Daljit Kochhar

Director, KTA •

Daljit is the founder of KT Advisory, a boutique investment banking practice based in New Delhi. He is a seasoned professional with experience spanning general management, strategy, investment banking & entrepreneurship within India and USA. At present, he is in training at dawn 3 days a week, hoping to break 120 minutes at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon!

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Top Comments by Daljit Kochhar

59 shades of grey: Unpacking the China apps ban

Economic strength is key. To increase per Capita GDP, form trade alliances & afford military spending. It is an imperative deterrent to war and have peace. In FYE 2018, China was India's largest trading partner with total trade of $84.4B and a deficit of $51.7B. Quite clearly, this has to be a symbiotic relationship. Many businesses, big & small, import machinery or spares from China to Make In India. China gets access to our market - and in the absence of homegrown alternatives (perpetually looking for JVs for tech transfer), the Indian consumer loves their OnePlus & Xiaomi phones. Even our own Micromax, I recall, had a China connection. The tenets of Capitalism - laissez faire & the best bang for the buck - to me are a notch lower than that of rationality & long term preservation. If a State has shown its hand with Tuvalu, Nigeria, Fiji, Sri Lanka - and Canada, Australia - and Pakistan, North Korea - and Japan, UK & USA - it puts enough dots for us to draw a pattern. Tuvalu can get a building and port infrastructure at a cost that will forever indebt them, perhaps for a UN vote - a military base - or simply generosity. This story can be played out with each cluster country. It is a known fact that private concerns in China, are proxies of the State in one-way or the other. We can celebrate the role of Chinese capital to fund our start-up ecosystem. Your data shows less than $4B. Its a fraction of our deficit. The moves in Fiji & Tuvalu are clear at first instance. The set-up in India may well be Beyond the First Order. The largesse or risk appetite nurturing our ecosystem may well be an inexpensive way to get to play to our narratives or have our soldiers unwittingly download certain apps. Clearly, I do not know for sure. Its conjecture. There in lies another rule that helps - one of risk & reward. This hypothesis may be wrong. But then, what is the cost if it is correct. It is therefore clear that our government wakes up & looks into it. Before, conglomerates employ 300k fresh graduates & feed every auto ancillary unit - where we will need to start acknowledging the economic costs of maintaining our sovereignty at a much grander scale than we do today. Now, I can well argue the app ban to be a knee jerk reaction - and that the right approach perhaps was a 3 year plan to reduce the trade deficit. To finally look beyond a 5 year term and build for the future. But then, it has to start somewhere. It may as well be a place where the fall out is the least, but the noise factor is high. In India - and internationally. China has a similar policy with respect to outside social media, we are playing by their rules. To me, the Q is how will China respond. And if GOI opens it up again after 45 days, I'd say they are missing a threat. We cannot stop trade with China. Its foolish to say so. We must however choose wisely. And work towards trying to reduce the deficit and keep State actors out of gaining mindshare or building new dependencies in nascent industries.

Daljit Kochhar

Restaurants take control as Zomato Gold loses Midas touch

The FSA platforms drive traffic to the restaurants. This is true. They however, in no way build customer loyalty. The loyalty is only to the discounting. Every once a while, the food discounting leads to higher APC due to encompassing drinks. In most cases, this does not happen. Many restaurants have been opened up with little thought or as life style businesses. This is apparent if you were to visit them on a weekday for lunch. Thus, they embraced the smart company using what every fool feels is the ticket to a better life - technology. Except, all it did was drive up FSA valuations. The restaurants unwittingly have reduced their prices in perpetuity. And as I said to a friend running an upscale eatery many months ago - y'all seem to be afflicted with the Stockholm syndrome. I absolutely love Zomato as a discovery & food delivery platform. And Gourmet Planet & Eazy Diner for their deep discounts. I love it all the more as they all seem to be paying me to use the fantastic offering they have created. To me, a classic case of smart people given a lot of money to build fantastic tech while not worrying about cash-flow. So much, for the acronym I was taught in business school - CFIMITYM … Cash Flow is More Important Than Your Mother. Its all acceptable cost for value to be created in 2030. After bonus cycle!

Daljit Kochhar

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