The Tech Panda takes a look at recent funding events in the tech ecosystem, seeking to know where the cash is flowing.
Amount: US$40 million
Led by: Fireside Ventures
Ripplr, a Bangalore-based tech distribution and logistics platform has announced that it has raised USD 40 mn in a Series B round from new and existing Investors. The round was led by Fireside Ventures. The fundraising also saw participation from new investors Bikaji and Neo Foods along with existing investors 3one4 Capital, Zephyr Peacock and Japanese conglomerate Sojitz Corporation. The funds will be utilized to fortify its tech platform, for team expansion, and to build a pan-India presence. The round also witnessed debt participation from Strides Ventures, Alteria Capital, Northern Arc Investments and Trifecta Capital.
Abhishek Nehru and Santosh Dabke, Co-founders, of Ripplr, said, “The funding is an indicator of the company’s ‘strong unit economics’ and validation of our business model. Each Indian State is like a country having multiple dimensions on buying patterns, price points, and consumer sentiments. Our Goal is to stitch this multi-dimensional gap, helping distributors & retailers in connecting with brands. With this round, we are aiming to increase our geographical footprints in India to solve the reach and visibility complications faced by all the FMCG Brands in offline distribution and supply chain. At Ripplr, we aim at becoming one of the trusted long-term partners for brands, distributors, and Kirana stores by building an omnichannel model to optimise supply chain inefficiencies”.
VS Kannan Sitaram, Co-Founder, and Partner, of Fireside Ventures said – “There is an increasing focus on offline expansion that we see with D2C brands after they acquire a strong consumer franchise. Ripplr’s Plug -n-Play model will work superbly well for such D2C brands. We at Fireside Ventures believe that there is a massive untapped potential in plug-and-play retail and are certain that Ripplr’s distribution platform operating at scale across the country will unlock the potential in the offline retail space”.
Amount: INR 3.5 crore
Led by: Inflection Point Ventures
Shipturtle, a global SaaS platform founded by IIM Calcutta alum Sharad Kabra, has raised INR 3.5 crore in a seed funding round led by Inflection Point Ventures. The funds will help the company strengthen its technology and expand its customer reach globally. The startup aims to become the world’s largest brand directory, making it easy for brands to discover and cross-sell with other brands.
Sharad Kabra, Founder, Shipturtle, says, “Our vision is to enable brands to Sell More Together. We want to democratise e-commerce and give thousands of brands access to more selling channels beyond Amazon and Flipkart. With Shipturtle, any brand can seamlessly offer other complimentary brands to their customers – increasing AOV, conversions and revenue, while lowering CAC – all with zero investment or risk.
Ivy Chin, Partner, Inflection Point Ventures says, “We are excited to work with Sharad as Shipturtle is built from the learnings of one of the country’s largest gardening marketplaces, myBageecha.com. Shipturtle’s full stack marketplace creation solution enables launching of a marketplace in minutes and scaling operations: streamlining & automating of inventory data, orders, payments, shipping operations & dashboards making them a critical enabler for e-commerce including D2C brands.”
Startup: e-con Systems
Sector: Embedded vision products
Amount: US$13 million
Led by: GR 2022 Holdings Inc
e-con Systems, a Make in India embedded vision products and solutions company, has announced securing more than INR 100 crores (USD 13M) in funding for expanding its operations in the US and other countries. The investment comes from GR 2022 Holdings Inc, headed by Radhakrishnan Gurusamy.
The funding will be utilized for e-con System’s growth plans, including investment in building contemporary and state-of-the-art facilities for imaging, autonomous mobile robots, autonomous shopping, and cellular and molecular imaging core laboratory.
Ashok Babu Kunjukkannan, Co-Founder & President of e-con Systems said “We are pleased to announce our recent funding from GR22 Holdings Inc, which will significantly enhance our growth trajectory and bolster our ability to drive innovation in the embedded vision market. We are committed to harnessing the power of cutting-edge technology to enable machines to perceive and comprehend the world around them. With the support of our talented team of engineers and our unwavering commitment to excellence, we are confident in our ability to maintain our position as a leading global provider of embedded vision products and solutions.”
Radhakrishnan Gurusamy of GR 2022 Holdings Inc, said, “e-con Systems is a company with an amazing team of engineers and products that are used by leading companies worldwide. The company has a strong culture of innovation that has enabled them to be at the forefront of the latest cutting-edge technology. Market tailwinds supporting the applications of AI and automation to hardware products and rapid growth of embedded vision, e-con Systems is well poised for exponential growth in the coming future.”
Sector: Digital manufacturing
Amount: INR7 crore
Led by: Capital 2B, Anicut Capital & Capital A
Leumas, a digital manufacturing solution for brands raised Rs 7 crore in a pre-seed funding round led by Capital 2B, Anicut Capital and Capital A. The company aims to harness the funds towards technology development, team building and GTM rollout to help brands move to digital manufacturing for enhanced business outcomes.
With the pre-seed funding, Leumas intends to re-imagine the legacy factory system by leveraging advancements in emerging technologies viz. industrial robotics, IIoT and cyber-physical systems.
Nitesh Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO, Leumas said, “Leumas is solving for volume, variety, and cost limitations of the legacy manufacturing systems through our innovative Digital Factory Solution. With the fast-changing channel-mix and emergence of D2C models, brands need the ability to produce flexibly, while remaining inventory light. We are helping them with on-demand manufacturing tech. to launch faster, scale nimbler and produce with unparalleled efficiency. Look forward to partnering with brands on their concept to scale up journey.”
The funds raised will also be allocated towards building an ‘A Team’ to support growth of the company in areas of GTM, technology, manufacturing, and Ops. The GTM strategy will pilot and co-create with D2C brands to help them launch new product lines, scale existing product lines and streamline product manufacturing. The funds raised will also be utilized to expand the company’s digital factory capacity that will be utilised by partner brands.
“Leumas is paving the way for on-demand, agile manufacturing that would enable agility in product development – from launch to scale up. We are very excited to be part of this endeavour” said, Vibhore Sharma, Partner at Capital 2B.
Startup: Speed Kitchen
Led by: Inflection Point Ventures
KAAS startup Speed Kitchen raised Seed round led by Inflection Point Ventures with participation from other HNIs & angel investors. The funds will be used for expansion and increasing the footprint pan-India and hiring a team that could accelerate the expansion. Speed Kitchen’s vision is to expand the value chain and become an infrastructure service provider for all F&B needs.
Madhukar Bhardwaj, Senior Vice President, Inflection Point Ventures, says, “Over the years cloud kitchen has witnessed a significant rise especially post-COVID. While the brand’s cost is significantly reduced with the cloud kitchen concept it still has to consider multiple factors like kitchen setup, maintenance services, location and much more. Keeping this in mind Speed Kitchen has developed a unique commercial shared kitchen concept which will further reduce the cost to run a kitchen. Additionally, it aims to provide new cloud-kitchen startups, entrepreneurs, and restaurant chains with shared space which is a fully equipped, licensed kitchen at a prime location with end-to-end maintenance services. Thus, enabling brands to focus on their business and expand faster to newer markets.
Paurav Rastogi, Founder, Speed Kitchen says, “One of the most enlightening experiences, got to learn a lot about the start-up world, processes and network with some great minds. We at Speed Kitchen are aiming to become the leading Cloud Kitchen infrastructure in the Indian market, the first step of which is to expand to 20+ locations and cross 200+ operational kitchens by the end of FY 23-24.”
Startup: NODWIN Gaming
Amount: US$28 million
Led by: Nazara, KRAFTON, Inc. & JetSynthesys
NODWIN Gaming, a material subsidiary of Nazara Technologies Limited (BSE: Nazara) has signed definitive and binding documentation to raise $28M (INR 232 Cr) from new and existing investors. Majority of these funds will be channelized towards growing the Gaming and esports ecosystem of NODWIN by expanding and incubating newer IPs, growing the emerging market footprint of NODWIN and for strategic acquisitions that drive value to the network.
As per the statutory filing, all existing investors of NODWIN Gaming (Nazara, KRAFTON, Inc. and JetSynthesys) will join new incoming investors in this funding round. NODWIN last raised funds in March 2021 from South Korean gaming company KRAFTON, Inc. at $ 135M (INR 988 Cr) value and this round values NODWIN at $ 325M (INR 2624 Cr) pre-money and $349M post money which leads to a value accretion of 2.7X in 2 years.
“I am extremely grateful and blessed that we have been able to exhibit a Revenue CAGR of 68% over the last 2 years in a tumultuous market. We have managed this growth while being able to maintain profitability in our business and gain a global dominant position in mobile esports while delivering shareholder value. The team in NODWIN led by cofounder Gautam Virk has been instrumental in manifesting this vision to reality. As we migrate to the next phase of our evolution, we would like to build a global company that is a significant thought leader and the largest player in the emerging market space. We believe that the confluence of gaming, esports and youth culture are colliding extremely fast and we would like to continue to build our value proposition as a Sports media Company (with a focus on esports) to this TG by focussing on the timeshare of their mindshare as the key growth metric” said Akshat Rathee, Co-Founder and Managing Director, NODWIN Gaming.
Sector: Generative AI video
Amount: US$5.25 million
Led by: Surge, Sequoia Capital India
Generative AI video platform Gan.ai is announcing a US$5.25M seed funding round as they breach the final frontier of personalising video for mass marketing campaigns. The funding round was led by Surge, Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia’s rapid scale-up program, with participation from Emergent Ventures and other angel investors.
Suvrat Bhooshan, Founder and CEO of Gan.ai commented: “We’re empowering marketing teams around the world to generate a higher return on investment for video campaigns. Imagine a food delivery company being able to send a personalised video from a brand ambassador, addressing its customer by name and how they enjoyed items in their last order, or a clinic reminding a patient to book a follow-up appointment. This hyper-personalisation leads to much higher conversion rates vs other static forms of communications. With Gan.ai, businesses will be able to scale their video personalisation process while seamlessly integrating it with existing workflows. We’re excited to grow our operations with the new funds, and expand our sales and engineering teams across US and India,” he said.
“We record videos with influencers and celebrities, and now with Gan.ai, when they call out your name and tell you to take a personalised call-to-action the results are astounding. We saw a 5x increase in our Video Completion Rate, 3x increase in open rates, and 2.5x increase in our Click-Through-Rate,” said user Tejnoor Grover at gaming platform Mobile Premier League.
Led by: BlackSoil
BlackSoil, a Mumbai-based leading alternative credit provider, has made an undisclosed investment in Mozark, a Singapore-based DeepTech company. This investment is in line with BlackSoil’s investment strategy of focusing on new-age businesses in the DeepTech sector.
Ankur Bansal, Co-Founder and Director of BlackSoil said, “As the world continues to shift towards a digital world, the demand for a superior, hyper-connected digital experience is going to grow. Mozark’s groundbreaking synthetic observability platform enables businesses to identify and improve specific elements within their digital supply chain, ultimately enhancing the overall quality of user experience.With its impressive growth in recurring revenue and partnerships with industry-leading clients, Mozark is well-positioned to lead the market. We are excited to partner with Mozark and believe that our debt capital will facilitate their exponential growth and solidify their position as an industry leader.”
“In a hyper-connected world where connectivity powers innovative business models, businesses cannot afford to provide inferior quality of digital experience to end customers. Inferior quality has a huge cost both for the enterprises and for Digital Energy sobriety. 5G and further technologies only exacerbate this trend. Mozark’s tools are positioned to help various stakeholders whether it is connectivity providers such as Telecom Operators, Regulators, or Digital App owners to measure and to diagnose the quality of their services under various connectivity conditions. We are delighted to partner with BlackSoil. Their debt will help us in expanding our presence in newer markets, invest more in R&D, and grow product offerings’ ‘ said Fabien, Founder and co-CEO of Mozark.
Mozark has offices in India, Philippines, Malaysia, and Paris and a customer base in Europe, SEA, India, and the USA. It was founded by Kartik Raja, Fabien Renaudineau and Chandra Ramamoorthy; and is backed by Kalaari Capital.
Amount: US$15 million
Led by: Al Futtaim Group
Electric vehicle manufacturer River raised a $15 million investment round led by Dubai’s multinational powerhouse, Al Futtaim Group. The fresh funding will bolster River’s growth, priming its manufacturing and distribution networks for an August 2023 delivery kick-off.
“At River, we’ve been quietly working in the background for the last two years. In just 20 months, we launched our first product, the Indie, which has by now successfully covered 100,000+ kilometres in testing. Now we’ve set the base to build a billion-dollar business and we thank all our investors for supporting us in our journey,” commented Aravind Mani, Co-Founder and CEO at River.
Jim Adler, founder and general partner of Toyota Ventures, an existing investor, also expressed confidence in the company, noting that, “River is our first investment in India, and we’re excited to see the unique value proposition and capabilities of Indie. We’re amazed at River’s progress and look forward to seeing them continue to execute on their vision of delivering quality, durable, affordable, and stylish all-electric two-wheeled vehicles.”
The new funding marks River’s third round, following a $2 million seed round in March 2021 and a $11 million Series A round in July 2022. Notably, River is the sole Indian investment for Al Futtaim group, Toyota Ventures, Trucks VC, and Maniv Mobility.
Startup: Attron Automotive
Amount: INR4.75 crores
Led by: Anicut Capital
Attron Automotive, a provider of motor and controller solutions for electric vehicles (EVs), announced the successful completion of the first round of funding, raising a total of INR4.75 crores. It was led by Anicut Capital and the round saw participation from Pontaq VC, Venture Catalyst and Yashovardhan Shah. The funds will be utilized to support the company’s key growth initiatives, including the setup of an assembly line, establishment of a prototyping facility, team expansion, and research and development efforts to drive innovation in existing and new technologies.
The infusion of funds will enable Attron Automotive to make significant progress towards achieving its goals – the company plans to set up an assembly line with an initial capacity of 10,000 units per month with an aim to expand it to 70,000 units per month within the next five years. Additionally, Attron Automotive will grow its team, focusing on research and development and sales to meet the growing demand for products. Furthermore, the establishment of a prototyping facility will streamline the production of samples for customers, reducing lead times and fostering faster adoption of Attron Automotive’s solutions.
“We are thrilled to have successfully raised 4.75 crores in this fundraise, which will be instrumental in driving our expansion plans and fuelling our innovation initiatives. The involvement of Anicut Capital as investor and mentor brings valuable expertise, insights, and guidance to Attron Automotive. Their support will help the company navigate challenges, make strategic decisions, and avoid common pitfalls. This assistance has prepared us to provide an exceptional experience to our future customers and undertake significant responsibilities for larger OEM players in the industry. Additionally, Anicut Capital’s extensive network will introduce us to potential customers, partners, suppliers, and other investors, opening up new opportunities for collaborations and resources. Post fundraise, we have outlined a set of milestones aimed at capturing a significant market share. We aim to acquire 10% market share in the 3 and 4-wheeler load carriers’ market within the next three years, leveraging our proprietary motor and controller E-powertrain solutions. This investment not only validates our potential but also positions us for significant growth and market leadership in the electric vehicle industry”, said, Mosam Ugemuge, Founder and CEO, Attron Automotive.
“We are excited to back Attron Automotive in their journey towards transforming the electric vehicle industry. Attron Automotive’s young and enthusiastic team, their innovative product, and the vast potential for market penetration is poised to revolutionise the Indian market. With the Niti Ayog’s EV policy aimed at reducing EV dependence on China, Attron’s proposition of an IP driven Made in India electric motor will further give them the required market impetus to excel.”, said, Ashvin Chadha, Managing Partner, Anicut Capital.