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Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week [16-21 Sept]

Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week [16-21 Sept]

Paytm to invest INR 250 Cr ($35 Mn) in Paytm Travel over the next six months

Digital stockbroking firm Upstox raised $25 Mn from Tiger Global

5 startups backed by India Accelerator raise around INR 30 Mn from Angel Investors

We bring to you the latest edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!

In one of the biggest Indian startup funding developments, Noida-headquartered digital payments giant Paytm announced its commitment to invest INR 250 Cr ($35 Mn) in Paytm Travel over the next six months. The funds will help the company in towards scaling up the product and technology team, set up new business verticals and grow the market share in existing travel verticals.

Another big round of funding was raised by digital stockbroking firm Upstox. The startup raised $25 Mn in its second round of investment from New York-based investor Tiger Global. Upstox cofounder Ravi Kumar claimed the company has been profitable for two years and a fresh round of funding will be used to expand its business, making product improvements and adding new features, as well as hiring.

In another development, 5 startups backed by India Accelerator raise around INR 30 Mn from Angel Investors. These include Prithvi (INR 10 Mn), DROR (INR 45 Lakh), The Knotty Tales (INR 35 Lakh), VAPP (INR 35 lakh) and FIO (INR 75 lakh).

Apart from these, 22 startups raised $121 Mn funding and three startup acquisitions took place in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Important Indian Startup Funding Of The Week

Generico: Pharmacy chain Generico has secured an $11 Mn of funding from Lightbox Ventures, today, as a part of their series A funding. The pharmacy chain plans to utilise this funding to strengthen its supply chain, technology and healthcare prepositions. It will also be expanding to 150 stores in Mumbai and other cities such as Pune.

SpaceJoy: United States and Bengaluru-based home decor startup Spacejoy raised $1 Mn seed round from Accel Partners. The company will use this funding to grow its services and reach in the global market.

Wow! Momo: Quick service restaurant chain Wow! Momo Foods raised $23 Mn in a Series B funding round from US-based investor Tiger Global.  With this investment, the restaurant chain is estimated to be valued at $120 Mn.  Wow! Momo Foods currently operates over 282 outlets of Wow! Momo and 11 outlets of Wow! China. The company now targets to set up over 120 stores in this financial year.

Square Yards: Proptech company Square Yards raised $20 Mn equity funding round from a clutch of investors including Bennett Coleman & Co Limited (BCCL), Genkai Capital, founders of PropertyGuru Steve Melhuish and Jani Rautiainen, Koh Boon Hwee, former chairman of Singtel and DBS along with the participation of some existing investors. In addition to this, Square Yards has also raised around $25 Mn in debt financing. Square Yards estimates its valuation to be in the range of $260 Mn to $300 Mn. Going forward, the company wants to aggressively ramp up its investments in strengthening its technology infrastructure, building a go-to consumer brand, as well as expanding to newer geographies in emerging countries especially those that have a large primary residential market and fragmented distribution.

Groww: Bengaluru-based wealth management platform Groww raised $21.3 Mn in Series B funding round led by fintech-focussed investment firm Ribbit Capital. In addition, the capital will enable the startup to strengthen its team to build exciting products for its users.

Kaarya Naturals: Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma supported investment firm Roots Ventures invested an undisclosed amount in health food company Kaarya Naturals, which goes by the brand name eighty20. The company has a range of protein and health bars and is now planning to expand its range of healthy snacks with this new funding.

PlusPin: Hyderabad-based healthtech startup PlusPin raised INR 5.25 Cr ($733.68K) in a fresh funding round led by Indian Angel Network (IAN). Sanjay Jesrani, Dr Vinay Tulla, Dr Kiran Peddi, and Rajan Anandan, among others IAN angels participated in the funding round. PlusPin’s existing angels including Ambicare Clinics, participated as co-investors. Munjal Group, Axilor Ventures, among others also joined in as the new investors. The funds will be used to scale to key target cities, strengthen its technology infrastructure, and augmenting customer engagement and experience.

AttainU: Bengaluru-based edtech startup AttainU raised an undisclosed amount of funding from multiple investors. This includes Shailesh Rao ex-Google India Head, Nikhil Rungta ex-Intuit India Head, Anil Gelra, founder, SnapMint and Manish Kumar, founder, KredX and LetsVenture. It will use the funds to strengthen faculty, development of courses, counselling teams and build a semi-automated platform.

NestAway: Bengaluru-based home rental startup NestAway raised INR 34.92 Cr ($5 Mn) from existing investor Goldman Sachs. The company claims to be clocking over $2 Mn in revenue every month. The company plans to enter the women’s housing and senior living management over the next 12 months.

Syntizen: Hyderabad-based digital identity solutions provider Syntizen raised an undisclosed amount of Pre-Series A funding from global payments technology company Mastercard and biometric solutions provider ACPL. The company plans to use the funds to strengthen its product offerings and expand its services in India and internationally.

Hello World: Home rental startup Nestaway invested $10 Mn towards its co-living and student living entity, Hello World. In the next two-three months, the company says it would be looking to expand its capacity to over 50K beds in nine more cities across India — Indore, Manipal, Chandigarh, Vizag, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Goa, and Vellore.

GigIndia: Freelance marketplace GigIndia raised a strategic round of funding from a clutch of technology veterans including S Ramadorai, former Tata Consultancy Services CEO; Kiran Deshpande, former CEO of Tech Mahindra; Ravi Nigam, ex MD and cofounder of Tasty Bite Eatables; and Shashank Deshpande, cofounder of Clarice Technologies. Going forward, the company is now keeping a laser-sharp focus on business growth for the next six to nine months before raising a bigger round.

Aye Finance: Gurugram-based digital lending company Aye Finance raised INR 80 Cr ($11.2 Mn) in debt funding from an undisclosed investor. The company plans to use the funds to further grow its lending portfolio.

Blowhorn: Bengaluru-based logistics startup Blowhorn announced a new round with the undisclosed amount of funding from a clutch of investors. The company didn’t disclose the lead investor but said that other participating investors include Venture Catalysts, James Lee Sorenson and Japanese VC firm, Dream Incubator. The company plans to use the funds towards bolstering innovation and expansion.

Zivame: Bengaluru-based online lingerie retailer Zivame raised equity funding from existing investors Zodius Capital and Avendus Capital. The company had said that aligning with its growth strategy, Zivame plans to raise a larger round later in 2019.

ZoomCar India: Bengaluru-based self-driving car platform Zoomcar India received INR 14.14 Cr ($1.9 Mn) equity infusion from US-based parent, Zoomcar Inc. The company claims to have a 70% market share with over 7,000 cars, catering to over 2000 rides every day. By the end of 2019, it aims to have 20,000 cars.

Meddo: Gurugram-based healthtech startup Meddo raised $3 Mn in Pre-Series A funding round led by SRI Capital. Other entities like growX Ventures, LetsVenture, Jitendra Gupta (cofounder Citrus Pay) and Venture Gurukool also participated in the round. The funding will be invested to increase the team size, and build on the technology backend.

Cred: Kunal Shah’s credit card rewards app Cred raised $9.5 Mn (INR 68.87 Cr) in Series B funding round from US-based venture capital fund General Catalyst. The company said in its filings earlier that the bridge Series B funds will be used for growth, expansion, marketing and general corporate activities of the company.

BYJU’S: Bengaluru-based edtech company BYJU’S issued fresh set of warrants to Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL) worth INR 3.9 Cr.  In an extraordinary meeting on August 30, BYJU’S passed a resolution to offer and issue five warrants at a consideration of INR 78 Lakh each to BCCL. Prior to this, Times Group held 5 equity shares and 5 warrants and post-investment, it will hold 5 equity shares and 10 warrants.

B:Live: DNA Entertainment Networks Pvt. Ltd invested INR 4 Cr in EV tourism startup, B: Live. the funding will help the startup to  build unique travel experiences led by innovation and technology.

iKure: Kolkata based iKure Techsoft Pvt. Ltd. raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Inflection Point Ventures (IPV). iKure is a social health enterprise that is engaged in delivering primary healthcare, wellness and prevention services to rural, semi-urban and urban population through its hubs and spokes clinic model. The startup plans to utilise the acquired funds for business and technology expansion.

SlicePay: Fintech startup SlicePay raised INR 20.5 Cr ($2.8 Mn) debt funding from Japan-based Gunosy Capital and investment arms of Das Capital, Pegasus Wings Group. SlicePay founder Rajan Bajaj told Inc42, “We are touching 15K transactions a day and a waiting list of more than 300K customers. To keep up with the pace, fundraising is a constant for us and we keep meeting the best investors in the world.”

Important Indian Startup Acquisitions Of The Week

  • Nazara Technologies Ltd. has invested INR 7.5 Cr in Sports Unity which owns Qunami, a short format, multiplayer quiz game in India. Leading Delhi based lawyer Mr. Vaibhav Gaggar has also participated in the round. With this investment, Nazara acquires majority stake in Sports Unity and is consolidating its presence in the fast growing quizzing /trivia category.
  • Paris-based technology and artist services company Believe acquired Mumbai-based live music production company, The Entertainment Company (Entco), for an undisclosed amount. Post-acquisition, Entco will be rebranded as Believe Entertainment and will be based in Mumbai. It is expected to closely align live music experiences for brands and consumers with Believe’s growing music distribution, label services, and artist services operations in the market.
  • SaaS unicorn Freshworks acquired Bengaluru-based design collaboration tool CanvasFlip in a cash and equity deal. Post-acquisition, CanvasFlip’s website feedback management tool, Visual Inspector, will continue to be available in Chrome Webstore. However, its prototyping and collaboration solutions will be discontinued.

Speculations Of The Week

  • Delhi-based eyewear startup Lenskart passed a resolution to raise INR 392 Cr ($55.18 Mn) from private equity firm Kedaara Capital. The development came after reports surfaced earlier this month that Kedaara Capital was in talks to acquire a stake in Lenskart via a secondary deal from PremjiInvest and Chiratae Ventures. This deal was expected to value the company at $1 Bn and take it to the unicorn club.
  • Agra-based business-to-business (B2B) marketplace for leather products ShoeKonnect is raising INR 11 Cr ($1.5 Mn) in Series C funding round. With this investment, Info Edge will hold 32.85% stake on a fully converted diluted basis in ShoeKonnect. The funding is expected to help the company consolidate its presence in the market.
  • Shailaz Nag announced his exit from PayU India in July and is now back in the ring with her new fintech startup DotPe. is reportedly raising $5 Mn-$10 Mn. An ET report said that PayU, Fosun International, Info Edge and a few angel investors may invest in $10 Mn equity financing round in DotPe. Another Livemint report said that DotPe is raising $5 Mn from Naspers Fintech and a Chinese investor.
  • Ola EV venture Ola Electric Mobility (OEM) is now in the final stage to raise funds from South Korean automotive giants Hyundai and its affiliate Kia. The development comes six months after both companies had invested $300 Mn in Ola’s parent company ANI Technologies.
  • OYO’s Ritesh Agarwal will be buying back shares worth $1.5 Bn from early investors Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Agarwal and OYO has got a nod from CCI for the same and to further infuse $500 Mn into the company.

Other Developments Of The Week

  • Microsoft India announced the launch of “Highway to a Hundred Unicorns” programme. Launched at an event in collaboration with the Industries Commissionerate and iNDEXTb, Government of Gujarat, the programme aims to foster the Indian startup ecosystem in the tier 2 cities.
  • Wipro Enterprises’ FMCG brand Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting announced the launch of Wipro Consumer Care Ventures. With this, the company wants to invest in innovative startups in the consumer brands space. The venture fund will focus on companies with a differentiated approach where both parties can learn by leveraging their strengths and add value to each other. Sumit Keshan will be leading the investments business.
  • Karnataka government announced a vision group for startups to provide insights on strengthening the startup ecosystem in the state and focus on involving stakeholders from industry and academia. The vision group is one of the many initiatives taken by the state government to boost the startup ecosystem, with a special focus on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities on the state.
  • Singapore-headquartered venture capital firm Vertex Ventures announced the final close of its $305 Mn early-stage fund focused on investing in Indian and Southeast Asian technology startups. The Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India Fund IV received investments from both existing and new limited partners, including sovereign wealth funds, financial institutions, corporates and family offices across Asia and Europe. The VC firm plans to start deploying the fund before the end of the year. It will continue to invest in early-stage companies in the region across enterprise technology, financial technology and consumer internet.
  • The UK government is inviting applications for healthtech startups from India to participate in TeXchange 2020: Healthcare Innovation to be hosted in February 2020. TeXchange is the flagship event of UK-Israel Tech Hub and is now open to applications from Kenya, Nigeria, or South Africa as well.
  • To boost technology and investment exchange between India and the US, Telangana government-backed Incubator T-Hub signed a tripartite MoU with two companies based out of New Jersey. The three entities will collaborate for startup innovation, funding, and entrepreneurship.
  • Mumbai-based VC Lightbox Ventures closed its third India-focused investment fund at $209 Mn with the participation of 28 investors. The fund’s closing amount is slightly higher than the fund’s initial target of $200 Mn.
  • Chiratae Ventures is launching a $35 Mn seed fund to focus on such early-stage investments. The average ticket size for investments through the fund would be between $500K to $1 Mn.
  • Early stage investor Kae Capital is in talks to raise its third venture capital fund of up to $60 Mn. With the new funding, the company is expected to increase its funding ticket size to start from a million, compared to the existing ticket size of $500K-800K.
  • Tiger Global’s former executive Lee Fixel is reportedly eyeing a comeback in the Indian startup ecosystem with his own venture fund called Addition. He is estimated to invest around $1 Bn in India and South-East Asia startups.
  • The Government of Karnataka in association with NASSCOM and ecosystem partners, Startup Karnataka, TIE and THE GAIN launched ‘Bangalore Fintech Forum’. The aim of the platform is to accelerate the growth of the ecosystem by interfacing subject matter experts, think tanks, VCs, regulators and bureaucrats with fintech startups.

Stay tuned for the next week edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup funding of The Week!

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