[Funding roundup] Pocketly, Macmerise Celfie Design, Zapkey, Ginglani Distillers, LOBB, Beatoven.ai, others raise early-stage deals

YourStory presents the latest funding activities in the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, March 2, 2022.
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Fintech lending startup Pocketly raises $3M in Pre-Series A round

Bengaluru-based fintech lending platform Pocketly, a 100X.VC Class 01 portfolio, has raised $3 million in debt and equity as part of its Pre-Series A round. 

 

The round was led by Dholakia Ventures, it also had participation from notable angels investors such as CRED Founder Kunal Shah, Apurva Parekh (Pidilite), Siddharth Somaiya (Organic Riot) and Aaryaman Vir Shah, according to a statement.

Pocketly says provides a credit line with a fully digital and automated process through its platform for young adults underserved by banks and has grown 10x in the last year. The startup is now serving over 100,000+ borrowers and is currently disbursing more than Rs 250 crore annually. The round was a mix of equity ($1 million) and debt ($2 million). 

The fintech lender is expecting to scale its disbursement to 1,000 crores in the next 12 months and has partnered with multiple NBFCs to support this growth. Pocketly currently has a user base of more than seven lakh, of whom more than 1 lakh have availed credit from the company.

Macmerise Celfie Design raises $1M in Pre-Series A

Macmerise Celfie Design Pvt Ltd has raised $1 million in a Pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures. Other investors who participated in the round include Amitabh Bachchan, Tarun Katial, Ajmera Group, NAFA Capital amongst others. 

The funds raised will be used towards improving tech infrastructure, onboarding more brands/celebrities to launch their merchandise, reaching a wider audience, and developing new innovative products. 

Macmerise, in a statement, says it is a one-stop-shop for themed merchandise for celebs/influencers/brands offering 50+ products across categories such as consumer electronics, fashion and apparel, mobile accessories, games and stationery, home and kitchen, and others. Currently, the company has more than 24 licenses and tie-ups with brands like Disney, Marvel, DC Comics, Jim Beam to name a few to sell themed merchandise on their platform.

  

The company is leveraging the already established supply chain across India, China, and the UAE along with existing celebrity partnerships and collaborations. 

 

Proptech startup Zapkey raises $2M in seed round  

Zapkey, a proptech startup that helps its customers with guaranteed home sales, has secured $2 million in seed funding. The round was led by Gruhas Proptech with participation from the DLF Family Office, Blume Founders Fund, the Alkem Labs Family, Aprameya Radhakrishna (Co-founder, Koo), Srini Sriniwasan (MD, Kotak Investment Advisors) and other individual investors.

Zapkey is a home sale guarantee platform with a model that provides its customers with guaranteed home sales within 3 months of the listing date, or they buy the property themselves. Their pricing is driven by proprietary algorithms which track 30 lach+ property registration records, thereby ensuring a fair market price and transparency in sales.

The company’s vision is to become the one-stop online solution that aims to bring liquidity to the difficult resale home market by providing trust, transparency in pricing, and the best home selling experience to its customers. Zapkey started by providing easy online access to publicly available, authentic home registration data; thereby empowering its customers to make smart and informed decisions, according to a statement. 

 

“We have seen this model play out in the cars space with Cars24, Spinny and others. Globally, giant funded startups like Opendoor and Loft have demonstrated this in resale homes. The problem and the solution are clear, present, and inevitable. We intend to use this funding to strengthen our technology and operations teams. Our initial program has been launched in Thane (Mumbai) and we aim to close deals on over a hundred apartments in the next 3-4 months, supported by a credit line," said Shubhankar, Co-founder of Zapkey.

Ginglani Distillers raises Rs 6.6 Cr in a Pre-Series-A round 

 Whiskey startup Ginglani Distillers has raised Rs 6.6 crore ($0.9 million) in its Pre-Series A round led by Supermorpheus, Eagle10 Ventures (via LV Angel Fund) and Grand Anicut Angel Fund.

The round saw participation from a diverse set of investors including startup founders Nitin Kaushal and Chakradhar Gade (Country Delight), Rohan Mirchandani and Epigamia Founding Team, Prashant Pansare (Business Head India and MEA, Airmeet), Mohit Srivastava (Ex-MD Airbnb India) and Sameer Guglani (Co-founder, Supermorpheus), among others, per a statement.

With the funds infusion, Ginglani Distillers has launched its brands in the Delhi market, plans to strengthen their core team and ramp up their marketing initiatives both in-retail and on social media. 

Ginglani Distillers claims to have created a substantial impact in the state of Himachal Pradesh and the brand is available at over 200 retail stores within a month of launch in Delhi. It aims to close March 2022 with a $3 million ARR and plan to enter Chandigarh and Mumbai markets soon. 

 

Digital freight brokerage startup LOBB raises $1.1M in Pre-Series A round 

LOBB, a digital freight brokerage platform, has raised $1.1 million in Pre-Series A funding round led by Byju Pillai, Group Managing Director, Inflow Technologies, and angel investor Gopal Kaul. 

The round also saw participation from 3one4 Capital and other investors including, Srinath Ramakkrushnan (Zetwerk and Ofbusiness), Mohit Mittal (Southern Cargo Carriers), M D Ramaswami (former MD, Dell India) and Vishad Gupta (Fidelity Information Services, India), according to a statement.

The funds raised will be primarily used to scale the business and expand LOBB’s network across newer geographies in India. The startup is also looking to strengthen its technology to automate tasks, grow its team across functions to increase fulfillment ratio, as well as acquire more customers — i.e. adding more truckers and transporters onto the platform. Currently, LOBB is operational in 12 cities across India such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, and Pune working with 500+ logistics companies. It plans to expand to another 20 cities to have a pan India reach within the next 8 months.

Founded in 2015 by techno-domain experts Jayaram Raju and Venu Kondur, LOBB was started with a mission to digitally disrupt the $100 billion worth Indian logistics sector. The company’s end-to-end digital freight brokerage platform connects transporters with truckers in a seamless way to ensure a national-level supply demand match, considering the complex nuances of the trade. 

LOBB also aims to empower the 10 million Indian long haul truck owners, who struggle to find the right loads on time through its proprietary Truck Discovery Model, which creates a network of fleet and routes. Through its deep intelligence engine, LOBB aims to increase truck utilisation for truckers by reducing halting through digital payments, thereby increasing truckers’ revenue by 30 percent.

Venu Kondur, CEO and Co-founder, LOBB, said, 

“Within a span of eight months, we witnessed 300 percent revenue growth and marked 500 percent growth in the number of truckers on our platform.”

AI-driven musictech platform Beatoven.ai raises $1M in seed round

 

Beatoven.ai, an AI-driven, disruptive music tech startup providing a platform for content creators to help them create royalty-free, affordable, easy to license and original music, has raised $1 million as part of its seed round. The funds have been raised through Redstart Labs, a subsidiary of Info Edge and UK-based Entrepreneur First. 

The funds raised will be used in three areas. The first focus would be to build a team and onboard some of the brightest talents worldwide in the music technology space. The second objective would be to collaborate with global artists and acquire music so that the platforms' algorithm will constantly be fed with high-quality music data. The third aim would be product development for building the AI composition and production algorithms. 

IAN invests $520,000 in cross-border B2B marketplace Ensologic

Ensologic Commerce, a cross-border B2B platform, has raised $520,000 in a seed funding round led by Indian Angel Network (IAN) and Hyderabad Angels. The round was led by angel investors Hirren Turakhia, Ajay Upadhyaya, and Bikky Khosla of IAN. 

The Delhi-based startup, founded in 2019, aims to use the newly raised investment for technology enhancement and supply building. The startup will also focus on the growth of retailers coming onboard and retaining them. 

Ensologic enables overseas brands/manufacturers/aggregators to launch their products in India. The platform leverages technology to seamlessly help 15 million Indian retailers buy consumer products directly from international suppliers. 

Given the supply scarcity of global products among Indian retailers, Anil Agrawal along with Shikha Agrawal and Kunal Jain conceptualised Ensologic to provide infrastructure and logistics services, besides technology tools. The move aims to simplify sales and distribution of consumer products in India.

Beauty ecommerce platform Shajgoj raises $2.15M led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge

Bangladesh ecommerce platform Shajgoj has announced raising $2.15 million led by Surge, Sequoia Capital India’s rapid scale-up program for startups in India and Southeast Asia. SBK Tech Venture, a tech-focused venture capital in Bangladesh, also participated in the round. 

Customers can purchase over 10,000 products from over 400 brands from Shajgoj’s online and physical stores, and the company also features informative videos and articles on their website to guide customers through the latest trends in beauty and personal care. 

Shajgoj is rapidly expanding its portfolio of local and international brands across makeup, skincare, hair care and wellness. Most recently, the company was announced as Revlon’s exclusive partner to distribute its products in Bangladesh. 

D2C travel accessories startup Acefour Accessories raises $1.5M in seed round

 Mumbai-based D2C travel accessories company Acefour Accessories, established by industry pioneer Sudip Ghose,  on Wednesday announced that it has raised $1.5 million in a seed funding round led by Enam Holdings through funds sponsored by renowned investor Akash Bhansali.

 

After helming travel gear companies like Samsonite and VIP Industries for close to two decades, Ghose is launching his entrepreneurial journey with trade-marked brand Uppercase.

According to the official statement, the company will soon launch a premium range of travel accessories. The firm is currently in the process of building the team, robustising the manufacturing and supply chain, and investing in technology for order management and logistics. It is in the process of creating marketing assets, product innovation labs and communication collaterals.

 

Sudip Ghose, Founder, Uppercase, said, 

“We are creating the D2C sustainable brand in the travel accessories category. We have the right people, the right product, the right backend and the right technology. Post-Covid, travel will be booming, and the demand for travel goods through ecommerce platforms is expected to grow exponentially. Our new-age company will create value for both consumers and investors. Our travel accessories will be fashionable and innovative while sharing concern for the planet.”

Uppercase will be leveraging technologies in designing, pricing, advertising, and supply chain to ramp up its growth in the segment. It will tap the increasing demand in ecommerce marketplaces and also promote its own website. It plans to service all pin-codes across the country.

 

Eat Better Ventures raises Rs 5.5 Cr in a seed round

 Jaipur-based D2C food startup Eat Better on Wednesday announced that it has raised Rs 5.5 crore funding in a seed round led by Java Capital and Mumbai Angels. 

 

The round also saw participation by Shiprocket Ventures, Capier Capital and Plan B Capital. Entrepreneurs like Harpreet Grover, Arjun Vaidya, Radhika Ghai, Vishesh Khurana, Bimal Kartheek Rebba, Ishank Joshi, Venus Dhuria, Bhavik Vasa, Divij Bajaj among others also participated in the round, according to a statement.

The startup said it will be using the funds to ramp up its production capacity, build a robust team, launch new products, and augment its marketing and distribution.

XR hardware and software startup AjnaLens raises Rs 12 Cr

AjnaLens, Mumbai-based XR hardware and software startup, has raised Rs 12 crore from investors like Let's Venture Angel Fund, JITO Angel Network and few visionary angel investors, in another round of a Pre-Series A.

The startup has also secured the capital in the past from noteworthy angel investors like Vijay Shekhar Sharma, PAYTM; Japan Vyas, Roots Ventures; Chirayu Khimji, Khimji Ramdas Group of Oman; Jay Jesrani, Private Equity Investor; Maharashtra Defence and Aerospace Venture Fund managed by IDBI Capital Markets and Securities Ltd, Chetan Kajaria, Kajaria Ceramics, Manish Bhatia, Bhatia Brothers UAE; MHD Group from Oman among others. The company has seen repeat investors during this current and the last two rounds of funding.

 Abhijit Patil, Co-founder and COO, AjnaLens, said,

“With rapid adoption of technology, deeper internet penetration in India, terms like metaverse will become common tech vocabulary in the near future. Focusing on growth, AjnaLens will utilise the funds to propel tech innovation, manufacture in India, expand the team and customer base.”.

AjnaLens is an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) who designs and manufactures Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality glasses with utility across sectors like enterprise, defence and skill training. In addition to hardware, the company provides end-to-end VR/AR/MR solutions customized to business needs.

Under the Ministry of Defence’s iDEX initiative, AjnaLens has successfully completed user field trials of their see-through armour technology AjnaESAS to upgrade the battle tanks of our nation. It is upgrading India’s existing MANPAD (Man-portable air-defence system) systems by providing the operators with an enhanced vision to effectively engage the target.

“We will continue to create sustainable impact by facilitating digital transformation across public and private sectors. Current projects with the Ministry of Defence’s iDEX initiative and Tata Technologies are examples of effective collaboration for lasting impact,” Abhijit added.

Few noteworthy clients include the Indian Army, Indian Navy, DRDO, Ministry of Defence, President of India, Tata Technologies, Vedanta, L&T, Cymax Infotainment, Forster Consulting, PM Experts, VR Coating, Maharashtra State Innovation Society and many more. In 2021, Tata Technologies onboarded AjnaLens as their ‘Extended Reality’ partner to upgrade 150 Industrial Training Institutes in Karnataka and 149 in Bihar.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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