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Funding Rundown: Mensa becomes India’s fastest unicorn, WonderChef raises $20 mn from Sixth Sense Ventures

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Here’s a list of the top startup deals of the day

Funding Rundown: Mensa becomes India’s fastest unicorn, WonderChef raises $20 mn from Sixth Sense Ventures
Here’s a list of the top startup deals of the day
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 US$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.
"We will continue to raise more capital. But we are profitable in the first six months and also paid advance tax in first quarter of operations, " Ananth Narayanan, Founder and CEO, Mensa Brands, told CNBC TV 18. Narayanan was previously CEO of Myntra, Co-Founder and CEO at Medlife
The company has partnered with 12 brands, and says that majority of them are growing at 100% YoY since their integration with Mensa.
"Mensa is trying to build a global, tech-led house of brands," Narayanan said. "Some brands like Karagiri have started global operations. Another brand Folkculture does 60% of sales in US through Amazon.com," he added.
The roll-up model, also popularly referred to as the Thrasio model, has seen frenetic activity in India in recent months.
WonderChef raises $20 M 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.
Founded in 2009 by Ravi Saxena, Wonderchef sells over 600 products across cookware and kitchen appliances categories through its omni-channel distribution network. Over the last three years, the increased focus on being 'Digital-First' has led to a jump in revenue share of online sales from 20 percent earlier to 50 percent now, the company said.
GuardianLink.io raises $12 M 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.
NFTs are a form of crypto asset in which each token is entirely unique. They can be used as a digital certificate of authenticity for any asset, digital or physical. NFTs are currently ruling the ‘emotional’
commerce space with Brands, Artists, Filmmakers, and Athletes actively becoming a part of the digital asset revolution.
Founded by Keyur Patel, Ramkumar Subramaniam, Kameshwaran Elangovan and Arjun Reddy, GuardianLink is currently supporting over 40 NFT marketplaces globally. The startup had launched its first NFT marketplace framework in 2020.
The brand’s first major NFT launch in India was of veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan, one of the highest grossing NFT Auctions in India surpassing $1 Million mark.
The funding round also marks Kalaari Capital’s first-ever investment into the fast-growing NFT space.
"Metaverse-based economy will be a key disruptor and NFT’s are going to play an instrumental role in powering the digital economy of the future. The applications will extend across major industries including Gaming, Fashion and Retail," said ani Kola, Managing Director, Kalaari Capital.
Clinikk raises $4 M in pre-Series A round led by MassMutual Ventures
Clinikk, a Bengaluru-based insurtech and healthtech startup, has raised $4 million in pre-series A funding led by MassMutual Ventures, with participation from Kunal Shah (Founder, Cred), Rohit M.A. (Co-founder and MD of Cloudnine Hospitals), Anjali Bansal (Founder, Avaana Capital), Stanford Angels, and other prominent individual investors.
Existing investors Times Internet Group, EMVC, 500 Startups’ Southeast Asia-focused 500 Southeast Asia, and WEH Ventures also joined the round.
Clinikk had raised $2.4 million in seed capital prior to this fundraise, bringing their total funds raised to $6.4 million.
With this fundraise, Clinikk plans to consolidate its full-stack product offering and increase its footprint in Bengaluru and other cities. It will also invest in product development and hiring key team members.
Founded in 2018, Clinikk is trying to implement a managed-care model by integrating out-patient care and health insurance.
DGV Bharat raises $3 M in pre-Series A funding led by Info Edge Ventures & Omnivore
Digivriddhi Technologies (DGV Bharat), a dairy-focused neo-banking startup, has raised $3.1 million in pre-Series-A funding from Info Edge Ventures and Omnivore. Through its digital platform, DGV wants to provide India’s dairy farmers access to formal banking and financial services.
DGV is currently working with some of dairy co-operatives to provide payments, liabilities, and asset products through its partnership with Federal Bank.
"DGV is building a Neo-banking platform for these dairy farmers by digitizing the entire payment stack using Aadhaar, National Payment Switch and Micro ATM technology with plans to build various financial products customized to credit, insurance and other needs of these farmers," said Kitty Agarwal, Partner, Info Edge Ventures.
Ratan Tata-backed startup Bombay Hemp Company (Boheco) raises $2M
Ratan Tata-backed Bombay Hemp Company (Boheco) has raised $2 million from the family offices of Achin Kochar of the Vi-John Group, Riteesh Mohan Bakshi and Raghav Mohan Bakshi. The startup supplies premium hemp (cannabis or marijuana) leaf extract and industrial hemp products.
Bombay Hemp is among the startups studying the medical use of hemp. Its seed round investors included Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts and chairman emeritus of Tata Sons and Rajan Anandan, ex-managing director of Google India and currently managing director of Sequoia Capital and Surge.
Boheco chief executive Chirag Tekchandaney told PTI that his company has secured investment commitments for $2.5 million, but only USD 2 million has a firm commitment.
Before this funding round, Bombay Hemp had concluded a pre-series-A offering of $750,000, with the participation of the Arphi Electronics, AngelList Trust, a syndicate led by IIM-Kozhikode alumni fund and Prakhar Agarwal of Adept Ventures, and several other HNIs.
 
 
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