The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (29 November - 04 December)
Another week has come to a close, and we've covered all of the latest funding news. The week began with Slice, a financial startup, becoming a unicorn. On the same day, it was announced that India's first crypto unicorn, CoinDCX, is seeking regulatory approval before going public. We've also reported on Edtech startup Adda247, financial startup Simpl, foodtech platform Box8, and a slew of other firms across a variety of industries raising funds. The following is a quick rundown of a few startups that raised funds this week.
Slice, which was valued at under $200 million in a financing round in June this year, has raised $220 million fundraise that values it at over $1 billion, the startup said.
Insight Partners and Tiger Global co-led the Bangalore-based startup’s Series B round. Moore Strategic Ventures, Sunley House Capital, Anfa and existing invetsors Blume Ventures, Gunlosy and 8i also participated in it.
Slice is one of the market leading card-issuing firms in India that are aimed at tech-savvy young professionals in the country. “These users have been on Instagram and Snapchat for years,” said Bajaj of Slice customers.
India's first cryptocurrency unicorn, CoinDCX aims to pursue an initial public offering as soon as government regulations allow it, according to CoinDCX co-founder Neeraj Khandelwal.
Similar to Coinbase Global Inc.'s U.S. IPO earlier this year, the share offering would be a crucial vote of confidence for India's digital asset market, according to Khandelwal.
CoinDCX's expansion plans come at a key juncture for the industry's future in India, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration develops legislation to regulate cryptocurrencies. The central bank has made it plain that all private cryptocurrencies will be outlawed while an official digital currency is developed. The government, on the other hand, is willing to make exceptions in order to promote blockchain technology.
Bessemer Venture Partners
Bessemer Venture Partners, one of the region's oldest early-stage investors, has secured a $220 million India-focused fund for the first time. 15 years ago, the firm began investing in India.
The shift in strategy comes amid an unusual inflow of capital into Indian new economy companies this year from risk investors willing to make greater and riskier bets. "The fund will largely invest in early-stage startups, supporting them from seed to growth-stage rounds," a source added.
The fund will invest in firms from a variety of industries, including consumer internet and cloud software, as well as marketplaces, digital health, social commerce, vertical and global software-as-a-service.
PharmEasy, BigBasket, Swiggy, Urban Company, and Perfios are among the firms that have funded PharmEasy, BigBasket, Swiggy, Urban Company, and Perfios.
Fintech startup Simpl has raised $40 million in its Series B round led by Valar Ventures and IA Ventures. Some existing ventures and LFH Ventures also participated in the round.
The startup offers the customers of popular online brands the ability to make purchases and then pay later.
Over the years, additionally, it has also developed a range of offerings including a one-time checkout feature; Bill Box, which allows customers to automate their recurring expense payouts, and splitting a bill into three parts, to build a “full-stack solution”, said Nitya Sharma, co-founder and chief executive of Simpl.
Some of Simpl’s partners include food delivery service Zomato, grocer BigBasket, telecom network Jio Platforms, pharmacy 1MG and ticketing platform MakeMyTrip.
Ola Financial Services
According to regulatory records, Ola is investing up to Rs 786.1 crore in Ola Financial Services (OFS), which will now become a 100 percent subsidiary of the ride-hailing company. Ola has been given permission to "make an investment in Ola Financial Services Pvt Ltd up to Rs 786,64,12,400 in-kind consideration against swap of shares of the firm," according to documents submitted by ANI Technologies (which operates Ola) to the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
ANI Technologies will now acquire 100% of Ola Financial Services in an all-stock acquisition, according to sources.
Ola Financial, which is a crucial aspect of Ola's mobility platform, has sold over 675 million policies.
BOX8, a full-stack foodtech platform based in Mumbai, has secured $40 million in funding from Tiger Global and renamed as EatClub Brands.
The company, which recently added GLOBO Ice Cream and ZAZA Biryani to its portfolio, operates eight brands out of more than 150 cloud kitchens.
“We have deliberately spent time in building deep capabilities in food, technology & operations. With this additional funding, we now plan to rapidly scale geographically to 500+ kitchens in 15 cities,” said Amit Raj, Co-Founder, EatClub Brands. The company was also planning to on-board talent and build robust teams, he said.
EatClub Brands was founded in 2012 by Raj and Anshul Gupta, both IIT grads, and began with BOX8, a brand noted for its all-in-one meals and desi packaging.
8i Ventures, based in Mumbai, is seeking to raise a $50 million second fund, Fund-II, which would be four times larger than its previous corpus, in order to increase its investments in commerce and fintech startups.
8i Ventures, which was founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and angel investor Vikram Chachra and Vishwanath V, has sponsored seven early-stage firms with its $13 million Fund-I.
Slice, a credit-card issuing business; M2P, a card-issuing platform; and Difenz, digital risk, and fraud monitoring provider, have all done well for the firm.
Slice, in fact, announced last week that it had raised $220 million in funding from Tiger Global and Insight Partners, among others, and that its valuation had surpassed $1 billion.
Swiggy has earmarked $700 million for its Instamart service, amid heightened investor interest and growing competition in the instant grocery delivery segment, co-founder and chief executive Sriharsha Majety said.
Instamart launched in August last year as Swiggy’s quick commerce vertical, is set to reach an annualised GMV run rate of $1 billion in the next three quarters, the company said.
The delivery platform has more than one million grocery orders per week and runs 150 dark stores across 18 cities. Over the next few months, it will add 100 more of these so-called dark stores.
PayGlocal, a payment solutions incubator, announced that it has secured $4.9 million in a Series A fundraising round headed by Sequoia Capital, with participation from BeeNext, Jitendra Gupta, and Amrish Rau.
The money will be used to scale the company's cross-border merchant payment solution and expand the staff, according to the company.
PayGlocal, which was founded in 2021 by ex-Visa executives Prachi Dharani, Rohit Sukhija, and Yogesh Lokhande, allows businesses to accept and collect payments from clients outside of India in their own currency and using their own credit and debit cards.