Startup news and updates: daily roundup (August 2, 2021)

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Edtech unicorn Unacademy has raised $440 million in a new round of funding led by Singapore’s Temasek along with other existing backers like Softbank Vision Fund, General Atlantic, and Tiger Global Management.

The new round will increase the valuation of the startup to $3.44 billion, an increase of 70 percent from $2 billion in December last year.

Home interiors company HomeLane on Monday said it has entered into a three-year strategic partnership with ace cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni as an equity partner and brand ambassador. As part of the partnership, Dhoni will own equity in HomeLane and will be its first brand ambassador, a statement said.

Apnaklub, a Bengaluru-based B2B wholesale platform for consumer goods (FMCG), has announced that it has raised $3.5 million in a seed round from Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, bringing the total funds raised so far to $5 million.

Co-founder and COO Manish Kumar said the funding will enable the startup to expand across more rural areas in India as well as increase its range of services and products for its partners.

In a first of its kind move, fintech unicorn Pine Labs plans to annually “recruit, train, and employ” at least three Asian games athletes and/or Olympians from the past.

Pine Labs plans to “provide a safe landing” to athletes in their post-sports careers. This is the first time that a startup would be offering jobs to sportspeople.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch e-RUPI, a person and purpose-specific digital payment solution, on Monday via video conferencing, his office said.

e-RUPI is a QR code or SMS string-based e-voucher, which is delivered to the mobile of the beneficiaries, a statement said.

Image credit: The official Twitter handle of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 for India

A brave and determined Indian women’s hockey team etched its name in the history books by entering the Olympic Games semifinals for the first time, stunning three-time champions and world no. 2 Australia 1-0 in an intense last-eight tie here on Monday.

A day after the Indian men’s team entered the Olympic semifinals following a 49-year gap, the world no. 9 women’s side also produced a phenomenally gritty performance to make their way into the last four.

Moengage, an insights-led customer engagement platform on Saturday said it has raised $32.5 million (Rs 241.7 crore) in a funding round, led by Multiples Alternate Asset Management. Existing investors Eight Roads Ventures, F-Prime Capital and Matrix Partners, also participated, while Exfinity Venture Partners made a healthy exit in this round, a statement said.

Foodtech major Zomato is rolling out an invite-only Zomato Pro Plus membership, which will let its members get unlimited free deliveries without surcharges and distance fee along with all pro benefits, CEO Deepinder Goyal announced on social media. In a tweet, he announced that Zomato has 1.8 million Zomato Pro members as of today, and that Zomato is launching a “Limited Edition Pro Plus” membership for select customers, which is “something like Amazon Prime”.

PB Fintech, which operates online insurance platform Policybazaar and credit comparison portal Paisabazaar, has filed preliminary papers with market regulator Sebi to raise Rs 6,017.50 crore through an initial public offer (IPO). The IPO comprises a fresh issue of Rs 3,750 crore worth of equity shares and an offer for sale (OFS) of Rs 2,267.50 crore by existing shareholders, according to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP).

Gurugram-based ChefKart on Monday said it raised $300,000 in a pre-seed round from Titan Capital, Lead Angels, Pravega Ventures, Manyavar Family Office (Ravi Modi), Vipul Allawadhi (Co-founder, Kutumbh) and Puja Vijayvargiya. ChefKart will use the funds to develop a product that can help users manage end-to-end kitchen needs, upskilling, training of cooks, acquiring more customers and chefs on the platform, and scaling up the business in Noida, Delhi.

Fashinza, a B2B manufacturing marketplace that solves apparel/fashion supply chain challenges by connecting fashion brands to experienced manufacturers, on Monday announced that it has raised $20 million in a mix of equity and debt as part of Series A round. The funds raised will be used by the Gurugram-based startup to invest in supply chain technology and expand the company’s presence and manufacturers’ base globally, especially in the US and the Middle East.

Manyavar owner targets Rs 2,500-crore IPO In 2021

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Founded in 1999, Vedant Fashions is a pan-India player with a retail presence of 600 plus stores in over 200 cities and 3 countries with 11 international stores in U.A.E & U.S.A, according to its website. (Representative image. Source:

Kolkata-based ethnic wear heavyweight Vedant Fashions Private Ltd, the owner of popular brand Manyavar, is gearing up to launch an initial public offering ( IPO) in 2021 and raise around Rs 2,500 crore, people familiar with the matter told Moneycontrol.

The Ravi Modi-founded fast growing apparel company, which is backed by India-focused private equity firm Kedaara Capital, has held advanced discussions with a clutch of domestic investment banks for the proposed listing, these people said.

Mohey, a women’s wear brand, is also part of the portfolio of parent Vedant Fashions, which had earlier acquired Hyderabad-based family wear brand Mebaz in 2017.

“In recent weeks, Vedant Fashions Private Ltd has been in talks with multiple investments banks to get them on board as advisors, primarily ICICI Securities, Kotak Mahindra Capital, Edelweiss Financial Services, IIFL Capital and Axis Capital ,” said one of the individuals cited above.

“It’s a high quality, cash rich & profitable firm. The IPO will chiefly consist of an OFS ( offer for sale) component to facilitate a partial exit for the key investor Kedaara Capital,” added a second individual.

“This is a weddings focused apparel player. Since April, there may have been a dip in activity due to the lockdown , but between October and March, the wedding calendar was busy, especially up north and in the west. As of now, the plan is to launch the IPO in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal, may be in January,” according to a third individual who spoke to Moneycontrol.

“This is a fundamentally strong business and most firms are being valued assuming normalcy in a quarter or two, post which, many expect a substantial roll out of the vaccine across India,” a fourth individual said.

All the four individuals spoke to Moneycontrol on the condition of anonymity.

Moneycontrol is awaiting email responses from Vedant Fashions and Kedaara Capital and has sent reminders. This article will be updated as soon as we hear from the firms. ICICI Securities declined to comment while Moneycontrol could not elicit an immediate response from the other banks.

According to reports, Kedaara Capital acquired around a 10% stake in Vedant Fashions in August 2017 for around Rs 400 crore-Rs 450 crore. The apparel maker is the undisputed leader in the men’s ethnic wear segment according to the private equity firm’s website.

“Vedant’s deep understanding of the market segments and consumer preferences has enabled it to generate the best operational and financial metrics in the retail industry,” Kedaara Capital added about its portfolio company.

Vedant Fashions does not have a pure play listed peer in the ethnic wear segment but some listed firms in the apparel and clothing segment include Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail, TCNS Clothing, SP Apparels, Zodiac Clothing & VIP Clothing. Incidentally, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail which counts Flipkart as an investor, has recently struck deals with ace designers Sabyasachi & Tarun Tahiliani with an eye on the ethnic wear segment.


Founded in 1999, Vedant Fashions is a pan-India player with a retail presence of 600 plus stores in over 200 cities and 3 countries with 11 international stores in U.A.E & U.S.A, according to its website. Ravi Modi’s wife Shilpi Modi, a trained fashion designer, is a director of the firm and closely involved with its creative aspects. By 2025, the firm plans to have 15,00,000 square feet of Manyavar retail space, 5,00,000 sq. ft. of Mohey retail space and 1000 exclusive stores including 250 flagship & 50 global stores at 300 cities across India and abroad. It is also aiming for a production capacity of 10 million pieces per annum.

The firm has had a strong association with both cricket and Bollywood. It has sponsored IPL teams Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad and roped in movie stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh for its advertisements & promotional campaigns. Its ad featuring brand ambassador Virat Kohli & Anushka Sharma prior to their high-profile wedding in 2017 had gained immense popularity.

According to a report by Crisil Ratings dated July 27, 2020 on the market position of the firm, “ the business risk profile is underpinned by the strong brand positioning of Manyavaar in the ethnic wear segment and large retail footprint, through more than 600 stores across the country. Operating margin was healthy estimated at around 35% over the three fiscals through 2020. Performance is likely to remain stable in the medium term, driven by the company’s leading market position in the men’s ethnic wear segment.”

The report mentioned “ susceptibility to intense competition” and “large working capital requirements” as weaknesses, but stressed the strong liquidity position.

“Liquidity is adequate, backed by healthy accrual against nil maturing debt and absence of capex. Cash credit limit remained unutilised over the 12 months through March 2020, thus providing additional financial flexibility. Also, the company maintains surplus liquidity in the company at any given point of time,” it said.

The revenues of Vedant Fashions grew from Rs 760.58 crore in 2018 to Rs 794.91 crore in 2019 while its profits increased from Rs 148.27 crore to Rs 182.27 crore during the same period.

Amitabh Bachchan joins Manyavar as brand ambassador

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Indian-wear brand Manyavar has announced Amitabh Bachchan as their brand ambassador.

As a part of the association, Bachchan will be seen donning the brand’s latest Diwali collection through a slew of commercials spread across TV, digital and social media.


Extending the Diwali campaign, Bachchan looks elegant in Manyavar’s plush Indian wear as he expresses how Indian traditional wear is integral to major Indian celebrations.

The diverse roles that Bachchan has played in his career — his timelessness and trust with people across India — echo with the brand’s aim of providing futuristic Indian wear designs.


Commenting on the association, Ravi Modi, MD of Vedant Fashions Pvt. Ltd. said, “We are extremely honoured to have the living legend, Amitabh Bachchan endorse our brand. At Manyavar, we are always in pursuit of excellence, and aim to set higher standards. Bachchan is a name that represents excellence beyond just Hindi cinema, he is an epitome of Indian culture and tradition, something that is at our core. This makes him the ideal man to represent our brand. We are certain that with his ability to win over hearts of people of every age will inspire his fans to embrace the Indian in them.”

Bachchan said, “I am proud to have associated with a brand like Manyavar. More than anything, it is Manyavar’s belief in Indian culture and tradition, which I totally appreciate. It resonates with my beliefs and sense of belonging with the timeless Indian tradition. This Diwali, I urge everyone to celebrate traditionally.”


The advertising agency is Shreyansh Innovations. Shreyansh Baid, Director, Shreyansh Innovations, said, “Amitabh Bachhan is an inspiration for generations. He is an institution in himself. And the brand Manyavar over the years has evolved into a name where it connects with people as a living dynamic being. So, this association is definitely one of the most exciting ones we’ve had so far. Manyavar and Amitabh Bachhan have a strong common ground, the one of love and passion, for living and promoting the Indian way of life. It presents immense creative opportunities for us and we are looking forward to working on it.”

The TVC: