Every Monday, I sit with my team to review the funding activity of the previous week. From that list, I pick out a few companies that I would have loved to invest in or find founders doing similar things. Here is my rationale behind this weekly exercise.
The surge in COVID19 cases did not dampen the VC ecosystem’s investment spirits as 10 startups raised $113 million last week. While the overall numbers fundraising numbers look impressive, the number of deals has fallen significantly. I suspect that the drop in numbers could result from the upcoming accounting year-end for domestic funds and corporate houses. If the numbers do not improve by mid-April, it could point to a more systemic issue.
This week, 6 deals were in the early-stage rounds (compared to 12 last week), making my weekly analysis cut. After sifting through the news (aggregated from Tracxn, Inc42, and YourStory), I picked three as my favorite funding news from last week!
Name: Juicy Chemistry
Amount Raised: $6.3 million from Verlinvest.
What does Juicy Chemistry do?
Edited from The Economic Times: Juicy Chemistry is an Indian brand with a complete certified organic products range by Ecocert (France) following COSMOS V3 Standard. Their products get minimally packaged with recycled and recyclable materials. Their product range includes cleansers, moisturizers, floral waters, gourmet soaps, hair masques, baby massage oil, cold-pressed oils, and many more.
Why do I like Juicy Chemistry?
Juicy Chemistry is an exciting company since it’s the only company in India where all the products are certified by Ecocert (France). They also offer a stimulating blend of products with no added preservatives or chemicals.
Besides these factors, Verlinvest is the perfect investor as they have Purplle as an investee company (an Artha India Ventures’ investment). Therefore, the product, the company, and the investor make it a perfect package!
Amount Raised: $5 million from Omidyar Network India (ONI).
What does Riskcovry do?
Edited from Tracxn: Cloud-based software suite for the insurance industry. Riskcovry offers solutions for insurance underwriting, insurance distribution, data management, regulatory compliance, and more. It also provides white label solutions for insurers to retain and scale digital brand value.
Why do I like Riskcovry?
The Economic Survey 2020-21 termed India’s insurance penetration as “extremely low.” However, if we remove life insurance from this bucket, then the numbers are even more abysmal. But this scenario is changing quickly.
The recent upheavals and a shift in the way insurers are servicing their customers create the perfect setting for a blockbuster revival in insurance. Therefore there is space for upcoming platforms like Riskcovry to bring innovative insurance products within reach of the “common man.”
I would be surprised if there weren’t more platforms like them coming soon.
Amount Raised: $400,000 from Richard Rekhy and other private investors.
What does Ezstays do?
Edited from the website: Ezstays uses a state-of-the-art mobile app for students to communicate with each other and share their experiences. The app allows students to ping the support team to solve their problems quickly. Apart from this, the app’s SOS button allows the students to seek quick help during emergencies.
Why do I like Ezstays?
Low-cost housing for students or blue-collar workers is an exciting sector and I have evaluated startups in this space.
While a promising space, the founders must tread a thin line in meeting the government’s safety requirements, the expectations of comfort and convenience of the end customer but at an affordable price that would also be economically viable for their startup. At most times, these forces can work against each other. But, it is a problem worth solving.
It will be interesting to see how Ezstay-like ventures will transcend these issues, especially with the Damocles sword of future lockdowns hanging over them. (Maybe they could talk to Riskcovry to get them business loss insurance from future lockdowns 😉