[Weekly funding roundup] Unicorns boost investments to touch $673M

The month of September continues to remain quite upbeat for the Indian startup ecosystem with the total funding crossing $500 million for the second week in a row.

[Weekly funding roundup] Unicorns boost investments to touch $673M

Friday September 11, 2020,

6 min Read

Venture funding into the Indian startup ecosystem continues to rise with the major boost coming from unicorns, and the month of September continues to remain very positive for these young companies.

The venture capital funding for the second week of September touched $673 million — which was a 27 percent rise as compared to the previous week which saw investments worth $530 million. The total deals during the week stood at 17.

The big boost for the weekly funding for the Indian startups came from the fund infusion into unicorns — BYJU'S and Zomato.

As has been the trend for the past several months, early-stage deals accounted for the major share of funding at 12, followed by growth-stage at three and late-stage at two. There were no venture debt deals during the week.

Weekly funding roundup

Key highlights

Bengaluru-based edtech platform BYJU’S raised $500 million in new round of funding led by Silver Lake, a global technology investment firm, at a valuation of $10.8 billion, which is a mark up from the earlier $10.5 billion. Existing investors Tiger Global, General Atlantic, and Owl Ventures also participated in this round.

Since the lockdown, BYJU’S claims that over 20 million new students have started learning from its platform for free. Today, the app has over 64 million registered students and 4.2 million annual paid subscriptions. The edtech unicorn had doubled its revenue from Rs 1,430 crore to Rs 2,800 crore in FY19-20. 

Foodtech unicorn Zomato raised $100 million in funding from Internet Fund VI Pte Holdings, Tiger Global's Singapore investment arm. With the latest fundraise, Zomato is now reported to be valued at $3.4 billion. The current round came soon after it raised $62 million from Singapore-based Temasek.

Other deals

Groww, the Bengaluru-based investment management startup, raised $30 million in Series C funding led by YC Continuity. The round also saw participation from Sequoia India, Propel Ventures, and Ribbit Capital. With this round of funding, the team is looking to expand its product suite, and hire engineering, growth, and product talent.

Tech startup Hasura raised $25 million (about Rs 184.3 crore) in funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners (US). The Series B funding also saw participation from existing investors Vertex Ventures US, Nexus Venture Partners, Strive VC, SAP.iO Fund, and new angel investors including John Thomson, the current chairman of Microsoft. The latest round brings the total funding raised by the company to $36.5 million.

BluSmart, an all-electric ride-hailing platform, raised pre-Series A funding of $7 million from multiple investors including Inflection Point Ventures, Venture Catalysts, Survam Partners, Mumbai Angels, Chhatisgarh Investments Ltd, JITO Angels, Lets Venture Fund, and Kaplavriksh Fund. The startup will utilise the funding to expand the number of cars on the platform, set up more charging infrastructure, improve its technology, and expand the geographical reach.

Mumbai-based insurance-tech startup i3 Systems raised $1.5 million from Unitus Ventures in a pre-Series A round of funding. The startup plans to use the funds to advance its technology that enables seamless adoption of their product across all repetitive business processes in the BFSI industry. Reliance Industries CFO Alok Agarwal and Zhooben Bhiwandiwala, President, Mahindra Partners co-invested along with Unitus Ventures.

Insurtech firm Acko has made a strategic investment of $1.2 million in Pitstop, a Bengaluru-based full-stack car service and repair platform. This investment is expected to bolster ACKO Insurance’s engagement with customers throughout their car ownership lifecycle. The investment will immediately accelerate Acko’s auto claim servicing capability and its promise of three-day doorstep pick-up, repair, and delivery.

School of Accelerated Learning (SOAL), a skill-tank nurturing students into disruptive, tech-empowered creators and future leaders, raised Series A-1 funding round of about $1 million from SARA Investments, the investment arm of the promoters of Munjal Auto Industries Ltd. The Mumbai-based startup will utilise the funds for skilling 3,000+ learners from across the country, and advance its digital footprint within India and other developing nations.

Market Pulse, a Mumbai-based market analysis platform raised $750,000 in pre-Series A round of funding. The round was led by HNI investors Ameet Desai (Founder, Anubhuti Advisors LLP and Ex-Group CFO, Adani Group), Aditya Goel (Director, Securcap, UK), Rashmi Kwatra (Founder and CIO, Sixteenth Street Capital), and Umasankar Nistala (MD and CEO, BNP Paribas India).

Gurugram-based interactive english learning app for children OckyPocky raised a seed round of $400,000 led by Lead Angels Network. The startup will be using the funds to expand sales capabilities and build further on the technology to meet demand.

QShala, a platform that helps kids learn about life skills, raised Rs 2.7 crore in angel funding led by Zerodha-backed startup incubator and fund Rainmatter Capital, along with Mindtree Co-founder Kalyan Banerjee. This also includes other angel investors.

Bengaluru-based technology startup Deepsync Technologies raised $300,000 in a round led by an early-stage investor Anicut Angel Fund. Anjan Ghosal and Venkat Raju were the leads in this investment on behalf of Anicut. Other investors who participated in the round through Anicut include Ashvin Chadha, Sanjiv Bajaj, Varun Thapar, Pran Mehra, and Tushar Singh.

Undisclosed deals

No Code SaaS personalisation platform CustomFit.ai raised an undisclosed amount of funding in its pre-seed round, led by Java Capital. The round also saw participation from investors including Upsparks, FirstCheque, and LetsVenture. Launched in May 2019 by Ashwin Kumar and Shoaib Mohammed, CustomFit.ai provides a hyper-personalised website by analysing the insights from website traffic and visitor journeys to optimise conversion of website traffic into leads. 

Bengaluru-based electric vehicle (EV) startup Cell Propulsion raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Series A funding round led by growX ventures and Micelio. Existing investor Endiya Partners, who led the seed round in September 2019, also participated in this round. The funds will be used to deploy powertrains for electric trucks and electric buses.

India connect

Singapore-based fintech and legaltech startup Qapita raised a seed round of $1.8 million. The round was led by Vulcan Capital. Early-stage investors Alto Partners Multi Family Office, Atin Kukreja (CEO of Rippledot Capital), Koh Boon Hwee, K3 Ventures, KDV Holdings, Mission Holdings and multiple Northstar Group Partners, including Patrick Walujo, also participated in the round. Qapital will be using the freshly raised funds to strengthen and build its team. Additionally, the funds will be used to accelerate product development and build the fintech startup's client base.

US-headquartered Hippo Video, a cloud-based video CX platform, raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. The investment round was led by Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI) and Exfinity Venture Partners. 

Edited by Kanishk Singh