It was a blockbuster week for funding. All doubts and worries of the funding drought were dispelled. Over 11 startups received seed, pre-series A, Series A, Series B and tranche rounds of funding. Not only did the startups open up about the capital they had received, funds like the Indian Angel Network announced their global fund worth Rs 350 crore. This surely implies that seed and early stage capital is available to startups who need it.
The Chinese Uber–Didi Chuxing went on to raise $5.5 billion, which will have its own set of interesting implications for the cab aggregator. One interesting fact about the funding that happened this week was that a Jaipur-based learning platform raised foreign capital.
The following startups received funding in the week that was. The list is in a chronological order:
The week began with POPxo, the digital community platform for women, raising a Series A funding of $3.1 million. The round was led by IDG Ventures India and Kalaari Capital. The funding also saw participation from GREE Ventures Japan, the Philippines-based Summit Media, Gurpreet Singh, and Atul Goel. A platform that boasts of over nine million members, POPxo was founded by Priyanka Gill and Namrata Bostrom.
This is POPxo’s third round of funding. In November 2014, POPxo had raised Rs 3 crore from Rajan Anandan, CaratLane’s Mithun Sancheti (via Chennai Angels), and others. It also raised an additional $2 million from IDG Ventures and Kalaari Capital in November 2015.
While content platforms raised funding from VC firms, Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founder UpGrad and also the Founder of the fund Unilazer Ventures, announced Asia’s first online scholarship fund with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore. The aim is to get Rs 400 crore in the next three to four years. Having invested Rs 10 crore himself, he will raise the rest from other like-minded individuals, corporates committed to building this ecosystem of tomorrow, as well as from CSR funding.
Dispelling the myth that foodtech is dead, Faasos, the Pune-based on-demand food delivery startup, has raised $6.4 million as an extension of its previous Series C funding. The tranche round saw participation from Lightbox Ventures II, Sequoia Capital India, RuNet South Asia, Lightbox Expansion Fund, and RB Investments. The first tranche of this round was raised in December 2015, according to a report in The Economic Times. The total amount of funding raised by the company till date stands at $64.6 million.
The Netherlands-based data analytics software company Flytxt raised Rs 70 crore from Germany-based DAH Beteiligungs GmbH, a holding company owned by the family of Dietmar Hopp, Co-founder of enterprise software behemoth SAP. According to the press statement issued, the company plans to invest the new funds in R&D, while continuing to evolve the software product to expand to other verticals, apart from just telecom.
The Indian Angel Network (IAN) this week announced a new global fund worth Rs 350 crore. The first close of Rs 175 crore, raised primarily from the domestic market, has industry stalwarts like Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder and former CEO of Infosys, Sunil Munjal, Joint Managing Director of Hero Corp, and Dr Devi Shetty, Founder and Chairman, Narayan Hrudalaya, as part of its advisory committee.
The fund will support all the IAN deals as well as independently co-invest with other VCs. Together, IAN and the IAN Fund (plus co-investors) will invest approximately Rs 1,500 crore in around 160 companies over the next four years.
Myra, the Bengaluru-based online pharma startup, raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding, co-led by Matrix Partners and Times Internet. This money will essentially be used to accelerate product development, expand operations to other cities, and hire new talent across engineering, data science, and operations.
Awfis Space Solutions, South Asia’s network of collaborative co-working spaces, raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Sequoia India. The investment will be used to expand its centres, launch new products and services, and further enhance the existing technology platform.
The round will primarily be used to create a network of over 100 co-working centres with 35,000 seats in the next two years. Currently, the co-working space has over 21 workplaces across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, and NCR with a seat count of over 7,500.
Mumbai-based health content platform Sepalika.com has raised $750,000 in its seed round led by Accel Partners. The platform, which supports those looking to reverse chronic health conditions through guidance on lifestyle, dietary supplements, and exercise, aims to use the capital to further build on its research-based content and strengthen its core proposition in the US, a key market. The focus is on building a community of people who will look to Sepalika as their advisor, partner, and resource centre for helping them work through their chronic health conditions.
Mobile gaming startup Mech Mocha has raised $5 million from Accel Partners, Shunwei Capital., and existing investor Blume Ventures. The Bangalore-based company has stated that it will invest in developing new mobile games in casual and mid-core categories.
Didi Chuxing, Uber’s biggest rival, often touted to be China’s Uber, has raised a fresh $5.5 billion in funding. The Chinese cab aggregator confirmed the funding in a statement to TechCrunch. The focus of this fund raise will be to ensure global expansion and deeper investment into emerging areas like AI.
While Didi has been the ruler of its turf, it will be interesting to see how it will make its move to expand on other parts of the globe. Currently, it has made partnerships and alliances on a global scale. In December 2015, Ola, GrabTaxi, Lyft, and Didi Kuaidi had formed a global alliance to take on Uber in India. With its eyes on global expansion, will Didi look at investing more in the Indian market, and thus pump more money into Ola? Or will it look at a deeper partnership?
Jaipur-based personalised learning and home tutor provider Qriyo raised undisclosed amount of funding from Dubai-based Neelesh Bhatnagar’s NB Ventures as part of its Series A funding round. Qriyo is an app-based platform which provides home tutors for 300-plus courses. The startup provides an end-to-end delivery, tracking and progress report for all the courses taught by home tutors or Qriyo Guru. They provide gurus for academics, yoga, dance, music, and fitness.
The week was therefore interesting from the funding perspective. Two content-based platforms, POPxo and Sepalika, raised funding amounts, hopefully dispelling the myth that content businesses cannot be funded. Two big investments were by Sequoia Capital, which wrote a $20-million cheque for a co-working space, and the Didi investment. Both these have sparked off speculations over whether the co-working space will be the next big thing and if Didi will possibly look more closely at India now.