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Exclusive: Sequoia-backed Tapzo raises fresh funds in down round

10 January, 2018

Bangalore-based Coraza Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs personal assistant platform Tapzo, has raised about $1.93 million (Rs 12.32 crore) in a fresh round of funding from existing investors, a person directly familiar with the development told VCCircle.

Russian venture capital firm RuNet put in Rs 10.70 crore, while Singapore-based RB Investments accounted for the rest. The latest funds infusion came at a significantly lower valuation.

While the exact figure and the percentage dip in valuation could not be ascertained, the person mentioned above said that Tapzo’s pre-money valuation in this round may have come down by as much as 45% in comparison with its last round.

Last year, RB Investments had invested about Rs 20 crore, while RuNet had put in about Rs 5.62 crore. Both these investments were made at a higher valuation.

It is not clear whether this is a top-up to the company’s Series C round or a bridge round. In September 2016, VCCircle had reported that Tapzo, which was earlier known as Helpchat, secured a Series C round led by American Express Ventures, the venture investment arm of American Express Co and existing investor Sequoia Capital India. Southeast Asia-focused fund East Ventures had also participated in the round.

According to details available with VCCEdge, the data and financial research platform of News Corp VCCircle, the company had raised $10.49 million in the Series C round. A 2016 report by online media publication The Ken stated that Tapzo commanded a post-money valuation of about Rs 600 crore after the round.

While Sequoia Capital is the single-largest investor in Tapzo, the company is also backed by media conglomerates HT Media and Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, people close to the company said.

In 2015, Sequoia Capital India had led a $16-million Series B round in the company. It was known as Akosha then.

E-mail queries sent to Ankur Singla and Vishal Pal Chaudhary, co-founders of Tapzo, seeking further information, did not immediately elicit a response.

The company was founded in 2010 by Singla, and later, Chaudhary, the chief technology officer, and Avinash Vankadaru, who is part of operations, joined the startup.

Tapzo is an app aggregator platform that allows users to access more than 35 apps, such as Flipkart, Amazon, Ola, Uber, and more, from a single app interface. Users can make mobile, DTH and data card recharges, make bill payments, order cabs and food, book flight and bus tickets, and avail of home services, to name a few.

Recently, the company made apps for financial products and services available on its platform. For this, it tied up with online financial services platform BankBazaar and online lending firm IndiaLends.

Tapzo, which has undergone multiple pivots and rebranding exercises, initially started off as Akosha.com, an online customer feedback platform. In 2015, it rebranded itself as Helpchat, a chat-based personal assistant. Subsequently, in November 2016, it underwent one more pivot and rebranded as Tapzo.

The firm registered a 60% rise in operational revenue at Rs 14.10 crore for the financial year 2016-17, from Rs 4.44 crore in the previous financial year, filings with the Registrar of Companies show.

Gross expenditures rose to Rs 113.43 crore, up from Rs 84.83 crore, primarily on the back of a three-fold rise in marketing expenses at Rs 36.93 crore, from Rs 12.28 crore in the previous year. Consequently, net losses also widened to Rs 99.32 crore, from Rs 77.37 crore in the previous year, the filings stated.

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Exclusive: Sequoia-backed Tapzo raises fresh funds in down round

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