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Funding Rundown: Licious turns unicorn, Esper secures $60 million in Series C, Chalo raises $40 million & 100ms gets $4.5 million in seed funding round

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Here’s a lowdown of the top deals in the startup universe.

Funding Rundown: Licious turns unicorn, Esper secures $60 million in Series C, Chalo raises $40 million & 100ms gets $4.5 million in seed funding round
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.
"Although the funding for the D2C sector has grown significantly, FMCG is still not considered the most attractive category. We expect that Licious' unicorn status will change that. The fresh meats and seafood sector are still largely underserved and unorganised that holds a vast opportunity of $40 billion," said Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, co-founders, Licious.
Earlier this year, Licious allocated ESOPs to over 1,000 employees, including its blue-collar workforce. This was followed by a buyback worth Rs 30 crore in August. Spread across 14 Indian cities, Licious claims to have seen over 500 percent growth in last year. It has successfully delivered to more than two million unique customers to date, the company said.
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. Esper’s software platform lets organisations remotely scale, manage, secure, and update mission-critical edge devices and custom apps using the proven DevOps practices now considered standard in web app development. The Seattle-based company claimed to have quadrupled headcount during 2021 and tripled its office footprint in Bellevue on a square footage basis.
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. Chalo is a consumer tech platform built to improve passenger experience and optimise bus operations thereby increasing ridership and utilisation.
For bus operators, Chalo has built the complete tech stack to digitise bus operations and offer a technology-led digital bus experience. Currently, the startup claims to have powered 20 million bus rides in September, this year. It currently has 15,000 buses live on its platform and a presence in 31 cities across Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, among other Indian states.
Video infrastructure platform 100ms raises $4.5 million seed funding round
Video infrastructure platform 100ms has raised $4.5 million in the seed funding round led by Accel with participation from Strive.vc. 100ms — founded by the team that built live video infrastructure at Facebook and Disney-Hotstar — provides infrastructure that allows any company to add Zoom-style video conferencing inside their app within hours, the company said in a statement. The startup will use the funds raised to build the "world’s best video engineering team and product enhancement, creating hundreds of templates of live use cases, simplifying video access for companies across the world," the company said.
Kaar Technologies raises Rs 30 crore from BlackSoil
Kaar Technologies on Tuesday said it has raised Rs 30 crore in acquisition financing facility from BlackSoil Capital to fuel its inorganic international expansion plans. Kaar Tech will use the funds raised for inorganic expansion in the United States of America, thereby strengthening its presence in North America, the company said in a statement.
Founded in 2005, Kaar Tech offers consultation, implementation, and support of SAP-based enterprise software solutions to enterprises across the world to improve their business processes. It is one of the largest pure-play SAP players that partners with customers in the US, the UK, Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE.
Karat Farms raises pre-seed funding
Karat Farms, a smart kitchen garden company has raised undisclosed pre-seed funding from Vriksh Impact Partners (VIP) to accelerate business growth, to make garden-to-table food a reality, and to underpin the sustainability of plant-based businesses in India. It plans to use the raised investment to acquire more customers and build the product. It also aims to create a sustainable future through plant-based living, the company said in a statement.
"The funding will enable it to grow from seed to a tree. Wherever appropriate, we will leverage our extensive national and international network to make introductions and bring in subject matter experts from around the world to help support Karat Farms. Our focus is to ensure impact creation and a strong sustainability focus in all the deals we undertake," said Prerna Goel, co-founder & director of VIP.
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