Monthly Archives: September 2019

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  • The online makeup and cosmetics segment has seen strong investor interest over the last few years
  • Purplle competes directly and indirectly with brands including Nykaa, founded by veteran investment banker Falguni Nayar

MUMBAI : Online makeup and beauty products retailer Purplle Purplle is in talks to raise up to ₹300 crore in a Series C funding round led by Goldman Sachs, said two people close to the deal, requesting anonymity.

Purplle’s existing investors, Blume Ventures, IvyCap Ventures and JSW Ventures, the startup investment arm of Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group, are also expected to participate in the round.

Goldman is expected to invest from its growth and venture capital investment arm, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners (GSIP), said the people cited above.

While a Goldman Sachs spokesperson declined to comment, Purplle did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Purple sells makeup products and fashion accessories, as well as wellness products for men and women on its website. While it sells renowned makeup brands, it has also introduced its private label, which investors say, is already accounting for a significant chunk of its sales. It also provides makeup content and guided videos from bloggers.

In the current calender year, it is expected to generate about ₹300 crore in sales, said a third person, also requesting anonymity.

The online makeup and cosmetics segment has seen strong investor interest over the last few years, driven by aspirational millennial consumers with high propensity to spend, and broader and cheaper internet connections.

Purplle competes directly and indirectly with brands including Nykaa, founded by veteran investment banker Falguni Nayar, Sugar Cosmetics and skincare startup Plum, backed by Unilever Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer giant Unilever.

While Sugar Cosmetics raised $10 million earlier this year from A91 Partners, Nykaa raised ₹100 crore from TPG Growth in April, at a valuation of ₹5,000 crore.

However, unlike Nykaa, Purplle is looking at Tier 2 and 3 cities for growth and to bring in a major chunk of its revenue, said an investor in Purplle, requesting anonymity.

“The market is also big enough to have multiple firms achieve significant scale, because digital-first cosmetic brands are only beginning to disrupt the market,” the person added.

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  • Indian small and medium businesses will spend $14-16 billion this year on digital technologies
  • Small businesses are transitioning from traditional to digital with the use of technology to conduct their business

Bengaluru: Startups play an important role in the digitalization of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India, enabling them in areas such as discoverability, customer engagement, and digital transactions, and will continue to do so, says a study by global management consulting firm, Zinnov. The study forecast that Indian SMBs will spend $14-16 billion this year on digital technologies.

The Zinnov study pointed out that small businesses are transitioning from traditional to digital with the use of technology – smartphone, PC or Internet – to conduct their business. India is home to approximately 75 million such businesses that employ over 180 million people, the study said. Apart from traditional industries such as retail, manufacturing and logistics, new categories such as cab drivers, delivery partners, and media content creators are expanding the SMB base rapidly, and account for 10% of such businesses in India.

  • Digitally-empowered SMBs are leveraging a combination of connectivity and communications, transactions and payments, discoverability, productivity-focused technologies, and are starting to extend into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automation, and Internet of Things (IOT), the study said.

SMB digitalization has made rapid progress, with over 50 million Indian SMBs using digital technologies in their business workflows. The study pointed out that over 600 aggregators, many of them new-age start-ups such as Udaan, Oyo, Meesho, Ola, Swiggy, and Rivigo have enabled over 10 million SMBs across discoverability, customer engagement, and digital transactions, and will continue to play an important role in SMB digitalization.

Of the total digital expenditure of Indian SMBs this year, the spending on productivity solutions accounted for 40%, followed by connectivity and communication technology at 30%, digital discoverability solutions accounted for 20%, and 10% on payment solutions and applications.

The study also described the Indian government’s role in SMB digitalization through investments in building digital payment infrastructure, subsidies for technology adoption, and access to capital. Large enterprises are also encouraging their SMB partners and suppliers to go digital, and also investing in skill development and technology platform infrastructure, the study said.

 

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Tuebil enables buying and selling of pre-owned cars

Truebil has raised $27 Mn prior to this round

The company has developed proprietary tech-enabled evaluation mechanisms

Mumbai-based car marketplace Truebil has announced raising $1 Mn in a fresh funding round from Japan-based Spiral Ventures.

The company, which last raised $14 Mn in Series B funding in January, has raised $27 Mn prior to this round. Truebil said it plans to use these additional funds to strengthen the technology stack.

Truebil began its operations in 2015 being founded by Suraj Kalwani, Himanshu Singhal, Rakesh Raman, Ravi Chirania, Ritesh Pandey, Shanu Vivek, and Shubh Bansal. Truebil is an omni-channel platform for buying and selling of pre-owned cars. The buyers can shortlist from a list of meticulously inspected and certified cars and avail end-to-end services on their sale/purchase.

The company has developed proprietary tech-enabled evaluation mechanisms, which includes

  • Recommendation system for personalised user experience,
  • TruePrice to predict the accurate selling price
  • Procurement score to determine the right procurement price
  • Dynamic pricing to change the price based on a car’s demand in the market
  • TueScore, a rating meter.

The company said it is witnessing a 20% growth MoM with more than 3000 verified cars registered to its portal. So far, it claims to have sold more than 2500 cars in Mumbai only worth INR 87.5 Cr Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV. Currently, the sales rate in Mumbai is 125 cars per month.

Truebil said it is currently doing INR 350Cr of annual revenue run rate with an aim to grow 3x this fiscal.

Other major online used car marketplaces in India are Cars24, CarDekho, Droom, Quikr, Olx, Mahindra First Choice Wheels, among others. According to an IBEF report, the Indian auto industry is one of the largest in the world, accounting for 7.1% of the country’s GDP.

The report has pegged the Indian automobile market at $125 Bn. Out of this, $100 Bn is the estimated share of automobile sales and the remaining $25 Bn includes services. It is expected to grow at a rate of about 10% to a whopping $225 Bn by 2020.

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Superside, a startup aiming to create a premium alternative to the existing crowdsourced design platforms, is announcing that it has raised $3.5 million in new funding.

It’s also adding new features like the ability to work on user interfaces, interaction design and motion graphics. Co-founder and CEO Fredrik Thomassen said this allows the company to offer “a full-service design solution.”

You may have heard about Superside under its old name Konsus. In a blog post, Thomassen explained the recent change in name and branding, writing, “We changed our name and look to align with what we had become: The world’s top team of international designers and creatives.”

He told me Superside was created to address his own frustrations after trying to use marketplaces like 99designs and Fiverr. He argued that there’s a problem with “adverse selection on those platforms.” In other words, “The best people … don’t remain, because they don’t have a career path — they’re fighting with other freelancers to get the jobs.”

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Superside, on the other hand, is picky about the designers it works with — it claims to select 100 designers from the more than 50,000 applications it receives each year. But if they are accepted, they’re guaranteed full-time work.

Thomassen said the platform is built for large enterprises that have their own design and marketing teams but still need additional support. Customers include Uber, LinkedIn, L’Oreal, Cisco, Santander, Amazon, Walmart Tiffany & Co. Hewlett Packard and Airbus

In addition to choosing good designers, Superside also built a broader project management platform.

“We’re basically automating everything: Finding people, screening people, on-boarding, on-the-job learning, invoicing of customers, project management, all of the nitty gritty,” Thomassen said. “The only thing not automated is design — that’s where the human element and the creativity come in.”

Plus, Thomassen said Superside can turn around a standard piece of artwork in 12 hours: “Nobody else can do what we’re doing in terms of speed.”

The new funding comes from Freestyle Capital, with participation from High Alpha Ventures, Y Combinator and Alliance Ventures.

“We’re very much a mission-driven company,” Thomassen added. “For me, the reason to go to work in the morning is to help build an online labor market and create equal economic opportunity for everyone in the world.”

A software company that helps law practices run more efficiently may not be the flashiest business in town, but that’s not stopping some VCs from backing them with pretty high dollars.

Hence, Canada-based Clio (which provides that type of software) announced this morning it has raised a massive $250 million Series D round from TCV and JMI Equity. Clio’s platform aims to serve as “an operating system” for lawyers, offering cloud-based legal practice management, client intake and legal CRM software. The company has 150,000 customers across 100 countries.

The financing is roughly ten times the amount of venture funding that Clio had previously raised since it was founded in 2008. The company’s Series B in January 2012 amounted to a comparatively small $6 million. In 2014, Clio raised $20 million in a Series C led by Bessemer Venture Partners that valued the company at $110 million, according to Crunchbase data. The company raised a $1 million Series A in 2019 from friends and family and Christoph Janz, who was also an early investor in Zendesk and contacted Clio via a cold email after finding the company on the internet, according to Clio CEO and co-founder Jack Newton.

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The new round is “one of the largest in legal technology and the largest in Canadian history,” according to Clio.

Newton said his vertical SaaS company helps legal professionals be more productive, grow their firms and “make legal services more accessible.” It also aims to help clients find lawyers more easily and vice versa.

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In its first 10 years of operation, Clio has focused on building out its core technology to an industry that continues to rely on pen and paper in many cases. It has also aimed to make legal technology more affordable for lawyers to use.

Following the news, I spoke with TCV Principal Amol Helekar this morning. Helekar will join the company’s board along with TCV General Partner Jake Reynolds. He said his firm views Clio as the clear market leader in the legal tech space, which Helekar believes is “underused relative to the potential demand in the end consumer base.”

“This is a vast industry that has been lagging in technology adoption and there’s tons of opportunity,” he said. “We see Clio as a pioneer in cloud-based tech solutions for the legal industry that has seen exceptional organic growth.”

Helekar likened Clio’s trajectory to that of previous TCV investments such as Netflix, Expedia and Spotify.

“We feel like this investment can help supercharge the business so the company can double down and expand its advantage and capture share in a market that hasn’t yet adopted technology in a big way,” he told me. “They’ve been very capital efficient but this kind of capital can help them invest in go-to-market, build out their sales team and invest in a lot of product in addition to the suite they currently have.”

Last year, Clio made its first acquisition with its buy of Lexicata, a Los Angeles-based legal tech startup. The company plans to do more acquisitions with the capital, according to Newton. It also wants to accelerate product development in general and continue integrating with more apps. Since the company made the decision five years ago to expand its functionality through integration (it currently has partnered with over 150 apps), the company has seen accelerated growth, Newton said.

Speaking of growth, Newton would not provide any revenue numbers but said the company was scaling “rapidly” and had “roughly doubled its number of employees” to over 400 in the last two years. He also declined to comment on valuation.

The company also announced today that Mark Britton, who founded legal marketplace Avvo (which was recently acquired by Internet Brands), is joining Clio as an independent board member.