Travel booking site EaseMyTrip plans to raise Rs 1,500 crore ($210 million) through an initial public offer, potentially becoming the first company in the online travel booking space to list in India, according to people briefed on the matter. Rival MakeMyTrip, which is at least four times bigger than EaseMyTrip by revenue, listed on the Nasdaq in 2010 after a $70 million IPO. EaseMyTrip was founded by siblings Nishant and Rikant Pitti 10 years ago. The founders expect the business to be valued at between Rs 6,000 crore and Rs 7,500 crore.
Hotstar which has 150Mn active users has earmarked $16.9 Mn (INR 120 Cr) for original content. In a bid to compete with both the domestic and foreign over-the-top (OTT) players, Mumbai-based video streaming provider Hotstar announced the launch of its original content vertical called Hotstar Specials. For its first set of originals, the company has partnered with some of the popular film makers, directors and actors including Shekhar Kapur, Neeraj Pandey, Kabir Khan, Sudhir Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Salman Khan. The special programmes will be available to the users in seven different languages.
Online sellers’ body All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) have moved National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLT) challenging a November 2018 ruling by Competition Commission of India. The CCI had ruled in favour of e-tailers like Flipkart and Amazon over alleged use of their dominant market position to favour a select number of sellers. AIOVA said that they will file a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against Flipkart if their appeal in the NCLTfails.
Leverage EdTech, which owns and operates artificial intelligence-based ed-tech marketplace Leverage Edu, has raised about $1.3 million (Rs 9.2 crore) in its Pre-series A funding round, led by DSG Consumer Partners and Blume Ventures. As per Leverage Edu founder Akshay Chaturvedi, the startup will use the proceeds to grow its team, expand to tier-2 cities, and further invest in product development (particularly in K-12 segment). Also, the company has grown from a college admissions platform to a complete career growth platform helping students with mentorship and assessments, applying for undergraduate and post-graduate programmes and career advice from best-matched experts.
Agri-tech startup WayCool has raised Rs 120 crore from LGT Impact, Northern Arc Capital and Caspian in a combination of equity and debt. The above companies are prominent angel investors and institutional leaders. Founded in 2015 in Chennai by Karthik Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari, WayCool is a food distribution platform leveraging innovative technology to scale up and operate a complex supply chain by serving across multiple channels and categories such as fresh produce, staples and dairy catering over 4,000 clients. WayCool will use the new funds to scale operation across southern and western India, upgrade technology, automate distribution lines, etc.
Pune based Sarvatra Technologies is in talks to raise $20 million (Rs 142 crore) to fund the national expansion of its micro automated teller machine (ATM) network. Currently, the company provides technology services to rural banks and has installed 100 micro ATMs at their branches, aiming to increase the number to 1000 ATMs by March 2019. Sarvatra plans to offer such ATMs at district and taluka levels. Currently, these ATMs are operated by banks under their own name but the company plans to set up such machines under its own brand called the Sarvatra Mini ATM.
As reported by The Information, Japan's SoftBank Corp plans to lead another investment round in Katerra that would value the California-based technology-driven construction company at more than $4 billion. The $700 million investment will be led by SoftBank's Vision Fund and will pull Katerra's total equity capital past $2 billion. Katerra declined to comment on the matter, while SoftBank was not immediately available to comment. Last year, SoftBank had also led Katerra's $850 million Series D round of financing.
In a bid to expand market share, Uber's senior director Komal Mangtani said that the cab-hailing app is looking to double its headcount in India in 2019. The company currently has 500 plus engineers in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Mangtani heads Business Intelligence at Uber and was named by Forbes among America’s top 50 female technology moguls in 2018.
Bengaluru-based bike rental startup Vogo, owned by Vogo Automotive Pvt Ltd, has raised $8.87 Mn (Rs 62.78 Cr) as part of its ongoing Series B funding round by issuing preference shares to its investors. Kalaari Capital Partners III, LLC has bought 33,266 shares for $4.18 Mn (Rs 29.6 Cr), followed by Stellaris Venture Partners India I that invested $2.24 Mn (Rs 15.88 Cr). Matrix Partners India Investments III, LLC and Pawan Munjal family trust invested $2.19 Mn (Rs 15.5 Cr) and $251K (Rs 1.77 Cr), respectively. Currently, Vogo is operational in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Manipal, and Mysuru.
Fashion e-tailer Myntra on Monday said Ananth Narayanan has resigned as CEO of Myntra and Jabong, ending months of speculation about his exit. Amar Nagaram has been named as Head, Myntra and Jabong, and will report to Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, it added. Speculation is rife that Narayanan may move to content streaming platform Hotstar.
Founded by former e-Bay executives Ambareesh Murty and Ashish Shah in 2011, Pepperfry has so far raised about $197 million. Being early investors, Goldman Sachs PE, Norwest Venture Partners and Bertelsmann India may further invest $100 million to help Pepperfry diversify and expand its offline presence. Norwest Venture Partners and Bertelsmann India had invested $15 million in 2014 and Goldman Sachs led a $100-million round along with Norwest and Bertelsmann in 2015, followed on by an additional Rs 210 crore in 2016. In May last year, Pepperfry also raised Rs 250 crore from State Street Global Advisors.
As per Karan Virwani, CEO WeWork India, all buildings of the shared workspace provider WeWork have over 90% occupancy and are profitable along with a positive cash flow within six months. However, the New York-headquartered company’s Indian arm posted a net loss of Rs 76 crore in FY18. Revenues stood at Rs 58.2 crore as per financials. With 8,800 desks until March last year, a back calculation shows that each desk earned revenues of about Rs 66,000 but lost Rs 88,000 per desk on an average. WeWork plans to reach a desk count of 1.15 lakh by 2019-20.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the country’s largest startup ecosystem in Kochi at the technology innovation zone (TIZ) on Sunday with 1.8 lakh sq.ft facility of housing incubation infrastructure spread across a variety of sectors in technology. This complex has been opened under the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) consisting of ultra modern facilities of Maker Village that promotes hardware startups, the Bionest that promotes medical technologies, BRINC, the country's first international accelerator for hardware startups; BRIC which aids developing solutions for cancer diagnosis and care, and a centre of excellence set up by industry majors such as UNITY.
Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal has invested $21 million in India’s largest cab-aggregator platform Ola, owned by ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd. Bansal was allotted 70,588 series J preference shares at a price of Rs 21,250 per share, according to RoC documents filed. Bansal is expected to infuse further capital into Ola. This is Bansal’s first investment after he quit Flipkart following his stake sale to Walmart. In the same round of funding, Ola received $74 million from existing backer Steadview Capital which pegged Ola’s valuation at $5.7 billion.
Amazon India is gearing up to launch its 4-day long ‘Amazon Great Indian Sale’ starting from January 20. The e-tailer is promising deals on consumer electronics, fashion, home & kitchen, large appliances, daily essentials and smartphone brands like Apple, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Honor, Realme and Samsung. Amazon said it would offer discounts on brands like Puma, Red Tape, Bata, MotherCare, Vero Moda, Fastrack, among others. The new FDI policy on e-commerce would kick in from February 1 which could restrict the steep online discounts offered by e-tailers. Amazon will also be promoting handloom and handicraft products from across the country.