Deal Roundup: Zeta joins the unicorn league; Tatas make a big play for e-grocery

Deal Roundup: Zeta joins the unicorn league; Tatas make a big play for e-grocery
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
28 May, 2021

In the biggest startup development of the week, salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Group formally announced the acquisition a majority stake in online grocery platform BigBasket. Talk of the deal had been doing the rounds for several months. Tata Digital, a 100% subsidiary of Tata Group holding entity Tata Sons, purchased 64.3% of Supermarket Grocery Supplies, the parent company and B2B operator of e-grocer BigBasket. 

As part of the first tranche of stake acquisition transaction, Tata Digital committed an investment of Rs 1,591 crore ($219 million) to BigBasket, of which the e-grocery company has already received Rs 1,116 crore (about $154 million).  

The week also saw the birth of yet another unicorn. Serial entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia co-founded banking technology firm Zeta’s valuation crossed the coveted $1 billion mark following a $250 million investment led by SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund 2.   

The Series C capital infusion valued the nearly seven-year-old startup at $1.45 billion. The valuation makes Zeta the 14th entrant to the global league of unicorns from India this year. 

As the Indian government sparred with microblogging platform Twitter over the country’s new rules for intermediaries, homegrown microblogging platform Koo struck gold. It secured $30 million in a Series B funding round led by global alternative investments firm Tiger Global Management. South Korean financial services firm Mirae Asset Management and IIFL joined the round as new investors. Early-stage investors Accel, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and Dream incubator were returning investors in the round.   

In another notable deal, credit and payment startup Slice raised $23 million in debt capital from a group of 18 lenders including Northern Arc Capital and Vivriti Capital. Also, data collaboration software provider Atlan bagged $16 million as part of its Series A funding round led by global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners.  

Overall, $447 million was raised across 13 deals. The week saw a total of 19 deals struck, of which six did not disclose funding amounts. 

Besides Tata Digital, upGrad, Lithium Urban Technologies and Zscaler also made startup acquisitions this week. 

Edtech firm upGrad snapped up Impartus Innovations, a video-enabled learning solutions provider, for Rs 150 crore ($20.6 million). Impartus will be rebranded as upGrad Campus. In its new avatar, it will target higher education institutions and college students.  

Bengaluru-based corporate sustainable mobility solutions provider Lithium Urban Technologies acquired SmartCommute, an end-to-end employee transportation services SaaS platform. Smokescreen Technologies, a Mumbai-based cybersecurity firm, is being acquired by Nasdaq-listed cloud security company Zscaler Inc. The transaction is expected to close by July-end. Its capabilities will be integrated into Zscaler to further build upon the acquirer’s ability to detect targeted attacks, ransomware, and lateral movement attempts.