Every Monday, I sit with my team to review the funding activity of the previous week. From that list, I pick out a few 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, 28 startups raised $300 million, and the most heartening statistic to track here is that the number of deals closed went over 4 deals a day. I wonder how long it must have been since we have had such a week, but it is a precursor for bigger things to come!
This week, 12 deals were in the early-stage rounds (compared to 14 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: ₹9 crores from Nexus Venture Partners
What does Unlu do?
Edited from Tracxn: Unlu is an online platform offering personalized video messages from celebrities. Users can select, request, and receive video messages from recognized stars. Its app is available on the Android and IOS platforms.
Why do I like Unlu?
While many platforms offer celebrities' wishes, I liked that Unlu combines celebrity wishing and teaching into a single platform – like a Masterclass meets Wysh.
If successfully executed, it would allow the platform to upsell classes to certain celebrities or influencers. Whether it would translate into lower CAC would be very interesting to see.
Amount Raised: Undisclosed amount from Venture Catalysts, Titan Capital, Better Capital, Ritesh Agarwal, and Anupam Mittal.
What does Zingbus do?
Edited from Tracxn: Zingbus is an app-based intercity bus booking platform. Users can book their bus tickets by providing details like destination place, journey date & more. It offers features like live-tracking, on-time departure & more. Their app is available for Android devices.
Why do I like Zingbus?
Although a heavy operational play, there is evidence that Indian customers are willing to pay a bit extra for safety and comfort. Players like Zingbus could be interesting, especially if they could tap the value-conscious budget traveler who wants comfort at an affordable price. If the Zingbus team cracks this segment, they could be a fascinating play!
Amount Raised: ₹3 crores from Indian Angel Network
What does Automatapi do?
Edited from Tracxn: AutomataPi provides a self-learning cognitive business process automation engine that helps enterprises automate and optimize business process workflows. Claims to use machine learning and other neural network processes to build self-learning predictive algorithms. Provides 'Automatons,' which can be integrated through SDKs and REST API calls. They provide on-premise and cloud-based versions. Also, it provides consultancy services for business data intelligence, process automation, and enterprise integration intelligence.
Why do I like Automatapi?
With so many different apps and platforms, having a single platform like Automatapi that delivers automation vs. do-it-yourself API integration platforms makes a lot more sense. I am in their target segment because I want most of our processes to get automated, and I understand the cost benefits for this project. But I do not have time to do the automation on my own or through Zapier like platform.
I love that the Automatapi website claims to charge per outcome (I do not know how it works), so they back their work (at face value). However, I would like to keep an eye on their customers' stickiness and whether they could increase their billing per customer.