Hey folks!

The world’s first jet charter company specifically designed for dogs is here.

BARK, a popular dog toy company, plans to take off BARK Air ― a new airline, exclusively for dogs and their humans in the US.

And they have a good reason to bet big on pet travel. Flying your furry friends in the cargo carriage of commercial flights can be scary since dogs are often flown to wrong destinations or mishandled at airports. So BARK thinks that having an airline where ‘dogs fly first’ makes sense.

Doggos won’t just fly stress free, they’ll be pampered on board with chicken broth dressed up in champagne bottles, treats and an in flight play area.

Now, if you’re a dog person, you’d think that this is a great idea. But, is it really a great business idea?

Well, in 2007, Pet Airways did something similar. It ran a fleet of pet-friendly domestic flights, only to accumulate financial losses and shut down four years later.

Sure, you could say that it was over a decade ago. And that the market has changed over the years. About 65 million US households own pets today, up 70% from the Pet Airways days. And about one in four customers chooses to fly with pets today. Besides, BARK Airways can also tap into its existing bunch of customers ― the 2.3 million active monthly subscribers of BarkBox, its dog treat subscription service.

Is it enough to run a profitable and sustainable business though, is something we’ll only know after BARK Airways actually takes off.

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood🎵

Chehre by MC Square

Thanks for the intense rec Aaditaya!

A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀

Ola and Uber want to play with subscriptions

In 2022, over 70% of Ola and Uber passengers complained of ride cancellations by drivers. At least that’s what a LocalCircles survey suggests.

And a lot of folks including the Maharashtra government at one point rooted for strict penalties against such drivers. But here’s something we probably haven’t thought about enough. Why do drivers even cancel rides in the first place?

Look, Ola and Uber run on a commission based system. So every time a driver completes a ride, the ride hailing app pockets up to 30% of the fare as a commission. And if passengers choose to pay digitally, then it could take a day or a week for the earnings to clink in the driver’s bank account. It just reduces or delays their everyday earnings.

And that’s why they cancel rides at the last minute, often asking for cash payments. But this behaviour can be problematic for apps like Ola and Uber because they lose out on their commissions.

The solution?

A new subscription scheme debuting for auto drivers, where they'll just have to pay a flat daily or weekly subscription fee and take up an unlimited number of rides. It could actually increase driver earnings too, simply because they could try to accept as many rides as possible to make the most of the subscription fee they pay.

It could be a solution to frequent cancellations as well because there’s a twist. This model also means that Ola and Uber become just software connecting drivers to passengers. They don’t set prices or facilitate payments. So payments have to be directly made to the drivers via cash or UPI. It’s exactly what drivers have wanted for a long time.

But that’s not the only thing. This could also mean that these ride hailing apps save up on the 5% GST they otherwise pay on commission-based rides, because they merely operate as a SaaS (Software as a service) by offering drivers discoverability on their app. They don’t control the prices or any other aspects of supply. That’s what the GST Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) in Karnataka decided in the case of Namma Yatri last year, which also charges flat subscription fees to connect driver partners to passengers.

But if subscriptions kick off and become popular, you never know when the GST folks come knocking.

And yes, revenues can only go up for Ola and Uber if their subscription rates are lower than competitors like Namma Yatri. And we’re not sure how sustainable that is, especially for someone like Ola who intends to list its shares on the bourses soon.

Seems like another interesting war brewing in the cab aggregator market, no?


Tata Neu has a new plan up its sleeve

Tata Neu has gone live with food delivery on ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce). You know, the decentralised open network that helps anyone buy and sell goods or services without the need of a central platform like Swiggy or Zomato.

But why is Tata Neu doing this?

You see, Tata Neu has had a rollercoaster ride ever since its debut.

Its launch created all the buzz in the market because it was a superapp or the ‘everything app’ which offered everything you could ask for from e-commerce. There was BigBasket’s grocery, 1mg’s e-pharmacy, Croma’s electronics, basically everything that had the Tata label.

But just a year later it saw a 60% drop in users according to The CapTable. On the flip side, its e-commerce rivals like Amazon India, Flipkart and JioMart all boasted positive growth of anywhere between 9%-25%.

And there’s a reason why Tata Neu or other superapps aren’t all the rage yet. A single app doing all the heavy lifting simply means that it could crash frequently and lead to transaction failures ― the one thing customers hate.

That’s exactly why Tata redesigned its app with a $2 billion investment from Tata Sons before 2023’s IPL season. And it seems to have paid off. Soon enough Tata Neu’s Google Play store ratings improved from 3.8 to 4.2. The repeat purchase rate was a healthy 60%, with multicategory shopping across brands on the app increasing to 25% from just 10% the year before.

But Tata wants to scale that up even further because it wants a bigger chunk of the growing e-commerce market.

That's probably why it felt that the best way to India’s heart was through food. Afterall, ONDC will enable a five-fold rise in India’s digital consumption to $340 billion by FY30. And by being an app that helps you and me order food via ONDC, Tata Neu could simply avoid the headache of having a dedicated delivery fleet or restaurant partnerships. And users might just spend some time on the app shopping for other things while they wait for their food.

But could it turn out the way Tata imagines? You tell us.

Infographic 📊

Money tips 💰

Exercising can increase your wealth. Wait… what??!

Okay, we’re not kidding because this is something a study published in the Journal of Labor Research found out. Researchers figured that employees who regularly exercise earn 9% more than those who don’t. And when they say “regular exercise”, they mean at least 3 hours of workout a week.

And findings like these aren’t new because a lot of other studies have shown similar things too. For instance, another study found that women who were obese earned, 18% less on average than those who weren’t.

But how does exercise even have anything to do with making money, you ask?

Well, for starters exercising regularly keeps you feeling energised. Meaning, that you’re probably more productive at work or can get things done more efficiently.

But that’s not it. Exercising also brings in a sense of discipline. And that could seep into your financial habits too. You could be a better goal setter, be determined to accomplish them and also make sure you monitor your progress when it comes to savings and investments.

Does that give you enough reason to hit the gym or make use of that idle gym subscription you haven’t used in months?

Readers Recommend 🗒️

Our reader and good buddy Parth Shah has come back with another recommendation. And we love it when you folks unhesitatingly send us more recommendations.

Anyway, Parth recommends reading Pollyanna, a book turned Disney motion picture by Eleanor H. Porter. Its story revolves around a little girl named Pollyanna whose philosophy is simple ― find something to be glad about in every situation, no matter how bleak it may be. And Parth thinks that it is one of the most relevant books for today's stressful and social media depressive environment.

Thanks for the rec Parth. Keep ’em coming!

That’s it from us this week, folks. We’ll see you next Sunday.

Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: morning@finshots.in).


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