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Funding Rundown: Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures invests in Velocity, Sequoia India adds GoKwik, Solo VC firm Better Capital launches maiden fund

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

Funding Rundown: Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures invests in Velocity, Sequoia India adds GoKwik, Solo VC firm Better Capital launches maiden fund
Here’s a list of the top startup deals of the day:
Velocity raises $20 M 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.
Founded by Abhiroop Medhekar, Atul Khichariya and Saurav Swaroop in 2020, Velocity operates as an alternative platform to venture capital and traditional bank debt for e-commerce businesses in India.
Velocity leverages data to evaluate an application across more than 50 parameters and extends up to Rs 3 crore of financing within 5 days. The repayments happen flexibly as a share of the company’s online revenues.
Since inception, over 1,500 D2C and e-commerce businesses have signed up for Velocity’s revenue-based financing. The company's says it has processed over 250 investments across 175 companies, accumulating to over Rs 1,200 crore of fundable revenues connected to its platform.
Some of the D2C brands which have utilized Velocity’s revenue-based financing platform include PowerGummies, Green Soul, WallMantra, BellaVita, Smoor Chocolates and CrossBeats.
Following the latest round of funding, the startup aims to deploy over Rs 1,000 crore across more than 1,000 e-commerce businesses.
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.
Since starting out in 2018, Better has invested several new categories like neobanks, fintech infra, product-led edtech, SME digitization and learning communities. It is now looking to invest in Cyrpto/Web3, creator economy and climate.
So far, it has invested in more than 125 companies, which include Open, M2P Fintech, Teachmint, Slice, Jupiter and Khatabook.
“We have been fortunate to partner with several disruptive companies and have created a playbook to collaboratively co-build with founders from the idea stage and bring the right set of resources including access to top tier operators & global funds”, said Vaibhav Domkundwar about partnering with founders at the earliest stages of a startup's journey.
GoKwik raises $15 M 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.
Founded by Chirag Taneja, Vivek Bajpa and Ankush Talwarin, GoKwik seeks to help e-commerce and D2C companies with better cart conversions at checkout and high returns on cash-on-delivery, resulting in lower return-to-origin rates.
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.
The startup plans to use the funds to work with large marketplaces, scale up the product and technology teams and launch new products.
Investment platform smallcase invests $5 M 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.
Tickertape was previously a business vertical of smallcase. It was carved-out into a separate corporate entity on November 1, 2021.
“The current tools and resources available to a retail investor to understand and manage their finances are fragmented. The need of the hour is to build a comprehensive ecosystem focusing on contextual learning, analysis and execution. We strongly believe that such a platform requires social interaction at its core and are excited to focus our efforts on building community features and collaborative tools on Tickertape,” said Ujjwal Ankur, who has taken over the role of founder and CEO at Tickertape.
SalaryBox raises $4 M in seed funding from Y-Combinator & others
Fintech start-up SalaryBox has raised $4 million in a new seed round from new and existing investors including Y-Combinator, Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, Soma Capital and 2AM Ventures.
Other key investors in the latest funding round include US-based angel and seed investors Gokul Rajaram, Doordash Executive; Sriram Krishnan, former Tinder and Spotify Executive; and Anand Chandrasekaran, former Facebook Executive.
Founded by IIT Roorkee alumni Nikhil Goel and Peeyush Goyal in May 2020, SalaryBox is a mobile app-based employee management solution, which seeks to simplify staff attendance and payroll processes for small businesses.
Currently, the startup manages payroll for over 1 million employees on its app. It further aims to scale up its user base to more than 10 million employees by the end of 2022.
Earlier in May 2021, SalaryBox had raised pre-seed funding from GSF Accelerator and marquee individual investors.
CatalyzeX raises $1.6 M in seed funding from a clutch of U.S based investors
CatalyzeX, a startup building a platform to help developers find the right machine learning techniques, code, and know-how faster, has raised $1.64 million in seed funding from Unshackled Ventures, Darling Ventures, Kepler Ventures, On Deck, Abstraction Capital, Unpopular Ventures, and Basecamp Fund.
Angel investors also participating include Anthony Goldbloom (co-founder & CEO of Kaggle acquired by Google), Joe Fernandez (co-founder & CEO of Klout), Binh Tran (co-founder of Klout, partner at 500 Startups), Slava Kovalevskyi (Google Cloud AI manager), Ilya Kirnos (ex-Google tech lead on Gmail Ads, AdWords, Google Prediction Markets), Michael Shuffett (founder & CEO of Compose AI), Ritesh Malik (founder & CEO of Innov8 acq’d by OYO), and Akshay Chaturvedi (founder & CEO of Leverage Edu).
Founded by Gaurav Ragtah and Himanshu Ragtah, CatalyzeX has over 30,000 weekly active users comprising developers, data scientists, and applied researchers from both startups and larger institutions around the world.
Knocksense raises $150,000 from Mumbai Angels Network & others
Hyperlocal content platform Knocksense has raised $150,000 from Mumbai Angels Network, We Founder Circle, Appyhigh and Lets Venture.
Founded in November 2016, Knocksense is a hyperlocal news and recommendations platform producing content across six cities: Lucknow, Delhi, Noida, Indore, Jaipur, and Mumbai. On average, the platform generates 10-20 million organic impressions per month, the company statement said.
It recently launched its flagship product, KnockOFF, which connects local brands and freelancers with consumers, creating a content-driven community to enables transactions at the city level.
The startup will utilize the fresh capital to upgrade KnockOFF and expand footprint in new cities before proceeding to its Pre-Series A funding round in Q1 of 2022.
"With the launch of our flagship product, KnockOFF, in August, we have witnessed remarkable growth in all aspects; the transactions, reach, revenue, GMV, and subscription rate have risen by 100% month-on-month. We are delighted to be backed by marquee investors, and this capital will allow us to launch our full product in new geographies before we look at the next round of fundraising in early 2022,” said Vibhore Mayank, Founder of Knocksense.
Boingg raises Rs 2.2 crore in seed funding from Inflection Point Ventures
D2C furniture brand for kids Boingg has raised Rs 2.2 crore in a seed round led by Inflection Point Ventures (IPV).
The funds raised will be utilised in increasing marketing and branding efforts, along with hiring key team members.
Founded by Neha Indoria and Dhruvan Barar in 2019, Boingg offers a range of furniture, soft furnishings and accessories for kids. The furniture range caters to the urban and semi-urban young couple with children aged from 0-8 years.
"The furniture market which caters to children doesn’t exist in an organised manner, even in the offline space. Boingg is leveraging the D2C wave and tapping into a market where there is a willingness to spend on quality products. Their performance matrix and future growth plans excited us to back the company,” said Vinay Bansal, Founder & CEO, Inflection Point.
In FY20, 80 percent of orders received by Boingg were through marketplaces, the company statement said.  The startup is listed on major furniture marketplaces like Pepperfry, Urban Ladder, First Cry, Amazon and Flipkart.
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