Every Monday, I sit with my team to review the funding activity of the previous week. From that list, I pick out three companies that I would have loved to invest in or find founders doing similar things. Here is my rationale behind this weekly exercise.
Last week, 20 startups raised $612 million, starting 2021 on the right track as the previous few weeks' slowdowns get shaken off. Besides, the first leg of vaccines getting distributed means that economic activity should get a further boost. I suspect that 2021 could be the year that India produces it's most ever unicorns!
This week, 12 deals were in the early-stage rounds (compared to 7 last week), making my weekly analysis cut. After sifting through the news (aggregated from Tracxn, Inc42, and YourStory), I picked three as my favorite funding news from last week!
Amount Raised: $5m from Ramakant Sharma and Siddharth Shah.
What does Toothsi do?
Edited from AngelList: Toothsi is a new age startup in the dental space providing smile correction services at home. Toothsi utilizes revolutionary Clear Aligner technology to make teeth straightening hassle-free and affordable. A desirous patient can access superior quality, transparent, and convenient alternative to conventional braces treatment at home.
Why do I like Toothsi?
The concept of shipping invisible braces got pioneered by Zia Chisti over 20 years ago with Invisalign. Invisalign is available in India but priced at the premium most segment of the market with a ₹1.50-3.50 lakh ticket size.
Toothsi is priced much more reasonably in the ₹50,000-65,000 price point with several EMI options to make the service affordable. It will be interesting to see Toothsi's scale with their ₹4000 / month model and if they could scale an online-only direct-to-consumer medical device in India.
Name: Zerone Microsystems
Amount Raised: $1.3 million from IAN and TCA. It also saw participation from angel investors.
What does Zerone Microsystems do?
Edited from Tracxn: Zerone provides a POS app named ZUP POS to businesses for accepting payments. It facilitates payments via credit/debit cards, bank transfers, and wallets. The app is available on Android devices.
Why do I like Zerone Microsystems?
Digital payments and smart devices are ubiquitous in modern-day India, and their penetration in the deepest corners of India increases every-day. Therefore if your smartphone could double up as a POS device for collecting payments, it could truly make your business "mobile."
There isn't any defensibility in the physical contraption; therefore, the moneyspinner will be the tech-stack Zerone builds around their device.
Amount Raised: Rs 2.4 crore in a seed round from Unicorn India Ventures, with participation from SEA Fund and other angel investors.
What does Finsall do?
Edited from Tracxn: Finsall provides Insurance premium financing for consumers. It offers financing solutions to individuals who are not able to pay full insurance premium upfront. Funding of insurance premium is carried through business associates using a B2B mobile app. It provides financing for multiple policies, including employee benefits, medical & personal accident insurance policies, motor vehicles insurance policies, construction equipment, and others.
Why do I like Finsall?
Insurance penetration in India is increasing due to rising incomes, increasing urbanization, and a better understanding of the product. However, most Indian insurance policies require upfront annual payments that become a significant impediment for salaried people.
Providing EMI options on insurance policies was not acceptable to the insurance authorities; therefore, the financial innovation eluded this space. However, Finsall breaks that barrier, and their offering could usher in a fresh batch of insurance seekers!