Category: Startup

Indian Fintech Startup OneCard Raises $100 Million In Funding, Attaining Unicorn Status

Indian fintech company OneCard has attained unicorn status after its latest funding round, which valued the company at a whopping $1.4-billion. This valuation makes the company India’s 104th member of the country’s club of unicorns. 

Singapore state investor Temasek led the fundraising with participation from investors such as Sequoia Capital India, Ocean View Investment, QED Holdings, Matrix Partners, and Hummingbird. 

The Series D funding round saw the company raise over $100-million, valued at over $1.4-billion, up from the company’s Series C valuation of about $750-million in January this year, which was participated by QED Investors, Sequoia, Matrix Partners, and Hummingbird Ventures. 

The Series D fundraise comes days after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cracked down on non-banking-led credit lines via prepaid payment instruments (PPIs). However, OneCard claimed that the crackdown did not impact the company. Temasek India’s managing director, Mohit Bhandari, stated that “OneCard is not impacted by the PPI guidelines because it was not a PPI issuer and like some of the other companies, which now have to rebuild their business model.”

OneCard is owned by FPL Technologies, founded in 2019 by Rupesh Kumar, Anurag Sinha, and Vibhav Hathi. It also operates an app called OneScore, which helps users understand and learn their credit scores. 

OneCard operates a mobile-first credit card which the startup partners with banks. The credit card also comes without joining or an annual fee, giving customers more control and flexibility over how and where they transact. Additionally, it offers a range of personalized rewards and loans to customers. 

The company claimed earlier this year that it had amassed over 250,000 customers. These customers were spending about $60-million with its cards each month. It currently offers services in 12 cities across India, including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, and NCR. 


Blockchain Unicorn Animoca Brands Raises US$75 Million At A $5.5 Billion Valuation

Hong Kong-based blockchain gaming firm Animoca Brands announced today that it had raised $75-million at a $5.5-billion valuation even as the markets suffer from the collapse in cryptocurrency prices. 

The latest funding round is Animoca’s fifth since the beginning of last year. The latest raise is supported by investors like Liberty City Ventures, Kingsway Capital, Alpha Waves Ventures, 10T, SG Spring Limited Partnership Fund, Generation Highway Ltd, and Cosmic Summit Investments Limited. 

Animoca’s co-founder Yat Siu said in a statement that the funding round was delayed because some investors were worried about the collapse of TerraUSD and its impact on the cryptocurrency markets. 

The company has invested in more than 340 companies to build its vision of a “metaverse” based on blockchain technology. Using cryptocurrencies, virtual assets can be bought and sold as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

The company has invested in numerous leading Web3 companies, including Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shots, OpenSea, and Axie Infinity. The firm also has a majority stake in the metaverse game The Sandbox. 

Animoca Brands uses technologies including blockchain and NFTs to deliver true digital ownership of users’ virtual assets and data. This enables various Defi and GameFi opportunities (including play-and-earn), asset interoperability, and an open framework. These opportunities can lead to greater equitability for all participants in the open metaverse. 

The firm said it would use the capital to fund acquisitions, investments, and product development, secure licenses for popular intellectual properties, and advance the open metaverse. 

In a statement by the firm’s executive chairman and co-founder, Yat Siu, “ Digital property rights represent a society-defining generational shift that impacts everyone online and will set the stage for the emergence of the open metaverse.” He said, “We are deeply honored to continue to enjoy strong support from investors as we work to solidify the leadership position of Anomica Brands in the Web3 industry and the field of true digital ownership.” 

The latest funding rounds are a testament that capital is still finding its way to well-established firms in the industry, despite the bearishness of the digital asset market. 

Unicorn Edtech UpGrad Doubles Valuation After $225 Million Funding Round

India-based edtech unicorn that was founded by Ronnie Screwvala, a cable TV-era entrepreneur has doubled its valuation after raising $225 million in its latest funding round. 

The latest funding round included billionaire James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems and U.S. testing and assessment provider Educational Testing Service which develops standardized tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE). 

Existing investors such as Temasek Holdings, along with family offices of billionaires Lakshmi Mittal and Sunil Bharti Mittal also participated in the funding round. 

UpGrad was founded by Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar, Phalgun Kompalli, and Ravijot Chugh in 2015. The startup offers higher education courses in collaboration with various universities. The firm became India’s third edtech unicorn after it raised $185-million in August 2021. 

The company offers short courses on entrepreneurship and data science. UpGrad spans several segments from test prep to overseas education and undergraduate degrees to campus courses in 250 universities. Its offerings include finance, law, business, and software courses for the 18-60 group. 

UpGrad’s founder, Screwvala confirm the funding amount but declined to comment on the valuation of investors. The funding round is set to increase by a further $100-million during a second close at a higher valuation, said a source. 

In the financial year ending next March, an estimated 3 million learners will take up upGrad courses that run from a few months to a few years, and cost 50,000 rupees ($640) to 800,000 rupees. 

Besides India, the startup has a presence in Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Middle East. Screwvala said in a statement that “India will write the global higher-edtech story.” He also said that “There’s an insatiable global appetite for upskilling and upgrading to diplomas, degrees, and doctorates, all of which have measurable outcomes such as a new job, a raise, or a promotion.”

LeadSquared Raises $153-Million In Funding Round To Attain Unicorn Status

India-based SaaS startup, LeadSquared recently announced that it has secured an investment of USD $153-million in a Series C funding round from WestBridge Capital. LeadSquared is headquartered in Bengaluru, India alongside its presence in the United States, APAC, and EMEA. 

The company was founded by Nilesh Patel, Prashant Singh, and Sudhakar Gorti in 2011. LeadSquare was founded with a vision to make high-velocity sales execution software a growth engine for companies around the globe. 

It now serves more than 2,000 customers globally in higher education, edtech, professional education, healthcare, and financial services. Its customers include Pearsons, Byju’s, Dunzo, Kotak Securities, Amazon Pay, OLx, and Uni.

The startup helps firms automate sales, bringing efficiency to all the touch points where sales executives are involved including call centers, feet-on-street force, and other areas including digital where consumer purchases take place. The startup provides the firms with tools to easily onboard vendors, and do verifications and collections. 

The company’s $153-million Series C funding round valued it at $1-billion. The round was led by WestBridge Capital with participation from existing backers such as Gaja Capital which takes the startup’s all-time raise to $188-million.  

The startup plans to use the money to double down on growth investments in India and North America. It also looks to reply the fresh funds to expand its international operations in North America, the APAC region, and EMEA. 

The latest funding would also be used to broaden the company’s product with new features including sales performance analytics and a suite of tools to digitize application processing. 

Nilesh Patel, co-founder, and chief executive of LeadSquared said in a statement that “we are grateful for the support of our investors as we strive to build LeadSquared into a globally significant business. With this financing, we will double down on growth investments in India and North America, start building in APAC and EMEA, add new offerings to our product portfolio, and fund acquisitions. To support our growth, we plan to double our headcount in the next 18 months.”

China-Based MegaRobo Raised $300 Million In Series C Funding Round

MegaRobo Technologies is a China-based company that uses robotics and artificial intelligence for life science research.  

The company has recently led a Series C funding round which was led by Goldman Sachs’ private investment arm, venture capital company GGV capital, and Asia Investment Capital. 

The funding round also saw participation from the likes of Sinovation Ventures, Pavilion Capital, and Starr Capital. The Series C funding round also saw the participation from China-focused investment companies Yumeng Capital, Redview Capital, and Harvest Capital, as well as investment bank Taihecap, which were involved in the deal. 

The company announced that through the Series C funding round, it has raised a total of US$300-million. The company plans to use the fresh funds to fund research and development, increase capacity and expand its presence in new international markets. 

MegoRobo was founded in 2016 to develop a suite of robotic automation solutions that integrate AI software, analytical instruments, laboratory hardware, and consumables to help clients in the life science sector achieve more stable and efficient experimental results. It targets industry issues such as a growing lack of biotech talents in areas ranging from new drug R&D to genetic engineering and clinical diagnosis.

The company claims to employ close to 1,000 people, of which about 600 of them are research professionals, across offices and labs in Beijing, Suzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen in China, as well as in the U.K. and U.S.

The company whose product includes a COVID-19 testing solution is also the latest start-up from the pharmaceutical industry to capitalize on a jump in investor interest in the sector after the COVID-19 pandemic.

On its official website, MegaRovi stated that it has raised more than US$150-million in seven previous venture rounds. Prior to the current funding rounds, the company started raising capital for its Series B round in November 2020 which raised about US$125-million of funding from investors. It is speculated that the company has reached a unicorn valuation of over USD 1 billion.

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