Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Dec 8, 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 Tuesday, December 8, 2021.


Ex-Ather Energy led Exponent Energy raises $5M in pre-Series A round

Exponent Energy, a technology startup dedicated to simplifying energy for electric vehicles (EVs), on Wednesday announced it has raised $5 million in a pre-Series A round of funding. Existing investor, YourNest VC led the round.

Other existing investors, 3one4 Capital and AdvantEdge VC, doubled down on their earlier investment as the new round witnessed the participation of Motherson Group, a leading global supplier of automotive components.

Led by former Ather Energy CPO Arun Vinayak along with his colleague at Ather Energy Sanjay Byalal, Exponent Energy aims to simplify energy for EVs. In line with this, the company recently unveiled its battery pack and charging station called the E-pack and E-pump that together unlocks a 15-minute rapid charge and gives a 3000 cycle life warranty (a new industry standard) — all done on a range of affordable Li-ion cells.

Cybersecurity startup CloudSEK raises $7M in Series A led by MassMutual Ventures

CloudSEK - an artificial Intelligence (AI)-based digital risk management and cybersecurity platform provider on Wednesday has raised $7 million (~Rs 50 crores) in its Series A round led by MassMutual Ventures. The latest round takes the total amount raised by the platform to ~$10 million.

The round also saw participation from Omidyar Network India100X Entrepreneur, individual investors Firoz Meeran and Navas Meeran (Group Meeran), and CRED founder Kunal, Naresh Shah’s QED Innovation Labs. Existing investors Exfinity Venture PartnersIDFC Parampara, and StartupXseed Ventures also participated in this round of Investment.

The Singapore headquartered startup will use the current round of funding to accelerate CloudSEK's sales and marketing efforts across Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and North America. CloudSEK will also ramp up its research and development to combat the increasingly sophisticated global threat landscape.

Stage3 raises Rs 20 Cr in Pre-Series-A co-led by Inflection Point Ventures and LC Nueva Investment Partners LLP

Delhi-based social commerce startup Stage3 has raised Rs 20 crore in a Pre-Series A round co-led by Inflection Point Ventures and LC Nueva Investment Partners LLP, along with Let’s Venture and Stanford Angels. 

Blume Ventures, Stage3’s existing investor, has also participated in the round. Other angel investors include Ananth Narayanan (Founder, Mensa Brands), Dinesh Aggarwal (CEO of India Mart), and Sashwat Nakhrani (Co-founder of Bharat Pe). 

The funds raised will be utilised in improving technology infrastructure, hiring talent and building data science capabilities.

D2C orthodontic startup Snazzy raises $2.2M 

Direct-to-consumer dental-tech startup Snazzy has raised a $2.2 million seed funding round from YCombinator, Form Capital, Goodwater Capital, and ANIM Fund

The round saw participation from several angel investors such as Kunal Shah (Founder, CRED), Bobby Goodlatte (Stripe and Coinbase angel investor), Eric Idiahi (Partner, Verod Capital), and others. 

Samosa Party raises $2M in Pre-Series A round led by Kalaari Capital

Delivery-first QSR brand Samosa Party has raised $2 million in its Pre-Series A funding round backed by Kalaari Capital.

Operational across 15 outlets in Bengaluru and Gurugram, the startup aims to use the fresh capital to expand to 100+ outlets across Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bengaluru. 

It claims to have doubled its presence and tripled its revenue since last year and is eyeing a 5X growth with this funding.

RAAHO raises Rs 12.5 Cr in Pre-Series A round from IPV, Roots Ventures, and angel investors

RAAHO, an on-demand intercity trucking marketplace, has raised Rs 12.5 crore in Pre-Series A round of funding led by new investors IPV, Nitish Mittersain (Founder - Nazara), with participation from existing investors Roots Ventures, Venkatesh Vijayraghavan (Group CEO, Board Member, Cavinkare), Miten Sampat from CRED, and others. 

The startup plans to utilise the fresh funds to grow nationally and make the whole product “100 percent on-demand”. raises $1.5M seed capital from 3one4 Capital, Saison Capital, Kunal Shah, others

Open-finance platform today has announced raising $1.5 million seed capital from 3one4 Capital, Saison Capital, Eximius Ventures, First Cheque, and Speciale Invest.

Angel investors who also participated in the round include Kunal Shah (Founder, Cred), Suhail Sameer (CEO, BharatPe and Managing Partner, OTP Venture Partners), Shashvat Nakrani (Co-founder, BharatPe), Lalit Keshre (Founder, Groww), Madhusudhanan R & Prabhu Rangarajan (Co-founders, M2P Fintech), Aprameya Radhakrishna (Founder, Koo App), and Amit Goel (Medici).

The startup plans to use the funds to strengthen and expand its developer offerings, build its team as well as augment the pace towards the public launch of its offerings. 

Fego, which provides “Lego” blocks for finance, offers an open-finance product stack for developers and companies to embed insightful financial experiences and personalise user engagement.

Indian backpacker hostel brand goSTOPS raises additional $1M

GoStops has raised an additional $1 million bridge round within six months of its last million-dollar Pre-Series-A round that concluded early this year in June.

The round was funded by existing investors The Chennai Angels, Mumbai Angels, Yuj Ventures, Lead Angels, 1Crowd, Indian Angel Network, Chandigarh Angels Network, in addition to new angel investors, including Rohit Chanana of Sarcha Advisors.

The startup aims to accelerate its growth further and the freshly infused funds will be utilised to 'aggressively' acquire new budget hotels and rapidly grow its presence across the country.

Fitness startup StepSetGo raises Rs 5 Cr in seed funding round

StepSetGo (SSG) has raised Rs 5 crore seed funding from four investors and plans to use it to add unique features and further increase its market share in the fitness-tech industry. The round has seen participation from Huddle, Singapore-based BeyondSeed, along with Dexter Angels and Seeders LLP.

Founded by Shivjeet Ghatge, Misaal Turakhia, Abhay Pai and Zaheer Khan, the Mumbai-based, StepSetGo claims to have over nine million users.

StepSetGo aims to strengthen its technological capabilities and infrastructure and intensify customer acquisition and growth. The funding will enable it to innovate and upgrade customer experience while adding more core fitness solutions and bolstering its footing among lesser receptive markets.

Spoofsense raises $150k from JITO angel network and others

SpoofSense, a computer vision algorithm that lets businesses authenticate their customers through Face Biometrics, raised $150,000 in funding. This round was led by JITO Angel Network and co-invested by a few marquee angels.

The startup's passive liveness detection technology helps differentiate real users from fake ones and helps businesses prevent digital identity frauds.

Using Computer Vision and Deep Learning algorithms, SpoofSense claims that its API can differentiate between a genuine face and its replica (printed photograph, 3D masks etc) with high precision in under two seconds. 

Cybersecurity firm NETMONASTERY raises Pre-Series A funding from Sharad Sanghi of NTT-Netmagic

NETMONASTERY NSPL, a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution provider, has raised an undisclosed Pre-Series A round from Sharad Sanghi, CEO, NTT-Netmagic, in his personal capacity. The funding will be used to increase NETMONASTERY’s market presence.

NETMONASTERY delivers through its product DNIF HyperScale SIEM, a single-window cybersecurity solution designed for enterprise Security Operations Centers (SOC) that includes a combination of a SIEM, User and Entity Behaviour Analytics (UEBA), and Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR). 

Rupifi raises venture debt from Trifecta Capital

Rupifi, a startup solving fintech for SMEs, has raised venture debt from Trifecta Capital. It will use these funds to scale its existing B2B credit and payments products offered to small businesses transacting on B2B marketplaces.

Founded in 2020, Rupifi offers embedded lending solutions to B2B marketplaces. It works with partners across sectors like FMCG, food, pharma, fashion, electronics, agriculture, and general merchandise to enable flexible and no-EMI credit for small businesses.

Ecommerce startup Kreate raises an undisclosed amount in seed round from We Founder Circle, others

Kreate, an ecommerce pre-selling platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of funds in a seed round from We Founder Circle, and others. The investment round also witnessed the participation of angel investors including Ankesh Sagar - Head of Marketing, Workato; Sandeep Balaji - CEO, IncrementumX; and Abhishek Kishore Gupta - CEO, Turbotic.

It plans to use the funds in team building, marketing, and product development, in sync with its fiscal targets that include reaching a transaction volume worth $5 million, and strengthening the technology backbone to support a user base of at least 200,000 users.

Mergers and Acquisitions

BYJU'S announces its 10th acquisition in 2021 with Austria-based GeoGebra

BYJU'S, the most valuable edtech startup in India with 115 million students on its learning platform, has announced the acquisition of Austria-headquartered math learning platform GeoGebra. This is the edtech unicorn's tenth acquisition this year. 

This acquisition complements BYJU’S overall product strategy and furthers its aim to make math more engaging, BYJU'S said in a statement. The financial details are still undisclosed by the company.

GeoGebra will continue to operate as an independent unit within the BYJU’S group under the leadership of its Founder and Developer, Markus Hohenwarter. 

Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO, BYJU’S

IPO-bound Delhivery acquires US-based drone technology company

Ahead of its proposed Initial Public Offering (IPO), Gurugram headquartered logistics services player Delhiveryhas announced the acquisition of Transition Robotics Incorporated (TRI) for an undisclosed amount, said a statement issued by the company. 

With the acquisition of the California-based manufacturer of unmanned aerial system platforms, Delhivery will also acquire the company’s IP across aerial photography, remote sensing, inspection and surveys

Founded in 2011, Transition Robotics works on design, prototyping, testing and manufacturing of small drones, as well as software solutions. The company has also developed a drone for landing in constrained take-off and landing areas.

General News

First cohort of Sequoia Spark Fellowship for women entrepreneurs to kickstart this month

Sequoia Capitalon Wednesday announced the first cohort of Sequoia Spark Fellowship - a $100K equity-free grant and mentorship programme - comprising 15 startups and 20 women entrepreneurs from India and Southeast Asia. 

It was started as a step to correct the gender imbalance in the startup ecosystem where startups with at least one woman founder make up for only 12 percent of venture-backed startups in India and 20 percent in ASEAN.

Sakshi Chopra, Managing Director of Sequoia India, said the cohort features India’s first women crypto founders Madhumitha Harishankar and Niveda Harishankar, who launched Nume Crypto this year.

Polygon and Lumos Labs launch PolygonLEAP 2021 Accelerator to drive Web 3.0 innovation in India

Leading Ethereum scaling and infrastructure development ecosystem Polygon and tech innovation management firm Lumos Labs have partnered to launch the PolygonLEAP 2021 Accelerator - an initiative to support Indian startups with mentorship and ecosystem support in their Web 3.0 journeys.

Elevation Capital, Lightspeed, Jump Capital, Woodstock Fund, Sino Global Capital, and Buidlers Tribe have joined as investment partners and mentors.

Polygon has set aside $250,000 as the total grant amount for Indian Web 3.0 startups that build on its network. Startups part of the accelerator also stand to raise pre-seed/seed investments of over $9 million from the capital partners.

City Union Bank Launches 'RuPay On-the-Go' Contactless Solution in Collaboration with NPCI

City Union Bank (CUB), in collaboration with the National Payments Corporation of India(NPCI), has today announced the launch of RuPay on-the-go contactless keychain for its debit card customers. CUB is launching this payment mode to enable customers to make payments on the go.

The solution will help the bank's customers carry payment cards on their keychains, making for fast and convenient payments up to Rs 5,000 without a PIN.

Snapdeal appoints Priyaranjan Kumar as Vice President and Business Head

Ecommerce company Snapdeal announced the appointment of Priyaranjan Kumar as Vice President and Business Head. He will lead various growth and expansion initiatives of the company.

Prior to joining Snapdeal, Priyaranjan was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Iconic Fashion. He has over 15 years of rich experience in general management, sales, and distribution in the retail and FMCG sectors. 

Games24x7 announces appointment of Rajat Bansal as CTO

Former head of engineering at Amazon Lockers, Rajat Bansal, has joined as the Chief Technology Officer at Games24x7, one of India’s largest online gaming companies.

He will be responsible for outlining and implementing the company’s technological vision and ensuring that the technological resources are aligned with the business needs.

With experience of over two decades, Rajat served in the Amazon Prime Video Team before joining the leadership team for Amazon Lockers. Prior to Amazon, he served as an Executive Vice President at and was the Chief Technology Officer at Hike.

5G rollout a national priority, says Mukesh Ambani at India Mobile Congress

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani on Wednesday pitched for India making the rollout of 5G or the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks as a national priority to support the digital revolution. Speaking at the India Mobile Congress, he said India must complete the migration from 2G to 4G and 5G at the earliest.

"To keep millions of Indians at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid confined to 2G is to deprive them of the benefits of the digital revolution," he said. Ambani, whose firm Reliance Jio in 2016 ushered in the revolution in cheaper mobile data and connectivity, said the rollout of 5G should be India's national priority.

National MSME Expedition team reaches Lucknow

National MSME Expedition team, which is on a journey of about 3,500 kms across five states to make people aware of various Government schemes, has reached Lucknow. This expedition team was created by MSME Minister Narayan Rane Tute, who flagged it off on November 27 from Delhi.

The team has reached Lucknow after travelling by road from Delhi to Faridabad, Ballabhgarh, Palwal, Agra, Firozabad, Fatehpur, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Banaras in Uttar Pradesh, Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, Buxar, Arra, Patna, Chhapra, Champaran in Bihar. It also visited Gorakhpur, Sant Kabir Nagar, Sultanpur, and Kannauj in UP.

Pepperfry Appoints Ruchir Aswal as Vice President of Product (Business)

Pepperfry announced the appointment of Ruchir Aswal as Vice President of Product (Business). Ruchir has an MBA in finance and marketing from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.

He has over 13 years of experience in business and product management having worked for global brands like Jio, Intuit, Nium, and 

Prior to joining Pepperfry, he was associated as an angel investor/consultant for startups like Goodify, Qonsept, Squeakee, etc.


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