The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (27 September - 02 October)

The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (27 September - 02 October)

The global buzz surrounding the startup mentality has only been on the rise over the past decade or so. With the whole world adapting to the growth of startups, it has made it more crucial than ever to build an environment that fosters invention and creativity. This has resulted in the emergence of several startup hotspots around the world, with the number steadily expanding.

In 2020, the startups in the Southeast Asian region raised more than $8.2 billion which is about four times more than in 2015. This tendency continued in 2021, with regional M&A hitting a record high of $124.8 billion in the first half of 2021, up from 83 per cent a year earlier. As previously stated, startups are emerging, and we are witnessing multiple startup fundraising rounds every week. The stories of the startups that have raised financing this week are listed below.

Y Combinator, JAFCO Asia, Incubate Fund India, and AET Fund led a $4.2 million seed round for Akudo, a learning-focused neobank for teenagers.

Tribe Capital, Cabra Capital, and angel investors such as Groww cofounder Lalit Keshre all participated in the round.

The startup plans to use the funds to grow its workforce of 12 to 50 people over the following 12 to 18 months. It will also use the funds to improve its product offering in order to serve 1 million families in the coming year, according to cofounder Sajal Khanna. The organisation stated that it is concentrating on Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in India.

Global Investment firm The Xander Group, Inc., has invested 78 crores in Sanctum Wealth, a Mumbai-headquartered wealth management company which oversees more than 16,000 crores in high-net-worth client assets and operates across six major cities in India. The investment will be made through Xander’s Singapore-based financial services arm and the funds will be used to strengthen Sanctum’s operating platform and increase its client coverage.

Sanctum Wealth commenced business in April 2016 through the acquisition of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Indian private banking business. It provides a range of wealth management services to high net-worth individuals in India and abroad. These include the full spectrum of investment services, estate planning solutions, real estate services and private market solutions.

Fintech startup Capital Float has raised $50 million in an equity funding round led by Lightrock India. Cred founder Kunal Shah, Amrish Rau, CEO of Pine Labs and new investors like David Velez, Founder of Nubank also invested in the startup’s latest round.

Capital Float said it will use the funds to scale its BNPL platform and expand its partner ecosystem.

“By solving for affordability as well as convenience, in a fully-regulated format, we believe that our BNPL approach can responsibly expand access to credit to over 100 million customers who are starting to transact online,” said Capital Float’s co-founders Sashank Rishyasringa and Gaurav Hinduja.

Existing investors like Ribbit capital, Dinesh Hinduja family office, Sequoia Capital India, and Creation Investments Capital Management also participated in the round.

As part of the Women Connect Challenge India, the Reliance Foundation, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has chosen ten groups from throughout India. The Reliance Foundation has committed Rs 8.5 crore (over $1.1 million USD) out of a total of Rs 11 crores (over $1.5 million USD) in initiatives aimed at developing innovative solutions to alleviate the country's gender digital divide. By improving their economic empowerment through technology, such projects are expected to help roughly 3 lakh (300,000) women and girls throughout 17 states.

Anudip Foundation, Barefoot College International, Centre for Youth and Social Development, Friends of Women's World Banking, Naandi Foundation, Professional Assistance for Development Action, Society for Development Alternatives, Solidaridad Regional Expertise Center, TNS India Foundation, and ZMQ Development are among the grantees for the initiative. The solutions are aimed at bridging the gender digital divide experienced by women farmers, entrepreneurs, and members of self-help groups by tackling social and cultural barriers.

InnoVen Capital, a venture debt firm, has raised Rs 740 crore ($100 million) for the first closure of its new fund. According to the firm, the fund's target corpus is Rs 1,000 crore, with a green shoe option to raise an additional Rs 1,000 crore.

According to the press announcement, Innoven Capital Pte Ltd, a joint venture between Seviora (Temasek) and United Overseas Bank, is the fund's anchor investor. “While the fund is stage and sector agnostic, the primary focus will be on sectors such as consumer internet, B2B commerce, enterprise software, fintech, healthtech and logistics,” the firm said.

With over 180 startups, InnoVen has completed over 250 deals. It has disbursed almost $400 million since 2017. The business claims that its portfolio companies have raised more than $20 billion in outside financing and are now worth more than $70 billion.

Meesho has raised $570 million in a fresh round of fundraising headed by Fidelity Investments and Eduardo Saverin's B Capital, bringing its valuation to $4.9 billion in less than six months. Footpath Ventures and loan venture debt fund Trifecta Capital are among the new investors, according to the company.

Meesho plans to double its research and development team and expand its user base with the new funds. The Bengaluru-based business will also put a large amount of the money into Farmiso, its grocery marketplace, which it started earlier this year and has been aggressively hiring for.

Meesho's current round of funding comes as the company fights a wave of fraudulent and unconsented orders on its marketplace. Aatrey has announced a series of actions to perform a forensic audit and investigate the issue, including the hiring of consultant Deloitte.

Alteria Capital has announced the full closing of its second fund, which raised Rs 1,800 crore and is India's largest venture debt fund to date. This follows the fund's initial closing of Rs 1,325 crore in April.

According to Vinod Murali, founder and managing partner of Alteria Capital, the second fund has a target corpus of Rs 1,000 crore and a green shoe option of Rs 800 crore.

Murali stated that the fund is eager to support additional entrepreneurs through its debt solutions.

Alteria Capital now has Rs 2,500 crore in assets under management across two venture debt funds, making it India's largest venture debt provider.