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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: Everstage

Sector: SaaS

Amount: US$13 million

Led by: Elevation Capital

Everstage, a Chennai and Delaware-based SaaS company that provides a modern sales commission management platform, founded by Siva Rajamani and Vivek Suriyamoorthy has raised US$13 million in Series A from Elevation Capital. The round also saw participation from the existing investor 3one4 Capital.

“With ever increasing data on GTM motions, companies are constantly looking to design creative incentive plans to drive sales performance. Everstage elegantly allows companies to design and manage even the most complex plans, while ensuring a modern UI/UX and a consumer app like experience. This is currently missing from the legacy vendors value chain. Super excited to back the Everstage team as they build the RevOps platform of the future” says Akarsh Shrivastava, Principal at Elevation Capital.

“We have been extremely privileged to be working with Siva, Vivek and the entire Everstage team over the last two years and have been highly impressed by their execution. We are excited to welcome new partners into the journey and double down ourselves as the team further scales their GTM and cements themselves as the most trusted sales commission management software for the enterprise,” says Anurag Ramdasan, Partner at 3one4 Capital.

Everstage will utilize the funds to further expand the sales, engineering and solutions teams to serve customers worldwide. The 50-member team is expected to grow 3x by the end of the year.

Startup: DCGpac

Sector: B2B packaging e-commerce

Amount: INR 11.45 crores

Led by: Venture Catalysts, 9Unicorns

B2B packaging e-commerce platform DCGpac has raised INR 11.45 Crores in a Pre-Series A round. The round was led by Venture Catalysts, 9Unicorns with participation from Inflection Point Ventures. The funds will be used for building the technology front, marketing for growth, implementing other growth initiatives, and managing the working capital requirements of the firm.

Mitesh Shah, Co-Founder, Inflection Point Ventures says, “Over time the packaging industry has evolved and so has DCGpac where the company not only focuses on offering a variety of products with a varied range of customization options but also ensures same-day shipping to large and MSME customers. Since its inception, they have sold more than 200 million products, enjoying revenue growth of over 15% month-on-month. With the current fundraise, the company further expects to scale their growth along with a major emphasis on technology development thus leveling the entire packaging process and making it seamless”.

Suresh Bansal, Founder, DCGpac says, “We are very excited by the scope and size of the opportunity in front of us. We will invest in technology to transform and scale our business significantly.”

Startup: Eduvacancy

Sector: Job discovery

Amount: US$200,000

Led by: Group of HNIs

Eduvacancy, an Indian job search platform for the education sector has raised US$200,000 in angel funding from a group of HNIs (high networth individuals) who are also active early-stage investors in startups.

The funding will be utilized for fresh hiring, technological upgradation, further tuning of the platform and its features and to expand across geographies particularly GCC where there is a huge demand for educators from India.

Manav Shah, Co-Founder & CEO, Eduvacancy, said, “We have actively listened in the last year to educational institution owners and senior academics to understand not just the gaps in the recruitment process but also the functionality and delivery experience of our services.

“The initial overwhelming response only validates our belief that there is a huge opportunity out there waiting to be tapped and its time we focused on building the right suite of features and high quality, consistent experience delivery. There has been huge investor interest in Eduvacancy as it’s the only focused job search platform for the education space in India.”

Startup: Earth Rhythm

Sector: Skincare

Amount: US$8 million

Led by: Nykaa

Nykaa, India’s leading beauty, wellness, and lifestyle destination announced its partnership with homegrown, science-focused beauty brand Earth Rhythm. With an active focus on research-based and results-oriented products, Earth Rhythm has earned its credentials as a sustainable and inclusive brand amongst Indian beauty consumers. Nykaa’s investment in Earth Rhythm reinforces the potential of the brand and addresses a growing market for products that are committed to efficacy as well as the planet.

Anchit Nayar, CEO, e-commerce Beauty, Nykaa said, “For Nykaa, brands that originate within the ethos of transparency and constant innovation towards efficacy and sustainability hold great value. Harini’s tenacious story of why she founded Earth Rhythm reflects her focus on creating a wide range of beauty products that the discerning Indian consumer is looking for. We are proud to partner with a promising early-stage start-up and help them to achieve their potential by leveraging Nykaa’s expertise and ecosystem.”

Harini Sivakumar, Founder and CEO Earth Rhythm said, “We are thrilled to have Nykaa as an investor in Earth Rhythm. Their investment is a clear endorsement of our efforts to build a clinically effective and technology-driven skincare and haircare brand. Through this investment, our commitment to our customers and the planet is only going to get stronger.”

Startup: zenda

Sector: Fintech

Amount: US$9.4 million

Led by: STV, COTU, Global Founders Capital, and VentureSouq

zenda, the fintech app for families has secured a US$9.4 million oversubscribed seed round with participation from STV, COTU, Global Founders Capital, and VentureSouq. zenda currently addresses pain points around the payment of school fees – in particular, the lack of convenience and flexibility in payment options for parents and the poor collection of payments for schools. The funds will be used for product development and market expansion in India.

Ihsan Jawad, General Partner at STV said, “Raman, Haseeb and the team have identified a compelling gap in the market and in supporting families on a topic that is very important to them. Seeing their strong traction over the past several months, we couldn’t be more excited about zenda. India and the GCC are a USD 100+ billion market for private education fees. They have built an outstanding team and we look forward to working with them in helping zenda achieve its mission.”

Startup: Zypp Electric

Sector: EV-as-a-service

Amount: US$1 million

Led by: Northern Arc

Zypp Electric, an Indian EV-as-a-service platform, raised US$1 million in debt funding from Northern Arc to expand its EV Fleet services. The company aims to use debt as a new expansion funnel along with current leasing strategy as they plan to deploy 1.5 Lakhs e-scooters in India by 2025. Zypp, through its continuous efforts to invest and strategize towards #MissionZeroEmission, has become the first EV logistics player to turn EBITDA positive business while also recording a 5x revenue annually.

Akash Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, Zypp Electric, said, “Zypp turning profitable is proof that we are on the right path and utilising our resources efficiently in the right direction. The best part is that we have achieved the EBITDA positive milestone along with a 5x revenue growth in this FY vs. last FY, also the achievement has come in when we’ve raised a fraction of capital vs. the other players in the mobility industry.

“We believe that as a growing startup, this is a clear sign of strong foundational values and the future potential of our business model. Further, Northern Arc is a highly respectable financial services platform, and NBFC, with $1Mn debt raised from them, we’ve added another level of growth at much better IRRs as we accelerate closer to our vision of 100% EVs in the last mile in the country”.

Bama Balakrishnan, COO, Northern Arc Capital, said “We are delighted to partner with Zypp Electric in their mission to make last-mile logistics emission-free by using the ecosystem of Electric Vehicles and EV-based technology. It aligns well with our focus on supporting businesses that accelerate the adoption of sustainable energy”.

Startup: iDreamCareer

Sector: EdTech

Amount: INR12.5 crore

Led by: Menterra, Artha Impact & GMC 

iDreamCareer (iDC), an EdTech venture delivering a one-stop personalised career navigation solution, has received INR12.5 crore in a round led by Menterra Social Impact Fund. The round saw participation from Swiss-based Artha Impact and follow-on participation from existing investors Atlanta, US based Gray Matters Capital (GMC). 

iDC will use the funds to add features like a one-stop university application, scholarship & financing to its’ offering, expand the leadership team and implement advanced technology interventions which supported by a best-in-class counselling program will widen and deepen the impact of its work.

Ayush Bansal, Founder, iDreamCareer (iDC), said, “Over the last 10 years we have partnered several multilateral organizations, governments agencies and corporates to deliver career counselling solutions to 20+ million students. This investment will help us build a leading career navigation solution focused on the future of work and studies.”

Mukesh Sharma, Head of Investments, Menterra, “This investment in iDC is to address the disparity faced by students, especially from poorer families and smaller towns to access quality information and counselling while making their education and career choices.”

Startup: Teamonk

Sector: F&B

Amount: INR3.5 crore 

Led by: Inflection Point Ventures

Premium Tea brand Teamonk has raised INR3.5 crore in a Pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures. The funds raised will be utilized for domestic penetration and exploring uncharted territories in international markets.

Vinay Bansal, Founder & CEO, Inflection Point Ventures, says, “While tea has been a universal and most preferred everyday antioxidant drink, the last few years have witnessed a tectonic shift in the consumer consumption behavior globally. Consumers are now moving to organic & healthy tea beverages which are accompanied with goodness of taste & health benefits such as antioxidant, immunity booster, enhancement in skin, anti-aging benefit, boost in mental alertness and concentration and much more. Consumers too are also willing to spend for an authentic cup of tea.

“Teamonk with their excellent product curation and innovation abilities have over 64 specialty tea variants and have created exactly what is needed in the market. The brand is all set to emerge as a leader in the specialty tea segment and IPV continues to support them in their endeavor to provide the best to tea consumers not only in India but also in the global market.”

Startup: Revise

Sector: NFT

Amount: US$3.5 million

Led by: Alpha Wave Global & 8i

NFT programming layer Revise has raised US$3.5 million in its seed round led by AlphaWave Global and 8i. Other significant investors in the round include Sandeep Nailwal of Polygon, Scott Lewis of DEFI Pulse, Utsav Somani of AngelList, Bharat Founders Fund and Rahul Chaudhary of Treebo. The funds will be used for hiring and expansion.

Tushar Behl, Alpha Wave Global, said, “We loved Revise and the founders for their deep product insight and a forward-looking vision of the space. What the team at Revise is building can become the most fundamental layer for NFT provenance and programming, much like Chainlink did for Defi. But most importantly, it is the passion and perseverance that both Raunaq and Anil have displayed has us excited about the boundless potential for Revise.”

“Tech history is replete with entire industries born out of niche hobbies. Where others see NFTs are collectibles, Raunaq and Anil see the foundation of a massive new web 3.0 economy. We are huge fans of Raunaq and Anil and this is our 2nd time partnering with them as investors. Privileged and excited to be part of Team Revise”, said Vikram Chachra, 8i.

Startup: eMedEvents

Sector: Medtech

Amount: US$150,000

Led by: We Founder Circle

We Founder Circle, a founder backing founder based early-stage startup investor has enabled BRIDGE round investment worth US$ 150K in eMedEvents, a worldwide continuing medical education (CME/CE) marketplace. The brand has enabled the funds at convertible notes for a 20% discount towards the next round.

eMedEvents gives healthcare professionals a digital platform where they could network with other medical professionals whilst discovering and participating in new CME/CE opportunities.

The startup would be using 93% of the raised funds for platform expansion, and to scale up the SaaS model for healthcare professionals. The brand would also be utilising the rest of the amount raised for wider penetration in the market.

“It is a matter of immense pleasure to see how entrepreneurs are coming forward and addressing the gaps with innovative models like eMedEvents which will promote a holistic growth for the entire sector. We certainly need better collaborations to bring about a significant change in the system. This also requires ample support from relevant stakeholders including the investment community,” said Neeraj Tyagi, Co-founder & CEO, We Found Circle.

“At eMedEvents, we are on a mission to connect continuing education (CME/CE) providers and physicians, clinicians, dentist nurses and other healthcare professionals to get the right CME/CE. This engagement holds huge scope to bring about tremendous change in the ecosystem. We are glad that the investors have put their faith in the business model. With this fundraise, we are eyeing to achieve some significant milestones,” said Priya Korrapati CEO & Founder of eMedEvents.

Startup: WoodenStreet

Sector: Furniture

Amount: US$30 million

Led by: WestBridge Capital 

Jaipur-based online furniture and home decor platform has raised around US$30 million in series-B round of funding led by WestBridge Capital at Rs 1200 crore valuation, in a mix of Primary and Secondary investment.

So far, it is the largest funding raised by any vertical furniture player for the year 2022 in India. Previously, WoodenStreet had closed series-A funding of $3 million in 2020 from IAN and RVCF (Rajasthan venture capital funds).

Co-founder and CEO of the company, Lokendra Ranawat, said, “Our aim has always been to offer products that improves the aesthetics and comfort of Indian homes. We focus on design and innovation, enabling functional and designer items at affordable price. We are happy to welcome WestBridge Capital, who shares our common vision of creating better products and awesome shopping experience for Indian customers.”

“WoodenStreet has grown 100% yoy from past three years while maintaining profitability at net level, and we plan to achieve a turnover of INR 600 cr in next two years with this fund raise” adds Co-founder and CFO Dinesh Singh Rathore.

Startup: BGAUSS

Sector: EV

Amount: INR 52 crore

Led by: Darshan Patel, Founder & MD, Vini Cosmetics

BGAUSS, an electric two-wheeler company promoted by the promoters of RR Global, has raised INR 52 crore from a group of investors led by Darshan Patel, Founder, Vini Cosmetics Pvt. Ltd, one of the leading names in understanding of consumer mindset in India.

The funds will be utilised for the company’s growth plans including retail expansion in India, manufacturing capacity expansion, launch of two new differentiated products, R&D and in-house product development across various electrical vehicle components. This is the first ever fund raise by BGAUSS since its foray into India’s two-wheeler electric vehicle (EV) segment in October 2020.

Hemant Kabra, Director, RR Global & Founder and Managing Director, BGAUSS Auto Pvt. Ltd. said, “This round of funding comes at the right time for us as we are all set to launch two new products. Our first Product – D15 will be launched early May 2022 and another exciting product later during this year.

“We are also strategically expanding our dealer network PAN India, actively scaling up operations and looking to target the export market. We are committed to our mission of providing high-performance, safe and intelligent electric scooters. I truly thank the investors for their support and look forward to partnering with them to be at the forefront of the EV revolution in India.”

Darshan Patel, said “We are delighted to support BGAUSS in their mission of providing clean mobility solutions. EVs are the future and like any new technology-based products, there will be a learning curve for all players. The team at BGAUSS, led by Hemant, their dealer network and products are impressive. Their upcoming products look very promising and will help them grow faster. We are excited to welcome BGAUSS to our portfolio and believe in their vision for an electric future.”

Startup: Convin

Sector: AI

Amount: INR16 crore

Led by: Kalaari Capital, a leading AI-driven platform that reimagines virtual assisted selling for businesses, raised INR16 crore in its seed funding round led by Kalaari Capital with participation from Good Capital, Plan B Innovations, Bharat Founders Fund, and Digital Sparrow.

In his comments, Durgesh Choudhary, Co-founder & CPO, said, “Assisted selling will stay & become even more crucial for enabling better conversions & great customer experiences. This validation from leading investors is a huge vote of confidence in our goal of transforming the entire model of assisted selling for businesses & their customers through an all-in-one platform.”

Added, Bharat Patidar, Co-founder & COO of Convin, “We look forward to enabling more sales leaders to drive revenue and ensuring sales representatives fulfill their quota by effectively & efficiently engaging the customers in conversation.”

Startup: Kaleidofin

Sector: FinTech

Amount: US$15 million

Led by: Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

Kaleidofin, a fintech company, had a second close to its US$15 million Series B equity round led by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. The round also included the participation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Seattle-based Strategic Investment Fund, angel investors and existing investors. The current fund raise takes the total funding raised by Kaleidofin to date to USD23 million.

The proceeds of this round will be used to strengthen tailored credit solutions for informal sector customers. The Company had introduced KiScoreTM, a supervised machine learning based automated credit health check for informal sector customers in 2020 that has been used to underwrite over INR 6300 crores (USD 830 million) in Credit. The credit business will build upon the KiScore model and will offer credit as a platform service for lending to individuals.

Sucharita Mukherjee, Co-founder and CEO, Kaleidofin said, “We are delighted to have investors known for their deep focus on informal sector customers and innovation promoting financial health, as partners. The partnership seeks to offer a broad range of financial services to underserved communities with a specific focus on low-income women customers at scale. The new funds will be used to further strengthen all our product lines, but will specifically help us launch and scale our KaleidoCredit business aimed at offer customised credit products for individuals and nano and micro SME customers.”

Startup: Truscholar

Sector: EdTech

Amount: Undisclosed

Led by: SucSEED Indovation

Asset Chain Techlligence Pvt. Ltd. (known as Truscholar), has secured an  undisclosed capital in fund raise, led by Hyderabad headquartered SucSEED Indovation Fund, a DeepTech oriented early-stage fund. Other angel investors from Padup Ventures, Vinners Group and TiE Angel community have joined the investment round as well.

Samit Singhai, the Co-Founder at TruScholar said, “Current credentialing process consist of many issues like cumbersome issuance, high designing cost and time, high operational costs and time, tedious verification process and centralize storage prone to hacking, that’s how TruScholar started filling in a previously existing gap. Apart from its security features, as blockchain accelerates into the mainstream, institutions will also have greater control and transparency over their data. Blockchain can help reinvent the sector and deliver superior learning experiences to students from peer-to-peer education to’ learn to earn’ opportunities.”

He further added that “The seed funding we raised from SucSEED Indovation Fund and such established Angel Investors will help us scaling up our product development and marketing and sales initiatives”.

Ramesh Loganathan, General Partner at SucSEED Indovation Fund, said, “The TruScholar tech is based on blockchain, for issuing and verifying credentials. That makes Issuance & Verification Simple, initially targeting academic institutions. We are very excited with their traction. So far, they have managed to secure 140+ clients from various domains.”

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