The Week That Was: Indian Startup News Overview (13th November - 17th November)
The Startup India Initiative has been instrumental in building a strong startup ecosystem in India by promoting innovation, facilitating networking, creating policies, and providing mentorship since its inception. Sectors such as e-commerce, fintech, health tech, and edtech have prospered due to this initiative. This growth leads to innovation, job creation, and economic expansion, and India's startup prowess is recognized globally, indicating its potential for transformative innovation. The ecosystem's trajectory demonstrates a country that is embracing entrepreneurship and innovation, ready to shape its future through technology and innovation.
This week, we observed RateGain Travel Technologies, a SaaS company in the travel and hospitality sector, initiate a qualified institutions placement (QIP) to secure Rs 600 crore in funds and Moneyboxx Finance, an Indian lending technology startup, is set to raise INR 75 Crore ($9 million) in a strategic funding round, primarily through preferential allotment to High-Net-worth Individuals. These are just two examples of the top ten startups that raised million-dollar funds this week.
RateGain Travel Technologies
RateGain Travel Technologies, a SaaS company in the travel and hospitality sector, initiated a qualified institutions placement (QIP) to secure Rs 600 crore in funds. The plan involves raising Rs 400 crore through a base issue and an additional Rs 200 crore via a greenshoe option. The company's fundraising committee, in a meeting on November 15, sanctioned the QIP. As per the company's filing on BSE, the floor price for the QIP was fixed at Rs 676.66 per equity share.
"The filing stated that the company has the option to offer a discount of up to 5 percent on the calculated floor price for the issue. The company will determine the final issue price in coordination with the appointed book-running lead managers", as mentioned in the document. RateGain had previously garnered approximately Rs 1,336 crore through its initial public offering (IPO) in 2021, setting the IPO price band between Rs 405 and Rs 425 per share. Prior to the public subscription commencement, the company secured Rs 598.83 crore from 34 investors.
Centa, an educational technology startup focused on teacher accreditation, announced a successful funding round of $1 million from a group of 30 angel investors. Notable investors in this round include Leo Puri, chairman of JP Morgan India; Pankaj Sahni from Medanta Group of Hospitals; Bahram Vakil, the founding partner of AZB & Partners, and Nikhil Mohta, director at ICICI private equity. Prior to this, the company had secured investments from venture capital firms like Omidyar Network, Discovery Assets, Pi Ventures, and 3i Partners. Established in 2014, Centa is a profitable venture that specializes in providing certification and upskilling services to a network of 1.5 million teachers worldwide.
From 2014 to 2019, the company operated a teacher examination platform modeled as an Olympiad. Starting in 2019, it transitioned into a comprehensive enterprise offering teacher accreditation courses. According to the statement released by the Bengaluru-based startup, it intends to utilize the recent funding to develop a 'teaching-as-a-service' (TaaS) marketplace. This model aims to provide on-demand teaching services to national and international educational institutions while also supporting state and national governments.
Inito, a graduate of Y Combinator, specializes in aiding women to conveniently track fertility hormones from home. Recently, the company secured $6 million in Series A funding, primarily led by Fireside Ventures. Their fertility monitor and kit are tailored to provide users with straightforward fertility diagnostic outcomes directly on their mobile phones within a brief span of 10 minutes.
The Bengaluru-based startup, established in 2015 by CEO Aayush Rai and CTO Varun A Venkatesan, originated from their shared professional background at MedTech giant Siemens. Rai, involved in product development, and Venkatesan, a researcher for medical products, fostered their connection through regular Sunday kayaking sessions. During these conversations, they envisioned making a meaningful impact on people's lives, which led them to leave their jobs and launch Inito. Their aim was to create tools enabling individuals to manage and comprehend their health from the comfort of their homes.
Keychain, a manufacturing platform catering to the packaged goods sector, announced securing $18 million in a seed funding round spearheaded by Lightspeed Venture Partners. This funding round also saw participation from BoxGroup, Afore Capital, SV Angel, and more than 20 experts within the consumer packaged goods industry. Umang Dua, the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, revealed that the New York-headquartered startup is in the process of establishing its entire engineering team in Gurgaon. Despite this, the core operations of the business will revolve around the worldwide manufacturing domain.
Keychain, initiated in 2023 by founders Dua and Oisin Hanrahan, who previously launched Handy and steered it to an Angi acquisition, aims to revolutionize the manufacturing industry through its proprietary AI platform. With an initial network exceeding 10,000 manufacturers, Keychain intends to assist brands in locating suitable manufacturing partners. Its services encompass competitive intelligence, manufacturer sourcing, negotiation of terms, onboarding, and compliance. Presently, Keychain's platform is exclusively accessible to invited partners, but the company plans to open it to select retailers and brands by 2024.
Ankit Agrawal, the CEO and Co-founder of InsuranceDekho has made a Rs 25 Lakhs investment in Heseos during the third installment of 'Indian Angels', which can be streamed exclusively on Jio Cinema. This strategic investment comprises both capital injection and debt carrying a 9.5% interest rate, showcasing Agrawal's backing for pioneering startups led by determined founders. Agrawal underscores his investment approach, placing importance on entrepreneurs who grasp the emotional connection of their business and have a well-defined comprehension of the market competition.
Heseos stands out as a trailblazing company specializing in cutting-edge smart technology products, particularly within the smart electrical sector, revolutionizing both residential and commercial spaces with its advanced IoT devices. Backed by a team possessing extensive expertise in the smart electrical domain, Heseos is dedicated to establishing a comprehensive range of smart home products. Agrawal was notably impressed by Heseos founder Irshad Bhatt's unwavering professionalism and clear strategic vision, especially in comprehending unit economics and establishing robust connections in B2B sales.
Breathe ESG, a startup providing SaaS solutions for corporate sustainability management, secured $315,000 (approximately Rs 2.61 crore) in a funding round primarily spearheaded by 100X.VC. This capital infusion, part of a pre-seed funding phase, aims to enhance product functionalities, diversify service offerings, and facilitate the company's international market expansion, as announced in the disclosure highlighting Breathe ESG's successful raise of $315,000 in pre-seed funding led by 100X.VC.
100X.VC served as the initial institutional investor in Breathe ESG. Following the 100X.VC pitch day, other notable angel investors such as KANJ Realty Ventures and Hyderabad Angels, alongside individuals like Vipul Jain (Chairman, Kale Logistics and Partner, Hearth Ventures), Pradeep Lala (Managing Director and CEO at Embassy Services), and Prashant Naik (Managing Partner, GRICAA), contributed to the company's investment.
Slice, a fintech unicorn, has secured its first funding of Rs 75 crore or $9 million in debt from Stride Ventures in 2023. As per the regulatory filing, the company passed a special resolution to issue 7,500 non-convertible debentures at Rs 1,00,000 per share, raising the specified amount. These debentures, carrying an interest rate of 14.25% per annum, are non-convertible and have a tenure of 15 months, as decided during the allotment process, according to the Registrar of Companies.
Slice has potentially raised an additional $35 million or Rs 300 crore, as indicated by a separate regulatory filing. The recent merger announcement between Slice and North East Small Finance Bank (NESFB) aims to broaden their financial services accessibility. Earlier in March, Slice acquired a 5% stake in NESFB for approximately $3.42 million, valuing the small finance bank at about $68.4 million.
ShareChat founders Farid Ahsan and Bhanu Pratap Singh secured $3 million in a seed funding round, primarily led by India Quotient and Elevation Capital. This funding is allocated for their latest venture, General Autonomy, a startup focused on industrial robotics. The company aims to develop AI-powered machines designed to automate specific aspects of labor workflows within factory environments.
Ahsan utilized X, formerly known as Twitter, to share the announcement. The ex-chief operating officer (COO) of ShareChat conveyed that General Autonomy, their new venture, aims to "transform the future of factories". Ahsan emphasized the complexity of factories, portraying automation as the solution for a comprehensive understanding, leading to safer, more efficient, and standardized production. He expressed the vision of making mass manufacturing as agile and distributed as software development, with operations based in Bengaluru but having a global impact.
Bakingo, an online cake delivery startup, has successfully raised $16 million in its first round of growth capital. The funding was led by private equity firm Faering Capital. The company plans to use the funds to strengthen its distribution network. Specifically, Bakingo aims to expand from its current 75 dark kitchens to 150 while also expanding into 10 new cities. Additionally, the company plans to create exclusive brand stores to offer customers an immersive experience. Bakingo also plans to invest in technology to improve its production, supply chain, and forecasting capabilities.
Bakingo is a startup that was founded by Himanshu Chawla, Shrey Sehgal, and Suman Patra. The company is known for its wide variety of cakes and desserts, which includes popular treats like Cheesecake, Gourmet Cakes, and Jar Cakes. With over 100 SKUs in their catalog, Bakingo offers an impressive range of customization options, with more than 200 cake designs to choose from. They promise to deliver orders within 2 hours in 13 cities and have recently expanded their operations to Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow, as well as smaller cities like Meerut, Panipat, Karnal, and Rohtak. The company is headquartered in Gurugram.
Moneyboxx Finance, an Indian lending technology startup, is set to raise INR 75 Crore ($9 million) in a strategic funding round, primarily through preferential allotment to high-net-worth individuals (HNIs), family offices, and individual investors. The funds will be dedicated to supporting the startup's expansion efforts, effectively doubling its current capital base, and enabling the provision of business loans in rural India.
Established in 2018 by Deepak Aggarwal and Mayur Modi, Moneyboxx Finance functions as a listed non-banking financial company (NBFC), concentrating on offering both secured and unsecured credit to underserved micro-enterprises in Tier-III cities across seven states. In the ongoing fiscal year, the startup has already garnered INR 99 Crore in funding, reporting a net profit of INR 3.01 Crore in the first half of FY24. Moneyboxx Finance has an ambitious expansion plan aimed at surpassing 100 branches by March 2024, with a target of reaching assets under management (AUM) milestone of INR 700 Crore by the end of FY24. This follows a previous funding round of INR 24 Crore in April and a current fiscal year equity funding goal of INR 160 Crore.
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