The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (23-27 August)
Despite the looming third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and a delayed economic recovery, there appears to be an optimism among Indian VCs. From January to July 2021, venture capital firms invested a total of $17.2 billion in the Indian startup ecosystem, according to data provided by the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA) and Venture Intelligence. Adding to the flow, there were many fundraising rounds for various startups in the month of august too. Down below are the startups which raised funds this week.
The week started with the Online learning company, Vedantu raising $100 million, valuing it at a billion dollars post-money, according to sources. The company is firmly moving with a fundraise rather than a speculated purchase by Byju's.
Existing investors Coatue Management, GGV Capital, and Tiger Global Management will each contribute $60 million, while an Asian private equity fund would invest $40 million, according to these sources.
Vedantu never spoke with Byju's, according to sources close to the deal, putting an end to purchase rumours. CEO Vamsi Krishna also vehemently rejected the development in the report and subsequent interviews, claiming that his top focus was to grow Vedantu independently.
On the next day, ChrysCapital, True North, and other global private equity companies have invested $150 million in QuEST Global for a minority position in the engineering solutions company. The investors bought a piece of QuEST's cofounders' and management team's stock, the business announced on Monday.
Existing investors Bain Capital, Advent and GIC remain invested in the company, it added. "The investment by three of the most respected global investors, despite the ongoing pandemic crisis, is a testament to our ability to build and grow our business to become the most trusted thinking partner to customers," said AjitPrabhu, chairman and CEO of QuEST Global.
On 24th of august, Bengaluru-based financial Company, Khatabook has raised $100 million in Series C funding, valued at $600 million. Tribe Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures (MSV) led the financing.
Other investors in the oversubscribed series C round included Alkeon Capital, with internal investors B Capital Group, Sequoia Capital, Tencent, RTP Ventures, Unilever Ventures, and Better Capital continuing to participate. Balaji Srinivasan and Sriram Krishnan, among others, participated as independent investors.
The company has recently stated that their ESOP pool has been increased to $50 million. It also announced that it will purchase back $10 million in ESOPs to thank and reward employees, ex-employees, and early investors. Employees who qualify will be able to sell up to 30% of their vested options. Khatabook has also increased the size of its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) pool to $50 million.
Smytten, an online platform for consumer product discovery and trials, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Fireside Ventures. The round was held on Tuesday and saw participation from Waao Partners (Pratul Shroff family office), Survam Partners (Suman Kant Munjal family office), and Sharp Ventures (Mariwala family office). Among existing investors Roots Ventures also participated.
A major portion of the funding will be used for technology development, which will help D2C brands with good consumer data for new product development, consumer marketing, acquiring customers, and achieving scale.
Following the trend, on the next day Ankit Nagori's spin-off foodtech company Curefoods raised $13 million in funding led by Iron Pillar, Nordstar, and Binny Bansal. According to a statement, leading angels Adil Allana, Rashmi Kwatra, Lydia Jett, and Kunal Shah also took part in the round.
In recent months, the firm has acquired and incubated a number of cloud kitchen companies. The new cash will be utilised to acquire a slew of new digital food businesses across the globe.
With this round of fundraising, the company has raised a total of $20 million in seed and Series A funding. In the coming weeks, Curefoods hopes to close a $10 million debt raise. According to Ankit, the team now plans to expand from four to eight cities in South India in the next 12 months, as well as acquire five more companies.
D2C fashion brand, Bewakoof.com raised $60 million in a pre-Series-B financing led by InvestCorp and including IvyCap Ventures and Spring Marketing Capital. With this round, the company has raised a total of 170 crore.
The fund will be used to accelerate the company's growth by investing in marketing, branding, technology, and talent acquisition. By 2025, it aims to have a revenue of 2,000 crore.
Bewakoof recently launched celebrity-led digital ads with Rajkummar Rao, Sanya Malhotra, and Farhan Akhtar (Toofaan), and plans to expand by signing more A-list stars to develop high-decibel marketing campaigns across digital, OOH, and TV. On the technological front, the business intends to establish a gamification-driven loyalty programme as part of its Bewakoof Tribe update, which will include new and exclusive launches for club members.
Gurugram based ed-tech startup, Camp K12 has raised $12 million. The series A funding round was co-led by Elevation Capital and Matrix Partners India.
The company will utilise this funding towards hyper-scaling operations & marketing, hiring leaders across functions and to build an engineering & product team.
Gurugram based Camp K12 was founded by Anshul Bhagi (CEO) and Sandeep Bhagi. It is an onlineschool for 21st-century skills and teaches English, coding and other subjects to children through interactive, live gamified sessions. Camp K12 launched English as its first category after coding.
Indian game production firm, Supergaming has raised $5.5 million (about Rs 40.8 crore) in a Series A round led by Skycatcher, AET Fund, BAce Capital, Dream Incubator, 1Up Ventures, and Icertis cofounder Monish Darda.
The funds will be used to grow the company's personnel from 120 to over 200 in a year, according to the Singapore-based company, which is based in Pune.
The funds will also be used to expand project development, expand its publishing business, and advertise existing titles. The studio is working on a massive battle royale game that will be released early next year.
SuperGaming, which was founded in 2019 by Roby John, Navneet Waraich, and Sanket Nadhani, has created mobile games such as MaskGun, Devil Among Us, and Tower Conquest.
Today, Indiagold, a platform that offers gold loans, digital gold, and other services, said that its Series A round of fundraising has raised $12 million. PayU, a financial services company, and the Falcon Edge Capital-managed Alpha Wave Incubation led the round (AWI). This is PayU's first foray into the world of online gold.
Better Tomorrow Ventures, 3one4 Capital, Rainmatter Capital, which is backed by Zerodha, and current investor Leo Capital also participated in the round.
Deepak Abbot and Nitin Misra, who both worked as Senior Vice Presidents at Paytm till 2019, created Indiagold in 2020. Over a million consumers use the company's gold-backed loans, gold savings, and gold locker services.