[Weekly funding roundup] Venture investments into Indian startups begin on a muted note in November

The first week of November saw a steep fall in venture funding as compared to the last week of October, as the absence of a single large deal impacted the overall funding momentum.
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The month of November started on a weak note as venture funding into the Indian startup ecosystem remained well below the three-figure mark of $100 million.

The first week of November saw a total of 16 deals, garnering $32 million in venture funding, as compared to $225 million in the last week of October.

The absence of a single large deal has had an impact on the quantum of funding during the week. In the last couple of months, early-stage startups have been at the focus point of many investors. Similarly, in the first week of November, about 13 deals were signed in the early-stage category, followed by two growth-stage, and one late-stage.

Deals of the week

Tecso Charge Zone, which operates electric vehicle (EV) charging startup CHARGE+ZONE, raised $3 million in pre-Series A round led by startup incubator and accelerator Venture Catalysts. This round also saw participation from other lead investors like Mumbai Angels, Keiretsu Forum, and Ramakrishnan Family Office.

Gurugram-based education technology startup Stones2milestones raised around Rs 19 crore in a bridge funding round led by existing investor Unreasonable Capital and its limited partner, Goldhrish Foundation.

Charcoal Eats, the Mumbai-headquartered quick service restaurant (QSR) startup raised Rs 16 crore in a funding round led by Lokmat Investments — a division of multi-platform media company Lokmat Media, with participation from other angel investors. Charcoal Eats will use the fresh fund to strengthen its presence in different parts of the country, as well as invest in brand building.

Bengaluru-based reverse logistics solutions startup Deliveryontime Logistics popularly known as ‘Bizlog,’ raised Rs 12 crore in a pre-Series A round led by IAN Fund. The startup will use this funding to further develop its technology, create a roadmap to onboard new verticals, and expand the business pan-India over the next few years.

Bihar-based egg producer and agritech startup Eggoz raised a funding of $1.5 million in a pre-Series A round from Avaana Capital and Rebright Partners. Founded in 2017, Eggoz has sold over 25 million eggs, with over 100 thousand birds under management. The startup will use the funds to expand into newer markets, launch new products, grow its supply base, and strengthen its tech platform.

Tech-enabled chain for small and medium grocery stores, Gully Network Retail has closed its pre-Series A of $1.2 million from Venture Catalysts, Inflection Point Ventures, and DFAN. The startup earlier raised its seed round from Orios Venture Partners, which participated in this round as well. It plans to open new income streams with scale other than the primary grocery business, and will strengthen its offering for retailers, as well as end-consumer.

Hyderabad-based Augmented Intelligence-driven recruitment platform TurboHire raised $1 million in seed funding from a series of institutional and individual investors. The investment round was led by Pentathlon Ventures, with participation from Kia Ora Ventures, as well as other angel investors. The startup plans to utilise the funding for expansion and product enhancement.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based insurtech startup Fedo raised $1 million in pre-Series A round led by Unicorn India Ventures. The funding round saw participation from SEA Fund. Fedo plans to deploy the funds for product development and market expansion.

AjnaLens, a Mumbai-based AR/VR hardware startup, raised $1 million in a bridge round led by Oman-based conglomerate Mohsin Haider Darwish (MHD) Group and angel investors from India. The startup will use the funding for strengthening its manufacturing and other market expansion activity.

Tamasha.live, an influencer-led, live social gaming platform, raised seed funding of Rs 2.5 crore from 9Unicorns, Kunal Bahl (Co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal), and Rohit Bansal of Titan Capital and FirstCheque. It plans to use the funding for expansion activity.

Flipkart has made an undisclosed strategic investment into USPL, a youth-focused fashion brand. It participated in the Series F funding round of USPL, which also saw participation from existing investor Accel Partners.

Steradian Semiconductors, a deep tech startup, which is developing 4D imaging radar solutions for autonomous vehicles, received an undisclosed investment from Inflexor Technology Fund. The startup will use this funding to accelerate product development and market expansion.

US and Delhi-based artificial intelligence (AI)-powered employee experience platform Leena AI raised $8 million Series A financing led by Greycroft to expand its go-to-market programmes and accelerate product development.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Flipkart acquired Mech Mocha — a mobile gaming startup — for an undisclosed valuation. This buyout is expected to strengthen the ecommerce company's gaming portfolio as the buyout brings the team and the IP into its fold.

Bengaluru based car-care service startup AutoBrix acquired Xenon Automotive-owned Cartisan. With this acquisition, AutoBrix entered the car periodic maintenance and repairs business. Earlier, AutoBrix had acquired Washygo and Carnanny.

Edited by Suman Singh

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