The week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (1st May- 6th May)
India has emerged as one of the world's most rapidly developing economies. In the last year, many startups have been established, making India the fastest-growing ecosystem today. India is home to over 40,000 startups, and by 2022, it will surpass U.k & will become the world's 3rd country having the highest number of unicorns. Furthermore, despite the pandemic, the overall valuation of startups in India surpassed $1.5 billion, indicating that there will be countless top Startups in India in the coming years.
Fintech and e-commerce have remained the most sought-after startup segments for the past two years in a row, owing to the industry's rapid growth in recent years. This year, from Meesho announcing a strategic partnership with Google Cloud to Evenflow, an e-commerce rollup that closed a $5 million funding round from clutch investors, we have all been amazed by their fundraisings and partnerships worldwide. According to sources, Indian Fintech raised $9.03 billion from 410 equity funding rounds in 2021, which is expected to double this year.
We've created a list of 5 startups that were successful this week to understand the dynamics and drive the best possible benefits.
Internet commerce firm Meesho on Monday declared a strategic association with Google Cloud to drive its digital transformation journey. With this collaboration, Meesho expects to generate significant competitive advantage as it looks to build an AI-first supplier experience, better user acquisition strategies and a personalised shopping experience for the next billion e-commerce users in the country, according to a joint statement. "Meesho teams up with Google Cloud for faster innovation at scale," the statement said.
Meesho will leverage Google Cloud's scalable and reliable infrastructure to drive operational efficiency, modernisation and scale for growth while delivering better performance and experience to its users.
Google Cloud will also enable Meesho to advance its AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) capabilities across its value chain to augment business operations by enhancing demand forecasting and inventory optimisation. "This will enable further personalisation of shopping experience for a user base composed of about 50 per cent new to e-commerce consumers," it said.
The Optum Startup Studio identifies innovative ideas and startups that can help accelerate value delivery by seeking solutions to some of healthcare’s hardest problems. Optum, the technology services arm of the United Health Group, an insurance services provider in the United States, has launched a startup studio in India in with the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H). The company has similar programmes in the US and Ireland.
The Optum Startup Studio aims to identify innovative ideas and startups that can help accelerate value delivery by seeking solutions to healthcare’s hardest problems. “At Optum, we are developing the technology of the future to help modernise, streamline, and simplify the health system. We will get there by collaborating and connecting people and information through the technology of the future. The evolving startup ecosystem in India presents a great opportunity for collaboration to develop numerous innovations in the health technology sector. We are planning to support this through our Optum Startup Studio programme,” Phil Mckoy, Chief Information Officer, Optum said.
The first objective of the Optum Startup Studio programme is to function as a startup accelerator that aims to unleash the full potential of India’s health tech startups by mentoring them to rapid maturity as measured against international standards across respective products and services portfolios. The second aim is to support fast-track pilots with relatively mature startups that already have market-ready solutions.
Full stack foodtech platform FreshMenu will spend over Rs 20 crore on expansion and scaling sub-brands, having closed a fresh round of funding of $7 million from growth stage venture capital firm Florintree Advisors. Its previous investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Innoven Capital and Zodius Capital. FreshMenu founder and chief executive Rashmi Daga said the platform will expand its cloud kitchen units as well as launch new private labels. Existing ones in its portfolio include Green Cravings, dessert brand Edesia, and Asian cuisine brand Donburi.
“There are large opportunities to be tapped within the private label space; we will scale up with multiple new brands in-house across different cuisines,” she said. The startup, which saw revenue from operations decline to Rs 50 crore last financial year, down from Rs 104.57 crore in FY20, impacted severely by pandemic-induced disruptions. In its latest round of funding, FreshMenu allotted 100 equity and 14,85,642 series C non convertible preference shares at issue price of 336.95 per share amounting to Rs 50 crore from Florintree, according to regulatory filings with Registrar of Companies (RoC). Florintree holds 26.683% of FreshMenu, after allotment of the shares.
The Good Glamm Group is in advanced talks to acquire the Raymond Group’s consumer care business, which houses the Park Avenue and KamaSutra brands, three people with knowledge of the deal said. The cash-and-stock deal, pegged at around Rs 2,500-Rs 2,800 crore, is expected to be one of the largest acquisitions in the beauty and personal care segment. “This acquisition will mark Good Glamm’s entry into the men’s personal care and sexual wellness category,” one source said. Another source said the Raymond Group as well as its promoters will end up owning a minority stake in the Good Glamm Group as part of the deal.
Raymond Group is expected to carve out its consumer care business before any potential sale, one of the sources said. “As per the firm policy, we do not comment on market speculation. However, to enhance shareholder value, we keep evaluating all options available to us,” a spokesperson for the Raymond Group said in a response. A spokesperson for the Good Glamm Group declined to comment. The Good Glamm Group has aggressively acquired brands such as PopXO, Baby Chakra, Mom’s Co, ScoopWhoop, MissMalini Entertainment, Sirona and St Botanica, over the last 18 months.
Even flow Brands Evenflow, an ecommerce rollup said it has closed a funding of $5 million from a clutch of investors. The startup partners with digital-first brands that sell on ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Meesho, JioMart, and others, and helps to scale them profitably. The company saw participation from Village Global, 9Unicorns, Venture Catalysts, LetsVenture, Shiprocket, and marquee angel investors such as Emil Michael (ex-chief business officer at Uber), Vijay Shekhar Sharma (founder, Paytm), Kunal Shah (founder, CRED), Nimesh Kampani (cofounder, Trica), Sandeep Varaganti (chief executive officer (CEO) of Marketplace Reliance Retail), Abhishek Nag (ex-director, Netflix), Sony Joy (ex-vice president, Truecaller), MageHold (HongKong based micro fund), Moving Capital (Uber alumni syndicate), MyAsiaVC and a few others.
“We have acquired 7 brands and launched two private labels and managed to scale our brands steadily in the last 12 months. Our team is committed to scaling these fantastically built small businesses into everyday brands,” said Utsav Agarwal, cofounder at Evenflow. Evenflow aims to develop over 20 such Indian brands over the next 12-18 months. The startup will use the funds raised in this fresh round to expand its team size, acquisition, and enhance its tech and operations.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the Evenflow team and their continuous effort to remove all operational barriers for brands in the ecommerce space. Together we aim to enable small-medium scale sellers to expand their presence on the top ecommerce platforms and work efficiently and efficiently,” said Vishesh Khurana, cofounder of Shiprocket.