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Funding and acquisitions in Indian startups this week [18-23 Mar]

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This week, equivalent to 22 Indian startups raised $447.35 million in funding. These deals include nine growth-stage deals and 11 early-stage deals. Two startups kept their transaction details undisclosed.

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Last week, about 30 early and growth-stage startups collectively raised around $287 million, including four undisclosed deals.

[Growth-stage deals]

Among the growth-stage deals, nine startups raised $420.35 million in funding this week. Healthtech firm Engrail led the pack with $157 million in funding. Audio series platform Pocket FM, healthtech startup Ultrahuman, and content-to-commerce company The Good Glamm Group followed with $103 million, $35 million, and $30 million funding, respectively.

Further, data collaboration software provider Atlan, cloud kitchen startup Curefood, B2B marketplace and retail platform Jumbotail, NBFC operating in remote rural parts, Dvara KGFS, and coffee brand SubKo Coffee also raised funds this week.

[Early-stage deals]

As many as 11 early-stage startups scooped funding worth $27 million during the week. MSME-focused lending-tech startup Optimo Loan topped the list followed by gaming startup Liquidnitro, boutique hotels firm Brij Hotels, and climate tech platform Sprih.

The list further includes networking solution provider HCIN Network, AI music startup Beatoven.ai, B2B furniture cloud factory Relso, fintech firm Yenmo, and jewellery brand Jewelbox among others.

The list also includes two startups that kept the amount undisclosed. The startups are Droom and Dairy Day. For more information, visit TheKredible.

[City and segment-wise deals]

In terms of the city-wise number of funding deals, Bengaluru-based startups led with 14 deals followed by Delhi-NCR with 3 deals. Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad are next on the list.

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The complete breakdown of the city and segment can be found at TheKredible.

[Series-wise deals]

This week, seed funding deals are on the top spot with five deals. Four startups raised funding in Series B, followed by three pre-seed, three Series A, and two Series D deals.

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[Week-on-week funding trend]

On a weekly basis, startup funding grew 56% to $447.35 million across 22 deals. Last week, 30 startups raised around $287 million in funding.

The average funding in the last eight weeks stands at around $254 million with 26 deals per week.

[Mergers and Acquisitions]

The week witnessed only one acquisition deal. French influencer marketing firm YKONE acquired a 70% stake in Barcode, a content and influencer marketing agency for an undisclosed amount this week. 

[Fund launches]

The week witnessed three startup-focused fund launches.

American investment firm Alphatron Capital, which primarily makes limited partner-style bets on venture capital firms in India, has closed its maiden fund and received $30 million in commitments from its limited partners (LPs) for the fund. 

US-based multi-stage venture capital firm B Capital made the final close of its second opportunities fund with aggregate capital commitments of $750 million.

Cedar Capital, the fintech-focused venture capital arm of management consulting firm Cedar and fintech market intelligence platform IBS Intelligence, also marked the first close of its $30 million FinTech Venture Capital fund, raising capital in the range of Rs 50 to 75 crore.

[Shutdown and Layoff]

OKX, one of the largest crypto exchanges in terms of trading volume, is shutting down its services in India. Citing local regulatory hurdles, the Seychelles-headquartered exchange notified its users in the country to close their accounts and redeem funds before April 30.

Prosus-backed virtual events platform Airmeet laid off around 20% of its entire workforce earlier this week, as part of its second restructuring exercise within a year, people aware of the matter informed Inc42 on the condition of anonymity.

Visit TheKredible to see series-wise deals and amount breakup, complete details of fund launches, and more insights.

[New launches]

▪️ PB Fintech plans to incorporate a subsidiary to enter the PA biz

[Financial results this week]

▪️ EV startup BattRE’s revenue dips to Rs 87 Cr in FY23; profit tanks too

▪️ Advantage Club crosses Rs 300 Cr revenue in FY23; profitability in sight

▪️ ZingHR posts Rs 84 Cr revenue in FY23; losses surge 84%

▪️ BetterPlace crossed Rs 500 Cr revenue in FY23; losses grew 47%

▪️ Eupheus Learning reports Rs 99 Cr revenue in FY23; improves economics

▪️ Safegold gross revenue nears Rs 5,000 Cr in FY23; turns profitable

[News flash this week]

▪️ Builder.ai Co-founders booked by ED in two criminal cases

▪️ MIB warned influencers on promoting offshore online betting and gambling platforms 

▪️ Zomato gets GST penalty notice from Gujarat’s Deputy Commissioner Of State Tax

[Conclusion]

After the stagnant funding in the past few weeks, the weekly funding grew 57% and crossed $450 million. In a positive development, this week again three VC firms launched startup-focused funds to support Indian entrepreneurs. While the layoffs and shutdowns reappeared this week as crypto exchange OKX is shutting down its services in India and virtual events platform Airmeet laid off around 20% of its entire workforce.

Co-founders of AI-focused startup Builder.ai have reportedly been booked by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with two separate criminal cases. Sachin Dev Duggal is named as a suspect in an alleged money laundering case, while Saurabh Dhoot is linked to an alleged loan fraud case. Duggal’s involvement stems from the ED’s money laundering probe into the now-bankrupt electronics giant Videocon. The agency issued a summons to Duggal in 2022 to appear as a witness in the probe into alleged “unexplained transactions” between his company (not Builder.ai) and Videocon.

Moreover, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting advised endorsers and influencers on social media to refrain from promoting or advertising offshore online betting and gambling platforms. The ministry also directed online advertisement intermediaries not to target such promotional content towards the Indian audience. Failure to comply may lead to proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, including removal or disabling of social media posts or accounts and penal action under applicable statutes.

Additionally, foodtech major Zomato has received a GST penalty notice from Gujarat’s Deputy Commissioner of State Tax for fiscal 2018-19. Zomato has been asked to pay Rs 4.11 crore for GST, along with additional interest and penalty charges totaling Rs 8.57 crore following an audit of its GST returns and accounts.

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