[Funding roundup] Semaai, GreenPod Labs, Insurmile, and others raise early-stage deals

Here are the startups that announced early-stage rounds on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.
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Indonesia-based agritech startup Semaai raises $1.25M from Surge

Indonesia-based agritech startup Semaai raised $1.25 million in a pre-seed round led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge.

Other investors, including Beenext, angel investors Nipun Mehra (Founder and CEO of ecommerce startup Ula), Harshet Lunani (Founder and CEO of Qoala), and Prashant Pawar (Technology Investment Banker at Houlihan Lokey), also participated in the round. 

Founded in April 2021 by Abhishek Gupta, Gaurav Batra, and Muhammad Yoga Anindito, Semaai's full-stack agritech solution for Indonesia’s rural agriculture communities is empowering farmers to maximise their earning potential.

While the startup primarily operates in Central Java, Indonesia, a large part of the funding will be channelled into expanding Semaai's engineering and product teams in India. Semaai plans to grow its tech talent in India by at least three times by the end of 2022. 

“Semaai comes at an important time, where farmers are open to and rapidly adopting digital methods, with increasing smartphone penetration rates and affordable data,” said co-founder Gaurav Batra. 

Aulerth raises seed round of $1.1M

Aulerth, a high-fashion and digital-first jewellery startup, raised $1.1 million in a seed round from M Venture Partners, designer Tarun Tahiliani, Taro Nordheider (ex-CEO, Swarovski Professional), the LV angel fund, and a network of McKinsey partners. 

Founded in 2021 by Vivek Ramabhadran, Aulerth aims to lead a new movement for jewellery in India, a over $60 billion jewellery market, and the second-largest consumer of gold and diamonds in the world. 

By offering couture-inspired and consciously made jewellery, Aulerth is addressing the highly destructive impact of mining precious metals and stones for jewellery in a novel way and to significantly reduce the mining footprint of its jewellery by using metals recycled from industrial scrap, and largely man-made (vs mined) stones. 

The platform has onboarded Suneet Varma, JJ Valaya, and Tribe Amrapali as strategic partners to showcase the best of Indian aesthetics to a global audience.

Community-based alternative digital university AltUni raises $500,000 

AltUni by InsideIIM, a community-based alternative digital university, raised $500,000 through a host of angel investors, Amit Gupta, Mukesh Maniar, Rahul Gupta, Gautam Gurnani, Rajit Desai, Vandana Serrao, Saloni Doshi, Suhani Doshi, and Saurav Tibrewal.

AltUni will use the capital to develop its online platform, advance learning programmes, and strengthen community engagement to make India’s youth industry-ready. 

Launched in 2020, AltUni provides short modules of immersive online learning courses instead of remote learning programmes that stretch endlessly and become redundant with time. 

AltUni has over 1800 alumni in less than 18 months. As of Jan 2022, it has an average revenue run rate of well above $1 million. AltUni owes its rapid growth to the InsideIIM.com community — an MBA platform that caters to over 400,000 unique users every month and around five million unique users every year. 

AltUni has partnered with Hindustan Unilever, TATACliq, Aditya Birla Capital, and ECom Express for its learning programmes. It has also worked with universities such as SDA Bocconi, Milan, and SPJIMR, Mumbai.

GreenPod Labs raises over $500,000 in pre-seed round 

Agri-biotech startup GreenPod Labs raised $535,395 in a pre-seed round led by Indian Angel Network, with Rockstart as a co-investor. 

The Chennai-based startup will utilise the capital to strengthen its R&D foundation and commercially scale product portfolio. The funding will also be directed towards expanding the R&D and operations team.

Founded in 2019 by Deepak Rajmohan and Vijay Anand, GreenPod Labs intends to minimise fresh produce loss by introducing cost-effective packaging solutions. The startup has developed biotech-based packaging sachets that extend the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables, eliminating the need for cold storage and supply chains. 

GreenPod Labs targets farmers, distributors, retailers, and ecommerce platforms with crop-specific solutions that increase their shelf life at ambient temperatures.

Speaking on the funding, Deepak Rajmohan, Co-founder, GreenPod Labs, said, “Our core objective is to create sustainable packaging products to minimise agricultural food wastage in India. With the recent funding, we plan to bolster our R&D foundation, both for biotech products and data science platforms. Also, we look forward to commercially scaling our three core products this year.”

Providing customisable biotech packaging sachets, GreenPod Labs is looking forward to launching products for three crops. It is also working on developing four more products this year. 

Insuremile raises pre-seed funding 

Insuremile, a rural India-focused financial protection marketplace, raised pre-seed funding worth $350,000 to take insurance services to the hinterland, empowering over 200 million gig workforce.

The round was led by Seeders, an early-stage angel group, where Parthiv Neotia, Director, Ambuja Neotia Group, and Abhishek Rungta, CEO, Indus Net Technologies, participated.

Bengaluru-based InsureMile was founded in 2017 by Mallesh Reddy and Vijay Krishnamurthy as an insurance web aggregator. The primary aim of this phygital platform is to enhance the user experience by letting customers compare multiple policies at a time before making a choice based on their individual needs.

Mallesh Reddy, Co-founder, Insuremile, said, ‘’At Insuremile, our vision is to provide these gig workers with targeted insurance products aiming at financial security. We will accomplish this using our unique products, distribution model, and touchpoints with partners.’’

So far, the startup has onboarded 2,000 associates to enable last-mile insurance education, awareness, and sales. It has sold over 25,000 policies in its beta phase. Insuremile has tie-ups with over 20 leading insurance companies, including HDFC, Bajaj, Reliance, Tata, ICICI, and New India, among others.

With this funding, Insuremile plans to hit 10 million policies and add one lakh associates over the next two years. It looks to harness artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve product recommendation, ease the buying process for the masses, thereby increasing penetration in Bharat, primarily targeting Tier II and III cities.

Bold Care raises pre-Series A funding

Bold Care, a science-backed men’s healthcare direct-to-consumer (D2C) startup, raised an undisclosed pre-Series A round from Sharrp Ventures, Anthill Ventures, Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs, ShipRocket, along with participation from existing investors NB Ventures and Huddle.

Launched in 2020 by Rajat Jadhav, Rahul Krishnan, Harsh Singh, and Mohit Yadav, Mumbai-based Bold Care is an end-to-end men’s health and wellness platform that addresses various men’s health issues such as sexual health, hair care, and daily nutrition.

From servicing 100 customers in July 2020, in the last 18 months, it has scaled to more than 25,000 monthly users as of January 2022. Bold Care has a user base of over 2,30,000. 

Rajat Jadhav, Co-founder, Bold Care, said, “The funds raised will help us grow further as a company and enhance our product line and significantly broaden our customer base, including eventual overseas expansion, where we already have some green shoots. Having investors who share our vision has tremendously helped us in our rapid growth and success.”

Tartan raises undisclosed funding led by Info Edge Ventures 

Tartan, a payroll and workforce platform connectivity startup, raised undisclosed funding led by Info Edge Ventures. Other investors, including 500 Startups, Titan Capital, Varanium Advisors, EMVC, Yatra Angel Network, Manipal Group, and the founders of Groww, also participated in the round. 

The startup will use the funds to grow its team, expand its market base, and make product enhancements. 

 

Founded in 2021 by Pramey Jain and Meet Semlani, Tartan helps users connect their employer-linked payroll or HR management system (HRMS) account to any app or business and verify their income and employment status in less than 60 seconds. 

"At Tartan, through our APIs, we are here to help banks and financial institutions to reform lending and make the process seamless and safe for all parties involved,” said Pramey Jain, CEO and Co-founder, Tartan.

"We aim to provide a bridge that will allow data to move smoothly between employers and banks, with users having the key to open this bridge at all times. Customers will have the authority to give explicit consent for each transaction and choose who can access which data of theirs,” added Meet Semlani, COO and Co-founder, Tartan.

Edited by Suman Singh