We bring to you the latest edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding of the week.
One of the biggest fundings in the Indian startup ecosystem this week was raised by BlackBuck, an online marketplace for logistics transactions. The company raised $27.3 Mn (INR 202 Cr), thereby marking the entrance of Sequoia Capital as an investor in the Bengaluru-based startup. Sequoia’s SCI Investment VI fund has infused over $13.5 Mn (INR 100 Cr), while earlier backers such as Accel and Sands Capital put in the rest.
In another major development, Mettl, one of the leading organisations in global cloud-based technology and data sciences-driven talent assessments announced its acquisition by Mercer, a global consulting company in advancing health, wealth and career and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. The acquisition marks Mercer’s entry into the rapidly-growing global talent assessment market and further enhances its position as a trusted strategic talent advisor to companies.
On a surprise note, VC firm IDG Ventures India rebrands as Chiratae Ventures. The VC firm has also planned to raise $300 Mn under the new brand and will hit the road by the year-end.
In total, this week seven startups raised around $46.8 Mn in funding and two startup acquisitions took place in the Indian startup ecosystem altogether. (The startup funding calculations are based on the startups that disclosed funding amount.)
Indian Startup Funding Of The Week
ElaWoman: New Delhi-based ElaWomen, a data-driven platform which lists fertility doctors and clinics raised $3 Mn in a Series A funding round, led by Chiratae Ventures (Formerly IDG Ventures India) along with co-investor Alkemi Venture Partners which is an early growth stage fund focused in healthcare and consumption. The startup plans to use the fresh funding to improve its technology and expand its geographical reach to the non-metro cities in India. It also plans to expand to international markets such as Asia Pacific countries which is at present catering to a market of more than $4 Bn.
LetsTransport: Intracity last mile logistics provider LetsTransport raised $12 Mn in a fresh funding round from Shanghai-based VC Fosun International, which primarily invested in India through its venture capital arm Fosun RZ Capital. Two other investors of Japanese origin also took part in the latest funding round. Fosun International has invested $5 Mn of the total amount in LetsTransport. LetsTransport has so far raised around $6.6 Mn since its inception in January 2015.
Innov8: Innov8, the Gurugram-based coworking startup, raised $4 Mn in a pre-Series A round of funding led by Credence Family Office. Existing investors also participated in the funding round. Innov8 will majorly utilise the capital to expand its footprint beyond Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chandigarh. It will further double its seat count to 8,000 in the next six months.
RevFin: Delhi based instant lending startup, RevFin raised an undisclosed amount in the seed funding round from a group of angel investors. The investment was led by Harash Jain (CEO, Litejoy International, and UK based businessperson), Anil K Goyal(Founder, Anil K Goyal, and Associates), Anil Lanba (Senior Technology Executive, EVP Pyramid Consulting) and Krishan B Singh (Investor based in New York). The startup plans to use the funds to launch its services in the Indian market, improve its technology infrastructure and enhance its distribution. RevFin plans to tap the lending market which has traditionally been the domain of banking institutions.
Betterhalf.ai: Bengaluru-based AI-focussed startup Betterhalf.ai has secured a seed funding of $500K through angel investors that include Shailesh Rao, Former Managing Director of Google India, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Alumni like Vinay Subramanian, Former Investment Director at Flipkart, Rehan A Khan, Investor, FirstPenguin Capital, and other senior leaders from Google, Uber and Amazon. The company has raised about $750k till date, and the current round of capital will be utilised in building AI capabilities, while continuing to invest further in technology and talent.
Sattvaponics: Agri-tech company Sattvaponics Solutions Pvt. Ltd raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from the startup incubator of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and OmniActive Health Technologies Ltd founder Sanjaya Mariwala. It aims to cross 300-400 acres of cultivation in the next three years, producing multiple high-value crops round the year.
Also, this week fintech company MobiKwik announced its foray into the wealth management space with a 100% acquisition of Clearfunds, an online wealth management platform based out of Mumbai. This is the first acquisition ever by MobiKwik and will help the brand to further strengthen its foothold in the digital financial services industry.
Other Developments Of The Week
- Pitstop, an independent doorstep car services provider, is looking to invest $1 Mn in Singapore operations. The company has partnered with Goldbell Group and formed a JV in Singapore. By 2020, the company also plans expansion to Malaysia, Vietnam, through the JV, where Goldbell has a strong foothold.
- Homegrown quick-service restaurant chain Burger Singh is planning to raise around $6.78 Mn (INR 50 Cr) by next year in Series B round of funding, to expand its outlet network from the existing 25 to 100 by the end of the year 2020, said a top executive of the company.
- Facebook announced its collaboration with co-working spaces in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru to set up community hubs called Innovation Hubs that will seek to foster innovation by hosting mentor hours and trainings for startups.
- American mobile chipset manufacturing company Qualcomm Telecommunications revealed its plans to invest $400 Mn (INR 3000 Cr) to set up its new campus in Hyderabad, touted as company’s largest campus outside its home market. The proposed campus will focus on driving technology leadership in 5G, IoT and mobile platforms research. The company hopes to start the work in 2019.
- Overseas private investment corporation (Opic), a development finance institution under the US government expressed their interest to invest in late-stage Indian startups. Opic invests more than $500 Mn every year into private equity.
- Metropolitan Stock Exchange gears up for $100 Mn fund for MSMEs and Startups by partnering with Delamore Group and DTM Global Holdings from Canada and their partners. It will look at growing the fund to $250 Mn in three years.
- Mumbai-based leading FMCG company Procter & Gamble India (P&G India) announced the launch of a multimillion-dollar fund which aims to invest in Indian startups and will also focus on collaborative growth strategy. P&G India also launched its first programme in India, “vGROW” which will focus on identifying and collaborating with startups, small businesses, individuals or large organisations and will be offering innovative industry-leading solutions.
- LetsVenture, one of India’s premier platforms enabling angels, family offices, and foreign funds to invest in startups and VC funds, registered an Angel AIF (alternate investment fund) with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board Of India). Starting October 1, all investments on the LetsVenture platform are being routed through this new vehicle.
- Alpha Capital Advisors, a Mumbai-based investment management firm, received commitments to invest about $202 Mn (INR 1,500 Cr) over the next three-four years in India towards consumer-facing business’. The firm is independently owned and targets high net worth individuals and family offices as investors.
- With an aim to further accelerate its global digital transformation, Maersk has launched OceanPro, an intensive 120-day accelerator program offering startups the opportunity to partner with Maersk to bring innovative technology solutions to ease the global supply chain for customers. Pioneered in India, OceanPro complements Maersk’s innovation efforts worldwide. Maersk has already identified eight start-ups, namely, Unido Labs, La Vela Pictures, Zasti, Inatrix, MintM, LinkedDots, KrypC and Dhruv to collaborate with to develop solutions for better customer engagement and operations management, leveraging Blockchain, Internet of Things, Advance Text Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.
Also, this week, a number of speculations around upcoming fundings in the Indian startup ecosystem also surfaced. For instance:
- Social commerce marketplace Meesho was speculated to be in advanced talks to raise $40-50 Mn at an expected valuation of $250 Mn.
- Bengaluru-based food delivery startup FreshMenu is said to be in early talks with private equity funds to raise nearly $75 Mn as part of its Series C fundraise. With this, the company is looking to raise its valuation to $250 Mn. It has been last valued at $50 Mn when it raised its Series B round of $17 Mn led by Zodius Capital in 2016.
- Nykaa, the online retailer of fashion and beauty products, is said to be in early talks with Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. to raise $150-200 Mn. The latest funding round, if it goes through, will take Nykaa’s valuation to anywhere from $700 Mn to $800 Mn.
- Ecommerce giant Flipkart’s co-founder Sachin Bansal may invest $100 Mn in Bengaluru-based cab hailing giant Ola. This may reportedly be the largest personal investment by an individual investor in the Indian Internet space.
- One97 Communications is said to be in talks with investors from the US and China for a secondary sale of existing employees’ shares and small shareholders like MediaTek in the company. This transaction can be worth anywhere between $100 Mn-$200 Mn, valuing the company at approximately $16 Bn.
Stay tuned for the next week edition of Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!