Coronavirus update for business: Bunnings gets physical, plant-based meat to your door, and China’s VC ecosystem bounces back

Bunnings

Bunnings workout

Just when you thought Bunnings had everything, it’s gone one step further to cater to customers in isolation. If gardening or DIY isn’t your cup of tea, the trusty hardware store is now selling hard-to-come-by home exercise equipment.

OK, so the range is actually equipment sourced from third-party ‘trusted sellers’, but shoppers can still get their hands on anything from an $819 cross trainer and a $149 mini exercise bike, to weights, foam rollers and resistance bands.

Despite announcing the measure at the end of last week, it looks like many of the fitness items have already sold out.

This comes at a time when Bunnings has placed purchase limits on many items, and is operating with reduced and specialised opening hours.

From 6.30am to 9am, the store is open only to trade and emergency services workers. It will be open to the general public from 9am to 7pm.

Plant-based partnership

As more Aussies commit to cooking at home rather than braving the drive-thru, plant-based meat startup v2food has signed a home distribution deal with meal-delivery business Marley Spoon.

The startup, backed by Hungry Jacks head honcho Jack Cowin, will provide its mince product in food packs, for recipes including chilli ramen and plant-based ragu.

Launched in October last year, and almost immediately becoming available in Hungry Jacks restaurants all over the country, v2food then raised a massive $35 million in Series A funding just a month later.

China’s VC industry is bouncing back

According to data from Pitchbook, venture capital investment activity in China is starting to pick up again, after deal volumes took a hit during the country’s COVID-19 crisis peak.

In the week ending March 28, Chinese firms recorded 66 VC deals, the most in any week in 2020 so far. It’s also only slightly below the number of deals this time last year.

By contrast, in the first six weeks of the year, deal volume and capital raised in China was down more than 60% compared to the same period in 2019.

It’s far from conclusive evidence of a recovery, but there’s room for cautious optimism.

This could offer some indication that VC markets in the rest of the world — including Australia — might also recover relatively quickly once the crisis starts abating.

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