With the IT firms calling upon their employees to report for duty at offices, the restaurants, malls and paying guest accommodations are gearing up for the expected business.
In the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), the hub of IT industry of Chennai, several restaurants are expecting a good footfall as IT firms are slowly opening their premises. The increase in vehicular traffic through the OMR stretch has also caught up and according to transport officials, the traffic increase is due to the opening-up of firms and other business establishments on the stretch.
Restaurants and Paying guest accommodations are also preparing themselves for the opening of the IT firms as these two categories will be in high demand on the stretch.
Murugan Pandyan who runs a paying guest accommodation near the OMR stretch said that he has already conducted three-four rounds of cleaning of his premises and has prepared for the IT employees to return.
While speaking to IANS, Murugan said, “Most of the IT employees have informed us that their offices would start functioning in a couple of weeks and some have already commenced operations. Our old customers are coming back and we have already given a few rooms on rent and people have come in. Most prefer non-ac rooms as there are apprehensions over living in air-conditioned rooms. Also, we have reduced the number of people in a room from four to two and most are converted as single rooms.”
The restaurants on the stretch at Old Mahabalipuram Road are also preparing for the reopening of IT firms as most of them were shut down following the closing of IT firms.
Kuruvila John, an employee of an IT firm and hailing from Pathanamthitta in Kerala told IANS, “I have already reached my office and in a few days we will be fully functional. The first thing I was searching was the restaurants as I need good non-vegetarian food and luckily most of our old joints are reopening and I think things will be normal in a few weeks from now.”
With most of the IT firms conducting vaccine drives and private firms taking steps to inoculate the employees, opening of IT firms would give a fillip to the dormant areas of OMR after the lockdown.
KT Srinivasa Raja, Honorary President of Chennai Hoteliers Association and Managing Director of restaurant chain, Adyar Ananda Bhavan told IANS, “Our restaurants are open and several people, mostly IT employees have dined at our premises but still the footfalls are much less than what the earlier business was.”
He however was optimistic that with the IT firms opening again and the employees coming back to work, business would soar and that profit margin would increase in the days to come.
Several malls are also opening their outlets and Niranjan Kumar, who is the manager of a shop in a mall in OMR, said that people are coming and only genuine buyers are reaching the malls after the Covid-19 pandemic. He said, “Earlier, a majority of visitors came for just window shopping but now only genuine buyers are reaching the malls and this is a welcome trend. We expect the rush to increase in the days to come.”
The opening of IT firms is giving a morale booster to several shops, restaurants, malls and other essential services and the OMR area of Chennai, which is the hub of the IT industry of the city, is slowly but surely witnessing the rush it had in pre-Covid days.
Did Zomato buy Blinkit to offset its losses from online food delivery?
Online food delivery platform Zomato, which saw its stock tumbling below its IPO price as India reopened and retail food industry came back on track, had acquired quick-commerce grocery delivery platform Blinkit for a whopping Rs 4,447 crore (about $568 million). Will this acquisition change its future prospects?
Zomato already owned more than 9 per cent stake in Blinkit (earlier Grofers). While the earlier Blinkit deal was valued around $700 million, the drop in Zomato’s share price reduced it to $568 million.
Zomato’s stock is hovering around Rs 70, after sliding to nearly Rs 50 (it opened at Rs 76 during its mega IPO last year).
According to market experts, Zomato is facing severe cash flow problems as its operational cost is running quite high.
Zomato Founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said on Friday that he is not getting into the quick commerce market because growth in food delivery is now saturating.
“Food delivery has a long runway ahead. In FY22, our Adjusted Revenue grew by 109 per cent over FY21 and we expect healthy growth to continue going forward,” he noted.
According to him, quick commerce is a natural extension of Zomato’s food delivery business.
“How is it a natural extension? Because it is also a hyperlocal business, just like food delivery. And, because it also caters to a need for quick delivery of products for our customers. Quick commerce will help us increase the customer wallet share spent on our platform and also drive higher frequency and engagement from our customers,” he said in a company statement.
Zomato has grown at a CAGR of 86 per cent in the last four years to an adjusted revenue of $710 million “while the adjusted EBITDA margin has improved from (153 per cent) in FY19 to (18 per cent) in FY22”.
The acquisition came as the quick commerce (10-minute delivery) segment is brewing with new hope as people prefer groceries and other home essentials at their doorsteps within no time after making an online order.
Startups like Swiggy Instamart, Zepto and Reliance-backed Dunzo, among others, are trying to defy the current slowdown, as they add more goods and daily essentials to their kitty and deliver them to their customers.
In December 2021, Swiggy announced to pour $700 million into Instamart.
Last month, 10-minute delivery platform Zepto raised $200 million, taking its valuation to around $900 million.
India’s quick commerce market is all set to witness 15 times growth by 2025, reaching a market size of nearly $5.5 billion, according to Bengaluru-based market research firm RedSeer.
The total addressable market for quick commerce in India stands at $45 billion, and urban areas are driving this market on the back of mid-high-income households.
According to Akshant Goyal, Chief Financial Officer, Zomato, their food business is trending towards profitability faster than what they hadAthought at the time of the IPO last year.
“The timeframe for overall Zomato profitability does not change in our minds. In fact, we believe we will now get to profitability within the same timelines (as we thought last year) but with a much larger addressable market. We are also not envisaging any furtherAcapital raise to get to profitability in this timeframe,” he said.
Goyal said that as a food company, “we are already tapping into the large food delivery opportunity in India”.
“Customers (and data) are clearly signalling the macro trend that people are moving to unplanned and spontaneous purchases. To add to this, monthly order frequency on Blinkit app was 3.5x in May 2022, which is higher than that of food delivery on Zomato,” informed Goyal.
Blinkit’s gross order value (GOV) is fast catching up with Zomato’s GOV in some key markets, therefore indicating that quick commerce will add a significant new addressable market to our business in the long term.
“In a sample market like Gurugram, Blinkit GOV is already 63 per cent of Zomato’s food delivery GOV,” Goyal added.
Quick commerce naturally extends across multiple categories including beauty and personal care, electronics, OTC pharma, stationery and other gift items, among others.
The company said it will keep the Blinkit app and brand separate from Zomato.
“We will explore ways in which Blinkit can benefit from Zomato’s large customer base (and vice versa in the long term). Post the deal closure, we are going to start experimenting with various ideas that we have and see which all bear fruit, including having the Blinkit tab on the Zomato app,” the company said.
Investor group acquires SaaS firm Zendesk for $10.2 bn
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform Zendesk has been acquired by a group led by global investment firms Permira and Hellman & Friedman in a $10.2 billion all-cash deal.
Under the terms of this agreement, Zendesk shareholders will receive $77.50 per share. The offer represents a premium of approximately 34 per cent over Zendesk’s closing stock price on June 23.
Zendesk will become a privately held company upon completion of the transaction.
“This is the start of a new chapter for Zendesk with partners that are aligned with the strength of our agile products and talented team, and are committed to providing the resources and expertise to continue our growth trajectory,” said Mikkel Svane, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Zendesk.
Zendesk started the customer experience revolution in 2007 by enabling any business around the world to take their customer service online.
Today, Zendesk connects more than 100,000 brands with hundreds of millions of customers over telephony, chat, email, messaging, social channels, communities, review sites and help centres.
The company employs more than 6,000 people across the world.
Bitcoin heading to zero, China warns investors
As cryptocurrencies reel under the global downturn, Chinese state-run newspaper Economic Daily has warned investors that the price of leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin is “heading to zero”.
The warning came as the cryptocurrency market continued to face meltdown with Bitcoin hovering around $21,000 per digital coin on Saturday — a substantial drop from its record high of $68,000 in November last year.
“Bitcoin is nothing more than a string of digital codes, and its returns mainly come from buying low and selling high,” the newspaper said.
“In the future, once investors’ confidence collapses or when sovereign countries declare bitcoin illegal, it will return to its original value, which is utterly worthless,” it added, reports South China Morning Post.
The Chinese government banned Bitcoin mining in July last year.
It has plans to launch its central bank digital currency (CBDC) called the digital Chinese yuan (e-CNY).
The country banned all cryptocurrency transactions last September and barred foreign crypto exchanges from operating within the country in 2018.
The Economic Daily earlier justified China’s ban on cryptocurrency trading by taking examples of the collapse of stablecoins terraUSD and luna whose value reached zero.
The price of Bitcoin tumbled to a new low of $17,958 this month, before recovering to over $20,000 this week.
According to analysts, Bitcoin may hit a grim $14,000 this year.
The likely bottom range at $14,000 would represent a drop of around 80 per cent for Bitcoin from the $68,000 all-time high.
According to Coindesk, Bitcoin has historically experienced periods of asymptotic price run-ups followed by steep crashes, “typically played out over several months to two years”.
Cryptocurrency watchers refer to these periods as “cycles”.
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