Gold Coast considers rail expansion as impact of Commonwealth Games is evaluated
Plans are afoot for the Gold Coast to extend its G:Link light rail system after city and state authorities pledged $10mn to investigate the business and social case for stage three of the project.
The Queensland state government and City of Gold Coast are each contributing $5mn to the feasibility study, which will assess the impact of the proposed 7km, eight-station expansion.
G:Link was heavily used by visitors during the recent Commonwealth Games, and Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey says the time is right for considering further investment into the city’s transport infrastructure.
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“Light rail was designed to be delivered in stages to respond to the city's growth and the first two stages of light rail have proven it to be a viable alternative to using the car,” he said.
It is thought that the Games will inject $870mn into the area, both from the build up and event itself. The Queensland government also pointed to almost $500mn in foreign direct investment alongside ‘billions’ from the private sector.
Other indicators of the economic impact can be found in hotel occupancy statistics, which show a 10% rise on this time last year, while visitor information bookings jumped 60%.
The Games also acted as a launchpad for companies like Telstra and Optus to showcase new technologies, leveraging the power of 5G networks on display at their Gold Coast innovation centres.
It is estimated that the event cost taxpayers around $2bn.
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.