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Aquaconnect, Pankhuri, others raise funding
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Aqua farmers’ network Aquaconnect has raised $4 million (Rs 29.7 crore) in a pre-Series A round led by Rebright Partners and Flourish Ventures.

AgFunder and 6G Capital also participated in this round, along with existing investors Omnivore and HATCH. 

Based out of Chennai, Aquaconnect was founded in 2017 by Rajamanohar Somasundaram, an IIT Kanpur alumnus. Aquaconnect is a full-stack aquaculture platform that offers AI-enabled farm advisory, fintech products, and marketplace solutions for shrimp and fish farmers. 

Aquaconnect currently works with over 30,000 aquaculture farmers across Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu. 

Pankhuri

Women-centric social community platform Pankhuri today announced a $3.2 million (around Rs 23.8 crore) fundraising led by Surge, a rapid scale-up programme by Sequoia Capital India for startups in India and Southeast Asia, and joined by India Quotient, Taurus Ventures and angel investors. 

Pankhuri, founded in 2019, is a platform for women in India to network, learn and shop through live streaming, chat, and cohort-based sessions, enabling them to be active participants in beauty and lifestyle conversations online instead of being passive consumers. 

The startup has a completion rate of 95% for its live streamed sessions and a community of over 250,000 active women. 

Bikry

Bikry app, operated by Bizrise Technologies, has secured $1.3 million (around Rs 10 crore) funding from YCombinator, a Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator, founders of Twitch.TV, RazorPay, Angelist, Cabra VC and Sumon Sadhu.

Founded in 2019, the Bikry app was started by Himanshu Garg and Abhishek Bhayana with an aim to support entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to create an internet business by starting them off with a free website.

AdmitKard

AdmitKard, an edtech platform that simplifies accessing higher education abroad, has raised Rs 10 crore ($1.34 million) in a pre-Series A round.

Money in the round was majorly raised from founders of edtech platforms including Vamsi Krishna and Pulkit Jain of Vedantu; Mayank Kumar of upGrad; Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Sumit Jain of Unacademy; Tanushree Nagori, Aditya Shankar and Ravi Sekhar of DoubtNut; and Akshay Saxena of Avanti. 

Other prominent investors include Pankaj Chaddah (ex-Zomato), Suhail Sameer and Dhruv Dhanraj Bahl of BharatPe; Vijay Arisetty (MyGate); Anand Chandrasekaran (ex-Snapdeal, Facebook); and Sameer Guglani of Morpheus Gang. 

Including the current round, the startup has raised a total of Rs 17 crore and served students from 26 states in India and countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Vietnam. The company has counselled over 25,000 students, processed around 12,000 applications and has a portfolio of over 2,300 universities across the globe.

Launched in 2017 by IIT-IIM alumni Piyush Bhartiya and Rachit Agrawal, AdmitKard aims to mentor students in the college application process by providing a technical platform.

UrbanKisaan

BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC), the investment arm of German chemicals major BASF, has invested an undisclosed amount in Indian agri-based startup UrbanKisaan that specialises in hydroponic cultivation of various types of vegetables, greens and herbs in tropical urban environments.

This is BVC’s first investment in an early-stage business focusing on India.

Conceptualised in 2017, UrbanKisaan operates several suburban greenhouses and vertical indoor farms in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The company sells the fresh produce, some of which is grown directly in the shops, in its franchise-owned brick-and-mortar stores and via app and website.

Bookee

Bookee, a SaaS platform for fitness entrepreneurs to obtain, manage and grow their customer base, has raised undisclosed pre-seed funding from global early-stage venture capital firm Antler India and others. The round also saw participation from Pallav Nadhani (founder, Charts.com and FusionCharts) and Abhishek Rungta (founder and CEO of Indus Net Technologies).

Bookee was founded in 2020 by Vistar Singh and Rajat Hans.

Ennoventure

US and India-based Ennoventure Inc, a SaaS platform providing device and process agnostic solution to track and authenticate brands, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Fenice Investment Group, USA.

In April 2018, the company had raised $1 million in a seed round. Ennoventure’s key markets are South Asia, India and Africa and it plans to expand to the European and US markets. The Massachusetts-headquartered firm has its R&D centre in Bengaluru.

Founded by Shalini Nair and Padmakumar Nair in August 2018, Ennoventure will utilise this fresh capital towards expanding its team and go-to-market strategy across key markets globally. As part of its growth strategy, the company also plans to focus on India as it is a key market for the export of generic drugs.

Vah Vah! 

Sequoia Capital India’s Surge has invested $1.85 million (around Rs 13.8 crore) seed funding in online vocational education company Vah Vah! 

Vah Vah! is part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies that have developed new digital solutions to help companies and individuals work, live and learn better in a rapidly evolving Southeast Asian landscape. 

Founded in October last year by Akash Senapaty, Eashwar Subbiah and Shailesh Daxini, the startup focuses on job-specific online vocational training that offers professional beauty and makeup courses.

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