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Why investors remain bullish on India’s start-up outlook for 2022

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A restaurant advertises the use of the Paytm digital payment system in Mumbai, India, on Saturday, July 17, 2021.

Dhiraj Singh | Bloomberg | Getty Images

India’s technology start-ups will continue to attract capital from both private and public markets next year as they grow and mature, investors told CNBC.

There was a notable shift in the country’s start-up environment in 2021, with several high-profile companies making their stock market debuts. These include food delivery app Zomato, payments giant Paytm and the parent company of online insurance aggregator Policybazaar. More start-ups are in the IPO pipeline, including ride-hailing company Ola and Indian hotel chain Oyo.

Indian tech start-ups also raised a record amount of capital from private equity and venture capital firms. Those investors pumped in $28.2 billion worth of tech investments this year across 779 deals, according to information provided by Asia private equity and venture capital intelligence provider, AVCJ. That marked a 200% jump in capital compared with the $9.4 billion invested last year.

Rajan Anandan, managing director at Sequoia Capital India, told CNBC this month that the venture firm is “very bullish” on India’s technology ecosystem and its ability to generate long-term value for stakeholders.

“The success of companies in both domestic and international exchanges has definitely led to increased interest from investors across the world,” Anandan said. Sequoia Capital India saw eight portfolio companies make their stock market debuts in 2021, he added.

“It has validated the fact that large companies can be built from this region — and create significant shareholder value. And with several promising IPOs lined up for next year, we expect this trend to continue,” Anandan said.

Investor appetite for new tech IPOs

The reception of some of India’s top tech IPOs has varied among investors. While Zomato shares made a stellar debut and are up around 5.44% from their first day of trading on July 23, Paytm is down more than 13% from its Nov. 18 debut.

Another digital payments company, Mobikwik, delayed its IPO following Paytm’s disappointing start. As such, there has been growing scrutiny into fintech companies and their ability to generate revenue and eventually profits, local media reports said.

Still, there will likely be appetite for future IPOs, according to Nikhil Kamath, co-founder of Indian brokerage platform Zerodha. The bigger question, however, would be how those companies would fare in the longer term, he told CNBC.

Kamath pointed out that many of the tech start-ups, including some of those that have gone public, remain overvalued.

“Majority of these [companies] are not profitable and they don’t look like they will be in the next four or five years, so, it’s a bit hard to justify the valuation,” he said.

When looking at a start-up, investors should separate the company’s valuation — which is determined by the public market — and its fundamentals, according to Sandeep Naik, head of India and Southeast Asia at global investment firm General Atlantic.

Speaking to CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” earlier this month, Naik said early-stage and growth-stage investors have made a lot of money in India over the last two years. That’s partly because of exits, he said, which allowed them to pump additional capital into India’s tech ecosystem and help start-ups grow.

An exit happens when a founder either sells their start-up to a bigger company or takes it public through an IPO.

Zomato food delivery partners in Kolkata, India.

Debarchan Chatterjee | NurPhoto | Getty Images

“The last 18 to 24 months, you have seen the number of IPOs that are happening, the companies in the IPO pipeline, the way companies have traded and they have come out, which gives you a great validation that the global capital markets are looking at our region as one of the most attractive regions to invest in growth,” Naik said.

What’s next?

While start-ups are expected to continue attracting capital in 2022, the pace of fundraising and growth may slow down comparatively.

That’s because there was a lot of pent-up demand this year around funding rounds that were scheduled to happen in 2020, but were postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Amit Anand, founding partner at Jungle Ventures.

“If I take all the fundraisings that have happened this year and maybe spread that across 2020 and 2021, then the picture looks different,” he told CNBC.

The picture still shows India as a growing market, but points to steady, longer-term year-on-year growth instead of a one-off spike, Anand explained. For international investors like Singapore-based Jungle Ventures, he said India is a strategic market and bets are generally made for the long run.

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Teladoc Tumbled 38% After Big First-Quarter Loss. Is It Just a Pandemic Play?

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After pandemic drop, Canada’s detention of immigrants rises again By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Two closed Canadian border checkpoints are seen after it was announced that the border would close to “non-essential traffic” to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the U.S.-Canada border crossing at the Thousand Isla

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada is locking up more people in immigration detention without charge after the numbers fell during the pandemic, government data obtained by Reuters shows.

Authorities cite an overall rise in foreign travelers amid easing restrictions but lawyers say their detained clients came to Canada years ago.

Canada held 206 people in immigration detention as of March 1, 2022 – a 28% increase compared with March 1 of the previous year. Immigration detainees have not been charged with crimes in Canada and 68% of detainees as of March 1 were locked up because Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) fears they are “unlikely to appear” at an immigration hearing, according to the data.

The rise puts Canada at odds with Amnesty International and other human rights groups that have urged Ottawa to end its use of indefinite immigration detention, noting CBSA has used factors such as a person’s mental illness as reason to detain them.

A CBSA spokesperson told Reuters that “when the number of entries (to Canada) goes up, an increase in detention is to be expected.” CBSA has said in the past it uses detention as a last resort.

A lawyer told Reuters her detained clients have been in Canada for years.

In the United Kingdom, too, immigration detention levels rose last year after dropping earlier in the pandemic, according to government statistics. Unlike Canada, the United States and Australia, European Union member states have limits on immigration detention and those limits cannot exceed six months.

The rise in detentions puts people at risk of contracting COVID-19 in harsh congregate settings, refugee lawyers say.

Julia Sande, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner with Amnesty, called the increase in detentions “disappointing but not surprising,” although she was reluctant to draw conclusions from limited data.

The number of immigration detainees in Canada dropped early in the pandemic, from a daily average of 301 in the fourth quarter (January through March) of 2019-20 to 126 in the first quarter (April through June) of 2020-21.

FEW NO-SHOWS AS DETENTIONS DROPPED

Detaining fewer people did not result in a significant increase in no-shows at immigration hearings – the most common reason for detention, according to Immigration and Refugee Board data.

The average number of no-shows as a percentage of admissibility hearings was about 5.5% in 2021, according to that data, compared to about 5.9% in 2019.

No-shows rose as high as 16% in October 2020, but a spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugee Board said this was due to people not receiving notifications when their hearings resumed after a pause in the pandemic.

Refugee lawyer Andrew Brouwer said the decline in detention earlier in the pandemic shows Canada does not need to lock up as many non-citizens.

“We didn’t see a bunch of no-shows. We didn’t see the sky fall … It for sure shows that the system can operate without throwing people in jail,” Brouwer said.

He added that detainees face harsh pandemic conditions in provincial jails – including extended lockdowns, sometimes with three people in a cell for 23 hours a day.

Refugee lawyer Swathi Sekhar said CBSA officials and the Immigration and Refugee Board members reviewing detentions took the risk of COVID-19 into account when deciding whether someone should be detained earlier in the pandemic but are doing so less now.

“Their position is that COVID is not a factor that should weigh in favor of release,” she said.

“We also see very, very perverse findings … [decision-makers] outright saying that individuals are going to be safer in jail.”

The Immigration and Refugee Board did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Nasdaq futures rise as market attempts comeback from April sell-off, Meta shares soar

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Stock futures rose in overnight trading as the market shook off the April sell-off and investors reacted positively to earnings from Meta Platforms.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 70 points or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.7% and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1.2%.

The moves came as shares of Meta surged more than 18% after hours following a beat on earnings but a miss on revenue, a sign that investors may see signs of relief in the beaten-up tech sector. Shares were down 48% on the year heading into the results.

Meanwhile, shares of Qualcomm gained 5.6% in extended trading on the back of strong earnings while PayPal rose 5% despite issuing weak guidance for the second quarter.

“I think a lot of people want to believe that earnings are going to pull us out of this, but earnings are not what got us into this,” SoFi’s Liz Young told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Wednesday. “… But the reality is there are so many macro headwinds still in front of us in the next 60 days that the market is just hard to impress.”

The after-hour activity followed a volatile regular trading session that saw the Nasdaq Composite stoop to its lowest level in 2022, as stocks looked to bounce back from a tech-led April sell-off. The index is down more than 12% since the start of April.

In Wednesday’s regular trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended at 12,488.93, after rising to 1.7% at session highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.75 points, or 0.2%, to 33,301.93 propped up by gains from Visa and Microsoft, while the S&P 500 added 0.2% to 4,183.96.

Investors await big tech earnings on Thursday from Apple, Amazon and Twitter, along with results from Robinhood. Jobless claims are also due out Thursday.

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