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FUNDING RUNDOWN: MPL now a unicorn, Vahan gets $8M in Series A, Anar raises $6.2M in seed round & Gemba Capital launches $10M micro VC Fund

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

FUNDING RUNDOWN: MPL now a unicorn, Vahan gets $8M in Series A, Anar raises $6.2M in seed round & Gemba Capital launches $10M micro VC Fund
Here’s a lowdown of the top deals locked in the startup universe.
Mobile Premier League joins unicorn club; valued at $2.3 bn
Mobile Premier League became India’s second gaming unicorn after raising funds at a $2.3 billion valuation. The Series E funding round was led by Legatum Capital.
Existing investors including Sequoia, SIG, RTP Global, Go-Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures, Play Ventures, Base Partners, Telstra Ventures, and Founders Circle Capital also participated in the round.
The firm didn’t disclose the funding amount but according to Bloomberg News, MPL has raised $150 million.
MPL will use the fresh infusion of capital to finance its global expansion, invest in its home-grown technology, and drive continued growth in the Indian market.
“This investment is a recognition of the potential of the Indian gaming and esports industry and an endorsement of the capability of MPL to expand globally. MPL’s proven success in India and Indonesia encouraged us to launch in the US, one of the world’s largest gaming markets. Our US operations are off to a promising start and we’re thus fulfilling our resolve to make our platform the esports and gaming hub of the world,” said Sai Srinivas, co-founder and CEO, MPL.
MPL currently has over 85 million registered users globally. It is endorsed by Indian Cricket Team captain Virat Kohli and earlier this year, the company signed Indonesian actor and internet celebrity Baim Wong as its brand ambassador in Indonesia.
Vahan gets $8M in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures
Jobs platform for blue-collar workers Vahan has raised $8 million in a Series A round led by Silicon Valley investor Khosla Ventures.
The round also saw participation from Bharti Airtel, Pioneer Fund, Spike Ventures, and SHAKTI VC, which counts Google founder Eric Schmidt as one of its limited partners.
Prominent angels and executives including, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Verizon Media’s group chief executive officer (CEO) Guru Gowrappan, and Harvard Management Company executive Kevin Shannon, among others also participated in the round.
The startup will use the funds to further scale its recruitment business and build new product offerings for its fast-growing customer base. In the long run, the company aims to enable better livelihoods for the next billion internet users.
Vahan helps blue-collar workers find jobs that match their skill sets, and assists employers find the right candidates by leveraging new-age technologies. The startup has built tools, including an artificial intelligence-driven bot on WhatsApp, that are used to recruit workers.
“Our goal is to ensure that previously underserved blue-collar workers get access to opportunities across jobs, financial services and upskilling and our ambition is to make 1 billion placements over the next 10 years," said Madhav Krishna, founder and CEO of the company.
Vahan claims to recruit over 7,000 blue-collar workers across 200 cities every month. Vahan’s clientele includes delivery companies such as Zomato, Flipkart, Uber, Swiggy, Rapido, Grofers, Dunzo, and Shadowfax.
Anar raises $6.2M in seed round
B2B business networking platform Anar has raised $6.2 million in seed funding co-led by Elevation Capital and Accel India.
The round also saw participation from First Cheque and Utsav Somani, iSeed and Partner, AngelList India, along with some of the best engineering and product-centric founders, including Ranjeet Pratap Singh, co-founder and CEO of Pratilipi, Farid Ahsan, co-founder of ShareChat, Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, co-founders of Meesho, and Shashvat Nakrani co-founder of BharatPe.
The funds will be used to strengthen the company’s product and tech capabilities, the company said in a statement.
“Anar is a 0-to-1 solution in this space with no other global peers, and we are humbled by our investors' belief in our team and our vision. These funds will help us deliver a world-class product for SMBs," said Nishank Jain, Co-founder and CEO, Anar.
The Anar business app caters primarily to small-and-medium businesses (SMBs) across the value chain, from manufacturers to retailers and resellers, helping them connect and interact with one another.
Gemba Capital launches $10M micro VC Fund; to invest in 24 companies in the next 2 years
Gemba Capital on Wednesday announced the launch of its maiden Micro VC fund of $10 million.
The newly launched fund will invest in 24 high potential early-stage startups across SaaS, consumer-tech, fintech, and deeptech, with the first cheque of $250,000 and about a 35 percent reserve ratio for making follow-on investments, the company said in a statement.
Gemba Capital has been actively investing in the seed and pre-seed rounds in tech startups in India. Out of the 30 portfolio companies, few notable ones include insurtech startup Plum and BimaPe, SleepyCat (D2C mattress), Gripinvest and Strata (fintech), Unnati (agritech), Crejo (edtech), Zuper and ClickPost (SaaS).
“It is our ability to get into high-growth companies led by finest founders with small checks that sets us apart,” said Adith Podhar, founder, Gemba Capital.
Godamwale secures $1M in seed round
Warehouse discovery and leasing platform Godamwale has raised $1 million from Capt. Anand Aryamane in the seed round.
The venture capital firm invests in seed to early-stage startups operating in the logistics space, among other sectors. Godamwale plans on using the funding for marketing, expanding its fulfillment network, and develop its tech platform.
“Flexible warehousing offers great potential in our country with retail and e-commerce on the cusp of heightened growth. The response that we have received from our customers is also testimony to this opportunity,” Vivek Tiwari, founder and COO of Godamwale, said.
Currently, the firm claims to have over 25 mil sq ft listed on its platform and has worked with more than 110 firms in the business-to-business, direct-to-consumer, and business-to-consumer space.
Artium Academy closes seed round led by Sonu Nigam
Online music learning and community platform Artium Academy has raised $750,000 in its seed round.
The funding round was led by singer Sonu Nigam and early-stage investors such as Jet Synthesis and Whiteboard Capital.
Moreover, the startup has onboarded Swapnil Shinde, Snehal Shinde and Vivek Raicha as founder investors.
“The centuries-old, venerated music training methods of India are ready to meet the technological opportunities of the new age to create a never before learning experience for the music aspirant of today,” Ashish Joshi, founder and CEO, Artium Academy, said.
Artium Academy aims to enable Indians across the globe to learn music through a structured performance-driven curriculum designed by music maestros.
The platform claims to have grown its learner base by eightfold and month-on-month revenue by 30 percent since its launch. It also plans to add more courses and genres, expand its international footprints, and scale its proprietary technology.