As 2019 draws to a close, startups seem to have found their mojo in terms of funding activity, which jumped significantly this week, led by SoftBank’s $275 million infusion into omnichannel eyewear retailer Lenskart, late on Friday.
As part of the investment, SoftBank will acquire stakes from some of the company’s early investors. Although all financial details of the deal were not available, the company will receive at least $231 million in fresh funding from the Tokyo headquartered technology conglomerate.
Sans the deal too, the funding activity showed steady improvement through December after witnessing a brief period of volatility.
Startups from multiple sectors such as fintech, healthcare, and education raised venture capital investments in the week. Notably, dealmaking continued to be dominated by early stage startups, which accounted for eight out of the 20 deals this week.
Mid-stage startups Pristyn Care, Zestmoney, Springboard, and Hungerbox cumulatively raised $50 million. Fresh meat e-tailer Licious topped the charts raising $30 million in a growth round.
Oil-to-telecom major Reliance Industries snapped two startups in two consecutive weeks during the month. This week, online education platform Embibe, owned by Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate, acquired Funtoot, a learning platform for children, for around $10 million. Funtoot’s early investors, Inventus Capital Partners and Mumbai Angels Network, exited their investments through the deal. Last week, Reliance Strategic Business Ventures, an RIL arm, bought a controlling stake in the SaaS platform NowFloats for about $20 million. The deal gave its early investors, including venture capital firm Blume Ventures, an exit.
Top Funding Deals
Lenskart: Japanese lender Softbank will invest $275 million in the online-to-offline eyewear retailer through a deal involving secondary stake sale and fresh issue of shares. The Delhi-based company will receive $231 million as primary capital from SVF II Lightbulb, a Cayman Islands-registered affiliate of SoftBank, which will own a 20.14% stake in Lenskart following the deal.
Zestmoney: Camden Town Technologies-owned lending platform raised $15 million in an extended series B round led by new investor Goldman Sachs along with returning investors South African internet conglomerate Naspers, Bengaluru-based venture capital firm Quona Capital and Redwood City, California-headquartered impact investor Omidyar Network’s fintech investment spin-off Flourish.
Toffee Insurance: Online insurance platform Toffee Insurance, operated by Gurugram-based Toffcover Core Technologies, raised $5.5 million in a Series A round, led by IVM Intersurer.
Impact investor Omidyar Network, venture capital firms Flourish Ventures and Kalaari Capital, and US-based fintech investor Accion Venture Lab also participated in the round. With this funding, the total amount raised by the company reached $7 million.
DROR Labs: Gurugram-based DROR Labs, which provides security solutions for people in urban areas, has raised an undisclosed sum in a funding round from venture capital firm Inflection Point Ventures. In September 2019, the company raised $0.1 million, as a part of $0.4 million investment drive by early-stage angel investor India Accelerator in five startups.
LivFin: Delhi headquartered supply chain and invoice finance provider LivFin India has raised $5 million in equity funding from German development finance major, DEG. This is the financing major’s first direct bet in India. DEG provides long term finance to private companies in emerging markets.
Appnomic Systems: Cupertino and Bengaluru-based information technology infrastructure management services firm raised $22 million in a growth round led by Avataar Ventures. The company also announced a new senior management structure. It has appointed technology veteran Nitin Kumar as the new CEO, Cuneyt Buyukbezci as CMO and Girish Muckai as the CRO.
Kaleidofin: Chennai headquartered social impact technology-driven bank raised $ 5.1 million in a Series A round led by Netherlands-based financial inclusion-focused investor Oikocredit International. Returning investors Flourish, along with its erstwhile sponsor Omidyar Network India, Blume Ventures, angel investor Shlomo Ben-Haim and Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund also participated in the round.
Medlife International: Bengaluru-based online pharmaceutical firm Medlife raised $15 million via non-convertible debentures from Mauritius-based Wilson Global Opportunities Fund. In April 2019, founder Tushar Kumar’s investment vehicle Prasid Uno Family Trust had infused $17 million in the company.
Pristyn Care: The Gurugram headquartered multispeciality clinic chain for elective surgeries raised $12 million in a Series B round from Hummingbird Ventures, Greenoaks Capital, AngelList and returning investor Sequoia Capital India. Owned and operated by GHV Advanced Care, the year-old company had previously raised $4 million from Sequoia in June in its Series A round.
Springboard: Bengaluru and San Francisco-based edtech startup raised $11 million in a fresh round of funding round led by Reach Capital, an education technology focused fund that invests in early stage startups in the pre-K, K12 and higher education space in North America. The round saw participation from Pearson Ventures, International Finance Corporation (IFC), as well as returning investors Costanoa Ventures, Learn Capital and Blue Fog Capital.
Seekify: Customer experience automation platform raised $1.5 million in a seed round led by Surge, which is Sequoia Capital India’s accelerator programme launched in January 2019. Other investors in the round include Nishant Rao, founding partner at Avatar Venture Partners, Gaurav Agarwal, co-founder at 1MG and Sameer Maheshwari, CEO at HealthKart.
Incred Financial Services: Mumbai-based non-banking finance company raised $5.9 million (around Rs 42 crore) in a debt funding round. The company issued 257 non-convertible debentures to 39 entities to raise a total debt of Rs 41.9 crore. Financial services organisation Centrum Management was the top contributor in this round.
Licious: Delightful Gourmet, the Bengaluru-based company that owns the online meat and seafood delivery platform, raised $30 million in a growth round led by Vertex Growth Fund. Bengaluru-based venture capital firm 3one4 Capital, early and growth stage investor Bertelsmann India Investments, Japanese frozen food major Nichirei Corp,Vertex Ventures South East Asia, and Singapore-based growth investor Sistema Asia Fund were returning investors in the round, Licious said in a statement.
Hungerbox: Bengaluru headquartered HungerBox, which offers corporate organisations technology solutions for food ordering and vendor management, raised $12 million in a Series B round from new investors Paytm and NPTK Emerging Asia Fund. Returning investors in the round were Sabre Partners and Neoplux.
Quantiphi: Boston and Mumbai-based applied AI (artificial intelligence) and big data services company raised $20 million in a Series A round from Multiples Alternate Asset Management. The deal marks the Renuka Ramnath-led private equity firm’s first bet in a frontier technology startup and a departure from its usual focus on later stage investments.
Trell: Visual blogging app, owned and operated by Bengaluru-headquartered Trell Experiences, raised $2 million from Ruizheng Investment (BVI), the British Virgin Island registered investment entity of Fosun RZ Capital and KTBN Venture.
Waterfield Advisors: Mumbai-based wealth management firm raised $6 million in a Series A round from a group of fresh investors including investment firms and HNIs (high networth individuals). New York headquartered asset management firm Zephyr Management, private equity investor TVS Capital Funds, Lakshmi Narayanan, former vice chairman of Cognizant, and Gaurav Dalmia, chairman of Dalmia Group Holdings participated in the round.