Author: Yee Ken

E-commerce Startup 10club Raises $40 Million Seed Funding Led by Fireside Ventures

Thrasio style e-commerce venture 10club, a six-month-old Indian startup, said on Tuesday it has raised $40 million, in what is one of the largest seed financing rounds in the South Asian market.

The round was co-led by Fireside Ventures and an undisclosed global investor. HeyDay, PDS international, Class 5 Global, Secocha Ventures, and hardware startup boAt founders Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta have also participated in the round.

10club acquires small brands that sell their products on e-commerce platforms and scale those businesses.

10club will be using the funds raised to expand its portfolio of brands, invest in building its technology stack, and for working capital purposes.

As part of the deal, Vinay Singh, partner at Fireside Ventures will also be joining 10club’s board.

“India and online-first brands are at the cusp of the next revolution. We, at Fireside, believe that both VC and acquisition driven models will co-exist going forward and can turbocharge the growth of early-stage brands. Together with the team at 10Club, we will be able to drive this change and enable e-commerce entrepreneurs to realize the full potential of their brands,” said Vinay Singh.

Investors globally have taken a huge interest n this emerging Thrasio model in India.

“This funding from our international partner, who comes with a great understanding of this model globally and Fireside Ventures, who have successfully championed building many consumer-focused brands, is an important milestone in 10club’s journey. Having HeyDay participate in the round also gives us the opportunity to learn from operators. We have already built our foundational pillars of the centralized platform,” said Bhavna Suresh, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of 10club.

“Consumer spending continues to accelerate globally and third-party sellers across marketplaces like Amazong and Flipkart are the driving force behind this trend that is here to stay. I am determined to work with the team to make 10club the go-to destination for the most talented sellers and entrepreneurs who want to take their brands to the next level,” said Joel Ayala, partner at Class 5 Global who also serves as chairman of 10club’s board.

Earlier this year, Myntra and Medlife executive Ananth Narayanan founded Mensa Brands, a Thrasio-style venture, and raised $50 million as part of its Series A led by Accel, Falcon Edge Capital, and Norwest Venture Parnters.

Australia’s Tenacious Ventures closes first agrifood tech fund at $27m

Specialist agriculture and food tech venture capital firm Tenacious Ventures has closed its first venture capital fund, securing A$35 millions ($27 million), according to an announcement.

The fund was founded by Sarah Nolet, founder of agrifood tech advisory AgThentic, and Matthew Pryor, co-founder of agtech startup Observant, which was acquired by Jain Irrigation.

Tenacious Ventures supports early-stage companies that develop technologies designed to lower emissions and increase energy efficiency in the agriculture sector.

Tenacious Ventures Fund I, which was launched in 2019 with a target of A$30 million, aims to invest in up to 20 early-stage (seed and Series A) agrifood tech companies that are underpinned by emerging technologies and transformative business models.

As an unconditionally registered fund under the federal government’s ESVCLP scheme, 80% of the capital fund will be deployed into Australian-domiciled startups at the time of investment.

The fund achieved its first close in March 2020 at just over A$20 million, backed by commitments of A$8 million from the Australia Government Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Mike & Annie Cannon-Brookes’ personal investment fund Grok Ventures.

In the past year, Tenacious Ventures has made six investments and raised another A$15 million, all during COVID-19. The fund’s investors include tech and agribusiness executives, family offices, impact investors, and active primary producers.

Sarah Nolet said, “Over the last five years, we’ve seen the ecosystem grow and produce world-class startups. But many were struggling to attract funding – local investors didn’t understand the space or have the networks to diligence opportunities, and offshore investors were too far away.”

Tenacious Ventures’ portfolio includes waste management startup Goterra, and SwarmFarm Robotics, an autonomous agricultural vehicle platform company. Other investments include Nori, a US-based carbon marketplace; Vow, a cellular agriculture company; RapidAIM, a CSIRO-spinout commercializing a digital crop protection platform; and Nowadays, a clean label sustainable protein company.

Australian government CEFC had earlier invested up to $125 million in Qualitas Build-To-Rent Impact Fund (QBIF), Australia’s first property debt fund that seeks to finance the country’s first low emissions build-to-rent residential buildings.

In 2019, CEFC committed up to A$100 million ($70 million) to invest in clean energy via a joint venture fund with infrastructure-focused Ironstone Capital.

China Youran Dairy to raise up to $800 million in HK IPO

China Youran Dairy Group has started briefing investors on Tuesday as it looks to raise up to $800 million in its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO), according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The sources could not be named as the information was not yet made public.

The company, backed by private equity group PAG, is expected to launch the deal next week, the sources added.

A final agreement on the size of the fund-raising will be made following the initial discussions with investors, they said.

It plans to use the cash raised to expand its breeding herd and ramp up feed and raw milk production, according to its filings with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Youran Dairy’s IPO was approved by the stock exchange’s listing committee last week, allowing it to start the IPO process.

It purchased two farming hubs located in Ying and Yutian counties for NZ$514 million owned by New Zealand’s Fonterra last year.

PAG owns 42.89% of Youran Dairy while Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group holds a further 40% and the filing showed PAG will not be a controlling shareholder following the deal.

PAG has held its stake in Youran Dairy since 2015.

A pre-deal term sheet seen by Reuters shows the company plans to sell 15% of its shares in the IPO which would value it at more than $5.3 billion.

Youran Dairy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

India’s Chargebee Enters Unicorn Club After $125 Million Fundraising

Subscription management platform Chargebee has become the latest startup to obtain the unicorn tag after raising $125 million in a Series-G funding.

The valuation of the Chennai-based company is currently at $1.4 billion post-investment – tripled in less than six months.

New investor Sapphire Ventures and existing investors Tiger Global and Insight Venture Partners co-led the round. The round also saw the participation of Steadview Capital who has already backed the company.

With the fresh capital, Chargebee plans to further invest in its product to assist businesses scale their subscription revenue operations seamlessly from startup to IPO. The company also plans to expand its global operations and add to its partnership network.

“Businesses today need to quickly respond to evolving customer needs, compliance requirements, and market pressures in real-time. More than ever before, businesses need their subscription revenue platform to be the reliable system of record that enables them to rapidly scale their revenue processes,” said Krish Subramanian, co-founder and CEO at Chargebee.

“Chargebee is committed to spearheading this movement towards a subscription-first world by helping our customers realize rapid value, and being an integral partner in their long-term growth journey.”

Founded in 2011, Chargebee is the subscription billing and revenue management platform that automates revenue operations of over 3,000 high-growth subscription-based businesses from startups to enterprises.

Its SaaS platform helps subscription businesses across verticals – SaaS, eCommerce, e-learning, IoT, publications etc. manage and grow their revenue by automating operations around subscriptions, billing, invoicing, payments, and revenue recognition. Chargebee provides key metrics, reports, and insights into their business.

Chargebee has businesses across 60 countries. Over 17,000 clients are using its platform, including businesses like Okta, Freshworks, Calendly, and Study.com.

In October last year, Chargebee had raised $55 million in its Series F funding led by Insight Partners. Tiger Global and Steadview Capital also participated in the financing.

Chargebee joins six other Indian startups that have entered the unicorn club in April so far. Among the six, the funding rounds in three – social messaging platform ShareChat, investment platform Groww, and messaging platform GupShup – were led by Tiger Global. It was also part of the funding round that turned fintech firm Cred into a unicorn this month.

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