The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (10 - 15 January)

The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (10 - 15 January)

Three startups making the list of unicorns in the first two weeks of 2022 show that the Indian startup ecosystem is rapidly expanding. Lead School, the third unicorn of 2022, is an edtech company that raised $100 million from investors led by GSV Ventures and WestBridge Capital. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade hosted the Startup India Innovation Week in the second week of 2022; details of the innovation week and other funding news can be found below.

Start-up India Innovation Week

During the second week of January that is from 10/01/2022 to 16/01/2022, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is conducting the first-ever Start-up India Innovation Week.

According to DPIIT Secretary Anurag Jain, who briefed the media via virtual press conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would interact with entrepreneurs and address Startup India Innovation Week at 10.30 a.m. on January 15 through video conferencing in a closed-door session.

The 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,' a virtual week-long innovation festival, aims to celebrate India's 75th year of independence by highlighting the breadth and depth of entrepreneurship across the country.

Lead School- Third Startup to Join India's Unicorn Club In 2022

Lead School, an edtech company, has secured $100 million from investors led by GSV Ventures and WestBridge Capital, bringing its valuation to $1.1 billion in less than a year.

In April of last year, the Mumbai-based company received $30 million to provide tech-enabled solutions to schools with a focus on digital learning through an online or hybrid model (of physical and digital) of classrooms.

After direct-to-consumer brand Mamaearth and artificial intelligence firm Fractal, Lead School is now the third startup to join India's unicorn club in 2022. It is also the sixth edtech company in India to achieve unicorn status. Unicorns are privately held companies with a market capitalization of $1 billion or more.

Funding of the week


Lahori, a direct-to-consumer beverage firm, has acquired a $15 million investment from Verlinvest, a consumer-focused investor located in Belgium, in exchange for a minority ownership. It didn't say how much of a stake Verlinvest has chosen.

The Punjab-based firm will utilise the Series A financing to double down on its brand's growth by expanding both offline and online, as well as expanding the brand's national presence in retail chains. "The new money will also be used to develop and launch new category-creating items," according to the press release.

Verlinvest is a multibillion-dollar, family-owned evergreen investment firm with a global presence. Sula, Veeba, Epigamia, Byju's, Purplle, and Wakefit are among the firms it has invested in India.


Recykal, a Hyderabad-based business-to-business (B2B) platform for trash management and recycling, has garnered $22 million in funding from Morgan Stanley India. The round included return investors Vellayan Subbiah, Arun Venkatachalam, and Circulate Capital of the Murugappa Family, according to the business.

The business has already raised $26 million in total equity funding, including a $4 million round in 2020.

The funds will be used to improve the company's technology and grow its B2B marketplace, as well as to construct hyperlocal trash processing infrastructure.


Fintech startup IppoPay announced that it has raised USD 2.1 million in seed funding from Coinbase Ventures, Better Capital, Blume Founders Fund and other angel investors.

The startup will utilise the fresh funds to power its growth into new regions and market segments such as small-to-medium-sized businesses and to further strengthen its technology stack, including its payments engine.

“Our goal is to help offline merchants increase their sales and profits 10x while reducing friction in the customer experience,” IppoPay CEO, Mohan K said. “We want to put an end the tedious and time-intensive tasks of handling finances. IppoPay will work towards servicing and transforming businesses in every region and segment of the Indian economy.”


OneCard announced that it has raised $75 million in a new Series C fundraise, valued at $750 million post-money.

Existing investors QED Investors, Janchor Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Matrix Partners, and Hummingbird Ventures led the funding round.

The funds raised will now be used to expand the company's workforce size, hire across marketing and engineering areas, scale its existing product line, and consider geographic development.

The current round comes just ten months after the company raised $35 million in Series B funding, according to the company. Since its start, FPL Technologies has raised a total of $125 million in equity capital.


The Bengaluru-based fintech incubator Refyne has raised $82 million in a Series B investment led by Tiger Global, which allows salaried workers to encash their earned income to date. Existing investors QED, Jigsaw VC, DST Global's Partners, RTP Global, and XYZ Capital joined the round as well as new investor Digital Horizon.

Refyne's valuation has climbed 6.5 times since its $16 million financing in June 2021, according to cofounder Chitresh Sharma. Sharma and Apoorv Kumar launched the company in 2020, and in December 2020, they secured $4.1 million in early capital.

The cash will be used by the earned wage access (EWA) company for product development, staff expansion, ramping up different business operations, and raising awareness of the EWA idea.

Easy to Pitch

Easy to Pitch, a leading one-stop pitching solution that prepares start-ups to pitch and investors, recently garnered INR 10 million in a pre-seed capital round headed by Venture Catalysts, with cooperation from JPIN Venture Catalysts UK. The funding will be used to develop a new SaaS-based solution, according to the business.

As part of the fundraising round, Easy to Pitch will be integrated into the Venture Catalyst Group for their worldwide development goals in order to satisfy the needs of startups seeking to become fundable using technology.

Founder Priyanka Madnani commented on the fundraise, “our alliance with Venture Catalysts is not just an investment but a strategic association for our growth plans. This association would majorly help us expand our domain and serve entrepreneurs globally with our SaaS platform. Our ideal goal is to be the one-stop solution for entrepreneurs throughout their investment journey and make them pitch ready.”