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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

One of the biggest funding this week was raised by online reseller network Meesho, gaining $125 Mn in a round led by Naspers, with participation from Facebook and existing investors SAIF, Sequoia, Shunwei Capital, RPS and Venture Highway. This fund raise will help it to make deeper inroads in areas outside India’s major metro regions, by creating more entrepreneurs, and as a result, reaching remote customers not serviced by traditional e-commerce marketplaces. Also, rumours are rife that the Japanese conglomerate is reportedly looking to invest $200 Mn in the company as well.
Another major round was raised by ShareChat, adding $100 Mn in its latest Series D round of funding. Twitter and TrustBridge Partners are two new investors joining this latest funding round, while existing investors participating in this round include Shunwei Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAIF Capital, India Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital. The round took the total funding raised by ShareChat to $224 Mn.

Bengaluru-based AI startup Parentof raised $1 Mnin a seed funding round led by V Srinivas and other existing investors. Parentof is a decision sciences organization which provides insights into child growth and decision analytics. With this, total funding raised by Parentof is $2 Mn. The funds will be used towards further evolving their technology, as well as expanding their partner network.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Faircent raised a fresh round of funding from Das Capital and Gunosy Capital. Existing investors Starharbor Asia and M&S Partners have also participated in the round. The startup will use the funding to strengthen its technology backend, expansion of its product offerings and reach.

Chennai-based conversational AI startup Uniphore Software Systems raised $51 Mn in its Series C funding round led by March Capital Partners. Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures), Sistema Asia, CXO Fund, ITP, Iron Pillar, Patni Family also participated in the round. The funds will be used to accelerate its go-to-market in North America, invest in research and development for the next wave of innovation on its platform and grow its talented employee base globally.

Robotics startup Emotix, popularly known as Miko, which develops educational and recreational robot toys for children, announced to raise an INR 53.42 Cr ($7.5 Mn) Series A led by Chiratae Ventures. YourNest Venture Capital, investor Bruno Raschle and a group of angel investors are also participating in Emotix’s latest round. The company said it would be using the funding to expand internationally to North America, UK and the Middle East. A portion of the funds would be allocated for developing new products and R&D in the areas of emotional and artificial intelligence, which form a crucial component of the Miko emotive robot toy.

Easy Home Finance: Real estate and lending tech company Easy Home Finance Limited announced a strategic partnership with Harbourfront Capital, a group company of Das Capital. The VC firm will invest an undisclosed amount in the real estate financing company. Easy will be utilising the funds from Harbourfront in expanding its assets under management (AUM) base and for further investment in its technology platform.
Gurugram-based credit card bill payment startup Cred raised a bridge Series B round of INR 27.55 Cr ($4 Mn) from Sequoia Capital India. The company issued 20,179 Series B CCCPS shares priced Rs 13,653.31 each. The company said in its filings that the Bridge Series B funds will be used for growth, expansion, marketing and general corporate activities of the company.
Moving on to acquisitions:
Bengaluru-headquartered coworking space provider CoWrks acquired The UnCube for an undisclosed amount. The Gurugram-headquartered UnCube provides on-demand workspace solutions. Post-acquisition, CoWrks will rename the combined entity to CoWrks Go. CoWrks is now expanding its network of productive spaces by bringing on board a chain of cafes, restaurants, hotels, business lounges, etc.
Ola acquihired Pikup.ai, a Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup. The deal value remains undisclosed, however, Pikup.ai founders — Inder Singh and Ritwik Saikia — along with its team will join Ola. With the acquihire, Ola aims to advance the application of machine learning and AI to identify deep insights that can lead to improved mobility outcomes.

What else caught our eyes?

Mukesh Ambani announced free Jio connectivity and Jio-Azure cloud services for tech startups in India by 2021. Startups will have to register on the Jio portal to access these services, which are expected to be available from January 2021. To provide these cloud services, Reliance Jio has announced a partnership with the tech giant Microsoft and its Azure cloud vertical.