[Weekly Funding Roundup] Indian startups raise $275M, Ratan Tata invests after a hiatus - this time in Ola Electric

A significant chunk of the money raised over 24 deals went to well-established startups, including Bigbasket, Healthkart, Curefit, and Chumbak.

Ratan Tata was back in the news earlier this week after making a personal investment in Ola Electric's Series A round. This was the first time that the Chairman Emeritus of the TATA Group made an investment since participating in the funding raised by digital media company, ThePrint, along with other angel investors. Ola Electric did not disclose the amount it raised in its Series A round.

The funding momentum continued this week, with startups raising close to $275 million across 24 deals, including in well established startups such as Curefit, Healthkart, Chumbak, and Dunzo.

In other news, co-living startup Nestaway is in the process of raising Rs 68.8 crore (close to $10 million) from existing investors Tiger Global and Chiratae Ventures, according to filings with the Registrar of Companies. Similar filings for Rentomojo show that the online appliance and furniture rentals platform is raising close to $11 million. (Note: as these funding rounds are yet to close, these amounts have not been included in the $275 million mentioned here.)

Plenty of growth-stage capital

The big deal this week was Bigbasket confirming its Series F funding of $110 million from the Alibaba Group, CDC Group, and Mirae Asset. The online grocer confirmed its membership of the unicorn club with a valuation of over $1 billion. More importantly, the fresh capital should help it battle competition in the form of Grofers, Amazon Pantry, and Flipkart’s Supermart, expand into new markets, and grow its focus on hyperlocal delivery.

Also raising growth capital was health and fitness startup CureFit, which raised $75 million in a Series D funding round, bringing on board new investors Anand Piramal Trust and Pratithi Investment Trust. Existing investors Kalaari Capital, and IDG Ventures India also participated in the latest round with Accel Partners accounting for $30 million of the total funding. The round also saw CureFit's valuation soar to $500 million.

Another large round of funding went to Gurugram-based HealthKart raised funding of $25 million led by Sofina. The omnichannel healthtech startup's existing investors include Sequoia Capital IndiaKae Capital, and Omidyar Network.The funds will primarily be used for expansion and to launch additional direct-to-consumer nutrition products.

Bengaluru-based lifestyle brand Chumbak raised another Rs 70 crore (a little over $10 million) as a part of its Series D round, led by existing investor Gaja Capital, which accounted for most of the funding raised. Existing investors Matrix Partners and Seedfund also participated. Chumbak plans to use the funds to open new stores beyond the metros.

Gaja Capital also led a Rs 100 crore round (over $14 million) in NBFC Kinara Capital. Existing investors GAWA Capital, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and Patamar Capital also participated. Founded in 2011, Kinara Capital provides fast and flexible loans of Rs 2-25 lakh without taking collateral from small business entrepreneurs. The digital platform helps eliminate paperwork and save time to fast-track the credit decision process.

Gurugram-based education technology startup CollegeDekho.com raised $8 million in its Series B funding, led by existing investors GirnarSoft, London-based Man Capital, and others. CollegeDekho provides information about colleges, courses, careers, entrance exam details, admission notifications, changes in exam pattern, scholarships, and related topics.

The only other Series A deal this week besides Ola Electric was the $3.85 million raised by Bengaluru-based TagBox. The industrial IoT startup helps organisations make their supply chains more reliable using IoT-based monitoring, machine learning, advanced analytics and and controls. The startup plans to use the funds in R&D for boost their product innovation and expand the presence of their BoxLens and AssetLens platforms worldwide. It is also developing new predictive analytics and automation solutions for a variety of use-cases.

Mobile app-based, concierge services provider Dunzo raised Rs 5 crore (about $700,000) from Centrum Group’s PE fund Kalpavriksh to expand operations in Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, and Gurugram, and work towards being profitable in these micro markets.

Good momentum in the early-stage too

Kalpavriksh also invested Rs 10 crore (over $1.4 million) in a Pre-Series A round for The Ayurveda Experience, an online, direct-to-consumer Ayurveda content and products company. The Delhi-based company plans to use the money to scale up its R&D and strengthen its product portfolio.

Gurugram-based B2B retail startup GramFactory raised $1 million in a funding round led by Singapore-based venture fund BEENEXT. The startup is another venture from serial entrepreneur Navneet Singh was previously the CEO of PepperTap, a hyperlocal service startup that shut down in 2016. He had earlier founded e-commerce-focussed reverse logistics platform Nuvo Ex which was acquired by Shadowfax in 2017.

Online auto spare parts marketplace Boodmo raised Rs 8 crore in fresh capital, taking its total funding raised to Rs 35 crore. The Gurugram-based company did not disclose the identity of the investor but said it plans to use the newly raised funding for launching new sorting hubs, boosting technology infrastructure, and hiring appropriate skilled manpower. Boodmo was launched in 2015 by

Ukrainian entrepreneurs Yevgen Sokolnikov and Oleksandr Danylenko.

Delhi-based edtech startup Classplus raised $1.6 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Times Internet and GREE ventures. Japanese VC firm Spiral Ventures. Existing investor Rising Stars Fund from the Netherlands also participated. A mobile-first SaaS platform, Classplus allows private coaching institutes to streamline their content distribution, payments, communication, and online assessments through the app. 

Bengaluru-based HR tech startup Skillenza raised $1 million in a Pre-Series A round led by CBA Capital's Education Catalyst Fund (ECF). Existing investors Blume Ventures and Tracxn Labs have also invested ,along with Let’sVenture, CIO Angel Network, Keiretsu Forum, and Hyderabad Angels.

Waste management startup Saahas Zero Waste (SZW) raised Rs 6 crore from impact investors Capital 4 Development, Indian Angels Network (IAN), Lesing-Artha Ventures, and Asha Impact. The Bengaluru-based startup provides decentralised waste management services and currently manages 45 tonnes of waste per day. 

Wizikey, a Gurugram-based tech-driven PR solutions startup, raised Rs 2.5 crore from Indian Angel Network, including Alok Mittal, Ambarish Raghuvanshi, and Saumya Meattle (Investor Director - IAN). Other angels that participated included Raman Roy, Chairman, NASSCOM; Ajai Choudhary, Cofounder, HCL; and Arun Duggal, Chairman, ICR; and others.

Other early-stage deals included Hyderabad-based IoT startup PoultryMon ($143,000) and Coimbatore-based VilFresh ($164,000) from angel investors.

Indian language social contesting platform Bakbuck, ecommerce player Rare Planet, healthcare startup CapBuild Clinical Skills raised undisclosed amounts of funding this past week.