[Weekly funding roundup] Investments into startups touch $106 million
The second week of July has been very eventful for the Indian startup ecosystem with total investments crossing the three figure mark of $100 million after a gap of nearly six weeks. This period also witnessed a leading edtech startup acquiring another upcoming company.
The total funding during the second week stood at $106 million which was a 194 percent increase when compared to previous week when it was $36 million.
During the week, the total number of deals which witnessed transactions stood at 15 which has been the range for the last couple of weeks ever since the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The early stage deals numbered 16 during the week with total amount of $49 million while the growth stage had just one single deal of $56 million. Debt financing also made a comeback with two deals during the week totalling $18 million.
The week also saw one more acquisition done by a leading edtech startup Unacademy with an enterprise value of $50 million. This reveals the potential of edtech market especially in times of COVID-19.
Highlights of the week
Bengaluru-based co-living startup Zolostays (Zolo) has raised Series C funding of $56 million led by Investcorp, Nexus Venture Partners, Mirae Assets, and Trifecta Capital, among others. Started in 2015 by Nikhil Sikri, Akhil Sikri, and Sneha Choudhry, Zolostays earlier raised more than $40 million from the likes of IDFC Alternatives; Mirae Asset; Nexus Venture Partners; Alec Oxenford, founder of OLX; Olympia Developers; and Patni Computers Family Office. The total funding raised by Zolo at present stands at $90 million. The company said it will use the fresh funds to strengthen its technology, locking in more inventory, and strengthening AI-driven operating platforms.
Gaming and entertainment firm JetSynthesys has raised Rs 300 crore in funding led by businessmen Adar Poonawalla and Kris Gopalakrishnan. The company has 100 million consumers across 180 countries, and has offices in Japan, the UK, the EU, and the US with bulk of the revenues coming from domestic market. Currently, it has 500 people including engineers and visualisers working for it, and makes money through user subscriptions, brand tie-ups, and also advertising.
Specsmakers, an optical chain with 260 stores in South India, has raised Rs 23 crore from Eight Roads Ventures. The funds will be used to create an omni-channel presence and focus on building the digital and technological capabilities of the ecommerce business. The company plans to focus extensively on the online-to-offline model while adding stores in new geographies. The VC firm had first invested in the company in December 2017 as part of their Series A round. Since then, Specsmakers has raised a further $7 million from Eight Roads Ventures.
Jaipur-based last mile rural distribution startup, Frontier Markets has raised $2.25 million in a Pre-Series A funding round led by ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, The Rise Fund, and The Singh Family Trusts (advised by Artha Impact), along with Teja Ventures and affiliates of Beyond Capital Fund. Founded in 2011 by Ajaita Shah, Frontier Markets is a last mile-assisted ecommerce and distribution company that leverages its network of tech-enabled women agents to market, sell and service products and services across rural India.
PiggyRide, the Bengaluru-based one-stop app for parents, has raised Rs 14 crore in a Pre-Series A funding round from JAFCO Asia, along with new investor Artha Venture Fund. The company plans to invest the capital raised to scale its product and engineering team, while also going deeper into existing categories within the marketplace to provide parents with superior experience for their child’s needs.
Blue Sky Analytics, a climated tech startup has raised $1.2 million in a seed funding round led by venture capital firm Beenext.
Rainmatter Capital Pvt. Ltd -- the fintech-focused fund and incubator set up by online stock trading startup Zerodha -- and Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs also participated in the funding round.
GigIndia, the Pune-based tech startup with focus on gig economy jobs, has raised Rs 7.3 crore in Pre-Series A funding round led by Japan-headquartered Incubate Fund India with participation from Beyond Next Ventures. The startup, which had earlier raised two seed rounds of funding, also saw the participation of existing angel investors which includes former TCS CEO, S Ramadorai.
Inspection AI technology startup Inspektlabs has raised $600,000 in a Pre-Series A round led by Better Capital, Titan Capital — the investment office of Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, and a cluster of angel investors. The US and New Delhi-based startup will utilise this funding for product development, and to increase its breadth of offerings for insurance and automotive players across the globe.
Gurugram-based retail technology startup Gobbly has raised a seed funding of $500,000 from Sauce.vc, an early-stage consumer VC fund. The startup said it plans to utilise the funds towards development of its technology and marketing initiatives. In February this year, Sauce.vc also backed Mumbai-based Near.Store, a plug and play ecommerce platform for offline stores, with $300,000 seed funding.
Chennai-based tea brand Chai Waale has raised a funding of Rs 1.75 crore from a group of angel investors. These include Tharun Dhariwal, ED of Dhariwal Group; Sunil Kumar Singhvi, Managing Partner of South Handlooms; Chennai-based HNIs, Arun and Vishal Ostwal, hailing the top management of the DK Group of Companies; Gunavanth Vaid of 4G Capital Ventures and Bharat Kumar Sohanraj from the family of heritage jewellers, Mahalaxmi Jewellers. With this funding, the startup said it is working towards expanding its product portfolio and store footprint and is also open to talks with investors to secure the next round.
Brigade REAP, a proptech accelerator has said four startups from its portfolio, including LiveSafe1, Aapka Painter, Renewate, and PropVR have raised an undisclosed amount of funding. These companies impact diverse areas such as sustainability, home improvement, and last yard delivery.
Mumbai-based NOTO — a brand that makes healthy, low-calorie, low sugar, and high-protein ice-cream — has raised an undisclosed round of funding in a Pre-Seed round led by WEH Ventures, with participation from Lead Angels. The fresh funding will be used by the brand for the acceleration of its marketing operations while it continues to grow at exponential rates. The company plans to strengthen its current base by launching more flavours, and eventually take the product to other cities in the country.
Delhi-based wellness startup Green Cure has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Venture Catalysts. The round was led by Gunvanth Vaid, Founder of 4G Capital and ACG World, which are part of Venture Catalysts. Green Cure, which sells herbal OTC products, said it will utilise the fresh capital to further scale up its operations and launch products in new categories.
Electric Vehicles startup Earth Energy EV has raised an undisclosed amount of funding in its seed round. The funding round was led by LR Joshi, Managing Director at Pranada Bio-Pharma Pvt Ltd, along with other equity investors. The funds will be used to facilitate the launch of its three vehicle models, hire critical talent, and strengthen its sales network.
Huddle incubated agritech startup Brainwired raised an undisclosed amount in its first round of funding, led by Mumbai Angels; Kritik Abiram, COO, Anjanasoft; Parthiv Rokadia, MD of Startradex; Gaurav Saraogi, MD of Chemco Group, to name a few. The startup has developed a livestock health monitoring and tracking system named WeSTOCK, which uses an Internet of Things (IoT) ear tag and a unique machine learning (ML) algorithm to identify sick and pregnant livestock and alert farmers accordingly.
Edtech startup TagHive has raised an undisclosed amount of funding as a part of its Pre-Series A round of investment from Joon Hyon, Managing Partner at South Korean-based Complement Capital. TagHive, founded in 2017 by Pankaj Agarwal, offers clicker-based classroom response systems and AI-powered at-home learning app under the ‘Class Saathi’ brand in India and under the ‘ClassKey’ brand elsewhere.
Chennai and US-based cybersecurity startup Securden Inc has raised $ 1.2 million in a seed investment round led by Accel with participation from Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshworks; Axilor Ventures; Manav Garg, founder and CEO of Eka1.com; and CaratLane CEO Mithun Sacheti. Secureden will use the funding to expand the company’s marketing, R&D, and customer support.
Decentro, an automated API-based platform that enables financial integrations with just a few lines of code and simplifies product development cycles by 10X, has closed its first round of funding. Part of the Y Combinator’s summer batch of 2020, Decentro is backed by Plug and Play, an early-stage California-based fund; Upsparks, a Bengaluru-based micro VC firm founded by former co-founders of Solutions Infini (now Kaleyra); and a group of notable angel investors from the Indian and APAC community.
Edtech startup Unacademy has acquired postgraduate medical entrance exam preparation platform, PrepLadder, for $50 million. This acquisition will strengthen Unacademy's presence in categories such as NEET PG and FMGE. Unacademy had in the month of June announced the acquisition of programming platform Codechef.