The week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (29th May- 3rd June)
This weekend indian startup ecosystem faced another success! We saw huge fundings, investments, & acquisitions one after the other & this might be the only reason why India's startup environment is booming. Indian startups have evolved considerably since 2018, as the country's corporate climate has been more favourable to entrepreneurship, resulting in a robust startup ecosystem humming with new ideas and technologies, providing jobs, and celebrating entrepreneurship. As a result, the scope of PE-VC investments in India has expanded, with the share of startup investments steadily increasing over the last decade. It's encouraging to see so many new companies emerge, not just in the technology industry but also in consumer goods, financial services, logistics, and other areas.
This week, we saw Indian Edtech pioneer Byju’s undergo a major transformation, with Byju Raveendran, the company's founder and CEO, deciding to focus his efforts on worldwide operations, particularly in the United States, to a fintech company Slice getting a whooping amount of 50 million dollars headed by Tiger Global to strengthen the UPI product.
The top 5 companies that captured our attention this week are listed below-:
As the Indian online edtech market diminishes due to the reopening of schools, universities, and tuition centres, BYJU's Founder and CEO Byju Raveendran plans to focus on worldwide operations, particularly in the United States. Raveendran is expected to pass over India operations to Chief Operating Officer Mrinal Mohit, according to sources close to the situation. BYJU's, which was recently valued at nearly $22 billion, making it India's most valuable start-up, declined to comment on the development, but reliable sources say an official confirmation about Raveendran taking a larger global role will come soon, as new designations for Raveendran and Mohit are being discussed. Raveendran is already out of India, meeting investors in the US and the UAE.
BYJU'S in March announced a new partnership with QIA, the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, to launch a new edtech business and state-of-the-art research centre in Doha. The new entity in Doha will drive research and innovation to create cutting-edge learning solutions customised for students in the MENA region. "We are excited to partner with QIA in this next phase of expansion, development and building new innovations in learning in the MENA region," Raveendran had said in a statement.
Two sources familiar with the sale discussions told Reuters that the parent company of India's ShareChat has raised almost $300 million in new capital from Alphabet Inc's Google, media conglomerate Times Group, and Singapore's Temasek Holdings, valuing the social media company at nearly $5 billion. According to the sources, an agreement will be announced as soon as next week. A attempt for comment from ShareChat's parent business, Mohalla Tech, went unanswered. Requests for comment from Google and Temasek were not immediately returned, and the Times Group could not be reached. Google has already supported Josh, which competes with ShareChat's sister startup Moj. This is Google's second major investment in India's short video industry.
Google's investment in a bearish market for Indian start-ups shows the appetite for the short video sector and the start-up's investment thesis, one of the sources said. India's tech startups, which raised a record $35 billion in new funds in 2021, have been struggling to raise funds as corporate governance concerns loom large for investors facing a new uncertainty in global markets.
Sugar Cosmetics, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) cosmetics and personal care firm, has secured $50 million in a round headed by L Catterton and joined by current investors A91 Partners, Elevation Capital, and India Quotient.
Elevation Capital, formerly SAIF Partners, led a $21 million funding round in February 2021 for Sugar. More than $100 million was invested in the colour cosmetics brand. In October 2020, the Mumbai-based startup received $2 million from venture debt fund Stride Ventures to begin its funding journey. In March 2019, it raised Rs 85 crore from A91 Partners.The firm previously stated that the beauty brand's current annualised sales run rate is around Rs 500 crore, and that it expects to achieve Rs 2,000 crore in the next 24-36 months.
A run rate is a financial prediction that translates a company's current revenue in a certain period, such as a month or quarter, to an annual total. It's a term that a lot of fast-growing businesses employ. Sugar said that it would expand its physical presence to over 40,000 retail stores in 550 cities. Sugar, which was founded in 2012 by husband-and-wife team Vineeta Singh and Kaushik Mukherjee, focuses on both online and offline sales."As we continue on our journey of delighting and exceeding our consumers' expectations," Singh said on Monday, "the firm's brand-building and value-creation capabilities will buttress our growth.” Sugar will be able to begin on its next stage of growth amid an expansion in India's beauty and personal care sector, thanks to L Catterton's expertise in developing iconic consumer brands around the world and strategic partnership with LVMH, the business said in a statement.
Pinterest, a photo-sharing social media network, has bought 'The Yes,' an AI-powered commerce firm, for an unknown fee. THE YES was formed in 2018 by Julie Bornstein, a seasoned ecommerce and fashion sector executive, and Amit Aggarwal, a seasoned tech executive.THE YES has grown over the years to provide each user with a tailored daily shopping feed that learns their style as they shop with hundreds of merchants across the fashion spectrum, including big names and discovery businesses.
The purchase is expected to finalise in the second quarter of 2022, according to a statement released late Thursday by the firm. Following the transaction's completion, Bornstein will report to Ben Silbermann, Pinterest's Co-Founder and CEO, and will be in charge of the company's shopping vision and strategy. "THE YES team knows how to create a seamless shopping experience from beginning to end. They share our goal of making it simple to select the correct products for you based on your preferences and style "Silbermann stated.
Slice, a fintech business, announced on Wednesday that it has secured $50 million in a larger series C round led by Tiger Global, which it will use to expand its new unified payments interface (UPI) platform. Moore Strategic Ventures and Insight Partners, as well as a new investor, GMO VenturePartners, participated in the newest investment round. Last month, the biggest credit card rival began gradually integrating UPI into its app for all of its existing and waitlisted members."Our next big product launch with UPI is already generating a lot of traction. We are looking forward to the long path ahead of us "slice's Founder-CEO, Rajan Bajaj, stated.
Slice became a unicorn in November of last year after receiving $220 million in a Series-B round headed by Tiger Global and Insight Partners. "In India's fast evolving payments business, slice is leading the way for innovation, customer experience, and growth," stated Alex Cook, Partner at Tiger Global.