[Weekly funding roundup] Investments into startups decline by 71 pc to touch $27 million

Funding into startups was deeply impacted due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the strong focus still remains on early stage deals.

The Indian startup ecosystem for the third time in this year witnessed fund flow dropping to below $30 million on a weekly basis as the impact of coronavirus still holds a strong grip on investments.

The fund inflow into the startups for the week ending June 12 stood at $27 million which was a decline of 71 percent. The other two times when the fund inflow dropped to this level was during the first week of January where it touched $21 million and in the second week of March when it was $29 million.

This muted fund inflow into Indian startups has been the trend for the last six weeks and the ecosystem has struggled to cross the $100 million mark.

However, despite this gloomy scenario there has been very positive news outside of Indian shores as startups which were either founded in India and later shifted their headquarters to US or those entities which have a strong NRI connect are still raising money at handsome valuation.

For example, Postman, a API platform startup which was founded in Bengaluru and later moved its headquarters to San Francisco raised $150 million at a valuation of $2 billion. This makes it the fourth such company with strong India connect in the SaaS space which has moved into the unicorn club.

In the second week of June, the total number of deals stood at 11 and majority of the investments were into the early stage startups with seven such transactions and the remaining being the growth stages.

Debt financing continues to remain muted for the week as has been the trend for the last two months with only a single deal during the week.

Key deals

Service Lee Technologies which operates device management and support platform Servify, is raising Series C funding from a clutch of existing investors to the tune of $11.37 million. According to regulatory filings by Mumbai-based Servify, it has allotted over 27.23 lakh Series C compulsorily convertible preference shares (CCPS) at a face value of Re 1 and a premium of Rs 314.35, taking the total amount raised to above Rs 85.87 crore.

Investors that have subscribed to these Series C CCP shares include the India-focussed Iron Pillar, the Luxembourg-based Tetrao SPF, and Blume Ventures.

Bengaluru-based healthtech startup HealthPlix has concluded its Series B round of funding. It raised $6 million in a round led by JSW Ventures and existing investors Chiratae Ventures and Kalaari Capital also participated.

Founded in 2016 by Raghuraj Sunder Raju, Prasad Basavaraj, and Sandeep Gudibanda, HealthPlix provides a clinical software for doctors. It has developed an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software and provides Clinical Decision Support (CDS) to doctors and helps them generate e-prescriptions within 30 seconds.

Other transactions

Drum Food which runs the yogurt brand Epigamia has raised Rs 40.3 crore from Danone Manifesto and Mousse Partners. Danone Manifesto is an existing investor in Epigamia and has invested Rs 20 crore and a similar amount by Mousse Partners. Besides, Palladian Advisory Services has invested Rs 35.47 lakh.

Gurugram-based intercity bus service startup Yolobus has raised $3.3 million in Series A round of funding led by Nexus Venture Partners. The funding round also saw participation from India Quotient. The funds raised will be used by the startup to double its investments across technology, customer, crew safety and sanitisation, and territory expansion plans. Yolobus has cumulatively raised $4.1 million.

The chairman of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra has invested $1 million in Hapramp, a Gurugram headquartered blockchain-based social media startup. The company will use the seed funding to work on big social media challenges such as user privacy, data security, and fair content monetisation as part of its product offering, the startup said on Wednesday.

“Took 2 yrs, but I finally found the start-up I was looking for! @Hapramp is indigenous, built by 5 young founders & brings together a best-in-class combination of creativity, technology & data protection," Mahindra tweeted.

In 2018, Anand Mahindra had announced on Twitter that he was looking to back an Indian social media startup that meets certain criteria.

PadUp mentee startup Ameliorate Biotech has raised Rs 2 crore as angel investment for their product ASSURED, a device used for rapid detection of malaria, chikungunya and dengue. The funding came from Friends of PadUp, Villgro USA, Vinners, LetsVenture, SINE IIT Bombay, and DERBI.

Undisclosed deals

MyKaam, an online job searching and recruiting platform for blue-collar workers, has raised an undisclosed amount from Venture Catalysts. The investment round was led by Dr Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder, Venture Catalysts; Mrunal Jhaveri of Icebreaker Tech LLP; Nirav Panchmatia of AUM Financial Advisors Blogger; Vikas Kapoor of RIVOLI Fashions; and Karan Garg, MD, Samhit Ventures. MyKaam plans to utilise the funding to strengthen its tech stack, scale-up operations, and bring more businesses on board.

Myelin Foundry, a deep tech AI startup, has raised undisclosed funding from Infosys Co-founder and former Chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan’s family office — Pratithi. This startup had raised $1 million in seed round in September 2019 led by Endiya Partners. The startup will use this latest round of funding to increase its reach in the OTT market in India and internationally.

Knocksense Media Services, a local news discovery and distribution platform, has raised capital from Mumbai Angels Network. The Lucknow-based company will use the funds to strengthen its tech platform and create a content bank for new geographies launch.

Innoviti, an enterprise payments solution provider, has raised an undisclosed funding in Series C round. The funding round was led by Netherlands-based FMO: Entrepreneurial Development Bank and US-based Bessemer Venture Partners. The company, which was started in 2002, said it will use this investment to develop new solutions, market expansion, and aims to become cash positive by March 2021.

Venture Catalysts, an incubator has invested an undisclosed amount in retail aggregator F5. Founded in 2018 by IIM-Lucknow batchmates Raghav Arora and Lalit Kumar Aggarwal, it provides opportunities for its partner vendors to upsell and cross-sell their products, ranging from refreshments to services.

Beyond India

Postman, the API development platform startup which was founded in Bengaluru and now headquartered in San Francisco, has secured a Series C funding of $150 million at a valuation of $2 billion. This Series C round was led by Insight Partners, a global venture and private equity firm. Earlier investors - CRV and Nexus Venture Partners - also joined in this round.

US and Bengaluru-based Lincode Labs Inc, an AI-backed visual inspection startup, has raised seed funding from Come Back Capital and RSCM LLC. The startup also received additional funds through angel investment led by The Enfich Group. The startup plans to utilise the institutional funds for product development, research and development, sales, and marketing activities.

Ula, an Indonesia-based marketplace app that uses technology to modernise distribution and credit for small retailers, raised a seed funding of $10.5 million led by Sequoia India and Lightspeed India. The round also saw participation from SMDV, Quona Capital, Alter Global, and Saison Capital. Other investors who participated in this round were Sujeet Kumar, Vaibhav Gupta, and Amod Malviya — Co-founders of Udaan; Patrick Walujo of Northstar; Rohan Monga, COO of Gojek; and Willy Arifin of Koinworks.

California-headquartered enterprise automation startup JIFFY.ai has raised $18 million in Series A funding, led by Nexus Venture Partners with participation from Rebright Partners, W250 Venture Fund, and several C-level business leaders.

Wipro Ventures, the VC arm of IT major Wipro has invested in cybersecurity firm CloudKnox Security. Besides, Wipro has tied up with the company to avail solutions that will enable enterprises to pro-actively protect and manage their hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure by continuously detecting and re-mediating over permissioned identities.

Global financial technology solutions provider Infibeam Avenues has acquired 100 percent stake in Bengaluru-based Cardpay Technologies Limited. Cardpay, incorporated on March 20, 2020, offers a unified spend management platform to corporates under the brand name GRIT with physical and virtual credit cards, invoice processing, and early payment discounting.

Edited by Javed Gaihlot


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