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Funding Rundown: Mensa becomes India’s fastest unicorn, Velocity raises $20 mn in Series A round

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

Funding Rundown: Mensa becomes India’s fastest unicorn, Velocity raises $20 mn in Series A round
Unicorn in 6 months: Mensa Brands gets backing from Alpha Wave, Prosus in new round
In what is so far the fastest unicorn story in the country, Mensa Brands, a house of brands which acquires and invests in online-first brands, on the lines of the popular American startup Thrasio, has announced its Series B fundraise of $135 million, and has turned a unicorn in just six months since starting operations.
The round was led by Alpha Wave Ventures  of Falcon Edge Capital with participation from all existing investors - Accel Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management. Prosus Ventures (Naspers) also invested in Mensa in this latest funding round.
Mensa has raised a total of more than $300 million in equity and debt since starting its journey in May this year.
Velocity raises $20M in Series A funding led by Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures
Velocity, which runs a revenue-based financing platform for e-commerce and D2C businesses, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm.
Following the latest round of funding, the startup aims to deploy over Rs 1,000 crore across more than 1,000 e-commerce businesses.
Since inception, over 1,500 D2C and e-commerce businesses have signed up for Velocity’s revenue-based financing. The companys says it has processed over 250 investments across 175 companies, accumulating to over Rs 1,200 crore of fundable revenues connected to its platform.
WonderChef raises $20M in funding led by Sixth Sense Ventures
Cookware and kitchen appliances brand Wonderchef has raised close to $20 million in a funding round led by Sixth Sense Ventures. Other investors who participated in the round include Godrej Family office, Malpani group and a few HNIs.
The round was a combination of primary and secondary investment. Mauritius-based investment firm Capvent, which had invested in the company in 2015, exited in this round.
The primary capital raised will be used forstrengthening online presence and capability, expanding and deepening distribution network, and enhancing branding initiatives, the company statement said.
Wingreens raises $17M crore from Investcorp, Omidyar
Packaged foods firm Wingreens has raised $17 million in a funding round led by InvestCorp and Omidyar Network India.
Founded in 2011 by Anju C Srivastava, the company offers fresh dips, fruit juices (under the brand RAW Pressery), healthy snacks, sauces and spreads, spice mixes, specialty bakery, breakfast cereals, non-dairy milk, protein shakes and other organic products.
It has an omni-channel distribution strategy with an offline retail footprint in over 200 cities across India.
GoKwik raises $15M in Series A round led by Sequoia India & Matrix Partners India
GoKwik, an e-commerce enablement company, has raised $15 million in Series A round led by Sequoia Capital India. The round also saw participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India and RTP Global.
The startup plans to use the funds to work with large marketplaces, scale up the product and technology teams and launch new products.
Since launch, GoKwik has on-boarded over 100 e-commerce and D2C brands and currently powers an annualized gross merchandaise value of $250 million, the company statement said. Some of its clients include Mamaearth, Good Glamm Group (Myglamm), LimeRoad, EyeMyEye, boAt, ManMatters, OZiva, The Souled Store, Noise and VMart.
Better Capital launches maiden fund to seed startups in India
Silicon Valley-based Better Capital, which is run solo by Vaibhav Domkundwar, has launched its maiden fund with a corpus of $15 million to make pre-seed and seed investments in Indian startups.
The fund - Better Capital Ventures I - is backed by investors who are former or current leaders at Meta (Facebook), Google, Uber, LinkedIn, Tiger Global, TPG, and other top growth venture funds.
The fund will invest in pre-seed and seed rounds across sectors with a median check size of $300,000.
Disprz raises $13M in Series B round led by Dallas Venture Capital: Reports
Enterprise skilling startup Disprz has raised $13 million in a Series B funding round led by Dallas Venture Capital and Mars Growth Capital.
The round also saw participation from existing investors Go1 (an Australian unicorn in this space), Tara India Fund IV being managed by KOIS, Auctus Capital (Family office of Vikas Phadnis, Co-Founder of Eurokids) and Kae Capital (a leading seed fund).
According to reports, Disprz will use this capital, further to scale up product and engineering teams, establish a sales and marketing division in the US, expand its existing presence in South East Asia and Middle East markets, and invest in building industry-specific product solutions.
GuardianLink.io raises $12M in Series A round led by Kalaari Capital
GuardianLink.io, an NFT ecosystem technology framework, has raised Series A funding of $12 million led by Kalaari Capital and other private investor group.
The funding will be deployed to expand the startup's Singapore and Japan-based design labs, strengthen creative development capabilities and deepen its curative NFT (non-fungible tokens) packaging foundation, the company said.
The funding round also marks Kalaari Capital’s first-ever investment into the fast-growing NFT space.
Foodlink secures $8M from Plutus Wealth Management, others
Foodlink, a luxury catering company, has raised $8 million (Rs 59.34 crore) in funding led by Plutus Wealth Management.
The Series-B funding round also witnessed the participation of Arpit Khandelwal, Managing Partner, Plutus Wealth Management LLP.
The company will use these funds to expand its flagship business of luxury catering across newer geographies in India and overseas to take its luxury banquet brand called JADE Luxury Banquets to more cities, it said in a statement.
Mindhouse secures $6M in seed funding
Mindhouse, a curative wellness platform backed by Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and others, recently announced raising $6 million in seed funding.
Other major investors in this endeavour include General Catalyst, Better Capital, Kwaish Capital and Anicut. Rohit MA of Cloudnine, Ritesh Malik of Innov8, and Karan Singh and Sri Rajan of Bain & Co also participated as angel investors.
As per reports, the firm is looking to undertake a rebranding strategy by early 2022, in order to broaden its coverage of curative wellness.
Defy raises $5.5M in seed round to build social crypto exchange
Fintech startup Defy has raised $5.5 million (around Rs 40.79 crore) in a seed funding round to build India's first social crypto exchange.
The fundraise was backed by Y Combinator, Goat VC, JAM Fund and Goodwater Capital. Others participating in this round include Gemba, Night Ventures, GMO Venture Partners, Olive Tree Capital in addition to an existing investor, Better Capital.
Defy aims to disrupt the cryptocurrency space with a social and community-based approach.
Investment platform smallcase invests $5M in spun-off unit Tickertape
FinTech startup smallcase has invested $5 million in Tickertape - a web and mobile-based investment information and research platform.
Tickertape provides retail investors with an all-in-one platform to research, analyze and invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds.
The platform is recording 120 million monthly interactions with 3 million monthly active users, according to the company statement.
 
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