Freshworks becomes third startup to get unicorn tag in 2018

Source: LiveMint.com, Aug 01, 2018

Bengaluru: Software provider Freshworks has become the third Indian startup to enter the unicorn club this year after it raised $100 million at a valuation of more than a billion dollars from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and CapitalG. Chennai-based Freshworks, which has now raised $250 million since its inception in 2010, also named Suresh Seshadri, a former senior executive at US-based software company AppDynamics, as its chief financial officer, ahead of a potential IPO.

Freshworks’ valuation has roughly doubled to $1.3-1.4 billion in its latest funding round, a person familiar with the matter said. Freshworks, which competes with companies such as Zendesk and behemoths like Salesforce, last raised $55 million at a valuation of $700 million in late 2016. The company will use the new capital to improve its SaaS (software as a service) platform and expand sales globally.

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Defence Ministry issues new guidelines for startups

Source: The Economic Times, Jun 28, 2018

NEW DELHI: The defence ministry has specified new rules for homegrown startups to take part in military projects in an attempt to focus their attention on cutting edge research and development. The new rules, specified this week, seek to encourage new companies to undertake research projects to develop or upgrade weapon systems and to work towards reducing imports.

Under the new rules, startups recognised by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) under certain categories will automatically qualify to take part in specified defence projects. These categories range from aeronautics, nanotechnology and Virtual Reality to renewable technology, robotics, green technology and internet of things. Read the rest of this entry »

What ails product development startups in India?

download (7).jpgSource: ETRetail.com, Jun 07, 2018

Over the past three years, there has been a lot of activity in the product innovation startups space, both in terms of the number of startups and the funds supporting them. The term ‘product innovation’ implies startups (Zoho, Tejas Networks, InMobi, Freshdesk) where intellectual property is a key differentiator and is baked into the offering from the very beginning. Traditionally, startups in India have innovated essentially on technology-enabled business models (Naukri, Flipkart, Ola, MakeMyTrip) supported by amazing execution.

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Indian start-up space attracting new venture capital investors

123.jpgSource: LiveMint.com, May 17, 2018

Mumbai: Almost half-a-dozen first-time venture capital investors have made their debut since the beginning of this year, indicating growing investor interest in India’s start-ups.

Some such investors include Montane Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm that counts Ajay Piramal’s family office as its lead investor; 021 Capital, founded by Sailesh Tulshan, the personal investment adviser to the Flipkart’s Bansals; Fundamentum, a mid-stage venture fund backed by Infosys Ltd co-founder Nandan Nilekani and Helion Ventures founder Sanjeev Aggarwal; and Leo Capital, an early-stage technology fund.

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IIMA centre unveils $25 million initiative to fund start-ups

Source: LiveMint.com, May 15, 2018

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad’s (IIMA’s) centre for innovation, incubation, and entrepreneurship (CIIE) on Monday launched a $25 million ‘Bharat Inclusion Initiative’ that will look to mentor and invest in start-ups in the early stage and seed segment over the next three-four years.

The initiative received an initial pledge of $12.5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and Omidyar Network, IIMA said in a statement on Monday.

CIIE’s ‘Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund’ has set aside $22.5 million to invest in pre-Series A technology start-ups. The fund announced its initial close at $7.5 million and is expected to make a final close at $15 million by July. The fund will look at start-ups in areas such as financial inclusion, livelihood, education, agriculture, and health.

In addition, CIIE will devote $5 million for providing strategic mentorship to startups through a series of acceleration programmes, workshops and business partnerships. All research, insights, and publications produced under the programme will be openly disseminated, added CIIE.

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Hybrid instruments on cards to boost startups

Source: The Economic Times, May 07, 2018

NEW DELHI: India will soon unveil a wide array of hybrid instruments on the lines of those available in developed markets that will allow promoters to retain control of an entity even with a minority stake, a move that will make fundraising easier, particularly for startups, senior officials said.

The government has scrapped the earlier draft that was proposed to be sent to cabinet for approval that included four instruments — optionally convertible preference shares, partially convertible preference shares and optionally and partially convertible debentures.

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Google to launch new India focused mentorship program for tech start-ups

download (3).jpgSource: LiveMint.com, Apr 27, 2018

Bengaluru:Google India will launch an India-focused mentorship and boot camp program for start-ups building both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) tech products, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The mentorship initiative named ‘Solve For India’ was initially launched in pilot mode in India last year along with participation from Google Developers’ Launchpad Accelerator team.

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