The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (31 May-04 June)
The Indian startup landscape has been thriving, even amid the crippling pandemic. Particularly this past week saw several investment rounds for startups across various categories such as agritech, Sexual & Mental health, Crypto currency, Services and many more.
On Friday DPIIT, the nodal body for the Startup initiative disclosed that the number of recognized startups recognized has increased to 50,000. Of the total startups recognized as by DPIIT, 19,896 have been recognized since April 1, 2020.
The total number of startups have now spread across 623 districts with each state and UT having at least one startup. 30 States and UTs have also announced specific Startup Policies to support young enterprises. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat contribute the greatest number of startups.
A few days earlier the Export Promotion Council announced that BSE has joined hands by way of an MoU with Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) to create awareness about the benefits of listing among small businesses and startups.
Through this agreement, ESC will leverage its pan India network of electronics and IT exporters and evaluate SMEs and startups for listing on the BSE SME and startup platform, said a statement.
ESC will also assist in sensitizing its investor network to invest in SMEs listed on the BSE SME platform. This is a welcome move for the burgeoning SME sector of India.
After the success of its previous fund, WEH Ventures, an early-stage fund, has announced the launch of its second fund of 100 Cr to continue supporting startups focusing on India-first problems. Fund II is a successor vehicle to WEH Ventures’ maiden early-stage fund launched in 2017 which has seen class-leading performance.
The fund is focused in its approach- it plans to invest in 18-20 startups at an early stage and would seek to back them over multiple follow-on rounds. WEH Ventures has been the first institutional investor in the majority of startups it has funded so far and it aims to maintain this approach.
In another bullish move for the Indian startup ecosystem we saw Egreens, an agri-business startup founded by Mayank Chaurasia, announce an INR 150 million fund for early stage, agritech startups in India. Egreens will focus on startups that use innovative technologies and disruptive business models across the entire value chain of food production, storage and transportation.
The new fund announcement comes close at the heels of an investment of INR 150 million in VegEase, the in-house food retail brand of Egreens.
Backed by over 5 decades of experience in creating category-defining products in the FMCG sector by its parent company, Egreens plans to extend this focus to food distribution and retail.
Additionally, earlier this week we can see members of political families turning investors. Harsha Moily, the son of former Karnataka chief minister M VeerappaMoily, announced plans to launch a $200 million venture capital fund focused on the nascent climate technology sector.
The fund will identify promising Indian and Israeli entrepreneurs and companies working in four verticals: sustainable agriculture, green buildings, energy storage, and alternative energy.
Artha Venture Fund, a micro-venture capital fund based in Mumbai, also announced that it has raised Rs 225 crore toward the final close of its first fund. This includes Rs 25 crore for the green shoe option.
The seed, pre-Series A, and Series A levels of growth in business to business (B2B), business to consumer (B2C), and direct to consumer (D2C) enablers will be targeted by the early-stage fund.
Founded by Anirudh Damani, Artha has earmarked around two-thirds of the capital for investing in its winners. “We are looking to invest in around 40 companies. Then, will double down on 20 fastest-growing winner companies and will further invest in the top ten out of those,” Damani told. “We expect to fully deploy the capital by FY23.”
One of the biggest funding rounds of the week was when Delhivery, the New age logistics and supply chain startup raised approximately $277 million, or more than Rs 2,000 crore, in a new funding round led by US-based Fidelity, with Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC also participating. Baillie Gifford of Scotland and Abu-Dhabi-based fund Chimera have joined as new investors in the Gurgaon-based company, which plans to go public next year.
Fidelity has put in approximately $125 million, GIC has put in approximately $75 million, and the remaining capital has come from Ballie Gifford and Chimera.
Another big round of funding was Home services marketplace, Urban Company raising $255 million in Series F funding. The startup is also considering a public listing between 18 and 24 months.
Prosus Ventures, Dragoneer, and Wellington Management led the Series F round, with participation from Vy Capital, Tiger Global, and Steadview. Urban Company is now worth $2.1 billion as a result of this latest investment. The most recent round includes a $188 million primary capital infusion and a secondary sale of approximately $67 million by select angels and early investors.
New startups have entered the arena of mental wellness of students with Sexual and mental wellness app for teens, ThatMate. The platform has raised $140,000in angel funding from Rebalance Angel Community and a clutch of angels.
Founded in 2020by Madhavi Jadhav and Nishant Neeraj, ThatMate is bridging the gap in the sexual and mental health space for teens globally. Through its Android app, it facilitates conversations about and guides them on complex topics such as puberty, relationships, self-image concerns, peer pressure, and stress, among others. The startup has also designed an AI-powered interactive bot Bolo that answers all the questions teens cannot ask anyone.
Platform for Extracurricular activities, Crejo. Fun has raised $3 million in seed funding in a funding round led by Matrix Partners India. The round also saw the participation of 01 Capital, Gemba Capital, and other angel investors including Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Udaan Co-founder Sujeet Kumar, and Phonepe Co-founder Rahul Chari.
The Bengaluru-based startup, founded last year, offers yoga, dance, and art and craft classes. So far, over 2,000 children have registered on the platform.
In another exciting move for the Indian crypto industry, WazirX, India's largest cryptocurrency exchange, will launch a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) marketplace, featuring exclusive artwork by well-known photographers, artists, and mixed media professionals from India and other South Asian countries.
WazirX will charge a 5% service fee on the sale price, with creators receiving 95% of the proceeds. WazirX has also committed $50,000 in WRX as giveaways and cashback for collectors who use the platform to purchase NFTs.
With funding galore, another exciting week comes to a draw.