homestartup NewsSTARTUP 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 Mishra  Apr 8, 2021 8:52:53 PM IST (Published)

There were many important developments in the startup space during the day today. Its raining unicorns - From investment platform Groww to health tech startup PharmEasy, from social e-commerce startup Meesho to credit card payment platform CRED, all made their new funding announcements and entered the unicorn club this week.

There were many important developments in the startup space during the day today. Its raining unicorns - From investment platform Groww to health tech startup PharmEasy, from social e-commerce startup Meesho to credit card payment platform CRED, all made their new funding announcements and entered the unicorn club this week. Here’s a wrap of the top startup stories today.

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Two new startups joined this Unicorn party today
Unicorn Alert: Moj & ShareChat raise $502 mn from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Snap Inc & Twitter
Homegrown short video app Moj and Indic language social media platform ShareChat have raised $502 million in a latest round of funding. The investment has been led by Lightspeed Ventures and Tiger Global, along with participation from Snap Inc, Twitter and India Quotient amongst others.
With the new round, the parent company Mohalla Tech’s valuation stands at a little over $2.1 billion, making it the latest to join the unicorn club.
The Bangalore-based company had roped in Twitter as an investor in 2019, but with this round it has added Tiger Global and Snap Inc to its investor portfolio.
As of today the company claims, that Moj counts over 120 million monthly active users and ShareChat has over 160 million monthly active users.
Gupshup raises $100 mn from Tiger Global; becomes the 6th Unicorn this week
Gupshup, a Silicon Valley based conversational messaging today announced it has raised $100 million in funding from Tiger Global Management. With this raise the company’s valuation now stands to $1.4 billion.
This is the sixth startup to enter the unicorn club just this week. The team plans to use this investment to scale product and go-to-market initiatives globally. As of today, Gupshup claims to be powering over 6 billion messages per month and its API technology enables over 100,000 developers and businesses to build messaging and conversational experiences.
Gupshup’s last funding round was in 2011 and the company claims to have exited 2020 with annual revenue run rate of approximately $150 million.
According to the team, this new funding will be followed by a second close with additional funds from more investors. That announcement will be made at a later date, though there is no clarity on the timeline as of now.
BYJU’S launches online live one-on-one learning platform ‘BYJU’S Future School’
Education technology company, BYJU’S, with 80 Million registered students on its flagship learning app, has announced the global launch of its 1:1 live online learning platform ‘BYJU’S Future School’. This builds on the success of its subsidiary WhiteHat Jr in India and select countries globally, who set new benchmarks in live online 1:1 learning.
At launch, BYJU’S Future School will offer Coding and Math with the aim of fostering engagement and personalized learning through a live 1:1 teaching experience.
New subjects such as Science, Music, English and Fine Arts are being currently developed based on the philosophy of making children creators, inspiring them to explore and make Mobile Apps, Websites, Games, Music, and Art. BYJU’S Future School will be available in the USA, UK, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico in May and will progressively expand to more geographies in the near future.
Powered by 11,000 qualified women teachers based in India engaging with students from English-speaking countries, BYJU’S Future School is further targeting to penetrate deeper into non-English speaking markets such as Mexico and Brazil. The coding curriculum will also be available in Spanish and Portuguese, besides onboarding qualified women teachers who engage with students in these two countries.
Karan Bajaj, Founder & CEO of subsidiary WhiteHat Jr, will spearhead BYJU’S Future School’s global expansion.
In Funding News,
Spinny raises $65 M in Series C round led by General Catalyst
Spinny, a full stack used car retailing platform in India, has announced the closure of its $65 Million Series C funding round from new and existing investors. The round was led by Silicon Valley based venture capital firm General Catalyst - early backers of Airbnb, Stripe, Snapchat, Vroom, Cazoo.
Other new investors in the round include Feroz Dewan’s Arena Holdings, and Think Investments. In addition to these, the round saw participation from existing investors Elevation Capital (the Fundamentum Partnership, and others. The additional funding takes the overall funds raised by Spinny till date to more than $120 million.
In August 2020, Spinny acquired Mumbai headquartered Truebil to solidify its position in the Indian used car market.
The newly raised capital will be deployed towards improving customer experience, expanding in new markets, strengthening technology and product capabilities, launching new business categories, and building teams across functions. A portion of the proceeds from the round will also be utilized to provide exits to few seed and preseed-stage investors of the company. raises $300K
Video communication workflows platform, has raised $300K as part of their Seed Round led by IvyCap Ventures Angel Fund. The funding round also saw the participation of Penthalon Ventures, ah! Ventures and’s existing investor SOSV. Besides, angel investors including Piyush Prahladka (ex-Google, ex-Uber), Gopi Vikranth (Associate Principal at ZS, ex-Mu-sigma) from the US have also participated.
The freshly infused funds will be utilized for accelerating product development, increasing the platform’s sales and marketing efforts to cater to more customers, and reaching product-market fit. has been helping startups deliver their services using video communication workflows across EdTech, Health Tech, HR Tech, and Events businesses. has also launched the mobile SDKs of its video communication workflow platform for Android, iOS, and React Native platforms. Startups can either embed the widgets or use the API or SDK to integrate customizable video communication experiences in their websites or apps.
Zerodha founder Nithin Kamath invested in digital lending platform Kudos
Digital lending infrastructure company Kudos has raised an undisclosed amount of Pre-Series A funding from top tier fintech founders and super angels. The stellar group of investors include Nithin Kamath of Zerodha, Nitin Gupta of UNI, Patanjali Somayaji of Walnut, Sumit Maniyar of Rupeek, Nischal Shetty of WazirX, Anish Achuthan of Open Banking, Ganesh Rao of NOCP & ex-Suryoday Microfinance, Amit Choudhary of DawaaDost & ex-Motilal Oswal, entire leadership team of One Card and Vaibhav Domkundwar of Better Capital who has been a strategic advisor to the company.
Kudos has built digital lending infrastructure that includes everything from capital, regulatory compliance, digital KYC, disbursements, collections, reconciliation and all other aspects that are required for frictionless digital lending. Kudos enables 100s of use cases and empowers its partners to create personalized lending solutions for their users with ease by using the Kudos lending APIs. Kudos has so far facilitated 2 million loans, disbursing INR 2000 crore to about 6,00,000 customers across 2,100 cities and by processing one loan every 4.5 seconds, Kudos has booked, processed and enabled 20k loans a day at its peak.
Digital Futurists Angels Network invests in Goseeko
Digital Futurists Angels Network (DFAN), a global, community-backed Angel network has invested in Edtech startup Goseeko Technologies, an Edu-tech platform that provides curated, affordable and best-in-class higher education study material as per university syllabus. Goseeko aims to make higher education accessible and convenient across Tier 2-4 cities and towns thereby helping students transition from academics to career.
DFAN is focused on nurturing tech-enabled businesses and is looking at investing about Rs 100 million plus in FY2122 across different sectors; AI Products, Health-tech, Retail-tech, Edtech, Media-tech, Agri-tech and Clean-tech. DFAN is backed by their parent Digital Futurists community of 1500+ Futuristic technology, business and consulting leaders and have recently concluded funding for chatbot startup Dheeyantra and grocery tech startup Gully Network besides Goseeko. The company is looking at concluding four more investments in this month thereby taking its total investments upto Rs 50 million.
Fintech platform Findeed raised seed round from Venture Highway & Anicut Angel fund
Findeed, a consumer focussed fintech company that envisions making financial services accessible to the underserved Indians through efficient usage of data, tech, and community partnerships to help achieve their financial goals of easy and quick access to credit for rainy day, has raised seed funding. This round is led by Venture Highway and Anicut Angel Fund with participation from First Cheque. The seed investment will be used to hire fresh talent across profiles to build a strong team and to fuel the business growth.
Founded in July 2019 by Srividhya Ramarathnam and Sriram Shankar, Findeed partners with employers, NGOs, and financial institutions to offer simple and fair collateral-free loans to help underserved customers meet their rainy day needs. It helps bridge the gap for the financially underserved customers, by using data and technology to harness the power of social collaboration/cooperation and strong sense of community bonding that exist in local communities.
Agriculture Insurance Company of India & Gramcover joins hands to enhance rural insurance penetration
The Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited has joined hands with Gramcover, a rural insurtech startup to collectively enhance rural insurance penetration. By utilising the expertise of Gramcover in rural insurtech space, this partnership aims to target 25 million farmers across the aspirational districts.
AICIL and Gramcover will work together on market research to identify and develop need-based rural insurance products to protect the livelihood of the farmers against all insurable risks, thereby extending comprehensive insurance coverage in rural parts of India.
Under this MoU, Gramcover will work on Market research and identification of widely grown crops and need-based rural insurance products. It will also work on the feasibility report to assess the suitability, requirement, and affordability of insurance products in each aspirational district. Gramcover will explore marketing and distribution channels in each aspirational district and Integration of underwriting process and claim settlement protocols i.e. from Market requirements to Issuance of Policies to Claim Settlement.
In Global News,
Apple to argue it faces competition in video game market in Epic lawsuit
Reuters reports - Apple Inc said it plans to argue that it faces abundant competition in the market for video game transactions to defend itself against antitrust allegations by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, the iPhone maker said on Thursday.
Epic sued Apple last year in federal court in California, alleging the 15% to 30% commissions that Apple charges for the use of its in-app payment systems and Apple’s longstanding practice of exercising control over which apps can be installed on its devices amount to anticompetitive behavior. The dispute arose after Epic tried to implement its own in-app payment system in the popular “Fortnite” game and Apple subsequently banned the game from its App Store.
US government, states ask judge to deny Facebook's request to dismiss lawsuits
According to Reuters, The Federal Trade Commission and a big group of US states asked a federal court on Wednesday to deny Facebook Inc’s request to dismiss major antitrust lawsuits filed against the social media giant in December.
The FTC, in its filing, said Facebook bought photo-sharing app Instagram because Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg believed it was “a large and viable competitor” and purchased the messaging app WhatsApp to neutralize a nascent threat. The FTC has asked the court to order Facebook to sell those assets.
The states, which had filed a separate antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, said in its filing: “Deploying a buy-or-bury scheme of predatory acquisitions and exclusionary conduct, Facebook successfully squashes, suppresses, and deters competition, entrenching its monopoly power to this day.”
Facebook had asked the court to dismiss the two lawsuits, alleging that they were brought “in the fraught environment of relentless criticism of Facebook for matters entirely unrelated to antitrust concerns.”
It also said that the states, in their case, failed to show that they were harmed by Facebook and that they waited too long.
The FTC and states accused Facebook of breaking antitrust law to keep smaller competitors at bay and snapping up rivals, like Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.
All told, the federal government and states filed five lawsuits against Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google last year following bipartisan outrage over use and misuse of social media clout both in the economy and the political sphere.
E-commerce firm StockX valued at $3.8 bn after new funding round
E-commerce firm StockX said on Thursday it had raised $255 million in a financing round, valuing the company at more than $3.8 billion, reports Reuters.
The all-cash offer was led by Altimeter Capital, with participation from existing investors and new institutional investor Dragoneer.
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