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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: Kassio

Sector: Crypto

Amount: US$ 1.6 million

Led by: Aalto Capital

Kassio, a crypto-for-everyone platform that allows users to buy, sell, borrow, earn and utilize cryptos, has raised funds worth US$1.6 million in the pre-seed round. Kassio has raised the investment from two major European investment funds, and Aalto Capital, which has led the round.

Kassio will use the funds to launch its operation in the Indian and European markets, further strengthening its product development process and adding more talent to the senior management across its legal, compliance, institutional relationships, and design functions.

Sachin Singh, CEO and co-founder of Kassio, said, “This successful pre-seed funding round is a testimony to the strength of our project Kassio, its roadmap, offerings, and the innovation that brings together crypto investment and much-required crypto utility features”.

Swedish Investors at Aalto Capital, along with two major European investment funds, immediately saw the potential of Kassio and its team. In February of 2022, they decided to invest US$1.6 million in the company’s pre-seed round of funding to accelerate and globally scale the company’s mission of making crypto mainstream.

Shayan Khan, Partner at Aalto Capital, added, “While crypto is the next biggest equalizer after the internet revolution, Kassio, with its strong offerings, is a project that changes the whole dynamics of the community. I am confident that Kassio will be instrumental in providing quality crypto offerings to end-users and bring about the change that the world has been waiting for in this ecosystem.”

Startup: TraceX

Sector: Agtech

Amount: US$ 1 million

Led by: NABARD backed NABVENTURES Fund

TraceX Technologies, a blockchain powered agtech platform that enhances supply chain traceability and transparency, has raised US$ 1 million in pre-series A funding led by NABARD backed NABVENTURES Fund. The round also saw participation from Paipal Ventures, an early stage family office investment fund, and from angel investor Sunil Kumar.

The newly raised capital will be used towards scaling up operations across geographies in India and in international markets, enhancing the technology platform, foraying into other value chains and for building high performance teams across functions.

Commenting on the fundraise, Anil Nadig, Co-Founder, TraceX, said, “We are thrilled to have NABVENTURES join us on our journey. Their tremendous experience in the field of food and agriculture will help us accelerate our vision of building a globally connected food network on blockchain.”

Startup: Doceree

Sector: Healthtech

Amount: US$11 million

Led by: Eight Roads Ventures

Doceree, a global network of physician-only platforms for programmatic messaging, completed US$11 million Series A funding round led by Eight Roads Ventures, a global investment firm backed by Fidelity. F-Prime Capital and Alkemi Growth Capital also participated in the round.

Doceree will use the funds to scale its global operations, expand partnerships, augment its product portfolio and advance the platform’s measurement and behavior lift capabilities to bring greater transparency to results. The funding will also help it embolden healthcare professional (HCP) communications for pharma and life sciences brands, agencies and health information technology platforms.

“Doceree has identified a largely overlooked white space in digital pharma marketing and is delivering innovative solutions to address some of the most critical challenges that pharma companies face today,” says Carl Byers, Partner, F-Prime Capital. “We were drawn to the company’s vision and are looking forward to our partnership and continued support as they evolve into their next stage of growth.”

Startup: Instoried

Sector: Deep tech

Amount: US$200 million

Led by: GEM

Instoried, a user-friendly, intuitive web platform designed to help people craft empathetic and more effective written content, has signed an agreement with the GEM Global Yield LLC SCS (“GEM”), an alternative investment group with offices in Paris, New York, and the Bahamas. Under the agreement, GEM will provide a Share Subscription Facility of up to US$200 million, to be drawn at the option of the Company, for a 36-month term following a public listing. This announcement comes in less than 6 months of Instoried announcing its Series A funding, hence making this the fastest growing deep tech startup led by a woman founder.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to expand our technology capabilities and reach more people where they live, directly in the applications where they create content,” said Sharmin Ali, Founder and CEO of Instoried. She added, “The year 2022 has a lot in store for us and we are excited to unravel things one-by-one.”

Instoried plans to use the infusion of capital to expand their global marketing efforts, primarily in the United States, and invest in its technology to add a Google Chrome extension, a WordPress plug-in, and other elements to its product portfolio. Additionally, the team has aggressive plans to grow its executive team and presence to double down on their mission to help writers, marketing agencies, students, professionals and more to use Instoried to write more empathetic, original, and more lively content.

For the India market Instoried will focus on hiring for leadership and technology roles, develop the tech stack to launch their own content generation tool and invest in marketing in India and Asia markets. The Series A funding round was led by Pritt Investment Partners and 9 Unicorns, with participation from Mumbai Angels, SOSV, Venture Catalysts Angel Fund, and others. Instoried is actively looking to add US based roles including head of sales, growth hacking, and operations.

Startup: Medfin

Sector: Medtech

Amount: US$15 million

Led by: Arka Nxt, HealthXCapital (Singapore), Blume Ventures, Axilor Ventures, Sony & Kotak Investments

Healthcare provider Medfin  raised US$15 million in Series B funding from a group of marquee investors including Arka Nxt, HealthXCapital (Singapore), Blume Ventures, Axilor Ventures, Sony and Kotak Investments.

The company has previously raised $4 Million in funding. With these funds, Medfin plans to aggressively expand to 25+ cities across the country. It plans to invest in R&D, technology, process and people enabling it to offer patients a one-stop comprehensive service platform for 250+ types of day care surgeries.

“What Medfin is doing will redefine surgical care in India. They are well on their way to becoming India’s largest day-care surgery provider. We are happy to partner with them in this journey,” said Vikram Kailas from Arka Nxt Ventures.

Startup: LimeChat

Sector: AI Chatbot

Amount: US$4.2 million

Led by: Stellaris Venture Partners

LimeChat, a human-level chatbot startup that enables D2C brands leverage conversational marketing, has raised US$4.2 million in Seed funding led by Stellaris Venture Partners, with participation from Pi Ventures, Titan Capital and marquee angel investors.

Nikhil Gupta, Co-founder of LimeChat said, “As we continue to build a category-defining SaaS company for global eCommerce brands, with Stellaris’ track record in building global SaaS leaders and defining growth stories of leading D2C brands, we could not think of a better partner to support us in this journey.”

Alok Goyal, Partner, Stellaris Venture Partners said, “We first partnered with Limechat about a year ago and the business has only gone from strength to strength since then. In addition to their fundamental technical abilities, Aniket and Nikhil have also impressed us with their business building acumen. We are delighted to be leading this round, and are looking forward to what lies next in conversational AI.”

Shubham Sandeep, MD at pi Ventures said, “Since our early partnership with Nikhil and Aniket at LimeChat, we have been astounded by the speed and quality of execution and growth. Some of India’s top brands have already seen an increase in sales and reduction in customer support costs and response times by leveraging the sophisticated NLP engine developed by LimeChat. We are in the early innings of conversational commerce and are proud to partner with the LimeChat team as they scale globally.”

Startup: Laurik

Sector: Nutraceutical

Amount: INR 37 million

Led by: Murthy Aradhi & Lakshmikant PB

Laurik, a unique health elevator brand, which uses coconut derivative and provides the right nutrients in a shot, raised a funding amount of INR 37 million while just in its ideation stage.

The funding round was led by marquee investors like Murthy Aradhi, co-founder at FastCollab and Lakshmikant PB, Director of Finance at Antler, an early-stage venture capital firm.

Lavanya Sunkari, Founder and CEO, Laurik said, “The goal of Laurik is to work towards empowering people to invest in a healthy lifestyle by providing them with a comprehensive blend of ingredients with well-researched benefits. Being recognized by the Clean Label Project™ as one of few companies in the world for creating clean products, validates our mission to unlock the power of nature with exceptional innovation to make products that are healthier, and safer for daily consumption.”

Startup: Youkraft

Sector: Construction and interiors

Amount: US$10 million

Led by: The Goel Family Office

Bangalore based YOUKRAFT has secured a commitment of US$10 million in seed funding from the Goel Family Office including Manav Goel (Founder and CEO of YOUKRAFT). The recently launched app will be an online marketplace exclusively catering to the construction and interiors industry.

“We are delighted to have secured the funds we need to support YOUKRAFT during this crucial early stage of our growth,” said Manav Goel, founder and CEO of YOUKRAFT. “We seek to bridge the gaps in India’s interior and construction industry by providing a unified technology platform where homeowners, interior designers and contractors can easily obtain the best products at the best prices delivered to their doorstep.”

Startup: Frigate

Sector: Cloud

Amount: US$175,000

Led by: Strategic investors

Chennai-based cloud manufacturing startup Frigate raises US$175,000 in an oversubscribed pre-seed round from strategic investors. These include names like Vel Kanniappan, Angel Investor, Srinath Ramakkrushnan, Founder of Zetwerk,  Abhishek Raj Pandey, Head of Sourcing and Procurement, Mamaearth, Vijay Pravin Maharajan of Bitscrunch, Prabhu Sengodan of SPK groups, Founders of  M2P Fintech, Mohan and Jaikumar of  Ippopay, Sundararaman Ramasamy, Founder of Wilcosource US and other Angel investors from US, Japan, Germany, and Singapore.

This new funding will be used to further strengthen Frigate’s technology stack. They are developing an AI-enabled platform by identifying the topology of the design and sending it to the right machines available in our platform to manufacture the same by connecting machines via IIoT. Frigate is planning to set up offices in Chennai and Bengaluru to increase the headcount to 100+ within the next fiscal.

Vel Kanniappan, an active angel Investor said, “Frigate® is a platform built by a young and energetic team that can optimize cost, time, quality, and efficacy from prototype to manufacturing. Within a short span of time, they have managed to scale the business with tremendous effort. I am impressed with their business model and the speed with which they operate.”

“When we hear about the words fabrication, casting, die making, moulding, heavy engineering, and manufacturing; what comes to our mind is a traditional manufacturing setup. Tamizh is one of the first startup Founders in the country who has transformed this traditional setup into a startup and has been building the future of the manufacturing marketplace. I wish him and team Frigate all the very best,” said Abhishek Raj Pandey, Head of Sourcing and Procurement, Mamaearth

Vijay Pravin said, “Frigate has a great potential to contribute to the growing needs of on-demand custom manufacturing services. I’m excited to back Tamizh and the team to come good.”

Startup: Observe.AI

Sector: AI

Amount: US$125 million

Led by: SoftBank Vision Fund 2 

Observe.AI, an Intelligent Workforce Platform that transforms contact centers through AI, raised US$125 million in Series C funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with participation from Zoom.

The round also includes participation from Observe.AI’s existing investors such as Menlo Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, and Nexus Venture Partners, bringing the company’s total funding to date to US$213 million.

This new funding highlights increased confidence in Observe.AI’s market position at a critical moment for the contact center industry, in which consumer expectations and technology investments are at an all-time high, yet brands struggle to improve customer experience and business outcomes.

This latest investment will fuel development of the next generation of Observe.AI’s product innovations – including expansion into harmonizing real-time with post-interaction agent coaching – scale the company’s go-to-market motion and drive continued geographical expansion into international markets, and accelerate its timeframe to IPO readiness.

“We believe the company has built an intelligent, flexible platform with endless use cases, from healthcare companies seeking to enhance patient experience through to financial institutions aiming to boost revenue. We are thrilled to partner with Swapnil and the team to help them accelerate a paradigm shift within the contact center industry,” said Priya Saiprasad, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

Startup: Jobsgaar

Sector: Jobs search

Amount: Undisclosed

Led by: SucSEED Indovation Fund

Jobsgaar Technologies Pvt Ltd, has secured an undisclosed amount in fund raise, led by SucSEED Indovation Fund, Blume Founder Fund, BlackSoil, Karekeba Ventures & other industry stalwarts have joined along in their Pre-Series A round.

Atul Pratap Singh, Co- Founder and CEO of Jobsgaar said, “Funding raised from SucSEED Indovation Fund and such established Angel Investors will help us in escalating our solution development phase & distribution plan. We have recently rolled out our ver1.0 of the Android App for selected markets”.

Vikrant Varshney Co-Founder & Managing Partner of SucSEED Indovation Fund, said, “Since the time we funded in their first round, Jobsgaar has had a fabulous journey. They have attracted key clients like Cars 24, BLU Smart, Thyrocare, Hero, Planet PCI and signed an agreement to assist 68K+ petrol pump owners in hiring blue-collar workforce. It is currently available in 15-20 districts of UP and now expanding to cover other 53 districts of UP & also move to Bihar. Jobsgaar is witnessing 800% growth in job seekers on the platform from 10,000 to 90,000+ job seekers with 700% growth in job listings.”

Startup: Expertia AI

Sector: AI

Amount: US$1.2 million

Led by: Chiratae and Endiya

EXPERTIA AI, deeptech virtual recruitment platform has raised US$1.2 million in seed funding led by marquee investors Chiratae Ventures and Endiya Partners with participation from Entrepreneur First and angel investor Archana Priyadarshini. Entrepreneur First, the UK based Talent Investor has doubled down on their previous pre seed funding into the startup last March.

The funds will be used for assembling a team of AI Researchers and Software Engineers and creating brand, product awareness in the Indian market.

“The future of work will be defined by how companies hire and retain talent in the post-pandemic world. We see Expertia AI bringing an AI-powered platform to the world, delivering the best match between candidates and opportunities through automated extraction and matching of skills and we are excited to partner with them,” added Sudhir Sethi, Chairman and Founder, Chiratae Ventures.

Sateesh Andra of Endiya Partners, commented, “There is an urgent need for Companies to hire better candidates sooner. Expertia AI-enabled ATS platform helps attract quality employees in less time. Kanishk and Akshay bring together a good mix of Tech / AI and Business / Domain expertise to make this happen. Endiya is excited to partner with them in building this new-age recruitment and skill platform.”

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