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Startups Funding update of this week
In this week, two startups turned unicorn – fintech startup OneCard, and Blockchain startup 5ire

Startups Funding update of this week - The Economic Times

Image: ET

After a bitter start to the month, the second week of July saw a major uptick in the funding amount. Between July 11 and 16, the Indian startup ecosystem has managed to raise $448 Mn across 30 deals. This is a 286% increase from the $116 Mn that Indian startups raised last week across 24 deals.

Vegrow

Vegrow, a B2B agritech marketplace for fruits, has raised $25 Mn in its Series B investment round led by Proses Ventures.

The co-founder of Vegrow, Shobhit Jain, told ET that the agritech startup would use the incoming funds to expand its geographic presence, develop its tech stack and hire across multiple positions. The Bengaluru-based startup last raised $13 Mn in July 2021 in a Series A investment round.

Vegrow provides a range of tech solutions such as grading, packaging, logistics, and sales as a service to farmers, along with crop advisory, among other farming-related services. According to Jain, Vegrow processes more than 200 tonnes of fruits per day.

According to Vegrow, it has grown 15 times in the past year, with a gross margin of about 20%. “The growth has been unlocked on the back of our deep tech and data stack across the value chain. We have built capabilities to harness farmer chatter, estimate farmland produce, and measure demand across tier-I, II, and III markets,” he said.

According to Vegrow’s website, the fresh fruits & vegetable business has an addressable market size of $43 Bn. At the same time, suggested that India’s agritech opportunity is expected to grow to $24.1 Bn by 2025. A Bain & Company report pegs India’s agritech market at $35 Bn by 2025.

The annualized revenue run rate for Vegrow is $200 Mn. Within the next five years, we want to deliver a $5 Bn result and sustainably grow.

The government and investors have both grown more interested in agritech startups in the nation over the past few months.

Onecard

OneCard, a mobile-first credit card firm, became the 104th unicorn in India after it raised $100 million in a Series D round of funding led by Temasek.

In 2022 so far, India has produced more than 20 fintech unicorns, which include OneCard, Open, Oxyzo, and Yubi (formerly CredAvenue).

Existing investors like QED, Sequoia Capital, and Hummingbird Ventures also made investments in OneCard’s most recent round, which is owned by FPL Technologies of Pune.

The fundraising effort takes place just days after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cracked down on credit lines led by nonbanks using prepaid payment instruments (PPIs).

Temasek India confirmed the news of its investment in OneCard and stated that the company was unaffected by the recent RBI crackdown.

“OneCard is not impacted by the PPI guidelines because it was not a PPI issuer and like some of the other companies, which now have to rebuild their business model,” said Mohit Bhandari, managing director, investment (India), of Temasek.

“Onecard is a tech solution provider for the banks. It’s a proper credit card that the banks issue. OneCard, of course, plays a role as a technology solution provider there,” he said.

The company was founded in 2015 by Anurag Sinha, Rupesh Kumar, and Vibhav Hathi. The trio comes with a banking background.

5ire

5ire, a 5th generation Layer-1 (L1) blockchain network has raised $100 Mn in Series A funding from UK-based conglomerate SRAM & MRAM at a $1.5 Bn valuation.

With this, 5ire has become India’s 105th unicorn and 19th unicorn of 2022.

5ire was founded by Indian-origin entrepreneurs, Pratik Gauri and Prateek Dwivedi, along with web3 financier Vilma Mattila, in August 2021. The company had raised $21 Mn in Seed funding, within two months of incorporation.

In February, this year 5ire had also secured a $100 Mn capital commitment from GEM Global Yield LLC SCS (GGY), as it sought to file for an IPO. However, it didn’t materialize as the company has now opted to raise Series A instead of filing an IPO.

5ire has created a new L1 public blockchain called 5irechain that uses a Proof-of-Benefit methodology for consensus, in contrast to Bitcoin and Polygon, which have deployed Proof of Work or Proof of Stake.

We have the first mathematical model in the world that not only measures sustainability but also rewards it financially, according to co-founder Gauri.

The nodes are verified in this manner by a consensus. An innovative idea called “proof-of-benefit” assigns scores based on 650 environmental, social, and governance (ESG) parameters and the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.

According to Gauri, 5irechain is not only more efficient than other traditional blockchains but also the most environmentally friendly.

Some Other Updates

Healthtech startup MediBuddy has acquired rural India-focused online consultation platform Clinix for an undisclosed sum.

UpGrad Rekrut, a full subsidiary of edtech unicorn upgrade, has acquired WOLVES India, a recruitment and staffing company, for an undisclosed sum.

LifeCell International has acquired telemedicine startup MFine and created a new entity called LifeWell.

Electric ride-hailing startup BluSmart is reportedly close to raising $250 Mn from investors including BP Ventures

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