Singapore-based Prestellar Ventures launches $100 million fund for South Asian entrepreneurs

Jul 26, 2017 0

New Delhi–Singapore-based firm Prestellar Ventures on Wednesday said it has launched a $100 million venture capital fund to encourage entrepreneurs and start-ups across India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

According to the venture capital firm, the funding has been backed by four general partners (GPs) — Nepalese enterprise CG Corp Global, Indian microfinance institution Satin Creditcare, the Mauritius-based private-equity firm Frontline Strategy, and Nepalese family conglomerate N.E. Group.

“The fund seeks to partner with passionate entrepreneurs and disruptive start-ups across South Asia and ASEAN in the hospitality, consumer, financial services, rural product and services sectors, typically in ‘Pre-Series A’ deals with a cheque size of approximately $2-3 million,” the firm said in a statement.

“Investing in the forefront of innovation is critical to keeping traditional businesses such as CG Corp Global relevant in the future,” said Binod Chaudhary, Director of Prestellar Ventures and the Chairman of CG Corp Global.

The GPs companies of Prestellar Ventures provide portfolio companies access to over 100 brands, 14,000 employees, 150 hotels and resorts across the world, a publicly-listed bank, fast moving consumer goods products selling over a billion units per year, and a distribution network with direct access to over 2.5 million rural households across India, the statement added.

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Billionloans gets $1 million funding from Reliance Capital

Jul 3, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Billionloans Financial Services Ltd on Monday said it closed a seed funding round of Rs 7 crore ($1 million) from Reliance Corporate Advisory Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital.

As a technology-enabled financial services company, the city-based Billionloans provides financing options to individuals and small businesses, which find it difficult to access loans from the traditional banking system to meet their aspirations.

“Our goal is to disrupt how borrowers are sourced and appraised using technology. This will lead to a dramatic change in access, both for borrowers with thin credit histories and lenders looking to expand beyond their traditional customer bases,” Billionloans Chairman V. Balakrishnan said in a statement.

The company will initially focus on loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for affordable housing, education and personal factors.

“The investment from Reliance Capital is a great validation of our business model,” asserted Balakrishnan, a former member of software major Infosys Board, Exfinity Venture Fund Chairman and an early investor in Billionloans.

Announcing the funding, Reliance Capital Executive Director Anmol Ambani said technology and innovation in financial services would play a big part in bridging the gap between aspirations of large number of people wanting access to credit and the ability of companies to build efficient and scalable lending models.

“We look forward to support Billionloans in its vision and partner in their growth,” said Ambani in the statement.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Rangan Varadan, the company connects borrowers to lenders directly and uses technology-based credit analyses to assess eligibility and process applications.

“Though we want to make borrowing easier for SMEs and individuals, we are finding it difficult to access loans to achieve their goals,” said Varadan.

The company has tie-ups with leading financial institutions and banks to its technology platform and plans to disburse Rs 2,000 crore loans over the next three years.

“India has a large pool of unbanked population without access to formal banking system. With technology enabling access, our goal is to help the borrowers,” added Billionloans Chairman Balakrishnan. (IANS)

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These Two Indian-Americans Could Well Be the Youngest Billionaires—at Least on Paper

Jun 8, 2017 0

CHICAGO – Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, co-founders of Chicago-based Outcome Health, could well be the youngest Indian-American billionaires—at least on paper. Their firm recently announced the financing round valuing the company at $5 billion pre-money. The company raised about $500 million in venture capital.

Outcome Health partners with healthcare providers to serve actionable health intelligence at the moment of care to improve patient outcomes. The size of this investment and the quality of participants apositions the company to also drive growth across emerging opportunities such as clinical trials, payers, pharmacies and international markets.

Rishi Shah

Investors in the company include Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Alphabet’s growth equity investment fund CapitalG, Leerink Transformation Partners, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Balyasny Asset Management, among many others, as well as strategic health systems and healthcare stakeholders aligned with the company’s mission.

“Outcome Health and its investors share a commitment to activate the best health outcome possible for every person in the world. We believe achieving this at scale will require building a ubiquitous network that brings together all sides of healthcare to support patients and healthcare providers whenever, wherever and however they make critical healthcare decisions,” Outcome Health CEO Shah said in a statement. “We are grateful to have been entrusted to realize this vision by so many important stakeholders. Together, we have the opportunity to create the exam room of the future, physically and digitally, and evolve healthcare decision making from the currency of information to the currency of intelligence.”

One of the company’s exam room technologies is its Digital Anatomy Board, which facilitates effective communication through 3D anatomical diagrams that physicians can annotate during patient consultations to visualize the patient’s medical condition, related symptoms and treatment options.

“Using the Outcome Health Digital Anatomy Boards is an opportunity to dialogue with a patient and explain their medical problem in a visual way,” says Dr. Neil Baum, a urologist in New Orleans. “I use the Digital Anatomy Boards with nearly every patient and I have found that patients appreciate and, more importantly, understand the problem and what needs to be done to resolve the problem.”

The company says it is transforming the patient experience while empowering healthcare providers to achieve the transition towards value-based care.

“Outcome Health is improving the point-of-care decision-making process that leads to better healthcare outcomes,” said Christopher Dawe, co-head of the Venture Capital and Growth Equity team at Goldman Sachs Investment Partners. “This investment is consistent with our broader philosophy of backing mission-driven teams who are bringing positive transformation to large addressable markets.”

“We are thrilled to be partners to Outcome Health and to support their growth as they deploy their health intelligence platform in physician consultation rooms around the world,” said Laela Sturdy, partner at CapitalG, Alphabet’s growth equity fund.

Co-founder Shradha Agarwal

“Outcome Health has transformed the point-of-care into a key source of intelligence for patients, providers and life sciences partners alike,” said Marco DeMeireles, Principal – Private Investments, at Balyasny Asset Management. “We look forward to partnering with Rishi, Shradha, and the Outcome team as they create new tools and business lines that reshape the way healthcare employs data and technology to drive patient outcomes.”

Outcome Health’s innovative model is based on aligning industry incentives to drive synergies amongst all healthcare stakeholders via patient-centric technology solutions that deliver measurable improvement in health outcomes.

“Outcome Health is redefining the way that the life sciences, payers, healthcare IT, physicians and patients interact,” said Todd Cozzens, co-founder and Managing Partner at Leerink Transformation Partners. “The technology enhances the most important event in the delivery of care – the trusted moments where the doctor and patient make decisions about their conditions and treatments – and represents innovation that we are proud to support. Doctors like Outcome Health’s platform because their patients have a better care experience, which leads to better compliance, adherence and most importantly, better outcomes.”

Outcome Health’s mission is to activate the best health outcome possible for every person in the world through technologies that change behavior to positively shape the human condition. The company serves health information and health intelligence during critical moments of care to enable patients and physicians to make the best healthcare decision possible. The company, founded in 2006 by Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, partners with 231,000 healthcare providers nationwide to impact 500 million patient visits annually.

Outcome Health has offices in Chicago and New York City, employing more than 600 people, and partners with large healthcare systems, private physician practices, medical associations, global life sciences companies as well as pharmacies and payers.

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CIMCON Lighting Raises $15 Million to Accelerate Rollout of Smart City Technologies

May 25, 2017 0

BILLERICA, MA and NEW YORK, NY– CIMCON Lighting, a global provider of intelligent lighting and Smart City technologies, announced a $15 million Series B funding round led by Energy Impact Partners, known as EIP, a collaborative strategic investment firm that counts leading utilities as its limited partners.

Lindsay Luger, Managing Director at EIP, led the investment and joined the company’s board of directors. EIP joins prior investors: Launchpad Venture Group, Clean Energy Ventures, TiE Boston, MassCEC , among others.

Santhana Krishnan

“We are delighted to have found the right investor in Energy Impact Partners to execute the plan,” said Santhana Krishnan, President of CIMCON Lighting. “With the investment, CIMCON is well positioned to drive the adoption of smart city applications leveraging our solutions.”

CIMCON’s hardware and cloud-based or on-premises software helps utilities, municipalities and transportation departments reduce energy, repairs and maintenance expenses, while increasing the quality of lighting services through intelligent energy, asset, and fault management. Since its founding in 2012, the company’s “best in class” solutions have been used to monitor and control hundreds of thousands of outdoor street and roadway lights in 16 countries.

The investment will be used to support CIMCON’s channel partners and accelerate development and deployment of the company’s Smart City product portfolio, the company said in a statement.

“The worldwide upgrade to LED lighting, coupled with added pressure on cities to reduce operating costs and provide enhanced services to residents, has helped drive adoption of our technologies,” said Anil Agrawal, Founder and  CEO of CIMCON Lighting. “CIMCON delivers immediate value to our customers while providing a clear path to future Smart City applications such as environmental sensors, traffic and pedestrian monitors, video analytics, electric vehicle chargers and smart phone apps. We are pleased to partner with EIP as we respond to customer demand to go beyond intelligent lighting by integrating additional grid edge devices and associated data analytics to help realize their vision for a Smart City.”

Anil Agarwal

Lindsay Luger, Managing Director at EIP added, “CIMCON’s software and hardware solutions provide owners of outdoor lighting with a strong value proposition today, as well as a path to enable Smart City applications of the future. Our utility partners that own and operate city street lights are increasingly interested in improving the cost and performance of these systems, as well as providing the public with additional services. We are excited about the natural fit between the utilities’ strategic direction and CIMCON’s capabilities and vision.”

With a heritage of over 25 years of innovation and experience in industrial automation and outdoor wireless applications, CIMCON Lighting is the world’s leading provider of intelligent wireless outdoor lighting controls and Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled Smart City lighting management solutions. The company’s technologies provide a future-proof platform that enables cities to begin their path to “smart” by managing, monitoring, metering and even monetizing street lights and other assets to improve quality of life for city residents. CIMCON’s solutions are appropriate for street and roadway lighting, parking lots and garages, business and college campuses, and a variety of industrial applications.

Lindsay Luger

Energy Impact Partners Energy Impact Partners is a collaborative strategic investment firm that invests in companies optimizing energy consumption and improving sustainable energy generation. Through close collaboration with its strategic investor base, EIP seeks to bring the best companies, buying power and vision in the industry to bear on the emerging energy landscape. EIP’s partners include Southern Company, National Grid, Xcel Energy, Ameren, Great Plains Energy, Fortis Inc., AGL, Avista, Madison Gas and Electric Co., and TEPCO.

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Google’s Anandan, Adobe’s Bawa invest in Delhi-based Lucideus

May 10, 2017 0

New Delhi–Delhi-based IT risk assessments and cyber security platforms provider Lucideus has raised an undisclosed amount in an angel round of investment from Google India Managing Director Rajan Anandan, Adobe Managing Director Kulmeet Bawa and other industry stalwarts.

Lucideus, which provides cyber security to the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app, will use the funds to enhance research and development on cyber security.

“As a company, we have been growing 700 per cent (average year-on-year) in revenues while being cash flow positive for the last four years,” said Saket Modi, CEO & Co-founder, Lucideus, in a statement on Wednesday.

“We have got a set of marquee names of handpicked investors who have not only invested their money but also bring in their strategic and technical guidance that is playing a key role in our evolution,” he added.

The list of investors also include Rahul Chawla, Managing Director, Head of Global Markets at Deutsche Bank, Jonathan Boutelle, ex-Director of Technology at LinkedIn/SlideShare, former Freecharge CEO Govind Rajan, Digi Locker chief architect and Slideshare co-founder Amit Ranjan.

“Considering all the ground work done by Lucideus for the last five years, I feel they are well positioned to grab the market opportunity and emerge as clear market leaders,” said Anandan. (IANS)

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Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart raises $1.4 billion from Tencent, eBay, Microsoft

Apr 10, 2017 0

Bangalore–E-commerce major Flipkart on Monday said it has raised a total of $1.4 billion from Tencent, eBay and Microsoft.

The latest funding round, at a post-transaction valuation of $11.6 billion, is the largest in Flipkart’s 10-year history as well as in the Indian internet sector and comes as Flipkart gears up to drive the next phase of e-commerce growth in India, a company statement said.

This investment adds to an existing group of investors that include Tiger Global Management, Naspers Group, Accel Partners and DST Global.

“This is a landmark deal for Flipkart and for India as it endorses our tech prowess, our innovative mindset and the potential we have to disrupt traditional markets. It is a resounding acknowledgement that the homegrown tech ecosystem is indeed thriving and succeeding in solving genuine problems in people’s daily lives across all of India,” said Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, founders of Flipkart, in a statement.

Sachin Bansal

“This deal reaffirms our resolve to hasten the transformation of commerce in India through technology,” they added.

The investment by eBay is accompanied by a strategic commercial agreement with Flipkart. In exchange for an equity stake in Flipkart, eBay is making a cash investment in and selling its eBay.in business to Flipkart. eBay.in will continue to operate as an independent entity as a part of Flipkart, the statement said.

Flipkart and eBay have also signed an exclusive cross-border trade agreement. As a result of the partnership between Flipkart and eBay, customers of Flipkart will gain access to the wide array of global inventory on eBay, while eBay’s customers will have access to more unique Indian inventory provided by Flipkart sellers.

“The combination of eBay’s position as a leading global e-commerce company and Flipkart’s market stature will allow us to accelerate and maximize the opportunity for both companies in India,” said Devin Wenig, President and CEO of eBay Inc.

“eBay is committed to winning in India in partnership with Flipkart. Our exclusive global trade partnership will allow eBay and Flipkart to reach even more consumers around the world,” he added.

Tencent has joined the investment deal as a strategic investor, bringing experience in linking social networking and e-commerce. As a leading provider of internet value-added services in China, it has been at the centre of innovation in social, payments and other areas.

“Flipkart is a leader in e-commerce in India, with strong operational expertise and a deep understanding of user behaviour. This strategic partnership enables Tencent to participate in the exciting opportunities in e-commerce and payments in India.

“We look forward to helping Flipkart to deliver compelling experiences to users throughout India, and to contribute to the development of the internet ecosystem there,” said Tencent President Martin Lau.

Launched in 2007, the Flipkart Group includes well-known Indian brands such as Myntra, Jabong, PhonePe and Ekart, besides the parent company. The company offers over 80 million products across 80 plus categories.

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Home healthcare services firm Medwell raises $21 million VC funding

Apr 5, 2017 0

Bengaluru–Nightingales Home Healthcare Services provider Medwell Ventures Ltd on Wednesday announced raising $21 million (Rs 1,362 crore) in second round (Series B) funding from Mahindra Partners, Eight Roads Ventures, US-based F-Prime Capital Partners, early angel investors and founders.

Medwell raised $10 million (Rs 65 crore) in the first round (Series A) in May 2015 to expand Nightingales’ operations to 13 branches in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune, with 1,000 medical, paramedical and healthcare professionals from a single branch here in 2014.

Nightingales have four branches each in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai and one at Pune.

“Mahindra Partners, which forayed into the health sector with its first investment in Medwell, intends to have a greater participation going forward,” said the company in a statement here.

The company is promoted by healthcare professionals, including Chairman Vishal Bali, Co-Chairman Ferzaan Engineer, Chief Executive Officer Lalit Pai and Nightingales Chief Financial Officer Himanshu Shah.

“As we are witnessing strong consumer demand for our services, we will accelerate the growth over the next four years with the fresh investment,” said Pai in the statement.

Nightingales provides 25,000 services each month and plans to support over a million patients in the next few years.

“The demand for home delivery of chronic care services is projected to increase. As the healthcare sector has growth potential, we will play a proactive role,” said Mahindra Partners President Zhooben Bhiwandiwala. (IANS)

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Payal Divakaran, Actifio and Constant Therapy Among New England Venture Capital Awards Nominees

Apr 5, 2017 0

BOSTON–New England Venture Capital Association, a non-profit organization that boasts over 700 venture capital professionals who collectively manage more than $50 billion in capital, announced nominees in more than a dozen categories of its 5th annual NEVY Awards, according to media reports.

Ash Ashutosh

Boston Business Journal reported that the awards are sponsored this year by General Electric and winners will be announced May 17 at an event at the House of Blues in Boston.

This year’s nominees include several Indian-American entrepreneurs and companies. They are Payal Divakaran, who has been nominated for Rising Star VC category, Actifio (founded by Ash Ashutosh) in the category of Next Pillar Tech Company, and Constant Therapy (co-founded by Swathi Kiran and Veera Anantha) in Digital Healthcare Company of the Year.

“New England is home to some of the world’s brightest innovators and our new headquarters,” Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures, said in a statement as quoted by Boston Business Journal. “From the area companies solving complex challenges, to the venture capitalists funding the ideas, it’s important to recognize all the great work happening across the ecosystem and we’re happy to support the NEVYs to do just that.”

Payal Divakaran (Photo: Linkedin)

Here are 2017 Tech Nominees:

Rising Star VC (Tech)

▪Juan Luis Leung Li, General Catalyst

▪Sarah Downey, Accomplice

▪Ash Egan, Converge VP

▪Payal Divakaran, .406

Hottest Early Stage Startup

▪Tulip

▪Sense

Swathi Kiran

▪nuTonomy

▪Semantic Machines

Next Pillar Tech Company

▪Onshape

▪Rethink Robotics

▪Turbonomic

▪Actifio

▪Applause

▪Carbon Black

Clean Tech Company of the Year

▪Sense

▪Bevi

▪WeSpire

▪Cadenza Innovations

Angel of the Year

▪Joe Caruso

▪Ty Danco

▪Jean Hammond

▪Jeremy Hitchcock

▪Mike Volpe

Fund of the Year

▪General Catalyst

▪Highland Capital

▪Converge Venture Partners

▪CRV

Entrepreneur of the Year

▪Ric Fulop, Desktop Metal

▪Jon Hirshtick, Onshape

▪Rob Biederman & Pat Pettiti & Peter Maglathlin, Catalant

▪Jeremy Hitchcock, (Dyn)

▪Jason Robbins, DraftKings

Rising Star Entrepreneur

▪Nick Frances, Help Scout

▪Jonah Lopin, Crayon

▪Liz Powers, Art Lifting

▪David Hurley, Mautic

2017 LIFE SCIENCE NOMINEES

Rising Star VC (Life Sciences)

▪Michael Gladstone, Atlas

▪Dan Gebremedhin, Flare

▪Paulina Hill, Polaris

▪Andrew Hedin, Bessemer

▪Sasha Said, Leerink

Hottest Early Stage Startup Therapeutics (HC/LS)

▪Evelo Biosciences

▪Magenta Therapeutics

▪Oncorous

Hottest Early Stage Startup Tools & Tech

▪Readcoor

▪Lyndra

▪Aldatu Biosciences

▪3derm

▪SQZ Biotech

Deal of the Year

▪Jounce

▪Intellia Therapeutics

▪RaNa

▪Seres

▪Moderna Therapeutics

Exit of the Year

▪Nimbus Apollo

▪Intellia Therapeutics

▪Delinia Therapeutics

▪Padlock Therapeutics

Digital Health Company of the Year

▪Constant Therapy

▪Rest Devices

▪Pear Therapeutics

▪Herald Health

Fund of the Year

▪Atlas Venture

▪Flagship Pioneering

▪Third Rock Ventures

▪Connecticut Innovations

Entrepreneur of the Year

▪Michael Gilman, Padlock Therapeutics

▪Rosana Kapeller, Nimbus Apollo

▪Kurt Graves, Intarcia

▪Robin Heffernen, Circulation

▪Katrine Bosley, Editas.

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Raising funds major challenge for internet startups: Study

Mar 30, 2017 0

New Delhi–Even though the government has been trying its best to ensure sustained funding for startups, a large number of internet-based startups are yet to get any formal funding in the form of business grants, loans or lines of credit, a survey said here on Thursday.

A dipstick survey of bootstrapping 2,925 internet startups by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) suggested that this shortage of funds persists despite nearly 74 per cent of them leveraging mobile technologies to scale up their businesses.

The survey was conducted in the cities of Jaipur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune and New Delhi.

The survey found that while a majority 74 per cent of the respondents are leveraging mobile technologies to boost their businesses, 12 per cent of the respondents had completely mobile-based products.

“Very few of the respondents had any kind of formal funding in the form of business grants, loans or lines of credit, leave alone Angel or VC (venture capital) funding…it is no surprise that funding is considered to be the biggest challenge,” the survey said.

“Thus, it is imperative that the government should start funding the startups through approved incubators, for the startup ecosystem and the apps economy to grow in India,” it added.

Thirty-five per cent of the respondents also mentioned that “manpower” was a major challenge for these startups in their effort to scale up.

“Thus, there should be special focus of skilling and retraining, and the government should create a separate skills development council aimed at skills training particularly for the digital industry,” IAMAI survey suggested.

The survey pointed out that mobile is the key platform for new business generation (customer acquisition) and customer retention and transaction completion, in terms of finalising the deal.

“Digital payment is another major factor for going mobile. Many startups are in the field of mobile-specific services or into Internet of Things (IoT)-based products, like wearables and other gadgets, and hence completely based on the mobile platform for their products,” the survey said.

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Digital sports platform raises funds from Intex

Mar 28, 2017 0

New Delhi– Rooter, the worlds first digital platform that connects, engages and helps sports audiences interact with each other on a real-time basis during sports events, has raised an undisclosed amount of funds from Intex, one of Indias fastest growing consumer electronic goods and accessories manufacturer.

The sports social engagement app earlier successfully raised funds from Dhruv Chitgopekar and Prantik Dasgupta. It also holds the distinction of being the first venture that Bollywood actor Boman Irani has invested in as an angel investor.

The freshly infused capital will be utilized to strengthen the tech team at Rooter, all the while maintaining a lean structure.

It aims to also add more numbers to its Sales and Marketing team as well as to the content division to bolster the vernacular versions of the app. This round of funding will, in addition, help accelerate the platform’s expansion into South East Asian markets and catalyze partnerships with sports teams and leagues all around the world.

Rooter’s ambition to carry out merchandizing activities and possibly fan-player interactions will also get a boost besides allowing it to leverage the superlative tech infrastructure of Intex.

Rooter has been identified as one of the most unique ideas to emerge out of the Indian start-up ecosystem, with no pre-existing business model to follow anywhere in the world. With its user engagement features such as live-match prediction, quizzes, and chat forums becoming extremely popular with users, Rooter’s audience base and the time spent by an average user on the app has increased significantly.

With the approaching sports season, Rooter hopes to far exceed the 50000+ downloads it currently sits on, and aims to cross half a million downloads by the end of the IPL.

Rooter will benefit from the state-of-the-art technological setup of Intex, access to which can help reduce Rooter’s research and development costs. The ready database of Intex will also be a goldmine for Rooter to find new users. (IANS)

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