While layoffs have almost the entire world worried, the last quarter’s results are out. While some of it is nothing to write home about (or is, depending on how you look at it), some sectors and SMEs have done well.
For example, Western oil companies have scored huge profits with Exxon Mobil setting a company record and a historic high for the western oil industry with a US$56 billion net profit for 2022. Its financial results along with those of Shell and Chevron triggered criticism and calls in the US for higher windfall profit taxes.
On the other hand, Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Amazon.com all posted less than desirable results for the end-of-year quarter. Ford’s quarterly profits slumped, with the company predicting a tough year ahead, although its rival General Motors has done well.
In India, recession hasn’t entirely made its presence known yet, but not all is well. TCS, despite reporting a strong quarter, recently reported a 2% decline in revenue growth in constant currency terms for Q3 2023 compared to the previous quarter. The company also saw a decrease in the headcount by around 2,200 employees, and a 3.7% decline in deal bookings to US$7.8 billion. Analysts believe this may indicate a slowdown in TCS’s profitability soon.
Q3 results for some SMEs are going well though. IndiGrid, an Infrastructure Investment Trust (“InvIT”) in the Indian power sector, reported a quarter of robust performance and is on track to deliver FY23 DPU guidance of INR13.20. Newgen Software reported revenues of Rs 255 cr in Q3 FY’23, up 26% YoY.
In the financial sector, Bank of India announced its Q3FY23 results reporting a Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs.1,151 Cr, up by 12% YoY and 20% sequentially. Retail Credit grew by 20.95% YoY to Rs.91,371 Cr in Dec’22. (YTD Growth: 13.26%) Agriculture Credit grew by 9.15% YoY to Rs.70,334 Cr in Dec’22. (YTD Growth: 5.88%) and MSME Credit grew by 8.27% YoY to Rs.69,250 Cr in Dec’22. (YTD Growth: – 0.31%). Non-Interest Income stood at Rs.4,001 Cr against Rs.6,292 Cr for 9-month ended period. Net NPA ratio at 1.61% down by 105 bps YoY.
However, the most successful businesses are those that have leveraged technologies, especially AI.
AI is the recent champ. Staqu, an Indian AI implementation enabler reported a strong year with a 100% Y-o-Y growth in revenue, witnessing 3x growth in the last two quarters with a strong runway of 36 months. It also displayed positive EBIDTA results for July 2022. Additionally, the AI-powered brand has reported that its client base has increased by 126%.
In December, Insurance Samadhan, an Indian insurance redressal platform announced resolving 14,500 grievances with a claim size of INR 80 crore (800 Million) since its inception with the assistance of AI. The company is now planning to expand its enterprise in the Middle East and Africa in the next few quarters.
SaaS is another unstoppable sector. In November, Mr.Milkman by EverAg, an Indian SaaS platform empowering 125+ dairy players and milk brands with customer subscriptions and deliveries, reported an increment of 12% in its milk throughput in 2022 compared to 2021. Last year, from January to December, the company facilitated the sale of milk worth INR117 crores through its platform while, this year till December, they touched INR 130 crores.
With this Mr.Milkman records its highest sales recorded on its platform, post-pandemic.
“In the last two years, there was a significant drop in the consumption from higher-value dairy products to lower-value products across India. But this year has been good. Our revenues have gone up significantly. That is also because we invested heavily in upgrading our application to offer our customers a more dynamic user experience. In 2023, we will introduce new solutions to our software products,” says Co-founder & CEO, Samarth Setia.
Mr. Milkman is one of the largest dairy tech players in India, with over 100,000+ subscribers on their app today.
Geeks have been making the beeline for the latest new-fangled gadgets too, contributing to retail sales of many companies. In November, SWOTT, a consumer smart-wearable brand with a focus on intelligent electronics sold 50,000+ units of smart wearables within 3 months of launch, particularly their smartwatch Armor 007, endorsed by India’s all-rounder cricketer Ravindra Jadeja.
Geeks have been making the beeline for the latest new-fangled gadgets too, contributing to retail sales of many companies
In December, DroneAcharya Aerial Innovations Ltd, the Pune-headquartered drone startup company, made a sterling debut on the BSE’s SME bourse. The company’s shares were listed at a premium of 88% at Rs 102 a share over its issue price of Rs 52-52 per share. Post listing, the company’s shares were immediately locked at a 5% upper limit of the circuit breaker and touched a high of Rs 107.10 a share.
Higher Sales Indirectly Through Tech
Some retails sales occurred indirectly through technology. In November, Green Soul Ergonomics, an office and gaming chair brand owned by UpScalio, hit the INR 200 crore annualised revenue run rate mark. The ergonomic furniture brand has had an impressive 2022, peaking in the Diwali sale period. For October, Green Soul reported a massive 124% increase over its September BAU performance.
The festive sale period is an all-important month for every e-commerce store and Green Soul has had an impressive showing with the brand claiming to have sold one chair every 90 seconds during this period. According to a report from Amazon, 1 out of 5 chairs sold in the sale were Green Soul chairs.
We increased delivery speeds, introduced new payment options, and developed a chair for every price pointNitin Agarwal, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, UpScalio
Nitin Agarwal, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, UpScalio said that strategic product portfolio expansion, superior customer experience and a successful campaign with Taapsee Pannu were the major reasons behind the brand’s growth.
“After the last sale, we made an effort to understand and double down on what our customers are looking for. We increased delivery speeds, introduced new payment options, and developed a chair for every price point. We have rapidly expanded our product portfolio to cater to a wide range of customers, and it’s thrilling to see the products being appreciated across the board.”
Significance of Cost Cutting
Some of these success stories are coming to light because of conscious cost cutting on the part of SMEs.
For instance, 3i Infotech Limited, a digital transformation and technology solutions provider, reported a consolidated revenue of Rs 182.3 crore with 10% YoY and 2.9% quarter-on-quarter growth, with a gross margin of 12.7 %. Having onboarded 39 new logos in 9M FY23, the company also announced its potential to develop an order book of Rs.100 crore based on their new product platform. Moving forward, its revenue mix will shift from classic enterprises to the next generation business. For the first nine months of the current fiscal year, revenues grew by 7.43 % to Rs. 538.7 crore with a gross margin of 11.4%.
The company says its secret lies in its razor-sharp focus on cost optimization and its ability to increase their topline while reducing the EBITDA losses simultaneously in the current financial year
The company says its secret lies in its razor-sharp focus on cost optimization and its ability to increase their topline while reducing the EBITDA losses simultaneously in the current financial year. The company also made key deals from both private and public enterprises that includes being rewarded the Rs 250 crore WiFi monetization project by RailTel Corporation of India Limited over the next 5 years and mega contract from Eureka Forbes for three years of DIMS services among others.
In the Q3FY23, the company has done restructuring at a global organization, eliminating non-profitable engagement, and cost rationalization in direct cost. In the future, the company plans to invest in new service lines that offer 5G technologies offering with edge-ready computing for all emerging needs of the business.
Despite all hardships, the ecosystem remains ambitious for the future. In November, Glamyo Health, a healthcare brand that specializes in elective and cosmetic surgeries, announced a target of facilitating counselling for 6 lakh patients in the new calendar year. In the beginning of 2021, the brand put forth an ambition of reaching 1 million patients in a span of 12 months. In addition to the counselling mandate, Glamyo Health intends to facilitate 40,000 surgeries for patients this fiscal year. The healthcare startup has a strong network of 350 hospitals across India.
“We have a highly patient-centered tradition of bringing quality healthcare directly to a patient’s hometown, where it can be handled in more convenient and familiar surroundings. This is progressively what clients want, and we are pleased to be at the forefront of this new trend. Additionally, we are motivated to continue expanding our advanced surgeries services, particularly in tier 2 and 3 cities, as we believe it is a valuable service to our country,” says Archit Garg, Co-Founder, Glamyo Health.
Glamyo Health has ambitious goals for the next 9 months expanding its reach in 40+ cities of India, positively impacting lives of thousands of patients undergoing secondary care surgeries every month.