Here’s a lowdown of the top deals from the startup space.
MapmyIndia invests in KOGO to create navigation for automotive players
Digital maps provider MapmyIndia has invested $1.25 million to acquire 26.37 percent stake in Kogo Tech Labs to develop a travel and hyper-local platform integrated with maps and navigation for automotive players, with option to raise stake to 50 percent in two years.
By integrating Kogo's gamified travel, outdoors and hyper-local content, community and commerce platform into MapmyIndia's Mappls brand, it will enable automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in India and globally to increase consumer engagement, brand loyalty and in-vehicle commerce monetisation opportunities, a statement said.
Rakesh Verma, Chairman and Managing Director, MapmyIndia said that the partnership with KOGO will "boost and enable the next-generation of travel, outdoors, hyper-local and on-the-go experiences and use cases for everyone".
Avanse Financial Services raises Rs 390 Cr from Warburg Pincus and IFC
Avanse Financial Services, an education-focused non-banking financial company (NBFC), has raised nearly Rs 390 crores from its existing shareholders, Warburg Pincus through its affiliate Olive Vine Investment and International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of World Bank via a rights issue.
The contribution percentage of the amount is as per their existing shareholding pattern — 80 percent and 20 percent, respectively. With this investment, the net worth of the company stands at Rs 1,450 crore, a statement said.
As of March 31, 2022, the firm recorded an AUM of Rs 4,836 crore and the equity raised will enable Avanse to strengthen its balance sheet and capital adequacy ratio, it added.
“We will utilise this freshly infused capital to reach out to more education aspirants to fulfil their academic dreams. We will continue to focus on taking Avanse to its next phase of the sustained profitable growth journey,” said Amit Gainda, Managing Director and CEO, Avanse Financial Services.
Aye Finance raises Rs 65 crore from Symbiotics Investments
Financial services startup Aye Finance has raised Rs 65 crore in debt funding round from Symbiotics Investments, a Geneva-based market access platform for impact investing.
The firm plans to use the capital to further enhance its credit portfolio bringing a larger population of the underserved population of micro-enterprises into the folds of organized lending, it said in a statement.
The fintech startup claims to have disbursed over Rs 5,500 crore to over 4,50,000 micro-enterprises in India since inception.
“We have addressed the credit requirements of this sector by customising our entire business model to the unique needs of this first-to-credit segment having small ticket loan requirements with no collateral to offer and limited tech experience. Symbiotics has been supporting us in our mission of fostering inclusive growth since 2017 and this enhanced partnership will help us reach out to a larger population of the traditionally excluded sector,” said Sanjay Sharma, MD and Founder, Aye Finance.
Fundamentum leads $21.8M Series B1 round in Kuku FM
Audio content platform Kuku FM has raised $21.8 million in Series B1 funding round, led by The Fundamentum Partnership. The round also saw participation from Paramark and existing investors KRAFTON, 3one4 Capital, Vertex, Verlinvest and FounderBank Capital.
The startup will use the funds to strengthen content creation ecosystem and offer more language choices to listeners. Kuku FM aims to achieve a base of over 10 million paid subscribers by 2023-end.
"We have seen rapidly growing interest for content in regional languages in Tier 2 and 3 cities, semi-urban and rural segments. We aim to continue building a strong and diverse creator network that caters to this segment of the Bharat audience," said Lal Chand Bisu, Co-Founder and CEO of Kuku FM.
At present, Kuku FM hosts more than 150,000 hours of content in various formats including audiobooks, stories, book summaries, courses, and podcasts.
Bhanzu bags $15M in Series A round from Eight Roads Ventures and B Capital
Math-focused edtech startup Bhanzu has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Eight Roads Ventures. B Capital, also invested in the round from its Ascent Fund.
The firm will use the fresh capital to expand its business globally, enhance its tech infrastructure, increase its workforce, and strengthen its curriculum with more interesting and outcome-focused content, a statement said.
“With this new development, we envision becoming the world's largest and most impactful math education entity in the next few years. We will utilise the funding to accelerate expansion across geographies and strengthen our technology infrastructure to enhance students’ experience,” said Neelakantha Bhanu, Founder and CEO, Bhanzu.
This would be the second investment round for the Hyderabad-based company in the past seven months. It had previously raised the seed funding amount of $2 million led by Lightspeed and angel investors.
Murf AI raises $10M in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners India
Murf, an airtifical intelligence platform that helps create voiceovers, raises $10 million in Series-A funding round led Matrix Partners India.
Existing investor Elevation Capital participated in the round with angel investors such as Ajay Arora (Disney Streaming), Ankit Bhati (Ola), Ashwini Asokan (Mad Street Den), Pushkar Mukewar (Drip Capital) and Yamini Bhat (Vymo).
"This Series A investment would further bolster our commitment towards simplifying and scaling voiceovers,” said Ankur Edkie, Co-Founder and CEO, Murf AI.
Since raising $1.5 million in its seed funding round led by Elevation Capital and a few angel investors, the startup claims to have grown 22x in revenue, synthesising over one million voiceover projects.
Fable Fintech in talks with foreign banks to raise Rs 100 crore in FY23
Cross-border payment solutions provider Fable Fintech said it is in talks with a clutch of foreign banks for equity capital infusion of Rs 100 crore in the current fiscal year.
The banking infrastructure company, which enables cross-border payments faster, cheaper and interoperable, is said to be in talks with more than six foreign banks to raise capital.
Without divulging their names, Fable said it is in advanced talks with these potential investors to raise funds at a valuation of nearly $100 million. It has also appointed an investment banker from Europe to manage the fundraise plan and the transaction is expected to close by the next two quarters.
"We are looking at raising funds for long-term growth. The company is sufficiently-funded right now to meet its funding requirement for 12-18 months," Naushad Contractor, Founder & CEO of the company, stated. He said the company also intends to expand its global footprint after opening offices in Singapore, USA, UAE, and London in 2021.
Student Ink raises undisclosed seed capital from We Founder Circle
Edtech startup Student Ink has raised an undisclosed seed round from investor We Founder Circle (WFC), via its accelerator programme, EvolveX.
As per the firm, the funds will be used to scale its platform faster. The firm claims to have curated 600+ courses in the B2C segment and helped educators in saving 1 million+ hours of their manual work.
“The investment will pay off and contribute to the hyper growth of our business, allowing us to scale our platform more rapidly. Our business model is already profitable, and with such strategic angels on board, we intend to achieve our ambition of disrupting the industry at an accelerated pace,” said Nihar Sheth Co-Founder and CEO, Student Ink.
Bihar-Based Freshsharp bags $125,000 in seed funding round
A Bihar-based fresh meat delivery startup Freshsharp has raised $125,000 in its seed funding round. The equity funding was led by ‘Ok Acquired’ and angel Investor Syed Akbar Raza Ahmed and Hussain Ahmad.
The firm claims to have witnessed a 200 percent growth and has served consumers across Darbhanga, Patna and Kolkata. The startup has built a supply chain network across several Indian cities to be able to procure meat and seafood, keep them fresh and deliver them within hours of the order.
As per the company, the fresh capital will be used to serve the burgeoning business needs of traditional businesses in the food sector by providing them with financial and technological assistance to elevate their businesses and enhance growth. It aims to strengthen traditional businesses and expand further in Bihar and West Bengal.
Esmito gets Rs 10 crore in seed round from Unicorn India Ventures
IIT Madras-incubated electric vehicle startup Esmito has raised Rs 10 crore in a seed round led by Unicorn India Ventures. The funds will be used for the expansion of swapping solutions and to further strengthen the technology team, the company said.
Esmito added that the funding will also enable the company to continue executing its growth strategy and strengthen its position as the largest swapping infra solutions provider. It aims to build multiple use cases in key segments like logistics & MAAS (mobility as a service).
The firm offers swapping solutions and energy as a service to logistics and last mile mobility players that includes products integrated with web & mobile applications and embedded analytical modules.
IAN leads Rs 5.5 crore seed funding round in Biggies Burger
Biggies Burger, a burger QSR chain, has raised Rs 5.5 crore in its seed funding round from the investors of Indian Angel Network (IAN) including Uday Chatterjee, Jayant Mehrotra, and Ajay Upadhyaya. Co-investors LetsVenture and a Singapore-based franchise of Biggies Burger also participated in the funding round.
The bootstrapped brand will now use the funds to expand its footprints and scale its franchising network and introduce products that will be redefined as per geography, a statement said. The firm is also aiming to achieve a 2X year-on-year growth in the next five years.
“We are known for our commitment to quality ingredients and signature recipes. Our strong foothold in the country is fulfilling the demand in Tier-2, 3, and 4 cities. However, we want to expand our franchising model, and IAN's investment will help us in this direction,” said Biraja Rout, Founder, Biggies Burger.