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Funding Rundown: Licious & CoinSwitch Kuber turn unicorns, Byju's raises Rs 2,200 crore & Chingari raises $19 million in pivot towards cryptocurrency

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

Funding Rundown: Licious & CoinSwitch Kuber turn unicorns, Byju's raises Rs 2,200 crore & Chingari raises $19 million in pivot towards cryptocurrency
Licious turns unicorn; raises $52 million in Series G-round
D2C fresh meat brand Licious on Tuesday entered the coveted unicorn club after raising $52 million in a Series G round led by IIFL AMC's Late-Stage Tech Fund, with a valuation of $1 billion. Avendus FLF (Future Leaders Fund) has also invested in this round. Avendus Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Licious for the transaction.
Licious is now the 29th unicorn to emerge out of India in 2021. The funding would help it to compete better with players such as FreshToHome, Zappfresh as well as large players such as BigBasket and Swiggy.
CoinSwitch Kuber becomes unicorn; raises over $260 million
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinswitch Kuber has become India's second crypto unicorn, after raising over $260 million in Series C funding round, led by American venture capital firm a16z (Andreesen Horowitz) and Coinbase Ventures, at a valuation of $1.9 billion.
The new funding round included existing investors such as Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global. Venture Capital giant Andreessen Horowitz, which makes this investment its first in India, said in June it was launching a new $2.2 billion fund to invest more money in crypto networks.
Byju’s raises Rs 2,200 crore from Oxshott Venture Fund & others
Edtech giant Byju’s has raised Rs 2,200 crore from Oxshott Venture Fund, along with the participation of Edelweiss Private Investments Trust, Verition Multi-Strategy Master Fund, IIFL Private Equity Fund, XN Exponent Holdings, and MarketX Ventures, among others.
As per regulatory filings by Tofler, a total of 77,174 Series F CCPS shares at a premium of Rs 2,85,062 will be allotted to the investors in this fundraise. Out of the 77,174 shares being allotted in this round, a majority of 42,095 shares will be allotted to Oxshott Venture Fund for an investment of Rs 1,200 crore.
Earlier in September, Byju's raised Rs 1,093 crore funding from Asmaan Ventures, Mirae Asset, and ARK Ncore among others, according to the filings.
The company to date has acquired at least 10 startups in the edtech space.
Esper secures $60 million in Series C funding led by Insight Partners
India and US-based Esper, the DevOps platform for devices has raised $60 million in Series C funding led by Insight Partners. Existing investors including Scale Venture Partners, Madrona Ventures and Root Ventures also participated in this funding round.
The investment brings Esper’s total funding to $100 million and follows the company’s $30 million Series B just four months ago in May. This latest funding round will primarily be used to further expand Esper’s ability to get the word out to more enterprise customers, the company said in a statement.
Chalo raises $40 million in Series C funding; aims to digitise bus commutes in India
Public transport technology startup Chalo on Tuesday said it has raised $40 million in its Series C funding round led by Lightrock India and Filter Capital.
The round also saw participation from existing investors including - WaterBridge Ventures, Raine Venture Partners, former WhatsApp executive Neeraj Arora and former Google Inc. executive Amit Singhal.
With this fundraise, Chalo aims to invest further in technology, deepen its presence in India, and expand to international cities. The startup will be using almost $10 million of the proceeds from the current funding to buy back employee shares, while also enabling exits for early angel investors.
Fintech startup Progcap raises $30 million in Series C round
Fintech startup Progcap has raised $30 million in Series C round from existing investors Tiger Global Management and Creation Investments. Sequoia Capital India, which had led the last two funding rounds for Progcap, also participated in this investment round. The startup will use the capital to build a broader and deeper supply chain banking platform for its merchants and corporate network in India. Progcap aims to reach $1 billion in disbursals by March 2022.
Edtech startup Sunstone Eduversity secures $28 million in Series B funding
Edtech startup Sunstone Eduversity has raised $28 million (about Rs 208.8 crore) in its Series B funding round, led by WestBridge Capital. The round also saw participation from existing investors Saama Capital, Alteria Capital and Work10m -- a work-focused fund by Pankaj Bansal, Group-CEO PeopleStrong.
The company said it will use the fresh funds to enhance its cutting-edge learning and technology assets, while doubling down on geographical and team expansions.
Short-video app Chingari raises $19 million in pivot towards cryptocurrency
Short-video app Chingari has raised $19 million in its latest funding round with the objective of offering cryptocurrency as a means of monetisation for creators and users on its platform. With this pivot, the startup aspires to become a global blockchain-based social infotainment platform.
Given the startup’s attempt to make cryptocurrency mainstream in India, the round saw participation from more than 30 venture funds and individual investors. That includes some renowned crypto investors such as Republic Crypto, Solana Capital, Kraken and others. Chingari will use the funds to launch its own crypto token - $GARI.
The tokens will be powered by the Solana blockchain, which is backed by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). Earlier this week, the Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm invested in CoinSwitch Kuber, turning the crypto exchange into India’s second unicorn from the space after CoinDCX.
Qapita raises $15 million in funding from East Ventures, others
Equity management platform Qapita has raised $15 million (about Rs 112 crore) in funding from East Ventures (Growth Fund), Vulcan Capital and others.
NYCA and existing investors including Endiya Partners and MassMutual Ventures also participated in the Series A round.
Several existing angel investors across India, Singapore and Indonesia including Alto Partners, Partners of the Northstar Group, K3 Ventures, Mission Holdings, Anjali Bansal (Avaana Capital founder) and Sujeet Kumar (Udaan co-founder) invested in this round also participated.
With the proceeds from this round, Qapita plans to add more products to its platform, the company said in a statement. Qapita also plans to facilitate liquidity solutions via a digital marketplace enabling transactions for companies between their investors and employee stakeholders, it added.
Rural insurtech startup GramCover raises $7 million in Series A funding
Rural insurtech startup GramCover has raised $7 million as part of its Series A fundraise co-led by Siana Capital and Inflexor Ventures. Stride Ventures also participated in this round alongside existing investors Omidyar Network India, Flourish Ventures and Emphasis Ventures (EMVC).
With this fundraise, the startup will strengthen the technology and product offerings to significantly scale up the business and support functions. GramCover will also enhance the availability of various insurance products and services on ‘GramCover Partner’ application and expand its point of sale network, tech, sales and operation teams across multiple geographies, the company said in a statement.
Ozonetel gets $5 million from Stakeboat Capital
Cloud communication services company Ozonetel has secured $5 million in Series-A funding from a private equity firm, Stakeboat Capital. The company said it aims to use the fresh capital to expand its sales and marketing teams in the US while continuing to focus on Southeast Asia and the Middle East and expanding in India. It had entered the US market in 2019. The company also plans to launch its AI-driven Unified Channel Experience Management (UCXM) platform for voice and digital channels.
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