These are the top startup investment deals that got VCs interested in 2019

  • The total startup funding deals in India stood at $7.9 billion, according to a report by IVCA and E&Y.
  • Paytm and OYO’s funding rounds were the top deals of the year.
  • SoftBank was the leading investor for most deals.
The Indian startup ecosystem is the third largest in the world, and that has been raking in investments. According to a report by Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and Ernst & Young, the total startup funding was at $7.9 billion, reaching a five year high.

Here are the biggest deals of 2019 of Indian startups, and startups that recently forayed into India.

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OYO – $1.5 billion

OYO – $1.5 billion

Indian hospitality unicorn OYO raised $1.5 billion in a round led by SoftBank. In the same round, founder Ritesh Agarwal pumped in $700 million, as an exercise to buy back shares in his own company. OYO, which has been in the news of late because of a multitude of troubles, is one of SoftBank’s biggest bets.

Paytm – $1 billion

Paytm – $1 billion

Vijay Shekhar Sharma led Paytm raised $1 billion in funding, taking its valuation to $16 billion. The round was led by T Rowe and SoftBank which invested $200 million while Alibaba’s Ant Financial invested $400 million, along with participation from Discovery Capital.

“Today, we open the next chapter in Paytm’s journey of India’s financial inclusion. We commit to invest an additional ₹10,000 crore to serve financially unserved and underserved,” wrote Sharma in a tweet announcing the funding.

Udaan – $585 million

Udaan – $585 million

Indian B2B e-commerce platform Udaan raised $585 million from Tencent, Altimeter, Footpath Ventures, Hillhouse, GGV Capital and Citi Ventures in October 2019. With the latest funding, Udaan’s valuation soared to $2.8 billion taking its total funding to $870 million. It is also one of the fastest Indian startups to reach unicorn status with a valuation of $1 billion.

FirstCry – $400 million

FirstCry – $400 million

SoftBank invested $400 million into FirstCry, a Pune-based babycare and mothercare retailer. The investment was made in tranches, with $150 million in the first round. The funding will take FirstCry’s valuation to $800 million, making it just $200 million short of becoming a unicorn.

Delhivery – $395 million

Delhivery – $395 million

Logistics tech startup Delhivery finally joined the unicorn club after raising $395 million from SoftBank. The latest round of funding took Delhivery’s valuation to $1.6 billion. Other investors in the round included the US-based private equity firm Carlyle Group and Chinese conglomerate Fosun International. Delhivery also has Tiger Global, Nexus Venture Partners and Times Internet as its investors.

CRED – $245 million

CRED – $245 million

Freecharge founder Kunal Shah’s second innings is with the credit startup CRED. The year-old startup is already rumoured to be in the soonicorn list. It raised funds twice in 2019 alone – $125 million series A round and $120 million series B funding from Sequoia, Ribbit Capital and more.

Pharmeasy – $220 million

Pharmeasy – $220 million

Online pharmacy startup Pharmeasy raised $220 million in a round that was led by Temasek. The round also saw participation from Canada-based pension fund CDPQ, asset management group LGT, KB Financial Group and existing investors like Bessemer Venture Partners, Nandan Nilekani among others. Temasek valued the startup at $700 million after the funding.

Grofers – $200 million

Grofers – $200 million

Grocery retail startup Grofers raised over $200 million from Softbank Vision Fund in May, 2019. With this funding, its reported valuation is set to be almost $1 billion – just a few steps away from being a unicorn. The series F round also saw participation from new investor, KTB, and along with existing investors – Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital.

Branch International – $170 million

Branch International – $170 million

The San Francisco-based financial services company Branch raised $170 million in April 2019, right before its India expansion. It raised funding from B Capital, Foundation

Capital, IFC and others.

Better Mortgage Corporation – $160 million

Better Mortgage Corporation – $160 million

Better.com, a digital mortgage startup, based out of New York raised a Series C funding of $160 million. It raised the round from Activant Capital, Ping An Global Voyager Fund, Ally Financial, Citi, AGNC, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and American Express Ventures with existing investors Goldman Sachs, Pine Brook, and Kleiner Perkins. With the funding, the company accelerated its India expansion. In August, the company was also on a hiring spree for its India team.

Bounce – $150 million

Bounce – $150 million

The Bengaluru-based two-wheeler rental platform Wickedride, which owns Bounce, raised funding from Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners. Bounce has gained a massive following in Bengaluru and has reportedly raised another Series D round of funding in January, 2020. The startup was founded in 2014 by Vivekanand Hallekere, Varun Agni and Anil G.

Hero Future Energies – $150 million

Hero Future Energies – $150 million

In November 2019, Hero Future Energies raised $150 million from Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co). The company was established under the Hero Group in 2012.“The strategic investment of $150 million by Masdar will help facilitate the further expansion of HFE in India and other key growth markets," Hero Future Energies had said in a statement then.


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