The Week That Was: Indian Startup News Overview (20th Nov - 24th Nov)

The Week That Was: Indian Startup News Overview (20th Nov - 24th Nov)
India's startup ecosystem holds significant promise driven by government initiatives like Startup India and favorable policies supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. Tech adoption, increased digitalization, and a young demographic have fueled growth, attracting substantial investments and fostering a surge of startups, particularly in tech-driven sectors like fintech, health tech, and edtech. However, the landscape's future hinges on factors like regulatory changes, market dynamics, access to talent, and sustainability in scaling operations, influencing the trajectory of startups in India.
This week, we noticed Global Dental Services raised a $50 million investment from QIA, the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar and Airattix raised Rs 2.30 crores from angel investors based in India and the US. This capital injection, earmarked for expanding the business and acquiring skilled personnel, underscores the company's ambitions for domestic and international growth, notably in Dubai. These represent only a couple of the top ten startups that secured million-dollar funding this week. Here's the collection of the top 10 startups that secured million-dollar funding this week.
Global Dental Services 
Global Dental Services, the company behind the widespread chain of oral care clinics known as Clove Dental, has secured a strategic equity investment worth $50 million from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar. In the preceding year, it had garnered $66 million in growth funding with Investcorp as the leading investor. The cumulative investment of $116 million (equivalent to Rs 963 Crore) is earmarked for an accelerated expansion of Clove Dental's clinical network, the amplification of smile-enhancing solutions, and the creation of a diversified range of therapeutic oral care products.
“This investment will support our expansion strategies in both current and new tier I & II cities throughout India, ensuring broader access for more Indians to dependable, high-quality, and cost-effective dental care”, Amarinder Singh, Founder and CEO of Global Dental, remarked. Global Dental Services is a technology-driven platform providing a spectrum of oral health, dental aesthetics, and home care solutions.
EventHQ, an EventOps and Intelligence platform, secured $500,000 in pre-seed funding in a round spearheaded by Powerhouse Ventures. Notable angel investors Vijay Shankar, Arjun Pillai, and Karthik Ramamoorthy also participated in the investment. Founded by industry veterans Chameli Kuduva and Hari Pragdish, this Delaware-based company specializes in SaaS, community management, and organizing extensive B2B events.
EventHQ’s platform streamlines event operations automates event marketing, and improves visibility into event ROI. The recent $500,000 funding injection, led by Powerhouse Ventures and supported by key angel investors, is set to drive EventHQ's growth. Headquartered in Delaware, USA, the company is preparing for expansion, intending to use the funds to strengthen its team and focus on further product advancement. Early customers have already shown interest, with EventHQ opening its waitlist, indicating a robust market demand for its EventOps and Intelligence solutions.
Jodaro, the platform linking manufacturers directly to buyers worldwide, has successfully raised a significant $750,000 in its latest seed funding round. Led by Fundamental VC and joined notably by Maninder Gulati, this funding aims to drive Jodaro towards enhanced technological advancements, team growth, and amplification of its global brand presence.
Founded in 2023 by Rajiv Patki and Sambuddha Adhikari, Jodaro has quickly established itself as an innovator in the commerce realm. The company's forward-looking approach involves utilizing exclusive commerce intelligence, automation, and a technologically-driven global supply chain to directly link manufacturers with buyers.
JCBL Group 
Herby Angel, an Ayurvedic and organic personal care brand, has successfully raised $2.5 million in its first funding round from JCBL Group. The funding is dedicated to strengthening business growth, improving technological capabilities, expanding product varieties, enhancing research and development initiatives, and amplifying marketing approaches.
Since its establishment in January 2023, Herby Angel has adopted an omnichannel strategy, selling its products through both online channels and traditional distribution methods, strategically utilizing sales outlets to optimize returns on marketing investments. The brand has expanded its reach, spanning across 13 states and establishing a presence in more than 1,300 retail stores. Its product line is available on major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, JioMart, and FirstCry.
Vistas Media 
Singapore's Vistas Media Capital, with aspirations to secure $100 million for its film and digital content ventures in India, has successfully sealed a $10 million funding pact with Kitara Capital, a global investment group situated in the Middle East. Abhayanand Singh, Vistas Media's CEO, confirmed the $10 million investment from Kitara Capital, marking the company's initial funding achievement. Singh outlined plans to accumulate $100 million within three years to channel into the development, production, financing, and global distribution of Indian content across theatrical and digital platforms.
"We're currently in the process of developing theatrical and non-theatrical films, along with digital content, in Hindi and Tamil. Our film budgets will range between $1 million to $5 million", mentioned the CEO of Vistas Media. He also stated that certain films will first capitalize on theatrical releases, while others might opt for direct launches on streaming platforms. Additionally, Singh expressed intentions to produce content catering to Punjabi and Malayalam audiences once further funding is secured.
VAMA a virtual spirituality startup, has recently secured an additional $1.5 million in funding for its seed round. The investment, spearheaded by Wavemaker Partners, saw contributions from Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng of Summit Media and Harit Nagpal from Tata Play, as well as several micro venture capitalists and angel investors. Established in late 2020 by Aacharya Dev, Himanshu Semwal, and Manu Jain, VAMA has now accumulated a total funding of $2.8 million. The platform provides online religious rituals, virtual temple visits, and astrology services, collaborating with over 250 temples and linking more than 300 astrologers throughout India.
The newly acquired funds will be utilized to recruit talent, improve product development, and strengthen technological capabilities at VAMA. The company aims to introduce new products and services to enhance user experiences, transitioning the conventional offline mandir ecosystem into a digital space. Manu Jain, one of VAMA’s Co-Founders, expressed dedication to catering to the spiritual needs of their expanding user base. He highlighted, "This investment underscores our steadfast commitment to fulfilling the spiritual requirements of our continuously growing user base. Our goal is to revolutionize the traditional offline mandir ecosystem into a digital landscape through content-focused products aimed at engaging, empowering, and fostering lasting connections".
Scapia, a travel technology startup based in Bengaluru and led by former Flipkart executive Anil Goteti, has secured $23 million in its Series A funding. Elevation Capital and 3STATE Ventures co-led the funding round, joined by earlier investors Matrix Partners India and Tanglin Venture Partners. With this, Scapia has now raised a total of $32 million in funding.
Anil Goteti revealed that the fresh capital raised will be allocated towards bolstering product awareness and expanding Scapia's customer base through marketing strategies. The company aims to forge additional partnerships, allowing customers the freedom to select their preferred banks. Moreover, a portion of the funds will be dedicated to enhancing product development to elevate the overall customer experience. Established in 2022 by former Flipkart senior vice president Anil Goteti, Scapia unveiled its co-branded credit card in collaboration with Federal Bank just five months ago. This credit card incentivizes everyday expenditures by converting them into travel rewards, offering perks like zero-forex markup and unrestricted domestic lounge access.
Kiwi a domestic fintech startup, announced securing $13 million (approximately Rs 108 crore) in a Series-A funding round, spearheaded by Omidyar Network India. Existing backers, Nexus Venture Partners and Stellaris Venture Partners, also joined in this investment cycle. Established in November 2022, Kiwi expressed that this funding will facilitate the amplification of its services providing 'credit cards on UPI' across India. The incorporation of 'credit cards with UPI' is made possible through the issuance of digital RuPay Cards in partnership with various banks.
Certified by the NPCI as an authorized UPI third-party app, Kiwi previously secured $6 million in funding from investors that included Nexus Venture Partners, Stellaris Venture Partners, among others. Anup Agrawal, Co-Founder and CEO of Kiwi expressed that the funding would facilitate further enhancement of their services and the introduction of innovative products for their customers, marking a pivotal phase in product development and expansion.
Zephyr Peacock
Despite the ongoing funding challenges, there remains a keen interest among global investors in India's private markets. Zephyr Peacock, a New York-based global investment manager, aims to secure $200 million from both domestic and international investors in the coming months. The primary source of this funding is expected to be from North America. Mohit Gulati, President and Chief Investment Officer of Zephyr Peacock India, acknowledges the difficulty in raising such capital without specific investments in mind. However, he highlights India's strong appeal, mentioning that pension funds and significant endowment funds globally possess substantial capital reserves and are actively considering investment opportunities in the country.
Gulati, an advocate for Indian investment on the global stage for nearly two decades, notes that despite previous concerns about India's size and inconsistent returns in the private sector, the country's importance on the global stage has significantly increased. He suggests that India is now more integral to the global landscape, making it more feasible to attract investors.
Airattix, a marketplace headquartered in Pune, has received Rs 2.30 crore in pre-Series A funding from investors based in India and the US. This capital injection, earmarked for expanding the business and acquiring skilled personnel, underscores the company's ambitions for domestic and international growth, notably in Dubai. Established in 2020, Airattix has enabled people to list and lease out unutilized spaces such as rooms, basements, garages, and warehouses for storage or parking purposes. The platform serves authenticated users looking for reliable storage or parking options.
Aditya Kale, the Founder & CEO, expressed appreciation for the confidence shown by investors, stating, "This funding validates our growth in the storage and parking industry. We are grateful for the trust our investors have bestowed upon us, enabling our expansion both domestically and globally. Utilizing this funding, our aim is to widen our presence and build dedicated teams tailored to each market".