We bring you the latest edition of Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding of the week. This week, 10 Indian startups raised about $83 Mn in funding altogether and three startup acquisitions took place in the Indian startup ecosystem. (The startup funding calculations are based on the startups that disclosed their funding amounts.)
One of the most speculated Indian startup deals, which revolved around Snapdeal’s subsidiary FreeCharge was finally signed. Freecharge got acquired by Axis Bank for $60 Mn. The acquisition is expected to be completed within two months. Earlier this week, Amazon also made an offer of about $70 Mn-$80 Mn for the acquisition of FreeCharge. At the same time, it was also reported that Amazon poured in $214 Mn (INR 1,381 Cr) in its data services unit, Amazon Data Services India, in November 2016.
Another important Indian startup news was the Snapdeal Flipkart merger receiving in-principal approval from Ratan Tata, Temasek, BlackRock, and Foxconn. However, the final deal still awaits a nod from other minority shareholders including PremjiInvest and Ontario Pension Fund. The news came in just a day after the Snapdeal Board agreed to a $950 Mn merger offer from Flipkart. Earlier this week, there were also reports of Infibeam acquiring Snapdeal as well. However, Infibeam denied any such developments.
Next up, Microsoft Corp. revealed intentions to invest $50 Mn-$100 Mn (INR 320 Cr-INR 640 Cr) in Indian startup Ola. In exchange, the technology giant will acquire a minority stake in the ride-hailing startup. Also, Ola is currently in talks with Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent for a prospective $400 Mn funding round. Tencent executives were in Bengaluru last week and they met the Ola management team to discuss the transaction.
Indian Startup Funding Of The Week
Fork Media: Agnus Capital, the family office of promoters of pharma firm Strides Group investedan undisclosed amount in incubatee firm Fork Media. Advertising technology company Fork Media was founded by Verma and Upen Rai in February 2013.
Creator’s Gurukul: Yuvraj Singh invested an undisclosed amount in Delhi-based coworking startup Creator’s Gurukul. The cricketer has also come onboard as a partner and brand ambassador for the Indian startup.
BYJU’S: This is the highest Indian startup funding of the week. Bengaluru-based edtech startup BYJU’S raised $40 Mn in funding from China-based Tencent Holdings Limited. This latest round of funding will help BYJU’S accelerate product development for new markets and enable inorganic growth through acquisitions.
Noticeboard: Bengaluru-based staff communication platform Noticeboard raised $1.2 Mn in a funding round led by Stellaris Venture Partners, BlackBuck founder Rajesh Yabaji, and Jayant Kadambi, co-founder of digital advertising company YuMe. With this investment Alok Goyal, Partner at Stellaris Venture Partners, will join Noticeboard’s Board of Directors. The startup funding will be utilised to strengthen the design team, and to develop new products & technologies.
Jhakaas: Mumbai-based technology platform Jhakaas raised an undisclosed amount from US-based investor Amen Dhyllon. The startup funding will be utilised for technological enhancement and upgradation of the application and expansion of the network throughout India.
FabHotels: This is the second-highest Indian startup funding of the week. Budget hotels brand FabHotels raised $25 Mn in a Series B round led by Goldman Sachs and existing investor Accel Partners. The company will use the newly-raised funds from Goldman Sachs to double the number of hotel rooms on its platforms. It is also looking to strengthen its presence in select cities.
Thinkerbell Labs: Bengaluru-based assistive tech and edtech startup Thinkerbell Labs raised $202K (INR 1.3 Cr) from Indian Angel Network’s Rajesh Navaneetham, Manjunath Nayak, and Anand Mahindra, Chairman and MD at Mahindra Group. Rajesh Navaneetham will sit on the board of ThinkerBell Labs representing IAN. The Indian startup will utilise the funds to run pilots in the UK, setting up product, sales and content teams.
BigStylist: Mumbai-based beauty services marketplace BigStylist raised $1.2 Mn (INR 8 Cr) in a fresh funding round led by Info Edge. The startup funding has been raised via compulsorily convertible debentures (CCD). With the newly-secured funding, the Indian startup is looking to set up shop in Delhi NCR, and is also hoping to break even in the two cities it currently operates in, Mumbai and Pune.
1mg: This is the third-highest Indian startup funding of the week. 1mg, the Gurugram-based healthtech startup raised an additional $15 Mn funding in Series C round. The new funds were fuelled in by HBM Healthcare Investments along with existing investors Sequoia India, Maverick Capital Ventures, Omidyar Network, and Kae Capital. With the newly-raised funds, the 1mg team aims to further expand its online diagnostics and consultation services in India, specifically in smaller towns and cities. A part of the funding will be utilised in building new lines of business, introducing corporate wellness offerings for their workforce, outpatients’ insurance facilitation for insurance companies, and patient support and adherence programmes with pharma companies.
Gympik: Gympik.com, an online marketplace for discovering fitness centres and gyms, secured $1 Mn in funding from existing investor RoundGlass Partners. The startup funding will be used to expand its operations network to five more Tier II cities and to strengthen its technology team.
Besides the above-mentioned startup funding, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited invested $64.1 Mn in Balaji Telefilms Limited (BTL) against a 25% stock. The funding is to speed up content development initiatives, especially for ALTBalaji, the video on-demand platform of Balaji Telefilms. The funds will be utilised to provide the company with an impetus to compete with other OTT (over -the-top-content) service providers – both global and Indian.
Indian Startup Acquisitions Of The Week
- Gurugram-headquartered Yatra acquired corporate travel service provider Air Travel Bureau (ATB) for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition strengthens Yatra’s presence in India’s burgeoning corporate travel sector. The deal, which has already received the approval of the Board of Directors of both companies, will take place through Yatra Online Inc.’s subsidiary Yatra Online Pvt Ltd.
- Japanese advertising and public relations company, Dentsu Aegis Network acquired a 51% stake in digital media firm, Sokrati Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Pune-based Sokrati is a digital media startup.
Other Developments Of The Week
- The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras launched a new fundraising platform for raising endowment funds through alumni. The platform would work towards raising endowment funds for the institute through alumni and corporations from around the globe.
- SAIF Partners raised a fresh $350 Mn fund, as part of its diverse investment strategy to back tech startups as well as brick-and-mortar companies. With the new funding, the firm’s total assets under management (AUM) has reached the $1 Bn mark. This is SAIF Partners’ third India-dedicated fund.
- Telangana Government announced its Innovation Policy to promote entrepreneurship in the state. Telangana will set up an early-stage investing vehicle T-Fund (Telangana Innovation Fund) in collaboration with T-Hub. A $310 Mn (INR 2,000 Cr) master fund will be set up to invest in sector-specific startups, along with general venture capital funds. The state’s government will also set up a $38.7 Mn (INR 250 Cr) T-SEED fund to support seed stage startups.
- Delhi-based oil PSU Gas (India) Limited or GAIL launched an initiative ‘Pankh’ (wings) to nurture startup entrepreneurs. GAIL has set aside a fund corpus of $7.7 Mn (INR 50 Cr) to help startup entrepreneurs realise their potential.
- Zone Startups is organising the fifth annual “The Next BIG Idea” contest in collaboration with the Government of Ontario, Canada. The contest selects five Indian startups and gives them an opportunity to tap into the North American market. This year, the winning startup will be awarded “The Aditya Jha India Entrepreneur Award,” wherein it will be given a grant of INR 5 Lakhs and a one-year access to the accelerator programme at Zone Startups India.