The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (6th Mar -10th Mar)
The Indian startup ecosystem has experienced significant growth in recent years, fueled by a young and vast population, a thriving economy, and favorable government policies. This has attracted a diverse group of experienced entrepreneurs and investors who recognize the immense potential of the Indian market. However, establishing a successful business in India can be a daunting task, with several unique challenges to navigate. Despite these challenges, the Indian startup ecosystem offers ample opportunities for growth and innovation. With a large and rapidly expanding consumer market, startups can tap into new and emerging sectors such as e-commerce, fintech, and healthcare.
As of 2023, the Indian startup ecosystem has witnessed several businesses achieving global recognition through their innovative business models. In the past week, the Indian startup ecosystem has witnessed notable advancements. Several startups have raised significant amounts of funding from domestic and international investors, indicating the increasing interest of investors in the Indian market. Startup Humane raises $100 million, works with OpenAI, Alteria Capital invests Rs 40 Cr venture debt funding in jewelry startup GIVA. In addition, Proparco raises $15 Mn Debt Investment In an Indian Microlender.
Former Apple Inc. employees started the firm Humane Inc., which said that it has funded $100 million and will introduce its first products this spring. Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno founded the business in 2018, and it has already funded $241 million. But, the company has not yet revealed what it is making, stating only that it is a "software platform and consumer product created from the bottom up for artificial intelligence."
A video posted by the company and patent filings suggests that a wearable device will project information onto the real world and allow users to manipulate that information with their hands. Humane also said that it is collaborating with OpenAI, the creator of AI products such as ChatGPT which can generate human-like conversational text and Dall-E which can generate images, to integrate OpenAI's technology into Humane's device.
Venture debt investment Alteria Capital has invested Rs 40 crore of venture debt funding in silver jewelry startup GIVA. The startup's collection includes earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, crafted from sterling silver for everyday wear.
“We plan to deploy the raised capital in driving channel expansion and further expanding our range of exquisitely crafted jewelry products," said Ishendra Agarwal, Co-founder, of GIVA. GIVA claims to have an omnichannel presence with more than 50 offline touchpoints currently active across the country. It expects this to exceed 200 by the end of 2023 and achieve revenues of Rs 350 crore in FY24.
French public entity Agence Française de Développement Group’s private sector financing arm, Proparco, which had earlier backed a host of microfinance institutions including Annapurna Finance, Northern Arc, JK Paper and Sonata Finance, among others, has now invested in another Indian microlender to further push for women entrepreneurship.
Proparco has infused debt capital of $15 million (around Rs 122.7 crore) in Mumbai-based Svatantra Microfin Pvt Ltd, a firm promoted by Ananya Birla, the daughter of Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla.
Mintifi, a platform for supply chain finance, has raised $110 million in a Series D funding round, which was led by Premji Invest. Current investors Norwest Venture Partners, Elevation Capital, and International Finance Corporation all contributed (IFC). Mintifi, this fresh capital infusion will enable it to increase its capital base to more than $600 million.
The Mumbai-headquartered company will utilize the funds to expand its presence in some of the key sectors in addition to improving its new offerings such as business-to-business (B2B) payments and dealer management system, it said in a statement. It is looking to strengthen its tech infrastructure and plans to build “an ecosystem of end-to-end fulfillment products” to “enhance engagement across the supply chain network”.
Salesforce Ventures, the company's global investment arm, has launched a new $250 million generative artificial intelligence (AI) fund to bolster the startup ecosystem and spark the development of responsible AI. The fund will initially invest in four companies, including Anthropic, Cohere, Hearth.AI, and You.com.
"Salesforce Ventures has been investing in high-potential enterprise technology businesses for more than a decade, and these initial investments from the fund in generative AI companies fit squarely into that strategy," John Somorjai, EVP Corporate Development and Salesforce Ventures at Salesforce said.
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