Funding roundup: ItzCash, FabHotels and 1mg lead the pack, BYJU’s gets Tencent on board


The money continued to flow into startups in the last full week of July, with budget hotel chain FabHotels raising $25 million in a Series B round, while healthcare startup 1mg raised $15 million in a similar round. The biggest chunk, though, came to ItzCash, which received $100 million from its US-based parent company, Ebix. BYJU’s, which has rarely been out of the news in the past few months, mopped up an undisclosed round from Chinese internet giant Tencent.

There was a steady inflow of funding via pre-Series A deals, though Series A deals were missing this week, continuing to reflect the challenge of crossing that particular chasm.

Here’s the lowdown on this week’s deals:

ItzCash raises an additional $100 million

After having already invested approximately $124 million in acquiring a majority stake in payments services firm ItzCash, US-based Ebix Inc on Wednesday announced an additional $100 million in funding to drive the next level of growth for ItzCash.

In May this year, the insurance software solutions provider had acquired an 80 percent stake in ItzCash through a combination of a primary and secondary share purchase. The deal marked the exit of venture capital investors Intel Capital, LightSpeed Ventures and Matrix Partners from the company. Founder Naveen Surya also left the company at the beginning of the week, before the funding was announced.

FabHotels raises $25 million in Series B funding

Financial services major Goldman Sachs led the Series B funding in franchise-based budget hotels chain FabHotels, along with existing investor Accel Partners. The company will utilise the fresh funds to increase the number of hotels and strengthen its geographical footprint, though it declined to provide further details. In the next 12 months, the company aims to triple its technology team and double the number of rooms on offer. Headquartered in Gurgaon, FabHotels currently operates more than 150 hotels in 20 Indian cities. In June 2016, it had raised $8 million in Series A funding from Accel Partners and RB Investments, among others.

1mg raises $15M in Series C round

Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Maverick, and Kae Capital returned to participate in the Series C deal. The funding round in healthcare startup 1mg was led by HBM Healthcare Investments. HBM had made its first investment in 1mg in May 2016 as part of a top-up round following the Series B financing that was led by Maverick Capital Ventures. The total funds raised by 1mg now stands at $37 million, and the latest tranche will be used to expand its pharmacy and diagnostic services nationwide.

BigStylist raises $1.2 million from Info Edge

Online beauty and wellness services marketplace BigStylist has raised $1.2 million via compulsorily convertible debentures from existing investor Info Edge. The latest investment came to light in filings made with the BSE by Info Edge, which owns online classifieds services Naukri and 99acres. Currently operating in Mumbai and Pune, BigStylist will utilise the new round of funding to set up shop in Delhi/NCR. Info Edge had earlier invested $1 million in a pre-Series A round in the startup.

Noticeboard raises $1.2 million in pre-Series A funding

Noticeboard, a communication platform for frontline staff, has raised its first round funding of $1.2 million led by Stellaris Venture Partners. The funds will be used to strengthen its technology, product and design teams. As part of the transaction, Alok Goyal, Partner at Stellaris Venture Partners, is joining the company’s board. A handful of angels, including Blackbuck Founder Rajesh Yabaji and YuMe Co-founder Jayant Kadambi, from Stellaris’ founder network, also participated in the deal.

[Also read: YourStory’s extensive coverage of the funding trends for the first half of 2017]

There were also some noteworthy deals where the funding amount remained undisclosed:

BYJU’s scoops up funding from Tencent

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings (Tencent) invested an undisclosed amount of funding into online tutoring giant BYJU’s. In March this year, it had raised $30 million from Brussels-based family firm Verlinvest to go international. The latest round of funding will help BYJU’S accelerate its product development for new markets and enable inorganic growth through acquisitions.

[Also read: Why investors are betting big on Byju Raveendran]

Fork Media raises money from Agnus Capital

Agnus Capital, the family office of promoters of pharma firm Strides Group, has invested an undisclosed amount of funding in Fork Media, an end-to-end native advertising solution for publishers as reported by VC Circle. The advisor of the deal was Mumbai-based law firm RGM Legal. As per the report, the details of the transactions have not been revealed. Fork leverages online, mobile and video platforms to create innovative, turnaround solutions for advertisers and publishers alike.

Creator's Gurukul raises a pre-Series A round from Yuvraj Singh

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh has invested an undisclosed amount in Delhi-based co-working startup Creator’s Gurukul. As a part of this deal, Yuvraj will be the partner and brand ambassador of the startup for the next four years. He also holds equity. No further details were disclosed. The chain is backed by HNIs like Shabir Momin from Singapore, Anubhav Kaul from Hong Kong and Jasmeet Singh from Canada, and supported by industry professionals like Vikas Sharma, Taranjeet Sapra, Nitin Bajaj, Ram Atri, and KS Sirish.

MonkeyBox wraps up a pre-Series A round

MonkeyBox, which delivers healthy and nutritious meals to school children in Bengaluru, has raised an undisclosed amount of fund in its pre-Series A round from existing investor Blume Ventures. As reported by VC Circle, NB Ventures, Nspira and a few angel investors have also participated in this round as new investors. The funds will be used for expansion, marketing campaigns, and to hire more employees. In May, the company signed an agreement to acquire New Delhi-based cold-pressed juice manufacturer and delivery firm, RawKing.