Freshdesk Rebrands to Freshworks; Pinterest Raises $150M; Lightbox May Raise a New Fund in 2018 & More

Mumbai-based health and fitness discovery platform Growfitter has raised $600K in a Pre-Series A round of funding from San Francisco-based VC SQue Capital.

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Here is a list of deals that happened in Indian Startup Ecosystem today including funding, merger, acquisition, fund launch etc. Read a brief description about all of them:

1. Software as a Service (SaaS) startup, Freshdesk has rebranded itself as Freshworks Inc. The company’s core customer support helpdesk product will continue to be called Freshdesk, which will exist under the Freshworks umbrella. "While Freshdesk continued to grow exponentially, as a company, we moved beyond customer service by offering innovative products in the ITSM and CRM domains," CEO Girish Mathrubootham said. "We felt that this was the right time to create a new brand that would allow us to tell our multi-product story better."

2. Pinterest, which develops visual search technology and allows users to save images on its website, has raised $150 million from existing investors in its latest round of funding at a valuation of $12.3 billion. The latest funding round has increased the company's valuation from $11 billion when Pinterest raised $367 million in March 2015. The firm will use the latest funding for further investments in visual technology and global expansion.

3. Venture capital (VC) firm Lightbox, which has so far raised two India-focused funds, may raise a new fund next year after completing the last few investments from its current fund. The VC firm is looking to complete investing from its current India fund, which has a corpus of more than $100 million, over the next 12-18 months, before launching the new fund, reported LiveMint. “As far as our second fund goes, our intention is to invest in 8-10 companies—we’ve invested in five so far. So, if we make two-three more investments, we’ll be pretty close to where we want to be. We’ll have to think about what’s next then,” said Sandeep Murthy, partner at Lightbox.

4. Digital education startup Takshila Learning is planning to raise about $10 million in an early funding round. The four-year-old firm has secured a total funding of $4 million so far. With this funding, Takshila will expand its presence across Africa, US, Middle East and Southeast Asia to increase its existing customer base of 10,000 students, reported ET.

5. Kolkata-based cab aggregator TYGR is planning to foray into Bengaluru and four other cities including Mumbai, Raipur, Ranchi and Indore. The platform also operates bike taxis for consumers and B2B services. The company currently runs around 200 bikes and 3,500 cabs in Kolkata. The company will be launching its services in Bengaluru next month. 

6. Logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL Group is planning to expand warehouse capacity in India. The firm is also looking to strengthen its transportation network which is used to deliver products from businesses to industrial and retail customers. Currently, the company transports goods by road, mainly through contracted trucks from dedicated vendors. It is looking to use railroads to improve time and fuel cost efficiency. DHL India plans to invest more than $100 million in additional capacity over the next three to four years. Out of this, about 65% will go into warehousing. The company aims to increase the warehouse space to more than 10 million square feet by 2020. Currently it has warehouse space of 7 million sq ft. 

7. Flipkart Ads, the digital marketing division of e-commerce major Flipkart, is targeting to become a $100M business by March 2018. The company has tied up with Google and YouTube to target customers as they expect selling bundled digital products for generating additional revenue for Flipkart Ads. Prakash Sikaria, senior director of monetization & head of Flipkart Ads said that ranging from buying Netflix subscription on Flipkart, the site could grab a share of FMCG advertisements. There are also plans to launch Flipkart financial marketplace in next two months.

8. US private equity giant Warburg Pincus will be investing $300 million in Princeton Growth to acquire or back telecom and media assets or companies across the world. Warburg has teamed up with former Tata Communications executive Rangu Salgame, chairman and CEO of Princeton, to explore opportunities in media and telecom companies.  The platform will have a particular focus on data centres and fast growing digital media services and will focus on businesses in geographies such as India, China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. 

9. Online lending platform ZipLoan, which is operated by Delhi-based Blue Jay Finlease Ltd, has raised $650,000 (around Rs 4.2 crore) in its pre-Series A funding round led by WaterBridge Ventures, reported VCCircle. The company has raised $500,000 in equity and $150,000 in debt capital. Whiteboard Capital, which is a fund floated by Freecharge founders Sandeep Tandon and Kunal Shah, and existing investor GrowX Ventures also participated in the round. The startup aims to utilise the raised funds to further develop its credit scoring capabilities, enhance automation in sourcing/lending/monitoring processes, expand to new cities and strengthen its team.

10. Paint manufacturer Berger Paints India Ltd has completed the acquisition of specialty coatings maker Saboo Coatings Pvt. Ltd for Rs 81.77 crore. The acquisition of Saboo Coatings, which makes specialty liquid coatings used in farm and construction equipment, automobiles, fans, electronics, elevators, handicrafts and home furnishing, will boost Berger Paints’ industrial coatings business, reported VCCircle.

11. Early stage-investor India Quotient is looking to invest seed capital in around 25 startups through its new fund, which is targeted to reach its first close by October. The target corpus for the new fund will be led by Mumbai-based investors’ third vehicle, which is around $50 million going to $80 million with a greenshoe option, said Prerna Bhutani, Partner, India Quotient. The fund will invest in 25 startups in seed rounds of  $300,000-500,000 and follow on in subsequent rounds, with a target of ownership of around 20 per cent in each investment. The third fund will also make small investments of under $100,000 via its IQ snipers accelerator program, which was launched last year, reported DealStreetAsia.

12. Online food delivery company Foodpanda has named Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan as its brand ambassador. Khan will feature in an upcoming campaign made by advertising agency Lowe Lintas and promoted by media agency Havas Media. The year-long campaign which will be first released on television followed by print, radio and outdoor, will feature Khan talking about Foodpanda’s various offerings including early morning and late night delivery, express guarantee and best offers on restaurants. 

13. Mumbai-based health and fitness discovery platform Growfitter has raised $600K in a Pre-Series A round of funding from San Francisco-based VC SQue Capital. With this round, Karan Chellani, Partner SQue Capital will join the Board of the company and Mukesh Makhija, the Managing Partner of Grace Capital Venture, will join Growfitter as an Advisor, reported Inc42. Launched in 2015 by the duo Sanmati Pande and Harshit Sethy, Growfitter aims to provide an incentivised wellness program.

14. Israeli equity crowdsourcing fund OurCrowd has signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Indian wealth management company Reliance Capital’s part Reliance Private Client. The collaboration will enable Indian investors to access overseas venture capital funds on the OurCrowd Platform, including funds such as OurCrowd Qure: Israel’s First Digital Health Fund and the OC50 Portfolio Index fund. On the other hand, Reliance Private Client will offer to its accredited clientele, OurCrowd’s startup investment products and fund offerings, reported DealStreetAsia.

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