#Asia 4 rising startups in India – Feb 28, 2017


circus, entertainment, fly

Photo credit: ververidis / 123RF.

Hiring is the ultimate make-or-break decision for any company, and recruiters are always hunting for ways to crack it. SaaS startup Belong, which takes a shot at it with predictive analytics, just got a boost from Sequoia Capital India as well as its earlier investors Matrix Partners India. That’s not all.

Ride-hailing app Ola gets a fresh lease of life, a shared accommodation startup gets backing right after the shutdown of India’s biggest homestay network, and an emotional wellness app rounded up another day in the life of Indian startups.


Belong, which uses predictive analytics for hiring, today announced series B funding of US$10 million led by Sequoia Capital India, with participation from existing investor Matrix Partners India. Gautam Mago, Sequoia Capital India Advisors MD, has joined the Belong board of directors, which includes Tarun Davda, Matrix Partners India MD, and Raju Reddy, founder of Sierra Atlantic.

Three-year-old Belong counts Cisco, Amazon, Tesco, Reliance Jio, and ThoughtWorks among clients for its SaaS (software-as-a-service) product. “In today’s candidate-centric market, I’d say data-driven outbound hiring is clearly the most intelligent and scientific way to scale recruiting,” says Savita Hortikar, who heads talent acquisition in India for ThoughtWorks.

See: Your angry reactions to Donald Trump’s Facebook posts might help you get a job


Ola, India, car

Photo credit: Michael Coghlan.

Uber’s Indian rival Ola got a fresh lease of life with US$330 million from its lead investor, Japan’s SoftBank. But it was a down round as Ola was reported to have been valued at US$3.5 billion, against its valuation of US$5 billion in the last funding round in 2015. SoftBank wrote down its investment in Ola last year.

Both Uber and Ola have got hit with strikes in recent weeks. Drivers unhappy with a cutback on incentives. The ride-hailing apps as well as the leading ecommerce marketplaces Amazon and Flipkart have tried discounts and incentives to gain an upper hand in the Indian market.

See: Meru strikes while the iron is hot, even as Uber and Ola are in limbo


StayAbode team

StayAbode team. Photo credit: StayAbode.

StayAbode is a co-living space provider based in Bangalore. It offers urban millennials the option to share apartments with like-minded people. Typically it offers a bed and cupboard as private space, and shared spaces like kitchen and living room. It serves the needs of those who don’t want the hassle of maintaining an apartment.

Today it announced angel funding of an undisclosed amount led by Ishan Manaktala and Angie Mahtaney. A group of Investors from online funding platform LetsVenture participated in the round. Stayabode is co-founded by Viral Chhajer, Varun Bhalla, and Devashish Dalmiya who previously worked at startups Runnr, Treebo Hotels, and Roadhouse Hostels.

See: India’s largest homestay startup Stayzilla shuts down


Emotional wellness AI chatbot Wysa. Photo credit: Wysa.

Bangalore-based preventive care startup Touchkin has been selected into Facebook’s FBStart incubation program, which is designed to help early stage mobile startups build and grow their apps. “As we launch our new product Wysa on Facebook, we’re excited to see initial engagement from FB users,” says Touchkin co-founder Ramakant Vempati.

Wysa is an emotional wellness AI chatbot that figures out your mood and helps you to manage it better and be in a happy frame of mind. It can also provide early warning on problems like depression.

See: Upset about Trump’s win? This penguin chatbot helps combat depression

We’ve been bringing you cool Indian startups lately. Check them out here.

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