India Dealbook: mCaffeine, Jadooz, LetzConnect raise funding; Droom sets up AI lab

Photo: Reuters

The burgeoning startup ecosystem is abuzz with action. RP-SG Ventures, a fund sponsored by the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group invested in mCaffeine, while Artha Venture Fund has led a Rs 1.85 crore ($270,000) seed funding round in Jadooz Media Solutions. Educational networking portal LetzConnect, too, has raised a pre-Series A funding round to facilitate its expansion plans. In a separate development, online automobile marketplace Droom invested Rs 50 crore ($7.25 million) to expand its operations and set up an artificial intelligence (AI) lab.

RP-SG Ventures leads $2m investment in mCaffeine 

Early-stage venture capital fund RP-SG Ventures has led a $2 million investment in mCaffeine, a caffeine-infused skin and hair care brand, according to an announcement.

This marks the Series A funding round for the startup. Other investors who participated in the funding include Apurva Salarpuria, LV Angel Fund, KRS Jamwal and Telama Investments. RP-SG Ventures is a fund sponsored by the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group.

mCaffeine, founded in October 2016, plans to use the funds to invest in research and development, spruce up distribution across digital channels and to expand its operation. The startup, which specializes in face care, hair care and body care, has 10 products under its umbrella.

Artha Venture Fund leads seed round in Jadooz Media Solutions

Artha Venture Fund has led a Rs 1.85 crore ($270,000) seed funding round in Jadooz Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which owns and operates cinema halls, virtual reality (VR) centres and cafes in towns and villages in India, according to an announcement.

The startup plans to use the capital to build 10 entertainment zones across the country.

Founded in 2017, Jadooz caters to small towns wherein the average per family income stands at about Rs 15,000-35,000 per month.

The company currently has three entertainment zones in Varanasi, Thumuluru and Kakinada. Going forward, it plans to launch 25 -35 centres by the end of 2019.

Droom sets up AI lab with $7.25m investment

Online automobile marketplace Droom has invested Rs 50 crore ($7.25 million) to expand its operations and set up an artificial intelligence (AI) lab.

The company that has, so far, raised close to $125 million over six rounds, will leverage technological interventions such as AI, machine learning and big data for its marketplace for used automobiles.

Its existing backers include Lightbox, Beenext, Beenos, Digital Garage, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Integrated Assets Management, besides the family office of Japanese based investor Joe Hirao, Founder ZIGExN.

The company claims to have as many as 270,000 auto dealers registered on its platform. It has reportedly sold six lakh vehicles over the past four years.

SucSEED Venture Partners invests in LetzConnect

SucSEED Venture Partners has invested in educational networking portal LetzConnect, in a pre-Series A funding round to facilitate its expansion plans.

Obopay Mobile technologies & Japanese Investor Syndicate also participated in the funding round.

LetzConnect, a unique and collaborative platform, offers ‘knowledge connectivity’ to students and faculty in a bid to promote seamless interaction between the two.

The current round of funding will help the company to scale up its operations, thereby building a sophisticated AI block within its ecosystem.

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.