Sequoia India's Surge announces 23 startups raising $55M for fifth cohort

Sequoia India's Surge announces its fifth and largest cohort of 23 early-stage startups, with funding totalling $55 million from Surge and co-investors.
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Sequoia Capital India has announced its fifth cohort of 23 startups, across India and Southeast Asia. The startups have raised a total of $55 million from Surge and co-investors. The programme, which kicks off on June 30, includes 10 women founders, the largest in a cohort since Surge first started two years ago in March 2019. 

In a statement, Sequoia Capital India said the Surge community now has 203 founders from 91 startups building companies across more than 15 sectors. Close to 50 percent of the companies from the first three cohorts have raised Series A funding.

Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Sequoia India

Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Surge and Sequoia India, said in the statement, “We are incredibly proud of all 23 companies who have joined Surge 05 and the founders who have forged their businesses in sectors that have seen tremendous tailwinds. These leaders have displayed grit, exceptional talent, and relentless purpose in shaping the world. At this inflexion point of global regrowth, we are excited to be part of the journey of our founders and their companies, many of which we believe will grow into large, enduring businesses."

Out of the 23 companies, a majority of 13 companies in the fintech, payments, communications, logistics, and SaaS (Software as a Service) sectors are creating products and services to help companies work smarter, better and seamlessly across borders.

Five are in the lifestyle segment, helping consumers live better lives, from advanced farming technology to leveraging gaming to revolutionising wellness.

These companies bring a brand new perspective to the importance of human well-being, driven by major lifestyle shifts in areas such as women's health, personal care, self-improvement and mindfulness.  

Finally, with the rapid adoption of technology shaping the way people connect and learn, four companies are transforming the delivery of education, and leading the way in digital mentoring, equipping developers with big data and data science, skills training and virtual, borderless internships.

Surge Startups 2021

One of the 23 companies is still in stealth mode. The remaining 22 are as follows.

Absolute: Founded by Agam Khare and Prateek Rawat, Absolute is building a plant bioscience and AI-driven adaptive platform for precision agriculture, which helps horticulture growers radically transform yields, grade, and nutritional value of produce. 

ADPList: The Southeast Asian startup is on a mission to democratise mentorship and make it accessible for everyone through a community platform where people can find, book, and meet mentors around the world.

ApnaKlub: It is an agent-led B2B wholesale platform for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). Founded by Shruti Kumar and Manish Kumar, the startup’s mission is to encourage and empower people to set up their own hyper-local micro-distribution businesses by providing them with better profit margins, access to a large assortment of brands and SKUs, and supply consistency.

Belora: Ainara Kaur and Akaljyot Kaur's Belora Cosmetics produces clean, high-performance, vegan makeup — free from toxins and harmful ingredients. The company’s mission is to create makeup that doubles up as skincare so that women can wear products, which are not only dermatologically tested, but also good for their skin. 

Durianpay: Durianpay is building a fully integrated and comprehensive payments stack that enables businesses to grow and scale. Antara Sara Mathai, Kumar Puspesh, and Natasha Ardiani's vision is to modernise payments across SEA which helps improve both customer and merchant experiences. 

Dyte: Founded by Abhishek Kankani, Kushagra Vaish, and Palash Golecha, Dyte is a developer-friendly real-time audio and video calling software development kit (SDK). It allows developers to integrate live video into their apps in interesting and innovative ways.

Gumlet: Founded by Aditya Patadia and Divyesh Patel, it provides a new-age media delivery infrastructure that provides low code or no-code integration plugins, which automates the entire media publishing pipeline. Developers all over the world use Gumlet to automatically provide the lowest size images and videos with the best resolution and performance.

Locad: Constantin Robertz, Jannis Dargel and Shrey Jain founded Locad is making multi-channel e-commerce fulfilment easier. It does this by offering a distributed warehousing network, which reduces shipping time and costs by storing products closer to customers. 

Mailmodo: Mailmodo is an email marketing platform that helps marketers create app-like experiences within emails and increase conversions. It was founded by Apurv Gupta, Aquibur Rahman, and Devyesh Tandon.

Mesh: Gaurav Chaubey, Rahul Singh and Saurabh Nangia founded Mesh, a new-age people management platform that makes it easy for employees to manage goals, get timely feedback, and grow faster. 

Multiplier: Multiplier is a new-age Employer of Record that simplifies international hiring. The platform makes it easy for companies to hire teams internationally by managing the complexities of local compliance, labour contracts, payroll, benefits and taxes. It was founded by Amritpal Singh, Sagar Khatri, and Vamsi Krishna.

OneCode: OneCode, founded by Manish Shara and Yash Desai, is an app that connects companies with sales agents, giving these agents access to sell the products and services to less tech-savvy buyers. The startup’s mission is to digitise 50 million sales agents across India, and bridge the gap between brands and potential buyers who may need in-person interactions and physical touchpoints before committing to a purchase.

PowerPlay: Powerplay is a mobile-first, vernacular construction site management app that enables project managers and workers to communicate and collaborate more effectively. The app helps them track their progress, deliverables, and payments across projects. Powerplay’s mission is to digitise India’s construction industry by connecting stakeholders via its platform, with the aim of leading to faster and better construction projects across the country.

Pankhuri: Pankhuri is a social community platform where women can network, learn, and shop online through live streaming, chat, and micro-courses. Its mission is to enable millions of Indian women to be active participants in beauty and lifestyle conversations online instead of being passive consumers. The startup was founded by Pankhuri Shrivastava.

Rara Delivery: Founded by Karan Bhardwaj, RaRa Delivery is revolutionising instant delivery for e-commerce in Indonesia through data-driven logistics.

Revery: Founded by Tammie Siew and Khoa Tran, Revery is using game thinking to revolutionise wellness, and the team is on a mission to make wellness affordable and accessible to anyone with a mobile phone.

TWID: TWID (That’s What I Do) is a rewards-based payment network that enables customer reward or loyalty points to be used as a payment instrument. The startup was founded by Amit Koshal, Amit Sharma, and Rishi Batra.

Vah Vah: Founded by Akash Senapaty, Eashwar Subbiah and Shailesh Daxini, Vah Vah! is a live, online vocational training platform that offers professional beauty courses. The startup’s mission is to educate and prepare India’s young and dynamic population for their careers, training them in vocational skills so that they can find employment or run their own business.

Vara: Founded by Abhinav Karale and Vidush Mahansaria, Vara is an easy-to-use and lightweight staff management platform for SMEs across Southeast Asia. It enables small companies to effortlessly manage their attendance and payroll.

Veera Health: Veera Health’s first offering is a digital therapeutics platform that helps women identify and navigate Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), with a comprehensive offering of therapy, coaching and specialist support. The startup is founded by Shashwata Narain and Shobhita Narain.

Virtual Internships: Virtual Internships are redesigning internships for the 21st-century workforce, mirroring the future of work. Founded by Daniel Nivern and Edward Holroyd Pearce, the company believes in the democratisation of the global workforce by widening participation and creating global talent pipelines and access to jobs worldwide for students of all backgrounds and nationalities. 

WATI: Founded by Bianca Ho and Ken Yeung, WATI helps companies have personalised conversations with customers at scale with an easy-to-use customer engagement software that’s built on WhatApp’s Business API.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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