Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 16, 2021)
India's largest edtech platform BYJU's is in advanced talks with rival Toppr for a potential acquisition, according to sources. Sources close to the development said the deal is estimated to be about $120-150 million in size and could be closed in the next 2-3 weeks.
Future says asked for $40M as compensation for RIL deal; ecommerce major denies charges
Future Group has alleged that Amazon had asked for $40 million (around Rs 290.41 crore) in compensation for the deal with Reliance Industries, a charge that the ecommerce major termed as "false and misleading claims." According to documents submitted to the emergency arbitrator of SIAC by the Kishore Biyani-led firm, Amazon was also well aware of the Rs 24,713 crore Future-RIL deal.
Kishore Biyani, CEO, Future Group
In sweeping changes in the country's mapping policy, the Indian government announced the liberalisation of norms governing the acquisition and production of geospatial data, a move that will help in boosting innovation in the sector, and create a level-playing field for public and private entities.
Delhi startup Arrowroot Capital Management, others, for undisclosed US client secures $3.8M from Capital One,
Marquee Equity — a Delhi-based SaaS platform, connecting startups to investors, venture capitalists, and angel investors for funding requirements — raised $3.8 million for an undisclosed US-based fintech client.
With a network of over 3,200 investors globally, Marquee secured meetings with investors, including Capital One, SignalFire, Arrowroot Capital, TTV Capital, Costanoa VC, Raptor Group, and HWVP, among others to achieve the required funding within two months of the campaign.
— a Bengaluru-based cognitive development edtech startup that builds future skills for students through its HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) and SmartTech programmes — raised a pre-Series A funding of Rs 6 crore. Existing investor Incubate Fund India participated in the round. The startup will use the fresh capital to accelerate its growth and run rate.
Unacademy Co-founders (L to R), Roman Saini, Hemesh Singh and Gaurav Munjal
Edtech unicorn acquires majority stake in
Bengaluru-based edtech major Unacademy has acquired a majority stake in TapChief, the professional networking and future of work platform. The existing investors in TapChief have now gotten an exit from the startup. Post the acquisition, TapChief will join the Unacademy Group with a valuation of Rs 100 crore.
Bengaluru and California-based UptimeAI on Tuesday announced that it has raised $1.5 million in a seed round led by YourNest Venture Capital, an early-stage fund focused on the deep-tech and enterprise segments. Founded in 2019 by Jagadish Gattu and Vamsi Yalamanchili, UptimeAI specialises in AI-based predictive maintenance software for heavy industries.
Ecommerce giant Amazon will begin manufacturing its hardware devices in India, starting with producing Fire TV Stick devices in Chennai through a partnership with Foxconn, as the company reiterated its commitment to the 'Make in India' initiative towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Global payments solution major Mastercard said that it has partnered with fintech player Razorpay to drive digital payments acceptance by small businesses and startups in the country. Global payments solution major says the partnership will empower Indian MSMEs in digitising their operations, maintaining business continuity in the challenging environment, and preparing for the future beyond cash.
Mayank Bidawatka and Apramaya R
Shunwei Capital, the Chinese investor in the parent firm of Koo, India's answer to Twitter, is on its way out after other investors have pledged to buy out its 9 percent stake, Koo's Co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna said.
IT sales acceleration platform raises $13M in Series A round
Zomentum, a San Francisco-headquartered SaaS startup with an R&D centre in Bengaluru, has raised $13 million in Series A round from Elevation Capital, Accel, and Greenoaks Capital. The round also saw participation from Eight Roads Ventures. Zomentum helps IT channel partners and enables SMBs to leverage the best of the breed IT solutions.
Financial product marketplace company BankBazaar said it added equity shares worth $15 million to its employee stock options pool, after witnessing strong balance sheet growth over the last year. The startup expects to close the current financial year ended March 31 with operational month-on-month profitability, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Cybersecurity startup raises Rs 110Cr in Series A round from ForgePoint Capital
Bangaluru-based cybersecurity startup 1Kosmos on Tuesday said it raised Rs 110 crore in a Series A round from ForgePoint Capital. It plans to use the fresh capital to accelerate its growth and product roadmap. Founded by Hemen Vimadalal, Rohan Pinto, and Mike Engle, 1Kosmos provides a digital identity proofing and passwordless authentication for workforce and customers.
After a wild week, in which Bitcoin soared to new heights, the cryptocurrency crossed the $50,000 mark early Tuesday. Bitcoin rallied throughout the week as more companies signalled that the volatile digital currency could eventually gain widespread acceptance as a means of payment for goods and services. Bitcoin has been mostly seen as a store of value, like gold, with very few places to spend it.
Customer engagement software firm crosses $300M in ARR
Customer engagement software company Freshworks, Inc has announced that it surpassed $300 million in ARR, growing the business by 40 percent year-over-year despite the unprecedented economic times induced by COVID-19.
Freshworks’ record year featured new product offerings, strategic acquisitions to accelerate AI, and an expanded executive team to fuel its next phase of growth. Its next target is to achieve the billion-dollar revenue milestone.