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On March 23, 2020, ssingayapally commented on Blackbuck – Hauling the future :

I agree with you that disintermediation is definitely a risk in this business but the fact that the supply side is fragmented to a certain extent works in their favor. As far as disintermediation in the case of large shippers and fleet owners goes, I think this is where they really need to incentivize both sides to “create value” in the platform. For example, their other products i.e. the suite of shipping management tools would potentially work only when the shipper and truckers book a deal through the platform

Partnerships with players in other parts of the value chain, such as the recent one with Maersk, the shipping line, to build a marketplace for container shipping can also be effective to increase stickiness. I think with this partnership they’ve effectively pivoted into becoming some form of a “vendor manager” service for Maersk, which would be less likely to source customers/suppliers from another source now given their investment into the partnership.

On March 23, 2020, ssingayapally commented on Blackbuck – Hauling the future :

Thanks for reading and the comment! Blackbuck insists it’s a tech platform and I imagine is valued as such given the kind of investors they’ve raised capital from and their portfolio.

I’m sorry I wasn’t clear in the post about the kind of cargo that trucks on Blackbuck usually carry – these are the ones that carry raw material, industrials, food grains, coal, iron ore, etc., around the country. Delhivery, on the other hand, is looking to build out a logistics chain specifically for e-commerce. I think Amazon/Flipkart would first be competing there.

Blackbuck did start an insurance product for guaranteeing deliveries etc. so I imagine this can extend to solving the leakage problem as well but I also wonder how much of a liability that would be – somehow when platforms take on too many guarantees/liabilities, there is a chance they diverge from their core business!

On March 22, 2020, ssingayapally commented on MasterClass – Mastering Scale as Edutainment Platform? :

I love the analysis! Like Leah, I too have seen a lot of ads but haven’t signed up for this yet!

At first glance, this seems more akin to a “video podcast” series with celebrity experts rather than an educational tool and on those terms, I’m not so sure how the certification by Masterclass would work. I think the certifications on Coursera have value because they’re a variation of a class taught at a university and hence imply that you’ve done some form of work that is worthy of certification by a particular institute. What I think would incentivize users to stick to the platform is if Masterclass can provide a new product and partner with local artists/chefs etc. where subscribers who are interested can go and practice their art to really enhance the learning experience and double down on their “educational product” messaging rather than compete with Netflix etc. for screenshare. In my head, the current situation is analogous to an HBS class that is exclusively the case protagonists coming in and talking about their experience!

On March 22, 2020, ssingayapally commented on Boatsetter: Democratizing The Sailing Experience :

Thanks for the great read! The partnership with Airbnb seems like a solid way to drive customers to boat experiences, particularly those who had no specific interest in boat-related activities. As it gets more popular, I am very curious about how the relationship between Boatsetter and Airbnb will evolve – whether Airbnb would start onboarding boat owners and operators itself and thereby “disintermediating” Boatster. Matt’s post above suggesting that Boatsetter provide maintenance services etc. to owners to keep them on the platform seems like a great place to start since it is possibly something Airbnb would not provide.

There’s no doubt that CarGurus has created immense value for both sides on the platform and I’m sure they’ll sustain in the short term and I wonder if they can expand their offerings by offering a peer-to-peer model as well for individual sellers and buyers rather than dealers or go the other way where individuals looking to sell their car can seek out multiple used car dealers who might be interested? On the longer-term horizon, with car ownership trends showing a decline because of car-sharing and ride-sharing I am curious about what the future, one where fewer people are looking to buy cars, looks like for them.

On February 11, 2020, ssingayapally commented on Plaid: A $5.3 Billion Winner :

I’m very curious about what Visa’s long term strategy with this acquisition is, especially from a geographic perspective because of the trend of open banking regulations in both emerging economies as well as parts of the developed world (UK, EU). Plaid creates value by aggregating the drastically different APIs (if any) and various methods of collecting account data (screen or statement scraping etc.) What would the role of Plaid be in a market where regulation dictates that all banking institutions are required to provide consumers their data when requested over standard APIs? I see the rationale of acquiring Plaid as a purely domestic player in the US market, and I really hope I am wrong, but I am not convinced that this would scale around the world!

On February 11, 2020, ssingayapally commented on DJI: Winning in consumer drones :

A mention of the iPhone in one of the comments above got me thinking if the next step for DJI would be to create a platform of sorts like the AppStore providing a variety of software services and applications. It’s definitely not as general-purpose as the iPhone and AppStore which might mean that DJI provides the applications itself rather than building a platform for independent developers but software and applications could become the next step for the company.

On February 11, 2020, ssingayapally commented on Monzo: A digital offering that has traditional UK banks scrambling :

Monzo seems to be extremely customer-centric and that is clearly attracting retail customers to the product. I wonder what Monzo’s product expansion strategy looks like. By this I mean, in addition to acquiring more retail customers in the UK, USA, and potentially in other countries, I wonder if they are looking to expand to corporate banking. Their technology advantage has clearly helped them disrupt the retail banking sector and provide a more cost-effective and user-friendly service and I am curious if they can sustain that technology advantage to serve corporate clients. Of course, the needs of corporate clients would be drastically different but after demonstrating that it was able to make inroads in one segment of an industry controlled by traditional institutions I am curious if they are at all looking towards that direction.