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Weekly Musings – Big start-up updates for the week to February 16, 2024

19 Feb 2024 , 09:40 AM

After raising $1 Billion in December 2023 and $550 Million in January 2024, start-ups have already raised over $300 Million in the first half of February. In 5 out of the last 6 weeks, the start-ups raised more than $100 Million per week.  In the 4 weeks prior to the current week, the start-up collections were to the tune of $168 Million, $48 Million, $170 Million, and $136 Million. In the latest week to February 16, 2024, start-ups raised just $125 Million across just 18 start-up deals. Once again, the start-up story was dominated by a handful of names in the segment, with a number of large sized deals thrown in. The latest week is affirmation of the start-up ecosystem in India being robust.

The number of deals in the latest week was lower at 18 deals; compared to 25 deals, 8 deals, 13 deals, and 21 deals respectively in the 4 weeks prior to that.. That is indicative of a slew of mid-ticket deals in the vicinity of over $6-8 Million on an average. Compared to the average of the last 5 weeks, the start-up funding in the latest week was -6.02% lower. On a month-on-month (MOM) basis the start-up collections were -25.6% lower. Here is the story of start-up fund raising over last 6 weeks; with appropriate comparisons.

Funding Week

Start-up funding raised

Week ending January 12, 2024 $145 Million
Week ending January 19, 2024 $136 Million
Week ending January 26, 2024 $170 Million
Week ending February 02, 2024 $48 Million
Week ending February 09, 2024 $168 Million
Average of previous 5 weeks $133 Million
Week ending February 16, 2024 $125 Million

The start-up funding for the latest week ended February 16, 2024 was sharply lower on a month-on-month basis; but sharply lower than the average of the previous five weeks. That can be attributed to the return of confidence post the interim budget announcement, which continues to remain pro-startups. Also, with the global interest rate scenario stabilizing, there is greater willingness on the part of PE funds and VCs to commit fresh investments.

Captain raises $25 Million to expand global distribution

Captain Fresh, the B2B seafood start-up, has raised $25 Million (₹208 Crore) to ramp up its distribution channels in the US and European markets. This is part of an extended Series-C funding raised from British International Investment (BII) and Nekkanti Seafoods Group. Earlier, in the first tranche of Series-C fund raising, Captain Fresh had raised $20 Million in September 2023 from Strategic Business Innovators, Evolvence Fund, Tiger Global, Prosus Fund, and Matrix Partners. This takes the total Series-C fund raising to $45 Million, with the latest tranche being $25 Million. Since its global client base is largely a B2B client base, it will be using the fund for strategic market expansion, distribution reach and technology stack.

Amber raises $21 Million to expand accommodation offer for students

Amber, which aims to simplify the housing process for students globally, has just raised $21 Million (₹175 Crore) through a mix of debt and equity. While $18.50 Million will be in the form of equity funding, the balance $2.50 Million will be in the form of debt funding. The combination of equity and debt funding came from Lighthouse Canton, Stride Ventures and Gaja Capital. Amber operates across seven nations including the UK, the US, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and Spain. In all these places, Amber works closely with the local population and the Indian student community to simplify the housing process for students.

Astrotalk Raises $20 Million to expand its global footprint

The Astrotalk deal was earlier reported as being in talks for raising $20 Million (₹167 Crore). Now the deal is finalized and term sheets have been exchanged. The board of Astrotalk has passed a special resolution to issue 11,211 Series-A CCPS (cumulative convertible preference shares) in the issue price range of ₹138,601 to ₹145,531 each. The entire funding was done by the US-based Left Lane Capital, and the CCPS allocation will be done to them. Astrotalk brings together a pool of astrologers and persons seeking such solutions on a common platform. Currently, Astrotalk has a pool of over 13,000 astrologers, tarot readers, numerologists, and Vaastu experts on its platform.

Metalbook gets  $15 Million to bridge supply chain gaps

Metalbook has just raised $15 Million (₹124 Crore) to bridge the supply chain gaps between the suppliers and consumes of metals. Metalbook was founded in the year 2021 as a SAAS B2B entity. The platform helps the suppliers and the consumers through the entire metal manufacturing and procurement cycle. Most of its clients are small & medium enterprises (SMEs). By the close of FY24, Metalbook is targeting revenues of $200 Million and this will be achieved by expanding the global footprint of its processing centres, recycling networks and suppliers across more than 80 geographies for easy and economical procurement. The Series-A funding round was raised from a consortium of investors led by Rigel Capital, with participation from FJ Labs, Axilor Ventures, Foundamental, Stride Ventures, and Trifecta Capital. Metalbook facilitates the entire procurement cycle including buying, selling, excess inventory liquidation, customization, logistics, financing, e-auctioning, scrap recycling, and credit solutions.

Supertails bags $15 Million to expand healthcare offerings for pets

Supertails has just bagged $15 Million (₹125 Crore) in a Series-B funding round. These funds will be used to expand its healthcare offerings for pets and also to expand its offline process. With this latest funding round, Supertails has raised $27.6 Million in this series so far. The funding round was led by RPSG Capital Ventures with participation from Fireside Ventures, Saama Capital, DSG and Sauce Venture Capital. Supertails will deploy these fund to support business growth, acquire new customers, invest in technology, and to expand healthcare services like the Supertails Pharmacy business. Post the expansion, Supertails targets Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) of ₹500 Crore over the next two years. 

Moove raises $10 Million in debt to expand India operations

The African vehicle financing venture, Moove, has just raised $10 Million (₹83 Crore) in debt from Stride Ventures. Moove had forayed into the Indian market in 2023 and these funds will be deployed to strengthen its domestic presence. Most of the cars financed by Moove in India are registered with Uber, the cab aggregation and hailing app. It is estimate that Moove financed cars have made around 30 Million trips on Uber itself. Moove uses an alternative credit sourcing technology to provide vehicle financing for mobility entrepreneurs. Moove will use the current round of funding to expand its presence to new cities including Delhi, Pune, and Kolkata. Moove already has a significant presence in Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. 

Ayekart bags $6.50 Million to offer agri-supply chain services

Ayekart has just raised $6.50 Million (₹53 Crore) to expand its offering of agriculture-focused finance and supply chain services. The company was founded in 2020 to offer innovative agri-supply chain solutions to customers. It has a customer base comprising of FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations), food manufacturers, distributors, and retailers; and will be using these funds to broaden and deepen this client base. Ayekart already operates across 18 states with over 9,000 active merchants on its platform. The Series-A funding round was raised from Omnivore, Siana Capital, and Unleash Capital.

Ascend Capital raises $6.02 Million to expand business footprint

Ascend Capital, an electrical vehicle (EV) financing start-up, has raised $6.02 Million (₹50 Crore) to expand its business in a big leap. Ascend Capital plans to use these funds to expand its lending book across multiple geographies to scale an AUM of ₹300 Crore over next 2 years. Ascend Capital is already an RBI-registered NBFC and it now aims to become a key players in building India's mobility finance industry. The Seres-A funding round was led by InfoEdge Ventures and Asha Ventures. Ascend Capital is one of the few NBFCs that purely focus on the fast growing mobility financing segment in India. 

Veera secures $6 Million to expand engineering skills stack

Veera, a domestic web browser, has got $6 Million (₹50 Crore) in funding from Ayon Capital, 6th Man Ventures, Folius Ventures, iSeed Ventures, Cypher Capital, and others. Veera will be using these funds to expand its engineering team, accelerate product development, and also to enhance infrastructure for a seamless user experience. It will also be investing in marketing initiatives to reach out to more users across India. The browser has been dominated for years by Explorer and later by Chrome; and now Veera is an attempt to offer an indigenous internet browsing experience. It remains a tough industry to crack with a high business attrition. 

TORK Motors Raises $6 Million to expand its EV offerings in India

TORK Motors has raised $6 Million (₹50 Crore) from Maxis Capital, in a fresh funding round, to expand its EV offerings in India. TORK is backed by Bharat Forge and by Ratan in his individual capacity. TORK has just passed a special resolution to issue 6,912 CCPS (cumulative convertible preference shares) with a face value of ₹100, at a price of ₹72,425 each. TORK Motors is India’s first electric motorcycle manufacturer. TORK Motors has seen EV registrations grow from 319 in year 2022 to 1,589 in year 2023.

Explurger, the social media platform, raises $4.5 Million funding

The social media platform, Explurger, has just raised $4.5 Million (₹37.30 Crore) from Affle and other investors. Incidentally, Explurger is backed by noted Bollywood star, Sonu Sood. This deal values Explurger at $40 Million and the fresh capital will be used to fuel growth in the coming years. Sonu Sood first came into the limelight when he helped move thousands of people safely during the pandemic using social media interactions. Explurger, founded by Sonu Sood in 2021, operates a social media app for travellers to create a personalised travelogue for each user. This was part of the Series-A round of funding.

Yu, the D2C brand, raises $2.40 Million to expand food portfolio

The direct to consumer (D2C) food brand, Yu, has just raised $2.40 Million (₹20 Crore) in a Series-A funding round from Ashish Kacholia and the Asian Paints family office. Yu offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal bowls with more than 25 instant food products on its platter. Yu will use the funding to scale up its manufacturing capacity while entering multiple product segments; both domestically and internationally. Yu is already operating on an omnichannel mode with over 6,500 stores across India. 

Other smaller start-up deals during the week

The week also saw some smaller fund raising deals during the week. Here is a quick look at some of the other key deals during the week. 

  1. Solar PV-Focussed Illumine-I has raised a sum of $2.05 Million from Anicut Capital to expand into newer markets. Illumine-I offers tech-based solutions to reduce risk, cost, and better quality of assets in power plants. The Series-A round of funding will be used to scale up its operations and expand into newer markets.

     

  2. Noccarc has secured $2 Million in funding to offer smart medical devices. Apart from IAN, Sunil Munjal, IIT Kanpur and SIDBI TDF also participated in the fund raising. Noccarc is a Medtech start-up that manufactures smart critical care medical equipment like ICU ventilators, patient monitors etc. Funds will be used for R&D and market outreach.

     

  3. Segwise has raised $1.60 Million from Powerhouse Ventures in a pre-seed funding round. There were other participants in the funding round including Antler India, Blume Ventures, and others. Segwise will use the funding to offer AI Observability Solutions to enable companies to grow products. It will develop AI agents to operate across layers.

     

  4. Finally, Happi Planet has also bagged $1 Million in funding from Fireside Ventures to offer non-toxic home care products. Happi Planet will utilise the funding to expand its offline footprint, apart from boosting its online presence. It will open more than 250 stores in the current calendar year and also expand availability on online platforms.

It has been a busy week for start-up funding this week, which marked the fourth time in the last five weeks that overall funding has exceeding $100 Million.

Related Tags

  • Amber
  • Ayekart
  • CaptainFresh
  • Metalbook
  • Moove
  • startup
  • StartupFunding
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