Deal roundup: Big dealmaking week for agri-tech startups; India gets a new unicorn

Deal roundup: Big dealmaking week for agri-tech startups; India gets a new unicorn
Photo Credit: 123RF.com

In busy week for dealmaking, India’s startup ecosystem admitted another consumer internet startup into the global club of technology unicorns. Pune-headquartered baby products omnichannel retailer FirstCry scooped up the second tranche of an ongoing $400 million round from SoftBank Vision Fund and crossed the $1 billion valuation mark. Late in the week, edtech unicorn Byju's scooped up $200 million from existing investor General Atlantic.

Overall, investors close to $450 million (accounts for only disclosed deal values) to work this week across 13 deals, with agri-tech, fintech and logistics startups being the top segments. 

Almost 50% of the startups raised money at the growth stage while the rest raised seed capital.


Apart from FristCry, other top performers this week were agri-tech Waycool with a $32 million round and agri-logistics startup Leap India with a $23 million haul. Also notable was fintech startup Dot’s outsized seed round.

In other news, Flipkart owned fashion etailer Jabong downed shutters and vernacular content sharing platform Manch was speculated to be in the process of winding down operations.

The week turned out to be rather busy for mergers and acquisitions with as many as three, fairly high-profile deals.

Top Funding Deals


Byju's: Bengaluru-based edtech unicorn Byju’s has expanded its current funding round with an additional $200 million infusion from existing investor General Atlantic, a person privy to the development told TechCircle. With this capital infusion, Byju’s is valued at $8.2 billion, the person cited earlier said on the condition of anonymity. The startup raised $200 million from New York-headquartered alternative investments firm Tiger Global Management last month as part of the ongoing growth round.

FirstCry: FirstCry, the omnichannel baby products retailer owned by Pune-based Brainbees Solutions, received nearly $300 million from SoftBank Vision Fund, as part of an ongoing growth funding round.  By TechCircle’s estimates, the latest infusion puts FirstCry’s valuation at more than $1 billion, making it the first homegrown player from the baby products segment to become a unicorn (industry parlance for private companies valued at $1 billion or more). SoftBank Vision Fund now holds around 40% equity in the 10-year old company.

Waycool: Chennai-headquartered WayCool Foods & Products, a business-to-business (B2B) omnichannel fresh produce distributor, raised $32 million in a Series C round led by venture capital firm Lightbox Ventures. The round was a combination of debt and equity. InnoVen Capital backed the company via a venture debt infusion while Dutch Bank FMO and returning investor LGT Lightstone Aspada participated as equity investors.


Leap India: Agricultural warehousing and logistics company Leap India Food and Logistics raised $23 million in a Series B round from Danish SDG Investment Fund, a fund managed by Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), and Neev Fund. The Coimbatore-based company will use the fresh capital for growth and expansion. The latest round takes the total capital raised by Leap India to $25 million. Neev Fund, an infrastructure private equity fund focussed on sustainable development, had invested an undisclosed amount in the company in April 2018.

Embibe: Indiavidual Learning, which owns online education platform Embibe, raised $12.6 million in a preference share issue on rights basis from its promoter Reliance Industries Limited.  The platform was acquired by RIL in June 2018 from its founders Aditi Avasthi and Nishant Menon. Embibe uses artificial intelligence, data science and machine learning to provide online coaching for various competitive and entrance exams.

Dot: DotPe, the parent operator of Dot, an offline-to-online commerce and fintech platform, raised about $8 million in an outsized seed funding round led by global payment gateway firm PayU and Fosun RZ Capital. The Sanjeev Bikhchandani-led internet company Info Edge’s recently launched venture capital fund Info Edge Venture Fund, Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal and Citrus Pay co-founder Amrish Rau participated in the round. Dot offers digital solutions to brick and mortar retail outlets.


Kuku FM: Mumbai-based Mebigo Labs, which owns vernacular audio platform Kuku FM, raised $5.5 million in a Series A round led by venture capital firm Vertex Ventures, an arm of Singapore headquartered Temasek Holdings. Returning investors, including venture capital firms Shunwei Capital, India Quotient and 3one4 Capital, participated in the round. Vertex Ventures’ investment in Kuku FM comes a little over four months after making the final close of its Southeast Asia and India-focussed Fund IV at $305 million. 

Rebel Foods: Rebel Foods, the Mumbai-based cloud kitchen company known for brands such as Faasos and Behrouz Biryani, raised nearly $5 million from venture lender Alteria Capital. The latest infusion takes the total debt raised by the company to nearly $12 million. A little over half of the overall debt capital raised by Rebel Foods so far has come from Mumbai-based Alteria, according to data compiled by VCCEdge. 

Qyuki: Entertainment content provider Qyuki Digital Media, founded by musician AR Rahman and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur , raised $3.5 million from Info Edge Venture Fund (IEVF).  In 2010, Qyuki raised $6 million in an equity share issue to the venture capital arm of San Jose headquartered technology company Cisco systems.


Fleetx: Fleetx.io, the fleet management and predictive analytics platform owned by Gurugram-based Fleetx Technologies, raised $2.8 million in a Series A funding round led by Singapore-based venture capital firm Beenext along with existing investor India Quotient. The round also saw participation from Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, Fung Capital managing director Rajesh Ranavat and Temasek Holdings associate director Rohan Ranavat. Fleetx will use the fresh capital to scale in India and other markets, strengthen product and technology and hire talent.

Entri: Ernakulam based Entri Software, which runs an eponymous vernacular learning app for government and private job examination aspirants, raised $1.4 million in a seed round led by Good Capital. Undisclosed investors from the US and China also participated in the round. The company will use the capital to grow its content library and reach out to a larger user base.

SuperMoney: Mumbai-based GetClarity Fintech Services, which owns and operates an online financial services platform for working class, SuperMoney, raised $1 million in a funding round from early-stage venture fund Unitus Ventures. SuperMoney will use the capital to increase its staff across various verticals and also expand its operations. Currently, it has business in 12 cities in India including Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata.


Frog Cycles: Bicycle brand Frog Cycles, owned by Mumbai-based AlphaVector, raised an undisclosed sum in a funding round led by early-to-growth stage investor Avaana Capital. Titan Capital, an investment arm of Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, participated in the round. Frog Cycles previously raised capital from Bengaluru-based venture capital firm Fireside Ventures in September 2018. The company will use the latest capital infusion to expand its product offerings, launch electric bicycles and invest in a manufacturing facility with a capacity of one million bicycles a year under the Make in India programme.


Square yards: Real estate brokerage portal Square Yards acquired Mumbai-based rentals and property management platform Azuro for an undisclosed sum. Founded in 2016 by IIT Bombay alumni Altaf Ahmad, Sushant Kumar, Sudhanshu Mishra, Ayush Agrawal and Vishal Chauthmal, Azuro offers rentals and property management solutions to owners. Run by Fittr Technologies, the startup finds tenants, does background checks, automates rent collection and manages property maintenance and tenant exits.

Embibe: Reliance Industries promoted edtech platform Embibe acqui-hired edtech startup OnlineTyari in an undisclosed cash deal, digital news publication Entrackr reported. OnlineTyari’s founding team and its intellectual property have moved to Embibe, the publication reported, citing sources. The startup had earlier approached Bengaluru-based Byju’s for a possible acqui-hire, but was rejected by the Think and Learn-owned platform, according to the report.

Instamojo: Instamojo Technologies, the Bengaluru based payments, commerce and small business lending platform, acquired GetMeAShop to strengthen its non-payment business verticals. The cash and stock transaction, valued at $5 million, will see GMAS owner Times Internet invest in Instamojo and hold a board seat at the company.  GetMeAShop is a digital commerce enabler for MSMEs (medium and small enterprises). With the acquisition, Bengaluru-based Instamojo Technologies expects to double its revenues from non-payment business verticals, including SaaS for commerce and lending to 40% over the next three years.

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