Indian startups raise $4.2b across 152 PE, VC transactions in November

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The startup ecosystem in India is bustling with activity.

Private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) firms pumped in a whopping $4.2 billion across 152 transactions in November, according to proprietary data compiled by DealStreetAsia.

While this is a tad lower when compared to the preceding month of October, the total funding amount last month goes on to signal how investors are betting big on the country’s burgeoning sector as entrepreneurs continue to adopt an innovative approach to cater to the new-age consumer.

In October, startups had collectively mopped up $4.65 billion across 162 transactions. Meanwhile, of the total transactions in November, the value of 27 deals was not disclosed.

At least six Indian startups made it to the unicorn club (startups valued at $1 billion and above) in November that include content-to-commerce platform Good Glamm, fitness startup Curefit, e-commerce rollup firm Mensa Brands, real estate platform NoBroker, online brokerage startup Upstox, and fintech startup Slice.

October, too, saw six startups enter the unicorn club. India has produced a total of 40 unicorns in 2021 so far. In its annual report on startups at the beginning of the year, Nasscom had stated that the country can expect to have at least 50 new unicorns emerge in the whole of 2021 – the biggest in India’s history so far.

In terms of mega deals (that were worth $100 million or more), November lagged behind October and witnessed only eight such deals. Their share in the month’s total deal value was about 73%. In comparison, October saw 16 mega deals, which accounted for about 70% of the total deal value.

Edtech decacorn Byju’s’ $1.2 billion debt deal marked the biggest transaction of the month. The Bengaluru-based firm earlier planned to raise $500 million through a term loan B (TLB) in the US. The company was last valued at around $18 billion during a funding round in October 2021, when it raised Rs 2,200 crore led by New York-based Oxshott Venture Fund.

Expand Table

Deals worth $100m or more

StartupHeadquarterInvestment Size (USD)Investment StageLead Investor(s)IndustryVerticals
Byju'sBengaluru$1.2 billionDebtUndisclosedEducation/TrainingEdTech
Dream Sports (Dream11)Mumbai$840 millionUndisclosedFalcon Edge, DST Global, D1 Capital, Redbird Capital, Tiger GlobalTravel & LeisureeSports
SliceBengaluru$220 millionSeries BTiger Global, Insight PartnersFinancial ServicesFintech
NoBrokerBengaluru$210 millionSeries EGeneral Atlantic, Tiger Global Management, Moore Strategic VenturesReal Estate Development & Operating Company Real Estate Tech
ZenworkHyderabad$161 millionPrivate EquitySpectrum EquitySoftwareSaaS
Good Glamm (formerly MyGlamm)Mumbai$150 millionSeries DProsus Ventures (Naspers), Warburg PincusConsumer ProductsBeauty & Hygiene
CureFitBengaluru$145 millionCorporateZomatoHealthcare ServicesFitness & Wellness
Mensa BrandsBengaluru$135 millionSeries BAlpha Wave VenturesRetailE-commerce

Byju’s deal drives education to top

Byju’s $1.2 billion debt deal pushed the education and training industry to the top, which garnered a total of $1.32 billion in funding across 16 deals. Byju’s has been aggressively splurging on acquisitions to take on competitors like Vedantu and Unacademy. In 2021 alone, the edtech decacorn has spent over $2 billion to expand its operations through the inorganic route. India has produced a total of five unicorns in the edtech space so far.

Other edtech startups to have raised funding during the month include BrightChamps, GENLEAP, Disprz, GetSetUp, Toppersnotes, Early Steps Academy, and Edvizo.

Travel/leisure was the second most funded industry in November as startups within the industry raised a total of $841 million across just two deals.

Among those that secured funding, Dream Sports, the parent company of online fantasy gaming startup Dream11, alone raised $840 million in a single round from Falcon Edge, DST Global, D1 Capital, Redbird Capital and Tiger Global at a valuation of $8 billion.

This goes on to show how online gaming gathered pace in India after the first phase of the COVID-19-induced lockdown in March last year. The Indian online gaming industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22% to touch $2 billion by 2023, up from $906 million in 2019, according to a report by All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and EY India. The sector reached $1.027 billion in 2020. Online gamers in India are forecasted to grow from 360 million in 2020 to 510 million in 2022.

Meanwhile, startups within the financial services industry collectively raised about $455.5 million across 26 transactions. Within financial services, fintech startup Slice raised the largest round of $220 million at a valuation of over $1 billion. The Series B round was led by New York-based investment firms Tiger Global and Insight Partners.

Together, the top three industries – education and training, travel and leisure, and financial services – raised a total of $2.6 billion, accounting for about 62% of the total deal value in the month.

Early-stage deals push up volume

Companies in Series B or post-Series B rounds collected an aggregate of $1.26 billion across 23 transactions in November as against $3.4 billion through 34 investments in October. Startups that raised big growth rounds in the month include Zoomcar, Good Glamm, Magicpin, Mensa Brands, and Slice, among others.

There were about seven debt deals worth $1.26 billion, while PE deals worth $181.5 million were closed in November. There were only two corporate deals during the month. Food delivery major Zomato led the largest corporate round of $145 million in fitness startup Curefit.

Deal volumes were led by early-stage transactions in November. There were a total of 56 pre-seed and seed deals worth $112.5 million in the month as against 48 deals worth $81.4 million in October. Startups in pre-Series A and Series A stages mopped up about $231.5 million across 32 transactions as against $228.6 million across 40 transactions in the previous month.

Most active investors

Sequoia Capital India, along with its startup accelerator programme Surge, invested in a total of eight startups, making it the highest investment by a single investor in the month.

The investor-led funding rounds for five startups including Mutlplier Brand Solutions, a professional employment organisation (PEO) platform for international hiring, health and wellness startup Mosaic Wellness, ecommerce enablement platform GoKwik, saas startup Toplyne, and parking solutions provder Park+.

Venture capital firms Tiger Global, Better Capital and Titan Capital emerged as the second most active investors with six investments 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.