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Deal Street: Digital Lending Startups Led The Funding Pack Last Week

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Four Indian startups raised about Rs 280 crore in angel, seed or venture capital funding across sectors such as lending, babycare products and content platforms last week.

Digital lending startup Kissht raises funds

A man is reflected in a window while using a smart phone in Hong Kong. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Digital lending startup Kissht raised $30 million (about Rs 195 crore) in a growth funding round led by Vertex Ventures and Sistema Asia Fund.

Existing investors Fosun RZ Capital, Ventureast and Endiya Partners also participated in the round, according to a company statement.

Founded in 2015, the startup provides collateral-free loans for products such as mobiles, laptops, jewellery, furniture and electronic gadgets, and allows them to repay through equated monthly instalments, using the Kissht EMI card.

The company said the money will be used to increase its base of both offline and online merchants. A part of investment will also go in strengthening its presence across categories, and enhancing its data and analytics capabilities. Investment banking firm Investec India advised Kissht on the transaction, it said.

Kissht said it reaches customers through about 50 portals and 3,500 offline points of sale.

Chinese VC Firm Leads Investment In Online Micro-Lender

Mumbai-based consumer-focused microlending firm Upwards raised $5 million (Rs 37 crore) in fresh funding round led by Chinese venture capital firm Shunwei Capital.

Existing investors such as India Quotient and Mayfield Fund, according to a company statement, also participated in the round.

Upwards said the funds will be used to strengthen its technology backbone and data science capabilities, besides expanding to other geographies. “The mobile disruption occurring in India today is very similar to what happened in China eight years back,” Tuck Lye Koh, vice president and chief executive of Shunwei Capital, said.

Founded in 2017, the company offers quick personal loans for salaried employees, and users can avail loans of up to Rs 50,000 within 24 hours through a paperless application process.

Upwards disburses its loans through Bajrang Investments Pvt. Ltd, a non-banking finance company, registered with the Reserve Bank of India. It operates in over 30 Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities across India including Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai among others. The company said it has a non-performing asset percentage of less than 1 percent.

Babycare Startup Mamaearth Raises $4 Million

Source: Mamaearth

Babycare products startup Mamaearth, raised $4 million (about Rs 28 crore) in a funding round led by early-stage venture capital firm Stellaris Venture Partners.

Existing investors including Fireside Ventures, Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, Marico's Rishabh Mariwala, also participated in the round, the startup said in a statement.

The company said the proceeds will go towards expanding its team, investing in product research and development, building a retail presence and scaling up its direct consumer reach.“We want to build a strong offline presence as well to become a household name when it comes to baby and mothercare products,” Varun Alagh, cofounder of Mamaearth, said.

Founded in 2016, the startup's product portfolio includes body lotions, rash creams, shampoo, body wash, massage oil and bug sprays for children up to the age of five years. It also offers non-preservative products for lactation, stress relief and postpartum weight loss for expecting and new mothers.

The startup said to have achieved gross sales run rate of over Rs. 20 crore within two years of its inception and expects to touch Rs 100 crore by 2021.


Vernacular knowledge-sharing platform Vokal raised funds from Kalaari Capital, as an extension of its growth round it raised in July, the company said in a statement. Kalaari has put in close to $1.5 million, taking the overall round to $6.5 million.

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