The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (25th June-1st July)
We have just completed another fiscal year and the Indian startup ecosystem has grown from strength to strength. Even the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted a significant portion of FY 2022, could only pose challenges but not derail the funding momentum, which saw 1,633 deals signed during the fiscal year. The year 2022, will also be remembered for elevating 54 startups to the $1 billion-plus valuation club, making them Unicorns of India.
Interestingly, 14 of these 54 unicorns have upscaled in the most recent quarter; January - March 2022 lending credence to the notion that 2022, like 2021, could be another year of unicorns. This demonstrates how Indian startups reinvented themselves with their dynamic working procedures, which were required following the pandemic.
This week, Indian startups once again astounded us, with some raising millions of dollars while also acquiring other companies, and others focusing on expanding their presence in a number of other cities. This week, Zetwork, a Bengaluru-based manufacturing company, acquired three firms for Rs 100 crore, and Urvann, a Gardening-focused hyperlocal marketplace, raised Rs 3 crore in a seed funding round led by angel investment platform. Here are the top five best startups from this week.
Bengaluru-based manufacturing unicorn Zetwerk has acquired three companies for Rs 100 crore to strengthen its industrial vertical business in the oil and gas, aerospace, defense, and infrastructure component segments, the company said.
The company acquired Pinaka Aerospace Solutions for aerospace and defense manufacturing capabilities, bagged a majority stake in SharpTanks to increase Zetwerk's exposure to the oil and gas industry, and bought a 100% stake in the Wardha fabrication unit of Wheels India to tap into a $1.5-billion market comprising the manufacturing of critical fabricated parts for power, roads, and railways.
"Zetwerk and Pinaka have a history of working together. We are confident that our combined capabilities will help shape the aerospace and defense industry as we bring back demand for Indian manufacturing from global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)," Zetwerk Manufacturing Businesses co-founder and CEO Amrit Acharya said.
"As we scale and expand further, we add more homegrown manufacturing companies into our portfolio."
GetVantage, a revenue-based finance platform (RBF), has raised $36 million in funding led by Varanium Nexgen Fintech Fund, DMI Sparkle Fund, and returning investors Chiratae Ventures and Dream Incubator Japan.
Other new investors who participated include Sony Innovation Fund, InCred Capital, and Haldiram’s Family Office, amongst others.
“From day one, GetVantage’s mission has been to reshape the landscape of small business finance, so entrepreneurs have more access, choice, and control,” said Bhavik Vasa, founder and CEO of GetVantage. “We’re thrilled to welcome Varanium NexGen Fund, DMI Sparkle Fund, Sony Innovation Fund, InCred Capital, and Haldiram’s Family Office to our growing team of phenomenal investors and advisors."
The capital infusion is expected to drive growth of the firms’ performance-based financing solution and embedded finance products, enhance technology infrastructure, scale its product suite to meet the evolving needs of fast-growing digital businesses, expand their growing portfolio of B2B SaaS and subscription-driven businesses, and explore new-market opportunities across Southeast Asia.
“By using data to unlock capital access for SMEs, GetVantage is empowering thousands of e-commerce entrepreneurs to grow their businesses on their terms,” said Aparajit Bhandarkar, partner, Varanium Nexgen Fund, who will join GetVantage’s board of directors. “At Varanium, we look to partner with founders and teams that have a bold approach to solving massive problems."
Edtech unicorn Vedantu has launched its first hybrid learning centre in Muzaffarpur, following in on the strategy of other edtech startups like Byju’s, Unacademy and PhysicsWallah, among others.This comes as online education platforms shed the pandemic-induced growth, as offline centers open up with restrictions being lifted. Vedantu’s offline learning foray is largely focused on the test preparation segment as it looks to bolster its presence in the segment.“The courses will cover preparation for IIT Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), a two-year course for students of Grade 11 and a one-year course for dropper batch,” the edtech firm said in a prepared statement.
Vedantu’s offline classrooms will have interactive classrooms and immersive 3D content at an affordable price point, it said.“These are not typical offline centers, but hybrid centers well equipped with hi-tech technology…it will offer best-in-class live and interactive features in tier 3 and tier 4 cities,” said Vamsi Krishna cofounder and chief executive of Vedantu.
AquaExchange, a fintech platform catering to India’s shrimp and fish ecosystem, said it has raised $3 million in funding from Endiya Partners, Accion Venture Lab, and other existing investors.The firm plans to deploy the capital for improving its tech, e-commerce operations and expanding to over 1 lakh acres of farm land by March 2023.
“At AquaExchange, the focus is to add value to the aquaculture farming process through the use of advanced technology. Our IoT devices and automatic feeders installed at scale are helping farmers with higher reliability/efficiencies in terms of aeration and feed management, and generating ROIs within the first quarter of usage,” said Pavan Kosaraju, founder of AquaExchange.Kosaraju believes future aquaculture farmers should be equipped with the right data at the right time to ensure higher crop successes and increase in farming productivity.
“This will help other players in banking, financial services, and insurance to work with farmers and unlock industry-wide efficiencies,” he added.
Gardening-focused hyperlocal marketplace Urvann has raised Rs 3 crore in a seed funding round led by angel investment platform Inflection Point Ventures (IPV). The capital raised by the company will be used for the expansion of operations, according to a statement.
Urvann is a hyperlocal marketplace for plants and gardening products. It launched operations in Delhi-NCR in August 2021. The company plans to expand operations in major Indian cities, including Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and Chennai by the end of this year.
Urvann provides a wide variety and next-day delivery of fresh plants at low prices by partnering with local nurseries in a city. The model is different from that of traditional players, who courier plants from one city to another, resulting in high delivery costs and suboptimal plant quality due to long transit times.
Within a year of its inception, Urvann has already catered to 15,000-plus orders, delivered 1,00,000 plants in Delhi, and served over 6,000 customers.