Every week, more than a dozen startup secure funding and many get acquired. In this weekly series, we bring the latest deals from the Indian startup ecosystem consolidated at a single page.
We bring to you the latest edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week
This week, online insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar raised $75 Mn in a funding round led by Falcon Edge Capital to expand its presence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Middle East region. PolicyBazaar, which is managed by parent company PB Fintech (formerly Etechaces Marketing and Consulting Pvt. Ltd), has raised $690 Mn funding to date from marquee investors like Wellington Management, PremjiInvest, Tiger Global Management, Inventus Capital, Tencent Holdings and True North. The company had last raised $130 Mn from SoftBank at a valuation of $1.5 Bn.
The company is now preparing itself to list publicly via a $540 Mn (or INR 4,000 Cr) initial public offering (IPO) this year at a valuation of $3.5 Bn. It is currently underway to finalise merchant bankers, and at least six such bankers are expected to be given the mandate to manage the IPO.
Last July, cofounder and former CEO Yashish Dahiya had announced the company’s plans to go public by September 2021, with the aim to raise $250 Mn as a pre-IPO exercise. He had also elaborated that the company plans to list itself in India, but was also open to the idea of dual listing if the Indian government approves.
Nazara, EaseMyTrip IPOs Off To Flying Start
The initial public offering (IPO) of Indian gaming company Nazara Technologies received a strong response from institutional and retail investors. By 4 pm on Thursday, the second day of the IPO, the issue had been subscribed 10.55 times, with the retail portion being subscribed over 44 times, the QIB (qualified institutional buyer) portion subscribed 0.72 times the base and NII (non-institutional investor) portion subscribed 7.73 times.
After an encouraging IPO which was subscribed nearly 160 times, online travel company Easy Trip Planners, which runs the portal EaseMyTrip, debuted its shares at a premium on exchanges on Friday. The company’s shares were listed at INR 212.25 on the National Stock Exchange, a 13.5% premium over its issue price of INR 187. On the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the shares were listed at INR 206, at a premium of 10.16% over the issue price. At the day’s high, shares rose to INR 233, up 25% from the issue price.
Shunwei Exits Koo
In another major development this week, Chinese VC Shunwei Capital completely exited Bombinate Technologies, which also operates Vokal besides Koo. Existing investors along with new angel investors have bought out Shunwei Capital’s minority stake. These include former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath, BookMyShow founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan cofounder Sujeet Kumar, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and Zerodha founder Nikhil Kamath. Shunwei Capital had held just over 9% in Bombinate Technologies after its investment in 2018, the company said.
Top Indian Startup Funding Deals This Week
Overall, more than $175 Mn was invested in Indian startups across 30 deals.
Startup Acquisitions This Week
Besides the funding raised by Indian startups, this week saw at least five acquisitions in the Indian startup ecosystem.
Square Yards Acquires 3D Visualisation Startup PropVR
Real estate tech platform Square Yards has acquired PropVR, an AI-based platform specialising in creating digital property experiences using 3D technologies, virtual reality and augmented reality. PropVR founders Sundar Jagannathan and Srinath Kandala will join Square Yards in senior leadership roles, as part of the all-stock deal. PropVR’s existing investors, including realty developer Brigade Group’s Real Estate Accelerator Programme (REAP), have also become co-investors in Square Yards as per the terms of this acquisition.
Gurugram-headquartered communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) company ValueFirst has been acquired by San Francisco-based cloud communications and customer engagement platform Twilio for an undisclosed amount. ValueFirst has a presence across India, the Middle East, and Indonesia, and connects businesses with consumers over telecom (SMS and Voice) and the internet (chatbots, email and OTT) channels. Its clients include Google, IndiGo, TATA Motors, P&G, Info Edge and Axis Bank.
Founded in 2003, ValueFirst itself has acquired three companies in the past, namely Cellnext Solutions in 2009, Gingersoft Media in 2012 and Octane.in in 2017. To date, the company has raised $20.3 Mn in two funding rounds from two investors.
CashRich Acquires WealthApp Mutual Fund Distribution Business
Fintech startup CashRich, which focuses on wealth management, has acquired mutual fund distribution business WealthApp in an all-cash deal. Though the acquisition amount is undisclosed, this deal is expected to strengthen CashRich’s position in the investment tech space. The company had raised equity funding from existing three UK-based investors to finance this acquisition. After the acquisition, CashRich’s user base will reach around 200K users. WealthApp’s asset under management (AUM) has been merged with the existing AUM at CashRich.
The India unit of UK-based Compass Group, which claims to be the world’s largest contract food service company, has acquired a majority stake in Bengaluru-based foodtech startup SmartQ. Founded in 2014, SmartQ provides digital services for cafeteria management, corporate gifting and more. The acquisition will enable Compass India to develop and deploy similar solutions across its client base, as part of the company’s “return to work” strategy for business growth.
Founded by Krishna Wage and Abhishek Ashok, SmartQ provides services such as centralised billing system for cafeterias and canteens, contactless prepaid cards, point-of-sale software and automated billing kiosks. It works towards enhancing cafeteria and food-court experiences by eliminating queues and minimising wait time for customers or employees.
Alison Acquires Dash Beyond
Free education and skills training platform Alison has acquired Indian skill and career development startup Dash Beyond. Dash Beyond’s platform would fit into Alison’s umbrella of free education products. Dash Beyond founder and CEO Aakaanksh Pothukutchi and the rest of the Dash Beyond team, primarily based in India, will join Alison’s global team.
“Combined with our free learning, publishing, and career-focused psychometric offerings for both B2C and B2B, Dash Beyond will help Alison to achieve our ambition of building the world’s leading end to end empowerment platform, accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time, for free in any language” said Mike Feerick, Alison CEO and founder.
- Early stage venture capital firm Ankur Capital has closed an intermediate round of its Fund II at INR 330 Cr with new commitments from LPs like John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD). The fund also previously attracted commitments from other marquee investors like CDC Group, Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). With Fund II, Ankur Capital aims for entry at the seed stage rounds and targets investments of between $0.5 Mn to $5 Mn into each startup. The fund intends to invest in 16-18 companies, having already invested in four companies. Fund II will continue to see a focus on agtech, healthtech, fintech, edtech, local language technologies, and deeptech solutions.
- The Indian government has set up an experts advisory committee for the overall execution and monitoring of the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme. According to an office memorandum of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), the group will evaluate and select incubators for allotment of funds under the scheme, monitor progress and take all necessary measures for efficient utilisation of funds towards fulfilment of objectives of the scheme.
- New Delhi-headquartered micro venture fund Eximius Ventures has announced the first close of its maiden $10 Mn fund for early-stage startups in India. The fund has plans to invest in at least 25-30 emerging startups in the next three years, with deals worth around $300K per startup.