Here’s a lowdown of the top deals from the startup space.
Games24x7 turns unicorn at a valuation of $2.5Bn
Multi game platform Games24x7 has entered the unicorn club after raising $75 million in a recent funding round led by Malabar Investment at a valuation of $2.5 billion.
The funding round also saw participation from existing investors Tiger Global and Raine Group. Tiger had earlier invested in the company in 2011 and 2012 and Raine did their first round of investment in 2019.
According to a statement by the firm, the latest investment round makes Games24x7, India’s most valuable multi-game platform.
Among its offerings include RummyCircle (online rummy game), My11Circle (fantasy platform) and U Games (a portfolio of casual games). The company currently has over 100 million users on its platform.
The fresh funds will be used by the company to accelerate user growth, content development and technological capabilities. It is aiming to become the top online gaming destination in the country.
UK-based Builder.ai raises $100M Series C led by Insight Partners to scale up its software automation
Builder.ai, aa AI-powered low-code/no-code app development platform has raised $100 million in its Series C funding round led by New York-based global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners.
The round also saw participation from existing investors such as Singapore based Jungle Ventures along with new individual and institutional names that include the IFC and Jeffrey Katezenberg’s WndrCo.
With this investment, the company till date has raised $195 million across three rounds in all.
Builder.ai will invest the capital in AI and automation capabilities, rapidly develop its proprietary low-code/no-code platform, scale product development on core systems, including its conversational AI, named “Natasha”, for improved self-service, and expand global operations.
The company is also looking to expand to cities across the United States, Asia Pacific, MENA and the United Kingdom.
Social commerce startup CityMall raises $75M
Citymall, a community commerce platform, has bagged $75 million in Series C funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners.
General Catalyst, Citius, Jungle Ventures, Arena Ventures, Elevation, Accel & Waterbridge also participated in the round. Jungle Ventures has significantly doubled down on their investment from Citymall's Series B round.
This is the startup’s third fundraise in the last 18 months, bringing the total capital raised to $110 million.
The company is targeting to add 500 million new-to-Internet users in Tier 2/3/4 towns where traditional e-commerce has failed to penetrate, because direct-to-customer supply chains are not viable for low ticket size users, the firm said.
The firm claims to have been growing growing over 30% month on month, while creating entrepreneurship opportunities for over 30,000 Community Leaders across 25 towns and cities.
IPO-bound Pine Labs raises $50M from Vitruvian Partners
IPO-bound merchant commerce platform, Pine Labs has closed another $50 million in funding from London’s private equity major Vitruvian Partners.
“We aim to further strengthen our recent foray in online payments via Plural and take our Buy Now Pay Later offering to new markets through strategic collaborations,” said Amrish Rau, CEO, Pine Labs.
Pine Labs is expanding its BNPL offering in Southeast Asia. Earlier this month, the company had launched ‘Mastercard Installments with Pine Labs’ program with Mastercard and DBS Bank to empower the bank’s two million customers in Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong SAR with Pay Later installment purchase options at the point of sale.
FarMart raises $32M in Series B round led by General Catalyst
FarMart, a SaaS-based food supply platform has secured $32 million in Series B round led by General Catalyst, with participation from existing investors, Matrix Partners India and Omidyar Network India.
Elluminate Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to FarMart on the transaction.
This new infusion of funds will fuel the growth of the company’s digital distribution network across India and to export markets. The startup also plans to make key investments into R&D, automation and technology, it said in a statement.
The firm has 60,000 retailers using its platform and is serving 2 million farmers through its mobile app. The company also claims to have scaled its output linkage offering, distributed via its app users, to over 600 districts in India, with 75,000 metric tonnes of high-quality produce sourced till now across 15+ commodities.
SaaS startup OSlash raises $5M, valued at $50M
Enterprise SaaS firm OSlash has raised $5 million in a post-seed round at a valuation of $50 million.
The funding round was led by over 40 startup operators, including Kunal Shah (CEO, Cred), Christian Oestlien (VP Product, YouTube), Akshay Kothari (COO, Notion), and Cristina Cordova (Partner, First Round), among others.
It had raised $2.5 million in its seed funding round in September 2021 from Accel Partners and several prominent angel investors. Currently, OSlash is used by over 3000 teams worldwide including Cred, Khan Academy, and Twitch.
The company plans to utilize the fresh funds to set up hiring in the US, Europe, and grow its search tool that pulls together information from various different applications.
Seekho.ai bags $3M in Pre-Series A funding
Seekho.ai, a career accelerator that combines live learning, mentorship and employment, has raised $3 million in Pre-Series A funding round.
The round saw participation from investors such as the Family Office of the JM Financial Group, LetsVenture, Trica, Super Morpheus, Yuj Ventures, Sequoia Capital India’s Surge as well as prolific angels like Varsha Rao and Amit Ranjan.
The company will deploy the fresh capital to grow its disruptive business model which is affordable and provides inclusive access to career related courses and workshops- delivered live by industry mentors.
The company said it is already touching a revenue run rate of $5 million and aims to onboard 7 million users by the end of 2023.
Bioethanol startup MicroBite gets $1.5M in Pre-Series A round
MicroBite, a sister concern of the biotech startup The Phi Factory, has raised $1.5 million from Vijay Madduri, the ISL (Indian Super League) winning Hyderabad Football Club’s co-owner and other angel investors.
The firm said it will use the fresh funds to establish a bioethanol plant that utilises its proprietary ‘counter-ﬂow multistage extractive fermentation’ technology in producing BioEthanol with improved chemical kinetics.
The startup is also aiming to further its R&D findings for extension of this technology to other potential applications such as Beverages, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, BioPlastic industries, it added.
“With the infusion of additional incentives by the Government of India via National Ethanol Blending Programme, the Ethanol market in India is set to grow 250% by 2025-26. There is a wide gap between demand and supply, provoking an ‘Ethanol Rush’. A lot of companies are looking to enter the biofuel industry, however, the nature of capital requirement is inﬂuencing their possibilities. Economies of scale are hampering the chances of smaller sized players in the industry. We have developed a technology that not only makes it possible to setup a production plant at reduced capital costs, but also operates with improved chemical kinetics; while also giving an option of raw material switch ability. We can switch our fermenters between grains-based and molasses- based, even while during the operation without needing maintenance time oﬀ,” explained Praveen Gorakavi, CEO, Microbite.
EV ecosystem platform startup Pi Beam Electric raises $1.7M
Vertically integrated EV ecosystem platform startup Pi Beam Electric has raised $1.7 million in a Pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures.
The round saw participation from prominent family offices including Sattva Group & Nanavati family, syndicates including Sincere Syndication and Conscience Multi-family Office. Several industry stalwarts and existing investors also pitched in.
The funds raised will be utilized for developing the deployment platform, expanding the team, scaling operations to multiple cities and developing new products, it said,
The startup has sold more than 1000+ EVs in the B2B market.
“We are disrupting EV as a service business model with an integrated EV ecosystem platform, which connects the dots to provide reliable and scalable services. With control over the EV products, their financing and their O&M, and our deep EV know-how we can seamlessly deploy EV-as-a-service for various applications. Currently we provide services to leading E-commerce companies, food delivery unicorns and last mile supply chain companies,” said Visakh Sasikumar, Founder and CEO, Pi Beam.
Pi Beam is currently present in Bangalore and Chennai with 100+ EVs in the fleet. Expanding rapidly to Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi, they plan to increase the fleet to 2000 by next financial year.
Creator marketing startup UPCRED secures Rs 3.3 Cr from angel investors
UPCRED, a platform designed for brands and creators, has raised Rs. 3.3 crore in a pre-seed round from angel investors including entrepreneur Syed Firdous Hussain and Gayatri Nikkam.
The company plans to use this funding for MVP product development and prepare the platform for market launch, it said in a statement.
“With 2022 touted as the Year of Creators, we believe UPCRED is going to be at the forefront of the Creator Economy. We believe that the products we are building will empower millions of creators,” said Syed Firdous Hussain and Gayatri Nikkam.
UK-based Entrepreneur First invests in 6 Indian tech startups
Entrepreneur First (EF), a UK-based global talent investor, said it has made early-stage investments in six tech startups in India in its latest ‘Investor Reveal’.
The six startups include Amikus AI, Grabbit Live, Capitall, unScript AI, Coupl, and FloWorks. So far, EF has invested in 42 tech start-ups in the country since its launch in India in 2019, it said in a statement.
As a global talent investor, with a presence in six global markets, EF has built over 500 tech startups with a worldwide community of over 3000 entrepreneurs, and a portfolio that is valued at over six billion dollars.
IIFL Fintech Fund invests in TrustCheckr
Early-stage fintech fund IIFL Fintech Fund has made an undisclosed investment in fraud analytics solution provider TrustCheckr.
The firm will use the capital to scale its usage across banks, NBFCs, fintechs, payment companies and bureaus in India, it said in a statement. Additionally, it will also invest in enhancing its existing social scoring and social fraud detection capabilities to further reduce digital frauds.
Further, the company plans to enhance its social scanning technology, which has multiple use cases like fraud pre-emption, customer profile enrichment for auto approvals, targeting, and recommendation use-cases.
TrustCheckr has a proprietary algorithm tested on over one million data points and used in AI and ML in image comparisons.