Two SaaS (software-as-a-service) startups make the cut in this roundup of rising startups in India. Others include a lingerie retailer, a hackathon holder, and a #startup connecting farmers with retailers and restaurants in Bangalore.
Ninjacart helps over 1,000 farmers sell their fruits and vegetables to restaurants and retailers in Bangalore, cutting out traditional middlemen. This gives fresher produce to buyers as well as better returns to farmers. Ninjacart has now raised US$5.5 million from Accel Partners, Nandan Nilekani’s NRJN Trust, Mistletoe, Qualcomm Ventures, and M&S Partners to scale up. It intends to use the funds to expand its team and invest in supply chain automation and data analytics.
In India, nearly a third of vegetables and fruits get wasted because of an inefficient supply chain and limited cold storage and distribution facilities. But Ninjacart claims it has less than 4 percent wastage in the supply chain.
“If you visit the city markets early morning, you will be shocked to see the way vegetables are stored and handled. At Ninjacart, all vegetables are handled in crates which are cleaned frequently and follow a one-touch handling method,” says Ninjacart co-founder Sharath Loganathan.
“The team has built a just-in-time logistics system, with which they are able to get the produce from farm to stores in less than 14 hours,” adds Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys whose trust invested in Ninjacart.
Ninjacart began in 2015 as an on-demand grocery delivery startup, but soon realized the bigger problem was in the back-end supply chain and logistics. Then it pivoted its business.
Delhi and San Francisco-based SaaS startup Squad has raised US$2.1 million from Blume Ventures, Contrarian Capital, 91springboard, Emergent Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Anthill Ventures, and Axilor Ventures. Its cloud-based software helps data-intensive businesses like ecommerce marketplaces break down business processes into efficient workflows. It then uses a combination of automation and an army of 75,000 people working out of their homes for simple tasks like curation of content and tagging products.
“We are excited by the disruption Squad is bringing to the outsourcing industry with its distributed workforce model,” says SD Shibulal, co-founder of IT giant Infosys and Axilor Ventures.
Bangalore-based HackerEarth, which helps tech professionals develop and showcase their talent and companies evaluate and hire tech talent, has raised US$4.5 million in a series A funding round. DHI Group, which owns recruitment portal Dice, led the round, with participation from Beenext, Beenos, Digital Garage, BizReach, and existing investor Prime Venture Partners.
HackerEarth also leverages its developer community to organize hackathons for clients. Going forward, it wants to make this an ongoing process, instead of an event-based one. Ideas can be posted on an enterprise collaboration platform, projects taken up, and these can be pushed to decision-makers.
Lingerie etailer Clovia has raised US$4 million in post-series A funding from Singularity Ventures and an individual investor. The Noida-based startup makes its own lingerie which it claims are designed to fit Indian body types.
Clovia claims to have over 1.5 million monthly visitors and the best working capital ratio in the lingerie industry in India. Close to 80 percent of its sales happen via its mobile website and app.
Founded in 2013, Clovia uses technology to track sales trends and patterns, and manages its inventory accordingly to keep the operational costs low. It is backed by Ivy Cap Ventures and Zurich-based Mountain Partners AG. Others in this space are Zivame and Pretty Secrets.
Japanese adtech company Freak Out has taken an equity stake in Bangalore-based data analytics startup DataWeave. Existing investors Blume Ventures, Herb Madan, WaterBridge Ventures, and others participated in the funding round. The amount of investment was not disclosed. DataWeave provides real-time insights to retailers and other businesses.
Last year, it partnered with Tokyo-based Acufan to enter the Japanese market. It also partnered with Singapore-headquartered Indian company Capillary Technologies to reach clients of its omnichannel customer engagement product.