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The Tech Panda takes a look at recent funding events in the ecosystem, seeking to know where the cash is flowing.

Startup: Better Opinions

Sector: Gaming

 Amount: Over $1 million in pre-seed

Led by: Y Combinator, Java Capital, Soma Capital

Better Opinions, a Y-Combinator backed company, has raised over US$1 million in a pre-seed round from Y Combinator, Java Capital, Soma Capital, and angels including Mayank Kumar, Co-founder, UpGrad, Sudhanshu Raheja, Head of Product and Engineering, GoTo Financials (Gojek-Tokopedia), Pratyush Prasanna, SVP, Gojek, Chinmaya Sharma, Chief Commercial Officer Namshi and the Ranadive Family, the co-owners of Sacramento Kings.

The funds raised will be used to build and expand the product and tech team, grow the existing user base and educate the users about events trading. Better Opinions is an app where events are created in the form of binary yes/no questions to make trading more relatable, accessible and widespread.

Vinod Shankar, Co-founder and Partner, Java Capital, said “We at Java Capital are very excited to invest in Better Opinions and back Samay and Soumyajit, who have shown maturity and purpose in building Better Opinions, and scaling it at a fast pace. As a VC, I make decisions on companies to invest/trade, a reflection of our opinion, knowledge and information at a point in time. We are in a privileged position as a VC to make such decisions as part of our jobs. What if you and anyone else want to trade on their opinions? Better Opinions – is a product for everyone who has an opinion on any world event to trade and take a position on the same.”

Startup: Runo

Sector: Call Management CRM

 Amount: US$5,00,000 in Pre Series A

Led by: Unicorn India Ventures

New age call management CRM Runo, with complete SIM based calling solution for outbound and sales teams has raised US$5,00,000 in a Pre Series A round led by Unicorn India Ventures. Runo plans to use the funds raised for the product roadmap and expand to the Middle East, SEA, and the US market in a phased manner.

Anil Joshi, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures, says, “We decided to invest in Runo due to the considered solutions and services it provides to the businesses. The CRM app is easy to use and the built in tech makes it easier for team managers to track progress along the way. This can potentially disrupt the telecalling market. The business model doesn’t need huge marketing spends and their growth curve shows immense potential.”

Rajsekhar Pattnaik, Founder and CEO, Runo, says, “This fund raised is a stamp of UIV faith in us as we continue to register growth across different sectors. It will help us scale and expand in International markets”

Startup: RENEE Cosmetics

Sector: Beauty

Amount: US$10 million in Series A

Led by: Mensa brands

India’s new-age beauty brand RENEE Cosmetics has raised US$10 million in Series A led by Mensa brands. The round also witnessed participation from the existing investors including Equanimity and 9Unicorns. The brand has raised a total of US$11 million till date, including the current round.

Aashka Goradia Goble, Co-founder, RENEE Cosmetics, “This fundraise will help us expand our expertise into creating and formulating ground breaking products. We are excited to initiate this next phase of our journey.”

“RENEE Cosmetics has established a unique positioning and garnered customer love in the competitive beauty market. As the colour cosmetics segment rapidly grows over the next few years, I believe that RENEE Cosmetics will emerge as a category leader owing to its innovative products and strong founding team,” said Ananth Narayanan, Founder and CEO of Mensa Brands.

RENEE Cosmetics plans on utilising funds majorly in strengthening the brand presence and widening offline presence. Additionally, a part of the fund will also be leveraged for catalogue expansion and marketing budgets. RENEE currently selling products through all leading online channels and 500+ stores in the country.

Startup: BRIGHTBLU

Sector: Electric Vehicle charging

Amount: US$1.6 million

Led by: Koolen Industries

Electric vehicle charging solutions company BRIGHTBLU has secured a US$1.6 million investment from Dutch clean energy conglomerate Koolen Industries that will help accelerate its international expansion. The Mumbai based startup’s made-in-India products cater to the Indian and European markets.

“BRIGHTBLU’s proven ability to seamlessly integrate software and hardware to develop and deliver price-competitive intelligent EV charging solutions makes it an ideal supplier to the corporate sector, where demand is set to soar as ever more manufacturers and utilities decide to participate in the energy transition,” said Kees Koolen, CEO, Koolen Industries.

As the latest member of the Koolen Industry family of more than 25 clean energy companies, BRIGHTBLU will have the opportunity to participate in projects that require complex multi-disciplinary solutions across the energy generation and supply chain.

“We are 100% aligned in our mission to decarbonise not only the transport sector, where BRIGHTBLU’s intelligent EV charging solutions will help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, but the entire energy system,” said Koolen, who is the former CEO of online travel agency Booking.com and was an early investor and former COO of the global ride hailing firm Uber.

BRIGHTBLU believes it is important to attract investors that can bring more than just money to the table. Last year, Sytse Zuidema, former CEO of NewMotion, Jelle Vastert, former global head of charging at Tesla, and E156 Ventures B.V. invested US$200,000 in BRIGHTBLU.

Startup: GOQii

Sector: Preventive Healthcare

Amount: US$50 million Series C

Led by: Sumeru Ventures, Modality & others

GOQii Inc announced its Series C funding round of US$50 million led by Sumeru Ventures. GOQii is a smart tech-enabled healthcare platform that brings together the entire preventive healthcare ecosystem to its users. The company has raised funding across equity, preference shares, notes and debt. The equity round was led by Sumeru Ventures. Sumeru Ventures is a global fund with a focus on next generation technology areas.

Modality (Digality), an award winning provider of primary health care and community services across the UK, also participated. Other investors included 9 Unicorns, Venture Catalysts, funds advised by MegaDelta, Mitsui, The Times Group, Ascendo, Akbar Khan and Sanjay Narang. The venture debt funding was led by Blacksoil Capital and Trifecta Capital.

GOQii’s existing investors include Mitsui, funds advised by MegaDelta, DSG Consumer Partners, Galaxy Digital, Denlow Investment Trust, Edelweiss, Cheetah Mobile, GWC, Mr. Ratan Tata, Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Mr. Pravin Gandhi, Mr. Amit Singhal. GOQii would use the funding to grow the insurance and digital therapeutics vertical in India.

Saumen Chakraborty, Managing Director at Sumeru Venture, commented on the transaction “We are delighted to invest in GOQii and join this shared journey of positive impact making. Health is a fundamental need which cannot be met with the traditional curative infrastructure alone. GOQii has been a significant contributor to the preventive healthcare ecosystem in India. We are confident that this funding round would help GOQii scale it to further heights.”

Startup: HealthySure

Sector: Insurtech

Amount: US$1.2 million in pre-series A

Led by: Inflection Point Ventures

Insurtech startup HealthySure has raised US$1.2 million (9crore approx.) in a Pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures. The round also saw participation from We Founder Circle, Dexter Angels, Campus Fund, HEM Angels and other private investors. The funds will be used to further fuel its mission of offering innovative and affordable group health insurance led solutions to the Indian workforce and their families.

Mitesh Shah, Co-Founder, Inflection Point Ventures says, “In this day and age, securing health insurance for each and every family is imperative as it helps to bear the huge cost of future health concerns which at times can be extremely expensive and unaffordable.  However, the penetration of voluntary health insurance in India is less than 10% for various reasons like difficulty in understanding the policy, affordability, trust factor, accessibility and so on. To address this problem, HealthySure has created a seamless platform to reach out to larger masses targeting SMEs whose majority workforce doesn’t have an insurance cover. We believe it is a huge market opportunity to be tapped and HealthySure is rightly positioned for it.”

HealthySure with a 20-member team is planning to scale up to 50-member team over the next 6 months. The start-up also aims to cover 150,000 individuals in the next 12 months with comprehensive health security and management.

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