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[Weekly funding roundup] Investments into startups continue to decline

The fourth week of April witnessed startups receiving $72 million in funding as the investor sentiment is still clouded by coronavirus.

[Weekly funding roundup] Investments into startups continue to decline

Friday April 24, 2020 , 5 min Read

Funding into the Indian startup ecosystem continues to fall as the investor sentiment turned overly cautious in the fourth week of April given the very downcast economic environment due to the coronavirus pandemic. The quantum of funding into the startups for the week stood at $72.25 million as compared to $107 million in the previous period.

During the week, the investments were spread across 13 deals with Dailyhunt accounting for the largest amount of $23.5 million. The month of April has witnessed ups and down in terms of funding as starting of the week saw just $62 million raised and shot up to $248 million but again declined to $107 million.

In the current week there were no unicorns which raised any quantum of funding as this is a factor which would have swung the needle of investment on to a higher trajectory.

Weekly funding report

In terms of stage-wise funding, Series B accounted for the highest share at $36 million. As far as phase-wise deals were concerned, early-stage startup accounted for the highest number at eight followed by growth ones at four and late-stage at one. However, it was the growth-stage deal which garnered the highest amount at $31.3 million.

Highlight of the week

News platform Dailyhunt said it raised $23.5 million in a Series G funding round led by existing investors such as ByteDance, FalconEdge, Advent Management, and Goldman Sachs.

Started as NewsHunt in 2009 by ex-Nokia employees Chandrashekhar Sohoni and Umesh Kulkarni, the platform was acquired by Verse Founder, Virendra Gupta in 2012. With a strong focus on customer retention, content experimentation and artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning technologies, Dailyhunt claims to be among the fastest growing apps in India, in terms of absolute numbers of new customers being added every month. 

Other deals

Business travel SaaS startup ITILITE has raised $13 million in its Series B investment round. The funding round was led by Greenoaks Capital and Vy Capital. Matrix Partners India and other existing investors also participated in the round. This fresh round of funding will be used to increase ITILITE's international presence and product innovation.

B2B trade platform for agricultural sector, Bijak has raised $11.8 million in its Series A round from its existing investors - Omnivore Partners, Tempo Ventures, Bi Fund, among others. Gurugram-based Bijak enables traders, wholesalers, and food processors to keep a ledger of their transactions, access transparent pricing, optimise logistics, and improve their working capital cycles.

Bugworks Research Inc, a biopharma startup has completed $7.5 million financing, led by University of Tokyo Edge Capital (UTEC) Japan and Global Brain Corporation (Global Brain) Japan, along with Acquipharma Holdings, South-Africa. The company has raised $19 million till date and has 3one4 Capital as an existing investor. This investment enables Bugworks to complete Phase 1 studies for its GYROX series intravenous drug candidate and advance an oral lead towards clinical development. 

Bengaluru-based online edtech startup Vedantu has raised $6.8 million in a fresh round of funding from South Korea-based KB Global Platform Firm. Earlier this month, Vedantu raised $12.56 million from Chinese venture firm Legend Capital. Omidyar's Ohana Holding also participated in the Series C1 round. Vedantu claims to have 150,000 students who study live on its platform each month. It has more than 25 million users every month, from across 1,000+ cities and 40+ countries.

Chennai-based API platform YAP has raised $4.5 million in its Series A round of funding led by Singapore-based venture capital firm BEENEXT. The funds will be used to strengthen the team, build technology, and offer enhanced API products to fintech with specific focus on enabling access to credit, corporate banking solutions, cross border payments, and Neo banking stack.

Poncho Hospitality, the parent company of foodtech startup Box8, has raised about $4 million in its ongoing Series C funding round from existing investors including IIFL Seed Ventures Fund, and Menlo park-based Mayfield Fund, in a stock-and-debt deal. The company, so far, has raised a total of $38.8 million in funding over 10 rounds, from investors including IIFL Seed Ventures, Mayfield Fund and Trifecta Capital Advisors.

Guvi, a vernacular language based education technology company has raised Rs 6 crore in its pre-Series A funding round from Education Catalyst Fund, a sector-focussed venture capital fund managed by CBA Capital. The company will use the funds to scale up its operations, introduce newer courses and expand its geographical presence for its offline and online courses.

Nativelead’s investment arm Native Angels Network has invested Rs 1.7 crore in Madhuranthakam-based fresh dairy products startup, UzhavarBumi Agro Products with Sankar Kanagasabai as the lead investor. Founded in July 2017 by Vetrivel Palani and Paneerselvam, UzhavarBumi works directly with farmers and agro workers to deliver fresh milk without the use of any chemicals.

Delhi-based beauty startup Nature’s Tattva has raised $150,000 from Bollywood singer Sukhbir Singh and Rakhee Singal, Co-founder, Startup Buddy. Others who participated in this round include Dhianu Das of Alfa Ventures and angel investors such as Bharat Sheth and Ajay Mahendru.  The startup would be using the funds to scale operations, acquire talent, and for brand building activities. 

School of Meaningful Experiences Pvt. Ltd (SoME), a skills and learning development focussed education-technology startup, has raised capital as part of its angel funding round. The round has been led by Uday Singh, the former group CEO of SIS Group Enterprises. Singh is currently the co-founder of the blue-collar workforce management platform Better Place.

Undisclosed deals

Pariksha, a Pune-based edtech startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of investment in an extension of its Pre-Series A round of funding from a clutch of angel investors. This round was led by INSEAD Angels, IIT Kanpur Angels and others.

DrinkPrime, a Bengaluru-based ‘water purifier on subscription’ startup, has raised an undisclosed amount in its seed round of funding, from investors including Abhishek Goyal (Tracxn), Bharat Jaisinghani, and FirstCheque.

Edited by Javed Gaihlot