#Asia 6 startups scaling up in India

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Photo Credit: Pascal

Photo Credit: Pascal

Startups that operate in important sectors such as healthcare, analytics, and small business lending found funding today. And then there was news of an investment by industry honcho Ratan Tata. Here are the six on our list today:

UrbanClap

Local services marketplace UrbanClap has just found an investor in industrialist Ratan Tata, who has put in money in his personal capacity, the company said in a statement.

UrbanClap is a marketplace for hiring professionals for local services such as plumbing, yoga training, tutoring and wedding photography. It provides over 80 services and operates in NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, and Hyderabad. The company has a network of over 25,000 professionals.

OmiX Labs

Social enterprise incubator Villgro Innovations Foundation has pumped US$74,000 into Bangalore-based healthcare company OmiX Labs, VCCircle reported today. It will use the funds to set up a tech platform for cost-effective DNA testing.

The company says its handheld portable device can help diagnose vector-borne infections – something that can reduce the time and cost of detecting infectious disease pathogens.

“This platform allows for cost-effective DNA testing for pathogens, outside of laboratory settings, to address this stark gap in our healthcare systems,” said Sudeshna Adak, co-founder and CEO of OmiX.

The company was launched last year by Adak and her husband Abhinanda Sarkar. She is an alumnus of Stanford University.

Villgro’s chief investment officer Mukesh Sharma said the startup has great potential to save lives through early diagnosis and treatment.

PropheSee

PropheSee, a Delhi-based digital analytics platform, today said it has raised an investment of US$516,000 from Indian Angel Network, Stanfod Angels and Entrepreneurs India.

The service provides data-driven insights to brands so that they can take more informed decisions. Since its launch a year ago, the startup has worked with over 15 brands across six industries in India as well as abroad.

The funding will be used to scale technology and build core talent. The key focus areas for the next six months will be the development of more industry-specific analytics and modules, and investing in predictive algorithms and data visualization methods.

Ajay Lavakare led the round on behalf of IAN and SA&E India. “With its affordable cost to small and medium businesses and its focus on empowering companies to understand and act upon their social/digital performance, PropheSee has the potential to scale rapidly,” he said.

The data analytics market is expected to surpass US$42 billion through 2018, at a growth rate that is almost six times that of the overall IT market.

“With this investment, PropheSee will be able to leverage the Silicon Valley and Stanford University connections of the Stanford Angels members,” Paula Mariwala, president of SA&E India, said in a statement.

Aye Finance​

Photo Credit: Peter Rivera

Photo Credit: Peter Rivera

Financial services startup Aye Finance, which focuses on lending to small businesses, today announced it had received INR 200 million (US$3 million) in follow-on investment from Accion and SAIF Partners.

The fresh cash will help Aye Finance give micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) greater access to financing. India’s small business sector represents nearly 58 million businesses, creates 150 million jobs, and accounts for 45 percent of industrial output.

But these businesses are often too complex for traditional microfinance lenders and too small for traditional banks, resulting in a funding gap of INR 5 trillion (US$74.9 billion) that impedes entrepreneurs from launching or expanding businesses.

Aye Finance helps India’s small businesses using tech, credit assessments, and a new ‘Industry Cluster Enablement’ (ICE) model of lending. The startup is based in north India where the concentration of MSMEs in need of finance is high.

“Aye Finance’s industry cluster approach is an exciting innovation that can help open up great opportunity for those small businesses unlikely to get bank financing. We are excited to deepen our partnership,” said Accion president and CEO Michael Schlein.

Paynear

Payment solutions provider Paynear has raised US$2.5 million in a pre-series A round from seasoned investor Mitesh Majithia, VCCircle reported today.

The Hyderabad-based startup said it will use the funds to expand, increase its technical capabilities, and boost sales.

Founded in 2013, the company claims to have over 4,000 active devices in 20 cities across India. Its products enable merchants to engage customers. For instance, mPay allows merchants to accept credit or debit cards through smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

Paynear said also that it is looking to raise US$10 million in a series A round.

i2e1

Early stage investor GrowX Ventures today led a US$500,000 seed round for i2e1, a smart network layer platform that aims to provide low cost or free internet to consumers and actionable analytics to providers.

Angel investors like T.V. Mohandas Pai, Rajan Pandhare, Debasish Mitter, and Singapore

Angels also took part in the funding. IIT-Delhi, where i2e1 was incubated, is a shareholder in the company.

The fresh funds will be used for ramping up operations, its analytics platform, and the company’s team.

“We believe information asymmetry causes inequality. At i2e1, we are challenging ourselves to create a model which will bridge the information gap for at least 500 million people over the next five to seven years,” Satyam Darmora, co-founder, i2e1, said in a statement.

Satyam is an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Bangalore. The other founding members include Ashutosh Mishra, Anugrah Adams, Gaurav Bansal, and Maanas Dwivedi.

i2e1 has more than 100 paying clients, including retail outlets, ISPs, and organizations in the hospitality industry. It dramatically reduces the cost of network delivery through cloud-based, remotely manageable plug-and-play devices.

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