The seeds of PhonePe were sowed when Flyte, a music downloading platform launched by Sameer and Rahul in 2012, didn’t perform as they had planned. One of the main reasons for its shutdown was that its payments and micro-transactions issued were not solved.
The duo, then at Flipkart, had seen payment systems and gateways fail during the 2014 Big Billion Days Sale. It made them realise that there was a need for a platform that made financial services and payments simple, and that led them to conceptualise PhonePe.
The fintech startup was founded at the end of 2015, and launched in 2016. Today, PhonePe handles over 20 million transactions a day, and claims to contribute 40 percent of over a billion UPI transactions that take place in India. Acquired by Flipkart, it has also entered the domain of financial services.
Now onto the biggest news of the week.
Google is the latest foreign investor in Reliance’s digital arm — Jio Platforms. The search giant is investing Rs 33,737 crore for a 7.7 percent stake in Jio. This makes Google the second-largest minority shareholder in the company after Facebook. It also takes the total investment from financial and strategic investors into Jio Platforms to Rs 1,52,056 crore for equity dilution of 33 percent.
The Google-Jio partnership will expand digitisation across the length and breadth of India, beyond the current 500 million-plus internet users in the country. Jio Platforms and Google have also entered into a commercial agreement to jointly develop an entry-level affordable smartphone with optimisations to the Android operating system and the Play Store.
Moving on to beverages and their origins.
Clover Ventures was started by childhood friends Avinash BR, Gururaj Rao, Arvind Murali, and Santhosh Narasipura, who grew up in Bengaluru. The startup organises greenhouse farmers in the country, drives standardisation across yields, improves productivity, reduces wastage of perishable produce, and ensures consistency for end consumers. It partners with small farmholders, and grades, packages, and sells their premium quality, greenhouse-grown fresh produce through B2B and B2C channels.
The startup borrows its name from the four-leaf ‘clover’ plant, which is said to be the harbinger of good luck; it is also an ode to the bond shared by the four friends.
Avinash, Co-founder and CEO, Clover, tells YourStory, “The sheer unpredictability of the yield, the right time to sell the produce, and the complete absence of technology stood out for us.”
Finally, to a unicorn that is silent and yet making its moves.
Eight years since its inception, homegrown messaging unicorn Hike wants to go beyond messaging and decade-old tropes of two-dimensional conversations, likes, shares, etc. That seems to be the driving force behind its new product: HikeLand.
HikeLand, which is an in-app feature with the potential of being spun off as a separate app, rolled out to select users a month ago. It is a product for the new mobile-first virtual world taking shape in the ongoing pandemic. HikeLand lets users — or rather their virtual 3D avatars — hang out and share experiences in colourful, personalised, and interactive social environments. All experiences on HikeLand can only be unlocked with HikeMojis (social avatars).
It is the user’s “passport” to enter the social virtual world.