Tesla reassigns India team; Thrasio may revisit India plan

Tesla has been at a standstill with the Indian government since setting up an office in Bengaluru in 2019. The US carmaker wants India to reduce its excessive import duty on automobiles to 100%, but the government has so far refused to budge. Along with its Indian employees, Tesla has now reassigned them to Asia-Pacific and other markets.

Also in this letter:
Thrasio may rethink India’s plans amid global turnaround
Zilingo hires Deloitte to investigate harassment complaints
Quick delivery companies outperform rivals in terms of volume

Tesla redeploys Indian team to other markets amid import duty standoff

Several industry sources told us that with the government lowering import duties on electric vehicles (EVs), Tesla’s team in India has started working on the Asia-Pacific (APAC) market and more.

in limbo: Tesla’s plans to enter the country have been stalled since 2019 as India imposes a 60% import duty on EVs priced at or below $40,000 and 100% on EVs above $40,000. Tesla is lobbying the government to cut rates.

It’s unclear whether Tesla will bring the cars in as completely built units (CBUs), which attract a higher duty, or completely knocked-down (CKD) pieces, which must be reassembled. The price of its electric cars in India will depend on this.

Reassigned: The company has over a dozen key executives in India who oversee business development, public policy, legal, human resources, charging, after-service, homologation and logistics.

A source aware of the company’s plans said most of its Indian employees have relocated to Dubai and are “working primarily for the Middle-East markets”. Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Taiwan are also part of Tesla’s APAC business unit.

Indian Team: Tesla India is headed by US-based Indian executive Prashant Menon.

Other key officials include Chitra Thomas, Nitika Chhabra, Sandeep Pannu, Nitin George Thomas, Vaibhav Taneja, Venkat Sriram and David Feinstein. Menon, Taneja and Feinstein have worked with Tesla in the US, while others are external hires specifically recruited for Tesla India.

deadlock: In February, India turned down Tesla’s request for a lower duty on imported cars, saying the rules already allow it to bring in partially manufactured vehicles and assemble them locally at a lower levy.

Vivek Johri, chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, said, “We have seen whether there is a need to change the duty, but some domestic production is taking place and some investments have come with the existing tariff structure.” “So it’s clear that this is not an obstacle.”

Brand aggregator Thresio may rethink India plans amid global turnaround

Greg Greeley_CEO Thrasio_2

Thrasio Holdings, the company that pioneered the brand roll-up model in 2018, may review its ambitious India strategy amid the global turmoil at the firm.

action: Tharsio, which has bought and scaled the brands it sells on Amazon, announced Wednesday that its chief executive Carlos Cashman is being replaced by Greg Greeley. Media reports suggested that the company was expected to lay off around 20% of its employees.

feedback: Sources tell us that Thresio, which entered India by acquiring Lifelong India in January, is now likely to slow down acquisitions of brands here as it materializes its growth plans internationally. Instead, it will bring some established brands from its US stable to India.

Outgoing CEO Cashman previously told us that the company plans to invest $500 million in India.

“With the shift in top and overall concerns on the Thresio model, the company will prioritize its key markets… India is still at an early stage for them and they will likely set up a home order in their main market (US), Another person aware of the matter said.

Test: Industry sources told us that e-commerce roll-up companies are under scrutiny for their Thresio-inspired business model. Many already brands or sellers are seeing a drop in bargain prices. To be sure, this is partly due to massive improvements in startup funding and valuations.

An executive said, “Sellers who rank among the top results on Amazon and Flipkart are now trading at 2-3 times their Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) instead of 5-7 times last year. are.” Thresio-style startup.

Zilingo appoints Deloitte to investigate harassment complaints


Singapore’s Zilingo has appointed independent auditor Deloitte to investigate allegations of harassment made by cofounder and CEO Ankiti Bose, several people familiar with the development told us.

We have also reviewed a copy of the email Deloitte sent to Bose. The auditor has requested to meet him on May 6 and send him any relevant documents for review.

Catch up quickly: ET reported on April 12 that Zilingo suspended Bose on March 31 after it discovered alleged discrepancies in the company’s accounting during the due-diligence process for the new funding round.

Bose, who worked with Sequoia Capital India before launching Zilingo, disputed these allegations and opposed his suspension.

She dubbed the company’s action a “witch hunt” and indicated that it was triggered by complaints of harassment against an investor in the company.

The cofounder claimed: Earlier on Wednesday, Zilingo co-founder Dhruv Kapur wrote a letter to the company’s employees addressing allegations of harassment and toxic work culture around the startup.

“We are disturbed to see some people on the team acting against the interests of the company, sometimes in a way that hurts Zilingo’s reputation or the reputations of various people in the organization,” he said.

Board vs Bose: In a statement on May 2, Zilingo’s board said that only after Bose suspended him made allegations of harassment, the decision to suspend him was taken jointly by the board, and does not reflect the decision of any particular investor. Was.

Startup under scanner: Zilingo’s troubles come at a time when some Sequoia-backed companies have been in the news over issues related to corporate governance and financial audits. These include fintech firm BharatPe and social commerce platform Trail.

tweet of the day

Volume of quick delivery firms outweighs slower competitors


Executives at consumer goods companies said quick (10-20-minute) deliveries of daily household essentials are rising 20-25% faster in terms of deliveries of four hours or more.

“We are seeing much higher conversion rates in Quick Commerce than in larger platforms. The strike rate of consumers ordering on the Quick Commerce platform is definitely higher,” said Sanket Ray, president of Coca-Cola.

Tough competition: Blinkit, Swiggy Instamart, Reliance-backed Dunzo and Zepto are among the leaders in the 10-20 minute delivery category. Late last month, Tata Group-owned BigBasket said its express delivery service BibiNow will now offer 10-20 minute delivery for over 3,000 products.

Executives say faster delivery has smaller ticket sizes, but faster month-to-month volumes than larger, overnight delivery platforms.

Consulting firm RedSeer said in a report that Accelerated Commerce will be a $0.3 billion to $5 billion market by 2025, despite challenges such as low margins and high delivery costs.

Cash-rich, IT giants plan dividend, share repurchases

information technology

TCS, Infosys and Wipro are looking at a mix of dividend and share buybacks to return money to their shareholders, key executives told us.

Earlier in the year, TCS completed a buyback process of Rs 18,000 crore, the fastest in recent history, while Infosys completed a buyback process of Rs 9,200 crore last year.

TCS chief executive Rajesh Gopinathan told ET that the company is committed to returning 80-100% of its free cash flow to shareholders and the buybacks and dividends this year have been around 50:50.

As of FY22, TCS reported free cash flow of Rs 39,181 crore, or 111.3% of its net income. It returned Rs 31,424 crore to shareholders through buybacks and dividends. Infosys reported free cash flow of Rs 22,803 crore for the full financial year.

Infosys chief executive Salil Parekh also told ET that the Bengaluru-based company was committed to returning part of the free cash flow to shareholders through a combination of dividends and buybacks over a five-year period.

While the results of TCS and Infosys did not overwhelm analysts, the strong cash flow generated by both the companies during FY22 has been seen as a strong positive for their FY23 performance.

Freshworks posted losses up 42% in quarterly revenue


FreshWorks’ quarterly revenue jumped 42% from the same period a year ago to $114.6 million, even as the January-March quarter saw a non-GAAP loss at $600,000, the same as last year.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) company exceeded its quarterly revenue forecast by 5.13% for the first quarter.

Freshworks revised its 2022 revenue guidance from $486.50-495 million to $495.50-501.50 million.

The company will continue to aggressively operate across segments from engineering to marketing across key geographies this year, Chief Executive Girish Mathrubhumi told us after the results were announced.

Mathrubhumi said the company has grown significantly since 2016, when the small and medium business (SMB) segment made up the majority of its customers. “Today, it’s about 50-50, with mid-market and enterprise [segments] make up half of our business,” he said.

Other top stories by our reporter


Amazon doubles export target from India Amazon has doubled its export target from the Indian market to $20 billion by 2025. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said on a visit to India in 2020 that the company aims to export goods worth about $10 billion from the country by 2025.

Tata Digital appointed top executive of Swiggy According to a development source, Tata Digital has hired another top startup executive – Sivacharan Puluguratha from Swiggy. Puluguratha was Swiggy’s senior vice president of business, second only to CXO, and handled the company’s food delivery operations.

global choice we’re reading

Former Facebook, WhatsApp employees take new initiative to fix social media (WSJ)
R2-D-Chew: Robot Chef Simulates Human Eating Process to Make Delicious Food (Guardian)
Only 2% of Starlink users live outside the West, data suggests (rest of the world)

Today’s ETtech Morning Dispatch was curated by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai and Judy Franco in New Delhi. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.

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