India’s highest funded edtech #startup, a self-checkout app for retail stores, and an Indian mobile operating system are the stars in today’s roundup of rising startups in India.
India’s highest funded edtech startup Byju’s has taken another step towards taking its learning app into global markets. It announced an undisclosed amount of investment from Verlinvest of Belgium, whose Asian investments include Lazada, Sula Wines, and the Future Group.
“A 1:1 learning experience is a dream ratio … We have seen a lot of edtech companies, but Byju’s offers personalized learning to an extent which we haven’t seen in any product across the globe,” says Verlinvest executive director Nicholas Cator. Byju’s raised US$125 million in two funding rounds last year, and claims 8 million students are using its learning app which has 400,000 paid annual subscriptions.
Bangalore-based Perpule has a GPS-enabled app to help users find retail stores and do self-checkouts to avoid standing in queues. This solves a key pain point of retail stores, especially during weekend rush time when abandoned carts pile up. Plus, the user data captured on the app can help offline stores with the kind of personalization and marketing that has become the norm in online retail.
Perpule has announced seed funding of US$650,000 from Kstart Capital, which is an early stage investment and acceleration arm of Kalaaari Capital. The funding will help Perpule in expansion. It is already live in leading retail chain HyperCity and running pilot programs in other stores.
Healthcare startup Medinfi has raised US$50,000 in angel funding, bringing its total funding to US$700,000. Angels that participated this time include Vinod Martin from Singapore, N Srinivas Krishna from the US, and Prijit Debnath from Germany.
Medinfi runs an online database of health practitioners and clinics. Users can find doctors and clinics according to their location. The startup offers reviews, serving as a kind of Trip Advisor for patients.
Its blog features articles and insights on health issues from children’s health to nutrition and lifestyle. Founder and CEO Ravi Shankar Mishra tells Tech in Asia the funding will go towards expanding Medinfi to 50 cities in India, up from its current 30.
Ithaka – named after the Greek island made famous in Homer’s Odyssey – helps travelers get advice on the go by chatting with experts. Apart from places to visit and things to do, experts help travelers with the nitty-gritty like foreign exchange, local SIM cards, and wifi. Contrary to the drive for automation in most travel planning apps, Ithaka has gone the retro way with human intelligence. “We don’t really believe that artificial intelligence will take over the world as soon as people think that it will,” Ithaka co-founder Ameya Sahasrabudhe told Tech in Asia in a recent interview. Instead, automation will be added on as the database of queries and answers builds up.
The initially bootstrapped startup has now raised US$325,000 in funding from angel investors based in India, Singapore, and the US, including LinkedIn Pulse co-founder Ankit Gupta. It currently helps people traveling to Thailand and Indonesia, but plans to expand across Southeast Asia this year.
Mumbai-based fashion ecommerce startup Fynd has raised US$500,000 in a series A round of funding led by Venture Catalysts. This startup is different from the identically named Fynd of Singapore that recently graduated from the JFDI accelerator.
India’s Fynd has an offline-to-online (O2O) model that helps retailers offer their inventories online for customers in the neighborhood to find. Facebook executive and former Snapdeal CPO Anand Chandrasekharan is among its backers. “Early last year, we completed the preliminary testing of our business model and were scaling up our business from Mumbai to a pan-India presence. At that time, we realized the need for expertise from mentors who can guide us in building our product and also give us better industry exposure,” says Fynd co-founder Harsh Shah.
Mumbai-based startup Indus OS has a mobile operating system that works in multiple Indian regional languages apart from English, making predictive typing and translation easier. This has proved popular in the world’s fastest growing smartphone market where the majority of users lack fluency in English. Last year, it overtook iOS to occupy second place after Android in the Indian market.
Indus OS has announced a second series A round of an undisclosed amount from Ventureast and JSW Ventures. The company will soon be opening an office in China to partner with smartphone makers.
This article has an input from Michael Tegos