Indian internet startups are trying to make the most of the Zomato IPO buzz

Collecting the windfall.
Collecting the windfall.
Image: Reuters/Sankalp Phartiyal
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The rare IPO of an Indian tech unicorn is widely believed to open the gates of local bourses for many other startups in the country. But while that is still far in the future, at least one Indian venture is already benefitting from Zomato’s listing.

On July 14, when the food-tech company opened its IPO, Paytm Money launched an innovation of its own. The billionaire entrepreneur Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led digital brokerage platform introduced a “pre-open IPO application” feature, which allowed users to place an order 24×7 a couple of days before the IPO went live. This was the first time such a service was offered on the platform.

The orders were recorded on Paytm Money’s system and sent to the exchange for processing as soon as the IPO opened. This feature, which could help fight congestion, is an innovation that could have long legs even beyond the Zomato frenzy.

“As this feature gains traction, it might be possible to spread out the pre-open IPO applications evenly during the market hours, reducing the load on exchanges and payment gateways, and ensuring a better experience for broad market participants,” Paytm Money said in a press release on July 12.

The frenzy around Zomato’s IPO served the fintech platform well. On the first day, over 22% of applicants on Paytm Money were first-time investors in capital markets and the average investment in the Zomato IPO was 20% higher than the average investment in previous IPOs on Paytm Money.

Moreover, foreseeing a growing interest in IPOs in India, Paytm Money also launched a set of other advanced features including letting users complete IPO applications with a single click, apply via the shareholder category, and track live IPO subscription numbers.

For other internet startups, the limelight was more fleeting, but they still had their share of fun.

Swiggy, Dunzo, and WazirX ride on Zomato IPO

Zomato’s rival food delivery app Swiggy’s notification asked customers to “invest” in confections to celebrate the IPO, according to a tweet by Harnidh Kaur, product marketing manager at new initiatives at Swiggy.

Hyperlocal delivery app Dunzo shared a poster congratulating the Gurugram-based firm on its “IPOrtant” day.

Cryptocurrency exchange WazirX replied to one of Zomato’s tweets on the IPO day saying they’d “hodl”—a Bitcoin world slang derived from a misspelled “hold” meant to soothe the nerves of first-time investors.

Besides the marketing gimmicks, the head honchos of several firms—Paytm, hotels chain Oyo, fintech firm Cred—also grabbed headlines for congratulating Zomato on Twitter.