Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based insurtech startup Fedo has raised $1 million in pre Series A round led by Unicorn India Ventures. This is Unicorn India's fifth investment from its Rs 400 crore Fund II. The funding round saw participation from SEA fund along with Ashish Mehrotra, Former MD and CEO, Max Bupa.

Founded in 2017 by Prasanth Madavana and Arun Mallavarapu, Fedo is a Bengaluru-based insurtech startup, which has built an AI/ML platform that leverages the power of deep tech and medical research to automate underwriting in the health and life insurance sector. It uses computer vision and AI algorithms to help insurers enhance sales, reduce costs, and enrich the quality of their portfolio.

According to a statement released by the company, Fedo plans to deploy the funds raised in launching the world's first ever image-based underwriting platform this year that would enable insurance on boarding in less than 60 seconds. It is also working with a global player to dynamically price retail and group premiums as well as plans to launch its operations in South East Asia and Australia this year.

Fedo

Team at Fedo

Speaking on the investment, Prasanth Madavana, Co-founder, Fedo, said,

“Our vision is to offer AI backed solutions to insurance providers, which enables early identification of potential health risks by using non invasive methods thereby reducing out of pocket expenditures of individuals and making insurance accessible, affordable, and personalised.”

Fedo works with many health and insurance players in India and abroad with data driven smart portfolio management. Apart from this, the startup also supports population risk predictions, partnering with health departments of local governments in India and globally.

Anil Joshi, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures, said,

“India is one of the most under-insured countries in the world. A big reason for this is that many people may want to take insurance but they don’t know which product works for them or covers ailments. Fedo has the capability to deploy AI and assess your health related risks. With COVID situation entering into the community stage in India and coming back in the second wave in other countries, the awareness about getting a health cover is on the rise. Insurtech players like Fedo are positioned right to leverage this trend.” 

Edited by Megha Reddy

Original Source: yourstory.com

Study: Forestry finance market could soar to $800bn as net zero goals multiply

But supply chain deforestation threatens to undermine vast market potential for nature-based climate solutions, PRI warns

Corporate demand for carbon removal and offsetting will establish forests as a major new asset class that could generate $800bn annually for investors by mid-century, according to the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The forest finance market, historically small and managed by the public sector, is set to balloon into a trillion-dollar market over the coming decades as a growing number of corporates make investments in afforestation and reforestation projects that help them meet their net zero goals, according to PRI research today.

The research – which forms part of a new guide to negative emissions and land-use released by the PRI today – predicts the value of assets in the nature-based offsets market could swell to “well over” $1.2tr by mid-century, a figure that even outstrips the current total market capitalisation of oil and gas majors.

Major forest-related climate commitments from some of the world’s largest companies – including Shell, BP, Total, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon – highlight how corporate net zero agendas are already turbocharging demand for carbon credits from nature-based climate solutions, it notes.

Yet even prior to the explosion of net zero commitments from companies over the past 18 months, the value of forestry and land-use CO2 credits had been growing. The value of such credits traded in the voluntary offset market tripled to $172m between 2017 and 2018, while the share of forestry and land-use related offsets grew from 52 to 64 per cent of the total voluntary market, it notes.

But while reforestation and afforestation have emerged the earliest feasible negative-emissions technology investment opportunity for companies looking to offset their carbon, the report also notes that technological solutions could also grow to be a hundred-billion-dollar market. Direct air carbon capture, use and storage (DACCS) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technologies could generate a further $625bn by 2050, it estimates.

Fiona Reynolds, chief executive of UN PRI, urged investors to take steps in the near-term to take advantage of investment opportunities in the bourgeoning forest market. “Policy and business momentum have now advanced to a critical mass for forests to begin emerging as a new asset class,” she said. “Investors can act now to unlock investment opportunities and to take an increasingly leading role in financing.”

It follows a number of high-profile investments in nature-based climate solutions from major corporates over the past year. Shell has invested in projects geared at planting five million trees in the Netherlands and regenerating a 800 hectare forest in Australia; BP is protecting a 40,000 hectare forest in Zambia; Apple is protecting a 11,000 hectare forest in Columbia; and Amazon plans to spend $10m on restoring 1.6 million hectares of US forest, according to the report.

However, the PRI warns that for investors to take advantage of the burgeoning market, they must take an active role in tackling deforestation, which not only harms the climate but constrains the total investible nature-based solutions market. Rates of deforestation have doubled during the pandemic, it notes, and as such investors must take steps to end investments in companies with deforestation in their supply chains.

“Afforestation activities are the most viable first move, but to ensure success actors must simultaneously focus on ending deforestation,” Reynolds said, adding that global forest laws need to be vigorously enforced and tightened.

The guide urges investors to take a stand in promoting sustainability standards for BECCS, warning that overreliance on the negative-emissions technology will push the world to its planetary boundaries on water and land availability. It also urges investors to promote a global standard for nature-based offset market.

“With more and more companies setting net zero targets, investors also need greater transparency about the negative emission technologies businesses will rely on to get there,” Reynolds added.

Elsewhere, the analysis highlights a number of emerging business models as holding the most promise for facilitating private investment in forest finance, ranging from green bonds, forest insurance provision, carbon off-taker guarantees, sustainable farming agreements and carbon farming agreements.

Distressed asset purchases – where investors buy and restore deforested or degraded public and private land to benefit from the carbon stock it produces – and a ‘stewardship model’ where an investor leases deforested or degraded land, are also included in the shortlist.

Allison Spector, director of sustainability at global investment manager Nuveen mused that private investors could “open the door” for major forest-related investments worldwide that could help companies meet their net zero targets and steer a Paris-aligned future.

“We believe there is a powerful role for forest-based natural climate solutions,” she said. “Yet the feasibility of implementing these strategies across the vast forestlands of the world is yet to be demonstrated and is predicated on an end to deforestation.”

Original Source: businessgreen.com

Launched in 2012, YourStory's Book Review section features over 250 titles on creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital transformation. See also our related columns The Turning Point, Techie Tuesdays, and Storybites.

Aspiring entrepreneurs and students wanting to learn about the funding aspects of starting up can find a useful overview in the compact book, Venture Capital Investments, by Raj Kumar and Manu Sharma.

The eight chapters, spread across 165 pages, provide a starting point to the world of venture dynamics. Raj Kumar is Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Chandigarh. Manu Sharma is Assistant Professor at the University Institute of Applied Management Sciences, Panjab University.

Here are my takeaways from the book, summarised as well in Table 1. See also my reviews of the related books Angel Investing, The Manual for Indian Startups, Straight Talk for Startups, and Startup Boards.

T1

The World of Venture Capital (Table 1 image courtesy YourStory)

Foundations

Venture capital is based on the model of high-risk high-return of investments, the authors begin. VCs bring in not just finance but also management expertise, industry connections, and mentorship support.

This is important in cases where the business idea is new and risky, or the founding team is not experienced or balanced. Early-stage VCs target startups are regarded as too small or risky by traditional financers; as the startup matures, risk decreases but return factors on new investments decrease.

Founders can raise funds through debt (highly leveraged; stakeholder value maximisation) or equity (less leveraged). The choice depends on factors like market conditions and type of industry and company.

Factors like liquidity, information asymmetry, and cyclicality define VC engagement, which can last for around 7-10 years in a startup’s lifecycle. “Venture capitalists follow the Pareto principle – 80 percent of the wins come from 20 percent of the deals,” the authors explain.

Deal structures vary in formative, mid-life, and expansion stages of the startup. “VC firms get rewarded for making accurate predictions and identifying a pattern before it becomes a trend,” the authors observe.

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Market growth

Two chapters trace the rise of the VC industry in the US and India, and map portfolios of VCs in India. The IT industry in the 1970s marked the growth of VC as an asset class in the US. In India, early venture financing was done by the government before formal recognition to private investors was given in the 1980s, the authors explain.

Tech and business clusters in China and India grew as investment destinations for many Internet-sector investors from the 1990s onwards. VC-funded startups have helped increase the “absorptive capacity” of business for new innovations.

The authors track some of the deals of VCs in India, such as Inventus Capital Partners (PolicyBazaar), Accel Partners (Flipkart), Nexus Venture Partners (Snapdeal), IDG Ventures (Yatra), and Sequoia Capital India (JustDial).

The journey is not always smooth, particularly when multiple investors are involved in a startup’s evolution. For example, discussions in 2016-2017 for a proposed merger of Snapdeal and Flipkart failed to get an approval of all investors.

Deal evaluation

VCs tend to look for industries where lower investments can lead to large exponential returns with enormous margins, the authors explain. They examine the size of the overall market, and what percentage can be dominated by the invested startup. VCs avoid saturated markets with large competitors (e.g. Coca-Cola, Pepsi for carbonated drinks).

The startup should have a balanced team capable of creating uniquely differentiated offerings, pick profitable price points, develop deep customer relationships, and create entry barriers to future competitors.

In the long run, brand equity and external advisors or partners help in growing the market as well. Other factors in keeping with the times are environmental sustainability and eco-friendliness, the authors add.

Based on these factors, agreements specify the amount and purpose of funds, working and runway capital, burn rate, and monthly cash flow.

ALSO READ

[YS Learn] 5 must-read books before you raise funding

Valuation methodologies

One chapter packed with equations and tables shows valuation techniques in action. The market-based approach is based on multiples and ratios of enterprise value, earnings, revenue, price, earnings, tax, depreciation, and amortisation.

Based on this, VCs calculate required rates of return, fund performance, and shareholding patterns. This applies to pre-money and post-money stages in multiple rounds.

Discounted cash flow-based valuation determines the present value of free cash flows to the firm (FCFF), the authors explain. Factors like the nature (equity/debt) and the amount of capital raised come into play here.

Common equity and preferred equity have different implications for voting rights and dividends of shareholders. VC portfolio parameters include amount invested, amount returned, exit status, and exit multiples. Based on the performance, success can be “normal, grand or super”, the authors describe (in addition to failure, of course).

ALSO READ

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Fund structure and economics

Two chapters describe VC fund structure and economics. Limited partners (LPs) are usually institutional investors such as endowments, insurance companies, pension funds, foundations, family-owned offices, or investors with very high net worth.

LPs do not make decisions on how exactly VC firms manage the funds raised for startups. General partners (GPs) raise and manage the VC’s funds, and extend services for startups. Portfolios are business strategies to attract investors, the authors explain.

The authors describe investment steps like business plan submission, meetings, due diligence, and term sheets. Some founder tips on negotiation and dispute resolution would have been a welcome addition to these chapters. An actual or hypothetical case study of fundraising activities of a startup through its journey would have also helped.

Exit routes of an investment are usually an IPO, acquisition, management buyout, or sale of shares to another investor. The authors show illustrative tables of payout models for multiple LPs and GPs, along with an analysis of management fees.

The last chapter of the book describes how a VC raises funds via a prospectus presented to LPs. The prospectus describes the track record of the GPs, performances of its earlier funds, fee percentages, number of startups targeted, and anticipated returns.

Overall returns and riskiness of past performance are assessed by LPs. For example, there may have been too much dependence on the success of only one startup instead of a few startups.

The book ends abruptly with this chapter. It would have been great to end with some suggestions or advice for founders and aspiring investors, or with some analysis on emerging trends and developments.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.

Original Source: yourstory.com

Even as the coronavirus pandemic caused investors to become risk-averse, Indian startups continued to raise funding. However, the deal sizes shrank, pointing to the fact that investors put in less money in more startups to spread their risks.

Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, and Mumbai retained their top spots in terms of the number of deals and funding raised. YourStory Research data revealed that the number of funding deals closed by Mumbai-based startups jumped about 20 percent to 79 in the first six months of 2020, up from 66 deals in H1 2019.

According to data accessed by YourStory, 69 deals were closed by Mumbai-based startups since the nationwide lockdown, announced at the end of March.

funding, startup

Image Source: Shutterstock

Here are the top 10 funding deals by Mumbai-based startups funding during the lockdown. (We have considered deals that were closed since March 25)

InCredInCred

Bhupinder Singh, Founder and CEO, InCred.

In July, NBFC InCred raised Rs 500 crore in debt funding from various public sector banks and public financial institutions.

The latest round of financing will boost the startup’s lending expansion across select segments in the consumer, education, and MSME markets.

Founded in 2016 by Bhupinder Singh, InCred started its operations with consumer lending in March 2016. It then diversified into small business lending in March 2017. At present, it claims to have a loan book of over Rs 2,000 crore. 

In April 2019, the digital lending platform had raised Rs 600 crore in its Series A round, led by Dutch development finance institution FMO.

Also Read[Funding Alert] NBFC InCred raises Rs 600 Cr in Series ARebel Foods

In April 2020, cloud kitchen operator Rebel Foods raised $50 million from existing investor US-based hedge fund Coatue Management, according to its filings with the Registrar of Companies.

Founded by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee in 2010, Rebel Foods has overseas operations in Southeast Asia and Europe. Globally, it runs 325 cloud kitchens.

Earlier this February, the startup had raised additional venture debt of Rs 35 crore led by debt funding firm Alteria Capital.

Also Read[Funding alert] Faasos' parent Rebel Foods raises venture debt of Rs 35 Cr led by Alteria Capital TopprZishaan Hyath, CEO and Founder, Toppr

Zishaan Hayath, CEO and Founder, Toppr

In July, edtech startup Toppr raised Rs 350 crore in Series D round, led by Foundation Holdings, with participation from existing investors, including Kaizen Private Equity.

Toppr will use this latest investment to further help to develop the artificial intelligence (AI) based Toppr School Operating System (OS), a platform for schools to run digitally unifying in-school and after-school learning to create a standardised and personalised experience.

Founded in 2013 by Zishaan Hayath, the startup has cumulatively raised Rs 700 crore to date.

Also Read[Startup Bharat] How these IITians turned their student project into a profitable global edtech company CarTrade

In June, online automobile classifieds platform CarTrade raised Rs 321 crore ($42.5 million) from two of its existing investors in its Series H round of financing.

Earlier in 2017, the firm had raised Rs 370 crore in a funding round led by Temasek Holdings and a US family office.

Founded in 2006 by Vinay Sanghi, the portal also offers car price information, certification, insurance, used car finance, comparisons, on-road prices, and reviews. In November 2015, the platform acquired CarWale, an online classifieds portal, in an all-cash deal.

LEAD SchoolLead School founders

LEAD School co-founders: Smita Deorah (left) and Sumeet Mehta

In August, edtech startup LEAD School raised $28 million in a Series C round, led by Westbridge Capital along with existing investor Elevar Equity.

This round of funding will be used by the company to accelerate the development and rollout of new product offerings, increase its school network in Tier II and III cities, and hire talent across domains. 

Founded in 2012 by Sumeet Mehta and Smita Deorah, LEAD School combines technology, curriculum, and pedagogy into an integrated system of teaching and learning to create affordable private schools. It has partnered with 800-plus schools with an estimated three lakh-plus students in more than 300 cities in 15 states.

Also Read[Funding alert] LEAD School raises $28M in Series C round led by Westbridge CapitalNykaaNykaa

Falguni Nayar, Founder & CEO, Nykaa with Nihir Parikh, Chief Business Officer (2nd row, 3rd from L-R)

Online beauty turned omnichannel lifestyle retailer Nykaa raised three rounds of funding adding to $24.7 million. In June, the startup raised Rs 19.6 crore from Sunil Kant Munjal as part of its ongoing round.

In May, it raised Rs 66.64 crore from its existing primary investor Steadview Capital. With this round of investment, Nykaa became valued at $1.2 billion, thus entering the startup unicorn club.

Earlier in March, it raised Rs 100 crore from its existing primary investor Steadview Capital. This came after it had raised an additional Rs 100 crore from Singapore-based TPG Growth IV SF last year.

Prior to that, in September 2018, Nykaa raised Rs 113 crore from Lighthouse India Fund III, and another Rs 160 crore through primary and secondary share sales.

Since its launch in 2012 by Falguni Nayar (former Managing Director at Kotak Mahindra Capital), Nykaa has been instrumental in shaping the beauty and lifestyle industry in India through its omnichannel reach and curated product offering.KettoKunal Kapoor

Actor and Co-founder of Ketto, Kunal Kapoor

In July, Ketto — a crowdfunding platform for fundraising of social, creative, and personal causes — raised Rs 109 crore to help and support more than three lakh people in various capacities.

Founded in 2012 by Bollywood actor Kunal Kapoor along with Varun Sheth and Zaheer Adenwala, Ketto has been distributing PPE kits and ration kits, and providing support to migrant workers. It has established community kitchens to feed hundreds of people every day.

Earlier this year, Ketto raised Rs 30 crore in crowdfunding through the philanthropy arm of CleverTap, CleaverTap4Good.

Also Read[Funding alert] Kunal Kapoor's crowdfunding platform Ketto raises Rs 109 Cr amidst the pandemicServifysreevathsa

Sreevathsa Prabhakar, Founder, Servify

In June, Service Lee Technologies which operates device management and support platform Servify, raised $11.37 million in its Series C round from a clutch of existing investors.

Earlier, in April, it secured Rs 1.9 crore in debt from Germany-based Barkawi.

Launched in 2015 by Sreevathsa Prabhakar, Servify is an app-based customer support service channel for consumer electronics.

In three years, it has created a complete service life cycle management platform enabling top electronics and smartphone brands, carriers and retailers in device diagnostics with distribution, sales, warranty management, after-sales service, end of life management, and ecommerce capabilities.

Also ReadWith 740 million devices on its platform, Servify is India’s king of after-sales experienceLido LearningLido

Team Lido

In April, Lido Learning, an edtech startup that focuses on live online tutorials, closed a $7.5 million Series B round led by Ant Financial-backed BAce Capital. This put the edtech startup’s overall funding at $10.5 million.

With this round of funding, Lido plans to build a presence in Tier II and III towns to democratise high quality education across India. It will also expand into more curriculum-focused subjects, and 21st-century skills like analytical thinking, critical reasoning, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Earlier in March, it raised another $3 million led by Picus Capital backed by Rocket Internet Founder Alex Samwer, and President of Paytm Madhur Deora.

Founded in 2019 by Sahil Sheth, Lido Learning offers live tutoring and personalised online coaching sessions to students from Class V-Class IX in Math and Sciences from both CBSE and ICSE boards.

Also ReadEdtech startup Lido Learning to hire senior citizens as tutors during coronavirus Suryoday

In May, scheduled commercial bank Suryoday Small Finance Bank (SSFB) raised Rs 62.14 crore from existing investors including Gaja Capital, Kotak Life, Lok Capital, TIAA, and Kiran Vyapar. 

SSFB, which provides microfinance loans to customers, has launched a working capital loan product for its MFI customers to meet their urgent liquidity requirements during the lockdown.

The bank has over 20 institutional investors with a healthy mix of institutional investors, development funds and private equity investors.

(With inputs from Sujata Sangwan, Thimmaya Poojary, Debolina Biswas, Sindhu Kashyap)

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.

Original Source: yourstory.com

New Delhi-based microfinance startup SATYA MicroCapital Limited has announced that it has raised Rs 72.5 crore led by Swiss impact investor, BlueOrchard Finance Limited, for the second time since its inception in 2017.

According to a release by the company, the funding will be received through InsuResilience Investment Fund (IIF) and Japan ASEAN Women Empowerment Fund (JAWEF), which is managed by BlueOrchard.

The company said the debt funding will instil a boost in scaling up its operational base while continuing to develop innovative credit offerings and complete end-to-end business processes for its valuable clients.Funding

Source: Shutterstock

Also Read[Funding alert] Electric vehicle startup Simple Energy in talks to raise $1M

SATYA MicroCapital, an NBFC-MFI, offers collateral-free credit to micro enterprises on the basis of a credit assessment platform and a centralised approval system. The company said it has adopted a unique Limited Liability Group (LLG) model for extending loans and ensuring repayment. The model distributes the liability among each group member, which exists only up to 10 installments in bi-weekly collections.

Till date, SATYA claims to have rendered its value-added credit services for generating means of livelihood to over 4.5 lakh clients across 15,000+ villages across the country.

Vivek Tiwari, MD and CEO, SATYA MicroCapital Limited, said,

"The funds will be used for effectively promoting animal husbandry bundled with livestock insurance and in helping a wider section of small aspiring women entrepreneurs to normalise their business. We are thankful to BlueOrchard Finance for showing trust and confidence in SATYA. This will definitely boost the microfinance activities in India.”

The company was also backed by an equity funding of Rs 105 crore in May 2020 led by Japan-based finance institution Gojo & Company Inc. 

Earlier, in September 2019, SATYA MicroCapital raised Rs 50 crore in debt funding by issuing non-convertible debentures (NCDs) to Mauritius-based Aviator Global Investment Fund, in a joint venture with Northern Arc Capital, for three years.

It launched its micro-finance operations from its Bulandshahr branch in Uttar Pradesh. Since then, it has set up 65 branches across 11 states – Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.

(Edited by Megha Reddy)

Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.

Original Source: yourstory.com