Paytm raised $1.4 Bn funding from SoftBank Group, the Japanese Internet and telecom major. The investment was done in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications. With this move, SoftBank has joined Alibaba Group as a major shareholder and will take a seat on the Paytm board.
Also, Sixth Sense Ventures founder and CEO of Nikhil Vora raked in about $23.4 Mn (INR 150 Cr) by selling his stake in One97 Communications. The stake was sold to Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings. Alibaba and its affiliate Alipay now jointly hold about 45% in One97 Communications. Further, SAIF Partners is now looking to sell a part of its stake in Paytm to SoftBank and is expected to make $300 Mn – $400 Mn in returns.
Now that SoftBank has finally convinced Nexus Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital for the deal, Flipkart-Snapdeal merger awaits the final nod from the family offices of Azim Premji, and Ratan Tata. Last week, Snapdeal agreed to sign a non-binding Letter of Intent (LoI) for the merger. The deal is expected to be signed in the next few days.
Next on, Ola founders have made changes in their shareholding terms in the latest articles of association (AoA) filed by its holding company ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd., to protect its interests against powerful investors like Softbank. Specifically, significant measures have been taken against SoftBank Capital, which currently holds over 40% stake in the company
This week 15 Indian startups raised about $15 Mn in funding altogether.
Startup Fundings Of The Week
FreeCharge: Snapdeal’s digital subsidiary FreeCharge raised $3.38 Mn from the parent company Jasper Infotech. Freecharge is currently in merger talks with Paytm and MobiKwik, while Snapdeal is awaiting final nod from investors for merging with Flipkart.
Vernacular.ai: Kalaari Capital invested an undisclosed amount in startup VernacularAI. ai. The investment was done as a part of Kalaari Capital’s accelerator program Kstart. The Bengaluru-based startup launched its first B2C product earlier this year called Aisha, an AI-based personal assistant in Hindi.
Fynd: Mumbai-based ecommerce fashion platform Fynd raised $500K in a follow-on Series A funding round from Silicon Valley-based Rocketship. With the newly raised funds, the startup plans to strengthen its tech backbone, optimise its operations, and further enhance customer offerings as well as strategies.
Zapty: Workflow automation startup Zapty secured $500K funding from Ideaspring Capital. The startup will deploy the raised funds towards enhancing its product offering to create industry-grade solutions.
Niki.ai: AI-based chatbot Niki.ai raised an undisclosed amount of funding from global leader in business management software SAP. The investment was done via SAP’s newly launched $35 Mn artificial intelligence-focussed fund SAP.iO in March 2017.
Elize: Ahmedabad-based women’s sanitary pad maker startup Elize raised an undisclosed amount of Seed funding from a clutch of angel investors. This includes Sunil Kalra, Arun Venkatachalam from Murugappa Group, Startup Buddy Ventures and senior members from Arthur D Little Adnan Merhaba, Viditha Kanakamedala and Rohit Sethi. The startup will use the raised funds to strengthen product line, create a strong brand presence and grow active customer base.
Live History India: Ganesh Natarajan, former chief executive officer of Zensar Technologies and chairman of Nasscom Foundation, invested an undisclosed amount in Bengaluru-based digital content platform Live History India, through his 5F World startup platform. Cyrus Guzder, former promoter of AFL, also participated in this round. The LHI platform will showcase historical facts through videos and content contributed by historians across the country and will make revenue through advertising as well as partnerships as content providers.
Genie: Chennai-based hyperlocal delivery platform Genie raised $250K from a group of undisclosed HNI investors. The startup had earlier shut down its services due to lack of funds. The newly raised funds will be utilised in reviving the platform operations.
Dial4242: Mumbai-based ambulance booking mobile app Dial4242 raised $154K (INR 1 Cr) in Seed funding round from an undisclosed angel investor. The raised funds will be used for the purpose of R&D, market research, product development and operations.
EzCred: Bengaluru-based consumer lending startup EzCred raised more than $1 Mn from a consortium of investors. The investors include Dheeraj Pandey, CEO of Nutanix; Rajesh Yohannan, former MD and CEO of Oanda Asia Pacific; and Akash Garg Director of Engineering at Uber. Other investors in the round included Citibank’s Sanjay Nambiar; Christian Oestlien, Director of Product Management at YouTube; Ratikant Sahu, digital delivery head at ANZ; and Neill Occhiogrosso, Partner at US-based Costanoa Ventures. The startup will use the newly raised funding for technology development. And to develop new-age credit and fraud models using alternate data sources.
PaySense: Mumbai-based fintech startup PaySense raised $5.3 Mn Series A funding led by Jungle Ventures, along with Naspers Group and Nexus Venture Partners. The company claims to have disbursed about $4.66 Mn (INR 30 Cr) in partnership with NBFCs.
PumpKart: Chandigarh-based online water pump seller PumpKart closed a Seed funding round from Dr. Ritesh Malik, founder of Innov8 and Project Guerrilla. The raised funds will be used to launch PumpKart service stores and a mobile app by the end of next month.
The Good Life Company: Mumbai-based online luxury tea brand The Good Life Company secured $1 Mn in Seed funding from husband-wife duo Ayesha Takia Azmi and Abu Farhan Azmi. The startup plans to use the raised funds to strengthen its operations in Mumbai and to expand services in Tier I cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, and Kolkata.
Telr: Singapore-headquartered payment gateway Telr raised $3 Mn Series B investment from Innovations East. The startup will use the recently raised funding to build out and enhance its core product proposition and roll out new payment methods. The funding will also be utilised to scale up operations in focus markets, especially India and other emerging markets.
TAC Security Solutions: Cyber security startup TAC Security Solutions raised an undisclosed amount of funding from William H May, former Vice President of IBM. With this, William has also joined TAC’s board.
Also, ecommerce giant Amazon poured in about $10.45 Mn (INR 67 Cr) in Amazon Online Distribution Services, through its Singapore unit Amazon Capital Holdings and Amazon.com Inc. Ltd, Mauritius. With this move, the company has also renamed Amazon Online Distribution Services Pvt. Ltd as Amazon Pay (India) Pvt. Ltd., as revealed in the filings at the RoC.
Acquisitions Of The Week
- Mswipe entered into a strategic partnership with online payment service provider PayU India. According to the deal terms, Mswipe took over the offline merchant acquiring business of PayU India. Swipe will now merge PayU’s existing offline POs division team into its existing operations and workforce, expanding its network to 220K terminals across 550+ cities.
- Ahmedabad-based networking and learning platform for colleges AlmaMapper acquired campus hiring solutions company VibrantMinds. The acquisition will help AlmaMapper to expand its services across India and will give it access to more than 300 companies.
Also, there are reports that UberEATS and Zomato have held talks with Runnr for a potential acqui-hire. Both Zomato and UberEATS gave in termsheets to Bengaluru-based hyperlocal startup.
Other Developments Of The Week
- Mumbai-based, early-stage investment firm White Unicorn Ventures closed its $20 Mn maiden fund. As stated by Rohit in an interaction with Inc42, with the newly raised funds, the venture firm aims to make significant investments in European startups in sectors such as fintech, cybersecurity, and blockchain.
- Enterprise software company Oracle invited applications for the Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator Programme. With this move, the company has also introduced new centres in Delhi/NCR, Mumbai apart from the existing centre in Bengaluru.
- IIGP 2.0 is inviting startup applications for two annual parallel challenges in partnership with the Lockheed Martin Corporation. The challenges aims to identify and support industrial and social innovations in India through the stages of Ideation, Innovation and Acceleration.
- K-Startup Grand Challenge, a Korea-based accelerator programme is inviting applications for the second batch of startups that will kick-start in August 2017. The applications will remain open through June 7 and 50 high-potential startups from around the world will be selected to accelerate in Korea for four months.
- The Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIM-K) launched its Laboratory for Innovation, Venturing and Entrepreneurship (LIVE), a business incubator and entrepreneurship development center. In the first batch 12 startups have been selected, of which five have been the ventures of IIM-K alumni.
- Pitney Bowes Inc. is inviting startups to apply for its Accelerator Program focussed on software startups in sectors such as customer information management, mobile, data analytics, location-based services, ecommerce management and machine learning. The deadline for submitting applications is June 30, 2017 and and selected startups will have access to up to $9,000 Microsoft Azure Cloud Credits over 12 months and five Microsoft Visual Studio subscriptions for one year.
- Mumbai-based FundTonic, an angel network with over 700 angel investors launched a coworking space in Andheri at MIDC. The coworking space has been built in a 10K sq.ft area and has been designed with a fully operational infrastructure.
- New Jersey-based VC firm, Honeywell Ventures launched an investment fund with a corpus of $100 Mn. The newly launched fund will invest in early-stage tech startups that belong to Honeywell’s focus sectors, including aerospace, energy, safety, security, productivity and global urbanisation.
- Pune-based, design-led accelerator DesignGild announced the first cohort of startups for its six-month intensive programme. The two startups are Bengaluru’s QtPi and Pune’s RXHealth. The startups will undergo a boot camp which will commence on May 22, 2017.