We bring to you the latest edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!
About ten months into acquiring a majority stake in Flipkart, Walmart has decided to use $1.2 Bn of its cash reserves to fund the operations of the Indian ecommerce marketplace. According to the statement, of the $2.7 Bn ending April 30, 2019, approximately $1.2 Bn can only be accessed through dividends or inter-company financing arrangements subject to approval by Flipkart minority shareholders.
Moving ahead, this week one of the biggest funding rounds in the Indian startup ecosystem was raised by Bengaluru-based digital application provider for micro-merchants OkCredit. The startup raised $15.5 Mn in a Series A funding round led by New York-based investment fund Tiger Global. Morningside Venture Capital, Lightspeed India Partners, Venture Highway and Y Combinator also participated in this round of funding. The startup will use the funding to further scale its merchant user base, grow its team and execute on its product roadmap.
In total, this week, 12 startups raised $35.7 Mn funding and one startup acquisitions took place in the Indian startup ecosystem. (This funding report is based on startups that disclosed funding amount.)
Indian Startup Funding For The Week
Meesho: Bengaluru-based social commerce startup Meesho raised an undisclosed amount of funding from social media company Facebook. The deal size is said to be “very significant”, however, there is no official communication on the same. The funding will help it further its efforts to enable independent entrepreneurs to build businesses and grow their customer base via social channels.
Bolo: Bengaluru based Indian language knowledge sharing community Bolo raised $430K (INR 3 Cr) in seed funding led by Nexus Venture Partners with participation from Unacademy founders Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh, Growth Story founders Ganesh Krishnan and Srinivas Anumolu and Newsdog founder Chen Yukun. The funding will be used to strengthen the team across product, technology and operations.
Yellow Messenger: Bengaluru-based conversational AI solutions provider Yellow Messenger raised $4 Mn (INR 27 Cr) in a Series A funding round from Lightspeed Venture Partners and prominent angel investors. The angel investors who participated in the round include Phanindra Sama, founder, Redbus and CIO of Telangana; Kashyap Deorah, founder of Hypertrack; Anand Swaminathan, senior partner, McKinsey & Co.; Prashant Malik, cofounder, Limeroad; Nishant Rao, former MD, Linkedin India; Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, cofounders, Snapdeal; Monisha Varadan, Zephyr Ventures and Alap Bharadwaj, APAC Innovation, Google. The fresh funds will be used towards research and development. They will also invest in developing cutting-edge deep tech capabilities, and expand its customer success teams and presence in high-potential markets across Asia, the Middle East, and other emerging markets.
Gromo: Gurugram-based GroMo raised $576.7K (INR 4 Cr) seed funding led by Ramakant Sharma, cofounder, Livspace and Utsav Somani of AngelList India as well as other prominent angel investors. The company is planning to utilise the funds to fuel its growth, strengthen its core technology platform and operations team.
Jumbotail: Bengaluru-based online wholesale marketplace Jumbotail raised $12.98 Mn (INR 90 Cr) in a Series B funding round led by San Francisco-based omni-stage venture fund Heron Rock. The round also saw participation from Capria Fund, BNK Ventures and William Jarvis and existing investors, Nexus Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital. The funds will be used to invest in AI in the supply chain. It will also use investments for forward integration of the Jumbotail platform with PoS, integrating backwards to farmers, and onboarding new FMCG brands. Jumbotail is also looking to expand its team.
Arzoo: Retail technology startup Arzoo raised $1 Mn Pre-Series A funding led by Jabbar Internet Group, that founded Middle East’s largest ecommerce platform Souq.com and a consortium of Investors from India and the United Kingdom. The startup plans to expand its retail category by integrating 500,000 retailers by 2022.
COGOS: Indian Angel Network invested $1 Mn in Bengaluru-based COGOS Technologies, along with Emergent and outside HNI investors. COGOS will channelise the capital infusion into optimising its current technological offerings, developing innovative and sustainable transportation solutions, and strengthening its human resources.
Cosmeto Food: Taste-able authentic Ayurvedic organic handmade skin care products provider Cosmeto Food raised $143K (INR 1 Cr) from Risers Accelerator. The products by the company are made from ECOCERT Certified organic ingredients with tested and authenticated proven formulations.
Sarva: Shahid Kapoor and his wife, Mira Kapoor has invested an undisclosed amount in SARVA, the Indian yoga and wellness startup. Sarva aims to have 500 state-of-the-art brick and mortar studios by 2022. It also aims to build a community of over 100 Mn on its digital platform by 2022.
Jumpstart: Venture Catalysts has invested an undisclosed amount in SaaS-based customer interaction platform Jumpstart. The startup will use the funding round to double down on its industry-first innovation driving millions of businesses to adopt digital transformation going around them.
Vowler: An interactive platform to connect with avid readers in real time Vowelor raised $143K (INR 1 Cr) in a pre-series A round led by angel investor Dr Sanjeev Juneja. The startup will use this funding to develop, implement and market this app to target 150k+ downloads on its app and 200k monthly website hit. Vowelor further plans to partner with Publishers and Bookstores to create an inclusive and organized ecosystem to bridge the gap between readers, authors, and other stakeholders.
In addition, Go-Jek acquired Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup AirCTO. The financial terms of the deal are yet to be disclosed. According to the company, the AirCTO team will now join Go-Jek with immediate effect as a part of this deal. The acquisition aligns with Go-Jek’s focus on hiring premium talent to support the development of its ‘Super App’ which can be used for availing various services such as ordering food, commuting, digital payments, shopping, and hyper-local delivery through one app.
Other Developments Of The Week
- Agri-focused accelerator and investor Pioneering Ventures launched its Rural India Impact Fund, with a targeted corpus of $70 million, to provide growth capital exclusively to companies it has backed so far. The Mumbai and Zurich-based investor has incubated five companies — Desai Fruits & Vegetables, Citrus International, FarmLink, MilkLane and Samaaru — in the agriculture, agri-supply chain and farmer credit space.
- A group of Indian early-to-mid-stage domestic venture capital firms (VCs) comprising prominent names such as Kae Capital, YourNest Venture Capital and Stellaris Venture Partners among others have come together to form a startup funding trust and advocacy platform Funder’s Forum. Reportedly, these VCs together manage a pool of more than $800 Mn in assets.
- Japanese VC Akatsuki Entertainment Technology (AET) Fund is reportedly planning to make an average of $500K investments in five early-stage regional language startups in India. The VC firm has launched a $50 Mn India and US investment fund in April 2019.
- Artha Venture Fund announced the second close of its first fund which now brings the total amount raised to over INR 100 Cr ($14.4 Mn) against the expected $28.8 Mn (INR 200 Cr) target for the fund overall.
- OYO may raise a fresh round of $1 Bn funding at a valuation of $10 Bn. This would be almost double its current valuation of $5 Bn.
- Milkbasket announced that it is investing $1.44 Mn (INR 10 Cr) to scale its fresh fruits and vegetable category. It aims to set up to 10 additional collection centres in villages to promote right farming practices for better quality yield, maintain the cold chain to mitigate the food wastage and preserve the nutritional value of produce.
- Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is looking to pick up around 8% stake worth $150 Mn in Delhivery via a secondary market investment. It is reportedly buying the shares from homegrown private equity firm Multiples Alternate Asset Management. Venture capital firm Nexus Venture Partners, an early investor in the ecommerce logistics provider, may also liquidate some of its shareholdings.
- Rapido Bikes is reportedly in final stages to raise a $50 Mn funding round led by WestBridge Capital. The media reports suggest that WestBridge is inclined to put in $30 Mn with its existing cohort investors also participating.
- India-focused agritech accelerator and investor Pioneering Ventures announced the launch of its Rural India Impact Fund. This private equity fund has a target corpus of $70 Mn and aims to provide growth capital to its portfolio companies.
- Car and bike rental startup Drivezy and self-drive car rental company Zoomcar are in initial talks for an equal merger, with a share swap deal. The talks between the companies are still in the exploratory phase and may not result in a deal unless both sets of lenders come to terms. If the deal succeeds, then top investors in both startups are likely to hold stakes in the merger.
Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!