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    Startup Digest: Top stories of the day

    Startup Digest: Top stories of the day

    Startup Digest: Top stories of the day
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    By Shruti Malhotra   IST (Updated)


    Here's a wrap of the top startup stories today.

    Here's a wrap of the top startup stories today.
    Five Star Finance seeks $1.2 billion valuation, Morgan Stanley may exit
    Investors in non-bank lender Five Star Business Finance are in talks for a secondary share sale, valuing the company at $1.2-1.3 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) and making it India’s newest unicorn, Moneycontrol reported quoting sources. Existing investor Morgan Stanley Private Equity could sell a part of its stake for close to $100 million to Sequoia Capital’s Global Growth Fund, an $8 billion investment vehicle meant to back the best companies from its portfolio worldwide, said these people, who requested anonymity.
    Sequoia India is already an investor in Five Star. Five Star, which provides secured loans to small businesses, also counts Matrix Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and private equity giant TPG as its investors. It was valued at $950 million in July 2019, when TPG led a $50 million round.
    Jungle Ventures makes maiden ed-tech investment in Leap with $17 million in Series B
    Overseas education platform Leap, which runs and, has raised a $17 million Series B in a new round of equity financing. The round was led by Singapore-based Jungle Ventures, with participation from Sequoia Capital India and Owl Ventures.
    Founded in 2019, San Francisco headquartered Leap is an online platform that offers end-to-end services like counselling services, visa services, education loans and other financial products for students pursuing international education & careers. Leap has since expanded the product suite and also expanded to Canada, UK and Australia.
    This raise comes in less than a year after Leap raised $5.5 million led by Sequoia Capital India, taking the total capital raised by the startup to $22.5 million. Leap plans to use the new capital to expand its product portfolio and further strengthen its team across technology & business functions, expand geographically and grow its student communities. The company plans to establish global offices for institutional partnerships and other business functions.
    YAP raises $10million
    Fintech infrastructure provider Yap has raised a Series B round of funding of $10 million, co-led by Flourish Ventures and Omidyar Network India. BEENEXT, 8i Ventures, DMI Group, The Sparkle Fund and Better Capital also participated in the financing round. This is the second fundraising for Yap in less than a year, reflecting the growing potential of business-to-business fintech infrastructure companies.
    The Chennai-based startup had raised $4.5 million in April last year as part of its Series A round. Yap’s Application Programming Interface (API) platform enables digital platforms, fintech companies, and offline businesses to bring customised solutions to their end users by connecting them with other fintech platforms and non-banking finance companies.
    The funds will be used to strengthen the technology teams, build new capabilities as well as reach new markets across Asia, the company said. Yap services companies in India, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines and now plans to expand to Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Vietnam and Indonesia.
    Fiat-to-crypto gateway Transak raises Rs 4.8 crore, to expand India focus
    Fiat-to-crypto payment gateway Transak has raised Rs 4.8 crore in a seed round led by Consensys, The Lao, IOSG, Lunex, Koji Capital and other angel investors, the firm said. Transak streamlines the process of buying and selling cryptocurrency allowing both mainstream users and businesses to access crypto and blockchain. The company is now looking to expand its operations, partnerships and work base in India and is going to use the amount raised to hire more engineers and expand its team in the country, it said in a statement.
    Serial entrepreneurs Sami and Yeshu founded Transak with a vision to address the clear need-gap in the market for end-users who wanted to buy crypto directly to their wallet, in order to use blockchain applications. Transak has operations in 60+ countries and plans to expand and consolidate this coverage by the end of 2021. Currently, the company is working closely with other players in the Indian blockchain ecosystem, including WazirX and Matic Network.
    Globally, Transak is integrated by top wallets and apps. Whilst traditional crypto exchanges allow users to trade and speculate on crypto, Transak allows users to access cryptocurrency from fiat in order to actually use blockchain applications, decentralised finance (DeFi), payments and many more applications. Whilst these applications are still in their infancy, they are expected to be used throughout India and across the world within the next 5 years, as per the company. Transak said that it experienced rapid growth in volumes in 2020 and this year plans to expand to more fiat payment methods, integrate with more blockchains and protocols, as well as explore new markets, with a keen focus on India.
    Y Combinator-backed micro-insurance platform Bimaplan raises $500 K seed round of funding from Titan Capital and others
    Affordable insurance platform Bimaplan has raised seed funding of $500K led by Titan Capital with participation from Y Combinator, Dream Incubator, RaSa Future Fund, Finsight Ventures, 2 a.m. Ventures. Angel investors - Rajesh Sawhney of GSF Accelerator, Anupam Mittal of, Kunal Shah of Cred, Jitendra Gupta of Jupiter neo-bank, Ramakant Sharma, Ritesh Malik of Innov8, Roshan Abbas, Pallav Nadhani, Abhishek Rungta, Nisarg Shah, Yash Jain of Sparrow Capital, and NimeshKampani and Shanti Mohan of Sparrow Capital also joined the round. The venture plans to utilize the funds to build the team and to develop its product and aims to hit $1 million ARR in the next 12 months, a statement said.
    Endiya Partners launches accelerator programme for deep tech start-ups
    Venture capital firm, Endiya Partners has partnered with Applied Ventures, LLC, the venture arm of material engineering solution provider, Applied Materials, to launch its first accelerator program, Frontier-Tech Ignite (X) Program (FTIX). Through the accelerator program, the venture capital firms aim to identify and mentor high-potential startups in the domains including software-as-a-service (SaaS), semiconductor; artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain; internet-of-things (IOT), as well as sensors and cybersecurity, while providing them access to international markets, the firm said.
    The FTIX selected cohort of five startups will get access to dedicated mentorship sessions with Endiya and Applied Ventures along with potential access to their network and portfolio companies. In addition, the selected startups will have the opportunity to demo and pitch for investments with Endiya, Applied Ventures and other investors in the ecosystem, the venture capital firm added. The FTIX program, guided by a selection committee, will choose a cohort of five high-performing startups over a two-stage screening process. The shortlisted startups are expected to have a working minimum viable product (MVP) and initial customer traction in the market at the time of registering for the program, Endiya Partners added. Endiya Partners recently raised Rs 17.5 crore from the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council’s (BIRAC) AcE Fund, while announcing the close of its Rs 500 crore Fund-II.
    India Accelerator collaborates with Artha Venture Fund for their Summer 2021 Accelerator program for early-stage startups
    India Accelerator – a seed-stage accelerator program has recently signed an MoU with Artha Venture Fund (AVF) – India’s first early-stage Micro-VC fund to provide comprehensive support to the early-stage start-ups in India. As part of the collaboration, the initiative also provides an acceleration program to assist startups with the right mentorship and instill knowledge to expedite business growth.
    Through this initiative, IA and AVF will provide funding and mentorship to startups, along with go-to-market support, business growth opportunities, financial management, and strategic planning support, co-working space among others. Furthermore, the initiative will help startups scale faster, extend their runway, recruit a core team and get better terms & valuation from follow-on investors.
    Digital brokerage firm Upstox joins IPL as official partner
    The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) today announced Upstox, a digital brokerage firm, as an official partner for IPL, which will begin on April 9th, 2021. This will be a multi-year partnership. Upstox provides online investments in Stocks, Mutual funds, Digital Gold, Derivatives, and ETFs for both investors and traders. Backed by marquee investors such as Tiger Global, Upstox currently has over 2.8 million customers.
    News Corp inks Australia Facebook deal, signalling a truce after blackout
    Rupert Murdoch owned News Corp reached a content-supply deal with Facebook Inc in Australia, a step toward settling a dispute that saw the social media giant briefly shut down thousands of pages in the country, Reuters reported. The agreement, terms of which were not disclosed, makes News Corp the first major media outlet to strike a Facebook deal under controversial new laws that let an Australian government-appointed arbitrator set fees if companies fail to do so.
    Facebook’s shutting out all media content in the country for a week last month angered world leaders, as the blackout included emergency services and government health pages. It ended the shutdown when Australia agreed to soften some parts of the new regulations. News Corp, which owns about two-thirds of Australian metropolitan newspapers, was among media companies calling for the government to make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay for the media links that drive viewers, and advertising dollars, to their platforms.
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