Six unicorns, one mega acquisition and over $2.5 billion deployed in record dealmaking week

Six unicorns, one mega acquisition and over $2.5 billion deployed in record dealmaking week
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
9 Apr, 2021

Unicorns. That one word pretty much sums up dealmaking in the country’s technology startup market this week. As many as six India-born technology companies racked up valuations north of $1 billion to earn the distinction of being christened unicorns. The six companies together raised $1.5 billion, accounting for more than half of the record $2.5 billion deployed by a myriad of investors during the week. 

Apart from unicorns, edtech decacorn Byju’s had a big dealmaking week.  

The Bengaluru based company closed the acquisition of Aakash Educational Services, marking its entry into the offline test-prep market. While Byju’s did not disclose the terms of the acquisition, a person directly aware of the transaction told TechCircle that the company closed the cash-and-stock deal at nearly $950 million. As part of the deal, Aakash investor Blackstone Group and the company’s founders, JC Chaudhry and Aakash Chaudhry, will become shareholders in Byju’s.

Unicorn stampede 

Mohalla Tech: The parent of native language social media platform ShareChat and short video app Moj, raised $502 million in its latest round of funding. The round was led by returning investor Lightspeed Venture Partners and new investor Tiger Global Management at a post-money valuation of $2.1 billion.   US based Snap Inc, the parent of messaging app SnapChat, joined the round as new investor, marking its first investment in the country. Returning investors Twitter and India Quotient participated in the round. 

The valuation in this round is a 3.4X bump up from the valuation that the company fetched when it last raised capital in September 2020. 

Pharmeasy: API Holdings, which operates epharmacy services provider PharmEasy, closed a growth funding round in a mix of primary and secondary investment at $323 million. The company, in a statement, said that it expects an additional $27 million to be added to the round, taking the total to $350 million. Led by Prosus Ventures and TPG Growth, the round saw participation from returning investors Temasek, CDPQ, LGT Lightrock, Eight Roads Ventures and Think Investments. 

The round valued the company at $1.2 billion, making it the first epharmacy player from India to achieve unicorn valuations. 

Meesho: Bengaluru headquartered Fashnear Technologies, which runs social ecommerce platform Meesho, raised $300 million in a growth funding round, valuing the company at $2.1 billion. The round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Returning investors Prosus Ventures, Facebook, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway and Knollwood Investment participated in the round. 

Read: Enabling every small business to go online is the primary goal, says Meesho co-founder Vidit Aatrey 

Cred: Credit card bill-based rewards marketplace Cred sprinted into the coveted club of unicorns on Tuesday barely three years after being founded. Cred parent Dreamplug Technologies said it had raised $215 million growth funding at a post-money valuation of $2.2 billion. New investor, global alternative asset manager Falcon Edge Capital, and returning investor Coatue Management led the round, dubbed Series D. Other investors in the round included new investor Insight Partners, and returning investors DST Global, RTP Global, Tiger Global, Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer Investment Group, and Sofina. 

The Bengaluru based startup added that it would offer its employees with a new stock option buyback opportunity worth $5 million.

Gupshup: Conversational messaging platform Gupshup raised $100 million from New York based alternative investments firm Tiger Global Management at a post-money valuation of $1.4 billion. The Tiger Global infusion is part of a larger ongoing round and more investors are expected to bring in “significant additional funds”, the company said in a statement. While Gupshup is headquartered San Francisco, California, it was born in IIT Bombay as part of the on-campus incubator.

Groww: Nextbillion Technology, which operates investing platform Groww, raised $83 million in a growth funding round, at a valuation of $1 billion. Led by Tiger Global, returning investors Sequoia Capital India, Ribbit Capital, YC Continuity and Propel Venture Partners participated in the round.

More deals 

Swiggy: Food delivery platform Swiggy raised around $800 million in a new funding round. Falcon Edge Capital, Goldman Sachs, Think Capital, Amansa Capital and Carmignac joined as new investors. Existing investors Prosus Ventures and Accel also participated in this round. The latest fundraise was done at a valuation of close to $5 billion. 

OfBusiness: Gurugram based OFB Tech, which operates business-to-business marketplace OfBusiness, and small and medium enterprise (SME) focused lending platform Oxyzo, raised $110 million (Rs 818.3 crore) in a growth funding round. The round, dubbed Series E, was led by returning investor Falcon Edge Capital. Participants included returning investors Matrix Partners India, Creation Investments and Norwest Venture Partners. The round also saw ESOP liquidation worth $13 million by 73 employees and a secondary transaction by 12 angel investors in the company, giving them an exit. 

Spinny: Pre-owned cars platform Spinny raised $65 million as part of its Series C round from new and existing investors. Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm General Catalyst, early backer of startups such as Airbnb, Stripe and Snapchat, led the round. Feroz Dewan’s Arena Holdings and Think Investments joined the round as new investors, while Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners) and Fundamentum Partnership were returning investors. A few seed stage investors are expected to exit as part of the round. 

PlayShifu: Bengaluru-based MobilizAR Technologies, which runs augmented reality (AR) based toy maker PlayShifu, raised $17 million in a Series B round of funding, led by Inventus Capital India. Inflexor Ventures joined the round as a new investor, while returning investors Chiratae Ventures and Bharat Innovation Fund participated in the round.