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Indian Startups Secure Over $387 Million in a Week Amid High-Profile Deals and Fund Launches

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In an eventful week for the Indian startup ecosystem, 39 startups collectively raised approximately $387.23 million. This includes 13 growth-stage deals and 20 early-stage deals, with six early-stage startups choosing to keep their transaction details under wraps. Compared to the previous week, which saw $444 million raised by 24 startups, this marks a slight decline in overall funding but highlights the ongoing robust investment activity.

Growth-Stage Deals Dominate with $309.7 Million Raised

Growth-stage startups attracted a significant portion of this week’s funding, raising $309.7 million. Leading the pack was SEDEMAC, a manufacturer of auto parts and powertrain controls, which secured $100 million in a mix of secondary and primary funding. Infra Market, a B2B and retail outlets (D2R) firm in the construction material sector, followed with $50 million. Electric vehicle company Ather Energy raised $34.5 million through a combination of debt and equity.

Other notable mentions include commercial electric vehicle manufacturer Euler Motors, building materials firm RDC Concrete, pharmaceutical product development company Orbicular Pharmaceutical, and B2B delivery and shared mobility startup Zypp Electric.

Early-Stage Deals Bring in $77.53 Million

Early-stage startups also made significant strides, collectively securing $77.53 million. Leading the early-stage deals was D2C sports apparel maker Technosport, followed by fast fashion omnichannel ethnic wear brand Libas, digital lending and card management platform Vegapay, commercial EV distribution and financing platform Turno, and robot automation solutions provider DiFACTO.

Six startups chose not to disclose their funding amounts: Yali Aerospace, Solinas, TechEagle, Aprecomm, Devigere, and Kidbea.

City and Segment-Wise Distribution

Bengaluru continued to lead the charge with 15 deals, followed by Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur, and Thanjavur. Segment-wise, e-commerce, fintech, and EV startups were at the forefront, securing nine, six, and five deals respectively. These were followed by foodtech, SaaS, agritech, cleantech, and dronetech startups.

Series-Wise Funding Breakdown

Seed funding deals were the most prevalent, with eight deals, followed by seven Series A and six Pre-Seed deals. Pre-Series A and Series B startups secured five and three deals respectively, while debt, Series C, and Series B were next on the list.

Week-on-Week Funding Trend

Despite the vibrant activity, there was a 13% decrease in startup funding this week, down to $387 million from the previous week’s $444 million. Over the past eight weeks, the average funding has hovered around $289 million with about 28 deals per week.

Key Hirings and Departures

Notable hirings included Vikaram Agarwal as COO at InCred, Varun Khare as COO at Paytm Insider, and Anil Mehta as Independent Director at Yubi (CredAvenue). Puneet Kumar joined Nexus Venture Partners as a venture partner. In departures, Cashaa Founder Kumar Gaurav stepped down as CEO, and Paytm’s CHRO Swati Rustagi reportedly left to join Adobe.

Fund Launches

The week saw seven new fund launches, including a Rs 4,000 crore Secondaries Fund by 360 ONE Asset and a Rs 3,000 crore fund by Avendus for investments in financial services, technology, and healthcare. Sorin Investments closed its maiden fund at Rs 1,350 crore, focusing on tech. RPSG Capital Ventures and Sauce VC raised Rs 550 crore and Rs 250 crore respectively for early-stage consumer ventures. Holani Consultants marked the first close of its maiden venture capital fund at Rs 184 crore. The Massive Earth Foundation, in collaboration with UNEP, launched the fourth edition of the Low Carbon Earth Accelerator program.

Mergers & Acquisitions

BharatX, a Y Combinator-backed BNPL fintech startup, acquired Zenifi, a healthcare finance startup offering zero-cost and low-cost EMI solutions. Honasa Consumer Ltd, parent company of Mamaearth, The Derma Co, and BBLUNT, acquired the assets of skincare company CosmoGenesis Labs. Times Network expanded its digital publishing portfolio by acquiring Digit.in from 9.9 Group.

ESOP Buyback

Enterprise SaaS firm AiDash launched its first Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) buyback program after raising $58.5 million in Series C funding. This buyback is aimed at full-time employees with over three years of tenure, allowing them to capitalize on their vested shares.

Potential Market Moves

Atlys, an online visa application platform, is in early discussions to raise $15-18 million in a Series B round. Meanwhile, healthtech startup Medibuddy is raising $8.4 million in debt funding from investors like Innoven Capital and Alteria Capital. Amazon is reportedly close to acquiring MX Player from Times Internet, marking a renewed attempt after previous talks fell through.

New Launches

This week also saw several notable product launches. Flipkart-owned Shopsy entered the kids’ market, Razorpay introduced ‘Q-Zap’ to streamline billing at offline stores, and BluSmart launched an app to help users locate nearby EV charging stations.

Financial Results

Key financial results included Vedantu’s Rs 153 crore revenue for FY23 with a 46% reduction in losses, Oxyzo’s Rs 903 crore revenue and Rs 291 crore PAT for FY24, Travel Boutique Online’s PAT exceeding Rs 200 crore for FY24, and Oziva’s flat growth under Hindustan Unilever in FY24.

News Highlights

Karnataka High Court upheld a 5% service charge cap on app-based autos, BharatPe and PhonePe settled trademark disputes over the ‘Pe’ suffix, Zomato revived its lending business, and Proptech firm Awfis’ stock listed at a 14% premium. PhonePe ventured into secured lending, partnering with banks and NBFCs.

Conclusion

This week, the Indian startup ecosystem saw robust funding activity, strategic mergers and acquisitions, significant fund launches, and key new product launches. As we move forward, the question remains: How will these developments shape the future of the Indian startup landscape? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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AI News Reader Particle Secures $10.9M Funding and Partners with Reuters to Revolutionize Journalism

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AI-driven news reader startup, Particle, is shaking up the industry with $10.9 million in Series A funding and a groundbreaking partnership with Reuters.

Navigating the AI Era of Journalism

Amidst the turmoil of newsroom layoffs and declining traffic, Particle, founded by former Twitter engineers, aims to redefine how we consume news. Utilizing AI technology, Particle offers a news-reading app that provides comprehensive summaries from diverse sources, ensuring readers understand all angles of a story.

Strategic Partnerships and Funding

Particle’s collaboration with Reuters marks a significant step forward. By subscribing to Reuters’ newswire, Particle is poised to deliver accurate and up-to-date news summaries. The recent $10.9 million Series A funding round, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and joined by Axel Springer, highlights the confidence investors have in Particle’s vision.

Key Figures and Investors

Notable investors include Michael Mignano from Lightspeed, who joins Particle’s board, and angel investors like Jason Goldman, Vijaya Gadde, and Ev Williams. This funding follows a previous $4.4 million seed round, further solidifying Particle’s financial foundation.

Innovative Approach to News Consumption

Unlike traditional news apps, Particle’s approach focuses on the entire story rather than individual articles. This method allows users to see multiple perspectives, reducing the risk of filter bubbles and providing a more holistic view of current events. AI technologies, including GPT-4, power Particle’s summarization process, ensuring readers receive concise and diverse viewpoints.

Balancing Innovation with Publisher Needs

Particle is committed to working alongside publishers to develop sustainable business models. By involving publishers in the development process, Particle aims to create mutually beneficial solutions that support both news consumers and content creators.

Challenges and Comparisons

Previous attempts to revolutionize news consumption, such as Post News and SmartNews, faced significant challenges. However, Particle’s unique approach and strong backing suggest a promising future. The startup’s focus on collaboration and innovation sets it apart from its predecessors.

Future Prospects and Expansion

Currently in private beta testing on iOS’s TestFlight, Particle plans to expand to web and Android platforms. The startup is also hiring for key roles, including back-end engineers and media partnerships leads, to support its growth.

What do you think about Particle’s innovative approach to news consumption? How do you see AI impacting the future of journalism? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

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Stocks on the Rise: Key Players to Watch – IndiGo, RVNL, Tata Motors, Vodafone Idea, IRB Infrastructure, Jubilant Foodworks

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Interglobe Aviation (IndiGo)

Interglobe Enterprises, led by Rahul Bhatia, is set to sell a $394 million stake in IndiGo’s parent company, Interglobe Aviation. This marks a significant move as Bhatia plans to offload around 2% of his 37.75% stake in the company through a block deal. This strategic decision aims to unlock value for the first time in many years.

Vodafone Idea

Struggling with debt, Vodafone Idea has scheduled a board meeting for June 13 to discuss issuing equity shares or convertible securities on a preferential basis to vendors. The company continues to report widening losses alongside a marginal increase in annual revenue.

Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL)

RVNL has been selected as the lowest bidder by Central Railway for a project in the Amla-Nagpur Section. Additionally, a consortium of Siemens and RVNL secured a ₹394 crore contract from Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRC) for engineering and commissioning various systems, to be completed within 130 weeks.

Transformers and Rectifiers India

The company is set to raise funds through a qualified institutional placement at a floor price of ₹699.95 per share, aiming to bolster its financial position and drive growth.

Tata Motors

Tata Motors is offering substantial savings on popular models such as the Tiago, Altroz, Nexon, Harrier, and Safari, with discounts reaching up to ₹55,000 on select MY2024 units. This move is part of their strategy to boost sales and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

IRB Infrastructure Developers

Cintra, a subsidiary of the Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, plans to sell up to a 5% stake in IRB Infrastructure Developers via a block deal, priced between ₹63-70.16 per share. This represents a potential 10.2% discount to the last closing price, with the transaction size estimated at ₹1,900.3 crore at the lower end.

Power Grid Corporation

Power Grid Corp. successfully implemented the ‘Reliable Communication Scheme under Central Sector for Northern Region’ from April 1, enhancing its operational efficiency and communication capabilities.

Jubilant Foodworks

As the master franchise operator for Dominos in India, Jubilant Foodworks plans to double its outlets to 4,000 within the next four years. The company is targeting around 200 new stores annually to achieve this ambitious goal.

Suzlon Energy

Following the resignation of independent director Marc Desaedeleer, Suzlon Energy clarified there are no financial irregularities or compliance violations within the company. Desaedeleer’s resignation had raised concerns about corporate governance issues.

Bank of India

Bank of India has acquired a 6.125% stake in Clearing Corporation of India Ltd. (CCIL) IFSC, investing ₹6.125 crore. This acquisition underscores the bank’s commitment to supporting the growth of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in GIFT City.

Havells India

Havells India has partnered with UAE-based Jumbo Group to enter the kitchen appliances market. This strategic move will see their products available on Jumbo’s e-commerce platform and retail stores.

Infosys

Infosys has partnered with GitHub, a Microsoft-owned platform, to launch the first GitHub Center of Excellence (CoE). This collaboration aims to accelerate software production by partnering with Global System Integrators (GSIs).

NLC India

NLCIL’s board has approved plans to raise up to $600 million through External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) and has granted approval for an investment of up to ₹994.50 crore in its wholly-owned subsidiary, NLC India Renewables, to meet business requirements.

What do you think about the strategic moves by these companies? Do you foresee significant impacts on their stock prices? Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments below!

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Byju’s Valued at $22 Billion Now Worth Nothing: The Stunning Fall of India’s Edtech Giant

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byjus

In an astonishing turn of events, Byju’s, once celebrated as India’s most valuable startup with a valuation of $22 billion, is now deemed worthless according to a recent research note by HSBC. This dramatic decline marks one of the most shocking downturns in the startup world, casting a shadow over the future of the edtech industry.

HSBC’s Zero Valuation: The Breaking Point

HSBC’s research note assigned a zero value to the nearly 10 percent stake held by investment company Prosus, valued at approximately $500 million. The note highlighted multiple legal challenges and a severe funding crunch as primary reasons for this drastic reassessment.

Previously, HSBC valued the stake with an 80 percent discount to the latest publicly disclosed valuation. However, the mounting legal battles and financial struggles have led to a complete write-down. “Byju’s is facing multiple headwinds. We and other shareholders are working every day to improve the situation. We are in close discussions with the company every day,” a senior Prosus executive commented.

A Rapid Descent from Grace

The downfall of Byju’s has been swift and brutal. In early 2022, the company was gearing up to go public through a SPAC deal that could have valued it at up to $40 billion. However, the dream quickly turned into a nightmare. In January 2023, US-based investment firm BlackRock slashed the value of its holding in Byju’s from $22 billion to a mere $1 billion. BlackRock’s stake in the company is less than 1 percent.

Legal Troubles and Financial Instability

Adding to the woes, a group of lenders recently petitioned against Byju’s US subsidiary’s new entities in a US court, alleging non-payment of debts. This legal trouble has only exacerbated the company’s financial instability.

Byju’s rapid ascent and even faster descent serve as a cautionary tale in the startup ecosystem. The company’s inability to manage its finances and legal issues has led to a complete erosion of its market value, leaving employees and investors in a state of uncertainty.

The Rise and Fall of an Edtech Giant

The once-thriving edtech firm, founded by Byju Raveendran, revolutionized online education in India, becoming a household name. However, its recent troubles underscore the volatility and risks associated with high-growth startups. As Byju’s navigates through these turbulent times, the entire startup community watches closely, hoping for a turnaround but bracing for more fallout.

What do you think went wrong for BYJUS?? Also, will other edtech companies also fail like BYJUS? WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS???

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