ETtech Deals Digest: Apna, Mobile Premier League enter unicorn club


Mumbai: India’s startup ecosystem minted two new unicorns this week—one of them the youngest to enter the coveted billion-dollar valuation club.

Meanwhile Byju’s, the most valued member of the club, continued its buying spree,
snapping up US-based Tynker in a cash-and-stock deal. Elsewhere, India’s largest online pharmacy
PharmEasy acquired Aknamed, a cloud-based hospital supply-chain management firm, for about $180-190 million.

A look at the key startup deals and funding rounds that made news in the week to Sept. 17.

Mobile Premier League

Sai Srinivas and Shubh MalhotraETtech

Sai Srinivas and Shubh Malhotra, cofounders of Mobile Premier League.

While esports platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) did not offer details on the size of the fundraise, sources in the know said it had
raised $150 million as the company’s valuation jumped 2.5 times compared to its previous funding round. The three-year-old startup was
valued at $945 million in its Series D round, which it closed in February this year.

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“I think a large part of the valuation increase has to primarily do with the potential that MPL has. We are not a single country and category player,” cofounder and chief executive Sai Srinivas told ET.

Existing investors including Sequoia Capital India, SIG, RTP Global, Go-Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures, Play Ventures, Base Partners, Telstra Ventures, and Founders Circle Capital also participated in the round. Times Internet, the publisher of this website, is an early investor in MPL.

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Apna becomes youngest startup to enter unicorn club

Apna.co founder Nirmit Parikh

Apna.co founder Nirmit Parikh

Apna.co, a professional networking platform for blue- and grey-collar workers,
has entered the unicorn club in 21 months—the fastest Indian startup to do so. Before Apna, business-to- business commerce startup Udaan was the fastest to achieve unicorn status at 26 months.

The company said it had raised $100 million in a new funding round led by existing investor Tiger Global. Owl Ventures, Maverick Ventures and GSV Ventures have also come on board as new investors. After the latest funding round, Apna.co’s valuation has doubled from its previous round in June to $1.1 billion.

India Unicorn List 2021ETtech

Pine Labs raises $100 million from US investment fund

Pine Labs, which
plans to list in the US next year,
has secured $100 million from US-based Invesco Developing Markets Fund.

The new funding comes just months after
it raised $600 million in two tranches from a host of global and domestic investors, valuing the firm at $3.5 billion.

ET reported earlier on Thursday that the firm had
appointed Wall Street bankers Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to steer its US listing and was in talks with investors to raise $100 million. Sources said the firm is eyeing a valuation of $6 billion for its IPO. The Noida-based firm is backed by Sequoia Capital, Temasek Holdings, Actis, PayPal and Mastercard, among others.

Bright Money gets $31 million from Sequoia, others

Fintech startup Bright Money has
received $31 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital India, Falcon Edge Capital and Hummingbird Ventures at an undisclosed valuation.

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The startup was part of the first cohort of Surge, Sequoia India’s accelerator, and counts the likes of Naveen Tewari and Abhay Singhal of InMobi, Kunal Shah of Cred, Jitendra Gupta of Jupiter, and Ram Shriram of Alphabet Inc. as its angel backers.

Deals DigestETtech

Other key deals


BetterPlace, a technology platform for blue-collar workforce management, has
picked up $24 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Delhi-based CX Partners and Singapore-based Jungle Ventures.


Bidgely, a software-as-a-service startup, has
bagged $26 million in funding led by Moore Strategic Ventures.


Eupheus Learning, a New Delhi-based B2B edtech company,
said it raised $10 million from private equity platform Lightrock India in a Series C funding round.


Zenoti, which develops software for large spas and salon chains, has
acquired US-based SuperSalon, a salon management software solutions provider.



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