The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (15 - 20 November)
According to a report by industry group National Association of Software and Services Companies, India's technology startup ecosystem garnered $6.1 billion in funding in the third quarter of calendar year 2021, a quarterly drop of about 6%. There was a greater emphasis on late-stage businesses, which accounted for more than half of the deal value.
Another week has come to an end, and the Indian startup ecosystem has had a productive week in retrospect. Let's take a look at what's been hitting the news in recent days.
Lucknow-based local content production platform, Knocksense secured $ 150,000 in a bridge round on Monday from Appyhigh (Lead Investor), We founder circle, LetsVenture angel investors and Mumbai Angels Network.
The start-up, founded by Whistling Woods alumnus Vibhore Mayank and Amity University alumnus Varul Mayank, recently launched its flagship product KnockOFF, which helps to establish a connection between local brands/freelancers and consumers, thereby creating a content-driven community that enables transactions at the city level.
Knocksense intends to invest the additional money in the technological development of the platform KnockOFF, as well as geographic growth into new cities by the end of the fiscal year.
3one4 Capital, an early-stage investor, has garnered INR 1,000 crore from local and foreign institutional investors for its third flagship fund. The fund surpassed its goal of INR 750 crore due to considerable investor interest as the Indian startup environment grows more appealing.
In 2020, the venture capital firm began raising its third flagship fund. Since its start in 2016, it has raised five funds, including three flagship and two follow-on funds. It was founded by Pranav and Siddarth Pai, the founding partners of 3one4 Capital, and its portfolio companies include Licious, Loantap, Koo and Darwinbox.
CDC Group Plc, a UK sovereign development finance institution, the Japan-India Fund-of-Funds-Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF (NIDIA); South Korean video gaming giant KRAFTON, Inc; and prominent Indian endowments and foundations like Catamaran and Premji Invest are among the new investors in the third fund. A few significant domestic banks, as well as industrial, insurance, and financial services industries, have contributed to the fund.
On 18th of November, Thrasio-style house of brands player, Mensa Brands, has garnered $135 million in a Series B fundraising round led by Falcon Edge Capital's growth stage platform, Alpha Wave Ventures, for a valuation of about $1.2 billion.
Mensa became the fastest firm to attain unicorn status in under seven months, thanks to existing investors such as Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Tiger Global Management, as well as new investor Prosus Ventures, previously Naspers Ventures.
Velocity.in, a revenue-based finance firm, has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round led by Valar Ventures, which is owned by Peter Thiel. According to a press statement, the company wants to invest over Rs 1000 crore in India's e-commerce firms.
Presight Capital, Utsav Somani's iSeed, Maninder Gulati (Oyo), Zac Prince (BlockFi), and Philippe De Mota were among the other investors in the round (Hedosophia).
Velocity's total equity raised $30 million, including a $10 million seed round reported earlier this year. Velocity has also secured various debt lines from non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) in order to rapidly develop its revenue-based financing platform.
Venture capital firm founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vaibhav Domkundwar, Better Capital has secured $15.28 million in its first fund to expand its pre-seed and seed investment approach, according to the firm.
Unlike other venture capital funds, which are administered as a partnership among a few executives, Domkundwar is a sole general partner (GP) at Better Capital.
Better Capital Ventures I is backed by former or present executives, operators, and investors from Meta Platforms (Facebook), Google, Uber, LinkedIn, Tiger Global, TPG, and other top 10 growth venture and hedge funds, according to the company.
GuardianLink.io, a non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem technology platform, announced that it has raised $12 million in a Series A fundraising round led by Kalaari Capital and a private investor group.
The money will be used to grow GuardianLink.io's design laboratories in Japan and Singapore, as well as to improve the technology brand's creative development capabilities and deepen its curative NFT packaging basis, according to the business.
In India, the NFT market is quickly gaining steam, with superstars from cricket and the film industry, often known as bollywood, creating digital assets in the hopes of making thousands of dollars by capitalising on increased interest in such assets.
Foodlink, the market leader of the Indian luxury catering and banqueting space, has raised US$ 8 million in its Series B funding round led by Arpit Khandelwal, Managing Partner, Plutus Wealth Management LLP. The Mumbai based company will use these funds to expand its flagship business of luxury catering across newer geographies in India and overseas, to take its luxury banquet brand called JADE Luxury Banquets to more cities in India, and to scale their casual dining restaurant business through its brands, India Bistro, China Bistro & Art of Dum.
The company has so far raised US$ 23 million including the current round. It received US$ 15 million as part of its Series A round from OAKS Asset Management in 2017.
Foodlink Banqueting and Catering provides exclusively crafted culinary experiences from all around the world through curating F&B experiences at weddings, corporate events and everything in between including destination events in exotic locations in Europe, the Middle East, USA, and Asia Pacific. It is patronized by some of the wealthiest and most respected families and business houses in India and overseas.
Mindhouse, a therapeutic health platform, has secured $6 million in a seed round headed by Binny Bansal. This round was also attended by Kwaish Capital, Anicut, General Catalyst, Better Capital and the founders - Pankaj Chaddah and Pooja Khanna.
Angel investors such as Bain & Co.'s Karan Singh and Sri Rajan, Innov8's Ritesh Malik, and Cloudnine's Rohit MA were among those who attended.
Mindhouse was founded in 2019 by Pooja Khanna and Pankaj Chaddah with a focus on mental health. However, after then, the focus shifted to curative health. Currently, the company provides a variety of wellness services to people who are dealing with health issues or chronic illnesses that necessitate considerable lifestyle modifications.