[Weekly funding roundup] Investments drop to mere $9 million

For the first time in the current financial year, the weekly funding into startups has gone into the single digit zone.
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The first week of August has begun on a very depressing note for the Indian startup ecosystem as the total funding during the period has come down to single digit, which is for the first time in the current financial year.

The total funding into startups for the week stood at $9.2 million as compared to $63 million in the previous week showing a decline of 86 percent.


The funding momentum has considerably weakened ever since the spread of coronavirus pandemic but it had not reached to this level.

During the week, there were just nine deals and all the funding went into the early-stage category. There was no deal in the debt category.

The only saving grace during the week was the acquisition of Whitehat Jr by Byju’s for a value of $300 million.

Deals

Delhi-based AI-powered video analytics platform Wobot has raised $2.5 million in pre-Series A round led by Sequoia India. Wobot will use the funds for global expansion and to strengthen its proprietary technology platform. It will also help the company make some key executive appointments, expand its sales and marketing efforts as well as broaden and accelerate product development to cater to more use cases and customers.

Gurugram-based user-generated content platform Bolo Indya has raised $300,000 pre-Series A1 round of funding led by Eagle10 Ventures, India Accelerator and HNIs. Sunil Kamath, ex-CBO of Sharechat and ex-SVP of Opera also participated in the round. With this round of funding, the company's total fund sums up to $500,000. The fund will be used to enhance personalisation and recommendation engine, develop language evangelists, strengthen the team, broaden and accelerate product development.

Kolkata-based early-stage tech startup Data Sutram has raised a funding of Rs 2 crore from Indian Angel Network (IAN) angels Uday Sodhi, Mitesh Shah, and Nitin Jain. Founded in 2018 by three Jadavpur University engineering graduates Rajit Bhattacharya, Aisik Paul, and Ankit Das, Data Sutram is an AI-backed platform that gathers intel from external data to provide location-based data intelligence.

Probus Smart Things, the New Delhi-based IoT startup focussed on power sector, has received an undisclosed seed funding from Unicorn India Ventures. Probus plans to deploy the fresh round of funding to strengthen its software platform, scale up its operations and enter new markets. For Unicorn India Ventures, this is the fourth investment from its Fund II where it had raised Rs 400 crore. The previous three investments include SaScan, ChitMonks, and Finin.

SaaS-based analytics startup inFeedo has raised its pre-Series A round of funding. The round was closed at $7,00,000 and was led by Y Combinator. A couple of Indian founders and CEOs also took part in the round. inFeedo has been selected for Y Combinator's Summer 2020 batch, which is taking place remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

India connection

San Francisco and Delhi-based Delightree, a workflow automation app for businesses, has raised $3 million in a seed round from Accel Partners, Emergent Ventures, Brainstorm Ventures, Axilor Ventures, and Alchemist Accelerator. The company will use the money to win new clients. Delightree was founded by Madhulika Mukherjee and Tushar Mishra in 2019. The duo earlier founded CEM software company Survaider where they worked with over 3,000 franchise stores. That experience of starting up led them to launch Delightree. 

Springboard, the San Francisco-headquartered online learning startup focussing on mentor guidance and with a presence in India, has raised $31 million in Series B funding led by new investor Telstra Ventures. Springboard has cumulatively raised more than $50 million, according to a release.

The other investors in the Series B round include Vulcan Capital and SJF Ventures, and returning investors Costanoa Ventures, Pearson Ventures, Reach Capital, International Finance Corporation (IFC), 500 Startups, Blue Fog Capital, and Learn Capital.

M&A

BYJU's, one of the world's most-valued edtech startups, has acquired coding edtech startup Whitehat Jr. for $300 million, making it one of the biggest deals in the edtech space. This acquisition is expected to help BYJU's with its plans to expand further into the US market. The unicorn is also looking to provide coding programs for kids, which is an area of expertise for WhiteHat Jr. WhiteHat Jr. Founder Karan Bajaj will continue to lead and scale the business in India and the US.

Edited by Javed Gaihlot

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