The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (5th June - 9th June)
In the past few years, India's start-up landscape has undergone an impressive metamorphosis, witnessing a notable surge in the number of enterprising individuals, investors, and other key players. The Indian government has played a crucial role in nurturing a conducive atmosphere for start-ups, exemplified by initiatives like Start-up India, which bestows a wide array of incentives and tax advantages upon aspiring entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the proliferation of incubators and accelerators throughout the nation has significantly fortified the ecosystem, providing invaluable assistance to fledgling enterprises.
This week has also been a fruitful one for startups in India as several companies have successfully raised millions of dollars in funding. Cohere, an AI foundation model company that competes with Microsoft-backed OpenAI, said it had raised $270 million in a funding round backed by Nvidia, Oracle and Salesforce Ventures, among others; and Sentra.world, an ESG focussed has raised a seed funding round of $2 million led by Avaana Capital, an early-stage climate-tech venture capital firm. These are just two examples of the top 5 startups that raised million-dollar funds this week.
Cohere, an AI foundation model company that competes with Microsoft-backed OpenAI, said it had raised $270 million in a funding round backed by Nvidia, Oracle and Salesforce Ventures, among others. Foundation models are AI systems that are trained on large sets of data, with the ability to learn from new data to perform a variety of tasks. Generative AI aims to make human-like creations through computer code that has processed vast amounts of data.
Cohere did not reveal its valuation after the latest funding round. "As the early excitement about generative AI shifts toward ways to accelerate businesses, companies are looking to Cohere to position them for success in a new era of technology," CEO Aidan Gomez said.
Carnelian Analytics & AI solutions company, Course5 Intelligence, announced that they have successfully completed their round of funding of USD 53 million with second close led by Nuvama Crossover Series of funds, managed by Nuvama Asset Management Limited. The second close also saw participation by and affiliates. This funding follows the first close done with 360 ONE Asset Management Limited (formerly known as IIFL Asset Management Limited) in May 2023. This funding will be augmented by the company’s own cash reserves and cash accruals to provide for an M&A war chest in the range of USD 80 million.
Ashwin Mittal, Chairman and CEO of Course5 Intelligence, said, “The data and AI revolution is finally here and the scope and scale of AI deployments across global enterprises are going to rapidly increase in the coming years. Recent advances in Generative AI, natural language and computer perception have completely removed the boundaries of what is possible. We want to ensure we maintain our leadership position amongst AI & Analytics solution providers by adding strategically to our portfolio to maximize our value proposition to global corporates.” Mr. Ashwin further added, “We are pleased to have on board Nuvama as an investor, someone who has a track record of partnering with sector leaders and is aligned to our vision.”
2070 Health, a healthcare venture incubator, has raised $30 million from venture capital firm W Health Ventures to create a platform that will build healthcare companies in India. The funds will also be used to seed the newly-launched companies. W Health Ventures and 2070 Health share the same co-founding team. W Health Ventures is a US and India-based investor, with 2070 Health acting as its incubator. "The healthcare industry is slow to change, relationship-driven, highly regulated, and complex to navigate for new entrants. As a result, building healthcare companies in India is particularly hard. The rules of building fast-paced technology start-ups seldom apply when you're dealing with people's lives," said Sunil Wadhwani, president of W Health Ventures.
2070 Health, which has created three companies so far, helps founders test, launch, and iterate on ideas. It plans to launch 15 to 20 healthcare companies over the next five years, it said in a statement. The company has built a 40-member team across venture design, product development, and go-to-market verticals that work closely with the founders to achieve scale and impact, it added.
HealthifyMe has raised $30 million in a pre-series D funding round led by LeapFrog Investments and Khosla Ventures, the health and fitness platform said. The round comes at a time when late-stage funding deals are running dry. The company said it will use fresh funds to build its AI capabilities stronger, acquire talent, and global expansion, without sharing details on the valuation. According to a source close to the company, the round has been raised through convertible notes. "The round has been raised as a convertible note pegged to the next round so no valuation has been set," they told. A convertible note is a short-term debt instrument that can convert into equity at a later stage, typically during any subsequent funding round.
The source also added that the conversion cap on the convertible note has been set 'significantly higher than the last round.' However, the company's valuation has been undisclosed. The conversion cap sets the maximum price at which the convertible note can convert into equity. It is designed to protect the investors from excessive dilution if the company's valuation skyrockets before the next financing round.
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