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ETtech Deals Digest: BrowserStack, Vianai raise funds this week


India’s startup ecosystem minted another this week as BrowserStack became India’s highest-valued software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm after fresh fundraising. Vianai Systems, an artificial intelligence startup founded by former Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, raised funds from SoftBank Vision Fund 2.

BrowserStack becomes India’s highest-valued SaaS firm

BrowserStack, a web and mobile app testing platform, has
raised $200 million, led by storied Silicon Valley investor Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital, valuing the San Francisco and Mumbai-based company at $4 billion.

Why is it significant? The latest financing has made BrowserStack the most valued software as a service or SaaS company from India overtaking Freshworks which is preparing to go public in the US.

New entrant to the unicorn club: The Mumbai- and San Francisco-based company which was bootstrapped till a few years ago, will be the seventh Indian SaaS startup to enter the unicorn club — which consists of privately held firms with a valuation of $1 billion or more. Freshworks, Druva, Icertis, Postman, Zenoti and Chargebee are some of the ventures which are part of the coveted group.

SevenETtech

India’s SaaS sector has been attracting global investors, with its ‘build in India for the world’ model that has been viewed as highly cost-efficient and scalable.

Indian StartupsETtech

Meanwhile, tech-focused investor SoftBank Vision Fund is
set to invest $100 million in portfolio firm
MindTickle, a source aware of the matter said. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company is likely to be valued at $1.1 billion after the investment, catapulting it to the rarefied unicorn club.

Vianai raises $140 million

Vianai Systems, an artificial intelligence startup founded by former Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, has
secured $140 million in Series B funding from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and industry luminaries, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Vianai, which Sikka founded after his acrimonious exit from IT services giant Infosys in 2017, will utilise the capital to accelerate the delivery of its AI platform and products to enterprise customers.

deals digestETtech

Apart from Softbank, Vianai said its investors include Silver Lake co-founder Jim Davidson, KKR co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.

The company says it is building a human-centred AI platform, an approach that it says amplifies human judgement, thereby empowering domain experts with AI tools to deliver business value.

Apna.co valuation soars

Apna.co, a professional networking platform for blue- and grey-collar workers, has
bagged $70 million in a funding round led by US-based investors Insight Partners and Tiger Global.

Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital and Rocketship VC also participated in the latest fundraise.

The two-year-old startup has been valued post-money at $570 million, up five times from its previous round three months ago
when it raised $12 million. The Bengaluru-based company has received a total of $20 million from existing investors in the last 6-8 months.

FamPay raises one of the biggest Series A rounds

Fintech startup FamPay, which offers payments and financial services to teenagers, has
picked up $38 million in a Series A funding round, led by Elevation Capital and participation from existing investor Sequoia Capital India.

Other early investors such as Venture Highway, Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital as well as new investors General Catalyst, Rocketship VC and Greenoaks Capital also participated in the fundraising. The deal values FamPay at $150-$170 million, according to sources.

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The FamPay funding marks one of the largest Series A rounds in India’s startup ecosystem, with only
Ola Electric ($58 million in 2019) and
Mensa Brands ($50 million in May 2021) having received bigger cheques in their respective Series A rounds, according to data sourced from Venture Intelligence.

Top SeriesETtech

PharmEasy valued at $1.8 billion

Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital has
picked up a minority stake in online pharmacy PharmEasy for $20 million through a secondary deal, sources aware of the matter said. ET was the
first to report about the transaction on May 29.

PharmEasy is now valued at $1.8 billion, up from $1.5 billion in April, joining India’s fast-growing pool of unicorns — or those startups valued at $1 billion or more.

This comes just days after the Tatas
acquired a majority stake in rival e-pharmacy 1mg.

US-based investment firm Tiger Global is also finalising a $20 million primary capital infusion in PharmEasy’s parent API Holdings.

Other key deals

  • A special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) launched in the United States by private equity veteran Rohan Ajila and Manipal Group chairman Gautham Pai has raised $170 million via an initial public offering. Global Consumer Acquisition Corp (GCAC), listed on the Nasdaq, aims to acquire targets with an enterprise value of $500 million to $1 billion.
  • Mohalla Tech, the parent company of regional language social media platform ShareChat and short video app Moj, will buy back employee stocks worth $19.1 million, the company announced on Friday.
  • Venturi Partners, a consumer sector-focused fund that seeks to invest in India and Southeast Asia, has raised $100 million towards the first close of its maiden fund.
  • Inmobi-owned lock screen content platform Glance is making an entry into the fast-growing influencer-led commerce segment with the acquisition of Shop101 as it looks to take on giants TikTok and Instagram globally.
  • L&T Infotech is acquiring Pune-based Cuelogic Technologies in a $8.4-million deal, as it looks to tap into the market opportunity presented by digital engineering.
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