Ecommerce and edtech saw some fancy moves in India today. An online food restaurant also bagged funding, bucking the trend of all-news-is-bad-news in the on-demand food business. Here are the startups that hogged the headlines:
Indian shopping and epayments app Paytm has acquired online home services provider Near in a cash and stock deal estimated to be between US$1.5 million and US$2 million. This is its first acquisition since Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial committed US$680 million in funding to the Noida-based startup earlier this year.
Paytm has set its sights on India’s ecommerce market, which is currently dominated by the likes of Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon. It was founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma in 2010.
Near offers home services that can be ordered online. It is a good fit for Paytm as online-to-offline (O2) is one of its focus areas. "Local commerce has massive potential in India, and this acquisition will help us grow the business," said Kiran Vasireddy, senior vice-president and head of investments for Paytm.
Zenatix, an energy management startup, has raised an undisclosed sum in a pre-series A round from Blume Ventures. Zenatix provides an energy management product that helps building managers save more than 10 percent on their energy cost by using intelligence from real-time data.
Based on the internet-of-things, the company was founded two years ago by IIT-Delhi alumni Rahul Bhalla, Vishal Bansal, and Amarjeet Singh.
The funds will be used for product enhancement, expansion of operations, and strengthening technology, product and sales teams. The Gurgaon-based company operates in Delhi-NCR and also has some customers in Bangalore.
Vlurn, a platform for online courses, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Vidyadhar Sarfare, MD and CEO of Accord Group, the company announced today.
The funds will be used to boost its technical team, develop its mobile app, create studio infrastructure, and promote its courses. Vidyadhar said, "We backed Vlurn to focus on video-based training for top notch trainers in India."
Founded in 2014, Vlurn provides nearly 50 online courses in categories like finance, IT, arts and music, languages, and mathematics and science. It has around 2,000 registered users. "Vlurn wants to become the go-to place for anyone who wants to learn from the best trainers in India," co-founder Mithil Pawar said in a statement.
India is said to be the second largest market for online learning after the US.
On-demand food startup Faasos has raised US$30 million in a funding round led by Russian investment firm Ru-Net, the Economic Times reported today. Existing investors like Sequoia Capital and Lightbox Ventures also participated in the equity-led investment.
Faasos had earlier raised US$20 million in an equity and debt financing round led by Lightbox. With the latest investment, it is now valued at US$130 million to US$160 million, the report said.
Faasos claims to serve around 10,000 customers daily, with orders being placed through its app. It has bagged investment at a time when several startups in the food business in India have had to scale down or shut shop.
It was started in 2010 by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee in Pune, and has since expanded to Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, and other cities. Ru-Net, an inter-focused investor, has earlier put in money in India’s online marketplace Snapdeal.
Mobile-app Splitkart, which allows users to split bills through a mobile wallet, has snapped up an undisclosed amount in seed funding from GSF India founder Rajesh Sawhney, People Group CEO Anupam Mittal, and other angel investors, *VCCircle* reported today.
Dinesh Agarwal, CEO of IndiaMART, and Gaurav Gupta, managing director of Macquarie Capital India, also took part in the round.
The funds will be used for product development and team expansion. "There is a growing need for a product in India which caters to group payment scenarios without the inconvenience and social awkwardness of asking back for money," said Rajesh, founder of GSF India.
The startup was launched in June by Monojeet Sinha and Sharique Khan. Its mobile app allows users to split bills and plan group outings. It also enables users to discover deals in nearby restaurants and pubs.
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