FUNDING RUNDOWN: Skit raises $23 mn in Series B, Picsart now a unicorn, Tiger Global in talks to fund Apna at $1B+ valuation

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With more than 150 million monthly active users spanning 180 countries, Picsart has raised $195 million in capital since its launch in 2012 and recorded more than $100 million in annual revenue run rate.

FUNDING RUNDOWN: Skit raises $23 mn in Series B, Picsart now a unicorn, Tiger Global in talks to fund Apna at $1B+ valuation
Here are the top deals locked in the startup universe.
Picsart turns unicorn with $130-mn funding led by SoftBank
Picsart, a photo and video editing app, turned unicorn after SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led a $130-million funding round, valuing the company at over $1 billion.
Venture capital firms GSquared and Tribe Capital also took part in the Series C round, along with existing investors Sequoia Capital, DCM, Graph and Siguler Guff
With more than 150 million monthly active users spanning 180 countries, Picsart has raised $195 million in capital since its launch in 2012 and recorded more than $100 million in annual revenue run rate.
Picsart was also among the top 20 apps in terms of worldwide downloads on Google Play in the first quarter of 2021, according to a report by analytics firm SensorTower.
The company said funds raised from the latest round will be used for acquisitions, developing user tools and for expanding its artificial intelligence-driven technology. The company plans to hire up to 100 employees for its India operations.
Apna in talks to raise fresh round at over $1-bn valuation: Report
Professional networking platform Apna is in late-stage talks to raise a new round that is likely to push the company’s valuation to over $1 billion, according to Entrackr.
Tiger has been in conversation to lead over $100 million in Apna. Existing backers Lightspeed, Sequoia, Insight Partners will also double their stake in the company, the report added.
This is the third round of funding for the Bengaluru-based startup in 2021. It has already raised $12.5 million Series A in March and $70 million Series B in June.
With the fresh round, Apna will gain the status of a unicorn. So far, the Indian startup ecosystem has seen 26 unicorns this calendar year.
Skit raises $23 mn in Series B led by WestBridge Capital
Voice AI company Skit (formerly called Vernacular.ai) has secured $23 million as part of its Series B funding, led by WestBridge Capital.
Kalaari Capital, Exfinity Ventures, AngelList syndicate led by Aaryaman Vir Shah from Prophetic Ventures, and LetsVenture syndicate led by Sense AI too participated in the funding round.
The capital will be used for sales and marketing, building delivery capabilities and R&D. The company plans to scale operations in both Indian and global markets.
“We want our product to be the best in the segment and we want to build the technology further. In South East Asia and the US we are investing in expansion,” said Sourabh Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder, Skit.
The fundraise follows a Series A round last May, led by Exfinity Ventures and Kalaari Capital, AngelList, with IAN Fund and LetsVenture also participating. The latest funding brings the startup’s total raise to $30 million.
Skit claims to have increased its revenue and customer growth by over 4x, building a strong partner network across industries such as banking, insurance, ecommerce, consumer durables, travel and logistics, among others.
Fintech startup Skeps raises $9.5 mn
Global PoS fintech startup Skeps has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding led by Bertelsmann India Investments. Existing investor Accel also participated in the round.
The startup will use funds to expand the sales, marketing, engineering, and product teams; grow its merchant and lender client base; and broaden services offered to their customers.
“With this latest fundraise, Skeps will continue to serve clients by providing them the next generation in POS financing solutions that can be readily deployed on their own merchant site, physical stores, or any partner platform where their customers are shopping,” said Tushar Srivastava, CEO of Skeps.
Founded in 2018, Skeps is a cloud-based modular platform, used by merchants and lenders to help identify the potential credit solutions for their customers with the highest likelihood of conversion.
Rattle secures $2.8 mn from Lightspeed & Sequoia India
BizOps automation and orchestration startup Rattle raised $2.8 million in seed funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital India.
The round also saw participation from angel investors including Amy Chang, EVP at Cisco and Disney board member; Ellen Levy, an early investor in Outreach; Jake Seid, an early investor in Brex and Carta; and Krish and Raman, Founders of SaaS unicorn Chargebee.
“We are in the early stages of a generational shift in how work gets done in the modern enterprise and are very excited to build this new stack from the ground up," said Sahil Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Rattle.
The San Francisco-headquartered startup is attempting to build software that makes it much more convenient to engage with business services. Rattle is building a real-time and collaborative “connectivity tissue” to address the nature of modern record-keeping and intelligence platforms.
The startup, which launched its offering in March, has amassed over 50 customers, including Terminus, Olive, Litmus, Imply and Parse.ly.
Rattle aims to use the funding to modernise and amp up its enterprise sales stack.
Neobank platform moneyHOP raises $1.25 mn in seed round
moneyHOP, a cross border-neobank based in the UK, has raised $1.25 million in a seed round from UK-based investors and managing directors from various investment banks.
The company will use funds to strengthen its team, pursue growth targets, venture into the cross-border MSME payment space and expand its international presence.
“This funding will fuel our mission of providing businesses and individuals with a unified platform that makes international payments and remittances paperless, presence-less, and cashless while also being cost-effective,” said Mayank Goyal, CEO and Founder, moneyHOP.
Goyal added, “We are excited to relentlessly pursue our aim to revolutionise cross-border banking for millennials and businesses in India and globally.”
Founded in 2019, moneyHOP offers HOPRemit platform which helps customers to send money abroad. The firm claimed it has seen 100 percent month-on-month growth since its launch.
Codingal raises $1.2 mn in seed round
Edtech startup Codingal has raised $1.2 million as a part of its seed funding round, led by Y Combinator, Summer Capital, Day One Syndicate, and Rebright Partners.
Prominent angel investors including Nate Lipscomb, Senior Product Counsel, YouTube; Ganesh Rengaswamy, Managing Partner, Quona Capital, and Peter Weck, Co-Founder, Simply Hired, also participated in the round.
According to the company, it will utilise the fresh funds to grow, nurture and empower the company’s rapidly growing community of kindergarten to grade 12 students and teachers. The funds will also be used to develop their proprietary platform for an improved and personalised learning experience.
The startup aims to add 500,000 new students to its platform over the next 12 months.
“Codingal plans to build a robust passion economy marketplace for coding education that brings together the best-in-class educators and students who are eager to learn to code," said Vivek Prakash, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Codingal.
The company claims to have clocked 30 percent month-on-month growth since its launch in September 2020, and currently generates over 20 percent revenue from international customers.
Peppermint secures Rs 5-cr funding from Venture Catalysts, others
Peppermint, an industrial robotics startup, has raised Rs 5 crore in a new financing round from Venture Catalysts and Indian Angel Network.
The round also saw participation from Vinners Group and a group of angel investors led by Naveen Kumar Kshatriya.
The capital will be used to enhance the production facility and ramp up its production capacity, a part of the funds will be allocated towards R&D, the company said in a statement.
The firm will also scale its business in India and the Middle East.
“We have the first-mover advantage in the commercial robotics space in India and our robots have been tested and deployed in various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, logistics, manufacturing and hospitality. We are looking at aggressive growth and we have our eyes set on the European market as well,” said Runal Dahiwade, CEO and Founder, Peppermint.
Found in 2109, Peppermint builds an industrial floor-cleaning robot that leverages a combination of physical scrubbing, chemicals and ultra-violet light to facilitate seamless cleaning of floors.