We bring to you the latest edition of ‘Movers and Shakers’ of the week in the Indian startup ecosystem.
It’s been a watershed year for India’s ecommerce ecosystem, particularly with D2C selling growing immensely and the rise of offbeat ecommerce channels during the lockdown months.
An industry report titled The Future Of Commerce In India by Sequoia Capital India and Bain and Company shows that startups such as Meesho, BulBul, DealShare, Mall91 and SimSim are driving the change in social commerce in India. With $1.5-2 Bn gross merchandise value (GMV) in the fiscal year 2019-20 (FY20), the segment is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55-60% to $16-$20 Bn GMV by 2025.
The report found that while 8% of Indians or 105 Mn people shopped online in FY20, usage of social and video platforms for purposes such as gaming, music and video streaming and networking is more universal, with even non-transactors of ecommerce spending more than two hours every day online.
Meanwhile, Jaipur-based social commerce startup DealShare has raised $21 Mn in Series C funding round led by WestBridge Capital. Alpha Wave Incubation, Matrix Partners India and Omidyar Network India also participated in this round, along with independent investors.
DealShare will use this funding to expand its local sourcing network, strengthen its technology platform across business verticals and expand into new geographies. Beyond this, the company will also use this funding to penetrate deeper into current markets.
Shadowfax Elevates Two Employees To Cofounders
Logistics tech startup Shadowfax has elevated Praharsh Chandra and Gaurav Jaithliya to cofounders, effective December 2020.
This follows the industry-wide trend this year of elevating key leaders as cofounders, which is seen as a retention and incentive strategy in a tough hiring year. Shadowfax said the move is aimed at strengthening the core leadership as the company scales up. Chandra and Jaithliya have been at Shadowfax since inception and chief of operations and chief of strategy and investment, respectively.
“Both Praharsh and Gaurav are key members of the leadership team and have been instrumental in helping us scale new heights. Their elevation to co-founders is a very organic next step for our success and in recognition of their invaluable contribution, as we look ahead to set new benchmarks,” Abhishek Bansal, cofounder and CEO of Shadowfax, said.
Ranjan Sakalley Joins Vedantu To Lead Engineering, Technology
Edtech startup Vedantu has brought Ranjan Sakalley on board as head of engineering & technology. Sakalley will report directly to cofounder and CEO Vamsi Krishna and will lead Vedantu’s expansion of its tech and engineering teams to 200 members by the end of FY21, according to the company’s statement.
In his new role, Sakalley will oversee all product engineering decisions, including design, delivery, and reliability of products. He brings with him two decades of expertise in building and scaling teams at Gojek, GoPay, ThoughtWorks, Proteans and other companies.
ClearTax Gets New Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Fintech startup ClearTax has on-boarded former Google and Paypal exec Ravi Sandepudi as its entrepreneur-in-residence. In his role, Ravi Sandepudi will drive efforts to build a SME-centric suite of offerings while also leading ClearTax’s fintech initiatives.
An alumnus of BITS-Pilani and with a stint at The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania), Sandepudi has previously spearheaded engineering at Simility, an end-to-end fraud and decisioning platform. At Google, between 2007 and 2014, Sandepudi was involved in key roles at the tech giant’s Trust & Security wing.
Angel Investor Gaurav Singhvi Joins 9Unicorns As Venture Partner
Gaurav V Singhvi, a Surat-based chartered accountant and angel investor, has joined Mumbai-based 9Unicorns as a venture partner. The founder of The Financial Supermarket Group has over six years of investing experience with the likes of Fynd, SuprDaily, Beardo and BharatPe in his portfolio. Additionally, he has got successful exits from about 17 startups, according to the official statement.
As a venture partner at 9Unicorns, which is a part of Venture Catalysts, Singhvi will help in carrying out due-diligence and strategizing investing opportunities at 9Unicorns. He also would be instrumental in inspiring and bringing in more investors from smaller towns to join 9Unicorn’s network.
ShareChat Appoints Ajit Varghese As Chief Commercial Officer
Bengaluru-based vernacular social media platform ShareChat has appointed Ajit Varghese as its chief commercial officer. As a media industry veteran, Varghese brings in a track record of 25+ years of leading large-scale business transformations and building diverse and successful businesses around media, creative, digital, data, content, sports, and performance.
Prior to joining ShareChat, Ajit was the global president at Wavemaker, a WPP-group global media network. Known among the world’s top five media networks with clients ranging from industry giants like Vodafone, L’Oreal, Huawei, IKEA, Paramount Pictures, Chanel, Xerox, Netflix, Chevron, Beiersdorf, and Tiffany.
He would lead ShareChat’s expansion of revenue efforts, and help build a robust monetisation approach with strategic content partnership. He will also spearhead the company’s marketing functions, reporting to Farid Ahsan, COO and cofounder at ShareChat.