[Weekly funding roundup] Equity investments in last week of August rise by 130 pc

Funding into the Indian startup ecosystem closed on a positive note at $161 million for the month of August after a very weak start.
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After a gap of five weeks, equity investments into Indian startups crossed the $100 million mark and the month of August has closed on a positive note after a very weak start.

The last week of August saw equity investments touching $161 million which was a 130 percent rise when compared to $70 million in the previous week. This rise was largely boosted by the $122 million fund infusion into BYJU'S as the edtech startup continues to garner fresh investment despite COVID-19 pandemic situation.



Since the mid-week of July, equity investments on a weekly basis had fallen way below $100 million. In fact in the first week of August, the total investments stood at $9 million, which is perhaps the lowest ever for the Indian ecosystem.

The equity investments for the last week of August were spread across 20 deals and that has been the trend ever since COVID-19 pandemic started where majority of the funding has been into early stage deals.

Early stage funding has 17 deals with growth stage accounting for two and one in late stage. There were no debt funding deals during the week.

Highlight of the week

Edtech startup BYJU'S is raising about Rs 909 crore ($122 million) in funding from billionaire Yuri Milner-led DST Global, according to regulatory documents. The company will use funds to meet the working capital requirements and business expansion plans. Post-issue shareholding of DST will be 1.2 percent. In June, BYJU'S announced it had raised funds from global technology investment firm BOND but had not disclosed the amount. In February, the company raised about $200 million in funding from General Atlantic.

Other deals

Verloop.io, Bengaluru-based tech startup with a focus on customer support automation, has raised $5 million as part of its Series A funding round led by Alpha Wave Incubation. This round also saw participation from existing investors IDFC Parampara, and Infosys Co-founder S Gopalakrishnan.

The startup plans to use this fresh round of funding to further its product development roadmap which will include hiring talent across the data science and engineering domains. Besides, it also plans to expand into geographies of Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the United States.

Delhi-based Gamezop, a multi-game platform has raised Series A funding of Rs 32 crore ($4.3 million) from BITKRAFT Ventures, Velo Partners, and FJ Labs. Started by brothers Yashash Agarwal (CEO) and Gaurav Agarwal in 2015, Gamezop licenses HTML5 games from developers and embeds them in popular apps. The company will use the investment to grow the mobile e-sports format and establish presence in select overseas markets.

Mumbai-based celebrity-fan engagement startup TrueFan has raised $4.3 million in a seed round of funding by prominent investors like Ronnie Screwvala, Mayfield India, and Saama Capital. Founded by Nimish Goel, Nevaid Aggarwal, and Devender Bindal in January 2020, the startup connects Indian fans with celebrities through personalised and interactive experiences.

Gurugram-based health education startup Virohan has raised $2.8 million across seed and Series A funding rounds. As part of the total fund raise, the seed round was led by Keiretsu Forum and Series A round was led by the Elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalisation, and by the Singh Family Trusts, advised by Artha Impact, with participation from founders and National Skill Development Corporation. The startup plans to use this funding for new technologies and to expand content.

Delhi-based Baazi Games has raised a seed round of $2 million from its existing investor Udtara Ventures for its RummyBaazi platform, and Baazi Games will infuse another $1 million to expand its Rummy platform in India. The company will use the funds to strengthen the product and marketing strategies.

An IIT Kanpur-backed biomaterial startup, Phool.co has raised $1.4 million in pre-Series A funding round. The round was led by IAN Fund and San Francisco-based Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. The fresh funding will be used to advance the research and scale the operations of the company.

Otipy, the social commerce venture of farm-to-fork agritech startup Crofarm, has raised $1 million from Inflection Point Ventures (IPV), an early-stage investing platform. The startup has scaled 4x growth in the last three months and expects the fresh funding to further boost its momentum as the country emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Otipy connects consumers with the farmers through women resellers.

Undisclosed deals

AI-based chit fund cashier app The Money Club has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Venture Catalysts. The round saw participation from investors including Dhruv Agarwala, CEO at PropTiger.com; Bharat Jaisinghni, Director-Polycab Wires; Tushar Singh, Dominor Investments; veteran technologist, Dr Aloknath De, LetsVenture, and Keiretsu Forum. Founded by IIT Kharagpur alumni Manuraj Jain and Surajit Ray, The Money Club leverages advanced machine learning algorithms to bring transparency into online money club groups.

Yoga-based wellness startup SARVA has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the Cutting Edge Group, an international full-service provider of music for the film, advertising, and television industries. The startup said the funding would add over 20,000 minutes of music and meditation content to SARVA ’s catalogue.

OneCode, a platform focussed on building digital distribution network has raised seed funding led by WaterBridge Ventures. The round also saw participation from a host of angel investors such as Miten Sampat, Aakrit Vaish (founder at Haptik), Rocky and Siddharth Mohan (Old Monk and Gourmet Passport), Apaksh Gupta (founder at One Impression), Venus Dhuria (founder at Appyhigh), Khalid Qazi, and Harshita Singh. 

Chiratae Ventures has made a seed investment in KBCols, a bioprocess tech startup. Chiratae made the investment through its Deeptech Innovators Program and other investors who participated in this round include Axilor Ventures and Derbi Foundation. Founded in 2018 by Vaishali Kulkarni and Arjun Singh Bajwa, KBCols Sciences is into discovery and extraction of natural colours from renewable resources for use in varied end applications including cosmetics, textiles, paints, food, pharmaceuticals, and plastics.

Mumbai-based fantasy gaming platform Fanspole has raised an undisclosed amount in its pre-seed funding round from Better Capital. The social gaming startup will utilise the fresh funds for further product development and boost marketing.

EVage, an electric vehicles (EV) and mobility tech startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Ola Electric Co-founder and Senior Advisor Anand Shah. The other participants in this funding round include BryAir Director Varun Pahwa, and DMI Group partner Anmol Nayyar. EVage pvt ltd. is set to launch their first electric delivery van, which the startup says is a completely 'made in India' structure. The funds raised will be used to build vehicles and deliver the initial orders.

California-based software company Redis Labs (earlier known as Garantia Data) has closed its Series F round of funding, raising $100 million. The investment round was co-led by Bain Capital Ventures and TCV. Existing investors Francisco Partners, Goldman Sachs Growth, Viola Ventures and Dell Technologies Capital also participated in the round.

Founded in 2011 by Ofer Bengal and Yiftach Shoolman, Redis Labs is based out of Mountain View, California, with its global research and development centre in Tel Aviv. Additionally, Redis Labs has its offices in India (Bengaluru), London, and Austin, Texas.

M&A

ShareChat has acquired Bengaluru-based Circle Internet for an undisclosed amount, a move that will help the homegrown social media app strengthen hyperlocal content on its platform. Circle Internet was launched in 2018 by Uchit Kumar, Gaurav Agrawal, and Shashank Shekhar (a former ShareChat executive). Backed by SAIF Partners and Venture Highway, Circle Internet provides locally relevant information to Indian language internet users across Tier-II and III cities and currently has a presence in more than 120 districts across Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Kerala.

Edited by Javed Gaihlot

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