Author: Janice

Pristyn Care, an Indian healthtech startup, has achieved unicorn status after $85m fundraise

The Gurugram-based healthcare startup has entered the unicorn club after raising about $85 million (Rs 641 crore) in a Series E funding round led by venture capital Sequoia Capital.

Tiger Global Management, Hummingbird Ventures, Epiq Capital, QED, and Amber Winter were among the many investors that participated in the round.

Pristyn Care has issued 1266 Series E compulsory convertible preference shares at a face value of Rs50 and a premium of Rs 5,019,030 per share to raise Rs 635.41 crore, Entrackr reported citing the company’s latest filings. The company also approved the issuance of 105 equity shares to raise Rs 5.27 crore.

Rs 223.85 crore was contributed to the round by Sequoia Capital followed by Tiger Global, which invested about Rs 150 crore. Amber winter Ltd and Hummingbird Opportunity Fund contributed Rs 111.92 crore and Rs 59.73 crore respectively, while Trifecta and Dream Duo LLP put in Rs 37.64 crore each.

The funds were raised at a post-money valuation of $1.3 billion.

Pristyn Care’s valuation touched $550 million after it raised $53 million in a Series D round le by Tiger Global in April this year. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Hummingbird Ventures, and Epiq Capital had also participated in the fundraising.

Pristyn Care was founded in 2018 by Dr Vaibhav Kapoor, Dr Garima Sawhney, and Harsimarbir Singh. It provides surgeries for over 50 diseases such as hernia, sinus, gallstones, and cataracts, using medical technologies such as laser and laparoscopy. The company is present in more than 30 cities and towns. It has almost 100 clinics and operates in more than 400 hospitals, with a network of more than 300 medical experts.

They are the 4nd Indian startup to join the unicorn club this year.

In November alone, at least seven startups entered the club including, content-to-commerce platform Good Glamm, fitness startup Curefit, e-commerce rollup firm Mensa Brands, real estate platform NoBroker, used car buying platform Spinny, online brokerage startup Upstox, and fintech startup Slice

Pet Circle is Australia’s latest unicorn after raising $125m

Pet Circle is Australia’s largest online specialty pet company. It raised a Series C funding round of $125 million led by Prysm Capital and TDM Growth Partners.

The latest funding round was joined by new investor Baillie Gifford and existing investor AirTree Ventures, it sealed Pet Circle’s status as Australia’s latest unicorn.

“We are on a mission to reinvent the experience of pet ownership, by building an integrated platform that connects our customers to 24/7 vet advice and offers the largest and highest quality range of pet products and services in Australia,” Michael Frizell, Pet Circle co-founder and CEO, said.

Claiming to be the third-largest global player in the pet supply industry, Pet Circle has built an integrated pet care platform that includes subscriptions, VetChat, and Telehealth services, and offers more than 10,000 products on its platform.

This new funding shall be used to accelerate Pet Circle’s growth, further develop its own software platform, and expand its warehouse footprint, vehicle fleet and product range.

Pet Circle has been active in the $15 billion pet supplies industry since 2011. The company claimed to have experienced significant growth over the past 18 months and reported a 50% increase in puppy and kitten food sales across its specialty channel over the past year alone.

It was convenient for pet owners to make regularly repeated purchases that would arrive at their doorsteps during the COVID lockdowns.

Pet Circle also got to benefit from the pet ownership boom during recent years which has seen an estimate of 30.4 millions pet owned across the country, according to a survey by industry body Animal Medicines Australia.

69% of households now own a pet compared to 61% from two years ago, likely due to the amount of time and effort households can give to pets due to a large majority of people staying home due to the pandemic. Boredom has also pushed more people to get pets.

Fintech startup Slice achieves unicorn status after $220m funding led by Tiger Global

Fintech startup Slice has become India’s latest unicorn after it raised $220 million at a valuation of over $1 billion.

This capital-raising was done as part of Slice’s Series B funding round led by Tiger Global and Insight Partners which are investments firms based in New York.

There were also other investors participating in the funding round, including Sunley House Capital, Anfa, Gunosy, Blume Ventures and more.

Slice has become the 41st Indian startup to achieve unicorn status this year and the 11th fintech startup to achieve it.

They plan to use the funds raised to grow their existing lines of business, invest in newer products and also grow its engineering and design functions. They also plan to fund their non-banking financial company (NBFC) arm and scale their loan book.

Users of Slice can pay bills, manage expense and unlock rewards. The target demographics are new-age millennials and Gen Z, with an average age of 27, as they have largely been refused credit cards by large banks due to inadequate credit scores that are common among this demographic.

The company has issued credit and payment cards, ‘Slice Super Card’, with Visa and SBM Bank India Ltd, that allows users to build credit scores and win rewards and discounts from payments.

“At Slice, we believe that we have built a solid business model and will focus our energies now into growing and scaling the platform. We have been prudent with our business so far and burnt $4.5 million (in capital) over five years. A part of the capital from this fundraise will be invested in our NBFC, as we need to have our own skin in the game, rather than raising debt alone. The remainder will be utilized towards launching new products and scaling the team,” Rajan Bajaj, founder and chief executive officer at Slice, said in an interview.

Bajaj also said that Slice is working on introducing unified payments interface (UPI)-based payments on its app, besides credit card issuances.

For this year alone, the company has increased their monthly credit card issuances tenfold, from 20,000 cards in January to almost 200,000 cards in October.

The credit line on the cards range from 2000 to 10 lakh. They have almost 5 million registered users on the app.

The company has states that new card issuances and users are growing 40% every month. They are also recording an annual revenue run rate of $60 million.

“Slice has built a product that customers love, which we expect will result in the continued growth and market share gains. We are excited to partner with Rajan and the team as they expand access to credit and deliver best-in-class customer experience,” said Alex Cook, partner at Tiger Global.

Slice also has plans to introduce newer products related to wealth management and commerce although they did not give any specific timelines.

“Slice targets an under-penetrated market in India and seamlessly allows users to make online payments, pay bills and more. There is a large opportunity in the credit and payment space in India, and Slice is well-positioned o become the leader in the industry. We look forward to this partnership with Slice as they continue to scale up and grow,” said Deven Parekh, managing director at Insight Partners.




Mensa Brands is India’s fastest unicorn, achieving the status in six months

India’s Mensa Brands breached the billion-dollar valuation mark in just six months from launch, becoming the fastest startup in India to become a unicorn.

“Our deep focus on technology and digital brand building, as well as our people, has allowed us to grow 3x of our initial plan,” Ananth Narayanan, founder, and CEO of Mensa Brands, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Investors include Alpha Wave Ventures, a unit of Falcon Edge Capital; Prosus Ventures; Tiger Global Management; Accel Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. They invested $135 million in the brand aggregator.

Mensa buys majority stakes in digital-first brands that primarily sell their wares on the internet, acting as an umbrella company that owns and operates them. The firm said in a statement that it has invested in 12 brands across the fashion, home, beauty, and personal care categories.

“We are delighted to continue to back Mensa as it becomes the fastest unicorn in Asia,” said Niren Shah, managing director and head of Norwest Venture Partners India, in a statement.

Before starting Mensa, Narayanan, a former McKinsey executive, used to be the CEO of Flipkart-owned online fashion store Myntra. He also had a stint at the helm of online health care platform Medlife that was bought by bigger rival PharmEasy earlier this year.

Mensa is one of the many beneficiaries of the recent investor frenzy to bankroll direct-to-consumer startups and their enablers as the Indian economy goes back to normalcy. India’s gross domestic product is on the recovery path, having contracted 7.3% in the fiscal year 2021 when the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed the country. In an October report, the International Monetary Fund estimated the Indian economy will grow 9.5% in the current fiscal year and 8.5% in fiscal year 2022.

“Mensa’s valuation reflects what Ananth has delivered historically in his earlier avatars and what he has been able to deliver at Mensa,” said Neeraj Shrimali, executive director, digital and technology, at investment bank Avendus. “It also reflects the potential of what this platform can be in the future. This capital will be required towards a core business function, which is acquiring good brands and scaling them up.”

Startup data tracker Tracxn estimated that Indian startups received approximately $3.7 billion from venture investors this year. China’s crackdown on some of the country’s largest technology companies has placed India as a preferred destination in Asia for global pools of capital. The ebullience around public listings by loss-making startups such as Zomato, PolicyBazaar, and Paytm has added to the frenzy, often leading to high valuations– 34 out of 50 unicorn startups crossed $1 billion valuations in 2021.



Philippine fintech Mynt raises $300m, hitting “double-unicorn” status

The Philippines-based payments app, Mynt, has become the first tech unicorn in the country after raising over $300 million in a funding round that valued the company at over $2 billion.

It is the fintech arm of Globe Telecom and the operator of the popular mobile wallet GCash. It announced that the funding round was co-anchored by global investment giant Warburg Pincus and private equity and venture capital investor Insight Partners.

Other investors that participated in the funding round include existing investors Globe Telecom, Ayalo Corp, and Bow Wave Capital. It also includes angel investor Itai Tsiddon and VC firm Amplo Ventures.

“This is further proof that our growth and achievements have not gone unnoticed,” said Martha Sazon, President and CEO of Mynt.

Founded in 2004, Mynt was 45% owned by Ant Group and Globe Telecom each, while Ayala Corp held the remaining 10% prior to the latest funding round.

Mynt offers many financial services, including credit, savings, insurance, loans, and investments. The assets under management of its GSave product have grown to over P9 billion ($178 million), from P5 billion in 2020.

GCash recorded a gross transaction value of over 1 trillion pesos ($20 billion) last year, spurred by services like online payments, bank cash-in, and money remittance.

Mynt closed a $175 million funding round that valued the company at nearly $1 billion from Bow Wave and existing investors in January. It claimed to have served over 48 million people. The current number of its merchants and social sellers stands at 3 million.

The company also recorded peak daily app log-ins of 19 million and daily active transactions of 12 million.

“We believe that GCash has created the most compelling product to reach the massively underserved market in the Phillippines,” said Deven Parekh, Managing Director at Insight Partners.

Ernest Cu. chairman of the board at Mynt and president and CEO of Globe, said the investment from Warburg Pincus, Insight Partners, and the other investors “further validates the strides” that Mynt has made in providing access to financial services to more Filipinos.

“Together with the continued support of Mynt’s existing shareholders, we are confident of furthering Mynt’s market leadership and creating positive and transformative disruption in the Philippine financial services sector,” he added.

The company has also announced they will be launching “Buy Now, Pay Later” products within the year.

“The investment into Mynt marks our continued commitment and strong belief in the long-term prospects of the Philippines as one of the fastest-growing digital economies in the region,” said Saurabh Agarwal, managing director of Warburg Pincus.

About 70% of the country’s adult population is either unbanked or underbanked with very low penetration of financial products, Agarwal noted. That being said, the country’s economy is growing at 2-3 times the rates of developed markets. As the demand for financial services continues to grow, Agarwal expects much of it to be served digitally.

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