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Funding Rundown: LEAD becomes first edtech unicorn of 2022, Pine Labs to raise $500 mn in US IPO

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Here’s a lowdown of the top deals from the startup space this week.

Funding Rundown: LEAD becomes first edtech unicorn of 2022, Pine Labs to raise $500 mn in US IPO
Here’s a lowdown of the top deals from the startup space this week:
LEAD becomes first edtech unicorn of 2022 after raising $100M
Edtech player LEAD has raised $100 million at a valuation of $1.1billion. With this funding, the startup became the first edtech unicorn of 2022.
The Series E funding round was led by WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures, making it one of their largest edtech investment.
The company will enter Academic Year 22-23 with 5000 schools across 500+ cities in India with an annual revenue run-rate of $80 million. It will serve close to 2 million students and plans to use the proceeds to achieve its vision of providing quality affordable education to 25 million-plus students with an annual revenue run-rate of $1 billion.
Pine Labs to seek $500 million in US IPO
Backed by Sequoia India and Mastercard, merchant payments player Pine Labs is said to have confidentially filed for a U.S. listing, seeking to raise about $500 million, as per a Bloomberg report.
The fintech firm could list at a valuation of about $5.5 billion to $7 billion, as per sources cited in the news report. Serving over 150,000 merchants across India, Middle East and Southeast Asia, the company is currently valued at $3 billion, according to Venture Intelligence.
It counts Temasek, Sequoia Capital, Actis, PayPal, Mastercard, Fidelity Management, BlackRock, Ishana, Tree Line, and Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers among its investors.
Refyne raises $82M in Series B led by Tiger Global, others
Earned Wage Access (EWA) platform, Refyne has announced the closing of its $82 million Series B funding. The round was led by Tiger Global with significant contribution coming in from existing international investors - QED Investors, partners of DST Global, Jigsaw VC, XYZ Capital, RTP Global and new investor Digital Horizon participating in the round.
Within 10 months of being operational, Refyne has raised a total of $106 million. The funds will be used for product development, expansion of the team, and to ramp up various business functions.
In less than a year, Refyne’s transacting user base has grown 68x and the platform recorded 165x increase in the number of transactions over the period, underscoring the liquidity gap being addressed by EWA.
Venture debt firm BlackSoil invests $80M across 20 deals in 2021; investments grew by 2.5x
Homegrown venture debt firm BlackSoil Capital has invested $80 million in 20 transactions in 2021, registering a 2.5 times growth in terms of value and 1.8 times growth in terms of volume of investments.
The company also said that exits grew by 1.6 times in terms of volume and 1.3 times in terms of value in 2021 compared to CY2020, and that it clocked 24 exits. The venture debt firm lent to approximately 20% of its existing portfolio companies during 2020.
Curefoods raises $62M, to acquire major cloud kitchens
Cloud kitchen platform Curefoods has raised $62 million and will continue to acquire major cloud kitchen brands across the country. The latest round saw participation from Iron Pillar, Chiratae Ventures, Sixteenth Street Capital, Accel Partners and Binny Bansal. While $52 million came in equity funding, $10 million came in debt financing from Alteria Capital, BlackSoil Capital and Trifecta Capital, Curefoods said.
"Over the next decade, there will be an opportunity to build multiple food brands across cuisines and geographies. With the fund infusion, we plan on expanding across geographies, and meeting newer customer expectations," said Ankit Nagori, Founder of Curefoods.
Fintech firm FPL Technologies raises $75M, valued at $750M
Fintech startup FPL Technologies has bagged $75 million as part of its Series C funding led by existing investor QED Investors along with Janchor Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Matrix Partners and Hummingbird Ventures.
With this round, the company’s valuation now stands at $750 million. The latest fundraise comes within 10 months after FPL Technologies raised its Series B funding of $35 million.
FPL Technologies plans to utilise the proceeds from the fresh capital infusion to strengthen its consumer value proposition, scale up its product teams, to grow the issuance of OneCard and expand its consumer base aggressively, it said in a statement.
TheMathCompany gets $50M investments from Brighton Park Capital
TheMathCompany, a global data analytics and data engineering firm, has secured $50 million in investments from Brighton Park Capital, an investment firm that specialises in collaborating with growth-stage software, healthcare, and tech-enabled services businesses.
Existing investor, Arihant Patni, also participated in this round. Avendus Capital served as financial advisor and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Company served as legal counsel to TheMathCompany. The minority investment will accelerate TheMathCompany’s expansion in the US and EU markets, and enhance its next-generation, proprietary platform, Co.dx, which drives value for businesses through analytics at speed and scale, the company said in a statement.
Gold loan platform Rupeek raises $34M from Lightbox: Report
Gold loan platform Rupeek has gotten $34 million from Lightbox and existing investors at a valuation of $634 million. As per Moneycontrol, the asset-backed digital lending platform has also doubled its gold loan disbursals in December 2021 as compared to 2020. The company also recorded an annual disbursement run rate of $1 billion in December 2021, the report added.
In 2022, Rupeek plans to grow its lender partner network from four to over 10, and its city footprint from 35 to over 120 cities.
Game streaming and E-Sports platform Rooter Raises $25M in Series A round led by Lightbox and others
Game streaming and e-sports platform Rooter has raised $25 million in a Series A funding round led by Lightbox, March Gaming, and Duane Park Ventures.
9Unicorns, ADvantage Sports Tech Fund, Capital-A, and Goal Ventures also participated in the round along with existing investors, including IeAD Sports & Health Tech Partners.
The company currently has 1 million unique users create gaming content on its platform and is aiming to emerge as the dominant player in India’s creator economy by building a base of the next 500,000 professional game streamers through its gaming and e-sports platform, it said in a statement.
EVage raises $28M from RedBlue Capital
Electric commercial vehicle startup EVage on Friday said it has raised $28 million (over Rs 205 crore) from US-based venture capital firm RedBlue Capital. The funding will allow EVage to complete its factory outside of Delhi in FY 2022-23 and scale up production, the company said.
“The money would be essentially used for ironing out and developing the supply chain and also completing our manufacturing facility (near Chandigarh) so that we are ready to ship out the vehicle…we will be completing it within this year.,” EVage founder and CEO Inderveer Singh said.
Waste management-focused Recykal bags $22M from Morgan Stanley
Waste management-focused startup Recykal has announced a $22 million (around Rs 162.58 crore) fundraise led by Morgan Stanley India.
Existing investors Circulate Capital, Vellayan Subbiah, and Arun Venkatachalam from the Murugappa family also participated in the fund raising, which will be deployed for expansion of services pan-India, hiring talent and building hyper-local waste processing infrastructure.
Recykal had a revenue of Rs 1.8 crore in FY19, which is likely to touch Rs 220 crore in FY22.
Gaming community startup Turnip gets $12.5M from Greenoaks & Elevation Capital
Online gaming community platform Turnip has raised $12.5 million in a Series A funding round co-led by Greenoaks and Elevation Capital. This funding round also saw participation from SEA Capital, Vibe Capital, and leading founders and angels, including Andrew Chen (Partner, a16z), Harshil and Shashank (Razorpay), Akshay Kothari (Notion), Vidit and Sanjeev (Meesho), among others.
The company will use the fresh funds to scale its presence across geographies including Southeast Asia and Latin America by the end of 2022. It will also use funds for hiring and product development, it said in a statement.
Zluri raises $10M led by MassMutual Ventures
Zluri, a SaaS management platform Zluri, has raised $10 million in a Series A funding led by MassMutual Ventures with participation from existing investors Endiya Partners and Kalaari Capital.
Zluri had previously raised $2 million from Endiya Partners and Kalaari Capital in its seed round last January. The company plans to use the additional capital to continue its growth momentum and further strengthen its product's capabilities. It also plans to expand its teams in the core markets of Asia and North America.
Fintech startup Kaleidofin gets $10M in Series B funding round
Fintech platform Kaleidofin has secured $10 million in series B funding, led by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Existing institutional investors Oiko Credit, Flourish Ventures, Omidyar Network, Blume Ventures and Bharat Fund also participated in the round.
The current round takes the total funding raised by the neo-bank to $18 million till date.
Anicut Capital closes 2nd debt fund at Rs 875 Cr, plans to invest in growth-stage startups
Venture debt firm Anicut Capital has marked the final close of its second debt fund at Rs 875 crore ($118 million). Anicut secured SEBI approval for its second debt fund which had a target corpus of Rs 700 crore, and a green shoe option to raise an additional Rs 300 crore.
Grand Anicut Fund - 2 (Category II Alternative Investment Funds (AIF)) saw massive interest for its subscription with successful investments across 12+ early stage startups, with an average deal size of Rs 15-100 crores. According to the investment firm, it will invest in about 30 early/growth stage companies across sectors such as consumer brands, technology, F&B, fintech, among others under categories of acquisition financing, promoter/buyback financing, growth capital and capital restructuring.
Power Gummies raises $6 M in Series A from 9Unicorns, Wipro and Others
Power Gummies, a dietary supplements startup, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by 9Unicorns, with participation from Vcats, DSG Consumer Partners, WIPRO Consumers, Sharpp Ventures (Marico Family office) and NB Ventures.
Founded by Divij Bajaj in 2018, Power Gummies offers dietary supplements in a chewable form instead of capsules & tablets. Currently, the brand has four variants and plans to launch 45 more. "Power Gummies is all set to mark its space at global nutraceutical industry podium with this newly raised funding round. We are extremely excited to roll out new projects such as introducing new variants and expanding overseas," Divij Bajaj, Founder & CEO, Power Gummies.
The ePlane Company raises $5M in Pre-Series A
The ePlane Company, a flying taxi startup, has raised $5 million in pre-Series A funding led by Speciale Invest — a deep-tech venture capital firm — and Micelio — an EV and climate-focussed fund.
A consortium of investors including Naval Ravikant, 3one4 Capital, UTEC (University of Tokyo Edge Capital), Anicut Capital, Infoedge, Prashant Pitti (co-founder of Easemytrip), Thought Ventures, Java Capital and Firstcheque.vc also participated in the round. The fresh capital will be used to hire top-tier talent, R&D and product development to gain airworthiness provision and initiate local certification.
PointOne Capital marks final close of its maiden Rs 50 Cr fund
Pre-seed focused VC fund PointOne Capital announced the final close of its maiden Rs 50 crore fund. The final close comes within a year of its first close in December 2020. The fund, which primarily targets startups in the beta or pre-launch stage, has onboarded Silicon Valley and India-based entrepreneurs, CXOs and seasoned corporate, startup leaders and mid-sized family offices as its LPs.
Among the 30 investments that PointOne has made so far, 20 of them have been in 2021 with the ticket size of investments ranging from $100,000 to $150,000. Creator economy, Gaming, SMB focussed SaaS products, Enterprise SaaS, Fintech, Healthtech and Edtech have been the primary investment categories, the firm said in a statement.
Stride Ventures invests Rs 20 Cr in Wiz Freight
Full-stack Freight Management startup Wiz Freight has secured Rs 20 crore in debt funding from Stride Ventures. Wiz Freight uses its proprietary technology platform to offer end-end shipment management solutions including price discovery, booking management, shipment tracking, documentation, shipment finance and customer support.
“We have grown 25x in the last 12 months and have established a presence across 10 Indian cities. We are planning to invest in hiring, tech development and global expansion in 2022,” said Ramkumar Govindarajan, Co-founder, Wiz Freight.
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