We bring to you the latest edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!
One of the biggest funding rounds in the Indian startup ecosystem was raised by Bhavin Turakhia-led fintech startup Zeta. It has secured an undisclosed amount in Series C funding round from Sodexo Benefits and Rewards (BRS). According to the company, the funding round has been raised at a valuation of $300 Mn. With this investment, Sodexo will have a minority stake in the company.
Zeta’s payment solutions will be used by Sodexo for its suite of solutions. With this funding round, the fintech startup will look at expanding its business to the US, UK, Europe and Southeast Asia.
In a major announcement this week, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank launched its second technology-focussed investment corpus, SoftBank Vision Fund II, with an outlay of $108 Bn. The fund claimed to have received commitments from technology majors such as Apple and Microsoft.
Other investors in the fund include National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan, Standard Chartered Bank, and some undisclosed investors from Taiwan. Further, SoftBank will be investing $38 Bn in the fund along with other committed investors including Foxconn, MUFG, SMFG and Mizuho.
The objective of the fund is to facilitate the continued acceleration of the AI revolution through investment in market-leading, tech-enabled growth companies.
In total, this week, 20 startups raised $75.89 Mn funding and one startup acquisition took place in the Indian startup ecosystem. (This funding report is based on startups that disclosed funding amount.)
Indian Startup Funding For The Week
boAt: Electronics maker, boAt, has raised INR 16 Cr (about $2 Mn) in debt funding from venture lending firm InnoVen Capital. Last week, the company has raised $2.9 Mn in venture debt from Sachin Bansal’s BAC Acquisitions. The company will continue to focus on profitability and sustainable growth while minimizing our cash burn
PlayShifu: Bengaluru-based gaming company Playshifu raised $7 Mn in Series A funding. The round was led by Chiratae (formerly IDG Ventures India), Inventus Capital and Bharat Innovation Fund (BIF). Existing investor IDFC-Parampara Fund also participated. The company plans to use the funds to invest further towards tech innovation, research on unique phygital interactions and new product developments.
Coverfox: Mumbai-based online insurance brokerage platform Coverfox received an INR 40 Cr ($5.89 Mn) capital infusion from its existing investors. According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings accessed by Inc42, Coverfox issued Series C5 compulsorily convertible preference shares (CCPS) to investors such as International Finance Corporation, Aegon Digital Investments, Transamerica Ventures, Accel India and SAIF Partners.
Quikr: Bengaluru-based online classifieds marketplace Quikr raised INR 20 Cr ($2.9 Mn) in debt funding. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings accessed by Inc42, the company has raised debt by issuing 200 compulsorily convertible debentures to Trifecta Capital in May. The company had received INR 13.9 Cr in a capital infusion from its Mauritius-based entity in May.
Drip Capital: Mumbai-based SME lending startup Drip Capital raised $25 Mn in a Series B funding round led by Accel Partners with participation from existing investors Sequoia India, Wing VC, and Y Combinator. New investors in this round include GC1 Ventures and institutional investor platform Trusted Insight. The funds will be used to expand its global footprint, launching in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico in 2019.
Cash Suvidha: Delhi-based online lending platform Cash Suvidha raised $2.3 Mn in debt funding through private placement on non-convertible debentures and from various financial institutions. The amount has been raised in the first quarter of FY 2019-20. Cash Suvidha will use the funds to increase the loan books of the company.
Kissht: Mumbai-based consumer lending startup Kissht raised INR 50 Cr (about $7 Mn) debt funding from Sachin Bansal and Ankit Agarwal’s investment firm BAC Acquisitions. The startup claims to be present in more than 50 online and over 3,500 offline points of sale across categories, including consumer durables, electronics, health, alternative energy and education, and enables customers to easily access credit for their purchases.
PayMart: Chandigarh-based merchants-enabled cash withdrawal platform PayMart raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round led by Chandigarh Angels Network (CAN). This investment will help the company build its technology and accelerate the development process.
Snapdeal: Gurugram-based ecommerce platform Snapdeal raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Anand Piramal. He has invested in the company in a personal capacity, a company statement said. Anand Piramal said that Snapdeal’s sharp execution in bringing great selection to the mass market segment in Tier 2-3 cities has been quite successful, leveraging the growing internet penetration in these geographies.
Emotix: Mumbai-based robotics startup emotix raised $2.69 Mn (INR 18.58 Cr) in a fresh funding round from Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures), Technology Venture Fund and Yournest India. Sources close to the development indicated to Inc42 that the investment is a part of a larger funding round. The fresh funds will be invested towards company’s research and development requirements.
WinZO Games: Delhi-based vernacular real-money gaming platform WinZO Games raised $5 Mn in Series A funding. The round was led by Kalaari Capital and messaging and payments platform Hike. The company claims to have more than 7 Mn registered users across Tier 2/3/4/5 cities. It claims that users are currently spending more than 55 minutes inside the app on average every day.
SmartE: Delhi-based electric rickshaw provider SmartE raised $14.5 Mn (INR 100 Cr) in series B funding from the Japanese conglomerate Mitsui and Co. The company will use these new funds to expand into new markets. The company plans to grow the fleet of electric three-wheelers to 10K units and expand operations to at least two cities in South India and three in the North India over the next two years.
PayMate: B2B digital payments company PayMate raised an undisclosed amount of Series D funding from Recruit Strategic Partners (venture capital arm of Japan-based Recruit Co.), Brand Capital, Mayfair 101, along with participation from strategic partner Visa. The funding will help complement its existing commercial partnership with them and help the company scale faster by combining capital with Visa’s network
UrbanClap: Gurugram-based hyperlocal services provider UrbanClap raised INR 149 Lakh ($216K) in fresh funding from ex-Flipkart CTO Mekin Maheshwari and Avaana Capital founder Anjali Bansal. Maheshwari, who is currently working for his NGO named Udhyam Learning Foundation, invested INR 50 Lakh. Anjali Bansal invested INR 90 Lakh from her through her personal investment fund SAB Holdings. Recently, company founders invested $4.2 Mn (INR 28.75 Cr) each into their five-year-old company.
Alma Mater: Bengaluru-based customised apparel and merchandise brand Alma Mater raised $200K in its first external funding from Harminder Sahni, Managing Director, Wazir Advisors. The brand leads mass and online customisation in India. It has the vision of turning people’s vision and imagination into reality.
Paisa Dukan: Mumbai-based P2P lending platform PaisaDukan raised an undisclosed amount of funding from JITO Incubation & Innovation Foundation (JIIF). The round was led by Manoj Mehta, a marquee angel investor of JITO Angel Network along with Sunil Singhvi. eeper financial inclusion. The current round of funding will help in hiring experienced key resources to support company’s rural expansion.
Eyestem: Bengaluru-based cell therapy startup Eyestem raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Zurich-based Jacesa investments, South Africa based Church Street Trustees and Gillian Corken. Impres Health also participated in the round. The investment will boost the startup’s efforts to find a treatment for Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration (Dry AMD). The funding will help the company to complete all the pre-clinical work to file for an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and be ready for phase one clinical trials by the end of next year.
Pariksha: Pune-based exam preparation platform Pariksha raised $1 Mn pre-Series A round of funding with INR 4 Cr investment from Venture Catalysts. Other investors include Sunil Kumar Singhvi of South Handlooms, Jayant Mehrotra of Lodha Group, Nirav Panchmatia of Aum Financial Advisors, Aditya Khurana of The Little Company Day Care Solutions among others. The fresh funds will be used to strengthen its product offerings, bolster back-end operations and expand its operations in the country.
Celestial E-Mobility: Hyderabad-based electric vehicle startup Celestial E-Mobility raised $200K in funding from Meka Sudhakar Reddy. The company is in the advanced stage of developing Electric Tractors.
Indian Startup Acquisitions Of The Week
- Mumbai-based conversational AI platform Haptik acqui-hired Los Angeles-based AI startup Convrg. Additionally, the company has hired Timothy Carey, a technology industry veteran with over 20 years of experience across AI and enterprise software, to serve as its General Manager for the region. Convrg’s founding team— Audrey Wu, Liz Snower and Amit Gupta— will report to Carey and will help drive Haptik’s business in the US respectively serving as VP of Strategic Partnerships, VP of Growth, and VP of Technology Solutions.
Other Developments Of The Week
- Apple has paid $1 Bn to acquire Intel’s smartphone modem chips business, which was one weak area in the electronic giant’s plans to release next-gen iPhones ready for 5G networks. As part of the acquisition, 2,200 Intel employees will be joining Apple by the end of the year and Intel will also sign over close to 17K patents to the Cupertino company.
- After the recent layoffs, ecommerce unicorn ShopClues is looking to raise a new investment round. This potential fundraise was one of the driving factors for the layoff of 150-200 employees. An acquisition with Snapdeal can also be on the lines, as the least layoffs were from the Shopclues’ marketing team and Snapdeal has a weak marketing team.
- American private equity firm Blackstone has reportedly invested $250 Mn in Kishore Biyani’s Future Group which owns supermarket chains such as Bigbazaar, Brand Factory, EasyDay and more. The investment is said to be a mix of equity and structured debt, and be used for the capital expansion of Biyani’s discounted fashion retail chain Brand Factory.
- Microsoft announced that it is investing $1 Bn in partnership with OpenAI to support the development of an AI framework and models for AI applications across operations and services, built on the company’s Azure cloud service. OpenAI is a non-profit AI research group, backed by the likes of Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Infosys, Amazon Web Services and others
- The Bank of Baroda has designated branches in 10 cities and towns and plans to add more to reach its aim of funding 1000 startups in the next two years. Through the dedicated bank accounts, the bank offers facilities like current accounts, payment gateways, credit cards and a loan of up to INR 2 Cr.
- HDFC Bank announced the four winners of its Digital Innovation Summit in Mohali. The Summit is a platform for startups to showcase their innovations aimed at powering the bank’s next phase of growth. The winners are Paymart, TickTalkTo, Matisoft Cyber Security Labs, and AS Technolutions Pvt. Ltd.
- Axilor Ventures announced its latest Summer 2019 cohort of its accelerator program. The current cohort comprises 12 startups across consumer tech, commerce, enterprise and fintech. Like previous cohorts, most startups in this cohort are boot-strapped, post-launch and in early stages of traction. The Summer ’19 batch will graduate in mid-August. The selected startups include Canopi India, TimePay, AssetFit, SensiWise among others.
- Accenture announced the winners of the second annual Accenture Ventures Challenge in India, which this year recognizes deep tech growth-stage Indian startups with the most innovative business-to-business (B2B) use cases in five categories related to Applied Intelligence: artificial intelligence (AI), data, analytics, automation, and industrial AI. The winners were MMS.IND, Numberz, Locobuzz, Strayos and Niramai.
Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!