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The Indian startup ecosystem received a strong boost on Thursday with the omnichannel eyewear retailer Lenskart raising $500 million from a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).
It is for the first time that over the last year, that an Indian startup raised around $500 million as such large sized deals have become scarce given the ongoing funding winter. Though, this fundraise has not seen an increase in its valuation and media reports suggest that Lenskart raised this capital at its present value of $4.5 billion.
In other funding news, interesting startups such Zouk, which makes vegan products have raised capital. Similarly, homegrown ice cream brand NOTO and AR startup peAR which gives the 3D experience when somebody orders in a restaurant got the backing from investors. Solar energy platform Aerem also raised $5 million.
Zouk raises $3 million led by Stellaris Venture Partners
Zouk, a lifestyle brand with products like bags, wallets and footwear has raised $3 million in fresh capital. The round was led by Stellaris Venture Partners and saw participation from Sharrp Ventures, JJ Family Office, Deutsche Bank India CEO Dilip Khandelwal, Manoj Meena of Atomberg and Vineeta Singh, Kaushik Mukherjee of Sugar Cosmetics.
It plans to use the funding to expand its product portfolio and increase its distribution channels by launching five exclusive brand outlets this year. The products of this startup are available in over 50 offline retail outlets.
Founded by husband-wife duo Disha Singh and Pradeep Krishnakumar in 2016, Zouk previously raised $1.5 million in a pre-series A round.
“The next 18 months is going to see some exciting things from our side. We are rapidly expanding our collection on the Bags and Footwear side, to offer a wider collection of proudly Indian products,” said Zouk founder Disha Singh said.
NOTO raises $2 million from White Whale Ventures and Rainmatter
Mumbai-headquartered ice cream maker NOTO has raised $2 million in a pre-series A funding round led by investors White Whale Ventures and Rainmatter.
It plans to use this funding to strengthen its presence and get to newer locations. The fresh capital will also be used for hiring and product development, Zouk said.
Founded in 2019 by husband-wife duo Ashni and Varun Sheth, NOTO claims it has an annual recurring revenue (ARR) of Rs 35 crore and aims to reach Rs 50 crore by the end of this summer.
Prior to this funding round, it had raised Rs 4 crore led by investors such as Titan Capital, Rockstud Capital, VCAT (Venture Catalysts), Bollywood actor and producer John Abraham, WEH Ventures, and other angel investors.
“Through a combination of great products, attractive packaging, and affordable pricing, NOTO has garnered a loyal customer base and built a strong brand in a short period of time,” said Shapath Parikh, partner at White Whale Ventures.
NOTO has got is presence in more than five cities – Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Nagpur, Jaipur, Mangaluru and claims to be on track to become profitable by FY24.
AR startup peAR raises Rs 4.2 crore in pre-series A round
Tech startup peAR, which is an augmented-reality based in-restaurant ordering app, has raised Rs 4.2 crore in a Pre-series A funding round led by 1crowd and Chennai Angels and co-led by Inflection Point Ventures (IPV).
Funds from this round will be used to scale the company’s existing suite of solutions to different geographies.
Founded in 2019 by Dharmin Vora, Dhruvesh Mehta, and Parth Vora, peAR is looking to change the way people view and order food inside a restaurant. It helps users visualise the dish through AR technology before ordering, thus making sure customers have a delightful experience at the restaurant.
The startup claims it is currently processing over 35,000 orders monthly, across more than 800 restaurant partners. It clocks in over Rs 17 crore annualized gross transaction value via its ordering platform.