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India’s Swiggy raises $43M to expand to new businesses – TechCrunch

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Indian food delivery startup Swiggy has bagged an additional $43 million as it looks to expand to new businesses.

Existing investor Tencent and new players Ark Impact, Korea Investment Partners, Samsung Ventures and Mirae Asset Capital Markets financed the new tranche, which is part of Swiggy’s ongoing Series I round. In February, the Bangalore-based startup had raised $113 million from Prosus Ventures, its largest investor, and others as part of the current round.

The new round, which pushes five-year-old Swiggy’s total raise-to-date to $1.42 billion, values it at $3.6 billion, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. Tencent has led today’s tranche with about $19 million of investment, according to figures disclosed by Swiggy to the local regulator.

The announcement follows New Delhi government’s three-week lockdown for its 1.3 billion people in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The lockdown has disrupted several businesses including food delivery. As firms grapple with disruption, many are beginning to explore new categories to serve customers. Swiggy, which is operational in 520 cities, has expanded to grocery delivery in select parts of the country. (Swiggy expanded beyond food delivery last year.)

A Swiggy executive said the company, which raised $1 billion in December 2018, is looking to build a “sustainable path to profitability.”

In a statement, Rahul Bothra, CFO at Swiggy, said the company has “built a sustainable food delivery business over the years while solving various customer pain points. As we continue to strengthen and expand our services that offer unparalleled convenience to our consumers, we are humbled by the faith shown by our investors year-on-year and welcome the new investors on board. Our focus remains to execute on our vision while building a sustainable path to profitability.”

Swiggy’s rival, Zomato, has also picked up capital in recent months. In January, the 11-year-old firm raised $150 million from Ant Financial. The company’s top executive said then that it was close to raising another $450 million in a matter of few days. The company has raised an additional $5 million since — a spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Both the firms have seen the volume of their daily orders drop from more than 5 million to under a million in recent days. But the disruption is not unique to either of them so long-term investors remain bullish.

The exit of Uber from India’s food delivery space earlier this year — after selling its local food business to Zomato for $206 million — has made the market a duopoly play. At stake is a $4.2 billion opportunity, according to research firm Redseer.

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Down to Business: Carside To Go helps Applebee’s survive

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The thing I love about covering public companies is the easy access to financials and other information that privately held firms like to keep, well, private.

Public companies, though, don’t have that luxury, and sometimes that gives you a chance to better understand and appreciate their operations.

Take restaurants, for instance, in the age of COVID-19.

When concern over the novel coronavirus began to build in March, eateries faced the prospect of government-ordered reductions in dining room capacity to slow the rate of infection until all were finally told to close – save for takeout and delivery.

For U.S. restaurants, the mandate cost $80 billion in sales from March to April, according to the National Restaurant Association, with 8 million workers furloughed or laid off. For New York, the loss was $5.5 billion in sales and 527,000 workers.

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At the publicly traded chain restaurants, the damage showed up in the quarterly numbers they had to report just as the pandemic descended.

Applebee’s, the casual-dining eatery, saw 10 consecutive weeks of positive first-quarter “comp sales” wiped out. By the last week of March, the numbers – a measure of retail health based on sales at locations open at least a year – were down 80.6 percent.

Other chains saw it, too: Denny’s comp sales were off 79 percent; Olive Garden’s dropped nearly 65 percent; LongHorn Steakhouse’s fell 75 percent.

The carnage would have been even worse had they all not been able to continue selling through takeout and delivery.

At Applebee’s, which already had takeout through Carside To Go, so-called off-premises sales tripled between the beginning of the year and the end of April, running then at $17,700 per restaurant per week.

That wasn’t close to meeting the average restaurant’s annual sales of $2.4 million, though. On the first-quarter conference call of parent company Dine Brands Global in late April, Applebee’s President John Cywinski said the company-owned and franchised restaurants generally were doing only 35 percent of last year’s volume.

But comp sales were improving weekly, even with takeout’s limited menu, he said, and he predicted the off-premises business “will remain robust” as Applebee’s dining rooms begin to reopen. (Some states allowed in-restaurant dining to resume in late April; in New York, it’s slated to occur in Phase 3 of the state’s gradual reopening, which should reach the Capital Region later this month.)

On the quarterly conference call, Dine Brands CEO Steve Joyce suggested a new inverse relationship between dining in and taking out: Sales from the former now will be an incremental add-on to the latter that will slowly help restaurant profitability.

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And how will the reopened restaurants look? Expect gloves and masks, no table condiments, frequent sanitizing and social distancing, he said.

“What we don’t know … is how many people are interested in coming into restaurants at this point, and what’s that number [going to] look like,” Joyce said.

Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach her at [email protected].



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Business secretary tested for Covid-19 after feeling ill during Commons speech | World news

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Alok Sharma, the business secretary, has been tested for coronavirus after feeling unwell while delivering a statement in the House of Commons.

The cabinet minister has gone home to self-isolate following his appearance at the dispatch box earlier on Wednesday.

The parliamentary authorities are understood to have given the area a deep clean and MPs were at the time sitting at least two metres apart. “This was done as a precaution,” a House of Commons source said.

However, his suspected illness is likely to cause concern about the government’s decision to bring back parliament in its physical form, after weeks of allowing MPs to attend remotely via video link.

Many MPs have protested against the new arrangements, which have resulted in them queueing around the parliamentary estate while complying with the two-metre physical distancing rules in order to vote.

Observers noticed that Sharma appeared unwell and to be sweating profusely while he spoke about the corporate insolvency and governance bill in the Commons.


A spokeswoman for the business secretary said: “Alok Sharma began feeling unwell when in the chamber delivering the second reading of the corporate governance and insolvency bill. In line with guidance he has been tested for coronavirus and is returning home to self-isolate.”

If Sharma does test positive, it will be an early trial of the government’s new contact tracing system. Other MPs and officials who have been in close contact with him will be tested and could be asked to self-isolate.

During the debate, after Sharma was seen wiping his face with a handkerchief several times, his Labour shadow, Ed Miliband, passed him a glass of water. Sharma also appeared sweaty and sounded hoarse on Tuesday, according to one fellow MP, when he voted to abolish hybrid parliamentary measures.

During one vote, the minister voted straight after the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, and immediately before the Labour MP Stephen Kinnock. He was also one of a few ministers who attended full cabinet, a source said.

Kirsty Blackman, SNP deputy leader in Westminster, sent her best wishes to Sharma but said: “[It] does, however, demonstrate just how ridiculous and irresponsible the Tory government’s decision to end virtual participation in parliament was. They must now rectify this serious mistake and reintroduce hybrid proceedings without delay.”

Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, said the development was “just awful”, adding: “The government stopped MPs from working from home and asked us to return to a building where social distancing is impossible. MPs are travelling home to every part of the country tonight. Reckless doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

Digital voting in the Commons was ended on Tuesday after MPs approved a government motion introduced by the leader of the house, Jacob Rees-Mogg, despite widespread objections.

Senior Conservatives, opposition groups, unions and the equalities watchdog raised concerns that the move would prevent many MPs, particularly the elderly and vulnerable members who are shielding, from being able to vote.

Chaotic scenes unfolded in the Commons when MPs formed a long queue snaking through parliament so they could maintain social distancing while voting on the motion.

The Labour MP Karl Turner said he had asked the Health and Safety Executive to conduct an urgent risk assessment of working conditions in parliament.

He said MPs having to “huddle together” on escalators on the parliamentary estate while lining up to vote were among a number of “unsafe practices”.

A string of cabinet ministers and senior officials have come down with coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, including Boris Johnson, who was treated in intensive care.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, Chris Whitty, the chief medical adviser, Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, Dominic Cummings, the senior No 10 adviser, and Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, were also all unwell with coronavirus in late March or early April.

The first MP to fall ill with the virus was Nadine Dorries, a health minister, who tested positive in March.

A House of Commons spokesperson said: “The house’s priority is to ensure that those on the estate are safe while business is facilitated. We have closely followed guidance from PHE on action to take following a suspected case of Covid on site, including additional cleaning. Our risk assessment outlines the measures we have already put in place to reduce the risk of transmission in parliament.”

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As Chicago Enters Phase 3 Wednesday, Some Businesses Will Stay Closed – CBS Chicago

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