Weekly News Roundup – Startups that raised funds globally

Some important developments in the startup space and major funding rounds this week are:

1.     Nazara Technologies Becomes the First Indian Gaming Company to File an IPO

India-based Nazara Technologies Ltd., a gaming platform backed by billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, became the first Indian gaming technology company to make a stock market entry, filing IPO documents with the Indian market regulators on 16 Jan 2021. Nazara Technologies develops mobile content such as games, multimedia, themes, and wallpapers. It has a presence in India and across 52 emerging and developed global markets in Africa, Latin America, North America and others. Nazara offers an interactive gaming, eSports and gamified early learning ecosystem and solutions for the development, deployment, targeting and tracking of promotional campaigns on mobile platforms.

2.     Amazon India Partners Up with Startup India to Launch Accelerator Programme

Amazon India announced a partnership with Startup India on 19 January, to launch an accelerator programme for early-stage startups in the consumer products industry to support them in selling their products in the international markets. This is an initiative under Amazon’s Global Selling Propel (AGSP), aimed at helping startups become global brands. Under the accelerator programme, startups will get an opportunity to pitch their business proposition to VC firms – Sequoia Capital India and Fireside Ventures. They will also get a chance to win a total equity-free grant of US$ 50,000 from Amazon.

Funding news of the week-

1.     US-based SOCi, an all-in-one marketing platform built for multi-location marketers raised US$ 80M in Series D round on 21 January 2021. The funding round was led by JMI Equity, along with participants including existing investors, Ankona Capital, and personal investments from SOCi’s CEO and co-founder Afif Khoury and Seismic co-founder and CEO Doug Winter. The funds will be utilized to accelerate growth, with investments in its sales and marketing teams, an aggressive line-up of product innovations, and strategic M&A activities.

2.     SD cards, raised US$7.5 million in Series A round on 19 January 2021. The funds raised by the startup to date stands at US$ 10.6M. The funding round was led by Owl Ventures, along with participants LocalGlobe and existing investors, TLcom Capital and Founder Collective. uLesson had raised a US$3.1 million seed round in November 2019. Tory Patterson, the managing director of Owl Ventures, will join the uLesson board, alongside TLcom partners, Omobola Johnson and Ido Sum.

3.     Shanghai-based esports and cultural media company, VSPN (Versus Programming Network) just obtained US$ 60 million in a Series B+ investment announced on January 21, 2021. The round was led by Prospect Avenue Capital (PAC), Nan Fung Group and Guotai Junan International. This investment came just three months after their previous round where they raised US$ 100 million in a Series B investment led by Tencent Holdings. VSPN plans to use the funds, among other things, to develop esports production technologies, create new esports content, increase its intellectual properties and facilitate the expansion of its esports services to countries in Asia and subsequently, the world. 

4.     India-based Ripplr, a full stack tech distribution and logistics company has raised US$ 3 million in its Series A round of funding on 20 January 2021. The funding round was led by Zephyr Peacock India Growth Fund with participation from Yukti which is the Chand Family Office and existing investors 3One4 Capital. Ripplr offers a technology platform for authorised dealers of large consumer brands. It allows them to track their business metrics, finance options, analytics and operational support. 

5.     London-based brand builder, Genflow, secured US $11 million in an investment led by UK investor, BGF (Business Growth Fund). This information was announced earlier today, January 21, 2021. The startup provides a mobile tech and e-commerce framework designed to help influencers launch their own companies. Genflow plans to harness the investment to further scale its offerings and facilitate international expansion. In essence, they believe this investment will bring them a step forward in delivering their services to the global market.

6.     Telangana, India based HR management start-up, Darwinbox raised USD 15 million capital led by Salesforce Ventures in series B round. The funds bring the total investment in the firm to USD 35 million and the revenues have grown by over 300% since the last round of funding.  The deal was finalized in the Series B funding round led by Salesforce Ventures and also included the participation of previous investors like Endiya Partners, Lightspeed India and 3one4 Capital.  The funds will be used to speed up the process of introduction of new, exciting and intimidating solutions and advance research and development to deploy deep technological facilities. The firm also focuses on developing a product which is in line with HR demands of midsize and business enterprise.

7. San Francisco based Electric vehicle charging start-up, Volta raised USD 125 million capital on 19th of January 2021 in a series D funding round led by Goldman Sachs as the lead financier to the company. With the recent financing, the company has now raised over USD 200 million. The organization claimed to finalise a deal of acquiring USD 125 million capital in the Series D round led by Goldman Sachs with the participation of other enterprises like Regency Centres, Giant Food, TopGolf and Wegmans. Volta is planning to utilize this capital to develop its infrastructure and expand its enterprise national as well as internationally.

8.     A Spanish chatbot builder, Landbot, has just obtained a series A investment fund totalling US$ 8 million led by Swanlaab (a Spanish-Israeli VC firm) in conjunction with CDTI (a Spanish innovation-driven public agency). This was announced on the 20th of January 2021. Previous investors Encomenda, Bankinter and Nauta Capital also contributed to the investment. The proceeds of the round are meant to be utilized in doubling Landbot’s team of 40 individuals currently. The startup plans to hire talents from sales, engineering and marketing backgrounds. 

9.     Singapore based start-up, Volopay raised USD 2.1 million on 18th of January 2021 in a seed funding round led by Justin Marteen (Founder of Tinder) to furnish startups and businesses in the Asian Pacific region with a compelling control centre for all their needs. The funding round was led by Justin Marteen. Other investors who participated were CP Ventures, Y Combinator, the founders of Razor pay, Venture Souq and Soma Capital among others. The capital would be utilized for product development, hiring, strategic partnerships and international expansion. The platform assists with money transfers, expense tracking, subscription management, business accounts and corporate cards. They are currently operating in Singapore and also plan to launch their enterprise in Australia later this month. The company presently has about 100 customers including Beam, Sensor flow, Medline and Smart Karma. 

10.  London-based mental health startup Spill, that provides remote mental health support for companies via Slack raised £ 2M on 18 January 2021. The funding round was led by Ada Ventures along with participants Francesca Warner, Seedcamp and the government’s Future Fund initiative. In 2019, Spill had raised £ 650K in pre-seed funding from Passion Capital. The funds raised by the company will be utilized to develop proactive tools that will help the company create a more psychologically considerate workplace. The company will also switch from treatment to prevention of mental health issues.

11.  MFine, A Bengaluru- based healthtech start-up raised 16 Million USD on 18th of January 2021 conducted by Heritas Capital. The fresh funds will go in scaling up the company and expand their footprints. The organization aims to utilise this funding to reinforce its rank in providing an AI-driven on-demand healthcare assistance pan India. They are also planning to become one of the largest virtual hospitals globally which provide primary as well as secondary care and chronic care management in association with its trusted companions.

12.  Australian digital management company, Agriwebb secured USD 30 million in series B funding round on 19th of January 2021, providing it with an estimation of around USD 100 million, and as this field scales up there are enormous opportunities for the Australian players. The capital was acquired in the Series B funding round which also includes the USD 10 billion Australian government-backed clean energy finance corporation which joins Agriwebb’s existing share registry which includes the wheatsheaf group, The Duke of Westminster’s Agtech investment fund and private financiers such as the CEO of the European meat processor, Dunbia. Agriwebb claims that the capital would be utilized to amplify efforts on customer service and existing products in Australia.

13.  Boston, US-based digital mortgage marketplace startup, Own Up raised US$ 12 million in a Series B funding round on 14 January 2021. The funding round was led by Brand Foundry Ventures. The total funding raised by the company to-date stands at US$ 24.2M. The funds raised will be utilized by Own Up to expand nationally. It is planning to expand to 15 new states in 2021, including California. Consumers already have access in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas.

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Komal writes about the startup ecosystem on VCBay. She is an Economics Hons. graduate from Miranda House, Delhi University, and is passionate about the world of entrepreneurship and finance.



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