We bring to you the latest edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!
In one of the biggest funding in the Indian startup ecosystem this week, Bengaluru-headquartered bike taxi startup Rapido closed its Series B funding round at INR 390.11 Cr ($54.9 Mn) in a funding round led by WestBridge Capital. Other investors in the round include Bace Fund, Integrated Growth Capital, Nexus Ventures, Konark Trust, Sabre Investment, Skycatcher LLC, etc.
In another important development, the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) announced its plans to jump in as a seed investor for over 100 AI-backed startups that offer translation services in Indian languages. The natural language translation mission is a 100-day action plan by MeitY, which is one of the key missions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
Apart from this, 14 startups raised around $57 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 Of The Week
Mellora: An online jewellery brand Melorra raised a funding round of $12 Mn from venture capital firms Lightbox Ventures and BlackSoil Capital. Family offices such as Great Eastern Shipping Company led by Ravi Sheth, the Burmans of Dabur, Rainmaker Ventures and the Jeejeebhoy family office also participated. The funding will enable the startup to enhance their capabilities and grow deeper in the markets that they serve.
Ola: According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings accessed by Inc42, the company on September 27 received INR 35.88 Cr ($5.05 Mn) in Series J funding round from ARK Ola Pre IPO Fund. In its filings, Ola has said that it will use the funds for general business activities.
Vahan.ai: Bengaluru-based jobs marketplace Vahan.ai raised an undisclosed amount of fresh funding from Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund and Pioneer Fund. The fresh funds will be used towards scaling up and expanding operations. Vahan.ai was part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 batch.
Hevo Data: Bengaluru and San Francisco based unified data platform Hevo Data raised $4 Mn seed funding in a round led by Chiratae Ventures and Sequoia Capital’s early-stage accelerator programme Surge in October 2019. It plans to utilise this funding to expand its services in the US and other western markets.
Vahdam Teas: Delhi-based online tea brand Vahdam Teas raised a Series C funding round of INR 75 Cr ($10.5 Mn) led by Sixth Sense Ventures. Zomato co-founder Pankaj Chaddah, existing investor Fireside Ventures, family offices and HNIs such as Mankind Group Family office, Infosys founder Kris Gopalkrishnan, SAR Group Family office, Urmin Group family office, also participated. With the current fundraising, it aims to further penetrate key markets, invest heavily in research and development, launch innovative products, enter new markets globally and further strengthen its management team.
Basix Sub-K: Hyderabad-based fintech startup BASIX Sub-K iTransactions raised $10.5 Mn (INR 75 Cr.) Series C round from Maj Invest. The startup will use the funds for business expansion and strengthening its technology stack.
Smytten: Gurugram-based online discovery platform Smytten raised $1.5 Mn in a fresh funding round. The investment came in from existing investor Roots Ventures. The fresh funds will be used to expand the user base, infrastructure and offline presence. With this, the total funding raised by Smytten is $3 Mn.
DealShare: Jaipur-based regional social commerce company, DealShare, raised around $8 Mn in its Series A round of funding led by Matrix Partners India and Falcon Edge Capital. The round also saw participation from partners of DST Global, and Omidyar Network India. It plans to expand into 100 cities across more than 10 states in the next one year. The fresh funds will be also utilised for developing artificial intelligence-based solutions and indigenous logistics network.
GeoIQ: Bengaluru-based location intelligence startup GeoIQ raised an undisclosed amount of funding from IP Ventures. The company is expected to utilise the fund to expand its tech team, improve product development and focus on marketing.
Juno: Neo bank Juno raised $3 Mn (about INR 21 Cr) in a seed funding round led by Polychain Capital and Sequoia Capital India’s accelerator programme Surge. Other investors in the round included Dragonfly Capital, Consensys Labs, Astarc Ventures and Singapore Angel Network. The round also saw participation from some angel investors such as PayU India executives Amrish Rau and Jitendra Gupta, and Nitin Sharma from Incrypt. With this funding, the company wants to expand its team in Singapore and India. In addition, the company will also be applying for a license in select markets. Moreover, Juno also plans to introduce a debit card in partnership with a full-service bank in the future.
CleanseCar: Daily car cleaning and repair service CleanseCar raised a funding of $2 Mn in Pre Series A round from 10 investors, including Haldiram’s Family Office, Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, founder, Venture Catalysts and Rahul Bothra, CFO, Swiggy. It is expected that the company will use the fund to expand its services to all metropolitan cities and adopt better technology.
NeuroLeap: Brain enhancement and mental health startup NeuroLeap raked in an undisclosed amount of funding from Rajashree Birla, chairperson, Aditya Birla centre for community initiatives and rural development, Sminu Jindal, MD, Jindal Saw, and founder chairperson, Svayam.
Hilt Brands: Bengaluru-based consumer healthcare products startup is looking to close the seed round at $120K. It has raised $70K so far from undisclosed investors. Hilt Brands’ first range of products is targeted for the respiratory segment. The brand name is Bibo and has a complete range of products for cough cold and sore throat. The products have natural formulations and are free from side effects.
Kosha: Clothing brand to manage extreme temperatures Kosha raised a seed round with participation from Tres Monos Capital and Narendra Hiranandani, Founder of Enhira Software. Terms of the deal were not announced. The company has sold over 10,000 thermals and 600 jackets in the last 2 years and hopes to scale its business with the new fund infusion.
Indian Startup Acquisitions Of The Week
- The joint venture of OYO and SoftBank Group in Japan acquired an 80% stake in MDI for $100 Mn. The deal is said to benefit OYO in leveraging MDI’s strong network and business development capabilities in Japan’s real estate market.
- Sachin Bansal’s BAC Acquisitions (BACQ) got Competition Commission of India (CCI) nod to acquire Essel Mutual Funds. The application was filed by BACQ and Essel Finance Asset Management Company.
Indian Startup Speculations Of The Week
- Mumbai-headquartered lendingtech firm U Gro Capital is raising INR 100 Cr ($14.11 Mn) from Flipkart cofounder Sachin Bansal and the Poonawala family. The deal is reportedly set in two separate securitisation and bond deals. The firm is expected to use the funds to expand its businesses at a time when capital is scarce for the sector.
- WeWork India is planning to raise $200 Mn (INR 1,400 Cr) from foreign and domestic investors by December to expand its base. The company is looking to go from 46K seating capacity to 1 Lakh by the end of next year. Also, WeWork India is opening new coworking spaces across the country, including three in Bengaluru, two in Hyderabad, and one in Noida.
- Retail payment and hardware company Pine Labs is reportedly in talks with Chinese multinational conglomerate Tencent and global internet giant Naspers, along with its fintech company PayU, to raise an undisclosed amount at a valuation of $1.5 Bn. The company is in talks with Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) as well, along with other investors.
- NetMeds, an online medicine selling company is in talks to raise approximately INR 250 Cr convertible debt from its parent company Tresara Health Pvt. Ltd. According to RoC filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), the funds would be used to maintain the smooth functioning of operations and expand the business.
- Gurugram-based hospitality decacorn OYO Hotels and Homes announced that it is raising $1.5 Bn as part of its Series F funding round. The announcement comes at a time when media reports have resurfaced about dissatisfied hotel owners who are ending their ties with OYO.
- YES Bank is in discussion with three top technology companies, including Microsoft, to raise fresh capital. It plans to induct one of them as a strategic shareholder to get funding and augment its digital ambitions.
Other Developments Of The Week
- An ET report cited a government official as saying that the country has set up a hub for startups, which will act as a platform to connect with incubators, accelerators, mentors, and eventually, angel funds and venture capitalists. The platform is expected to be formally launched by union minister for IT and Electronics, Ravi Shankar Prasad, later this week.
- The ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship (MSDE) introduced a two-year Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) programme in association with Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore. The fellowship would be designed under Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for livelihood Promotion (SANKALP).
- Innovationqore looks to fund 10 startups upto INR 2 Cr each every six months through Turbostart Programme. It aims to fund 100 startups in the next five years.
- Google announced the names of ten Indian startups, which qualified for the third edition of Google Launchpad Accelerator. The list includes Agricx, Ambee, Artivatic, CureSkin, IntelloLabs, Jiny, Nayan, Nira, PerSapien and SustLabs.
- Bengaluru-based early-stage venture capital firm Inventus Capital Partners announced the final close of its third fund at INR 369 Cr ($51.98 Mn). The third fund will make about 15 investments in total.
- Venture Capital firm Sequoia Capital India announced the second cohort of its accelerator programme Surge 02, which started off on September 23, 2019, to help early-stage startups in India and South-East Asia. Indian startups in Surge 02 cohort includes Airalo, Bijak, Brick&Bolt, Classplus, Freewill, Hevo Data, InVideo, Juno, Klub, Log 9 Materials, Quolum, Rheo TV, and Trell.
Stay tuned for the next week edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week!