Sequoia Capital India announces fourth cohort of 17 early-stage startups under Surge programme

Surge's fourth cohort of startups raised a collective capital of $45.35 million, wherein Naval Ravikant, Kunal Shah, Girish Mathrubootham, and other angels also co-invested.
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Surge Sequoia Capital India's rapid scale-up programme for startups in India and Southeast Asia — on Wednesday announced its fourth cohort of 17 early-stage startups. These startups have collectively raised $45.5 million from Surge, as well as other co-investors, including Blume Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Kunal Shah, Girish Mathrubootham, and others.

These startups are from SaaS, edtech, fintech, SME tech, DevTools, consumer, healthtech, and B2B marketplaces. Like Surge 03, Surge 04 will run entirely online through till March 2021. 

In a press note, Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital India LLP, said, “Surge 04 has an incredibly talented and determined group of founders we’re proud to partner with. These are founders who have shown the courage to start-up and persevere through an extremely challenging year. This cohort is a reflection of how the region’s startup ecosystem will look and think for the next few years – possibly impacting entire economies.

"Businesses are going beyond home markets, thinking digital-first, and leveraging technology to solve problems at scale for industries around the world. It’s incredible to be a part of this growth story," he added.

Eleven of the 17 startups are building for cross-border markets, pushing beyond their geographical borders from day one. Several of these startups are also challenging the status quo in their respective categories, digitising and disrupting traditionally offline industries like logistics, automotive, and insurance. Of the 17 startups, three are in stealth mode.

Startups that are part of the Surge 04 cohort include:

Aampe: Founded in August 2020 by Paul Meinshausen, Sami Abboud, Schaun Wheeler, and stealth founder, Aampe turns customer communication into a retention growth engine. It acts as an automated testing tool that allows messaging to be personalised for the individual customer, driving better retention. 

Epsilo: Epsilo — a SaaS startup — was founded by Quang Tran and Hang Pham in July 2019. The startup helps ecommerce marketers and category managers deliver effective advertising operations across the leading online retail platforms in Southeast Asia. 

Hashnode: Founded in June 2020 by Sandeep Panda and Syed Fazle Rahman, Hashnode is a blogging platform that helps developers and teams start blogs and share them with the broader developer community. Along with Surge, few angel investors, including Christopher Golda, Ed Roman, Girish Mathrubootham, Harshil Mathur, Nakul Aggarwal, Naval Ravikant, Ritesh Arora, and Shashank Kumar, also participated in the round.

Kyt: Kyt is an online-first global academy, focusing on extracurricular learning for children. Kyt was founded by Bhavik Rathod and Tripti Ahuja in September 2020. Along with Surge, angel investors such as Allen Penn, Amrish Rau, Jitendra Gupta, Kunal Bahl, Kunal Shah, Marin Li, and Rohit Bansal also participated in the round.

LambdaTest: LambdaTest is a testing infrastructure startup, which allows users and developers to run both manual and automated tests on their websites and web apps on over 2,000 different browsers, browser versions, and operating system environments. Along with Surge, Blume Ventures, Entrée Capital, Leo Capital and angels, including Gokul Rajaram, Navroz D. Udwadia, Ramakant Sharma, and Richard Matthew Gerson participated in the round.

Let's Dive: The SaaS platform provides a social space for remote teams to build their culture through fostering better human connections. The startup was founded in August 2020 by Nitesh Agrawal and Om Prakash Shanmugam. Along with Surge, Village Global and angels like Akhil Paul, Anand Chandrashekharan, Job Van, OnDeck, Ravish Naresh, Sai Srinivas, Sunita Mohanty, Utsav Somani, and Zvi Band invested in the startup.

Mod.io: Founded in March 2019 by Scott Reismanis and Patrick Sotiriou, Mod.io is a service that helps game developers launch in-game, platform-agnostic user-generated content (UGC) communities. Along with Surge, Makers Fund, Play Ventures, GameTech Ventures, and Machinefloor invested in the startup.

Otoklix: Otoklix is a platform that is digitising Indonesia’s automotive aftermarket sector by providing online-to-offline solutions for car services. It was founded by Martin Reyhan Suryohusodo, Joseph Alexander Ananto, and Benny Sutedjo in August 2019. Along with Surge, GK Plug and Play, Kenangan Investment Fund 1, Lentor Ventures, Noble Star Ventures, and angel investor Andree Susanto participated in the round.

PagarBook: A mobile-first payroll and workforce management app, PagarBook aims to digitise human capital management for SMEs in India. The platform was founded by Adarsh Kumar, Arya Adarsha Gautam, and Rupesh Kumar Mishra in December 2019. Kunal Shah, along with Surge, invested in the startup.

Plum: Founded by Abhishek Poddar and Saurabh Arora in March 2020, Plum is an employee insurance provider on a mission to make group health insurance more seamless and affordable for India's small businesses and middle class. The platform also provides guided support, making it easy to apply for and access insurance claims. Tanglin Venture Partners and Ramakant Sharma co-invested in Plum along with Surge.

Richpanel: It is a customer service platform, purpose-built for ecommerce merchants to deliver a buying experience better than leading online retail sites. Merchants use Richpanel to design an Amazon-style account page to automate order tracking, returns, refunds, cancellations, order changes, and more. It was founded in September 2019 by Amit RG and GDJ Dorai.

Shipsy: An enterprise SaaS company, Shipsy helps its customers manage their end-to-end logistics across multiple modes like the ocean, air, and road transportation. Founded in August 2015 by Dhruv Agrawal and Soham Chokshi, Info-Edge also co-invested in Shipsy along with Surge.

Studyroom: Founded by Ashish Ranjan and Suhail Abidi in September 2020, Studyroom helps students learn better by empowering educators to create customised learning experiences for them. The platform also enables students to practise tasks on their own and benchmark their performance against their peers. Graph Ventures and angel investors Ajeet Singh, Anshuman Bapna, Chaitra Chidanand, Nishant Verman and Rajesh Yabaji, invested in Studyroom.

Tazapay: Founded in 2020 by Arul Kumaravel, Rahul Shinghal, and Saroj Mishra, Tazapay is a cloud-based trade management platform for small and medium-sized businesses to conduct cross-border commerce safely. Saison Capital co-invested along with Surge in Tazapay.

Edited by Suman Singh

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