Lybrate Secures $10.2 M Funding From Tiger, Nexus And Ratan Tata

Company Name : Lybrate
Funding Amount : $10.2mnlybrate
Investor(s): Tiger Global, Nexus Venture Partners and Ratan Tata .
Funding Round : Series A


Since the launch of the Lybrate app in January this year, the company has seen a massive growth with more than 80,000 doctors from various specialties from across India currently connected with its service. With more than half a million downloads in the last five months and over 100,000 patients visiting the platform every day, Lybrate’s popularity has been growing exponentially.

Before bringing any doctor on its platform, Lybrate runs a background check to verify medical licenses and credentials. The users can seek multiple opinions from doctors for free on the open platform, or start a one-on-one dialogue privately for a fee with doctors and share text, photo and voice. While interacting on an open platform, the physicians can also endorse answers of other doctors.

Ratan Tata Joins Jungle Ventures As Special Advisor

Jungle Ventures has announced that Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of the Indian Conglomerate, Tata Sons, will come on board as a Special Advisor. ratan tata

Founded by Anurag Srivastava and Amit Anand, Jungle Ventures, is an early stage venture capital fund, with a firm focus on helping build innovative technology led companies out of the Asia-Pacific.

Jungle has already made investments in 30 leading Asian startups, including the likes of Zipdial (recently acquired by Twitter), LiveSpace, Tradegecko, CrayonData, Fastacash and travelmob (acquired by Nasdaq listed HomeAway).

In his role as Special Advisor, Mr. Tata has formally committed to spend time with Jungle’s portfolio of companies to help them build category leadership, while being ethically impregnable and culturally strong, in Asian and global markets.

Ratan Tata is also on the advisory board of Kalaari and recently invested in Ola

Ratan Tata Invests in Ola

After investing in several companies like Snapdeal, Xiaomi, Paytm etc Ratan Tata has now invested in Olacabs.

ratantata-bhavish

Mr. Tata’s inclination towards transportation as a segment with the way he steered Tata Motors under his leadership at the group level is well known. Also, the Tatas at a group level and Mr. Ratan Tata himself, have built businesses that have focused on immense social impact and value creation.

With Ola’s vision to impact mobility and transportation in India by creating a valuable citizen utility and a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, we look forward to seeking inspiration and learning from this association. It is an honour as well as a huge endorsement for us and reflects Ola’s commitment towards the future of mobility in India. [Bhavish]

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Ratan Tata Invests In Kaaryah, Fashion portal

Ratan Tata has invested in fashion portal, Kaaryah.

kaaryah

Gurgaon based Kaaryah caters to women’s non-casual wear by offering the best possible fit with its 18 sizes. It offers wardrobe solutions that help discover not just the perfect fit but also what flatters different body type.
“We are honoured by Ratan Tata’s investment in Kaaryah. This validation from Tata is an endorsement, of the highest order, of our vision of creating a world class brand,” Kaaryah founder Nidhi Agarwal told PTI.
Ratan Tata has earlier invested in companies like Urbanladder, Snapdeal, Paytm, Xiaomi etc and is also an advisor to Kalaari.

Ratan Tata Invests In Xiaomi !

ratan tataRata Tata has a knack of spotting great companies and after Snapdeal, Urbanladder, Paytm he has invested in Xiaomi, the Chinese mobile manufacturer valued at more than $45Bn.
Xiaomi earlier raised $1.1 Bn at $45Bn valuation from All-Stars Investment, Yuri Milner’s DST, GIC, Hopu Fund and Yunfeng Capital.


Given that Xiaomi has now gone ahead with selling in other ecommerce stores (they were earlier selling exclusively on Flipkart), will this deal lead to a distribution integration between Tata’s Croma and Xiaomi ?

Ratan Tata Joins Kalaari Capital’s Advisory Board

Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons who has been on an investment spree, has now joined Kalaari Capital’s advisory board as a mentor.
Ratan Tata’s recent investments include CarDekho, Urban Ladder, Bluestone and Snapdeal. All these companies, except for CarDekho, have been backed by Kalaari Capital.

RatanTata With Kalaari Capital Portfolio
RatanTata With Kalaari Capital Portfolio
Kalaari Capital is a $160 million venture capital fund with an advisory team in Bangalore investing in early-stage, technology-oriented companies in India. Kalaari has collectively invested in more than 50 firms.

After UrbanLadder, Ratan Tata Invests In CarDekho

Ratan Tata has invested in CarDekho.com, which recently raised $50mn led by Hillhouse Capital with participation from Tybourne Capital and Sequoia Capital.

Ratan Tata Invests In Cardekho
Ratan Tata Invests In Cardekho
Ratan Tata is on an investing spree and his other startup investments include Urbanladder, Snapdeal and Bluestone – all mapping with Tata’s offline businesses.
The automobile space has created the largest market value among vertical classifieds and globally public and private companies in the space are together valued at over USD 50 Billion. Given that India is soon to become the third largest car market in the world, look forward to integration between Tata Motors and CarDekho.
Recommended Read : Lessons Entrepreneurs can learn from Ratan Tata: Responsible Leadership and Conscious Capitalism

Caratlane Raises $31 Million Series D Funding From Tiger Global

CaratlaneOnline jewellery store caratlane.com led by Caratlane Trading Pvt. Limited has secured $31 million in series D funding led by existing investor Tiger Global. Post funding, Tiger Global now owns majority stakes in the online eCommerce portal.
Caratlane’s series C funding happened in 2013 and the one prior to that was in 2011, both led by Tiger Global. Post the latest round, total funding raised by Caratlane has crossed $50 million.
The company was co-founded by Mithun Sacheti, a former executive of Jaipur Gems and Srinivasa Gopalan, a technology entrepreneur who founded Lister Technologies. Caratlane competes with BlueStone, whose latest investment was from Ratan Tata and Kalaari Capital.
[Source]

Jewellery Startup, Velvetcase Secures $1mn From The Chennai Angels

Online marketplace for curated jewellery, Velvetcase has received investment from The Chennai Angels.  This round of investment was led by TCA investors Kayar Raghavan and Lakshmi Potluri among other prominent business professionals and angel investors including Jacob Kurian, Jerry Rao and Arihant Patni.
velvetcase1
Founded in year 2012 by Kapil Hetamsaria & Runit Shah, Velvetcase is a global online platform for custom and designer jewellery. It partners with handpicked designers from across the world and brings design variety to consumers across the world. The team has built a disruptive supply chain model by leveraging cutting edge technology like 3D printers and process innovations in jewellery manufacturing.
The Chennai Angels’ other investments this year include PopXo, Fourth Partner Energy and education startup SkyFi Labs.
Competitor online jewellery store BlueStone had recently received investment from Ratan Tata.

UrbanLadder Acquihires Delhi Based BuyNBrag

has acqui-hired the Delhi based BuyNBrag team. urbanladder_thumb.png
Prithvi Raj Tejavath, co-founder of BuynBrag along with key team members has joined Urban Ladder as VP – Home Décor in an effort to strengthen and increase the talent pool of Urban Ladder.
BuynBrag was launched in 2012 and focused on contemporary design and extensive décor and furnishings range.

Urban Ladder has made a huge impact in the furniture category and has created a niche for itself. My team from BuynBrag and I look forward to contributing our expertise in the home decor segment for Urban Ladder. The amalgamation of the teams will lead to producing the best in the home décor space in the times to come.

UrbanLadder recently raised $21mn and has also raised funding from Ratan Tata.
Aside, UrbanLadder cofounder and CEO, Ashish Goel is talking it all at UnPluggd, India’s biggest startup conference.

Scaling Down Before Scaling Up : Introducing UnPluggd Speaker, Ashish Goel [UrbanLadder]

Startups are all about scaling up. But UrbanLadder took a very different approach to build scale. They scaled down their operations after raising funding (read this interview with cofounder, Rajiv).

Ashish Goel, UrbanLadder Cofounder
Ashish Goel, UrbanLadder Cofounder
has demonstrated the value of building a niche business in ecommerce space which is mostly crowded now. The company has gone through its own journey of market creation and importantly, a decision to scale down before scaling up!
At UnPluggd, hear some amazing product insights from Ashish Goel – right from product management fundamentals to growth hacking. To quickly share, UrbanLadder did a lot of quirky UX implementation to create the right positioning among the buyers and if you are an entrepreneur going through questions around product/market fit or related to scaling up, you should surely attend this session!
UrbanLadder was launched in July 2012 by co-founders Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa with the aim of making a million beautiful Indian homes. The company recently raised funding from Ratan Tata  and earlier raised $21mn in Series B.
If you are an entrepreneur who is wobbled with too many mn$ funding news, come over to UnPluggd and listen up to some of the real challenges founders have been through. Hear founders talk some serious shit! Only at UnPluggd !!

UnPluggd Details

Date : December 6th.
Venue : Hotel Park Plaza, Marthahalli, Bangalore.
Speakers/Agenda : The partial list is out.
The event wil be followed by networking evening (buy the tickets here).
Registration details : Hop here.
Discount: Use the code NEXTBIGWHATTWO to grab 30 40% discount!! [valid only till this weekend].
Got questions? Ask : team@nextbigwhat.com

After Snapdeal, Ratan Tata Invests In UrbanLadder

After Snapdeal, Ratan Tata has picked up stake in UrbanLadder. The investment comes four months after the company raised Series B funding from Steadview Capital and existing investors SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital.

Mr. Tata understands the furniture space very well, specially our focus on product design since he has a lot of knowledge of the subject. His inputs and guidance will be very valuable for us “[Ashish Goel, CEO & Co-founder, ]

Urban Ladder was launched in July 2012 by co-founders Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa and offers over 1000 products across 25 categories in furniture such as wardrobes, beds, sofas, dining tables and coffee tables.

Of Comfortable Corporate Life, Failures And Being An Entrepreneur.

[Guest article by Santosh Panda, Explara founder. Santosh talks about some of the struggles that he had to go through and why  he ditched his comfortable corporate life for a ‘road-not-taken’ adventure. NextBigWhat invites entrepreneurs to share their journey/lessons learned. ]
During childhood, my father had setup a dairy firm so he can earn a bit more money for giving better education and life to me and my sisters. He had a day job in a bank.
When needed, I had also distributed milk by going on a cycle to various customers, including some of my classmate and friends house.
I was born & brought up in a Ruban (Rural Urban) city in Odisha; always heard stories from my father on how people in my small town built successful businesses with little loan from bank.
After an initial attempt to get into medical and being unsuccessful, I did an engineering in Industrial & Production.

Why Startup? Santosh of Explara
Why Startup? Santosh of Explara

Fast Forward

Early in career, between 1998 to 2001, I travelled some 17 countries in Europe, USA, and South East Asia. I saw the world and it further influenced my passion towards entrepreneurship.

Gave up a hugely double-paid salary ($ in Finland and Rs in India) and life in Helsinki, Finland to come back to Bangalore to work for a small startup.

This is during the year 1999/2000 when most IT professional in India were moving to west i.e. USA.
From Bangalore, we built some amazing products for USA market from India. I tasted my creative mind and was ready to start. But I needed some money. This time I relocated myself to London & then to work with a small startup there.
Started a company in 2005 while living in London, went with a solution concept paper to University of Wales, Manchester University to solve their ‘higher education /study abroad’ programs to acquire students for various studies.

Fail & Fail Again

Tasted first failure! Me & My co-founder couldn’t agree on investment and specifically my co-founder thought it is full of risk. We closed & we are still friends.
Started another company in 2006, with 2 other co-founders, one in Bangalore, other one in USA. We struggled on selecting services vs. products and more specifically which product. We also took several months to establish a bare minimum team.
We called off the startup after 5 months of starting up and no substantial progress.
Started another startup in 2007, this time outsourced my product development to a team based in India. I had trained the team remotely from London using Skype and webcam. The company which was developing my product decided to let go several of team members. I was about to taste 3rd failure.
I approached the founder, conveyed that I intend to take over the team (or few members) if he has no issues. Started the company in 2008, while I lived in London and remotely collaborated with my team.

Explara-growth 

Adversaries

Bootstrapped from 2008 to 2011 by having a contracting job. Within 14 months of starting up, I ran out of money in 2009 Feb. My uncle gave a personal loan so I can pay salary to my associates/employees for a month.
Again ran out of money in May 2010. A childhood friend and an engg classmate offered me money so that I could pay salary to my associates/employees for a month.
My wife and my first son had come to India for my son’s birthday in 2011 and their return VISA was rejected as I had no money in my bank account in UK.

As per UK law, I cannot maintain a family basic need.

Relocated to India in Sept 2011, pitched to my childhood friend and got his first few lakhs investment.
But couldn’t take salary as company needed money badly. My wife, & son lived in Odisha; whereas I lived in Pune for 2 more years.
Not much appreciation in family relative circle for giving up a great life, salary & career in UK.

Culture

The remoteness in starting up shaped up excellent culture and collaboration.
We hired people who had an attitude and desire to do good work. We never hired anybody just because of their great educational qualification.
We had 100% open information sharing : We used Skype group conversation to share info/ chat, work & discuss, celebrate success/ express sadness, pretty much every communication was an open expression on Skype.
We never worked in weekends for the sake of it. We encouraged team to write beautiful software that works in nights & we sleep peacefully.
We encouraged team to stay ethical and not win any customer with false promises. If we miss, we own & rectify it.

Collaboration

We used simple online tools & easy to follow process to enable remote collaboration.
We used Skype group conversation to share info/ chat, work & discuss, celebrate success/ express sadness, pretty much every communication was an open expression on Skype.
Collaboration tools for project management, document management, communications helped to bridge the gap among team and also among team and customers.
We even encouraged/influenced team members to access Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, almost open access to any social communities. This helped us to source feedback/learn insights and we could even connect to Customer on this channels.
For instance, we could win 100s of customer (between 2008 to 2011) just via Twitter.

Failures

We have an open understanding in the company: Try, if you fail, there is no penalty. Rather, if you don’t try, you will loose lot of opportunity.
Don’t have to have the mindset that things will always go wrong, but let’s celebrate it when it does go wrong.
We started the company to solve ‘venue sourcing’ for events. We failed & pivoted to ‘Event Ticketing & registration’.
We failed several times during the product development, many customer had to suffer with changes/issues. We ensured we win them back with better products.
We grew to 600% but product name (it was called Ayojak earlier) couldn’t work globally. We pivoted to a new brand “Explara”.
We are now working to lead several markets in various countries.

We may fail.

Customer First

As I operated remotely, and we had established a culture of ‘kill the distance’ among myself & team. We extended the same to our customers.
The tone across the company was (& is) that we are passionate about reaching to our customers and delivering to their issue. So let’s kill the distance between us and the customer.
When there are issues (support, product, communication), its not about who is right, the customer has to be heard.
How will we expect if we were the customer? Make sure that we’re down to earth and tuned to life.
Keeping ethical and customer focused. If customer calls, we call them back within few minutes.
If you look at any part of the world it’s customer support that matters. The more customer focused you are the better world you’re building.

That’s my Startup Explara for YOU!

JRD Tata
JRD Tata

Future Group Partners With Amazon India [Online-Offline Integration]

Future Group and Amazon have announced their partnership in India. Although the primary step of this partnership is to sell future groups fashion products online through Amazon, the deal is said to later include all categories of future group’s products.

The Future of Future Group is Amazon
The Future of Future Group is Amazon

Speaking on the deal, Kishore Biyani, CEO Future group said that partnership with Amazon will enable Future Group to leverage their strengths, investments and innovations in technology to reach out to wider set of consumers across India.

Amazon’s product delivery services will make it possible for future group to reach across geographies in the country. Being a huge conglomerate of more than 40 brands, Future Group will benefit largely from the ecommerce space upon being partnered with Amazon.

“The bottom line in each of our retail success stories is “know your customer”. Insights into the soul of Indian consumers – how they operate, think, dream and live – helps us innovate and create functionally differentiating products and experiences. Partnership with Amazon, which obsesses to be earth’s most customer centric company, will enable us to leverage their strengths, investments and innovations in technology to reach out to wider set of consumers across India,” Kishore Biyani, Group CEO, Future Group said.

Kishore Biyani had voiced his opinion on Flipkart’s Big Billion Day saying that Flipkart cannot take the nation for granted even for a single day. Biyani’s Future Group has been among the top players in organized brick-and-mortar sales in the country for about 15 years.

Amazon has also pumped in a lot of money, with the recent investment in India being around $2 Billion. Amazon and Flipkart’s head-on war on each other is taking new shapes every day with each investing more than the other in the country over every funding rounds.

Now that the partnership has been announced, Biyani’s take over discounts and predatory pricing needs to be waited and watched upon. Considering the huge fuss happening over the discounts and pricing provided by eCommerce players, the online-offline integration seems to be happening sooner than expected with large brands tying up with eCommerce players.

Future group has been working on several ecommerce initiatives – the latest being Big Bazaar Direct E-commerce store, using which Big Bazaar is targeting 50,000 franchisees by the end of the year through this Franchisee based business model. This will allow consumers to buy Big Bazaar products at their nearest retail store or kiraana outlet.

Hindustan Unilever has also pilot tested online sales of FMCG goods leveraging the firm’s presence in over 3 million physical shops across the country.

TATA Value Homes, Mahindra Automotive had also tied up with Snapdeal to promote sales of housing projects and vehicles through the online marketplace. Users could book for TATA homes or the new Mahindra Scorpio on the website. This is a huge move for both the companies to make such high value products available on the online space. TATA had mentioned that the online sales of TATA Value Homes has increased their reach to a wider audience and had helped speed up their sales drastically. The TATA deal with Snapdeal had happened following Ratan Tata’s personal investment in SnapDeal.

eCommerce is currently the biggest boom in the country and every brand/retailer is trying their hand at providing something new and innovative through their online buying experience. In this struggle to stay in the lead, we will see more Big Billion Days, Discount Offers and online-offline wars quite frequently.

On A Shopping Spree, Ratan Tata Invests in Bluestone

Ratan Tata,Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons is on a shopping spree. After investing in Snapdeal, he has invested in Bluestone, online jewellery store. bluestone

Bangalore based Bluestone raised $10mn in 2014 led by Kalaari Capital. The company was founded by Vidya Nataraj, formerly of retail chain Landmark and Gaurav Kushwah, the founder of Chakpak (which was later acquired by Flipkart).

Is Ratan Tata investing strategically in businesses where Tatas have a strong offline presence? For instance, Snapdeal now has an exclusive partnership with Tata Housing wherein they are selling Tata Value Homes online. Will we see similar integration happen between Tanishq and Bluestone?

Read : Online Jewellery Business in India : A Deeper Look Into Past, Present and Future

VC Investment in Online Jewellery Stores in India

  • Chennai based online jewellery retailer Caratlane had raised total of $27 million from Tiger Global in three rounds.
  • Designer jewellery and accessories online store, Voylla.com raised INR 2.5 crores from Pune-based Snow Leopard Technology Ventures.
  • Gurgaon based Youshine, had raised $1.5 million in two rounds of angel funding in February and November 2012 from two angel investors based out of Switzerland.

VIA

Ratan Tata Invests in Snapdeal

Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons, has made a personal investment in

Over the last 2 years, Snapdeal has seen 600% growth year-on-year and currently houses over 5 million products across 500+ diverse categories from over 50,000 sellers.

Ratan Tata With Kunal Bahl
Ratan Tata With Kunal Bahl

“This is a very proud and exciting moment for the entire Snapdeal family. An investment by a legendary and respected figure like Mr. Tata is an excellent validation of our focused strategy on building a long term enterprise and marks the start of a very important phase for the company.” says Kunal Bahl, founder and CEO of Snapdeal.

So far, Snapdeal has raised $350mn funding over 5 rounds (Earlier, Snapdeal had raised $133.77 Mn in funding) from BlackRock, Temasek, eBay Inc., Premji Invest, Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, among others.
Ratan Tata’s funding rumor has been doing rounds for quite some time.

Snapdeal has also announced partnership with Tata housing to sell Tata Value Homes on Snapdeal  (mere coincidence, but will Tata use Snapdeal for its ecommerce ventures?).

Some of the other bigwigs who have taken a shot at startup funding include Premji (invested in Myntra) and Snapdeal and NRN who launched Catamaran fund.

Competition Flipkart raised a billion dollar and Amazon plans to invest $2Bn in Indian market.

Snapdeal Journey

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