💔(Anti-)Trust Issues

Jack Ma vs. The Party. Plus: Bitcoin hits record high, Tesla makes major moves, India VC booms, recap of 2020 & predictions for 2021.

Wrapped Up Newsletter #7

Today’s Menu

  • Deep Dive: Alibaba Faces Scrutiny

  • Quick Bits: Silicon Valley Hits Pinnacle + Ant-Sized Challenges

  • Done Deals: New filings, Amazon acquisition + Edtech in China

  • What Else We're Following: 6 articles, from predictions in 2021 to the importance of writing

  • Tweet of the Week

  • Jobs - Internships/Full-Time: 19 full-time jobs and internship postings

Deep Dive 🤿

It wouldn't be a proper New Year's going into 2021 if you didn't have an antitrust probe making headlines in the news. This time, it's coming from one of the most valuable e-commerce companies in the East (and in the world): Alibaba.

China's antitrust body has launched an investigation into the alleged anti-competition practices at Alibaba, making it one of Beijing's largest forays to increase control over huge tech companies. This comes a few weeks after news that the Chinese government would unprecedently fine Alibaba and China Literature, Tencent's e-book spinoff, for failing to report past M&A deals for clearance.

If Ant Group's suspension of its $37 billion IPO wasn't a clear sign, this past week's aggressive ramp up clearly dictates that the Chinese government means business. Beijing plans to shrink Jack Ma's tech and financial empire with heightened regulatory oversight and invest heavily into his businesses. Alibaba's testimony is a warning to its Chinese tech counterparts, especially JD.com, Tencent, Meituan, Pinduoduo and Didi Chuxing, who've collectively lost over $200 billion in the Hong Kong stock market.

However, what's bad news for Big Tech could be good news for Small Tech (and consumers). Steps including providing clarity on VIE's corporate structure and enacting personal data protection laws would bring an end to the laissez-faire practice we've seen in China's internet sector. While the hands-off approach has been fundamental to its burgeoning tech ecosystem, the government is starting to see what we can equate to an inverted pendulum falling over.

Jack Ma is trying to right his wrongs and restore balance. Unfortunately, for him, finding that balance means making a move that goes against his fundamental principles of doing business in China.

"Never, ever do business with the government. Love them. Don't marry them." As today's turbulent state of politics and regulations sees Big Tech as a major threat on the global stage, it would be best to tread lightly and be careful what you say and wish for.

Quick Bits 🌎

Recap in the West: Silicon Valley Hits Pinnacle

Silicon Valley peaked this year with grandiose investments and exits...especially when the next big thing is cloud. Sad day for Chinese telecom. Tesla stays public, SpaceX ramps up and Starlink might IPO. Bitcoin quadrupled its value this year. Apple Car sets expectations. Coinbase gets exposed for gender and racial disparities in pay. European neobanks foresee consolidation. Semiconductors and chips take a breather in the new year (except Intel). Search for your favorite Instagram and TikTok videos. Apple's lawsuit against Corellium has been partly tossed out.

Recap in the East: Ant-Sized Challenges

China's most valuable fintech company faces an anthill battle. What to look out for in Asian business in 2021. India VC spices up as COVID trends materialize. That being said, funding for Indian startups falls short of $10bn for the first time in 4 years. Elon eyes India, onboards a new supplier and finds a foe in China. Katerra avoids demolition with lifeline from Softbank. Drama between Grab and Gojek continues. Can Asia's richest man execute? Meituan has its own trust issues. Singapore strives to bank digitally 100% of its population. CoAssets loses $30 million in assets. China's YouTube expands southeast. Working Sundays at Kuaishou. Oyo checks out as global ambitions dim beyond COVID. China pilots its digital yuan program in Suzhou.

Done Deals ✍🏼

To separate major news from dealflow, we added this section dedicated to giving you updates on major funds, exits and deals taking place for the week.

  • Activist hedge fund Daniel Loeb's Third Point takes a stab at VC with its first $300M fund.

  • USV and Learn Capital file paperwork for new funds.

  • Seattle-based Madrona raises $345M for its 8th early-stage fund and $161M for 2nd later-stage fund.

  • 23andMe raises $82.5M to help you discover if you're 70% European.

  • Stop wondering; Amazon acts on its podcasting ambitions with its acquisition for Wondery, valuing the company at $300M.

  • The race for edtech domination in China intensifies as Zuoyebang raises $1.6B, Yuanfudao $300M and Meishubao $210M.

  • Qualtrics files for IPO two years after sale to cloud software vendor SAP.

  • Robotics and automation get more than a vote of confidence as Flexiv raises over $100M.

  • Online healthcare community platform DXY raises $500M in response to COVID-19.

What Else We're Following 👀

Predictions for 2021 from renowned NYU professor Scott Galloway and AVC

2020 in review, by AVC

Even after a tumultuous year, VC still has ways to go to address racial (in)equality

Words matter. A founder's guide on how to write effectively

"Build your network before you need it": some tips on how to write emails to investors

Collaborate, don't be quick to say no, and be kind and honest, not right...Leah Fessler's thoughts on working within seed-stage VC

Tweet of the Week 🐦

Jobs - Internships/Full-Time 👩🏽‍💼

We're keeping an eye out for relevant and exciting opportunities for you! If you represent a company and want us to promote an open position, send us an email!

Entry Level (0-2 Years)

Anthos - Venture Capital Analyst - Santa Monica, CA
CA Ventures - VC Analyst - Chicago, IL
Mars Capital - Junior Financial Analyst - Ho Chi Minh City
Vantik - Entrepreneur in Residence Intern - Berlin
Redpoint - Investor - San Francisco, CA
Tala - Strategy Analyst - Santa Monica, CA
Likewise - User Research Intern - Bellevue, WA
Asia Partners - Investment Analyst/Associate - Singapore

Experienced (2+ Years)

a16z - Associate Partner, Consumer Market Development - Menlo Park, CA
New Markets Venture Partners - Senior Associate - Fulton, MD
Goodwater Capital - Associate, Growth Stage Investments - Burlingame, CA
Norrsken VC - Investment Manager - Stockholm
CoachHub - Global Strategic Partnerships Manager - Berlin
Zenjob - Head of Business Intelligence - Remote
Forto - New Business Development & Expansion Manager - Berlin
Robinhood - MBA Benchmarking Insights & Strategy Intern - Menlo Park, CA
DivcoWest - Venture Capital Investment Associate - San Francisco, CA
Connecticut Innovations - Venture/Investments Intern - New Haven, CT
Legacy Venture - Investment Analyst - Palo Alto, CA


Hey there! We are Jeff, Dom and Vas, coming to you live from INSEAD. Thanks for reading Wrapped Up. We'd love to get your feedback - feel free to email us at jeffrey.dong@insead.edu! It will help us to improve the newsletter and deliver the content you want right into your inbox. Thanks!

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