What Did You Miss in the Start-up Ecosystem this Week?
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From foodtech races to Paytm announcing grand plans, here’s all you need to know about the Indian start-up ecosystem
The food aggregators in the country are at war and this war is now in open. India’s first foodtech unicorn Swiggy emerged as the undisputed player in the food market. Soon after, Zomato lifted its game and became more aggressive in the foodtech start-ups' race. Moreover, they had the support of SoftBank, one of the world’s most powerful investors. For an Indian start-up, to whom funding is such an important aspect, SoftBank might just add fuel to the fire blazing in the foodtech industry.
Reports are, however, rife that the Japanese conglomerate is reportedly looking to pump another $300-$500 million in Swiggy. While Swiggy is a clear winner in the foodtech race, Zomato’s potential cannot be under-estimated owing to its greater reach both in the national and international market.
Paytm All Set to Hit Another Milestone
Paytm is all set to hit another milestone. The digital payments company announced that it is looking to more than double its transaction volume to 12 billion by end of 2019-20, from 5.5 billion in 2018-19.
The digital payments company’s board seats are set to have a brand-new, grand addition. Todd Combs, investment manager at Warren Buffett’s US-based investment company Berkshire Hathaway, will be joining the board of directors.
Paytm this week is making waves for reasons more than just revenue related. Sonia Dhawan, the Paytm executive whose accusation sent shock waves throughout the country, recently joined social networking platform for women, Sheroes, as the director of corporate communications. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm founder, is an early investor in the company.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In mergers and acquisitions this week, Binny Bansal-backed startup Acko has acquired car retailing platform Vler.
E-commerce unicorn Flipkart, a Walmart-owned unit, forayed into mobile insurance through its partnership with Bajaj Allianz.
Flipkart’s Legal Spat with GOQii
E-commerce giants resorting to sharp discounting is now not an ignored activity. Flipkart’s legal spat with fitness brand start-up GOQii over deep discounting is a classic example which has put Walmart in a challenging spot. The intensifying battle which has won the support of small business traders now requires swift action on Flipkart’s part.
Indians entrepreneurs are becoming more and more daring, and a start-up like GOQii challenging a unicorn like Flipkart has definitely given some hope to people who are bare able to make it to the surface.
The Newly Formed Funder’s Forum
With more than 7,200 start-ups emerging in the Indian start-up ecosystem, the need for funding from domestic venture capitalists grows day-after-day. An initiative to encourage domestic investors make investments in the Indian start-up ecosystem has taken shape. A group of Indian early-to-mid-stage domestic venture capital firms (VCs) including Chiratae Ventures, Kae Capital, YourNest Venture Capital and Stellaris Venture Partners among others have come together to form a startup funding trust and advocacy platform called Funder’s Forum.
This forum will definitely tackle the increasing intervention from foreign shores and give foreign investors like Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, Falcon Edge Capital etc a competitive streak.
The week ended on a decent note when it comes to funding. 14 start-ups raised funding in various fields such as real estate, hyperlocal, fintech, etc. The noted ones include:
NoBroker raised $51 million in Series C funding led by General Atlantic. Milkbasket raised $10.5 million in a fresh round of funding led by Unilever Ventures. The funds will be used for expansion. Lending startup Avail Finance also got noted by the investors this week. In a bid to become a complete online banking solution for blue collar workers, the startup has raised $9 million from Matrix Partners. FabHotels has raised $7.8 million from existing investor Goldman Sachs along with marquee VC firms Qualcomm Ventures and Accel Partners India. Early-stage venture capital fund Artha Venture Fund closed INR 100 crore in the second round of its debut fund.