The Week that Was for India's Venture Capital Scene
Updated: Sep 3, 2019
It's hardly a secret that the #Indianeconomy is reeling from its most recent nosedive. Even though it is nowhere close to being wheeled into the ICU, YET, I am guessing it wouldn't be that bad an idea to book a hospital wing already! With the economy barely responding to the FM's half-hearted attempt at a CPR, you would expect all the #investors to have fled the country, or at least, packing their bags to get the next flight out. After all, who would want to shell out cash in an economy where the rupee is becoming less valuable every day, right? Wrong!
It seems that the #venturecapital scene in the country has managed to find solace in some good ol' comfort food in these tough times. If top trends in the past week are anything to go by, investors today are increasingly counting on the ubiquitous Indian love of food, topped with a healthy dose of well, health and wellness.
Food tech is heating up, and how!
Earlier this month, the space welcomed its newest entrant Amazon, and now with the spate of food tech funding rounds yielding delicious results, it seems that a big-ticket entry with a side of startup funding, is just what the doctor ordered!
Lo! Foods, the low-carb food company, went home with a hefty cheque this week, having bagged a total of 3.5 crore rupees from several angel investors.
Sure, the rupee's value is falling steadily but that's still a lot of money! Plus, since the government has recently done away with the #angeltax provision, Lo! Foods can possibly enjoy its funding with fewer furrowed brows being sighted in future company meetings. FreshMenu founder Rashmi Daga was a major investor in this round. Clearly, even existing food tech players have not had their fill from the overflowing buffet of opportunities yet, and there is still enough room for dessert. Others digging into the spread included Myntra co-founder Ravin Sastry and BookmyShow finance honcho Mitesh Shah.
FreshtoHome, a firm that delivers fresh produce and raw food like fish and meat to Indian doorsteps, also cooked up quite a storm in its Series B funding round, just three months after its Series A round took place. If you thought Lo! Foods had taken home a lot of money, well then think again.
FreshtoHome managed to bag a whopping 143.3 crore rupees in funding, with the round being led by Iron Pillar.
Iron Pillar may be new to the space but with its very first foray into food tech being such a head-turner, it is seemingly on a straight road to success. Meanwhile, FreshtoHome's triumph resonates with every Indian foodie who has grown up on a steady diet of home-cooked meals because everyone knows that even the tastiest takeaway can't beat what your mother can whip up with some fresh food at hand.
Foreign players are betting on fintech
The only other space that gave food tech a run for its money in the week gone by, was fintech. While Indians may be caught up on their love for food, players from abroad are focusing on fintech, a space that has steadily grown in the global stage in the last few years. Far too many investors today believe that fintech is the future of money and most rich list mainstays will back up that claim (even when they diss Bitcoin, which is only one side to this gargantuan realm of possibilities).
A couple of big names in India's fintech field raked in major investments from a number of large VC firms, including those from overseas.
BharatPe received 358.5 crores in funding from the likes of Ribbit Capital, Steadview Capital and Sequoia Capital.
The company behind the app, which provides payment utility services to offline retailers, is planning to take its services, especially its lending deals, to millions of more retailers ASAP, and having that much money in the bank is sure to make that task a lot easier for them.
While all of these may sound like crazily successful startup outings in the Shark Tank of real life, Kunal Shah's (of Freecharge fame) credit card bill payment and reward app
Cred trumped them all by bagging a total of $120 million from VC firms like Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global, RTP Global and Sequoia Capital.
If you are wondering why we didn't bother telling you how many crores that translates to in Indian rupees, that's because we didn't want your head to spin too fast too soon.
Google the exchange rate and calculate at your own risk!
The week's major eyeball grabbers also included Rapido clinching deals with WestBridge Capital and other investors, leading the bike pooling startup to get richer by another 390+ crores.
Edtech startup Vedantu also made as much as 300 crores in its latest funding round, with Tiger Global and WestBridge Capital pitching in alongside others in the Series C round.
To sum up, venture capitalists this week made forays into most major essentials of modern day living: food, finance, travel and education.
Too bad there isn't a startup for universally available WiFi to fund yet; we bet that "essential" would outshine all of them all too easily!