Turns out the cash crunch in India is having far enough reaching effects that it is bringing even some unicorns down to earth in that country. The big three of eCommerce in India, Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal last week were hit by cash on delivery (COD) snafus — turns out that buyers were offering the old Indian notes (the ones that are no longer legal tender). That led to unfulfilled orders.
Orders are getting returned when the old notes are offered at the point of delivery. BGR.India reported that the 50 percent spike in returned COD orders comes as COD is used to pay for as much as 60 percent of online orders. No true monetary impact has been assessed, but the demonetization appears to be having an even farther-reaching effect than just long lines at ATMs.
Looking to Airbnb, the financial trade press reported that the short-term home rental firm is to be in talks to buy its Chinese rival Xiaozhu.com, looking to expand its presence in that country. The Chinese firm says it has 10 million active users across the country and 100,000 listings.
Amid possible deal making, Amazon is said to be in talks to buy Souq.com, an online retailer that is based in Dubai for about $1 billion (thus passing the threshold for unicorn status via real offer price). Souq.com has been looking to sell at least part of itself (via equity stake) to another firm, newswires have reported.
Palantir, the big data outfit, has been busy on the fundraising front, having garnered $20 million from an unidentified investor. Intrigue aside, the additional fund flows for a firm that is already sporting an implied valuation of $20 billion shows that there’s still interest in the space (and cofounder Peter Thiel has been a Trump backer, which may be a boon for continued wins among public works spending by the incoming administration).