We bring to you the latest edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!
One of the biggest funding this week was raised by online reseller network Meesho, gaining $125 Mn in a round led by Naspers, with participation from Facebook and existing investors SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway. This fund raise will help it to make deeper inroads in areas outside India’s major metro regions, by creating more entrepreneurs, and as a result, reaching remote customers not serviced by traditional e-commerce marketplaces. Also, rumours are rife that the Japanese conglomerate is reportedly looking to invest $200 Mn in the company as well.
Close enough, another major round was raised by ShareChat, adding $100 Mn in its latest Series D round of funding. Twitter and TrustBridge Partners are two new investors joining this latest funding round, while existing investors participating in this round include Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAIF Capital, India Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital. The round took the total funding raised by ShareChat to $224 Mn.
Apart from these, this week, 16 startups raised $121.8 Mn funding and four startup acquisition took place in the Indian startup ecosystem. (This funding report is based on startups that disclosed funding amount.)
Indian Startup Funding of The Week
Dunzo: Bengaluru-based hyperlocal services enabler Dunzo raised a debt of INR 13 Cr ($1.8 Mn) for 1300 non-convertible debentures at a value of INR 10 Lakh from Alteria Capital through Milestone Trusteeship Services.
Parentof: Bengaluru-based AI startup Parentof raised $1 Mn in a seed funding round led by V Srinivas and other existing investors. With this, total funding raised by Parentof is $2 Mn. The funds will be used towards further evolving their technology, as well as expanding their partner network.
Doxper: Mumbai-based healthtech startup Doxper raised $4 Mn in a Series A round led by healthcare-focused fund Alkemi Venture Partners. Rainforest Venture Network participated in the round with existing investor growX Ventures and some angel investors.
Faircent: Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Faircent raised a fresh round of funding from Das Capital and Gunosy Capital. Existing investors Starharbor Asia and M&S Partners have also participated in the round. The startup will use the funding to strengthen its technology backend, expansion of its product offerings and reach.
Emotix: Robotics startup Emotix, popularly known as Miko, which develops educational and recreational robot toys for children, announced to raise an INR 53.42 Cr ($7.5 Mn) Series A led by Chiratae Ventures. YourNest Venture Capital, investor Bruno Raschle and a group of angel investors are also participating in Emotix’s latest round. The company said it would be using the funding to expand internationally to North America, UK and the Middle East. A portion of the funds would be allocated for developing new products and R&D in the areas of emotional and artificial intelligence, which form a crucial component of the Miko emotive robot toy.
Uniphore Software Systems: Chennai-based conversational AI startup Uniphore Software Systems raised $51 Mn in its Series C funding round led by March Capital Partners. Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures), Sistema Asia, CXO Fund, ITP, Iron Pillar, Patni Family also participated in the round. The funds will be used to accelerate its go-to-market in North America, invest in research and development for the next wave of innovation on its platform and grow its talented employee base globally.
Rupeek: Gold loans enabler Rupeek raised a $30 Mn a funding round led by Bertelsmann India along with the participation of other existing investors Accel and Sequoia India. This funding will be used by the company to support product development and market expansion.
Blu Smart: Delhi-based electric mobility startup Blu Smart raised $2.2 Mn in seed funding. The investment came in from a group of angel investors with Jain International Trade Organization (JITO) Angel Network leading the round. The other investors include Hero Motocorp, MayField Fund and Centrum, Micromax and few individual investors among others. The funds will be used to expand its offerings and services beyond Delhi NCR.
Orbo: Vinod Dham, the developer of Intel’s Pentium microprocessor and technology mentor invested $1.6 Mn (INR 11.4 Cr) in the Pre-Series A funding round of Orbo, a maker of AI-based image enhancement software. The investment is in Dham’s personal capacity. YourNest Venture Capital and Venture Catalysts led the fundraising round. Angel investor John Ason and existing investor Refex Capital also took part in this round.
Lendingkart: Ahmedabad-based lendingtech startup Lendingkart raised $2.95 Mn (INR 21 Cr) in a fresh equity round from Sistema Asia Fund. The investment comes days after the company raised $30 Mn (INR 212 Cr) in an equity funding round led by existing investors including Fullerton Financial Holdings, Bertelsmann India Investments and India Quotient. The funds will be used to expand the lending base, build technology and strengthen analytics capabilities.
Talview: HRtech startup Talview raised $6.75 Mn in Series A round of funding. The company received fundings from Storm Ventures, Inventus Capital, Eileses Capital and Emergent Ventures. The company plans on enhancing the talent hiring process for employers across the globe
Aye Finance: SME lending player Aye Finance raised $10 Mn in debt funding from responsAbility Investments AG, a Swiss impact investor. Aye raised $5 Mn from responsAbility through NCDs and the balance $5 Mn has been issued from a securitization pool raised by responsAbility, which was arranged by J.P Morgan. Key investors in this transaction include the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Alecta. Aye will use these funds to grow its loan book and offer affordable and customized credit solutions to the credit-starved micro enterprises in India.
Cars24: Gurugram-based online used car marketplace Cars24 raised an undisclosed amount of Series D funding in a strategic partnership with cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The company said that the move aims to elevate and strengthen the brand as it continues to expand across markets. As part of this partnership, Dhoni will own equity in Cars24 and will be the company’s brand ambassador.
Tjori: Online artisanal brand for crafts and lifestyle-based products Tjori raised an undisclosed amount of funding from investors in India and the Middle East in a Pre-Series A round. With this round, the total amount of funding raised has crossed $1 Mn for the startup.
GetNatty: O2O designer brands aggregator startup and fashion discovery platform, GetNatty raised an undisclosed amount of funding as a part of its seed round. It was led by Abhay Kumar, CMD of Grihapravesh Buildteck, Binod Choubey, Firoze Sethna and Parth Patel. The proceeds from the round of funding will be used by the two-year-old company to build out the technology arm of the business and bring in new revenue channel formats that will cater to the country’s burgeoning fashion design ecosystem.
Clicbrics: Delhi-NCR based real estate marketplace Clicbrics raised $3 Mn in a Pre-Series A funding round. The investment was led by former Tiger Management Lieutenant Manny Singh of Kavi Fund; Peter Mann, fund manager at Gluskin Sheff along with a senior managing director of one a Canadian pension fund and several high profile private investors from USA and Canada. The company said the funds will be used towards expansion and growth in the Indian market. Clicbrics will continue to focus on Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities targeting the real estate markets.
Indian Startup Acquisitions Of The Week
- Ola acquihired Pikup.ai, a Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup. The deal value remains undisclosed, however, Pikup.ai founders — Inder Singh and Ritwik Saikia — along with its team will join Ola. With the acquihire, Ola aims to advance the application of machine learning and AI to identify deep insights that can lead to improved mobility outcomes.
- Mumbai-based VR startup Tesseract’s founder Kshitij Marwah confirmed to Inc42 that Reliance acquired a majority position in the company. It also invested INR 10.25 Cr in the company according to MCA filings.
- Bengaluru-headquartered coworking space provider CoWrks acquired The UnCube for an undisclosed amount. The Gurugram-headquartered UnCube provides on-demand workspace solutions. Post-acquisition, CoWrks will rename the combined entity to CoWrks Go. CoWrks is now expanding its network of productive spaces by bringing on board a chain of cafes, restaurants, hotels, business lounges, etc.
- Kolkata-based Ability Games Private Limited acquired an undisclosed stake in Ahmedabad-based IT company Yudiz Solutions Private Limited for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition will enable Ability Games to expand its growth and develop interesting games in-house.
Other Important Developments Of The Week
- Bengaluru-based venture capital firm Fireside Ventures is all set to make newer investments as it doubles up its ammunition with a $100 Mn fund. Interestingly, the firm’s first fund was closed at $48 Mn and the second fund would be over a double of that. The reports have surfaced that the firm is well-positioned to announce the first close in a month’s time.
- The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is considering to reserve a certain section of funds from Funds of Funds for Startups (FFS) for biotechnology ventures to promote technologies in healthcare, agriculture, food and nutrition.
- Bringing its popular “Morning Pitch” tradition from Japan to the startup ecosystem in India, Deloitte hosted the seventh edition of Morning Pitch today (August 13) in Gurugram. The selected four startups were LocoNav, FuelArk, Liradolf, and M2IoT.
- Future Group is seeking a valuation of about $281 Mn from Amazon against a 10% stake. Both companies have been in talks since last year to align their businesses together through a stake deal.
- Bike taxi startup Rapido is reportedly talking for funding of a close to $50 Mn led by domestic firm Westbridge Capital and China’s ShunWei Capital. Existing investor Nexus Venture Partners will also be participating in the round, according to media reports. The startup is said to be valued at $200 Mn after the investment round.
- Zomato’s two major shareholders, Ant Financial and InfoEdge may create roadblocks for the company in its aim to raise $500 Mn – $1 Bn funding round, which is a much-required breather amid competition with players like Swiggy and UberEATS. The round has been in talks since the start of 2019. Although it was able to receive a small ticket infusion of about $40 Mn from Glade Brook Capital in February, the talks have not materialized further.
- The UK India cross-border fund of Unicorn India called Unicorn Ascension fund made its seventh investment in UK-based gold trading platform, Goledex. Goldex enables retail and institutional clients to buy and sell physical gold through algorithms for price discovery and aligning prices across dealers.
- The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) will be launching ‘Startup Elevator Pitch Series’ in a dozen tier 2 and tier 3 cities as a platform for budding entrepreneurs to pitch for funding and technology partners. The series is open to early stage and established startups between 0-5 years of operations. The selected 33 startups will get an opportunity for raising finance and technology or even marketing partnership with venture capitalists, mentors or independent professionals of global repute. The final presentation will happen in February 2020 in Delhi, of which the top three will be selected.
- The state government of Jammu and Kashmir announced plans to host a three-day global investors summit to be held in Srinagar from October 12. This is expected to provide Jammu and Kashmir with an opportunity to showcase its strengths, strategies and potential, the government said.
- Mukesh Ambani announced free Jio connectivity and Jio-Azure cloud services for tech startups in India by 2021. Startups will have to register on the Jio portal to access these services, which are expected to be available from January 2021. To provide these cloud services, Reliance Jio has announced a partnership with the tech giant Microsoft and its Azure cloud vertical.
Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!