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Funding Rundown: Darwinbox enters unicorn club, Google plans to invest in Airtel and Germany’s KfW launches $250 mn ESG First Fund

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Funding Rundown: Darwinbox enters unicorn club, Google plans to invest in Airtel and Germany’s KfW launches $250 mn ESG First Fund

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Funding Rundown brings you a wrap of all the best deals in the startup space

Funding Rundown: Darwinbox enters unicorn club, Google plans to invest in Airtel and Germany’s KfW launches $250 mn ESG First Fund
Here’s the lowdown of all the top deals from the startup street.
SaaS startup Darwinbox enters the unicorn club
SaaS startup Darwinbox has become the fourth unicorn of 2022 after raising $72 million led by TCV at a valuation of over $1 billion.
TCV has previously invested in Netflix, Meta, Spotify and Airbnb among others.
Existing investors include Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia India, Lightspeed India, Endiya Partners, 3One4Capital, JGDEV and SCB 10X. After this round, the total investment raised by the company so far has gone over $110 million (approximately Rs 820 crore).
The new funding will be used for Darwinbox’s global expansion plan by allowing the company to accelerate its platform innovation agenda, strengthen its product, engineering, and customer success teams along with scaling its go-to-market presence in South Asia, SEA, and MENA. The company is expecting the overall team to grow by 100 percent and is also setting up to launch in the US in 2022.
Darwinbox, founded in 2015, works in the HR-tech space, digitising functions such as attendance, payroll and employee onboarding. It supports over 650 global enterprises across 90 countries manage HR operations from employee recruitment and attendance to engagement. Darwinbox's customers include conglomerates such as Adani, Vedanta and JSW as well as newer internet companies such as Cars24, Vedantu and CRED.
Google planning to invest in Bharti Airtel: Sources
Google may subscribe to preferential issue by Bharti Airtel.
The investment will come into Bharti Airtel from Google’s India Digitisation Fund, which it had launched way back in July 2020, which was a $10 billion fund.
Importantly, the investment is likely to support the digital initiatives of Bharti Airtel, sources told CNBC-TV18.
Aavishkaar & Germany’s KfW launch $250 mn ESG First Fund
Impact investment firm Aavishkaar Capital in partnership with German state-owned investment and development bank KfW, has launched a $250 million ESG First Fund.
The fund will focus on investing in Asia and Africa to strengthen the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices of mid-cap businesses and offer them growth capital for expansion, the companies said in a statement.
The fund will provide transformational capital to businesses to improve their ESG standards and meet increasing demands on corporate due diligence especially for access to European markets.
“As we launch this fund, we exhort other development finance institutions looking to enhance ESG impact to join us in delivering significant impact and generate attractive returns whilst bringing about a significant positive change in the lives of the people,” said Vineet Rai, founder and chairman, Aavishkaar Group.
The ESG First Fund will focus on sectors with high exports towards Europe.
“With our investment of €50 million, we want to help set up a fund that demonstrates that increased respect for ESG can be a viable investment and business model,” said Anosha Wahidi, on behalf of BMZ, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany.
Pravin Jadhav’s Raise Financial Services raises $22 mn in Series A
Fintech platform Raise Financial Services has raised $22 million in a Series A funding round led by BEENEXT and its existing investor Mirae Asset Venture Investments.
The round also saw participation from 3one4 Capital, Rocketship.vc and angel investors such as Meesho co-founders Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, Pine Labs CEO Amrish Rau, Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar, neobanking platform Jupiter founder Jitendra Gupta, and Sandeep Tandon of Whiteboard Capital.
The startup will deploy the newly raised funds into its newly launched investment platform Dhan, to strengthen the product engineering, operations and customer experience teams, it said in a statement.
Besides Dhan, the company is also looking to launch another product using this investment. The company will also consider applying for a non-banking financial company (NBFC) license for its foray into lending,
Raise Financial Services was founded by former Paytm Money CEO Pravin Jadhav in January 2021. It had acquired stockbroking firm Moneylicious Securities in August 2021.
Vajro raises $8.5 mn in Series A funding to create mobile shopping apps
Mobile app builder firm Vajro has raised $8.5 million (around Rs 63.52 crore) in a funding round from Kansas City-based growth equity firm Five Elms Capital.
Vajro enables e-commerce store owners and service providers to create mobile shopping apps for Android and iOS users in 60 minutes or less, without writing codes.
"Vajro will use its Series A funding to develop its next-generation platform with new features and flexibility and to build integrations with other e-commerce platforms such as WooCommerce, Magento, and others in order to expand its reach even further," Vajro CEO Baskar Agneeswaran said.
Vajro claims to have a portfolio of over 2,200 brands from over 150 countries that are using its solution. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands from India that are part of Vajro's portfolio include Juicy Chemistry, Earth Rhythm, AndMe, FreeCultr, Melange Box, House of Masaba etc.
Crypto startup Flint bags $5.1 mn from Sequoia & GFC
Crypto startup Flint has bagged $5.1 million in a seed funding round led by Sequoia Capital India and GFC.
Coinbase Ventures, Hashed, IOSG, Better Capital, Antler India and MSA Capital participated in the round along with other 11 institutional investors and angels.
Angel investors including Kunal Shah (founder, CRED), Sandeep Nailwal (co-founder, Polygon), Jaynti Kanani (co-founder, Do Kwon (founder, Terra), Nitin Gupta (co-founder, Uni), Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal (co-founders, Snapdeal), and Tanmay Bhat, too pitched in.
The fresh capital will be used to enhance the product based on early feedback, and hire seniors across engineering, design and product functions. Flint also plans to allocate a significant portion of the funding to strengthen legal and risk functions, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory norms, and going above and beyond market standards to reduce business risk.
Founded in 2021, Flint aims to offer an investment opportunity beyond buying and selling crypto, enabling users to earn passive income. The company currently offers a simple and stable income opportunity where users can earn up to 13% per year on their deposited funds.
Cross Border Healthcare startup Hospals secures $3.5 mn in pre-s\Series A round
Hospals, a cross-border health benefits and travel platform has raised $3.5 million in its pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures, 9Unicorns, Singapore based Wavemaker and prominent angels like Kunal Shah, Sanjeev Mishra and Razorpay founders.
Existing investor Venture Catalysts has also participated in the current round.
The funds raised will be used for expanding geographically to reach $900 million in GMV, serving 1.5 million subscribers & patients to get medical & cosmetic treatments across the world, the company said in a statement.
The startup has already served over 22,000 patients from 38 countries to get medical advice, teleconsults and surgical treatments across over a hundred hospitals in its network. Its health benefits membership, called Hospals Assured, enables subscribers from Africa/Asia to get unlimited doctor teleconsults and free surgical treatments upto $15,000 across Indian hospitals.
Reevoy raises $4M from 9Unicorns, Venture Catalysts
B2B cross-border trade startup Reevoy has raised $4 million in a seed round led by 9Unicorns and VCAT.
The round also saw participation from Better Capital, Earlsfield Capital Partners, Kunal Shah, Anupam Mittal, Ketan Patel, and Hanumantha Kumar.
The start said it will use the capital from the fundraise to build its supply chain and finance capabilities.
Founded in 2020, Reevoy helps importers source high-quality products from Indian exporters and provides working capital to finance those transactions.
Contlo raises $800K in pre-seed round led by Better Capital
E-commerce and D2C enablement SaaS Platform Contlo has raised $800,000 in a pre-seed round led by Better Capital with participation of Titan Capital and other prominent angels.
“Raised funds will be used for hiring, doubling down on the product, and ramping up the go-to-market motion. Our vision is to provide enablement to Ecommerce and direct to consumer brands," said Ishaan Bhola, co-founder, and CEO of Contlo.
Contlo enables e-commerce stores & D2C brands to increase their sales, drive customer loyalty and retention using omnichannel customer engagement including Email, Text, Push, Facebook, Google, Whatsapp and even Physical direct mails. Contlo claims to being used by 500+ ecommerce & D2C brands across the globe.
Hair Originals gets Rs 3 crore in funding
Hair Originals, a hair extension and wigs brand has received an investment of Rs 3 crore from Marquee Investors.
Expanding its business from a global B2B model, Hair Originals has now launched their D2C online platform. The funding will be used towards AR technologies for real-time product experience before purchase, workforce expansion and other back-end developments, the firm said in a statement.
“With the launch of our D2C platform our goal is to make our premium products affordable for everyone by cutting the middleman cost. In the upcoming 2 to 2.5 years our aim is to achieve a target of 100 crore ARR,” said founder Jitendra Sharma.
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