing oil, gas, and liquefied natural gas. The bulk of its overseas work revolves around acquiring permits for already discovered oil fields which include those of neighbouring Iraq. 

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Jun 8, 2021

Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days

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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