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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 Megha Vishwanath   IST (Published)


    Here's a wrap of the top startup stories today (February 11).

    Here's a wrap of the top startup stories today (February 11).
    BharatPe raises $ 108 million in Series D at a valuation of $ 900 million
    BharatPe, a financial services company for merchants, announced that it has raised $ 108 million in Series D equity round, at a valuation of $ 900 million. The company further shared that it has raised $ 90 million in primary fund raise and also ensured secondary exit for its angel investors and employees for a total amount of $ 18 million. The round was led by the company’s existing investor Coatue Management. All 7 existing institutional investors participated in the round - Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo and Sequoia Capital. With this round, the company has raised a total of $ 268 million in equity and debt till date.
    Ashneer Grover, co-founder and CEO, BharatPe, said "We at BharatPe have grown exponentially - our payments business has grown 5x and our lending business has grown 10x in the last 12 months. This growth reiterates the trust that the small merchants and kirana store owners have showed in us. This is just the beginning of our journey and we are committed to build India’s largest B2B financial services company that can serve as one-stop destination for small merchants. For BharatPe, merchants will always be at the core of everything we build."
    Last month, the company announced that it had raised Rs. 249 crore ($ 35 million) in debt from all 3 renowned venture debt providers – Alteria Capital, InnoVen Capital and Trifecta Capital - in the largest single raise. BharatPe raised Rs 50 crore in debt from Trifecta Capital, Rs 90 crore in debt from Alteria Capital, Rs 60 crore from InnoVen Capital, and Rs. 49 crore from ICICI Bank.
    On-demand tutor app Filo raises $260K Pre-seed round from Better Capital
    Instant tutor app Filo has raised $260K as part of its pre-seed investment round from Better Capital and the startup plans to use the funding to scale its service to millions of students and significantly grow its tutor base. Filo was founded in October 2020 by school friends Imbesat Ahmad and Shadman Anwer, who were part of Super 30 and went on to study at IIT Kharagpur and IIT Delhi respectively - they understood the power of democratizing access to good tutors & led to the founding of Filo.
    Since inception, Filo claims to have delivered more than 1.5 million minutes of sessions for 35,000+ students who discovered Filo via word-of-mouth and continued to use it multiple times. Filo is currently available on Android. iOS and web version are coming soon.
    Indian entrepreneurs invest in homegrown micro-blogging app Koo
    A set of Indian entrepreneurs are seen to be investing in Koo with Ashish Hemrajani from BookMyShow, Vivekananda from Bounce, Nikhil Kamat of Zerodha amongst various others entering the cap table of the company. In an official statement the company said, “Koo is a fully Aatmanirbhar app with Indian founders and India registration.”
    Last week, the company announced it has raised $4.1 million in from the likes of Accel, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures and 3one4 Capital. Chinese Investor Shunwei Capital had invested in Bombinate Technologies, the company which runs Koo and vernacular Q&A platform Vokal, in 2018. Co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna told CNBC-TV18, "Shunwei had invested in the earlier brand Vokal. We have pivoted our business and focused on Koo, they are on their way out. They are being bought out by other people.”
    Koo has emerged as the poster boy of ‘Atmanirbhar’ and ‘Made in India’ apps, with several Indian government officials such as Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Ravi Shankar Prasad setting up accounts on the platform in the midst of the government’s standoff with Twitter.
    Twitter downloads in India see uptick despite standoff with government
    Even as Twitter has been in a stand-off with the government over the past few weeks on its decision to not follow all blocking orders issues by the Indian authorities, there doesn’t seem to have been an impact on the downloads of the app in India. In fact as per data from Sensor Tower, there was an uptick in the downloads in the period between February 1-9, the exact period when the current standoff escalated, with Twitter seeing 8 lakh downloads, compared to 5 lakh downloads in the nine days prior period (Jan 23-31).
    This despite several top union ministers, led by Piyush Goyal, promoting homegrown microblogging platform Koo, which is designed similar to Twitter but is also available in several regional languages. It is not clear how many app uninstalls Twitter saw over the past few weeks, and Sensor Tower said they were unable to share uninstall data. The tussle between Twitter and the Indian government has intensified over the last ten days. According to data Analytics platform Statista, Twitter has 17.5 million users in India as of January 2021. However, Senor Tower says that Twitter has seen 90 million downloads over the past seven years in India.
    Prestige Group, Awfis partner to set up six new co-working centres
    Real estate developer Prestige Group has announced a partnership with co-working company Awfis, to add six new centres to its property portfolio. Through this collaboration, Awfis will offer over two lakh sq. feet of Grade-A flex office spaces within Prestige Group's commercial properties in Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad covering a total capacity of over 4,000 seats. This will be revenue sharing strategic alliance. The spaces being transacted are a combination of first generation and second-generation spaces. Of the six centres, four are located in Bangalore’s prime commercial locations namely; Koramangala, Outer Ring Road and two in Whitefield, and the other two centres in Guindy, Chennai and Begumpet, Hyderabad respectively.
    Amit Ramani, CEO and Founder, Awfis said, " Over the past few months, we are witnessing large corporates and MNCs turning towards a hybrid model and witnessing the merit in partnering with co-working spaces for the same. We are well equipped to meet this shift in preference towards the distributed workspace concept through our modern state of the art centres."
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