The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (14-18 June)

The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (14-18 June)

Another exciting week filled startup news pertaining to investments, raising funds, new appointments etc comes to a close. We can also see startups being successful in combating covid by integrating new technologies, edtech startups bagging huge investments, state governments launching startup programs and one can go through many such news this week.

The week began with Byjus’s becoming the most Valuable Indian Startup. Byju's, has raised approximately $350 million in the most recent funding round, making it the country's most valuable startup with a valuation of $16.5 billion, surpassing Paytm's valuation of $16 billion.

According to the sources, citing the company's filings with the Registrar of Companies, the company increased resources from UBS Group, Blackstone, ADQ in Abu Dhabi, Zoom founder Eric Yuan's family office, and Phoenix Rising - Beacon Holdings

According to the publication, the fund boosting is a portion of the $1.5 billion that the company began raising in April. According to the statements, the company recently raised $1 billion from investors such as Baron Funds, B Capital Group, and XN Exponent Holding, as well as existing investors.

In other news, the world's most advanced platform to start leveraging the full potential of Decentralised Finance Instadapp has raised $10 million in funding from venture capital firm Standard Crypto and strategic partners such as Yearn founder Andre Cronje, DeFi Alliance, and Longhash Ventures, among others.

In 2019, the company raised a seed round of funding from entrepreneur investors Naval Ravikant and Balaji Srinivasan, crypto-focused hedge fund Pantera Capital, and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. The most recent round, in lieu of Instadapp's soon-to-be-released tokens, brings the total funds raised to $12.4 million.

Education technology companies have seen an increase in the use of their products and services. Cuemath, an Indian online education platform, plans to raise at least $100 million in a new financing round this year, with the company aiming for a valuation of $1 billion by the end of 2022.

MananKhurma, Chief Executive and Founder of Cuemath, told that the Bengaluru-based company hoped to close a Series D funding round of at least $100 million by December, which would be used to fund growth plans, including acquisitions of other platforms.

Cuemath raised $40 million in a Series C round last February, which included investments from LightstoneAspada and Alpha Wave Incubation, Sequoia Capital India, Manta Ray, and Alphabet Inc's independent growth fund CapitalG.

When the government was looking for solutions to combat the spread of Covid-19 in May 2020, A Pune-based startupThincrTechnologies has created a 3D printed mask that not only prevents the coronavirus from infecting the wearer, but also attacks the virus when it comes into contact with it. The mask is coated with antiviral virucides that kill coronavirus. The 3D-printed mask was tested and found to be effective in deactivating SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The coating can be applied to any type of mask, including N-95, 2-ply, and cloth-mask masks.

Thincr Technologies India Private Limited, which works at the intersection of 3D printing and pharmaceuticals, received assistance from the Mumbai-based office of a multinational pharmaceutical company Merck Life Sciences and used their research facility.

On the fifth year anniversary of B2B e-commerce firm, Udaan has invested over Rs 4,000 crore in the last 12-18 months across technology, supply chain, and other areas, and is aiming for 100 percent year-on-year growth this fiscal year.

"We have invested more than Rs 4,000 crore in the past 12-18 months across different pillars of business - technology, supply chain, category, credit, people, compliance, etc - to accelerate and strengthen our capabilities. This is already showing in our growth and we continue to aim for 100% y-o-y growth this financial year," company statement said.

Udaan, which was founded in 2016, has over 3 million users and over 30,000 sellers on its platform. It has over 1.7 million customers, including retailers, Kirana shops, HoReCa, chemists, and farmers, and over 5 lakh products from 2,500 brands.

The week also saw AI Startups raising funds. Vianai Systems, an artificial intelligence startup founded by former Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, announced that the startup has raised $140 million in Series B funding from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and industry luminaries.

The company claims to be developing a human-centered AI platform, an approach that it claims will augment human judgement while also providing domain experts with AI tools to deliver business value. It went on to say that it has already delivered successful business outcomes for a number of "world-leading" companies.

Vianai also announced the appointment of Fei-Fei Li, Co-Director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI, to its advisory board.

In another news we saw Avataar Ventures investing $16 million in Series C funding round for San Francisco-based talent management startup Sense. Existing investors Accel Partners and Google Ventures also participated in the round.

Anil Dharni, CEO and Co-founder of Sense, said, “We see India as a highly strategic market for us. The tech talent in Indian is very robust and knowledgeable in SaaS solutions. This global expansion allows us to tap into that rich talent market to grow our product and engineering team as well as a dedicated marketing and customer success team. And eventually, it will serve as our regional HQ for broader Asia expansion which itself holds a $110 billion market potential.”

Sanjay Dharmani (ex-InMobi) will join Sense India as Managing Director, while Nishant Rao, Founder of Avataar Venture Partners, will join the board.

T-Hub, a Telangana government-supported ecosystem builder, announced the launch of its redesigned funding programme‘T-Angel'on Thursday to meet the funding needs of startups in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to T-Hub, the programme will be supported by Angel Investors who will collectively invest up to Rs 50 lakh in each qualified startup.

T-Angel is a 45-day acceleration programme for selected startups that will begin in July 2021. T-Hub claims that after an extensive screening process by a committee of investors and mentors, 15-20 tech beginners with cutting-edge solutions in various sectors will be shortlisted from applications received.