Deskera raises $60m Series A from Jungle Ventures, Cisco Investments, Tembusu, others

Deskera's Shashank Dixit at DEALSTREETASIA's Asia PE-VC Summit 2017 in Singapore.

Singapore-based cloud platform startup Deskera has raised over $60 million in a Series A funding round from investors including Jungle Ventures, Cisco Investments, Tembusu Partners, Susquehanna International Group and Innoven Capital.

Founded in 2008, Deskera offers cloud-based solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia. Its solutions allows SMEs to track finances, manage customers, and hire and manage employees. According to Deskera, it is the largest cloud platform for SMEs in the region.

“I started Deskera with a singular mission to help SMEs by providing them access to leading-edge technology. Today we take another step towards that mission. With this investment, we aim to add more innovative solutions to our portfolio and to continue our global expansion,” said Shashank Dixit, CEO of Deskera.

Deskera is also launching Desk – a B2B commerce platform for SMEs.

According to an official statement, this platform brings together vendors, logistics, payments and customs under one umbrella. Deskera also claims this to be the first integrated B2B platform for SMEs in the region.

Dixit, in an earlier interaction with the portal, when sharing the Deskera story, admitted that every day in the first four years in the company’s existence was a tipping point.

The initial years involved walking door-to-door and selling to SMEs (small and medium enterprises), most of whom declined to buy the product, as adoption for cloud-based offerings was not as widespread as it is today. This was also a time that Dixit often slept at Singapore’s Changi airport for days at a stretch to save costs.

“The reason I did not quit was because of my personal family history. My mum would always say you failed. I come from a typical Indian middle-class family. If you are driven by your personal goals, you would do it. You need to have a personal stake and goal and ego in it. By definition, if there is something hard to achieve, the path will be hard,” Dixit had said.

During the earlier interaction, Dixit had also added that Deskera last raised about $20 million in convertible debt from SoftBank, Aris Prime, Partners Asset Management, Tembusu Partners, and Tikehau Capital. Deskera had also filed for an IPO in Singapore, but later postponed its listing plans.

For Tembusu, this marks the third time it has joined the cloud platform firm’s funding round. Its ICT Fund was involved in Deskera’s earlier round, and the followed it up with a subsequent convertible note, and a sister fund (to the ICT Fund) was involved in the current round. In total, Tembusu is learnt to have invested just under $30 million in the Singapore-based business management platform.

While 2008 is the official founding date, the origins of the company trace back to four years earlier to the university dorm of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur.

Dixit and the three co-founders—Somesh Misra, Brajesh Sachan, and Paritosh Mahana—during their final year of college, had built software for a local outlet near the campus to enable its offices in different locations to work on a common set of accounts. After graduating from IIT, the Deskera chief executive said he decided to make Singapore his base because the city-state provided an ideal opportunity with its low ERP (enterprise resource planning) penetration.

According to Dixit, the company was profit-making since last year. Deskera employs over 300 people with offices in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Dubai and eight Indian cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Pune.

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Cloud-based software provider Deskera makes big India push, in talks to raise funding from PE players