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Startup News

Missing out on updates from the startup scenes in India? - We got you covered! This podcast will provide a 5 minute highlight reel of all that happened in the startup ecosystem last week.

Last week in startups - India

In total, this week, 20 startups raised $75.89 Mn funding and one startup acquisition took place.
In a major announcement this week, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank launched its second technology-focussed investment corpus, SoftBank Vision Fund II, with an outlay of $108 Bn. The fund claimed to have received commitments from technology majors such as Apple and Microsoft.

Other investors in the fund include National Investment Corporation of National Bank of Kazakhstan, Standard Chartered Bank, and some undisclosed investors from Taiwan. Further, SoftBank will be investing $38 Bn in the fund along with other committed investors including Foxconn, MUFG, SMFG and Mizuho.

The objective of the fund is to facilitate the continued acceleration of the AI revolution through investment in market-leading, and tech-enabled growth companies.

Bengaluru-based gaming company Playshifu raised $7 Mn in Series A funding. The round was led by Chiratae (formerly IDG Ventures India), Inventus Capital and Bharat Innovation Fund (BIF). Existing investor IDFC-Parampara Fund also participated. The company plans to use the funds to invest further towards tech innovation, research on unique phygital interactions and new product developments.

Mumbai-based online insurance brokerage platform Coverfox received a INR 40 Cr ($5.89 Mn) capital infusion from its existing investors. According to Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Coverfox issued Series C5 compulsorily convertible preference shares (CCPS) to investors such as International Finance Corporation, Aegon Digital Investments, Transamerica Ventures, Accel India and SAIF Partners.

Bengaluru-based online classifieds marketplace Quikr raised INR 20 Cr ($2.9 Mn) in debt funding. According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs filings, the company has raised debt by issuing 200 compulsorily convertible debentures to Trifecta Capital in May. The company had received INR 13.9 Cr in a capital infusion from its Mauritius-based entity in May.

Mumbai-based SME lending startup Drip Capital raised $25 Mn in a Series B funding round led by Accel Partners with participation from existing investors Sequoia India, Wing VC, and Y Combinator. New investors in this round include GC1 Ventures and institutional investor platform Trusted Insight. The funds will be used to expand its global footprint, launching in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico in 2019.

Mumbai-based robotics startup emotix raised $2.69 Mn (INR 18.58 Cr) in a fresh funding round from Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures), Technology Venture Fund and Yournest India. Sources close to the development indicated to Inc42 that the investment is a part of a larger funding round. The fresh funds will be invested towards company’s research and development requirements.

Delhi-based vernacular real-money gaming platform WinZO Games raised $5 Mn in Series A funding. The round was led by Kalaari Capital and messaging and payments platform Hike. The company claims to have more than 7 Mn registered users across Tier 2/3/4/5 cities. It claims that users are currently spending more than 55 minutes inside the app on average every day.

Moving on to acquisitions:
Mumbai-based conversational AI platform Haptik acqui-hired Los Angeles-based AI startup Convrg. Additionally, the company has hired Timothy Carey, a technology industry veteran with over 20 years of experience across AI and enterprise software, to serve as its General Manager for the region. Convrg’s founding team— — will report to Carey and will help drive Haptik’s business in the US respectively serving as VP of Strategic Partnerships, VP of Growth, and VP of Technology Solutions.

What else caught our eyes?

Apple has paid $1 Bn to acquire Intel’s smartphone modem chips business, which was one weak area in the electronic giant’s plans to release next-gen iPhones ready for 5G networks. As part of the acquisition, 2,200 Intel employees will be joining Apple by the end of the year and Intel will also sign over close to 17K patents to the Cupertino company.

American private equity firm Blackstone has reportedly invested $250 Mn in Kishore Biyani’s Future Group which owns supermarket chains such as Bigbazaar, Brand Factory, EasyDay and more. The investment is said to be a mix of equity and structured debt, and be used for the capital expansion of Biyani’s discounted fashion retail chain Brand Factory.