The Week That Was: Indian Startup News Overview (1st January - 5th January)

The Week That Was: Indian Startup News Overview (1st January - 5th January)

India's startup landscape is currently undergoing a remarkable surge, propelled by a wave of entrepreneurial spirit and bolstered by strategic government initiatives like Start-up India, which offers enticing tax benefits. The ecosystem's vitality is further fortified by the presence of incubators and accelerators, creating a nurturing environment for budding ventures. Noteworthy sectors such as e-commerce, fintech, health tech, and edtech are not only flourishing but also playing pivotal roles in fostering innovation, job creation, and economic expansion. The global recognition of India's startup prowess is a testament to the nation's potential for transformative innovation. This trajectory underscores a proactive embrace of entrepreneurship and innovation, positioning India at the forefront of shaping its future through technology and inventive solutions.

This week, we observed Maidaan a pioneering social edutainment platform, secured an undisclosed sum in a pre-seed funding round spearheaded by Inflection Point Ventures and EvolveX and SalarySe, a financial services application catering to salaried professionals, has successfully completed its seed funding round, raising Rs 43.71 crore. These are just two examples of the top ten startups that raised million-dollar funds this week.


Maidaan, a pioneering social edutainment platform, secured an undisclosed sum in a pre-seed funding round spearheaded by Inflection Point Ventures and EvolveX, with additional participation from Founder Circle. The investment will primarily fuel the platform's product enhancement, focusing on innovating content, games, and tournament structures. Maidaan represents a revolutionary peer-to-peer edutainment hub that is reshaping India's educational landscape for school students. By offering live, concise Olympiads and tournaments, Maidaan aims to provide a platform for students to expand their educational horizons and connect with peers beyond traditional schooling. With a vision to democratize and make peer interaction affordable and accessible, the platform aims to empower over 100 million Indian students from an early age. Maidaan's mission extends beyond classroom boundaries, fostering an environment where learning and personal development thrive, paving the way for a brighter future in K–12 education across India.

The founders, who grew up in households connected to the Indian Army, received their education in more than 10 cities across India, fostering an early appreciation for diverse experiences. Co-founder Judhajit Bal, a graduate of MDI, Gurgaon, previously achieved success with myHQ and gained valuable experience at Coca-Cola, shaping the vision of Maidaan. Co-Founder Shashank Awasthi, an ISB graduate, contributes over a decade of technical expertise from HSBC, Jivox, and Publicis Sapient, driving the growth of Maidaan's product and platform.

Medway Hospitals

Medway Hospitals, headquartered in Chennai, has disclosed the successful acquisition of $5 million in its first-ever institutional equity funding cycle. The investment round was led by Kyra Ventures, along with participation from family offices, as disclosed by the organization. With a presence in Tamil Nadu and Seemandhra, the hospital chain operates eight multispeciality hospitals. Medway Hospitals' areas of expertise encompass critical care, orthopedics, neurology, nephrology, neurosurgery, organ transplantation, pulmonology, and urology, collectively providing a capacity of nearly 500 beds.

The hospital chain notably established a groundbreaking heart institute in Chennai back in 2021, receiving accreditation from the Joint Commission International and the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers. The Medway Heart Institute has reached significant milestones, performing over 1000 heart surgeries and conducting 3000 cath-lab procedures. Additionally, in 2021, Medway launched an organ transplant program, successfully completing more than 150 renal transplants.


DevDham, a platform catering to temple-based devotional activities, has raised Rs 6 crore in seed funding from investors such as Titan Capital, All In Capital, Veda VC, and TDV Partners. The startup intends to utilize this investment to expand its temple network, bolster its technological infrastructure, and fortify its marketing endeavors. Prioritizing the enhancement of its tech and product infrastructure and operational aspects, the company aims to concentrate on augmenting its overall offerings. Bipin Shah, Partner at Titan Capital, expressed excitement regarding the investment in DevDham. He highlighted the platform's significance in revitalizing traditions by bringing live temple Pooja experiences to its app. Shah emphasized their dedication to empowering individuals on their spiritual journeys, aiming to create a positive impact on their lives.

Titan Capital, a venture capital firm established by Snapdeal’s founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, has secured over $10 billion from over 100 institutional investors, with a portfolio featuring notable companies like Ola, Mamaearth, Razorpay, Urban Company, and Netmeds. Originally named DevDarshan, DevDham was founded by IIT Graduates Pranav Kapoor, Suyash Taneja, and Sagnika Chowdhury with the objective of globally connecting devotees with Hindu temples. The platform facilitates online daily darshan, pujas, and digital donations. The startup perceives India's devotional market, estimated at $50 billion, as largely disorganized.

Captain Fresh

Captain Fresh, a Bengaluru-centered B2B marketplace for animal protein, has successfully raised $13.25 million in an extended series C funding round. As per regulatory filings obtained from the Registrar of Companies, the company's board approved a special resolution to issue 1,102 Series C6 compulsory convertible preference shares at a price of Rs 9,98,399 per share, in return for Rs 110 crore ($13.25 million).

Andhra Pradesh-based seafood exporter Nekkanti Sea Foods spearheaded the funding drive by injecting Rs 50 crore ($6 million), while Shakti Finvest Pvt Ltd followed suit with a Rs 30 crore investment. Ravi Shankar Pemmasani and Shibu Mathai contributed the remaining sums of Rs 27.46 crore and Rs 2.50 crore, respectively. This funding constitutes part of an ongoing investment phase, hinting at the potential for further financial support.


The health and wellness platform HyugaLife, supported by cricketer KL Rahul and Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif, has secured $1 million in funding through a blend of both new and existing investors. This funding includes strategic debt financing from notable partners such as Stride Ventures and Getvantage. The substantial investment is strategically aimed at strengthening HyugaLife's position as a key player in the health and wellness e-commerce sector. A significant portion of the funds will be allocated towards improving the platform's product offerings and technological infrastructure. In 2023, HyugaLife witnessed an exceptional surge in its user base, achieving a remarkable fivefold increase in revenue. This remarkable growth not only highlights the platform's success but also indicates a promising future for both the brand and the entire industry.

HyugaLife features an extensive selection of over 10,000 products across 10 categories, encompassing health supplements, sports nutrition, and health foods. Sourced directly from more than 400 brands, the platform has positioned itself as a comprehensive hub catering to health-conscious consumers' diverse needs. In addition to its wide-ranging product lineup, the platform actively cultivates its brand through initiatives centered on trust, genuineness, and education. For instance, initiatives like 'H-Tested,' launched in collaboration with KL Rahul, underscore the brand's dedication to quality, ensuring consumers receive products that meet stringent standards.

Larkai Healthcare

Larkai Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., a global Med-Tech company, has successfully secured $500,000 in seed funding, a significant milestone for the company's goal of offering advanced, cost-effective, and readily available healthcare solutions powered by cutting-edge AI technology. The FAAD Network, a prominent investor network, investing in the early stages of Larkai Healthcare appears to be crucially supporting its growth. The seed funding round witnessed contributions from key investors, including FAAD Network, QI Ventures, RTAF, and additional government grants. With this financial boost, Larkai Healthcare intends to lead the way in the next wave of technological advancements in healthcare, bolstering its sales divisions through strategic investments. The funding is instrumental in expediting the company's mission to transform healthcare accessibility and efficiency on a global scale.

Dr. Dinesh Singh, Co-Founder and Director of FAAD Network, affirmed their commitment to revolutionary technological innovation, remarking, “Our investment in Larkai showcases our steadfast commitment to leading the way in transformative tech innovation. Their pioneering use of AI to revolutionize healthcare strongly aligns with our mission to drive impactful change in the technology ventures landscape”.

VRO Hospitality

VRO Hospitality, a rapidly expanding F&B fine dining chain in India, has concluded a $10 million bridge funding round. This funding, comprising both equity and debt components, was spearheaded by Axis Bank, a major private sector bank in India, along with Gruhas, supported by Nikhil Kamath. Notable contributors in this funding cycle encompass NB Ventures, Kunal Shah (Cred) and actress Mouni Roy, among several others.

The injection of $10 million in capital is set to drive VRO Hospitality's objective of expanding its brand presence throughout India and establishing new benchmarks in the fine dining sector, with a primary focus on delivering exceptional guest experiences. These funds will play a vital role in accelerating operational expansion, furthering product development, and solidifying VRO Hospitality's position as a prominent player in the industry.


Co-living operator Settl has effectively secured Rs 10 crore in its pre-Series A funding round from investors like Gruhas and We Founder Circle. This funding round also sees participation from Anthill Ventures, Inflection Point Ventures, Ah! Ventures, Nila Spaces Limited, Soonicorn Ventures, Awficacy Capital, Pai Ventures LLP, and Ekyum. Their involvement signifies strong support and confidence in the startup's expansion strategies.

Following this funding round, Settl has now raised approximately Rs 14.9 crore, augmenting its valuation to nearly Rs 30 crore based on Fintrackr's analysis subsequent to its previous fundraising effort in September 2021. Settl has revealed that the newly acquired funds will be allocated towards critical areas such as working capital, team expansion, and enhancing technological infrastructure.


TestnTrack, an AI-driven startup, has raised an undisclosed sum in its pre-seed funding round from EvolveX, a global startup accelerator affiliated with We Founder Circle (WFC). Utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI), TestnTrack revolutionizes the traditional handwritten assessment approach, offering comprehensive solutions tailored for educational institutions and coaching centers. This cutting-edge tech startup, Testntrack, is reshaping manual copy-checking methods by leveraging automation. It streamlines handwritten assessments, significantly saving teachers extensive time and effort. Employing AI technology, educators can swiftly scan and upload students' answer sheets for immediate processing, providing not just scores but also audio feedback promptly. Furthermore, Testntrack is leading the charge in developing models for vernacular languages, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility within the educational technology domain. From crafting examination papers to instant evaluation, Testntrack disrupts longstanding educational norms, driving progress in the BHARAT context

Jaipur-based TestnTrack was established in 2022 by Vinay Kamal Sharma (CEO), Priya Soni (COO), and Ritwik Joshi (CTO). Vinay Kamal Sharma brings extensive experience in teaching across various cities, entrepreneurship, and business management, impacting the lives of over 40,000 students throughout his 14-year career. Transitioning into entrepreneurship, Sharma partnered with Priya Soni, Co-Founder of Examkul, an online examination platform, and Ritwik Joshi, a forward-thinking entrepreneur specializing in technologies such as Robotics and Generative AI. Together, they share a unified vision to redefine India's educational sector through the transformative potential of TestnTrack.


SalarySe, a financial services application catering to salaried professionals, has successfully completed its seed funding round, raising Rs 43.71 crore (equivalent to $5.2 million). Surge Ventures, the early-stage venture capital arm of Peak XV Partners, led this investment, marking the Gurgaon-based company's inaugural fundraising endeavor. As per regulatory filings sourced from the Registrar of Companies (RoC), the board of SalarySe approved a special resolution to issue 6,563 Seed Compulsory Convertible Preference Shares at an issue price of Rs 66,608 per share to secure the mentioned investment amount.

Peak XV Partners' Surge led the investment with close to Rs 25 crore, while Pravega Ventures, through Vistra ITCL India, contributed Rs 18.7 crore. Furthermore, SalarySe sanctioned a separate resolution to establish an Employee Stock Option Pool (ESOP), allocating 1,875 equity shares valued at Rs 12.5 crore or $1.5 million. Founded by Saumeet Nanda, Mohit Gorisariya, and Piyush Bagaria, SalarySe specializes in crafting financial products tailored for salaried individuals. Positioned at the convergence of UPI, credit cards, and rewards, SalarySe faces potential competition from platforms like Postpe, Simpl, and Slice".