#Startupwrap: SoftBank's 2.0 Version of Vision Fund & This SaaS Unicorn Might be Heading Towards an IPO
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With half of the year over and the second half of 2019 rolling out, the start-up ecosystem looks nothing but an exciting bubble of business possibilities and growth.
Cars24 Receives NBFC License
From weathering storms of shutdowns to acquiring an NBFC license, the road for this start-up has been quite an interesting one. Amidst rumours of trouble, Cars24 had a major breakthrough after acquiring a non-financing banking license (NBFC) from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), to advance its consumer lending arm- newly called Cars24 Financial Services. This initiative will help the auto tech platform to accelerate its financial services, beginning from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore in August 2019 and eventually scale up in other cities.
Freshworks Heading towards an IPO?
Indian SaaS unicorn Freshworks might be heading towards an IPO as early as 2021 if media reports are to be believed. According to media reports, the SaaS company is all set for its initial public offering (IPO) and will be taking the route of America’s tech exchange body NASDAQ for its listing. Apparently, CEO and co-founder, Girish Mathrubootham has shifted base to the California-based headquarters ahead of the supposed IPO which will remain his main base while coordinating with offices in Berlin, India etc.
Turakhia May Claim the Unicorn Throne Soon?
Billionaire brothers Divyank and Bhavin Turakhia are not new to the world. Zeta, founded by Bhavin Turakhia, is a Bengaluru-based fintech company which recently announced that it has raised Series C round of funding from Sodexo Benefits and Rewards and now the valuation of the company has been pushed to $300 million. It is only a matter of time that the business protégée will claim the unicorn throne. With this round, Sodexo acquires a minority stake in the fintech platform.
SoftBank’s 2.0 Vision Fund
In a major turn of events, SoftBank introduced its 2.0 version of the Vision Fund which aims to raise $108 bn. $38 bn will be invested by SoftBank itself and the rest will come from its more than a dozen investors including Apple, Microsoft, Kazakhstan’s sovereign-wealth fund and many more. The Masayoshi Son-led Japanese conglomerate has taken the start-up world by storm. It has also been critiqued for the enormous capital it has been lending to start-ups and acquiring a majority stake in the bargain. Whether start-ups need that much of capital in the first place and what kind of control it will establish in the companies it is investing remains the sole source of worry for some of the start-up entrepreneurs.
Vision Fund II, as it being called, is definitely the investment body to watch out for. Unlike the Vision Fund, version 2.0 will not have the backing of the Arabs.
Mergers, Acquisitions and Partnerships
Conversational AI platform Haptik which hit headlines after getting acquired by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group, recently acqui-hired Los Angeles-based start-up, Convrg, that develops chatbots. This move will help the Indian platform to improve its technological arm, increase customer engagement and expand its reach.
This month saw numerous start-ups raising funds. Although there weren’t big numbers in the list and most of the funding amount went undisclosed, the Indian start-up ecosystem saw a fintech start-up coming closer to the unicorn status. Bhavin Turakhia founded, Zeta, raised funding at a valuation of $300 million. Some notable funding from the week included:
Debt funding seems to be the flavor of the month when it comes to raising capital and fintech platforms have definitely caught the fancy of investors.
Fintech unicorn Paytm raised an undisclosed amount in Series D round of funding.
Electronics company boat raised $2 mn in a debt funding round from InnoVen Capital. Indian unicorn Quickr also raised $2.9 million from debt funding.
Delhi-based and Mumbai-based fintech platforms Suvidha ($2.3 mn) and Kissht ($7 mn) also raised capital via debt funding.
Lastly, Palo Alto and Mumbai based fintech firm Drip Capital has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Accel with participation from existing investors Sequoia India, Wing VC, and Y Combinator.
Bengaluru-based gaming start-up, Playshifu, raised $7 Mn Series A round of funding.
Delhi-based start-up, Winzo Games, raised $5 Mn.
E-commerce start-up, Snapdeal, raised an undisclosed round of funding from Piramal Group scion, Anand Piramal.
Robotics start-up Emotix raised $ 2.69 mn.
Online insurance brokerage firm, Coverfox, raised $5.89 mn.
Delhi-based EV start-up, SmartE, raised $14.5 mn in Series B round of funding.