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The Tech Panda takes a look at recent funding events in the ecosystem.

As 2022 starts, many startups raked in moolah in the new year. According to a latest report conducted jointly by London & Partners and dealroom.co, global tech VC investment into startups hit a record level of US$675 billion in 2021, doubling the previous all-time high of US$340.6 billion in 2020.

The investments in 2021 were led by the US at US$328.8 billion followed by China at US$61.8 billion and India coming in third with a US$44.6 billion funding into the sector. Bengaluru made it to the top five leading VC investment hubs across the world accounting for US$18.6 billion of the global pie. Bengaluru also had a record year, producing 16 new unicorn companies.

Hemin Bharucha, Country Director, India, London and Partners said, “The record venture capital investment figures for the UK and India in 2021 demonstrate that tech and innovation are thriving across both regions. With an increasing number of unicorns and exciting tech startups, cities such as London and Bengaluru are now recognised by VCs as some of the best places to find game changing companies to invest in.”

Last year was a record year for VC investment into India and Bengaluru with the Indian tech VC investment having grown three times between 2020 and 2021. India also jumped ranks from 4th in 2020 to 3rd globally in 2021.

Here’s a look at how the new year has begun with startups raking in moolah.

Startup: Groyyo

Sector: B2B Manufacturing

Amount: US$4.6 million

Led by: Alpha Wave Incubation

Mumbai based startup Groyyo, a B2B manufacturing and automation company raised US$4.6 million in a seed round of funding led by Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI), which is backed by DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform, and managed by Falcon Edge Capital.

This round also saw participation by notable marquee angels such as Deepak Jain (Partner & Manufacturing Lead, Bain & Co), Arpan Seth (Partner & Global PE Lead – Bain & Co), OYO Group’s Global Chief Strategy Officer Maninder Gulati and Bombay Chamber of Commerce Chairperson Anjali Bansal. Early investors Sparrow Capital and notable venture-debt fund Stride Ventures also participated in this round.

Startup: Courseplay 

Sector: Employee growth enablement

 Amount: INR 3 crore in Seed 

Led by: Inflection Point Ventures

Employee growth enablement platform Courseplay raised INR 3 crore in a Seed round led by Inflection Point Ventures. The funds raised will be used to focus on customer acquisition and bringing new AI-powered capabilities to market. The company will continue to expand operations across India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

Vinay Bansal, Founder and CEO, Inflection Point Ventures says, “This online training programme has been the need of an hour especially with the world going digital due to COVID. Courseplay has some renowned brands which itself speaks volume of the brands end-to-end solution. We look forward to being a part of Courseplay’s next phase in their growth journey.”

Startup: Zluri

Sector: SaaS Management

 Amount: US$10 million

Led by: MassMutual Ventures

SaaS management platform Zluri raised US$10 million in a Series A round of funding led by MassMutual Ventures with participation from existing investors, Endiya Partners and Kalaari Capital. Zluri had previously raised US$2 million from Endiya Partners and Kalaari Capital, in its seed round in January 2021.

The company plans to use the additional capital to continue its growth momentum and further strengthen its product’s capabilities. The company plans to double down the teams in core markets in Asia and North America.

Ritish Reddy, Co-Founder, Zluri, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Mass Mutual Ventures as our new partner through this Series A funding. Our rapid growth in the category can be attributed to our product innovation and unparalleled customer support. We will continue our investments to extend our lead in this space and the current round of funding will help us further accelerate our global growth and product innovation.”

Anvesh Ramineni, Managing Director at MassMutual Ventures, added, “We are very excited to back Ritish, Sethu, Chaithanya and the Zluri team and look forward to supporting them on their vision of building global leader in this category.”

Startup: Glamplus 

Sector: SaaS

 Amount: US$700k in Pre-Series A

Led by: Blume Ventures and Ramakant Sharma 

SaaS enabled marketplace startup Glamplus raised US$700k in a Pre-Series A round from Blume Ventures, Ramakant Sharma (COO- Livspace) and participation from existing investors IPV. The funds raised will be utilised in vertical tech SaaS capabilities along with expansion of B2B marketplace business to scale to 10,000 partners and monthly revenues of INR 5 crore per month by March 2022.

Anirvan Chowdhury, Vice President, Investments, Blume Ventures, shares, “When we met the team around a year back, they had only a concept, and in the past year, they’ve not only built out a solid product but also in the 6 months since launch, they’ve been able to drive phenomenal growth while maintaining very strong retention numbers, 4000+ salons with 25 lakhs monthly SaaS revenue and 3Cr. monthly marketplace GMV in 6 months with a +ve CM1 is no mean feat, and we are super excited to be part of this journey.”

Mitesh Shah, Co-Founder, Inflection Point Ventures, says, “The fast pace growth trajectory clearly shows the need for this solution in the emerging market and IPV looks forward to extending their support in their journey.”

Divyanshu Singh, Co-Founder and CEO, Glamplus says, “We were clearly determined and destined to solve for this highly undeserved SMB market and creating a moat around it by going vertically deep, has also been recognized by our marquee investors. New Funds will be utilised in enhancing tech capabilities, going deep in the marketplace segment and driving growth along with efficiency.”

Startup: Algorithmic Biologics Pvt Ltd (ABPL)

Sector: Deep tech

 Amount: Undisclosed

Led by: Axilor Lab

Glamplus  (ABPL), a deep-tech startup building algorithms for molecular programming received an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Axilor Lab. Algorithmic Biologics plans to use the funds to unlock and scale these applications commercially, as well as extend their IP portfolio to create more building blocks of molecular technologies towards its vision of creating a computing platform to enable us to talk to biological systems in the same way we analyze data.

“Creating and curating ventures requires innate talent to come up with an idea, creativity to demonstrate product-market-fit, and operating skill to scale the effort. Throughout, we need capital. At Axilor Labs, all of these ingredients come together to bring cutting-edge scientific ideas into India’s mainstream,” said Dr. Tarun Khanna, Harvard Business School professor and co-founder of Axilor. “Our investment in Algorithmic exemplifies this approach. Together with Manoj, we are helping prove the business impact of this breakthrough technology.”

Startup: ToolJet

Sector: Low-code

 Amount: US$1.5 million

Led by: Nexus Venture Partners

ToolJet, an open source low-code software for building internal tools has raised US$1.5 million in a seed funding round led by Nexus Venture Partners with participation from Ratio ventures, Better capital, Alan Rutledge as well as enterprise founders, operators and investors, including  Rohan Murty (founder of Soroco), Sony Joy (head of Enterprise at Truecaller), Vipul Amler (founder of Saeloun), Mohammed Hisamuddin (founder of Entri )and Abhi Kumar of M12 Ventures.

The company intends to use the funding for team expansion to accelerate the development of the core platform of ToolJet.

Sameer Brij Verma, Director, Nexus Venture Partners, commented, “We are thrilled to partner with ToolJet’s team on their journey to build a revolutionary open-source low-code / no-code platform with the built-in collaboration which will enable their customers to radically increase their operational clock speed and ability to launch new products.”

Startup: Kaleidofin 

Sector: Neo-bank

Amount: US$10 million

Led by: Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Kaleidofin raised US$10 million in its series B funding, led by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. This takes the total funding raised by Kaleidofin till date to US$18 million. Existing institutional investors, Oiko Credit, Flourish Ventures, Omidyar Network, Blume Ventures and Bharat Fund also participated in the Series B round.

Sucharita Mukherjee and Puneet Gupta, Founders of Kaleidofin said, “We look forward to scaling up the Kaleidocredit business line and drive deep loan product innovation focused on the informal customer and nano business. To this end, we will deepen our investments in developing our technology, risk management and data science capabilities”

To support the next phase of exponential growth, Kaleidofin has appointed Natasha Jethanandani, CTO and Vipul Sekhsaria, Chief Networks Officer, both founding team members, as Co-Founders. Vipul has built out the last mile networks that enable Kaleidofin to reach out to the customer and has been responsible for driving business growth across product lines. Natasha has built out Kaleidofin’s technology team and capabilities and brought a strategic focus to the firm’s product development roadmap.

Startup: ORAI Robotics

Sector: Conversational AI

Amount: INR 6.5 crore in Pre-Series A 

Led by: Inflection Point Ventures

Conversational AI platform ORAI has raised INR 6.5 crore in a Pre-Series A Round led by Inflection Point Ventures. The funds raised will be utilised in expansion in sales and marketing, to capture larger markets, product development and enhancements, and towards R&D.

Vinay Bansal, Founder and CEO, Inflection Point Ventures says, “ORAI has evolved exponentially as a robust AI conversational platform catering to 14 sectors including healthcare, real estate, education, automobile among others. This platform ensures end to end solutions to the customers and clients thus enabling a smoother customer interface, streamline operations, quicker lead generation and also maximise ROI on digital marketing spends. We at IPV look forward to supporting ORAI’s vision to grow beyond boundaries and be the leaders in AI conversational space.”

Swapnil Jain, Co-Founder and CEO, ORAI, says, “As IPV continues to show trust in our business growth, with the 2nd round led by the Platform, we are all set to expand our operations nationally and internationally. With WhatsApp Commerce becoming the biggest demand in the industry, ORAI has received multiple appreciations from customers for its high tech, high performing platform.”

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