You are currently viewing [Funding roundup] BlackSoil invests $80M across 20 deals; ORAI, YantraLive raise early-stage rounds

[Funding roundup] BlackSoil invests $80M across 20 deals; ORAI, YantraLive raise early-stage rounds

BlackSoil invests $80M across 20 deals in FY21; investments grew by 2.5x

In FY2021, BlackSoil has invested over $80 million across 20 transactions, a 2.5x and 1.8x growth in terms of value and volume of investments. BlackSoil has leveraged its credit appraisal approach and balance sheet strength coupled with pandemic provided tailwinds towards venture debt to achieve this growth.

BlackSoil’s exits also grew by 1.6x and 1.3x in terms of volume and value in FY2021 compared to FY2020, accounting for 24 exits. 

IIM Kozhikode’s business Incubator, Indian Bank to support early-stage startups

Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode’s business incubator Laboratory for Innovation Venturing and Entrepreneurship (LIVE) and Indian Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch a startup funding scheme, ‘IndSpring Board’ to support early-stage startups by providing loans up to Rs 50 crore.

The loan amount disbursed to startups under the IndSpring Board scheme from IIMK LIVE and Indian Bank is aimed at enabling startups to meet their operational and capital expenditure, which includes working capital, purchase of fixed assets, and other expenses.

Startups selected under this scheme would have to be committed to working on innovation, development or improvement of products or processes or services, or present a scalable business model with a high potential of employment generation or wealth creation.

ORAI Robotics raises Rs 6.5 Cr in Pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures

Conversational AI platform ORAI has raised Rs 6.5 crore in a Pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures, one of India’s largest angel investment platforms. The funds raised will be utilised to expand sales and marketing, capture larger markets, product development and enhancements, and focus on R&D.

Vinay Bansal, Founder and CEO, Inflection Point Ventures said, “AI-driven chatbot has witnessed an upsurge in demand as it helps business to grow and function holistically. Similarly, ORAI has evolved exponentially as a robust AI conversational platform catering to 14 sectors including healthcare, real estate, education, automobile among others.

ORAI is offering 100 percent automation powered by AI with all the advanced features in a single bot that does all the work related to customer support, customer outreach, customer engagement, marketing, sales support, and post-sales services. The platform has also introduced WhatsApp commerce, where automating business conversations over WhatsApp with the power of AI. 

(L-R): Swapnil Jain (CEO) and Sujit Das Biswas (CTO) of ORAI Robotics

PointOne Capital announces final close of its $7M pre-seed fund

Pre-seed focused VC fund PointOne Capital has announced the final close of its maiden Rs 50 crore fund. The final close comes within a year of its first close in December 2020. 

The fund, which primarily targets startups in the beta or pre-launch stage, has onboarded successful Silicon Valley and India-based entrepreneurs, CXOs, seasoned corporate and startup leaders, and mid-sized family offices as its LPs. 

Speaking about the close, Mihir Jha, Founding Partner of PointOne Capital, said, “We will continue on our philosophy of backing startups early with PointOne being an added hand in enabling them to evolve into future category leaders.”

Among the 30 investments that PointOne has made so far, 20 of them have been in 2021 with the ticket size of investments ranging from $100,000 to $150,000. Creator economy, gaming, SMB-focused SaaS products, enterprise SaaS, fintech, healthtech, and edtech have been the primary investment categories.

YantraLive raises $1M in seed round from GrowthStory, other angel investors

The B2B platform for heavy equipment and parts, YantraLive, today said that it has raised $1 million in a seed round from GrowthStory and other angel investors, including Bigbasket’s Vipul Parekh. The startup’s existing investors also participated in the round.

YantraLive said it will utilise the capital raised to upgrade its technology platform, launch new product categories as it aims to enhance its market penetration across India. The startup primarily caters to infrastructure firms, fleet owners, and servicing workshops spread across the country.

Ravi Anand Rao, Co-founder at YantraLive, said, “The heavy equipment market has hitherto been untouched by digital technologies and is ripe for disruption. YantraLive was born with this insight, and with a mission to eliminate downtime and idle time of heavy equipment through technology-led innovations. Today, we are thrilled to receive the backing of Vipul and GrowthStory as we get ready to scale YantraLive.”

Group Meeran invests Rs 4.5 Cr in ShipNext, the automated online logistics company

The end-to-end online logistics platform in the long haul segment, ShipNext Solutions, has raised Rs 4.5 crores in its Pre-Series A round. Kerala-based Group Meeran, a family investment office that manages the private investments of the Meeran family – the promoters of the Eastern Group of Companies, led the round. ShipNext has launched ‘WeTruck’ and ‘WeTruck Partner,’ India’s first mobile application for long-haul logistics customers and service providers.

ShipNext will allocate the funds raised towards technological advancements, data acquisition, expansion of its customer, partner base, and scaling up the business. Currently, ShipNext processes over 3,500 annual orders on average and plans to increase that to 50,000 orders in the next two years. ShipNext counts Abref, Reliance Instruments, Alpha Packing, Renaizands Industries, Eastea Chai, and Stockarea among its customers.

Commenting on the capital raise, Clive Jose, Founder, and CEO, ShipNext Solutions, said, “At ShipNext, technology is central to how we leverage data to balance demand and supply. In logistics, often, customers find it challenging to obtain the correct pricing for their shipment and have apprehensions regarding multiple touchpoints and lack of transparency.

Global product, engineering leaders invest in Clear

Global product and engineering leaders including Aparna Chennapragada, CPO of Robinhood; Surojit Chatterjee, CPO of Coinbase; and Balaji Srinivasan, ex-CTO, Coinbase have made an investment in the fintech SaaS company Clear (née ClearTax). The investment has been made by individual investors in their personal capacity.

“The investment comes as a significant endorsement for Clear and the transformation the company has undergone over the last year to expand into international markets. Their appreciation for what it takes to build a product with a global vision in markets which are dominated by legacy firms comes from their own experience of building fintechs for the world,” said Archit Gupta, CEO, Clear.

Last year Clear expanded its operations in Saudi Arabia with the launch of e-invoicing solutions and plans to enter other parts of the Middle East and Europe soon. Clear is a homegrown fintech SaaS leader for Indian businesses and has its eyes set on compliance products for the international segment.

Stride Ventures invests Rs 20 Cr in digital freight forwarding company, Wiz Freight

Wiz Freight, a full-stack digital freight forwarder offering door to door international freight solutions to importers and exporters, today received a funding of Rs 20 crore. With this, Strides Ventures has added another new-age startup to its already stellar portfolio and are the first venture debt lender to Wiz Freight.

The platform uses its proprietary technology platform to offer end-end shipment management solutions including price discovery, booking management, shipment tracking, documentation, shipment finance and customer support.

Ramkumar Govindarajan, Co-founder – Wiz Freight, said “Cross-border shipping has been the backbone of global trade and the last 2 years have seen unprecedented disruptions in the international supply chain driving prices and inventory shortages. We have been able to help our customers minimise disruptions with better visibility, planning and real-time shipment control using our tech platform. We have grown 25x in the last 12 months and have established a presence across 10 Indian cities. We are planning to invest in hiring, tech development and global expansion in 2022. We are happy to partner with Stride Ventures in this journey.”

Fitspire raises angel funding from HNI Investors

Delhi based health wellness brand ‘Fitspire – Aspire to Fitness’, which provides access to various health

wellness products in the nutritional side, has announced its second round of funding through various angels in India and abroad in an FDI round by Amit Jain, Group CEO – Global Equity London; Jay Zukani – Ban Labs; Mohak Goel of Sheel Oils; Simmarpal Singh; Narendar Pal Singh; Amit Hooja; and others.

According to Fitspire, the new funds will be used to expand online marketing, offline modern trades in India, and export to the West, especially the US Markets).

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