[Weekly funding roundup] Investments into startups bounce back after two-week low

Venture funding into Indian startups started on a weak note in August, but there seemed to be a bounce-back in the third week.

There was a sense of relief for the Indian startup ecosystem after a gap of two weeks as funding into startups touched $70 million, after falling to $9 million in the first week of August.

Total equity funding for the third week of August stood at $70 million across 19 deals, a massive jump when compared to $12 million in the second week of the month.

August started on a very weak note for the Indian startup ecosystem as the first two weeks garnered just $21 million in total equity funding.

Of the 19 equity venture deals reported for the third week of the month, 18 were in the growth stage and one was in the last stage. There was no debt funding during this week.

Majority of investments were in the early stage, which has been the trend since the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

Key highlights

Mumbai-based edtech startup LEAD School raised $28 million in a Series C funding round led by Westbridge Capital along with existing investor Elevar Equity. The latest round of funding will be used by the company to accelerate the development and rollout of new product offerings, increase its school network in Tier II and III cities, and hire talent across domains

Bengaluru-based lifestyle-community-commerce platform Trell has raised $11.4 million Series A round led by KTB Network. Samsung Ventures, Ankur Nagpal (CEO of Teachable), Gokul Rajaram (Board Member, Pinterest, Square, DoorDash), and Vineet Buch (former Head of Google Play Store Development) also participated via Firebolt Ventures in the round, along with existing investors Sequoia’s Surge, Fosun RZ Capital, and WEH Ventures.

Pune-based fintech startup FPL Technologies raised $10 million in Series A funding, from Matrix Partners India, Sequoia Capital India, Hummingbird Ventures, along with several angel investors. The startup also announced the launch of its mobile-first credit card OneCard.

Other deals

Bengaluru-based private earth imaging startup Pixxel has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Blume Ventures, growX Ventures, and Lightspeed Ventures. The round also saw participation from Stanford Angels and Ryan Johnson, a veteran in earth imaging and CEO at Blackbridge, a Canadian earth imaging company. Inventus Capital also participated in the round.

Short-form video app Mitron, which has been hailed as India's answer to TikTok, has raised $5 million in funding led by Nexus Venture Partners. The round also saw participation from existing investors 3one4 Capital and Arun Tadanki’s private syndicate on LetsVenture. Several notable angels, including Deep Kalra, Founder and Chairman of MakeMyTrip; and Anand Chandrasekharan, former Facebook executive; participated.

Bengaluru-based education startup Masai School has raised $2.5 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Unitus Ventures, joined by India Quotient and AngelList India. The startup will use the funding to hire industry experts to build and impart curriculum and strengthen current offerings.

Freshwater fish and seafood supply chain platform Captain Fresh has raised $2.3 million in a pre-Series A round of funding led by Ankur Capital with participation from Incubate Fund India and Silicon Valley-based angel investors. The fundraise will be used by the startup for technology development, market expansion, and hiring.

Bengaluru-based hiring platform for entry-level talent, Able Jobs, has raised a seed round of $1.8 million from Saif Partners, Y Combinator, Neeraj Arora, Titan Capital, and First Cheque. The startup will use the funding to accelerate its product growth and team expansion.

GrayQuest, a Mumbai-based education-focused fintech startup, has raised $1.2 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Foundation Holdings to increase access to affordable education in India. A few family offices also participated in this round.

Bengaluru-based SmarterBiz, an end-to-end CX platform enabled with the gig workforce, has raised Rs 8 crore as a part of its pre-Series A round. The contributors for this funding round were StartupXseed Ventures and other angel investors.

Delhi-NCR-based Daalchini, an IoT-enabled physical and digital vending machines startup, has raised Rs 5 crore in a pre-Series A round led by Artha Venture Fund (AVF) and angel investors. The startup plans to use this funding to expand its footprint and product portfolio.

Bengaluru-based digital cataloguing startup Text Mercato, which serves ecommerce platforms, has raised Rs 4.85 crore in pre series round of funding from a clutch of investors, including 1Crowd, Betatron, and others.

Undisclosed deals

Bollywood stalwart Suniel Shetty has invested an undisclosed amount in Kochi-based healthtech startup Vieroots Wellness Solutions at an estimated valuation of around Rs 100 crore. Founded by noted wellness evangelist and bio-hacker Sajeev Nair in 2018, it provides personalised lifestyle management using epigenetic science.

Bengaluru-based edtech startup Teachmint has raised its first round of funding led by Better Capital along with participation from Titan Capital. The funds will be utilised for product enhancement, customer happiness, and enabling reach to tutors in all parts of the country.

Bengaluru-based millennial finance platform Stack Finance has raised an undisclosed seed round from SOSV and MOX. Angel investors also participated in the round.

Delhi-based global nutrition-tech startup Habbit Health and Nutrition has raised an undisclosed amount as a pre-seed investment led by 3one4 Capital and Utsav Somani of AngelList India. The startup will use the funding to create prototypes, get the core team ready, building the brand, and in IT.

Angel investment platform Inflection Point Ventures (IPV) has invested an undisclosed amount in Eden Smart Homes, marking its 11th investment since March this year. Founded in 2018, Eden Smart Homes is an IoT startup that develops indigenous and cost-effective smart home automation systems. The funds raised will be used for launching new product lines, and scaling up sales and marketing operations to acquire more customers, the startup said.

Homegrown social app Chingari has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Brian Norgard, the Chief Product Officer of Tinder; French entrepreneur Fabrice Grinda, Founder of OLX; and tech entrepreneur Guy Lelouch.

India connect and M&A

Mumbai and Denver-based CpaaS startup CometChat has raised $1.6 million in a seed round from Colorado based Range Ventures, New York-based Silicon Badia, and India based iSeed Ventures. 

Reliance Retail Ventures has acquired a majority equity stake in Netmeds for a cash consideration of around Rs 620 crore. This investment represents around 60 percent holding in the equity share capital of Vitalic and 100 percent direct equity ownership of its subsidiaries - Tresara Health Private Limited, Netmeds Market Place Limited, and Dadha Pharma Distribution Pvt Limited.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)