Three startup-related merger and acquisition deals made for an eventful week in dealmaking, even as funding activity remained muted. A total of 13 technology startups drew cheques from early stage investors this week, of which six did not disclose the investment values. The remaining seven raised a cumulative $17 million.
Reliance Industries-owned Haptik and online beauty products platform MyGlamm topped the funding charts this week. Among investors, Mumbai Angels Network, Venture Catalysts and Stride Ventures recorded two deals each.
Earlier today, Nasdaq-listed travel portal Yatra Online announced an ordinary share issue to raise $10 million. The development follows a failed merger deal with US software firm Ebix.
Global private equity firms continue to funnel capital into RIL’s telecom arm, Jio Platform, with the company raising funds from L Catterton, TPG Capital and Saidi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund.
Haptik: Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform, owned by Jio Haptik Technologies is set to secure about $6.6 million from parent company Jio Platforms. The first tranche of investment -- $1.6 million -- trickled in on Wednesday. Founded by Vaish and Swapan Rajdev in 2013, the platform claims to have reached about 100 million devices, and processed over 3 billion end customer interactions. In April 2019, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries acquired a majority stake in the company in a $100 million deal.
MyGlamm: The online beauty product platform raised $4.35 million in a Series B round of funding on a rights basis from its existing investors. French cosmetic major L'Occitane International, venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners, alternative asset management firm Tano Capital, venture debt provider Trifecta Capital and founder Darpan Sanghvi are the shareholders of the company.
Jai Kisan: The agri-focussed lending platform raised $3.9 million in a bridge funding round, dubbed pre-series A, led by early stage venture capital firm Arkam Ventures with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development’s (NABARD) impact investment fund, the Chatterjee Group conglomerate and New Vernon Capital managing director Rajiv Sahney. Returning investors Blume Ventures, Prophetic Ventures, Better Capital and Sanjay Mariwala, MD of OmniActive Health Technologies, also funded the company in this round.
LetsTransport: Diptab Ventures-owned intra-city logistics marketplace raised $1.3 million in a debt round from Stride Ventures to strengthen its operational capabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has raised a total of $4.4 million during the crisis. The deal marks the New Delhi-based venture debt firm’s third investment so far.
GoldenPi: Online brokerage firm Zerodha’s incubator platform Rainmatter invested $459,800 in the fintech startup. GoldenPi is an online marketplace for retail investors to invest in fixed-income investment options such as bonds and debentures. Founded in 2017 by Abhijit Roy and Samir Pratihar, the platform allows retailers to invest with a minimum investment of Rs 10,000.
Crimson Healthcare: Angel syndicate Mumbai Angels Network invested about $223,000 in the ostomy care startup. The New Delhi based startup aims to improve the lives of ostomates, who defecate in a bag hanging from their abdomen. To this end, it has developed an ostomy management device called SphinX.
Edviso: The Bengaluru-based online learning platform raised $150,000 in seed funding round led by venture capital firm Inflection Point Ventures (IPV). This is the first institutional round raised by the startup, which works as a marketplace to connect coaching institutes and students with each other. It claims 2,650 institutes on its platform along with 50,000 registrations. It plans to use the fresh capital for strengthening the technical and sales team, along with acquiring more users and expanding operations to more cities.
GoMechanic: The Delhi-headquartered automobile servicing platform GoMechanic raised an undisclosed amount from the chairman of Hero MotoCorp Pawan Munjal. The round is in addition to the Series B round of $14.7 million raised by the company in December 2019, which was led by venture capital firms Chiratae Ventures and Sequoia Capital. The company is backed by Orios Venture Partners and angel investors Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal and Dhianu Das.
Stellapps: Stride Ventures invested an undisclosed amount in the agritech startup that offers a full stack internet of things (IoT) solution called SmartMoo to digitise supply chains in the dairy sector. The investment comes six months after the venture lender infused its first set of debt capital into the startup to the tune of $697,725. Excluding the latest investment, Stellapps has raised a total of $18.5 million from a mix of equity and debt investors.
Lattu Kids: Telecom operator Bharti Airtel invested an undisclosed amount in the education technology startup, which operates an English vocabulary learning app, for 10% stake. The investment was made through Airtel’s startup accelerator programme. The startup uses animated videos and interactive games to help children aged under 10 improve their English vocabulary and reading skills, and develop an aptitude for maths.
PepperMint: Startup incubator and accelerator Venture Catalysts invested an undisclosed amount in Aubotz Labs-owned industrial robotics startup. Other investors who participated in the seed round include industry veteran Naveen Kshatriya and Australian financial services company ANZ. It will use the fresh capital to scale up its manufacturing efforts, increase after-sales support infrastructure and foray into new markets.
Agro2o: The New Delhi based agri-tech startup raised an undisclosed sum in a bridge funding round, dubbed pre-seed, from Mumbai Angels Network. This is the first external institutional funding raised by the company. Founded in 2018, Agro2o combines home gardening and hydroponics with automation and internet-of-things (IoT).
GabbarDeals: PNR Retail-owned electronics retail platform raised fresh capital from integrated incubator Venture Catalysts. The Pune headquartered firm will deploy the funds to ramp up operations, expand its services and forge new partnerships. While the firm was reportedly acqui-hired in February last year by Bengaluru-based ShopX, however the deal did not go through.
Qbera: The Mumbai based non-banking finance company bought Qbera, an online platform that facilitates unsecured personal loans, from Ant Creditex Technologies. The deal was rumored to be valued at $10-15 million. The acquisition is expected to augment InCred’s digital distribution offerings, while also providing Qbera with full-stack loan origination capabilities in risk-sharing partnerships with other financial institutions
Adorithm: The Gurugram headquartered advertising firm acquired media-tech startup Adorithm for $1 million to improve its data and technology-based product offerings and optimise costs. As part of the acquisition, SyncMedia will absorb Adorithm’s team, product and intellectual property (IP). Founded in 2019, Adorithm uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to enable brand marketers, agencies and startups to optimise their media spends.
CodeChef: Sorting Hat Technologies-owned test preparation platform acquired CodeChef, a non-profit educational arm of the Bhavin Turakhia-led Directi group. Launched in 2009 by Directi, CodeChef provides a platform for programmers to enhance their skills. CodeChef will now be under the umbrella of Unacademy. The acquisition is expected to help the non-profit access greater resources, teams, technology, platforms and capital.
Venture Capital Funds
Beenext: The Singapore-based venture capital firm closed a $110 million (Rs 837 crore at current exchange rates) fund to invest in early-stage technology startups in India and Southeast Asia.
About half of the Beenext Emerging Asia Fund will be allocated for India investments in sectors such as ecommerce, fintech, healthtech, agritech, edutech, artificial intelligence and data technology domains. The company has also announced the launch of another fund with a $50 million corpus, which will be used to back software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses in Japan.