The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (30th Oct - 03rd Nov)
Startups in India are driving innovation in diverse sectors, such as fintech, e-commerce, healthcare, agritech, edtech, clean energy, transportation, space and aerospace, AI and ML, and smart cities. Its foundation is rooted in various essential elements, such as backing from the government, availability of capital, the expansion of a skilled workforce, and a nurturing environment for fostering entrepreneurship. With government support and growing venture capital investments, Indian startups are not only addressing local challenges but also gaining global recognition for their innovative solutions.
This week, we saw Raising the stakes in the nation's developing space industry, India's Skyroot Aerospace announced that it has raised $27.5 million in a new investment round headed by Singapore's Temasek; and Growcoms, a spice tech company, has successfully raised $3.5 million in a new funding round. This funding round was co-led by JSW Ventures and Arali Ventures. Here is the compilation of top 10 startups that raised million dollar funds this week.
Raising the stakes in the nation's developing space industry, India's Skyroot Aerospace announced that it has raised $27.5 million in a new investment round headed by Singapore's Temasek, days after competitor Agnikul Cosmos raised a sum comparable to this. The Hyderabad-based company is scheduled to launch the Vikram-I, its second commercial rocket, next year. The company launched India's first private rocket in 2022. Up to 300 kilogramme payloads can be carried into low-Earth orbit using the launch vehicle.
Skyroot, founded in 2018, claimed that it would be able to introduce additional products more quickly thanks to the most recent fund raise of roughly 2.25 billion rupees. In response to the successful lunar landing of an Indian spacecraft, private space companies have announced that they have raised an additional $26.7 million in investment for Agnikul Cosmos, a fellow space startup, ahead of the latter's first rocket launch.
Aequs Pvt.Ltd, a precision manufacturing company, has successfully secured $54 million (approximately Rs 448 crore) in a fresh round of equity funding. The round was led by Singapore-based Amansa Capital and included participation from five new investors. Steadview Capital, Catamaran (the family office of Infosys Founder N. R. Narayana Murthy), Sparta Group LLC (the investment office of Desh Deshpande), and various individual investors were among the notable new participants. It's worth noting that Amicus Capital, which led an earlier round of Rs 225 crore in April 2023, also participated in this round through its affiliates.
Aequs is a well-known precision manufacturing platform primarily operating in the aerospace sector. The company plans to expand its business by introducing a new vertical called Advanced Technology Products (ATP). The ATP vertical will focus on producing high-precision components for globally renowned consumer electronics companies. As the largest aerospace precision components manufacturer in India, Aequs currently earns almost 100% of its revenue from exports. The company supplies precision components and assemblies to leading global aerospace companies such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Safran, Collins, Spirit, Eaton, and Honeywell.
Housing finance lender Vridhi Home Finance has secured Rs 150 crore in its first funding round from Elevation Capital, a venture capital firm. With this new capital injection, the lending startup aims to expand its operations, increase its credit lines from larger financial institutions, and venture into new geographical markets. It's unusual for a technology-focused venture firm to invest in a housing finance startup, which typically operates as a traditional, physical business. Mridul Arora, a partner at Elevation Capital, expressed his confidence in the market potential, the company's business reach, and the founder's track record, which led to their investment decision.
Vridhi Home Finance, based in Bengaluru, was established in 2022 by senior finance professionals. The co-founders include Sunku Ram Naresh, who serves as the CEO, Sunil Mehta as the CFO, and Sandeep Arora as the COO. Ram Naresh brings his experience from working with Bajaj Finserv and Aavas Financiers, while Mehta has a background at ICICI Bank and Yes Bank. Arora's prior experience includes positions at Kotak Mahindra Bank and Indiabulls Consumer Finance. The startup has recently obtained its home finance license and currently operates 20 branches with a workforce of approximately 225 employees across Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Java Capital, a deeptech seed investor known for supporting startups like Agnikul Cosmos and BharatX, has successfully concluded the final closure of its first fund, reaching Rs 50 crore (approximately $6 million). The initial closure at Rs 30 crore was announced in December of the previous year, with a focus on investing in deeptech, climate tech, and business-to-business (B2B) startups. The firm expressed its intent to open the Rs 25 crore greenshoe portion based on interest from limited partners, bringing the total fund corpus approved by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to Rs 75 crore, including the Rs 25 crore greenshoe option.
While specific names were not disclosed, Java Capital revealed that the first fund attracted participation from Indian founders, domestic high-net-worth individuals (HNIs), and HNIs from the Middle East and the United States. Established in 2020 by former Kstart executives Vinod Shankar and Karteek Pulapaka, along with Bhargavi V, Java Capital has taken its place in the market. Kstart is a seed fund initiative associated with Vani Kola-led Kalaari Capital. Karteek Pulapaka, a partner at Java Capital, expressed confidence in their ability to identify and support transformative companies in these sectors with successful fundraising.
Health tech startup Sugar.fit has announced that it raised $11 million in a Series A funding round led by MassMutual Ventures, with participation from Cure.fit, Tanglin Venture Partners, and Endiya Partners. The company aims to manage and reverse type 2 and pre-diabetes. The funds will be used to expand Sugar.fit’s product offerings, establish an offline presence, and accelerate research and development in the field of diabetes management.
It is estimated that around 100 million people worldwide suffer from Type 2 diabetes, while another 130 million are at risk of developing pre-diabetes. Sugar.fit has developed a comprehensive diabetes care program that leverages the latest technology, including continuous glucose monitors, fitness trackers, and other health diagnostics. The platform provides access to diabetes specialists and health coaches who work together to help users track the impact of their lifestyle on glucose levels in real-time. In addition to personalized guidance on fitness, nutrition, and sleep, users can monitor their HbA1c levels, which reflect the average blood sugar level over a period of two to three months. After three months, Sugar.fit users have seen an average reduction of 2% in their HbA1c levels.
Mikro Grafeio, a startup focused on creating positive social impact through its integrated workspace and workforce solutions, has achieved a significant milestone by securing $1.2 million in funding during its pre-Series A round. This round saw the enthusiastic backing of a diverse group of both previous and new investors. The company's forward-thinking approach seeks to be a driving force for transformative change, and this substantial funding will play a crucial role in propelling its ambitious goals.
Mikro Grafeio, Co-founded by Shyam Kumar, operates using a distributed satellite service model, strategically situating small service hubs near residential areas and expanding its coverage nationwide. Their distinctive package of services, consolidated into a single contract, encompasses strategic consulting, office spaces, talent acquisition, employer branding, employee engagement, compliance management, public relations, expatriate relocation, and social media management. At the core of their operations lies a cutting-edge, technology-driven platform that ensures an exceptional customer experience, eliminating the need for substantial capital investments.
Fibmold, a startup dedicated to sustainable packaging, recently announced that it has secured $10 million in funding from Omnivore and Accel. The company is currently working on developing eco-friendly molded fiber packaging that serves the same purpose as rigid plastics. The products are made from natural fibers, such as bamboo, bagasse, husk, wheat straw, or waste paper, depending on their intended use. They are 100% recyclable and naturally compostable, making them an environmentally conscious alternative to traditional packaging materials.
Globally, only 9% of plastic waste is recycled, while the majority is either mismanaged or left unprocessed. China currently dominates the production and export of advanced molded fiber packaging. In October 2022, Param Gandhi and Vaibhav Garg founded Fibmold after spending a decade in the packaging and manufacturing industry. "The sustainable packaging industry is a $300 billion opportunity. At Fibmold, we aim to help brands worldwide transition to eco-friendly packaging alternatives and ultimately eliminate their reliance on single-use plastics", said Gandhi.
Kaabil Finance, a Jaipur-based provider of loans for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), has secured $3 million in pre-Series A funding, with 2point2 Capital taking the lead in the investment.
This round of funding also saw the participation of a consortium of wealthy investors. Kaabil Finance has revealed that the raised capital will be used to bolster its MSME loan offerings and improve its credit assessment, risk management, collections, and technology divisions. Established in 2018 by Ramavtar Meena, Kaabil Finance specializes in providing nano and micro-loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, offering loan amounts of up to Rs 3 lakh. Their ambitious objective is to achieve assets under management worth Rs 1,000 crore within 1,000 days.
FroGo, a technology-focused platform specializing in frozen foods, has secured $1.15 million in a seed funding round, with the leading investment coming from Inflection Point Ventures, an angel investment firm based in Gurugram. The funding round also saw the participation of notable investors such as Ritesh Agarwal from OYO, Ankit Nagori from Curefoods, Desai Ventures, the FAAD network, and several other active investors. Established in 2022 by Mira Jhala, FroGo functions as a comprehensive frozen food platform that ensures no loss of temperature during the distribution and retail processes. It serves India's substantial $20 billion frozen food industry and initiated its operations in the Delhi-NCR region. In this area, FroGo manages over 15 dark stores and handles more than 7,000 monthly orders for frozen food products.
Ivy Chin, a Partner at Inflection Point Ventures, commended FroGo's innovative approach to tackling the frozen food industry's challenges with their temperature monitoring platform. He noted that while the demand for frozen food is increasing, the cold chain industry requires significant attention. FroGo is disrupting the frozen food ecosystem by addressing industry challenges through their temperature monitoring platform. The funds raised will be used to drive growth by expanding to 50 Dark Stores in four cities and further enhancing their technology with integrated temperature monitoring capabilities.
Growcoms, a spice tech company, has successfully raised $3.5 million in a new funding round. This funding round was co-led by JSW Ventures and Arali Ventures, with participation from existing investor InfoEdge Ventures. Notably, Growcoms had previously secured $1 million from InfoEdge Ventures, further emphasizing the company's growth and potential in the market. This marks the first investment for both JSW Ventures and Arali Ventures in the agritech sector, signifying their trust in Growcoms' vision and mission.
Growcoms, established in 2020 by Co-Founders George Kurian Kannanthanam, Narendranath P, and Bibin Mathews, has set out to revolutionize the spice value chain. They plan to optimize production capabilities, empower farmers, and provide traceable spices to global markets through digital means. The company aims to develop key capabilities that will enable traceability for spice exports and value-added products. The recently acquired funds will play a crucial role in enhancing their product portfolio and technology stacks, helping them achieve their goals.
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