After a week of intense investor activity, the pace of startup funding slowed down in the last week of February.
Amid the sluggishness, two deals — gold loan marketplace Rupeek and payments platform BharatPe — stood out as outliers. While the Resilient Innovations-owned BharatPe inducted first time investor Coatue Management in its fold, Rupeek received interest from GGV Capital and former Tiger Global executives-founded Tanglin Venture Partners.
Other notable deals involved health-tech startup Qure.ai, software services provider Hasura, and Stelling Technologies, which owns Railyatri and IntrCity.
A total of 16 startups raised nearly $170 million this week although financial details of six of those deals were not disclosed. The overall deal activity was lower by 58% compared to the last week where startups garnered $400 million.
Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting’s venture capital arm made its second investment in personal care startup LetsShave two years after its formation. Its maiden investment was in similar brands, Happily Unmarried and Ustraa.
The M&A activity picked up pace this week. Notably, two artificial intelligence-powered platforms GoScale and Freshworks took part in acquisitions. GoScale, which automates software delivery bought Indiez while Freshworks, which provides customer relationship management, acquired AnsweriQ.
Separately, social media platform Sharechat acquired ecommerce startup Elanic and PreLoved Device went for lateral acquisition of Overcart.
Among other deals, Flipkart-owned PhonePe raised $60 million from its Singapore-based parent, just as its rival BharatPe closed a large round. Separately, scooter rental startup Vogo received commitments of $19 million infusion from returning investors while homegrown smartphone maker Lava also announced plans to raise $60 million from Global Emerging Markets Group.
Top funding deals
Qure.ai: The artificial intelligence-powered health-tech platform raised $16 million in a funding round led by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India. MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia, a venture capital firm sponsored by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, also participated in the round.
Rupeek Fintech: Venture capital firm GGV Capital led a $30 million investment round in the Bengaluru-based online gold loans marketplace. KB Investments and Tanglin Venture Partners, along with returning investors Bertelsmann India Investments, Sequoia Capital India, Accel and Binny Bansal participated in the round. With this round, the company has raised a total of about $72 million till date. The fresh infusion values the company at more than $300 million.
BharatPe: Resilient Innovations, which owns and operates the fintech platform BharatPe, raised $75 million in a Series C round led by a new investor Coatue Management, a technology sector focused hedge fund, and returning investor Ribbit Capital. New investor venture capital firm Amplo participated in the round along with returning investors Steadview Capital and Insight Venture Partners. With the latest round, BharatPe has raised a total of $167 million in private capital so far.
iMerit: The Kolkata-based technology startup raised $20 million in Series B funding round led by the UK-government owned development finance institution CDC Group. Existing investors Omidyar Network, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and Khosla Impact have also participated in the round.
Zipgrid: MyAashiana Management Services, which owns the real estate asset management solutions platform Zipgrid, raised $1 million in an extended seed funding round from early stage investment firm 1Crowd and a set of undisclosed investors. The startup will use the capital to enhance its technology platform, strengthen its sales team and roll out new projects.
With the latest capital infusion, Zipgrid has garnered over $2 million so far across multiple rounds.
Railyatri: Noida-based Stelling Technologies, which owns travel booking platform and long-distance bus services operator IntrCity, raised $13.9 million in a fresh round of funding led by Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani’s NRJN Family Trust. Samsung Venture Investment, the corporate venture capital arm of Seoul headquartered electronics giant Samsung, and returning investors ON Mauritius, part of impact investor Omidyar Network and venture capital firm Blume Ventures participated in the round. The latest round takes the total capital raised by the company to $30 million.
Hasura: The San Francisco and Bengaluru headquartered software services provider raised $9.9 million in a Series A round led by venture capital firm Vertex Ventures US. Other participants in the round included SAP.iO, an early-stage investment arm of German technology major SAP and returning investors such as venture capital firm Nexus Venture Partners and Tokyo-based early-stage investor Strive.
Josh Talks: The social technology startup has raised $ 1.5 million in a seed funding round from New York-based not-for-profit investment fund Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF).
The Gurugram headquartered company plans to deploy the funds to enhance its vernacular play, build skills vertical, and expand to other developing nations. The company claimed its valuation crossed Rs 100 crore mark with this round.
MinionLabs: The Bengaluru-based energy analytics startup raised an undisclosed amount of capital in a funding round led by Indian Angel Network (IAN) investors Kaushik Rajan of Kochi Holding and former Microsoft executive R Mohan Kumaramangalam. MinionLabs will deploy the fresh capital to boost its production, drive sales and expand its geographical footprint.
LetsShave: The Chandigarh-based personal care products startup raised an undisclosed amount in a funding round from Wipro Consumer Care Ventures, a statement said. Post investment, the venture capital fund of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting will hold a minority stake in LetsVenture.
Pepper Content: The Mumbai headquartered online content platform raised $306,183 in a seed round led by Titan Capital, an investment fund launched by Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, and online media company YourStory Media, along with several angels.
Zingbus: The long-distance bus operator raised an undisclosed amount of funding from venture capital firm AdvantEdge Partners and internet investment and advisory company Smile Group. A number of undisclosed strategic angel investors also participated in the round. Owned and operated by Zingbus Technology, the Gurugram-based startup will use the funds to scale its network and launch in new routes.
ElecTorq: The shared mobility solutions startup raised an undisclosed sum in a seed funding round from venture capital firm AdvantEdge Partners in exchange for a minority stake.
The company will use the funds to design and get its first product to market, Ridhish Talwar, partner at AdvantEdge.
Near.Store: The startup raised $300,000 in a seed funding round from private investment firm Sauce.vc. The fresh capital will be deployed towards product development, team augmentation and geographic expansion. It enables offline shops to create online presence and make their products easily discoverable online. The company is currently running pilot programmes in Mumbai and Bengaluru.
FreshWorld: Retailworx-owned fruits and vegetable retailer raised an undisclosed amount of bridge funding from Indian Angel Network (IAN) Fund and Venture Farmer, a Bengaluru-based family office, a top company official told TechCircle. The company plans to use the funds to develop and launch a mobile application for customers. The company last raised funds in January 2019 when IAN invested $1.1 million in a seed round.
Multibhashi: The online language learning startup raised an undisclosed amount of funding from venture capital firm Inflection Point Ventures (IPV). The company plans to use the fresh capital to build new technology features, expand its team, and for marketing and scalability purposes.
ABL Workspaces: The co-working space provider raised an undisclosed amount in an angel round from Chicago headquartered brokerage and wealth management services provider Great Point Capital. The funds will be utilised to strengthen their presence in the capital region and will be operational with 15 new centres by June 2020.
AjnaLens: The augmented reality startup owned by Dimension NXG raised $1.5 million in its seed round led by Maharashtra Defence and Aerospace Venture Fund (MDAVF). The round saw participation from Mohsin Group and returning HNI (high-net-worth individuals) investors like Nailesh Khimji, Chirayu Khimji and Jay Jesrani. The company claims to have raised $2.2 million till date.
GoScale: The technology consulting and engineering company that enables software delivery automation acquired artificial intelligence-powered technology talent community Indiez in a bid to boost its remote hiring division. GoScale builds software services engine to automate product development for other companies. It also has offshoots that cater to the staffing needs of companies for technology-based positions with talent communities TalScale and CrewScale.
Post-deal, Indiez and CrewScale now have over 300 customers.
Freshworks: The global customer engagement software firm acquired Washington-based AnsweriQ, a company that provides machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities for enterprises. With AnsweriQ’s AI, the acquirer will be able to anticipate customer needs, make recommendations for agents based on the conversations and perform tasks such as refunds and cancellations with no manual input required.
ShareChat: The social media platform acquired e-commerce venture Elanic to enter the social commerce segment. ShareChat wants to explore different models to monetise its platform post the 12-fold increase in the company’s losses in FY19.
PreLoved Device: The refurbished devices platform acquired Overcart, an online platform that sells refurbished and pre-owned mobile phones, laptops, gadgets and accessories, in a cash and stock deal. Backed by early stage investors such as JSW Ventures, Omidyar Network, Sattva Capital and Venture Works, Gurugram-based Overcart had raised more than $3 million over multiple funding rounds prior to the acquisition.
Blume Ventures: Homegrown venture capital firm Blume Ventures has marked the close of its opportunity fund at $41 million, which will be used to invest in the follow-on rounds of its portfolio companies. Coming days after the close of its third fund at $102 million, the opportunity fund, dubbed Blume Ventures Fund IIA, will take the firm’s total capital under management to about $262 million. The fund was raised from both domestic and international investors, many of whom are existing Blume investors. The capital from the opportunity fund will be used to invest in successful companies from funds I, IA and II portfolios.