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Funding and acquisitions in Indian startups this week [08-13 Apr]

This week as many as 21 Indian startups raised nearly $105 million in funding. These deals include six growth-stage deals and 12 early-stage deals. Meanwhile one growth-stage startup and two early-stage startups did not disclose the amount raised. Last week, about 30 early and growth-stage startups collectively raised around $172.71 million. [Growth-stage deals] Among the growth-stage deals, the six startups raised $54.5 million in funding this week. Compliance automation platform Sprinto led the list with $20 million in funding. The list was followed by B2B waste management and recycling marketplace Recykal, Housing finance company AVIOM HFC, digital lender Axio, and medical diagnostics platform 5C Network which raised $13 million, $10 million, $6 million, and $3 million, respectively. Further, made-to-order furniture manufacturer Arrivae while D2C coffee brand Blue Tokai Coffee also and secured undisclosed funds this week. [Early-stage deals] Subsequently, 12 early-stage startups scooped funding worth $50 million during the week. AI cloud and platform-as-a-service startup Neysa spearheaded the list followed by AI-powered revenue enablement platform GTM Buddy, underwater visual inspection services provider Planys Technologies, underwater visual inspection services provider Planys Technologies, paediatric behavioural and developmental health firm Butterfly Learnings, and electric mobility platform AutoNxt Automation. The list further includes the full stack eyewear platform, EyeMyEye, health insurance assistance provider CalimBuddy, elder care startup Age Care Labs, healthcare startup PlatinumRx, and defence-focused deeptech startup Zulu Defence Systems among others. The list of early-stage startups also includes 2 startups that kept the funding amount undisclosed: Paytring and BlackCarrot. [City and segment-wise deals] In terms of the city-wise number of funding deals, Bengaluru-based startups led with 8 deals followed by Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kanpur. Segment-wise, healthtech startups are on top with four deals. The list further counts e-commerce, fintech, SaaS, Deeptech, and EV startups among others. The complete breakdown of deals across cities and segments can be seen below: [Series-wise deals] During the week, Seed funding deals are on the top spot with six deals while Series B deals are on the second position both forming around 52% of the total funding. Further, Series A, Pre-Series A, and Debt are next on the list among others. [Week-on-week funding trend] On a weekly basis, startup funding plummeted nearly 40% to $105 million as compared to around $170 million raised during the previous week. The average funding in the last eight weeks stands at around $243 million with 25 deals per week. The week-on-week funding trend can be seen below: [Departure] During the week, Surinder Chawla, the managing director and chief executive officer of Paytm Payments Bank, stepped down from his position, according to the disclosure filed by the associate entity One97 on the National Stock Exchange. [Fund launches] Three startup-focused funds were launched this week. Cornerstone Ventures, a venture capital firm, announced the launch of its second fund targeting $200 million with a green-shoe option of $50 million. Filter Capital, a technology-focused investment firm, closed its first fund at Rs 800 crore (approximately $96 million). Synapses also launched a $125 million VC fund at IIT Delhi’s Research and Innovation Park to back startups. [Layoffs] Tech upskilling startup Scaler has laid off approximately 150 employees, attributing the decision to a focus on long-term growth and sustainability. Co-founder Abhimanyu Saxena stated that the company is reevaluating its operations to achieve sustainable growth while ensuring the best learning experience for its users. [ESOP Buyback] Comfort-tech brand The Sleep Company announced the second tranche of ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) buyback for its employees this week. The current buyback will benefit a total of 105 employees, including 50% of women employees. [Mergers & Acquisitions] This week, Ghost Kitchens India acquired Shy Tiger Brands, a cloud kitchen company from Ahmedabad. Meanwhile, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) acquired majority stakes in iBUS, a digital infrastructure solutions company, in a $200 million deal. Additionally, Symphony Technology Group (STG) acquired Eka Software Solutions, a Bengaluru-based commodities trade and risk management (CTRM) software company, with plans to merge it into STG’s portfolio company Quor Group. Postman also acquired SaaS platform Orbit during the period. [New launches] ▪️ Reliance-owned Tira forays into beauty accessories, launches ‘Tira Tools’ ▪️ Flipkart rolls out bus booking services on its app ▪️ Agritech startup DeHaat launches agrifood consumer brand ‘Honest Farms’ [Financial results this week] ▪️ Ripplr posts Rs 740 Cr gross revenue in FY23; controls losses ▪️ Power2SME gross revenue crosses 1,000 Cr in FY23; cuts losses ▪️ Portea’s revenue stays flat in FY23; losses grow 32% ▪️ MoneyView posts Rs 577 Cr revenue in FY23; profit spikes 27X [News flash this week] ▪️ Swiggy offers 20% discount to HNIs in pre-IPO deal ▪️ Invesco marks up Swiggy’s valuation to $12.7 Bn ▪️ IPO-bound Swiggy converts itself into a public entity ▪️ PhonePe’s merchant app MAUs on rise as Paytm falls behind ▪️ Ola, Uber unveil subscription-undefined models for auto drivers ▪️ Ola ceases operations in UK, Australian, and New Zealand markets [Conclusion] The rally of ups and downs continues as after a significant rise in funding, the weekly funding again shrank close to 40% this week. The week saw three fund launches namely Filter Capital, Cornerstone Ventures, and Synapses. The week saw another layoff as tech upskilling startup Scaler reportedly fired a part of their workforce. Swiggy is gearing up for its IPO after the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, having recently converted into a public entity. The company has shortlisted bankers for its IPO syndicate and is offering shares to high net-worth individuals at a 20% discount on its current valuation of over $12 billion. This move follows a recent markup in Swiggy’s valuation by US-based investor Invesco. PhonePe has surpassed Paytm in terms of monthly active users (MAUs) of its merchant app, according to data from App Annie recorded between mid-January to mid-March. Paytm experienced a 20% decrease in MAUs in the last quarter, while PhonePe saw a 20% increase. In March, Paytm had approximately 9 million MAUs, whereas PhonePe had around 11 million. In another development, Indian ride-hailing giant Ola has exited from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, marking the end of its six-year stint in these markets. The decision reflects a strategic shift, with Ola focusing on its rapidly growing and profitable ride-hailing business in India. Meanwhile, Ola and Uber are shifting gears by offering subscription-based plans for auto-rickshaw drivers, a strategy reminiscent of their competitors Namma Yatri and Rapido. Instead of the traditional booking fee or commission per transaction, these plans aim to provide more stability and incentives for drivers.

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