A long-standing vision at LetsIgnite is to democratize access to private market investment and to unlock the market to all those keen on being part of innovation.
It is nice to see that happening as our portfolio startups go on to raise capital from unconventional platforms. Just last month, the startup’s Bengaluru-based Pawan Gupta, Co-founder and CEO of Betterhalf, announced that his landlord invested $10,000 (approximately Rs 8.2 lakh) in the startup. In fact, their conversation took place on WhatsApp and the deal was closed in a jiffy.
Bollywood actor Parineeti Chopra discovered an eco-friendly shampoo online, and after using the product for a while, joined the D2C brand Clensta as a partner and investor.
An investor is no longer just a suit-clad professional. They could very well be your next-door neighbor, or as we’ve seen, your landlord or a celebrity customer. At LetsVenture, we are committed to welcoming such angel investors to India’s private market ecosystem.
For the time being, here are the top updates from our portfolio startups in the month of July.
Betterhalf: AI enters the matchmaking game
Startup Name: Betterhalf
Founders: Pawan Gupta and Rahul Namdev
Journey so far: In a peculiar case of peak Bengaluru, Pawan Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, Betterhalf also found an unusual investor in his landlord.
Sharing the news over a tweet, he wrote, “In a tough business landscape, I found an unexpected investor in my landlord. He recently invested $10K in my startup. Truly amazed by the entrepreneurial spirit everyone in Bangalore shows. Silicon Valley of India for a reason.”
Founded in 2019, Betterhalf is an AI-backed startup matrimonial app with one million monthly active users (MAUs). It is also backed by notable investors, including Instagram Co-founder Mike Krieger, Dropbox Co-founder Arash Ferdowsi, and former Bumble CMO Derek Callow who participated in their Series A round early this year.
Clensta: Personal care that’s easy on the earth
Startup Name: Clensta
Founder: Puneet Gupta
Journey so far: Delhi-based personal and homecare brand Clensta gained a partner and an investor actor Parineeti Chopra who acquired a minority stake in the startup.
Operating on the D2C model, Clensta offers clean, effective, and sustainable solutions with a range of health and personal care products in the wellness, hair care, skincare, and body-care categories. Its products are available on over 20 marketplaces, including Nykaa, Amazon, Flipkart, in addition to retail presence.
Speaking on the investment, Parineeti said, “I discovered Clensta online with the Eggstreme shampoo and conditioner which I used. On further research, I was amazed to see everything that they offer and was keen to be a part of their evolution. This association gives me a great opportunity to help build a brand that will stay relevant for years to come because of its focus on product and its unique ethos to create ethically and consciously.”
Terra Foods Co: Leveraging the cloud kitchen tech
Startup Name: Terra Food Co
Founder: Sriram Nair
Journey so far: Gourmet cloud kitchen startup Terra Food raised $800K in a Pre-Series A funding round with participation from LetsVenture. The funding will be used to expand the business and the team and invest in innovative food technology and product development.
Founded by Sriram Nair in 2019, the Ahmedabad-based startup is sharply focused on Tier II markets. Processing 26,000 orders per month with a monthly recurring revenue of over Rs 1Cr, Terra Food aims to double its revenue by November 2023.
India’s leading early-stage startup investing platform, LetsVenture invested in the startup last year when it raised $1 million in seed round.
LeverageEdu: Making study-abroad dreams a convenient reality
Startup Name: LeverageEdu
Founders: Akshay Chaturvedi, Rajiv Ganjoo, and Aman Arora
Journey so far: Study abroad platform LeverageEdu raised $40 million in Series C funding last month, valuing the startup at about $150 million.
Founded in April 2017 by Akshay Chaturvedi, LeverageEdu has over 1,000 employees helping students from India, Nigeria, Nepal, and other emerging countries secure higher education opportunities abroad.
Last year, the startup got the license from the Reserve Bank of India for its financial services vertical Fly Finance which primarily focuses on student remittances and education loans.
Till then, the startup had been conducting B2C forex through third-party license holders. Founder and CEO Akshay Chaturvedi believes that a solid forex business of its own unlocks a lot of potential in the future to continue engaging with users as the student graduates, looks for a job, pays rent, and so on.
GIVA: Making fine jewellery affordable
Startup Name: GIVA
Founders: Ishendra Agarwal, Nikita Prasad, and Sachin Shetty
Journey so far: Jewellery brand GIVA has raised Rs 200 Cr in Series B funding to expand product offerings and categories and boost their omni-channel strategy. GIVA now has over 50 stores across cities in addition to presence in major marketplaces like Amazon, Myntra, AJIO, Tata Cliq, and Nykaa.
Founded in 2019 by Ishendra Agarwal, Nikita Prasad, and Sachin Shetty, GIVA deals with 925 fine silver jewellery and has recently forayed into 14K and 18k gold and lab-grown diamond jewellery.
Yulu: Making urban mobility a breeze
Startup Name: Yulu
Sector: Electric Vehicle
Founders: Amit Gupta, Naveen Dachuri, Hemant Gupta, RK Misra
Journey so far: Shared electric two-wheeler platform Yulu entered Gurugram, marking its presence in four cities, including Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai – where the startup manages a shared fleet of 25,000 vehicles.
Amit Gupta, Co-founder and CEO of Yulu, said, "Gurugram is a thriving city with a cosmopolitan mix of residents, a large and mature local service economy, and rapidly developing infrastructure, all of which make it a great fit for a sustainable last-mile mobility service like Yulu.”