The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (25 - 30 October)
All industries saw an increase in funding activity, both in terms of value and volume. Fintech, edtech, and SaaS, on the other hand, are the top three hot investment industries in CY21, accounting for nearly half of all fundraising activity. In the first three quarters of CY21, the fintech sector raised four times as much money as it did in the first three quarters of CY20. Six fintech firms have been designated as unicorns. Down below are the startups funding round that we tracked this week.
Bangalore-based startup Clear has raised $75 million from investors including global fintech giant Stripe Inc. to fund its expansion into online payments and other new businesses.
Kora Capital, Alua Capital and Think Investments led the Series C round with existing backers of Clear also participating. The startup, which offers cloud software subscriptions for tax fillings, plans to use the new capital to develop business-to-business payments and credit as well as grow in international markets, it said.
Drawn by the industry's accelerating growth, investors are increasingly flocking to India's digital financial services market. Clear’s platform grew five times in the past 18 months and it has added 3,000-plus large enterprises and more than 1 million small businesses to its roster of customers, the company said.
Teachmint, a provider of educational infrastructure, has raised $78 million in Series B funding organized by Vulcan Capital and Rocketship.vc. Goodwater Capital and Epiq Capital also joined the company's cap table in this round.
Existing investors Lightspeed India, Better Capital, Learn Capital and CM Ventures have increased their stakes in the company's fifth round of funding.
The new round brings the company's total funding to $118 million. Teachmint plans to use the new funding to improve its proprietary classroom technology and expand into globally.
The ‘ed-infra’ startup has rapidly expanded to a user-base of over 10 million people in India and hopes to increase this to over 100 million users globally in the near future. Teachmint will also substantially focus on increasing its teams and employing competent personnel, notably across product, technology and design to achieve their goal. In the next six months, the company wants to increase its personnel and launch its largest ESOP buyback scheme to reward and recognise its employees' contributions.
Electric Capital, Galaxy Digital, FinTech Collective, Collab+Currency, Jill Carlson Gunter, and Ryan Selkis have invested $2,500,000 in Sublime, a decentralised lending platform that allows users to receive loans using their digital identities. Currently, the DeFi ecosystem is almost fully overcollateralized. Sublime tackles this problem by focusing the discussion on how capital access is determined.
Borrowers can use their social capital to get credit according to the protocol. Users can create entirely personalised borrow pools and credit lines that can be funded by lenders that are comfortable with the debt's terms.
Borrowers can stake their digital reputations by verifying their digital identities using one of the supported identity verification methods, such as Twitter, Github, Instagram, or other digital accounts.
DST Global led a $40 million (about Rs 300 crore) Series A fundraising round for fintech firm Zolve, with participation from Tiger Global, Alkeon Capital, and existing investors Accel and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Zolve is valued at $210 million in this round, which is one of the largest Series A fundraising rounds in India's startup industry. The company raised $15 million in its seed round in February, valued at $50 million.
Raghunandan G, a former TaxiForSure co-founder, launched the Delaware and Bengaluru-based firm, which specialises as a neo-banking platform for international migrants relocating to the United States.
DeHaat, a full-stack agri-tech platform, has raised $115 million in a Series D round led by Belgium-based investment firm Sofina and Lightrock India.
Temasek, the Singapore government investment fund, also participated in the round, along with existing investors Prosus, RTP Global, Sequoia Capital India, and FMO. The new funds will be used to improve the company's technology and to hire more employees.
DeHaat is a technology-based business-to-farmers (B2F) platform founded in 2012 by Kumar, Shyam Sundar Singh, Amrendra Singh, and Adarsh Srivastav that provides full-stack agricultural services to farmers through its digitised network of farmers and last-mile service providers.
Acko, a general insurance startup founded four years ago, has raised $255 million in a new investment round headed by private equity firms General Atlantic and Multiples Private Equity, valuing the company at $1.1 billion.
The funding round included current investors Intact Ventures and Munich Re Ventures, as well as Canada's largest pension fund, CPPIB, and Lightspeed Growth.
The Bengaluru-based firm was in talks with General Atlantic and others for capital infusion on June 29. Last year, Acko, the newest Indian unicorn, was valued at over $400 million. Unicorns are privately held businesses with a market capitalization of $1 billion or more.
A secondary component is expected to be included in the latest fundraise, bringing the total round size to more over $300 million. An existing shareholder sells their stock to a new investment in a secondary transaction. The new funds will be used to invest in the health insurance sector.
Purplle.com, one of India's top online beauty destinations, has secured $75 million in capital from Blume Ventures, Sequoia Capital India and Kedaara. This comes six months after Sequoia Capital India, JSW Ventures, Blume Ventures and Verlinvest supported the company with a $45 million investment. The money will help the firm achieve its objective of 6-8 times growth in the following five years.
Purplle has achieved market-leading growth and continues to establish a unique platform centred on the idea of revolutionising Beauty and Personal Care across India, according to Sunish Sharma, co-CEO and managing partner at Kedaara, and Anant Gupta, managing director at Kedaara.
Policybazaar, an online insurance aggregator, has raised over Rs 2,569 crore from 155 anchor investors, including HDFC Life, ICICI Prudential, Bajaj Allianz Life, SBI General Insurance, and Max Life Insurance.
Bids for the anchor slot of the SoftBank-backed startup's initial public offering (IPO) were over 40 times higher, with investors including Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, Dragoneer Group, BlackRock, and others taking part.
Existing investors in PB Fintech – the parent company of Policybazaar – Steadview Capital, Tiger Global, and Falcon Edge have increased their stake in the company with the anchor investment.
Policybazaar is a Gurgaon-based insurance aggregator and global financial technology firm. Yashish Dahiya, Alok Bansal, and Avaneesh Nirjar launched the company in June 2008.
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