[Funding roundup] TOONSUTRA, Excellent Publicity, Growfitter, Cosmofeed and more raise early-stage deals

Here are the startups that announced early/growth-stage rounds of funding on March 16, 2022.
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Mobile webtoon startup TOONSUTRA closes pre-seed round 

TOONSUTRA, the India-focused mobile webtoon startup which has been incubating in stealth mode, on Wednesday announced that it has closed an oversubscribed Pre-Seed round for $1.1 million. The new startup was incubated at the character entertainment company, Graphic India, and was founded by media entrepreneur, Sharad Devarajan. 

TOONSUTRA is building ‘Webtoons meets Web3’ platform with a mission to become India’s new storytelling home for disruptive creators across the country to experiment, innovate and create engaging webtoon comic stories and digital collectibles for India's 650 million+ mobile youth market. 

The funds came from a group of global investors and entrepreneurs, including Patrick Lee, Co-founder, Rotten Tomatoes; Kevin Lin, Co-founder, Twitch; Kun Gao, Co-founder, Crunchyroll; Jeremy Liew, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners; Holly Lui, Co-founder, Kabam; Ray Chan, Co-founder, 9GAG; Rishad Tobaccowala, Fmr. Chief Growth Officer, Publicis Group; Michael Maher, Founder, Start Media; Vishal Anand, Fmr. Chief Product Officer, Dailyhunt; Benjamin Grubbs, Co-founder, CreatorPlus; George Nolfi, filmmaker; Sandeep Kumar Sood, Co-founder, Junglee Games; and others.

The platform will showcase and promote emerging rising star creators across India and give them a home to tell their stories. The TOONSUTRA app will feature a wide range of content for audiences across superhero, fantasy, romance, sci-fi, Bollywood, mythology, action, and more.

Toonsutra, Founder, Sharad Devarajan said,

“Webtoon platforms have become an explosive phenomenon across Asia with top webtoon apps cumulatively reaching over 70 million monthly users and over a 100 billion views a year. For the first time we want to make a webtoon app dedicated for Indians to spark a mobile comic and Web3 collectible revolution.”  

Adtech firm Excellent Publicity raises $500K

Excellent Publicity, an Ahmedabad-headquartered adtech firm that gives a one-stop solution for all the advertising needs from buying media space to complex campaign creation, has recently raised $500,000 via marquee investors. 

With this funding, the company plans to expand its serviceable territories to all metro cities in India. It also plans to invest in further developing its Programmatic Advertising and Data Analysis technology, including the AI-powered media buying and planning tool and also buying out an ad agency certified by the Indian Newspaper Society (INS).

Founded in 2011, the company claims to have made its mark in advertising with a record of 75000+ campaigns, and 5,000+ vendor tie-ups, successfully conducting campaigns with 2,000+ clients (including around 100 BSE-NSE listed companies). 

Growfitter raises $1M in Pre-Series A led by Inflection Point Ventures

An incentivised health and wellness platform Growfitter has raised $1 million in a Pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures. The round also saw participation from First Port Capital, Mumbai Angels, Startup Angel Network, DevX Accelerator Fund, Blockchain Founders Fund (Singapore), JPIN. 

Well-known angels Mohit Burman (Vice Chairman, Dabur India) and Aman Gupta, Co-founder and CMO, boAt also joined the round. Aman Gupta invested in the company through Shark Tank India, where Growfitter appeared after signing the lead investor of this round.

The funds will be used for building technology infrastructure and expanding business operations, hiring and branding of the platform.

Bioenergy technology firm GPS Renewables closes Series B funding

Bengaluru-based bioenergy technology firm, GPS Renewables, on Wednesday, announced that it has closed its Series B funding from Neev Fund II, managed by SBICap Ventures.

The latest round of funding will be used towards R&D and to support GPS Renewables’ next phase of growth and expansion. 

With the current round, GPS has cumulatively raised close to $20 million in the form of equity. The earlier round was led by Netherlands based Hivos-Triodos Fund and Hyderabad-based Caspian Impact Investments in September 2020.

Launched in 2012 by IIM-Bengaluru graduates Mainak Chakraborty and Sreekrishna Sankar, GPS Renewables currently focuses on biomethanation technologies to solve the organic waste management challenge, accelerate substitution of fossil fuel with bioenergy and play a key role in mitigating climate change.

GPS Renewables started off with a biogas product called the ‘BioUrja’. 

Today, the company claims to have 100+ BioUrja installations across South Asia, with Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Bosch, Cummins, Saint Gobain, Reliance, and several other hospitality chains such as Oberoi, Taj, ITC, Marriott, Hyatt and Accor Groups as clients. 

Cosmofeed raises $1.5M in a seed round

Cosmofeed, a content monetisation, and consumption platform, announced that it has raised $1.5 million in a seed funding round. 

The round was co-led by growx ventures, Waveform Ventures, and 9 Unicorns with participation from Singapore-based investment holding company Silk Bridge Partners (SBP). Industry leaders like Swati Mohan (CBO – Heads Up For Tails, former CMO - Netflix India), Rannvijay Singha (actor, influencer) and Subhadip Nandy (trader, financial educator) also participated in the round. 

The funding will allow the startup to extend its network to a wider audience of relevant end-users while constantly innovating to provide a hassle-free end-to-end experience. It will also use the funding to ramp up its team and hire people for product, engineering and customer success.

Founded in September 2021 by Vivek Yadav and Vishnu Pathak, Gurgaon-based Cosmofeed helps content creators make money and brings them closer to their community. It does this through its app that allows creators to build premium groups with ease, manage or host online events with one click, and connect with audiences instantly. 

FasterCapital becomes lead investor for Trouve Motor to raise $3M in seed funding

Trouve Motor has been incubated in FasterCapital’s Raise Capital programme to raise about $3 million for its seed funding round. Through this programme, FasterCapital, a venture capital firm based in Dubai, will connect Trouve Motor with its vast network of angel investors through warm introductions and mutual connections to achieve the highest response rates possible.

As a result, Trouve Motor will have access to expert feedback and the right guidance from FasterCapital’s in-house team, which will help it attract more investors. The objective is to raise funds to the tune of $25 million by the end of this year. 

Arun Sunny, Founder of Trouve Motor, said, 

“At Trouve Motor, we are striving to change the face of the ICE ecosystem through unique electric mobility solutions. We aim to make EV transition seamless for ICE users and aspire to transform how electric bikes are viewed by augmenting users’ riding experience using advanced technologies like AI and blockchain. We need strong investor support to make this vision a reality, and this is where FasterCapital will assist us.”

Hesham Zreik, CEO of FasterCapital, added, “Our team will work with the team at Trouve on preparing and creating the right pitching materials, and then we will match the project with the right funding sources to help it raise the money needed as soon as possible.”

Trouve Motor aspires to accelerate the world’s shift towards electric mobility with its portfolio of products. It has recently teased the launch of its electric hyper-sports superbike which is likely to hit the road by 2023.

Shipskart raises $2.7M in Series A led by Trail Mix Ventures (TMV) and Hermes Offshore

ShipsKart, the B2B (business-to-business) supply chain ecommerce solution for the Maritime and Offshore domain, has raised $2.7 million in Series A round.  The round was led by TMV and Hermes Offshore, with additional strategic investments from Tradeworks.vc, Motion Ventures and Eternia Investments. 

About 80 percent of the funds will be used for its India operations providing a big chance to the mid segment shipping companies and suppliers to empower and streamline their entire procurement life cycle with one stop solution. The company has innovative ideas to collaborate with FMCG giants / OEMS and establish dedicated aggregator centers across Indian ports to completely revolutionizing the unstructured marketplace of Maritime. 

ShipsKart is the premiere B2B online marketplace where vessels, vessel managers, ports, and shipyards can purchase marine products, consumables, equipment and service products required for the uninterrupted and efficient operations on board ships. With ShipsKart's wide network of 500+ partners across 40+ countries, ship owners reap the benefit of quality products at competitive prices at any remote port across the globe.

To date, the company has processed 2,000+ successful orders across the world, delivering savings of up to 20 percent to its valued clients. 

We360.ai raises $500K from Campus Fund, GSF, SucSeed Ventures, others 

Employee monitoring SaaS tool We360.ai has raised a $500,000  investment round which saw participation from Campus Fund, GSF,  Succeed Ventures, Ah! Ventures and other angel investors like Vishal  Gondal, Founder of GOQii, Akbar Khan – CEO of Rainpay among others. 

Founded by a 20-year-old college dropout, We360.ai is a cloud-based employee monitoring software that helps managers gain actionable insights into employee productivity with analytics through personalised  dashboards and reports irrespective of the location of the employee.  

The company is sector agnostic and caters to customers like Patanjali Research, Cogent Infotech and also a range of SMBs. It has over 7000+ employees using the platform across four countries. 

Arnav Gupta, Founder and CEO of We360.ai, said, “We are focused on  our goal to reach $1 million revenue by the end of the year and this fundraise will  help us get to that target.”

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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