The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (25th Sept - 29th Sept)
The Indian startup ecosystem has expanded significantly and attracted significant interest from a variety of investors, both domestic and foreign. The amazing increase in Indian startups has been attributed to a number of effects. A number of variables, including innovation, a welcoming regulatory framework, access to financing, a skilled workforce, and a sizable domestic market, have contributed to the success of the Indian startup ecosystem. Indian startup is likely to remain lively and dynamic, attracting both domestic and foreign attention, as long as these circumstances continue to change and encourage entrepreneurs.
This week, Third Wave Coffee, a prominent chain of coffee shops in Bengaluru that is well-liked by the city's startup community, has raised $35 million in new capital in a round that was spearheaded by private equity company Creaegis; and Bluestone, India's leading omnichannel jewellery retailer, is set to secure Rs 550 crore ($65 million) funding, with Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath contributing Rs 100 crore. Here is the compilation of top 10 startups that raised million dollar funds this week.
Third Wave Coffee
Third Wave Coffee, a prominent chain of coffee shops in Bengaluru that is well-liked by the city's startup community, has raised $35 million in new capital in a round that was spearheaded by private equity company Creaegis, which is expected to intensify competition in the specialty coffee and quick service restaurant (QSR) space.
Third Wave Coffee is now valued at over $150 million thanks to participation from existing investors such as WestBridge Capital and cofounder of Udaan Sujeet Kumar. Sushant Goel, the co-founder and CEO of Third Wave Coffee, merely acknowledged the additional money. On September 20, Creaegis closed a $426 million fund with proceeds used to purchase the coffee chain.
MentorKart, a CareerTech platform, announced the successful raising of $250,000 in funding from Realtime (RTAF) and TiE Angel India. This significant investment will fuel MentorKart’s mission to address the challenge of corporate clients sourcing, screening, and skill development for candidates across various roles and functions. MentorKart has devised a unique solution to empower corporate clients in making recruits job-ready from the day they join, thus maximizing productivity. The platform runs academies tailored for companies, with the goal of achieving peak efficiency and productivity. The newly acquired funds will be instrumental in expanding MentorKart’s customer base and extending its outreach to aspiring professionals in Tier 2 and 3 cities across diverse industries. To date, MentorKart has raised a total of $500,000 from Realtime (RTAF), Lets Venture, Startup Buddy, and other investors.
Pranay Mathur, Partner & CEO of Realtime (RTAF), expressed his enthusiasm about the investment, stating, “We’re thrilled to invest in MentorKart’s ambitious vision. Their dual-focus approach addresses both corporate skilling demands and the aspirations of young professionals from every corner of our country. By leveraging Generative AI, MentorKart is set to redefine how talent acquisition, engagement, and upskilling is approached. Their drive to tap into Tier 2 and 3 markets aligns with Realtime’s commitment to empowering the future of our workforce. We believe this funding will propel MentorKart to new heights, creating a more job-ready generation and bridging the industry-academia gap".
Doceree, the world’s physician-only platform for programmatic messaging, has secured $35 million in a Series B funding round, with Creaegis, a distinguished digital and technology investment firm, taking the lead. This funding marks a significant milestone for Doceree, with continued support from existing investors Eight Roads Ventures and F-Prime Capital. The capital infusion will be instrumental in driving product and technology development and furthering global expansion efforts aimed at transforming communications with healthcare professionals (HCPs), as stated by the company. Investec played a crucial role as the advisor for Doceree during the Series B transaction.
Founded in 2019 by prominent healthcare marketing professionals Harshit Jain and Daleep Manhas, Doceree has positioned itself as a solution to the challenge of rising healthcare costs. The company leverages data and creativity in healthcare marketing to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in physician engagement. Doceree empowers pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, along with healthcare media agencies, by providing solutions that seamlessly reach HCPs through their networks and digital workflows, ultimately contributing to improved patient health outcomes.
Bright Money, a consumer fintech firm, has successfully raised $62 million in its latest funding round. This funding comprises $50 million in debt financing from Encina Lender Finance and $12 million in equity investment led by Alpha Wave, Hummingbird, and PeakXV. Encina Lender Finance specializes in providing lending solutions to consumer and commercial specialty finance companies in the US and Canada.
Established in 2019 by a team combining expertise from McKinsey’s Banking Practice, including Petko Plachkov and Avi Patchava, and data scientists from InMobi, including Avi Patchava, Varun Modi, Avinash Ramakath, Jay Merwade, and Amit Bendale, Bright Money is a consumer-focused fintech startup dedicated to assisting Americans in managing and reducing their debt through the innovative use of data science. The company offers a mobile app equipped with an array of tools and products designed to help individuals effectively handle and eliminate debt.
QuriousBit, a casual puzzle gaming studio co-founded by Ramakrishna Reddy Y L and Shubham Joshi, former core team members of PlaySimple, has recently secured $2 million in its initial funding round. Lumikai, a leading VC fund in India specializing in Gaming and Interactive media, took the lead in this investment round, with General Catalyst joining as co-investors. The company aims to utilize the funds from this seed round to create a new benchmark in innovative puzzle games built in India for global audiences. The founders will be investing heavily in curating a stellar team to build a high-quality casual mobile gaming studio.
Salone Sehgal, Founding General Partner, Lumikai stated, "A fresh and innovative approach both in game design and distribution is imperative to achieve category-leading success in the highly competitive global casual gaming market given current market conditions. Ram and Shubham’s deep thinking, category expertise, and design orientation deeply impressed us. We are excited to be on the QuriousBit journey with them".
Flipkart Ventures to invest $500k in Mumbai-based AI post-production startup Algomage in a pre-series A funding round to fuel company’s growth and expansion plans. Algomage provides professional AI tools and services for digital imaging to enterprises, retail industry and photographers. It’s cost-effective and fast delivery model is used to select pictures, edit and share them in real time. The company’s services are used across a wide range of sectors including large enterprises, retail industry, concerts, theme parks, schools, conferences, award shows, sports, cruises, Photographers Media Agencies, SMB, night clubs, among others.
In the recent past, Algomage has extended its services to events like Lollapalooza, Jio Wonderland, Bharat Jodo Yatra, Lakme Fashion Week, Akash Ambani’s wedding, Sonam Kapoor’s wedding, Gujrat Titan team for IPL matches among many more events. Algomage was one of the finalists on Shark Tank India. Algomage aims to fill the gap in the Digital imaging industry where 90% of the time is spent on post-production. It offers automated image processing and delivery via a suite of interconnected machine learning modules Algocull, Agoedit, Algoshare. These modules are designed to not only cut short post production time but deliver the images real fast. Its modules are designed to analyse users’ suggestions, editing style and previous record to come up with better and faster images.
DIAL 4242, a supplier of ambulance services, has raised Rs 1 crore in a seed round headed by investors G Vamshi Raju, Starfish Ventures, and a number of Hyderabad-based angel investors. The company stated that the money will go toward improving its services and growing its presence. DIAL4242 is an internet platform for scheduling ambulances in case of an emergency and was established by Jeetu Lalwanim.
The Mumbai-based startup claims to have a network, spanning over 750 cities and a fleet of 12,000 ambulances to ensure emergency medical services within a record time of 15 minutes. The firm has recently partnered with brands including Swiggy and Zomato, and supported their delivery partners with ambulances. It is also doing Mobile medical unit (MMU) support for other clients.
Electric motorcycle startup Raptee has raised $3 million in a pre-series A round led by deep-tech VC fund Bluehill Capital. The all-equity funding round saw participation from industry stalwarts including Eugene Mayne, founder-CEO of Tristar Global (UAE), Lakshmi Narayanan, former CEO Cognizant, Ramesh Kannan, MD, Kaynes Technology, Chandu Nair, director, Shankara Building Products and other HNIs from India and the UAE. “The funds will be allocated towards augmenting the manufacturing facility, acquiring machinery, tooling for the soon to be launched motorcycle, and to scale up the team”, said the company in a statement.
Earlier in March, Raptee received a grant from ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India), the certifying authority for automobiles in India, towards the design and development of the high voltage powertrain. The first motorcycle is expected to debut in early 2024, with two experience centres in Chennai and Bangalore, subsequently expanding to eight more cities by the end of the first year. “Raptee has initiated R&D for the next line of products and is planning to expand the team size to 150 in line with the business plan", the company in a statement. The Tamil Nadu government has allocated a 36 acres property for the company along with other incentives for scaling up manufacturing.
Autocracy Machinery Private Limited, an ISO 9001-certified manufacturer of trenching, turf, and construction machinery, has successfully secured $1.2 million in seed funding. This funding round was led by Venture Catalysts, with participation from notable investors, including Nikhil & Bharat Jaisinghani (Executive Directors, Polycab India Limited), Meghna Agarwal (CEO, IndiQube), Abhishek Rungta (Partner, Seeders), Srikanth Iyengar (CEO, Workforce Development, upGrad), Abhishek Modi (Managing Partner Shiva Engg, VP-South Asia chapter, Stanford Seed Network), and HEM Angels, VC Grid, and S Four Capital.
Founded in 2020 by IITian Santhoshi Buddhiraju and serial entrepreneur Laxman Vallakati, Autocracy specializes in cutting-edge machinery solutions for sectors such as agriculture, telecommunications, landscaping, irrigation, civil engineering, and infrastructure development. Their machinery is three times more efficient and reasonably priced to ensure accessibility for both farmers and contractors, harnessing technology for increased efficiency.
Bluestone, India's leading omnichannel jewellery retailer, is set to secure Rs 550 crore ($65 million) funding, with Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath contributing Rs 100 crore. According to the reports, Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, founder and CEO of Bluestone, confirmed the development, saying the company was in the final stages of securing a funding round worth $65 million, valuing the company at around Rs 3,600 crore ($440 million).
The funding round includes participation from Zomato founder and chief executive Deepinder Goyal and CEO Amit Jain, and financial services firm IIFL. Moreover, the reports mentioned that Ranjan Pai, the chairman of Manipal Group, and Info Edge Ventures are each contributing around Rs 100 crore in this funding round, with additional participation from existing investors.
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