In this week's wrapup, we talk about the end of third-party cookies, a smart VC strategy gaining popularity, SEBI's crackdown on a startup called Growpital and more.

For the markets edition, we wrote a story telling you why the RBI effectively killed Paytm Payments Bank. You can read it here.

Meanwhile, here’s a recap of what we wrote over the week.

Google has finally decided to severe ties with third-party cookies. And it could be a big deal for advertisers who are dependent on it.

Cookies are basically files that websites plant on your computer when you access them so that they can make your browsing experience easier. Think for example, staying logged in to a shopping website or finding items you added to your cart even if you closed the tab after adding them a couple of days ago.

But when these websites use cookies to track what you do on other websites, they're called third-party cookies. It helps them throw personalised ads at you. Yeah, that's how your Instagram knows that you were looking up a new pair of shoes on Amazon. And it obviously threatens privacy.

Keeping that in mind, Google has finally decided to get rid of third-party cookies by the end of 2024. So, we wrote a story telling you what an internet without third-party cookies could look like. You can read it here.

VC firms play musical chairs

Imagine that you're a venture capital (VC) firm. This means that raise money from investors by luring them with opportunities to invest in hard-to-access private companies. Then you invest this money in exciting startups that boast great growth potential. After about 5 or more years you try to sell your investment portfolio to other investors or in an IPO for handsome valuations. You then keep a hefty cut and return the initial money to your investors.

But sometimes things can go wrong. Exiting these companies at great valuations may be hard if the economic environment is lukewarm. And this could spell trouble because you won't have enough money to pay back investors. Here's when continuation funds come in. You simply launch another fund by luring a new set of investors and use that money to pay back old ones.

And apparently, over the last 5 years, continuation funds have risen from a $5 billion industry to over $70 billion today. So, we wrote a story about the popularity of this strategy and the potential troubles it's causing in the VC world. You can read it here.

SEBI cracks the whip on an agri-investment startup?

Growpital is an agri-investment startup. It simply lets people own fractions of large farmlands with an investment as low as ₹5,000. In return, Growpital offers them a high guaranteed return of nearly 15% or profits from sale of crops. And it could be a sweet deal because agricultural incomes are exempt from tax. So, investors get to keep everything they earn.

It obviously seemed like a lucrative idea. And investments started pouring in. By the end of 2023, Growpital claimed to have raised a tidy sum of over ₹180 crores from investors. Things were looking fab.

But this week everything came crashing down. SEBI froze Growpital's bank accounts and ordered them not to solicit investments any more. Why did this happen? Well, that's exactly what we covered in our story here.

The mystery of disappearing languages

Last week The Hindu reported that a tribal language called Madhika was breathing its last. Just 2 fluent Madhika speakers are alive today. It has no script or legacy. This means that they'll take the language with them to their grave. This got us thinking about how many such languages have been buried without anyone to protect them. And we found out that 4,000 of the world’s approximately 6,000 documented languages could potentially face extinction. The reason?

Economic development!

Shocking we know. But that's what research suggests. The more successful an economy becomes, the more rapidly language diversity disappears. So, we wrote a story tracing the history of how economic growth caused and continues to cause language disappearance. Click here to read it.

Interim Budget explained in 5 minutes

Half of the Union Budget is out. What do we mean?

Well, the Budget announced on February 1st was only an Interim Budget. This means that the government will undergo a transition when the country goes into elections in a couple of months. But that could happen after the Financial Year starts in April. And they can't really present a full budget because it could undergo changes if it doesn't remain in power.

But the incumbent government still has to manage its expenses and revenues till the votes are counted and a result is declared. So, they come up with a stop gap solution or an interim budget until a new government is elected. This new government then releases a full budget around July.

So yeah, the Finance Minister did just that. She rolled out the Interim Budget, which we broke down in our story here.

Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁

Kunal Kumar! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch.

Anyway, that's the wrapup for the week. But before we go, stay tuned to your inbox tomorrow because we've got something special coming up for you!

Until then…

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