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    STARTUP DIGEST: Delhivery raises $275 mn, WazirX launches NFT marketplace, Sebi eases norms for VCs, AIFs

    STARTUP DIGEST: Delhivery raises $275 mn, WazirX launches NFT marketplace, Sebi eases norms for VCs, AIFs

    STARTUP DIGEST: Delhivery raises $275 mn, WazirX launches NFT marketplace, Sebi eases norms for VCs, AIFs
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    By Aishwarya Anand   IST (Updated)


    There were several important startup developments during the day on  Tuesday. Here are the top startup stories of the day:

    There were several important startup developments during the day on  Tuesday, which include logistics startup Delhivery has raised $275 million in primary funding round; crypto exchange WazirX launches a marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFT);  RBI clarifies on cryptocurrency trading, asks banks to carry out customer due diligence; Pepperfry is expecting to be in the unicorn club by the time its IPO hits the market; edtech startup Avishkaar has raised Rs 5 crore; space tech startup GalaxEye has raised a pre-seed round; and electric ride-hailing platform BluSmart aims to have 500 women drivers on board. Here are the top startup updates of the day:
    IPO-bound Delhivery raises $275 mn; now valued at over $3 bn
    Logistics startup Delhivery has raised $275 million in primary funding round, led by Fidelity Management and Research Company. The Series H pre-IPO round also saw participation from other public market investors. However, the firm did not disclose their names.
    The fresh capital will push Delhivery's valuation to over $3 billion, the company said in a statement. Last year in December, Delhivery was valued at $2 billion after it raised $25 million from Steadview capital.
    Sahil Barua, Delhivery's co-founder and CEO, said the investment coincides with two other significant milestones as Delhivery will celebrate its 10th anniversary this month and since its inception, it has completed 1 billion cumulative shipments in April 2021.
    WazirX launches South Asia’s first NFT marketplace
    Crypto exchange, WazirX has launched a marketplace for Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). The platform will feature 15 creators hailing from diverse categories such as space 3D artists, digital artists, muralist photographers, canvas artists, street artists and visual artists.
    The newly launched marketplace is currently in Beta phase and will empower artists, creators and collectors across India and abroad to create and trade unique digital assets that represent art, music, videos, collectibles, in-game articles among others, the company said.
    The platform involves minimal gas fees, comes without any listing price, and is extending 50,000 WRX as bonuses for the community. WazirX will mint the NFTs on its parent company Binance's technology—one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. Binance acquired WazirX in 2019.
    RBI clears air on cryptocurrency trading, asks banks to carry out customer due diligence
    RBI has clarified that banks and other regulated entities cannot cite its 2018 circular on cryptocurrencies as it has been set aside by the Supreme Court in March, 2020. The central bank has directed banks to carry out the necessary customer due diligence process in line with regulations governing standards.
    The move was welcomed by several cryptocurrency players. Nischal Shetty, CEO and Founder, WazirX, this document is a ray of hope for the Indian crypto ecosystem.
    “We really appreciate Reserve Bank of India’s clarification on this. We hope that this circular encourages banks to update their compliance teams and provide banking access to Indian crypto exchanges,” Shetty said.
    Avinash Shekhar, Co-CEO at ZebPay also welcomed the step and called it positive news for the entire crypto industry. “Investing in crypto has always been 100 percent legal in India and the new RBI circular clearly confirms the right to do business with crypto firms. This is a welcome move to make crypto investments accessible to more Indian investors,” he added.
    Pepperfry expects to join unicorn club, IPO coming soon
    Online furniture Pepperfry would be in the unicorn club by the time its initial public offer hits the market. Pepperfry co-founder and COO Ashish Shah while sharing plans to expand offline studios told PTI that the company expects to turn profitable as soon the market opens.
    "We are a Rs 1,000 crore turnover company. We are very close to becoming profitable. As soon as the market opens, I think it will show our first profit mark. After this we plan to go for an IPO in the next 12-18 months," Shah said.
    He further added that as soon as some changes in company’s structure is done, Pepperfy will go for DRHP process. “Hopefully, we should be a billion-dollar business very soon. Our IPO value will be in that range," Shah said.
    Pepperfry has raised $235 million since its inception from Norwest Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs & Bertelsmann Investments India.
    Pepperfry Launches Accelerator Program with an eye on smaller cities
    Pepperfry is all set to ramp up its omni-channel presence with small neighbourhood stores, through a new franchise program - Pepperfry Accelerator Program. Through this initiative, the firm has announced plans to add 200 offline studios on FOFO (franchise owned franchise-operated) across 100 tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
    Pepperfry customers can experience the products at the studios and order them online. These studios will be spread over 400-500 square feet like a neighbourhood shop. As per the company statement, studios contribute 30 percent to the overall business and with the new studios coming up, their contribution in business would shoot above 40 per cent.
    Pepperfry co-founder and COO Ashish Shah said that the company is looking for young entrepreneurs to join their accelerator programme by investing around Rs 15 lakh which includes real estate cost, interior design and products that will be put on display.
    The company has already opened over 70 studios across 40 cities in the last six years out of which 32 are based on the FOFO model.
    Sebi relaxes compliance requirements for VCs, AIFs
    Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) extended the due date for various regulatory filings till September-end. The move comes amid restrictions imposed by several state governments during the second covid wave. Through this move, the markets regulator aims at reducing the compliance burden on venture capital funds (VCFs) and alternative investment funds (AIFs).
    “SEBI has extended the compliance deadlines relating to AIFs and VCFs which are falling during the period ending March 21 and July 21 to September 21 considering the second wave of Covid 19. This is a welcome step by SEBI and will give much needed breather to the fund managers. However, industry players are also looking for relaxation in term of the fund given that Covid 19 has resulted in delay in portfolio exits for many fund houses due to prevailing market conditions. SEBI should consider this request of the industry subject to investors’ approval,” said Tushar Sachade, member of Venture Capital Association (IVCA).
    The decision was taken after Sebi received representation from the AIF industry requesting extension of timelines for various regulatory filings and compliances for venture capital funds and alternative investment funds. AIFs and VCFs may submit regulatory filings for these periods, as applicable, on or before September 30 this year.
    Edtech startup Avishkaar raises Rs 5 crore funding
    Edtech startup Avishkaar has raised Rs 5 crore funding in pre-Series A round from Auxano and Mumbai Angels. Alok Mittal, angel investor & Co-founder and CEO, Indifi Technologies; and Varun Aggarwal, Co-founder, Aspiring Minds also participated in the funding round.
    The startup said it plans to use the funds for product development, expansion across Tier I and Tier II cities and hiring talent.
    GalaxEye raises fresh capital in Pre-seed round
    IIT Madras incubated, space tech startup, GalaxEye has raised a pre-seed round led by Speciale Invest. The company said new funding will be deployed to build technology infrastructure, prototype development and expand themselves in the space infrastructure.
    GalaxEye is the brainchild of a few members of Avishkar Hyperloop, who participated in the global competition organized by Elon Musk aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company SpaceX. Team Avishkar Hyperloop was one of the top 21 teams out of the 1,600 plus participants from across the world The startup aims at launching the first satellite by early 2023.
    The B2B and B2G company develops technologies that work in space, monitoring Earth & even outer space, while accelerating the growth of space infrastructure enabling multi-planetary evolution, it said. On launch. It will operate on a subscription-based Data-as-a-Service model.
    D2C startup Almo raises seed round from angels
    Men’s essential wear brand Almo has raised its seed round of funding led by Angelist India. Angel investors including Arjun Vaidya (ex-CEO, Dr Vaidya’s), Piyush Shah (Co-founder, Inmobi Group), Muralikrishnan (COO, Xiaomi India), Nitin Gupta (CEO, Uni Cards), Rohit Chanana (Ex-President, Strategy, Hero Corporate Services), Umang Kumar (Co-founder, CarDekho Group), Darshan Deora (MD, Indvest Group) and Pranay Jain (VP Avendus Capital) amongst others also participated in the funding round.
    The D2C startup aims to launch more sub-categories including winter wear and athleisure ranges and upgrade their portfolio to international trends, styles and quality, said the company in a statement.
    Accio Robotics raises funds from angel investors
    Robotics automation company Accio Robotics has raised a fresh undisclosed round of funding from a slew of angel investors. The funding round was led by Uday Sodhi, Co-founder of Founder's Room Capital, along with other investors such as Jignesh Kenia, Utpal Doshi, Girish Jain, and Pankaj Bhargava. Angel Network also participated in the round.
    The robotics startup invest the fresh capital in product development and expanding its market reach. Launched in 2020, Accio Robotics is a portfolio company of 100X.VC, an early-stage VC.
    BluSmart aims to have 500 women drivers onboard
    Electric ride-hailing platform BluSmart will increase the number of women drive-partners to 500 in a year. The first batch of women drivers took to the wheels of BluSmart’s all-electric cabs on May 31, a company statement said. They are currently functioning from BluSmart hub at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.
    As per the official statement, the company will be offering these partners 8-hourly leases only during the daytime to ensure their safety. “At BluSmart, diversity and inclusion is in the DNA, and the company is delighted to welcome the women driver-partners to the BluSmart family,” BluSmart Mobility co-founder and CEO Anmol Jaggi said.
    Lido Learning records 56% growth in revenue
    EdTech startup Lido Learning has recorded a 56% monthly growth in revenue over the past 3 months. With this, the company has reached a $20 million run-rate and has projected a $100 million run rate by end of this year, as per a company statement.
    “Our core focus has always been to empower students to discover their passions and master real-world application of their education,” said Sahil Sheth, founder and CEO at Lido Learning.
    Lido Learning has currently added 1,000 new staff amid the pandemic. The company also expanded globally, opening up to students in UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
    UK-based fintech firm Wise launched in India
    UK-based Fintech firm Wise has entered India with the launch of foreign exchange services from the country. With this launch, Indian users will be able to send money to 44 countries, including the UK, US, Singapore, Malaysia, UAE and countries in the Eurozone.
    Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, competes with PayPal, Western Union Money, Remitly and MoneyGram among others in the global remittance solutions mark. As per the company statement, Wise’s prices for international money transfers are on average 2x cheaper than banks and other providers like PayPal. The company has also opened its office in Mumbai.
    “Bringing Wise to India is a big step forward in our mission to build money without borders 一 instant, convenient, transparent and, eventually free. The data shows that Indians are more international than ever, with an increasing need to send money abroad as quickly, easily and cost-effectively as possible. With this launch we hope to make these transactions simpler and more pleasant for all Indians,” said Kristo Kaarmann, CEO and co-founder of Wise.
    Australia’s Nine Entertainment signs deal with Facebook, Google
    Australian broadcaster and publisher Nine Entertainment has signed multi-year content-supply deals with Google and Facebook under new licencing regime. Nine however did not disclose financial details of the deals, reports Reuters.
    With this tie-up, Australia's three largest media firms now have deals with U.S. tech giants that had until this year fiercely opposed laws making them negotiate over the fees they pay for the links driving clicks to their platforms.
    The owner of the Australian Financial Review and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers and the Nine free-to-air channel said it would provide articles and clips for Google's News Showcase platform for five years, and to a similar Facebook product for three.
    Uber sees gradual return of drivers in the US
    Uber drivers are gradually returning to its ride-hailing platform in United States, Reuters reported. This is leading to a modest decrease in passenger wait times as the company seeks to take advantage of a post-pandemic return in travel demand.
    Uber said the week of May 17 marked a new record for drivers returning to the road since the start of 2021, with active driver hours increasing 4.4 percent from the previous week. Overall, 33,000 drivers joined Uber’s U.S. platform during the week of May 17. Most of them had stopped working last year over health concerns and a lack of customers.
    Elon Musk blames supply chain disruption behind hike in Tesla’s car prices
    Tesla CEO Elon Musk has blamed the erratic supply chain globally amid the ongoing pandemic as the reason behind frequent price rise of its electric vehicles recently.
    Musk's reaction came after some of the new Tesla Model Y owners raised the issue of missing lumbar support on the passenger side in their electric SUVs. Replying to one such query on Twitter, Tesla boss blamed supply chain pressure for this. He went on to add, "Prices increasing due to major supply chain price pressure industry-wide. Raw materials especially."
    Tesla has increased prices of its Model 3 and Model Y electric cars five times in a matter of months, the Electrek website reported.
    KKR and CD&R nears $4.7 bn deal to acquire Cloudera
    Private-equity firms KKR and Clayton Dubilier & Rice are nearing a deal to buy out Cloudera at a valuation of $4.7 billion, reports Bloomberg News
    As per the report, the private equity firms buy out the software firm at $16 a share, or about a 24% premium to its previous close.
    Cloudera had explored a potential sale since mid-2020 after receiving takeover interest. If sold, it would mark another chapter for a former high-flyer that’s struggled to make money on products related to open-source software, which is usually free to use, reports Bloomberg News.
    Major technology companies including, Alphabet and Microsoft have also pushed into some of the cloud software products that are Cloudera’s specialty.
    The U.S-based Cloudera, delivers an enterprise data cloud for any data, anywhere, from the Edge to AI. It caters to industries including finance, healthcare and government agencies.
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