With just 11 deals, the second week of March saw startups in the Indian technology sector raise a total of $64 million. The tally last week was $98.27 million across 16 deals. Esports platform NODWIN Gaming and logitech firm Ecom Express collected the largest venture capital cheques.
PUBG developer KRAFTON’s bet on NODWIN Gaming was the week’s highlight. The South Korean gaming firm suffered a major setback in the country after PUB-G was banned in September 2020 along with other Chinese apps. Subsequently it launched an India specific version of the game, PUBG Mobile India, which did not receive approval for launch. In November 2020, the company had announced that it will create an India unit to invest up to $100 million to promote local video games, esports and local IT.
Nazara Technologies-backed NODWIN said it will use the fresh capital to expand its offerings in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Also, the UK government’s development finance institution (DFI) made a follow-on investment of $20 million in Ecom Express. In December 2019, CDC made an equity investment of $36 million in the logistics firm. The investment marks a rare instance of the UK government's DFI making an additional investment. According to VCCEdge, in its portfolio of over 30 companies, CDC has made only a few follow-on investments that include those in RBL Bank, Veritas Finance and Equitas Holdings.
Quizizz, which gamifies quizzes and interactive lessons, raised the only other double-digit deal this week. It bagged $12.5 million in a Series A round of funding led by Eight Roads Ventures.
The week also saw insurance-technology startup Riskcovry raising $5 million led by Omidyar Network India while clinical research and data analytics startup Sekhmet Technologies landed $2.33 million from healthcare-focused venture capital firm Healthquad Advisors.
Insurtech platform Turtlemint raised an undisclosed amount from Singapore-based Jungle Ventures as part of a growth funding round. The infusion takes the Mumbai-based startup’s Series D round size to $46 million. The company in November 2020 raised $30 million as part of the same round.
On the M&A front, VerSe Innovation, which runs news aggregating platform DailyHunt and short-video application Josh India, acquired Vebbler, a community-focused photo and video sharing application. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. It had recently acquired Bengaluru-based startup Cognirel Technologies, which offers an AI-based deep learning platform. The company said the acquisitions will take it closer to its aim of building the country’s largest digital media platform.
Pune-based Giggle Galaxy, which provides degree and certification courses under the brand name ImaginXP, acquired Noesis Learning, an edtech startup that brings technology into the space of career to course mapping. The Noesis Learning platform, called Schoolsonweb, enables live learning, assessment automation, assignments, doubt clearing forums and connects students and corporate coaches for career focused learning.