The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (30 August - 3 September)
With such a broad and competitive pool of entrepreneurs attracting the attention of some of the world's top VCs, India's tech startup ecosystem has a bright future. More promising young startups from the country's thriving ecosystem are attracted by funding from diverse investors such as SoftBank, Tiger Global Management, Tencent, KAAJ Ventures, Union Square Ventures (USV), Prime Venture Partners (PVP), and others. Down below are the startups that have raised funds from the above mentioned investors.
The Bengaluru-based ride-hailing aggregator ola is considering an initial public offering (IPO) early next year, with the goal of raising at least $1.5-2 billion and valuing at $12-14 billion. This places it among the group of big-ticket tech IPOs hoping to profit from a liquidity-driven market surge.
According to persons familiar with the subject, the proposed listing of Ola, which counts SoftBank, Tiger Global Management, and Tencent among its key investors, will raise half of the stock through a primary issuance and the rest through an offer for sale (OFS) from some early supporters.
Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Kotak Mahindra Capital, Citigroup, and JP Morgan are among the investment banks said to be working with the company on preliminary documents to be filed with the market regulator in the next two months.
With its first product, ‘Kurukshetra: Ascension,' a card combat game, Bengaluru-based Studio Sirah plans to bring the Indian mythical universe into gaming. Studio Sirah received $830,000 in funding from Lumikai, an Indian gaming-focused venture capital fund, to help develop its first game. The company also intends to release more games inspired by Indian legends and history in the future.
Prateek Shah and Abhaas Shah, two brothers who grew up playing games like Contra, Age of Empires, Civilization, and Hearthstone, formed Studio Sirah. The gaming firm was created with the goal of bringing games with Indian content to audiences all across the world, not just in India. Studio Sirah will concentrate on creating mid-core games, which are hardcore games that can be completed in a short amount of time.
Kurukshetra: Ascension will be Studio Sirah's first game, and it will be a card battler based on the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics. The basic premise in these types of games is card battles.
Bengaluru-based last-mile supply chain and distribution network focused on villages in rural India RubanBridge (1Bridge), announced on Tuesday that it has raised $2.5 million in new capital led by C4D Partners, a Netherlands-based impact investor.
New investors such as KAAJ Ventures, angel investors such as Prashanth Prakash (Founding Partner, Accel Partners); Puneet Jetli (Co-founder of Happiest Minds); and Aradhana D Chatterjee – a seasoned PE/VC executive — also participated in the round. This round included existing angel investor Prashanth Boccasam, a serial digital entrepreneur and investor headquartered in the United States.
With this round of funding, 1Bridge wants to expand its reach as a supply chain and distribution network to another 10,000 towns over the following 18 months by hiring 10,000 more entrepreneurs. It also intends to open 500+ ‘1Bridge Experience Centres' across various Tehsil/Block towns, where customers would be able to touch and feel aspirational products.
The Mumbai-based startup OTO Capital has raised $6 million in a Series A investment round which was led by Matrix Partners India.
The investment round involved new and existing investors like Prime Venture Partners, 9Unicorns, Better Capital, Asish Mohapatra of Business, Ramakant Sharma of Livspace, Kunal Shah of Cred, K Ganesh of BigBasket and Suhail Sameer and Ashneer Grover of BharatPe.
The company will utilize the funds to raise its user base, hire talent and scale up its tech platform. “With this investment, the company plans to launch its financing-cum-commerce platform in 15 new cities, including Delhi, Nashik, Indore and Vijaywada,” said the company.
Trifecta Capital, a venture debt firm, is launching a $200 million third fund to lend to rising companies in a variety of industries. The debt fund comes only months after the company announced the creation of a Rs 1,500 crore late-stage equity fund to capitalise on the sector's expanding pre-IPO potential.
According to Rahul Khanna, managing partner of Trifecta Capital, the fund would be raised from most returning investors as well as some new global and domestic organisations.
The firm announced the full closing of its second fund, which it began raising in 2019, earlier this year. A venture debt fund invests in businesses alongside equity investors, assisting them with working capital and other debt requirements.
In exchange for the debt, these funds receive a modest ownership stake in the company, which provides them with equity upside if the company's valuation grows.
Professional networking platform for blue and grey collar workers, Apna is in late-stage talks to raise a new round that will likely increase the company's valuation above $1 billion.
Apna, Bengaluru-based startup's third round of fundraising in 2021, after raising $12.5 million Series A in March and $70 million Series B in June. Tiger Global and Insight Partners led the Series B financing, which valued the company at about $570 million, while Sequoia and Greenoaks Capital co-led the Series A round.
According to reports, the company plans to utilise the new funds to grow its presence in India and branch out into new markets such as Southeast Asia and the United States. According to reports, it is also expected to expand into upskilling and financial services.
Revos, an electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure business, Revos has raised $4 million in a Series A round from venture capital firms, USA based Union Square Ventures (USV) and Bengaluru based Prime Venture Partners (PVP). Revos has raised a total of $4.5 million, including the most recent round.
The funds will be used to expand the company's EV charging network and develop its technological team, according to the company's founders. In the next three years, it intends to grow its network to one million chargers.
“We are thrilled to have the backing and trust of leading VC players in India and the US. They share our vision – that the key to increased adoption of EV vehicles is making charging easier,” said Jyotiranjan Harichandan, cofounder, Revos.
In addition, the company intends to grow into additional emerging areas. In the coming months, it expects to hire across all business functions.