In a week marked with big funding rounds, the spotlight was firmly on Udaan, which entered the Unicorn club after raising $225 million in a Series C round. This makes it the youngest company in India to achieve a $1 billion valuation (in just 26 months), displacing Swiggy, which took four years. Three companies raised funding of $100 million or more, including GreyOrange, which raised $140 million, also in a Series C round.
Late-stage funding got the most investor attention with four Series C deals: These included Chennai-based healthcare startup NetMeds, Bengaluru-based B2B marketplace Udaan, California and Hyderabad-based AI player ThinCI and Singapore-based robotics startup GreyOrange.
Ecommerce remained an investor favourite with Mumbai-based Flyrobe and Ghaziabad-based Cleardekho raising a round, in addition to Bengaluru-based Udaan. AI funding saw some momentum with Chennai-based Mad Street Den and ThinCI picking up hefty rounds.
Of the total 16 deals, only two startups had a female co-founder: Flyrobe and Mad Street Den.
Here’s a quick look at the newsmakers in the funding space this week.
The top fund-raisers
1) Udaan raises $225M from DST Global and LightSpeed Venture Partners
Lightspeed India MD Bejul Somaia confirmed the news after Udaan announced the $225 million Series C round. The startup, founded by ex-Flipkart executives Vaibhav Gupta, Amod Malviya and Sujeet Kumar, had raised about $50 million from Lightspeed and Apoletto Asia in February this year.
2) GreyOrange raises $140M Series C from Mithril Capital, Blume Ventures and Binny Bansal
The industrial automation and robotics firm, set up by BITS-Pilani graduates Akash Gupta and Samay Kohli, raised $140 million in a round that brought on board Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital and Flipkart Co-founder Binny Bansal. Existing investors Blume Ventures, Mitsubishi, Tiger Global, Flipkart, and Project Verte also participated. The company plans to use the funds to further build on its AI and machine learning capabilities and focus on launching new-generation products for flexible automation.
3) Mumbai-based gaming startup Dream11 raises $100M from Tencent Holdings
Gaming startup Dream11 Fantasy roped in Chinese investment giant Tencent Holdings as an investor with a $100 million Series D round. Existing investors Kalaari Capital and Multiples Alternate Asset Management also participated in the round. The 2012-founded online sports platform features fantasy cricket, kabaddi, basketball and football and has 41 million users, according to a company spokesperson.
4) California and Hyderabad-based ThinCI raises $65M from Denso and Temasek
AI hardware startup THinCI on Wednesday announced it had raised $65 million in Series C from DENSO and its subsidiary NSITEXE, Inc as well as Temasek. According to the founder, the company will be using the funds to double its headcount to 300 in Hyderbad, India. Founded in 2010 by Dinakar Munagala and others, has been associated with the development of computing platforms for the AI/machine learning market. It is engaged in the areas of graph streaming processor architecture, software development kit and plug-and-play AI platforms.
5) Chennai-based Netmeds raises $35 million in Series C
Online pharmacy startup NetMeds on Monday announced that it had raised funding from Southeast Asian business group Daun Penh’s investment holding, Singapore. Existing investors Sistema Asia Fund and Tanncam Investment also participated. The company plans to use the funds to expand the business and reach.
6) Café chain Chaayos raised $12 million in Series B
Tea café chain Chaayos raised $12 million (~Rs 81 crore) in its Series B round of funding from SAIF Partners, Integrated Capital and Pacatolus. The funds raised will be used by the parent firm, Sunshine Teahouse Private Ltd, to expand the chain of tea cafes in existing cities of Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Chandigarh, which it runs under the Chaayos brand. Last year, Chaayos had raised $7 million from Tiger Global and the startup is the only non-tech investment of Tiger Global. It was founded in 2012 by IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi alumni and Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma.
7) CloudCherry raises $9M Series A from Pelion Venture Partners, IDG Ventures and others
SaaS-based customer experience management platform CloudCherry, started by Vinod Muthukrishnan and Sriram Subramaniam, raised $9 million in a Series A round led by US-based Pelion Venture Partners. Existing investors including US-based Cisco Investments, Vertex Ventures and Bengaluru-based IDG Ventures India also participated. The company plans to utilise these funds to build out its go-to-market capabilities and expand its North American Sales and Marketing teams.
8) DailyHunt secures $6M Series E from Falcon Edge
News aggregator DailyHunt, started by former Nokia employees Umesh Kulkarni and Chandrashekhar Sohoni, wrapped up close to $6 million from existing investor New-York based hedge fund Falcon Edge, this week. A report by VC Circle suggested the amount was the first tranche. The company had earlier raised $25 million in a Series D round from Chinese firm ByteDance, former Vodafone CEO Arjun Sarin and other existing investors – Franklin Templeton PE, Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Omidyar Network and Falcon Edge.
9) Flyrobe secures $5.3M in Series A funding led by IDG Ventures
Online fashion rental platform Flyrobe raised $5.3 million in Series A funding led by IDG Ventures, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital and Tokyo-based fund GREE Ventures. Founded by IIT Bombay alumni Shreya Mishra, Pranay Surana and Tushar Saxena in September 2017, the company said that it will use the funds for expansion, and increasing the team across technology, business and product development.
10) Mad Street Den raises an undisclosed sum from the Japanese
The Chennai-based AI startup announced earlier this week it had raised an undisclosed sum from Japanese telecom company KDDI. Mad Streeet Den had earlier raised a Series A round from Sequoia Capital India in 2016, followed by a $2.7 million venture round in May 2017.
Here are some of the other companies that raised investments this week.
This brings the total disclosed funding raised this week to $595.60 million across 16 deals.
Other investment news
Lighthouse India Fund III, an affiliate of Lighthouse Advisors, came on board as an investor in Mumbai-based omnichannel beauty brand NYKAA by investing Rs 113 crore (~$15.7 million) to acquire a secondary stake. The Wednesday announcement marked the exit of existing investor TVS Shriram Growth Fund, which had had invested in NYKAA in its Series B and C rounds in 2015 and 2016.
According to one media report, the founders of cab aggregator bigwig Ola are getting the backing of existing investor Temasek to give them greater powers to veto the purchase of additional stakes from their largest investor, SoftBank.
Media reports also said that Singapore’s Temasek had agreed to invest as much as $400 million in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), a fund set up by the Government of India to finance infrastructure projects in India. Other investors in NIIF’s master fund include Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance, HDFC Group, and Axis Bank.
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