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Funding Roundup: Startups That Caught Investors' Eyes Recently Who said there was funding crunch?

By Ritu Kochar

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Raising funds at a time when startups are facing greater scrutiny over valuations is something of an achievement of its own. Let's find out which of these startups made it big and are flourishing despite the investment draught.

Romulus Capital Raises Funds

US-based early stage VC firm Romulus Capital have raised funding of $75 million making this the this and largest of them all. The funds were raised from investors in 15 countries, including royal families from the Middle East, conglomerates from Asia, and individuals with strong ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

A venture capital firm, Romulus Capital is based on the idea of investing in and building early-stage technology and science-enabled businesses. It was founded by Krishna K Gupta in 2008 during his undergrad at MIT. He was able to raise a modest sum of $850,000 to start the venture and then raised an additional $50 million and added Neil Chheda as an investor to the team in 2012.

With this investment, the firm is looking to target India and have already made their initial investment into pharmaceutical company, Vyome Biosciences. They will further look to invest money in technology-enabled startups in real-estate, healthcare and hospitality sector and refrain from investing in e-commerce and capital-intensive businesses. They plan to infuse anywhere from $100,00 to $500,000 in the seed stage into several machine-learning and artificial intelligence startups.

VCs love Uber

Securing funds from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, taxi aggregator Uber received some major funding on Wednesday, gaining a crucial partner in its expansion into the Middle East.

Uber has raised funds of $3.5 billion and is now valued at $62.5 billion, making it the most highly valued venture capital-backed company in the world, the firm said in a release. The firm means to use these funds to expand globally, including in the Middle East and North Africa, which the company sees as one of its fastest-growing regions.

"We appreciate the vote of confidence in our business as we continue to expand our global presence," Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick said in a statement. "Our experience in Saudi Arabia is a great example of how Uber can benefit riders, drivers and cities and we look forward to partnering to support their economic and social reforms."

Rumayyan said in a statement that the fund "is excited to have completed this important strategic investment with Uber, an extraordinary company with an inspiring mission."

"We've seen first-hand how this company has improved urban mobility around the world and we're looking forward to being part of that progress," he added.

BRIDGEi2i Gets Series A

Analytics solutions startup BRIDGEi2i has raised an undisclosed amount of secured Series A funding from Edelweiss Private Equity. Edelweiss Private Equity is the private equity and venture capital arm of Edelweiss Financial Services, a diversified financial services conglomerate.

Founded by former HP executive Prithvijit Roy, former Genpact executive Ashish Sharma and former GE Capital executive Pritam Kanti Pau in 2011, BRIDGEi2i offers analytics and decision support solutions across Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain, Pricing and Risk Management. The firm plans to use this investment to accelerate development.

"This investment will fuel our ability to deliver greater value to customers by enabling us to accelerate the development of our machine learning based business applications, along with a significant expansion of our consulting teams across India and the United States," Roy said.


Automobile transactional marketplace, Droom has announced the closing of its Series B funding in a round led by BEENEXT from Singapore and Digital Garage from Japan. A majority of existing investors are participating in the current round including Lightbox and BEENOS.

The fresh funds will be used to further strengthen the dominating position in the online market for automobiles in India, continue to make the platform more scalable and functionally rich, and expand internationally.

Celebrating this funding round, Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Droom, said, "We have been witnessing tremendous growth over the past 16 months in terms of adoption by sellers, number of categories and listings, geographical presence in 142 cities across in India, and GMV/transactions. Droom is permanently changing how automobiles should be bought and sold online by creating tools for 21st century for trust, transparency, pricing and convenience."

"We are very delighted that BEENEXT and Digital Garage have liked Droom journey so far and the future potential and decided to lead the round," he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Teruhide Sato, Founder and managing partner, BEENEXT said, "Droom has swiftly established its leadership position as the premium digital marketplace to buy and sell automobiles in India. Sandeep is an exceptional founder and his vision, grip on marketplaces and ability to drive innovations are second to none. We supported him and Droom fairly early on and have seen tremendous growth and disruption Droom has brought to the market."

Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.
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