Indian startups mop up $4.86b in PE-VC funding in Dec, deal count at two-year high

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Indian startups raised over $4.86 billion in December 2021 across a record 201 private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) transactions — the highest deal count in two years.

In November, as many as 154 transactions were clocked worth $4.55 billion. In October, the figures were a tad higher as startups collectively mopped up $4.65 billion across 162 transactions.

The increase in value last month can be attributed to the big-ticket deals across financial services, automobiles, transportation, and retail, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

Out of the total transactions in December, the value of 32 deals was not disclosed.

Interestingly, the year 2021 went down in history as the one that created the highest number of unicorns — or startups valued at $1 billion.

In December alone, at least three Indian startups namely healthtech firm Pristyn Care, baby and mother care brand Mamaearth, and e-commerce roll-up venture GlobalBees made it to the coveted unicorn club. In comparison, seven startups entered the unicorn club in November.

The fundraising growth in December was fuelled by 14 mega deals (that were worth $100 million or above) that were worth $3.3 billion, accounting for 68% of the total deal value.

Mega deals in November and October stood at nine and 16, respectively.

Deals worth over $100m in Dec

Expand Table

StartupHeadquarterInvestment Size (USD)Investment StageLead Investor(s)IndustryVerticals
Ola Bengaluru500 millionDebtUndisclosedTransportation ServicesRidesharing/Transport
Cars24Gurugram400 millionSeries GAlpha Wave GlobalAutomobiles Other Vehicles & PartsE-commerce
RazorpayBengaluru375 millionSeries FLone Pine Capital, Alkeon Capital, TCVFinancial ServicesFintech
OfbusinessDelhi325 millionSeries GAlpha Wave Ventures II, Tiger Global Management, SoftBank Vision Fund 2Financial ServicesFintech
Spinny Gurugram283 millionSeries EADQ, Tiger Global, Avenir GrowthAutomobiles Other Vehicles & PartsE-commerce
ShareChatBengaluru266 millionSeries GAlkeon CapitalInternetSocial Media
ZetwerkBengaluru210 millionSeries FGreenoaks CapitalIndustrial MachineryN/A
ShiprocketDelhi185 millionSeries EZomato Ltd, Temasek Holdings, Lightrock IndiaLogistics/DistributionE-commerce
InnovaccerNoida150 millionSeries EMubadala CapitalHealthcare ITHealthTech
NinjacartBengaluru145 millionUndisclosedFlipkart India, WalmartLogistics/DistributionAgTech
OlaBengaluru139 millionSeries JEdelweiss PETransportation ServicesRidesharing/Transport
GlobalBeesDelhi111.5 millionSeries BPremji InvestRetailE-commerce
BizongoMumbai110 millionSeries DTiger GlobalPackagingE-commerce
ZeptoMumbai100 millionSeries CY-CombinatorRetailE-commerce

Ride-hailing firm Ola’s $500 million debt deal that saw the participation of international institutional investors marked the biggest transaction of the month. The company separately raised another $139 million (Rs 1,049 crore) as part of its Series J funding round in the same month.

Edelweiss Crossover Opportunity Fund contributed Rs 250 crore in that round, while IIFL Special Opportunity Fund and IIFL Monopolistic Market Intermediaries Fund pumped in Rs 187 crore collectively.

The funding in the SoftBank-backed company came in at a time when it is preparing to make its public market debut in the first half of this year. The company, which competes with US-based Uber Technologies in the Indian ride-hailing market, plans to raise up to $1 billion through an IPO.

Financial services sector grabs lion’s share

Financial services startups have been among the top beneficiaries of COVID-19 induced digitisation.

Startups within the sector raised a whopping $1.18 billion across 31 transactions in December. The biggest deal during the month was clinched by Bengaluru-based payments processing platform Razorpay, which raised $375 million in its Series F round co-led by Lone Pine Capital, Alkeon Capital and TCV.

The startup’s valuation more than doubled to hit $7.5 billion in just eight months. It was valued at $3 billion after raising $160-million Series E round led by Singapore wealth fund GIC in April 2021.

The startup’s valuation more than doubled to hit $7.5 billion in just eight months. It was valued at $3 billion after raising $160-million Series E round led by Singapore wealth fund GIC in April 2021.

In yet another big-ticket transaction, OfBusiness, a business-to-business (B2B) commerce startup, raised $325 million from Alpha Wave Global, Tiger Global and SoftBank Vision Fund 2 at a valuation of $5 billion.

Automobiles occupied the second spot with startups within the industry raising $729.5 million across seven deals.

Gurugram-based used car marketplace Cars24, backed by Japanese behemoth Softbank, raised $400 million as a part of its Series G funding round in the biggest deal. The equity part in the round was led by the startup’s existing investor Alpha Wave Global, earlier known as Falcon Edge Capital.

Meanwhile, its competitor Spinny closed its $283 million Series E funding round from new and existing investors in December. The round was led by Abu Dhabi based-ADQ, Tiger Global and Avenir Growth.

Ola’s two rounds worth $639 pushed the transportation industry to the third spot that in total garnered $699 million across mere four transactions.

Together, the top three industries – financial services, automobiles other vehicles & parts, and transportation services, raked in $2.6 billion, accounting for 53% of the total deal value.

Growth-stage deals dominate value

Companies in Series B or post-Series B rounds collected an aggregate of $3.72 billion across 40 transactions in December as against $1.62 billion across 25 transactions in November. The growth-stage deals accounted for about 76.5% of the total deal value in December.

There were about six debt deals worth $517.7 million, while PE deals worth $43.9 million were closed in December.

Meanwhile, early-stage funding rounds pushed deal volume to a record high in December. There were a total of 75 pre-seed and seed deals worth $82.7 in December as against 56 pre-seed and seed deals worth $112.5 million in November.

Some of the big seed rounds were raised by AI-based teaching assistant startup ByteLearn, electric mobility technology platform MoEVing, water ecommerce startup OwO Technologies, AI-powered content creation and marketing platform Simplified, and investment-tech startup Stack, among others.

Startups in pre-Series A and Series A stages mopped up about $240.4 million across 45 transactions last month. The total value of pre-Series A and Series A rounds was worth $231.5 million across 32 transactions in November.

Most active investors

Venture Catalysts, along with its accelerator fund 9Unicorns, emerged as the most active investor in December with at least 16 deals in its kitty. They led funding rounds for fintech startup Tyke, AI-based teaching assistant startup ByteLearn, Music licensing app Hoopr, pseudonymous social network Zorro, EV-charging infra startup Charge+Zone, and personal care startup Clensta International, among others.

New York based investment firm Tiger Global occupied the second spot with at least nine deals. The firm was a lead investor in raw material procurement and business financing platform OfBusiness, used car buying platform Spinny, neobank Jupiter, Cloud kitchen startup EatClub Brands (BOX8), online marketplace for seafood Captain Fresh, and and e-commerce focused packaging company Bizongo.

Y Combinator and We Founder Circle made at least eight investment each while Inflection Point Ventures and Sequoia Capital India invested in seven startups each.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.