With the dealmaking activity of Indian internet-driven companies being erratic at best throughout the month, this week was no exception. Although funding activity slid to $146 million, it was marked with some relatively large investments in some, including fintech firm MoneyTap and packaging material marketplace Bizongo.
Last week, investors put to work $500 million through 19 deals.
Sector wise, edtech startups marked their presence with 30% of the 12 deals overall belonging to the sector. Doubtnut, WizKlub and Interviewbit together raised $36 million, while management training platform Seal Professional did not disclose the amount of funds raised.
Reskilling platform Interviewbit's deal was significant as the startup raised $20 million in its maiden institutional investment round in a joint investment from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India and alternative investment firm Tiger Global Management.
Separately, New York-headquartered Tiger Global closed its $3.8 billion Private Investment Partners XII fund, most likely to up the ante on investments in B2B (business-to-business) platforms and early-stage consumer internet companies.
JSW Ventures, the venture capital arm of Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group, is inching closer to make the first close of its second fund, which is targeting a corpus of Rs 350 crore ($50 million).
Hyderabad-based impact investor Capsian is in talks to raise Rs 130 crore ($18.2 million) by increasing the corpus of its impact debt fund. It plans to raise Rs 100 crore through primary capital, while the rest will go for partial exits.
The week also saw homegrown IT bellwether Infosys sell its minority stake in Danish artificial intelligence startup Unsilo, taking a 60% hit on its initial investment in the company. In 2016, Infosys invested Rs 14 crore in the startup, which uses AI (artificial intelligence) to process large data of text to improve speed and efficiency of client employees.
Top funding deals
Doubtnut: Gurugram-headquartered e-learning platform secured $15 million in a Tencent-led Series A funding round. The round also saw participation from existing investors Omidyar Network India, AET (Akatsuki Entertainment Technology) Fund, Cure.Fit founder and former Flipkart CBO Ankit Nagori, and Sequoia Capital India. The company raised seed funding last year with participants including Sequoia Capital India’s rapid scale-up programme Surge, Waterbridge Ventures, Omidyar Network India and AET Fund.
AdOnMo: The OOH (out-of-home) advertising startup raised $3 million in a seed round led by venture capital firm BAce Capital, an affiliate of Hangzhou-headquartered Alibaba Group and Ant Financial. Venture capital firm Astarc Ventures and angel investor group Mumbai Angels Network participated in the round. AdOnMo had earlier raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round from a group of angel investors.
Internews: US technology giant Google will contribute $1 million to Internews, a global non-profit organisation that is slated to launch a news literacy initiative in India. The funding is part of a $10 million commitment by Google.org, in collaboration with Google News Initiative, towards global media literacy. Internews plans to have a team of 250 contributors, which would primarily consist of journalists, non-profit workers, fact checkers and academicians. The team will be trained on a curriculum developed by global experts, which will be adapted to the local needs and be available in seven languages.
Seal Professional: Bayside Media, which operates management training programme Seal Professional, has raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round from Equanimity Ventures. The Mumbai-based company will use the funds to support Seal Professional’s programme development and marketing, deepen their corporate relationships and help with geographical expansion.
Zetwerk: The online marketplace for buyers and sellers of manufacturing services raised $32 million in a Series B round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Greenoaks Capital. Sequoia Capital India, Kae Capital and Accel were returning investors in the round. The Bengaluru-based company has so far raised $42 million. In March 2019, Zetwerk raised $9 million in a Series A funding round from venture capital firms Sequoia, Kae Capital and Accel. The company plans to use the Series B capital for business expansion in domestic and overseas markets with a focus on US and Southeast Asia.
MultiplyMyLeads: Uniplatform Tech, which operates the real estate platform, raised $500,000 in a seed round from Atim Kabra-led private equity firm Frontline Strategy Funds and returning investor SucSEED Venture Partners. In August 2017, the Gurugram-based company had raised seed funding from early stage investor SucSEED Venture Partners. Founded in 2015, MultiplyMyLeads.com provides a single solution for real estate brokers, developers and builders to connect with customers through its broker-facing online platform.
Interviewbit: The reskilling platform for college graduates and software engineers raised $20 million in a Series A funding led by Sequoia India and Tiger Global. Global Founders Capital, the venture capital arm of Rocket Internet, and some undisclosed investors also participated in this round. The company will use the funds to scale up its enrollment and launch in new markets, while also investing in curriculum and the live teaching products to enhance the student-teacher experience.
WizKlub: The Bengaluru-based edtech platform raised around $1 million in a seed round led by venture capital fund Incubate Fund India. The round also saw participation from the Singapore-based VC fund Insitor Impact Asia Fund. With this round, the total funds raised by the company, which helps school-age children code, stands at $1.2 million. The company plans to use the fresh capital for product and market expansion.
MoneyTap: The Bengaluru-based consumer lending platform raised $70 million in a Series B round. The infusion is a mix of equity and debt capital. The equity round was led by New York and London-headquartered private equity firm Aquiline Technology Growth and early stage investor RTP Global and some South Korea and Japan-based investors. Returning investors included seed stage investment firm Prime Venture Partners, venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India and Mumbai-headquartered MegaDelta. The round also includes debt capital in the form of co-lending and credit lines from Vivriti Capital and Credit Saison. MoneyTap is the first Indian startup in Aquiline Technology Growth’s portfolio. So far, the startup has raised $12.3 million.
Bizongo: The SmartPaddle Technology-owned packaging materials marketplace raised $30 million in a Series C fundraise, led by new investor Switzerland-based hedge fund Schroder Adveq. Returning investors include B Capital, Accel, Chiratae Ventures and IFC. With the fresh infusion, the company has raised $71.69 million so far.
Yolobus: The long-distance bus service operator raised $600,000 in a seed round from a group of angel investors from the mobility industry. Yolobus was founded last year by Shailesh Gupta, co-founder and former CEO of co-working space provider Innov8 (acquired by OYO), along with Mukul Shah, former country head of Smartworks, and Danish Chopra, former technology lead at Uber.
Kisan Network: The agritech startup raised $3 million led by Atsushi Taira at Mistletoe, with participation from Y Combinator, the Thiel Foundation, Venture Highway, FundersClub, Lynett Capital, Gokul Rajaram and other angels.
GiveIndia: Online donation platform Small Change and all the 63 non-profits it supports will be absorbed by GiveIndia. Founded by former journalist Sara Adhikari in 2016, Small Change employs a storytelling approach to raise awareness and funds for Indian non-profits from individual donors. GiveIndia has participated in several cause-marketing initiatives with digital companies such as Flipkart, Ola, Cred, PhonePe, BigBasket and EaseMyTrip, and claims to support over 1,000 non-profits in the country.
Tiger Global: New York-based alternative investments firm Tiger Global raised a $3.8 billion global fund, dubbed Private Investment Partners XII. The new fund comes at a time when the firm is on a renewed investment run in the Indian early stage market with a specific focus on B2B startups, apart from select bets in the consumer internet sector. The latest fund size is similar to the Private Investment Partners XI that the firm had raised in 2018, also exceeding its target corpus of $3 billion.