Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (November 29, 2021)

YourStory presents this daily roundup of the latest startup news and updates from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, November 29, 2021.

Fintech startup Slice turns unicorn after raising $220M led by Tiger Global, Insight Partners

Bengaluru-based fintech startup Slice is the latest entrant into the unicorn club, with a five-fold jump in valuation to $1 billion within six months

The startup, which issues credit cards targeted at young professionals, raised $220 million in its Series B round led by New York-based investment firms Tiger Global and Insight Partners, said a statement.

Slice will utilise the capital to expand and strengthen its presence in the payments space, hire talent, and expand its product offerings. 

Singapore based crypto startup Coinstore enters India

Crypto futures and spot trading exchange Coinstore on Monday announced its foray into the Indian market by launching its web and app platform for Indian users. Indian users can make use of Coinstore's easy-to-understand user interface to trade, buy and sell cryptocurrencies, with easy KYC verification and 24/7 customer support. Coinstore enables users to trade more than 50 popular cryptocurrencies anytime, anywhere from the convenience of their mobile phones.

Coinstore decided to expand into India with the setup of a local support office currently underway. Coinstore will set up offices in Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai which will act as its base in India for future expansion. The company has 100 immediate openings for hiring local talent in India for its customer support, marketing and operations division. The $20 million fund allocated for India expansion will be utilised mainly for marketing, hiring talent, and the development of crypto-related products and services for the Indian market.

Coinstore will offer a copy trading feature to its Indian users, where users can follow trades of other traders to make strategic investment moves from trading the future prices of cryptocurrencies. The Coinstore App is now available for download in India on Google Play and Apple Store.

Funding News

Jade Forest Raises $1M led by Mumbai Angels Network

Jade Forest, a non-alcoholic beverage brand, has raised funding of $1 million in a round led by Mumbai Angels Network, a platform for early-stage investments along with other investors. The funds will be used for further geographical expansion and to launch into the ready-to-drink beverage segment.

Launched in August 2019 by Shuchir Suri and Punweet Singh, the company is currently growing at 15-20 percent MoM, and redefining how beverages are consumed. The brand now has a presence in more than 23 cities across India. The startup sells through a number of offline retail channel partners and last-mile delivery platforms as well as through its own ecommerce website and Amazon.

Jade Forest previously raised a seed round of $250,000 in November 2020. 

ABL Workspaces raises Rs 15 Cr in Series A round

Coworking and flexible working space provider ABL Workspaces has fuelled up its development plans by raising Rs 15 crore from Canada-based Ethik Inc in a Series A funding round. The fresh capital is raised with the intention to expand its seating capacities and centres across Delhi-NCR, and develop its team and technology.

Founded in December 2017, ABL Workspaces has registered a surge in clientele by 20 to 25 percent month on month in the past 6 months. At present, the coworking startup caters to several leading brands, including Ariston Thermo (Racold), Kotak Bank, Netambit, Clovia, Simba Beer among others.

Savart raises $549K from BEENEXT, Yatra Angel Network, others

Savart, an investment advisory and technology brand, announced it has raised $549,000 (Rs 4.09 crore) from BEENEXT, a Singapore-based founder-first venture capital firm, Yatra Angel Network (YAN), and Jupiter neobank founder Jitendra Gupta. BEENEXT infused Rs 3 crore into Savart, while YAN and Jitendra invested Rs 84 lakh and Rs 25 lakh respectively. Savart intends to use these funds to develop its AI-based investment-research algorithm Vantage, fuel expansion into Canada, grow its client base, and general corporate purposes.

Foodtech startup Happy Ratio raises $150K from ah! Ventures

Foodtech startup Happy Ratio has raised $150K in its angel round from ah! Ventures Angel Platform. This is ah! Ventures’ 96th investment (in 76 Startups) taking its total investment portfolio to Rs 242 crore with 11 exits and 18 follow on rounds till date. With 33 investments in 2021 till date, ah! Ventures plans to do 40+ investments this year, totalling Rs 150+ crore.

According to the official statement, the proceeds will be deployed for launching a portfolio of All-In-Nutrition products, strengthening the marketing team, and acquiring more customers. The startup is looking to reach repeat sales of one crore a month within the next 18 months.

Insurtech platform Insurance Samadhan raises pre-Series A round led by Equanimity Investments

Insurance Samadhan, an insurtech platform, has raised an undisclosed pre-Series A round led by Equanimity Investments. It also saw participation from 9 Unicorns and other angel investors.  

Insurance Samadhan is a platform to resolve insurance grievances like mis-selling, fraud, and claim rejections in life, health, and general insurance. Being a pioneer in helping aggrieved policyholders, Insurance Samadhan operates on a success fee-based revenue model.

Founded by Shailesh Kumar, Shilpa Arora, Deepak Bhuvneshwari Uniyal, and Sanjay Aggarwal, Insurance Samadhan is bridging the gap between insurance providers and their customers when dealing with claims and their resolutions. The tech engine is developed completely in-house by Ravi Mathur who has joined as a CTO. It selects and filters genuine complaints using AI and Machine Learning and helps the aggrieved policyholder in representing the claim in a factual manner. It also helps insurance companies make informed decisions on the complaints.

The latest infusion of funds will help Insurance Samadhan strengthen its technology, which can be a win-win situation for both the insurance policyholder and the insurance company.

Cloud storage service startup Digiboxx raises pre-Series A round

Homegrown file storage and sharing platform, DigiBoxx, announced the completion of its pre-Series A funding round led by CapGro Private Ltd, to fuel its next phase of growth. 

The company plans to use the capital proceeds for the next phase of its growth, which includes product development, penetrating deeper into current markets, scaling operations, expanding its team, and strengthening its technology platform. It will also use the investment to scale up its core engineering efforts to support customer demand.

Digiboxx aims to become the preferred public cloud storage platform of India and has secured more than one million users.

Mission oriented skilling app Kidvento, raises $1M in pre-Series A round, a Mysore-based skilling platform for children, has secured $1 million in pre-Series A funding from strategic investors in the United Kingdom and the Middle East. Kidvento, which provides skilling curriculum for kids through live and recorded classes, will utilise this fund to strengthen the content, delivery and gain more momentum. The team is also in talks with multiple funds and investors in India and the Middle East for Series A to quickly expand the product, technology, and business development across areas. 

Kidvento Education and Research Pvt Ltd was founded in May 2017 by Sumanth Prabhu and Nikhil Bhaskar. The duo had earlier co-founded VESTO, another edtech startup, from Mysuru.

Kidvento had been providing curriculum solutions through unique teaching-learning methodologies, learning aids, teacher training and assessment methodologies to over 100 schools and has also set up Tinkering Labs in over 250 schools so far. 

When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in India in March 2020, Kidvento pivoted from being an offline learning company to an online learning company and launched, to elevate skilling among students. 

A skilling platform for kids aged 6 to 14, Kidvento provides curated programmes on Mathematics, English language learning, Technology, Classical Dance, Visual and fine arts etc. via live classes and offline DIY activities. Kidvento aims to reach 10 lakh students in the next two years through its inclusive strategy of providing skilling to all categories of students.

M&A News

redBus forays into railway ticketing with ‘redRail’ in association with IRCTC

redBus, an online bus ticketing platform, has announced its foray into rail ticketing with the launch of redRail, a rail ticket booking service in collaboration with IRCTC, (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) as their authorized partner. The Android app users of redBus will be able to make reservations for bus as well as rail travel now within the same app and the service will be available on desktop, mobweb and iOS soon.

All of IRCTC’s scheduled train services, which includes about 9 million daily seats, will now also be available for booking on the redBus app.

redRail offers a booking experience with a customer support system, from the time of booking the train tickets, till the time of boarding, to relieve travellers of any anxieties associated with the reservation or the journey - including instant refunds on cancellations and customer support in 5 regional languages. As an introductory offer, redRail will not levy any service fee or payment gateway charges.

Powerhouse91 acquires wellness brand Expertomind

Following the acquisitions of feminine wellness brand - Azah and fitness brand - Slovic, Powerhouse91 has a new brand acquisition - Expertomind, in the wellness category.

Expertomind brings a diverse range of wellness, pain management and home medical equipment to the Indian market, aimed towards improving medical conditions and general lifestyle. It has 4500+ customer ratings with 30,000+ customers across India.

Through a combination of functional optimisations across marketing, supply chain and operations combined with significant growth capital, Powerhouse91 aims to expand Expertomind by 25X over the next 4-5 years. By 2023, it expects the brand to grow ten times.

With a founding team comprising more than 30 years in ecommerce and backed by investors Titan Capital and Crossbeam Ventures, Powerhouse91 intends to acquire, innovate and grow innovative consumer brands across different categories.

10club acquires sports and fitness equipment business Aurion

10Club, an ecommerce aggregator that acquires digitally native businesses with the aim of growing them 10x, has rolled up Aurion, a sports and fitness equipment business. 

Founded by brothers Harkirat Singh and Satvinder Singh who have deep design and manufacturing expertise in the sport and gym product categories, Aurion offers customers ankle weights, gym belts, medicine balls, dumbbells, skipping ropes and other such training and fitness equipment. This is 10club’s third acquisition in the sports and fitness category after Skudgear and Rapidotzz.

Based in Jalandhar, the duo used to work in a factory before they decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge. Rather than sourcing their products, they focused on building design and manufacturing capabilities over the years. A journey that started on a small parcel of land has now grown to operations spread across three factories.

10club will work with the founders to explore and develop various avenues for exponential growth.


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