Nykaa raises Rs 82 crore for expansion

Oct 6, 2016 0

Hyderabad–Beauty e-commerce player Nykaa.com said on Thursday that it has raised Rs 82 crore in series C funding for its expansion.

The company said that it has plans to open 30 new physical stores by 2020 in addition to four existing stores here.

According to Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO, Nykaa.com. the company has built a loyal base of “beauty savvy customers through its inventory-led model with genuine product assortment”.

Founded in 2012, by FSN E-Commerce Ventures Pvt. Ltd., the company has a robust content offering with its blog and social media platforms a wide menu of over 450 international and Indian brands. The multi-brand portal has seen four-fold growth over the past year, and is currently on a net revenue run rate in excess of Rs 250 crore.

Nykaa recently executed the exclusive online launch of L’Oreal Group NYX Cosmetics in India, the most successful e-commerce launch for the brand globally.

The company is also exploring options to launch its own private label and working on the business plans.

“The focus for Nykaa has always been to offer our customers the best beauty shopping experience. This has been achieved today through a wide assortment of innovative and performance driven brands, strong technology platforms, efficient logistics and customer engagement through our content offerings,” said Nayar, a former Managing Director of Kotak Investment Banking.

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Nettlinx raises $3 million as part of diversification

Sep 29, 2016 0

Hyderabad– Nettlinx Ltd, the internet infrastructure company, has raised $3 million (Rs 20 crore) from strategic investors as part of its plans to venture into industrial space by acquiring some European firms.

The Netherlands-based EXchange Investors NV and Dubai-based TransGlobal FZC have been allocated share warrants on preferential basis and will work closely with Nettlinx Ltd in its diversification, the Hyderabad-based company said in a statement.

“These two funds will provide strategic support that will enable Nettlinx to identify and acquire companies with experience in the industrial space. These funds will also help Nettlinx raise further capital and debt with lower interest rates from the European banks,” it said.

“We want to give new direction to the company. We are making the right move, at the right time, with the right strategic partners, who have deep understanding of the space we are venturing into,” said Nettlinx’s Managing Director Rohith Lokareddy.

“Both these Funds have chosen Nettlinx because of our strong fundamentals, and will help us emerge into a strong player in this space,” he added.

The company has requested both these Funds to nominate a director each on the board of the company to guide the diversification process.

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Hyderabad-based NewsDistill raises $100,000 seed fund

Sep 16, 2016 0

Hyderabad– NewsDistill, a Hyderabad-based news aggregator app, on Friday said it has raised $100,000 seed fund from noted investors and technology leaders for examsion and product development to meet growing demand and is likely to raise an equal amount in a couple of months.

The investors include Narasimhan Ganesh, Senior Director, Box.com, Ramana Thumu, Vice President, eBay, and Sudhir Mallem of Uber.

Launched in 2015, NewsDistill aggregates news sourced from various Indian newspapers, television channels, RSS feeds, custom feeds and social media in eight major Indian languages besides English, a company release said.

The news is presented through innovative algorithms to the user through a rich user interface application.

“There is a huge demand for personalised news feed on mobile apps especially for those who wish to spend quality time reading similar news from various media channels through multiple languages and quick filters,” said NewsDistill founder Narasimha Reddy.

“NewsDistill is embarking upon expansion and product development to meet the demand. The current round of investment will be used towards product development and talent aquisition. Our short vision is to become the top news aggregator in India in the next few months,” he said.

NewsDistill has recently upgraded its product features by adding world’s first personalised “newsplayer” that auto-reads news on the mobile for the reader.

It has also introduced patented robotic voice besides working on creating hyper-local filters to keep the user connected to their neighbourhood always.

NewsDistill is co-founded by Narasimha Reddy, an engineering graduate from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad (JNTU) who had earlier worked with Yahoo, LinkedIn and Bhaskar Reddy, an aeronautical engineer.

NewsDistill is easy to operate and integrates more than 30 unique features. It is currently available on Android and web platform.

Currently NewsDistill is generating 50 plus million page views per month and aiming to reach 130 plus million page views by the end of November 2016. Around 19-20 minutes is the average daily user engagement time. (IANS)

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Indian tech firm raises $50 mn from Zuckerberg arm, partners

Sep 8, 2016 0

Bengaluru– India’s leading education technology provider Byjus on Thursday announced raising $50 million (Rs 333 crore) from Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and four venture capital partners to fund its expansion plans.

The four partners are Sequoia, Sofina, Lightspeed and Times Internet.

“We will deploy the fund to fuel international expansion and inspire additional funding from leading companied the world over,” said Byju founder and Chief Executive Byju Raveendran in a statement here.

Byju Raveendran

Byju Raveendran

The investment by CZI, the philanthropic arm of the online social media network Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, is its first in an Asian firm.

The year-old start-up, however, did not disclose the amount of investment made by CZI and each of the four partners to its first round of funding.

“Our application (K-12 app), which has registered 5.5 million downloads, has 250,000 paid annual subscribers across the country,” said Raveendran.

The K-12 app offers learning programmes for students in classes 4-12 and competitive exams like JEE, NEET, CAT, IAS, GRE and GMAT.

“Our K-12 app is reinventing how students learn in the age of mobile devices, as our approach combines teachers, pedagogical methods and data science to deliver personalised learning, feedback and assessments for school students,” said Raveendran.

Noting that Indian families work hard to give their children education for a better future, CZI’s Vivian Wu said Byju’s represented an opportunity to help more students develop love for learning and unlock their potential.

“We support innovative models of learning wherever they are around the world,” said Wu, who will soon join Byju’s board.

With 40-miniute engagement rate per day and 90 percent of users renewing subscription, Byju’s is proving to be effective at improving learning outcomes.

“We are partnering with CZI to usher in the next stage of our growth, as our vision of advancing human potential and promoting equality aligns with it (CZI), added Raveendran.

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Uber co-founder invests in Ravi Ika’s health care startup RxAdvance

Aug 31, 2016 0

SOUTHBOROUGH, MA— RxAdvance, a pharmacy benefits management company, announced that Uber co-founder Oscar Salazar, and Walter Jin, founder of Carlyle Healthcare Group, have invested in Series-A funding round and join the RxAdvance board. The company did not disclose the amount.

Southborough, MA-based RxAdvance was founded by Ravi  Ika, who serves as the company’s President and the Chief Executive Officer. In addition Ika, there are several  Indian-Americans in the top executive positions at the company. They include Anand Tati, Chief Operating Officer;  Prakash Tallabattula, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer; Madu Narahari, Executive Vice President, Implementations;  and Bijendra Malik, Executive Vice President and Chief Security Officer.

Left to right: Ika, Sculley and Kota

Left to right: Ika, Sculley and Kota

Indian-American entrepreneur Subu Kota, president of the Boston Group USA, serves on the board of RxAdvance. Other Indian-American board members include Devaiah Pagidipati and Krishna Ika.

“It is a game-changer for RxAdvance with Uber c0-founder Oscar Salazar joining our team,” Kota told IndUS Business Journal.

“We are honored to have two of the leading minds in disruptive technology and business as our investment partners and board members. We at RxAdvance feel that their high-tech experience and guidance will help to transform the $770 billion PBM and associated avoidable drug-impacted medical spend that is long overdue for innovation,” Ika said in a statement.

Jin was the co-founder of The Healthcare Group at The Carlyle Group. Jin currently serves as the Executive Chairman of Pager and has over 20 years of investment and operational experience in the healthcare sector. He is the co-founder of Three Fields Capital and Pacific Healthcare Management, which manage a portfolio of private equity and venture capital healthcare investments. He is a graduate of Harvard University and currently serves as an Executive in Residence at Johns Hopkins Medicine and an Innovation Fellows Technical Advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Our goal is to leverage disruptive technology and world-class design to reinvent healthcare and deliver cost savings and efficiencies,” said Salazar and Jin. “We are proud to join the RxAdvance board, as its accountable drug benefit management practice and risk-sharing business models are timely in this antiquated industry and are perfectly aligned with the healthcare investments in which we are involved.”

“In the recent years, several successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and blue chip companies have entered the healthcare vertical to disrupt and transform, in vain. This lack of success can be attributed to the absence of substantial business and revenue models, disruptive service offerings, and a proven track record in the complex healthcare eco-system,” says John Sculley, former Apple CEO and Vice Chairman of RxAdvance. “What impressed me about Ravi and his team at RxAdvance is that they have all the essential components for success – a widely proven and successful revenue model, a solid platform and innovative thinking, a proven track record, and deep healthcare domain expertise capable of disrupting traditional paradigms throughout the care continuum. Through its innovative Collaborative PBM Cloud.”

He said RxAdvance is challenging large incumbent PBMs by disrupting their decades-old business and revenue models, and their risk-sharing models are unheard of in the PBM market.

“I believe this model will pave the path for new entrants from Silicon Valley. Oscar and Walter’s participation is a great testament to the proven model established by RxAdvance,” said Sculley.

RxAdvance is a national full-service pharmacy benefit manager that leverages Collaborative PBM Cloud™ to deliver integrated PBM services that reduce overall pharmacy costs, optimize specialty spend by converting from “buy and bill” to “manage and authorize”, and reduce avoidable drug-impacted medical costs while improving patient’s quality of life with unmatched regulatory compliance and transparency. In addition, RxAdvance offers a global pharmacy risk partnership model standing shoulder-to-shoulder with plan sponsors.

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Venture capital funding to financial tech startups halves in April-June in India

Aug 17, 2016 0

Kolkata– Amid a difficult climate for marketplace lenders and a drop in mega-round activity, investment to venture capital (VC) backed fintech startups fell 49 percent in April-June period, a report said on Wednesday.

VC investment in fintech (financial technology), however, remains strong in India.

The report – Pulse of Fintech published jointly by KPMG International and CB Insights — said that overall global investment in fintech companies across both venture-backed and non-venture-backed companies totalled US$9.4 billion in the April-June quarter (Q2).

In the period under review, VC-backed fintech companies raised US$2.5 billion across 195 deals, a 12 percent drop in deal volume compared to January-March period of 2016.

“Despite VC backed funding to fintech decreasing in Q2, overall fintech funding remains on track to surpass 2015 levels.

“Traditional financial institutions and banks of all sizes are realising that the opportunities associated with fintech are not about who has the deepest pockets – and so they are intensifying their innovation efforts,” said Ian Pollari, Global Co-Leader of Fintech, KPMG International.

“The decline in fintech financing and deals is in line with what we’re seeing in the broader venture environment for startups, as VCs as well as crossover investors are pushing back harder on profitability and business model concerns,” said Anand Sanwal, CEO of CB Insights.

In India, lending companies in the SME and P2P space attracted investments this quarter with Bengaluru and Mumbai bagging the top deals.

“We continue to see investment in key areas such as payments and mobile wallet as well as increased momentum in emerging areas like robo advisory,” said Neha Punater, Partner and Head of Fintech, KPMG in India.

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Messenger app Hike raises $175 million

Aug 16, 2016 0

New Delhi– Instant messenger app Hike on Tuesday announced that it raised financing of over 175 million led by Chinese company Tencent Holdings and Taiwanese electronic manufacturing company Foxconn Technology Group.

This has led to the value of the company amounting to close to around 1.4 billion, with existing investors Tiger, Bharti and SoftBank also participating in this round.

“Tencent and Foxconn both have pedigrees that speak for themselves and such investment shows the strong foundation on which Hike is being built. The new fund-raise is going to allow us to push Hike to greater heights and invest in areas that will be key to our long-term vision and success,” said Hike Founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal at an event held here.

This is the fourth venture capital round and the biggest to date for Hike, taking the total investment to over more than 250 million.

The company said it will be investing the raised fund in improving the technology of the app as well as for better service.

Talking about end-to-end encryption, Mittal said they were planning to introduce it soon and were in talks with the government.

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WhatsApp co-founder invests in Indian firm to push ‘connected cars’

Jul 11, 2016 0

New Delhi– In a move to speed up the availability of internet-connected cars in India, WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton with other global business leaders on Monday announced they will invest an undisclosed amount in Trak N Tell — a Gurgaon-based car tracking telematics solutions startup.

Founded in 2007, Trak N Tell is owned and operated by automotive telematics technology company Bits N Bytes Soft Pvt. Ltd.

“We are happy to see rising interest in the ‘connected cars’ space in India. This funding is indicative of the same and a global appreciation of our attempt to endorse the Make In India initiative,” said Pranshu Gupta, CEO of Trak N Tell, in a statement.

“We will launch a superior safety solution for individual car and bike owners in the country. Our aim is to offer an Indian version of connected cars that are available in Europe and North America,” he added.

Trak N Tell will deploy the raised funds towards product development and business expansion.

The company currently provides a GPS product that enables car owners and fleet owners to track their vehicles. It also allows for predictive engine failure, preventive maintenance notification, fuel monitoring system and more.

“Pranshu has extremely interesting plans for the Indian automotive market and I’m very excited to help him scale his business further as an investor. It is great to be part of Trak N Tell,” added Acton.

According to the global research firm IHS Automotive, 60 percent of all cars sold in the US (about 10 million) will be connected to the internet by 2017.

Globally, it is estimated that there are 23 million connected cars on the road today with projections for 152 million by 2020.(IANS)

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Funding dips in Indian e-commerce sector

Jul 5, 2016 0

Bengaluru–Fund raising in the Indian e-commerce sector declined 50 per cent in the April-June quarter over the same period of last fiscal, investment bank and securities firm Jefferies Group said on Tuesday.

“Private funding in the Indian e-commerce sector has declined 50 per cent on yearly and quarterly basis, confirming the downward trend over the months,” the American firm said in a report.

Barring leading hotel rooms’ aggregator Oyo, which raised $100-million in April, there were fewer large transactions, indicating a slowdown in private funding in the emerging sector.

Arya Sen

Arya Sen

Data shows fund raising declined sharply to $500 million in the quarter (Q1) under review from $1 billion in the like period over the last two fiscal years, Jefferies said.

Oyo raised its equity fund from SoftBank, GreenOaks Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital.

Observing that challenges were greater for larger firms looking for raising $100 million, Jefferies equity analyst Arya Sen said the revenue growth for Just Dial would be key for fund raising for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

“In response to the slowdown in funding, there has been a shift in focus to profitability by the larger e-tailers over the last 6-9 months from growth and general merchandise volume (GMV),” Sen recalled.

“Though most e-commerce firms are targeting to break even over the next 12-24 months by reducing discount, change in mix towards profitable categories and customers, change in strategy and loss of market share to the global e-tailer Amazon have slowed growth for many,” the report pointed out.

Funding into travel suggests that high burn will continue for MakeMytrip despite an overall slowdown in the category.

“Funding into travel space has remained strong with Goibigo, Oyo, Stayzilla and Fab Hotels raising money in the last five months,” the report noted.

Global multinational internet and media group Napsers is reported to have committed $250 million to Goibibo.

Jefferies expects 15 per cent revenue growth for Just Dial, with contribution from JD Omni, though its management indicated a gradual return to 20 percent revenue growth in this fiscal (FY 2017).

“Traction from JD will be key to look out for Just Dial guidance of 25,000 customers by this fiscal end and 10 per cent revenue growth contribution from Omni,” the report added. (IANS)

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Ratan Tata invests in chatbot

May 22, 2016 0

Kolkata–Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested an undisclosed amount in niki.ai, an artificial intelligence-based chatbot, a company founded by four IIT-Kharagpur alumni.

It was founded in April 2015 by IIT Kharagpur alumni Sachin Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi, Nitin Babel and Shishir Modi and has now grown to a 21-member team.

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

“niki.ai, an artificial intelligence (AI) based chatbot, announced that Ratan N. Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested in the company along with Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer that did a follow-up round to their first seed investment,” IIT-Kgp said in a statement on Saturday.

niki.ai leverages the technology of natural language processing and machine learning to converse with the customers over a simple chat interface, and places their orders within seconds with the partner businesses, the statement said.

Currently, Niki chatbot offers bill payments, cab booking, recharge, food ordering, home services, cricket scores, with many more applications in the pipeline, the statement said. (IANS)

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