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Happy November for Indian Startups

Startup scene in India has witnessed dynamic growth in 2015, whether it is technology, fashion portals, cab-hailing or grocery apps. India ranked amongst the 4th largest startup hub globally with thousands of startups in the country. Our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi also ignited the minds of Indian’s with his statement on Independence day’ 2015 “Startup India, Stand up India”. According to data compiled by YourStory Portal, startups had raised $1.7 billion in Q1 2015 alone. The number of deals in Q2 2015 has increase by around 50% from the previous quarter. In the past two-quarters, the ecosystem has attracted savvy investors of the world from Softbank to DST Global.

So, Last month I have penned down a couple of startup funding stories like Styletag, Goodbox, Cashkaro, ScoopWhoop, Ola & Grofers .

Styletag : Fashion Portal for Designer Clothing

Styletag, a fashion flash sales site in India, has landed $7.5 million in angel funding from Jitu Virwani.

Jitu Virwani is best known as the Chairman and Managing Director of Embassy Group, India’s one of the largest real-estate companies (though the investment was made from his personal funds).

Before launching Styletag in 2012, founder’s Mrs. Yashodhara and Mr. Sanjay Shroff, a hubby-and-wife team, spent more than 20 years running a line of boutiques called ffolio in southern India.

In 2014, Styletag’s gross sales was around $3 million, a number the company expects to jump to almost $10 million in 2015.

Styletag will use its angel funding to increase inventory, hiring senior level employees, & launching Android and iOS apps in December’ 2015. It also plans to launch chains of stores pan India. Customers can purchase clothing from Styletag’s small brick-and-mortar shops, but they are also a valuable marketing tool for the site, says CEO Mr. Sanjay Shroff.

Goodbox : Chat, Order, Pay Directly

Goodbox, a startup based in Bengaluru, wants to give small retailers a chance to take part in India’s e-commerce boom by making it easy to set up a store on its marketplace app.Goodbox just raised a $2.5 million Series A from Nexus Venture Partners, sets itself apart from other online marketplaces with low transaction fees and unique features like in-app messaging that lets customers chat with merchants, recreating the kind of customer service they would get in a brick-and-mortar store.

“A lot of merchants feel pressure to participate in e-commerce, but they are angry about commissions. So we created a business model where they can still sell online, but don’t have to pay such high commissions,” says co-founder and chief executive officer Abey Zachariah. “We see ourselves as enablers for offline retailers that don’t have an online presence, so they can build an app presence without burning a hole their pocket.”

Since launching earlier this year, Goodbox has signed up over 1.2K merchants in Bengaluru, who serve a total of about 30K customers and manage their orders and inventory through the Goodbox mobile app. The company claims the app lets vendors (which include supermarkets, restaurants, and service providers like movers, salons, and laundry chain) set up a mobile store in just a few minutes.

CashKaro : Cashback & Coupons Portal

CashKaro, which claims to be India’s largest cashback and coupon site, is planning to expand into new countries after raising a $3.8 million Series A from Kalaari Capital. Founded in 2013 by husband-and-wife pair Rohan and Swati Bhargava, CashKaro works with more than 1 thousand plus e-commerce sites and makes money through their affiliate programs.

Since its launch in April 2013, CashKaro has credited about $3 million in cashbacks, an amount it expects to reach $5.4 million in the next few months.

CashKaro will use its Series A (it previously raised $750,000 in angel funding) on marketing, a mobile app that will launch next year, and expansion into Southeast Asia, starting with Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

“You can see products from top e-commerce players, compare them, what prices they are, what cashback offers are available, and then go through our site to buy,” says Bhargava.”We try to make a one-stop shopping destination, instead of just a one-stop saving destination.”

ScoopWhoop : Internet Media and News Portal ( Where you Get the Most Viral Indian Content on the Web)

Internet media and news portal Scoopwhoop Media Pvt Ltd has raised $1.6 million, in latest round of funding by the New Delhi-based startup last year, from Ignite World, which was formerly known as Bharti SoftBank, a joint venture between telecommunications major Bharti Enterprises and Japanese media, internet and telecom giant SoftBank Corp.

The fresh funds will be primarily used by ScoopWhoop to expand its video production unit, ‘ScoopWhoop Talkies’. However, the exact terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

According to the company, the funding will also be invested in hiring fresh editorial resources across beats for different publications.

“In the last 12 months we have grown almost 300%. We’ve managed to put a great team together, across portals, that drives almost 20 million unique visitors monthly. And, with this funding we look forward to being the number one digital media company in India by 2017,” said Sattvik Mishra, Co-founder, CEO, ScoopWhoop Media.

“ScoopWhoop aims to gratify the needs of the millennial generation who relish entertainment and hard-core news in the same vein. We were the first ones to recognise this paradigm shift and created content customised for this target audience,” Mishra said.

ScoopWhoop is after the market that Jonah Peretti, one of BuzzFeed’s co-founders, once described as the “Bored-at-Work Network” — essentially bored office workers looking for fun posts that are easy to understand and shareable, but have a social imperative.

“ScoopWhoop is well on its way to becoming a highly influential new media company for India’s 200 million-plus internet and social media-savvy youth population. By combining strong editorial capabilities with technology and smart analytics, they are in a position to leverage the massive shift from traditional media to digital advertising,” said Bala Srinivasa, partner, Kalaari Capital.

Ola Raises $500M In Funding, Now Valued At $5 Billion

Online cab aggregator Ola has raised Series F funding worth $500 million from Baillie Gifford, Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group, DST Global and China’s Didi Kuaidi. Ola said it would use the funds to “further accelerate growth in the Indian market with a focus on building mobility for a billion people”.

In a statement to announce the latest funding, Ola said it had grown 30 times in the past year and is now clocking over a million booking requests daily. It has 350,000 vehicles registered on its platform and operates in 102 Indian cities. The new funds will also go towards finding inventive mobility solutions for the Indian market.

The Bangalore-based Ola is global cab-hailing app leader Uber’s biggest rival in India. Uber India currently operates in 22 Indian cities and is targeting a million rides in the country in 2016. India is a critical and huge potential market for Uber whose expansion in the world’s other large market, China, has been eclipsed by local rival, Didi Kuaidi.

Grofers - Online Grocery Shopping App

Grofers, has raised $120 million in fresh funding led by Japanese internet conglomerate SoftBank Corp. Existing investors in the 2 year old Gurgaon-based company, Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital and Apoletto Managers, a personal fund managed by DST Global’s partners, have also participated in this new round, the third one this year for Grofers.

Albinder Dhindsa, founder & CEO, Grofers, confirmed the development toTOI exclusively.

Founded by Saurabh Kumar and Dhindsa in 2013, Grofers allows users to order products ranging from grocery to pet supplies and electronic products online. It enables delivery within 90 minutes. Grofers, which operates on a marketplace model, fulfills about 30,000 orders daily.

Grofers competes with other grocery marketplaces such as PepperTap and ZopNow. Inventory-led firms such as BigBasket, LocalBanya and EkStop, a Mumbai-based e-grocery which was acquired by Godrej Nature’s Basket, can also be counted as Grofers’ competition.

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