The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (7-11 June)

The Week that Was: Indian Startup News Overview (7-11 June)

Another Friday comes to a close and in retrospect the past week has been lucrative for the Indian startup ecosystem. The week was beneficial for several startups as they raised funds for the expansion into the new markets, building team and new products. Be it big ticket investments or small early stage investments, a host of young firms saw capital infusion coming their way. We also got some solid news about IPO bound Startups and soonicorns. Let’s dive into a look back of the past few days and what made news.

For the first time Delhivery's management has specified a specific time frame for its IPO.In January, the logistics technology company formed a board subcommittee to oversee its IPO and mergers and acquisitions. “We are going into a public listing sitting on $550 million in cash and we don’t burn money,” said co-founder and CEO Sahil Barua.

Delhivery, a new-age logistics and supply-chain startup, plans to list in India between December 2021 and March 2022, says, Sahil Barua.

The company joins a group of late-stage homegrown technology firms on the verge of entering the thriving public markets. Unless there is a severe third wave of Covid-19 affecting market sentiment, Barua told that Delhivery is unlikely to postpone its initial public offering (IPO) timeline.

In the past week we also got news from Walmart that it is "open to an IPO" for its Indian e-commerce subsidiary Flipkart. However, there is "no specific timeline" for the share sale said the company. Walmart International President and CEO Judith McKenna also said on June 7 at the DB Access Global Consumer Conference that both Flipkart and payment app PhonePe are doing well.

On the Unicorn front, we got news that Cardekho, a Girnar Software-owned auto portal, is in talks with investors to raise at least $150 million (roughly Rs 1,000 crore) in its largest fundraising round to date, which could propel it into the unicorn club.

In November 2019, Cardekho had raised $70 million at a valuation of $725 million in a Series D funding round led by Hong Kong-based Ping An Global Voyager. The firm is expected to be valued at more than a billion dollars in the new round.

Will this be another auto portal after Cras24 to join the prestigious Unciorn club? Only time will tell.

The past week also saw ample investment activity; one of the big ticket financing rounds was for Eightfold AI, raised $220 million in a Series E round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 as it looks to accelerate its growth. The Mountain View based firm that also has office in India uses deep learning and AI to help companies find, recruit and retain workers.

Existing investors such as General Catalyst, Capital One Ventures, Foundation Capital, IVP, and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated in this round of funding bringing the startup’s collective fund raise to reach $410 million.

SoftBank Vision Fund 2 made another big ticket investment in Digital Adoption Solution firm, Whatfix. The DAS startup has raised $90 million in Series D funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2* and participation from Eight Roads Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, Dragoneer Investment Group, F-Prime Capital, and Cisco Investments.

Whatfix has now raised $139.8 million to-date and the company’s valuation has increased three times in the past 15 months. The company plans to use the funding to continue growing its stronghold in the U.S. market while accelerating global expansion into new markets such as Asia Pacific and Europe.

In addition, Whatfix will invest the funds in product innovation focusing on artificial intelligence (AI), enterprise solutions, and providing personalized experiences.

In a strategic move to strengthen its presence in Indian market US based home buying platform Flyhomes announced a $150 million Series C round on Friday.Norwest Venture Partners and Battery Ventures co-led the round, with participation from Fifth Wall, Camber Creek, Balyasny Asset Management, Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff, and existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Canvas Partners.

“India has been our strategic partner ever since we started... The country and its talent have been instrumental in the success of Flyhomes at a global level. Our first engineers were based in India, and are still with the company,” said, Tushar Garg, CEO and Co-founder, Flyhomes.

This week we also saw women entrepreneurs backing the other platforms.Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CEO of Biocon announced on Tuesday that she has backed Ignite Life Science Foundation (Ignite LSF), a Bengaluru-based non-profit scientific research institute founded by Nobel Laureate Venki Ramakrishnan last year.

Shaw has committed an initial fund of Rs 5 crore for a pool of funding to carry out scientific projects on “pandemic preparedness,” according to a press release from the foundation. Biocon chief-funded projects are expected to aid efforts to prepare for and respond to future pandemics.

In early stage funding news, we saw Fyllo, a Bengaluru-based agritech startup, announced a Rs 3 crore funding round on Monday from Indian Angel Network (IAN), Titan Capital, and Lead Angels.

The capital will be used by the startup to expand into new markets as well as for research and development to support more crops. It previously received funding from 100X.VC.

Fyllo brings farms on your palms by installing on-field devices and actions on top of this data. The startup help farmers protect crop, reduce input cost and increase crop quality and quantity.

Following lead of last week, another Mental health startup Now&Me raised $1 million in seed funding led by Saama Capital and Whiteboard Capital.

The Delhi based firm through a free-to-use community platform, works on how people seek mental health support around the world. The funds will be used to expand the team, develop new products, and focus on community-building efforts.

The long-term goal of the startup is to make mental health a priority for everyone by providing solutions that make it easier to access and raise awareness.

The demand for Home cooked food is raising in the market. Daalchini Technologies, a food-tech startup, intends to raise up to $8 million (roughly Rs 58 crore) in growth capital over the next 2-3 years to support its expansion plans.

Daalchini is a physical marketplace for 'Traditional Indian Home-cooked Food,' provided by a network of home-based cooks/Tiffin Services via the Internet of Things.Daalchini Technologies, which provides home-cooked food through IoT-enabled vending machines, anticipates an annual turnover rate of Rs 144 crore by the end of fiscal year 22.

We also saw diplomatic ties bringing in good news for the Indian startup eco-system. The first edition of the Italy India Innovation Day, which will take place next month, is aimed at inviting Indian startups, scale-ups, and SMEs looking for international opportunities.

AIICP, the India-Italy Association for Cooperation and Partnership, promotes the initiative, which seeks Indian startups, scale-ups, and SMEs with innovative technologies, products, and services, primarily but not exclusively in the mobility, energy, digital, industry, green chemistry, and deep-tech fields.

The initiative is supported by the Italian Embassy in India and ICE, the Italian Trade Agency.

The goal of the call is to connect Indian start-ups, scale-ups, and SMEs with Italian companies and corporations in order to develop potential business agreements in cases of mutual interest.

In other news we saw media Intelligence and Outreach company IAN backed Wizikey, announce the appointment of Saurabh Gupta as Vice President of Product. In this role, Saurabh will lead the product and data teams to make the software scalable and ensure an exemplary customer experience. 

“Saurabh is a fellow IITian who comes to Wizikey with an impeccable professional background that will help us strive towards building a world-class product for the $90 billion communications industry”, said Anshul Sushil, Co-Founder & CEO at Wizikey. “We have big plans for the product this year, and we are delighted to have an ingenious leader join us to bring innovation to improve time and efficiency for over 1000+ Wizikey users”.