B2B procurement marketplace ProcMart raises $10 million in Series A funding round
Procmart | January 30, 2023

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/sme-sector/b2b-procurement-marketplace-procmart-raises-10-million-in-series-a-funding-round/articleshow/95651534.cms B2B procurement marketplace ProcMart has raised $10 million in series A funding round led by Sixth Sense Ventures. In order to secure these funds, Sequitur Advocates provided ProcMart with legal counsel while keeping in mind the company's growth strategy. The latest round of funding will be deployed towards international expansion, strengthening vendor partnerships and upgrading technological and warehousing capabilities. Founded in 2015 by Anish Popli, a first-generation entrepreneur and an IIM Lucknow and NIT-Trichy Alumnus with experience in procurement and project management from BHEL and Energo Engineering; ProcMart is an enterprise-focused MRO aggregator with a tech-enabled digital platform. Within a few years, it has been able to onboard, retain and deepen business with tier-1 global MNCs and domestic enterprises such as Colgate, Mondelez, Harman, Dana, Vedanta while expanding, across industry verticals, and product categories. Popli stated, “With consistent growth and profitability over the past few years, ProcMart has emerged as a strong player providing an end-to-end digital ecosystem for indirect procurement to leading MNCs and domestic enterprises. This financing will be crucial to increasing our geographic reach, forming effective vendor alliances, and improving our technological and warehousing capabilities. Sixth Sense have a strong track record of partnering with B2B enablers and helping them scale leveraging their ecosystem connect.” Nikhil Vora, Founder & CEO, Sixth Sense Ventures commented, “We have seen global players like Grainger & Fastenal achieve tremendous scale and growth, especially in US and Europe. The Indian market is relatively nascent but poised for massive disruption given the strong manufacturing potential and growing focus on organising non-core spends. We see ProcMart as a great opportunity to leverage this disruption in the otherwise unorganised and fragmented MRO industry in India. Super stoked to have Anish and ProcMart on board with this investment.” Maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) is a $650 billion industry globally with growth outpacing that of the manufacturing sector. While the US & Europe are the largest markets at $300 billlion, with multi- billion-dollar MRO aggregators, India is still a nascent market at $18 billion with under 3% penetration and small, fragmented players. However, with a $300B manufacturing sector growing strongly, emergence of centralised procurement and increasing focus on optimising non-core spends, the Indian MRO industry is at the cusp of a disruption.
D2C Brand Acefour Accessories Raises $7 Mn To Disrupt India’s Luggage Market
Uppercase | July 18, 2022

https://inc42.com/buzz/d2c-brand-acefour-accessories-raises-7-mn-dollar-to-disrupt-indias-luggage-market/ The startup plans to use the fresh funds for its working capital, brand and product building Acefour, through its soon-to-be-launched brand Uppercase, is targeting to establish itself as a fresh, contemporary, sustainable brand Acefour, founded in 2021 by Sudip Ghose, Uday Sodhi and Arnob Mondal, raised $1.5 Mn in its seed funding round led by Enam Holdings in March this year Travel accessories startup Acefour Accessories has raised $7 Mn in its pre-Series A funding round led by Sixth Sense Ventures’s current fund, Sixth Sense India Opportunities III. The round also saw participation from Acefour’s existing investor Volrado Venture Partners. The fundraise comes just before the launch of Acefour’s product range. The startup plans to use the fresh funds for its working capital, brand and product building. The D2C startup, through its brand Uppercase, is targeting to establish itself as a fresh, contemporary, sustainable brand that would witness a sync of both fashion and function, Acefour said in a statement. Acefour, founded in 2021 by Sudip Ghose, Uday Sodhi and Arnob Mondal, aims to disrupt India’s $3.5 Bn luggage market with the new-age brand, which, the startup says, is highly fragmented. Ghose has about 20 years of leadership experience in the travel gear industry. He was former CEO & MD of VIP Industries and former executive director of Samsonite India.
Test prep platform Toprankers raises $4 million in funding led by Sixth Sense
Toprankers | July 4, 2022

Bengaluru: Online test preparation platform Toprankers has raised $4 million in a fresh funding round led by Sixth Sense Ventures.

The company will use the funds to introduce new categories in the test prep segment such as study abroad programmes, tutoring courses, career counselling programmes, and finance and commerce test preps. The startup is also looking at hiring around 160 teaching and non-teaching staff in the next 12 months. Founded in 2016 by Gaurav Goel, Karan Mehta, and Harsh Gagrani, Toprankers offer courses in the test prep segment focusing on law, judiciary services and state exams, management test prep exams like Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUET), and design, fashion, and architecture entrance tests such as the National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA).
D2C skincare brand Ras Luxury Oils raises $2 million funding from Sixth Sense
RAS Beauty | July 4, 2022

Mumbai: Ras Luxury Oils, a direct to consumer (D2C) luxury skincare and personal care brand, has raised $2 million in a funding round from Sixth Sense Ventures, the company said.

It said it would use the funds to develop and launch new product categories, expand deeper into marketplaces, and establish an international presence. Founded in 2017 by three women -- Shubhika Jain, Suramya Jain and Sangeeta Jain -- Ras Luxury Oils claims it has seen 20x growth in the past two years. “There is a white space within luxury skincare as a category in India, and it is growing 2-3x faster than the personal care category because it is brand-starved. Furthermore, skincare brands from India are underrepresented globally. We believe that with such a dynamic, young and strong leadership team, Ras has the ability to create a strong niche for itself,” said Nikhil Vora, founder and CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures. Sixth Sense Ventures is currently investing out of its third fund, SSIO III, which has completed 24 investments, including bets on Parag Milk, Nobel Hygiene, Fraazo, Open Secret, Stylam, GoodDot, Neeman’s, Rage Coffee, Design Cafe and Bira 91. It said it is targeting the global clean beauty and skincare market, which is worth $54 billion and growing at a 13% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Currently, Ras’ website contributes 85-90% of its revenue. It also sells through online marketplaces such as Nykaa and Amazon, and has partnered with various high-end spas and salons.
“We plan to transform the global beauty and skincare market as a made-in-India brand that speaks to a discerning global consumer,” said Shubhika Jain, cofounder and CEO, Ras Luxury Oils.
Sixth Sense Ventures Invests $10 M In RTE Company ADF Foods
ADF Foods | July 4, 2022

This coupled with the Indian Government’s thrust to incentivise local manufacturing as a part of a PLI scheme has given a fillip to the food processing sector

ADF Foods is disrupting the $450B Global RTE market by focusing on ethnic food shelves across the world. The strong macroeconomic tailwinds driven by growing Indian diaspora worldwide, westernization of ethnic food, increased shift to nuclear families & increasing work hours are propelling category growth. This coupled with the Indian Government’s thrust to incentivise local manufacturing as a part of a PLI scheme has given a fillip to the food processing sector. ADF is a leading manufacturer & exporter of 8 privately owned RTE food brands offering frozen food, spices, condiments, pastes, sauces, etc. In their 50+ yrs of operations, they have setup 3 manufacturing facilities (capacity of 28,000MT), created a distribution network of 180+ distributors & established presence in 50+ countries. They have further strengthened their distribution network by adding Patanjali Ayurved Limited & Unilever product offerings across US, UK & Western Europe. The company has BIMAL THAKKAR at the helm, as chairman, MD & CEO. He has been instrumental in several of ADF’s brand launches, new market expansions, international acquisitions & setting up international subsidiaries. With a CAGR of over 20pc, the business has generated revenues of Rs420crs in FY22, healthy ~15% EBITDA and ~11% PAT. Bimal Thakkar, MD & CEO ADF FOODS LTD., said, “  We are pleased to welcome Nikhil Vora & his team at Sixth Sense Ventures in our growth journey. Our Company is at an inflection point with multiple growth levers & is uniquely positioned to offer a compelling value proposition to the growing Indian diaspora. Nikhil is a stalwart when it comes to investing in consumer driven companies & while this is a secondary investment, ADF Foods will benefit greatly from his knowledge & understanding of this space.”
Nikhil Vora from Sixth Sense Ventures commented, “Our investment in ADF FOODS LTD. is in sync with our investment philosophy of betting on first generation founders, disrupting large category ($450B Global RTE market) for the consumers of tomorrow (Ethnic food for Indian diaspora worldwide). ADF’s unique proposition of focusing on ethnic foods in growing western markets, coupled with distribution synergies by offering Unilever & Patanjali products in US unlocks immense opportunities. Our partnership with ADF underpins our belief over their strong business economics, execution capabilities & astute leadership. We are excited to partner with BIMAL THAKKAR & team as they create a niche for themselves in the global RTE market.” Swati Mehra, CFA Rishita Wadher, Nimisha Nagarsekar, Ketki Paranjpe, Kathan Shah, Saloni Ghatnekar, Siddhant Sanghvi, Sohail Manjiramani, Peyush Trehan, Rhea Vijoy
Alia Bhatt-backed Phool raises $8 million in funding from Sixth Sense Ventures
Phool | May 2, 2022

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/funding/alia-bhatt-backed-phool-co-raises-8-million-in-funding-from-sixth-sense-ventures/articleshow/90661414.cms Alia Bhatt-backed Phool raises $8 million in funding from Sixth Sense Ventures New Delhi: Direct-to-consumer (D2C) home fragrance and wellness brand Phool.co has raised $8 million in a funding round from consumer-focused venture fund, Sixth Sense Ventures. The round also saw participation from existing investors, Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt and IAN fund, a statement issued by the company said. The home fragrance category is estimated at $3.2 billion. Bhatt said in a statement: “I believe Phool will be an important global aromatherapy story to emerge from India.” Phool.co has previously raised seed rounding from IAN Fund, Social Alpha (FISE), Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (San Francisco), and IIT Kanpur. Company founder Ankit Agarwal said: “We plan to transform the global home fragrance market, and build a distinct brand with our product range.” The company said with the fundraise, Phool will scale up operations, and ramp up R&D efforts to make animal leather obsolete with Fleather - a vegan alternative to animal leather. Nikhil Vohra, founder and chief executive of Sixth Sense Ventures said: “The under-penetrated home fragrances industry presents a large, white space to be exploited. A clear shift to natural and sustainable alternatives is creating a strong demand for Phool’s products.” Bhatt’s other venture, Ed-a-Mamma clothing brand for children, will be scaled up offline with multi-brand outlets including Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle this year, and it will double its offline footprint, she said. So far, the brand has been operating on a D2C business model. Her other business interests include an investment in beauty platform Nykaa, and closet sharing initiative MiSu which deals with celebrities putting personal clothing for sale, the proceeds of which go to charity.
Own-branded Certification Leader upGrad KnowledgeHut to Cross USD 45M in Revenue in 2022; Aims at USD 100M by 2023
Just Dogs | May 2, 2022

https://www.vccircle.com/own-branded-certification-leader-upgrad-knowledgehut-to-cross-usd-45m-in-revenue-in-2022-aims-at-usd-100m-by-2023 Own-branded Certification Leader upGrad KnowledgeHut to Cross USD 45M in Revenue in 2022; Aims at USD 100M by 2023 Mumbai 11th April 2022: upGrad KnowledgeHut became a 100% subsidiary of upGrad in September 2021. In just 6 months, it witnessed meteoric growth—in its course offerings, revenue, and geographical spread of customers across the globe. upGrad KnowledgeHut is known as a specialised short-duration tech and skills provider. The own-branded certification leader upGrad KnowledgeHut includes courses such as AGILE, Data Science & Cloud, Business Analytics, Blockchain Development, and Design Thinking, along with UI/UX Bootcamps and digital marketing. upGrad has a team strength of 800 experts based around the world. Over 70% of upGrad KnowledgeHut's revenue comes from geographies like the USA, UAE, Germany, Singapore, South Africa, and the UK. And a significant 40% of its USD 45Mn revenue is from the US alone. "Short-term tech skills are witnessing a surge with strong demand from working professionals globally. As a leader in this space - upGrad KnowledgeHut is at the cusp of leveraging the opportunity to open up the market. And to create a world-class learning experience through their specialised courses, in the most relevant disciplines to build tomorrow's careers." commented Mayank Kumar, Co-Founder & MD, upGrad. Added Subramanyam Reddy - Founder & CEO upGrad KnowledgeHut"Our focus is to build the best courses for a highly skilled talent pool across the globe. It's a rapidly evolving labour market. We want to equip learners with the best tech and other support skills to improve their employability options across multiple segments and career options."  About upGrad KnowledgeHut:  upGrad KnowledgeHut is a global ed-tech platform, equipping the world's workforce with the skills of the future via outcome-based immersive learning. A trusted skills transformation partner to over 250,000 professionals and 1200+ enterprises in over 100 countries. Organisations and individuals count on us to innovate faster and create progress. Leveraging a state-of-the-art immersive learning experience platform, UGKH is disrupting the way tech is learning and empowering enterprises; with scalable tech-driven solutions to align role-based skill requirements with desired business outcomes. Whether you're looking to develop capabilities in Software Development, IT Service Management, Cyber Security, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning / AI, or Data Science, upGrad KnowledgeHut is your learning partner of choice. About upGrad upGrad - started in 2015, is a pioneer in the online education revolution, focused on powering career success for a global workforce of over 1.3 billion. One of the few Integrated LifeLongLearning Tech Companies in the world - spanning the college learner to the working professional from the age group of 18-50 years and across Undergrad courses, Campus & Job Linked Programs, Studying Abroad, short form to executive programs to Degrees, Masters and Doctoral - with a learner base of over 2 million across 100+ countries and over 300 University partners and a robust enterprise business with a client base of 1000 companies worldwide. upGrad's Global Learning Engine rests on four pillars - (a) its large repository of original & owned content and IP, (b) its own best-in-class proprietary tech platform, (c) its high touch human-led delivery service backed by coaches & mentors, and (d) an 85% course completion track record, backed by a further 80% career outcomes guaranteed performance. Already termed Asia's higher EdTech leader, it has offices in the UK, USA, Middle East, India, Singapore & Vietnam, and many more countries. Brand Solutions: No VCCircle journalist was involved in the creation of this content.
Altigreen raises Rs 300 cr funding led by Sixth Sense Ventures, Reliance New Energy, others
altigreen | May 2, 2022

https://m.economictimes.com/industry/renewables/altigreen-raises-rs-300-cr-funding-led-by-sixth-sense-ventures-reliance-new-energy-others/articleshow/89500972.cms Altigreen raises Rs 300 cr funding led by Sixth Sense Ventures, Reliance New Energy, others Commercial electric vehicle maker Altigreen on Friday said it has raised Rs 300 crore (USD 40 million) in a funding round for capacity expansion, new products launch and to develop a pan-India network. The Series A investment is led by Sixth Sense Ventures, along with Reliance New Energy, Xponentia Capital, Accurant International, USA and Momentum Venture Capital, Singapore, the Bengaluru-based company said. Reliance Industries on Thursday had announced the acquisition of a stake in Altigreen Propulsion Labs Pvt Ltd for Rs 50.16 crore through its wholly-owned subsidiary Reliance New Energy. "This is the most opportune time to invest our efforts in boosting EV manufacturing to cater to the rising aspirations and demands of the customers. The future of India's automobile industry is electric and we have already laid out a roadmap to achieve fast-EV adoption, mainly in the commercial segment," said Amitabh Saran and Shalendra Gupta, Co-founders, Altigreen. The deeper ecommerce penetration and growth in last-mile delivery have catapulted the demand for commercial, road-ready EVs and this year will definitely be a transformative year for the company, they added. "We are elated to have marquee investors and believers like Sixth Sense, Reliance, Xponentia and others," the two Co-founders said. The freshly raised capital will be utilized to ramp up production capabilities, accelerate R&D, fast-paced EV adoption and develop a robust pan-India network to offer the best and cleanest last-mile transportation solutions in the country, it added. The company has already expanded its network across leading Indian markets including New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai. "We draw comfort with Altigreen's primary focus on the three-wheeler segment within the EV space - which fundamentally is less cluttered and under-penetrated, as well as benefits multiple stakeholders in the value chain (from Ecommerce players to consumers). "This coupled with a strong product-first approach and a credible team, Altigreen is well positioned to emerge as one of the leading players in the three-wheeler space," said Nikhil Vora, Founder-CEO, Sixth Sense. Altigreen's vehicles are more practical, more economical, ecologically beneficial and truly Made in India, Xponentia Capital Managing Director, P R Srinivasan said, adding, "we believe that Altigreen has a big role to play in accelerating the adoption of EVs which is enterin .. Altigreen, in the past, has received investment from Ajay Sarupria, Jupiter Capital, Sterling Tools, Phi Capital and HiTech Gears among others. This Series A fundraise was ably supported by boutique investment banking firm Four-S and Ostara Advisors, which is the country's first electric mobility focused investment bank, as per the release.
Prozo raises Rs 76 crore from Sixth Sense Ventures, others
prozo | May 2, 2022

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/funding/prozo-raises-rs-75-cr-from-sixth-sense-ventures-others/articleshow/89929960.cms Prozo raises Rs 76 crore from Sixth Sense Ventures, others Bengaluru: Supply chain and warehousing startup Prozo has raised Rs 76 crore from Sixth Sense Ventures, Jafco Asia, and high net-worth individuals, founder Ashvini Jakhar told ET. Prozo will use the fresh funds to expand into other regions, acquire customers, invest in technology and hire people, Jakhar said. Dexter Capital Advisors was the financial advisor for the round. Prozo sells its clients - mostly direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands - a supply chain service that helps them replicate Amazon Prime’s promise of same day or next day delivery The company offers a plug-and-play, pay-per-use model. “Many years back, the product was the differentiator, then branding became a differentiation, in the internet era ratings and reviews became a differentiation, then pricing became a differentiation. But private labels killed the pricing differentiation,” Jakhar told ET. “Today, the true differentiation is fast fulfillment. What started as good to have has become an important differentiation. Today, the supply chain has become a revenue enabler. Your distribution is your differentiation.” Amazon has become the chosen destination for the top 10 brands and small as well as big brands have found it difficult to compete with the ecommerce platform’s private labels, he said. This has made brands start their own ecommerce portals and invest in other supply chains, he added. Prozo will start providing one-day delivery to most regions in the country, he said. "…we are covering the country from the perspective of four zones - North, South, East, West," he said. "To cover the entire country from a one or two- day delivery standpoint, you need a minimum of 8 locations. We can do even better with 16 locations," he added. The company, founded in 2016, provides warehousing, freight, technology, and distribution services on over 20 online marketplaces on a pay-per-use model. Clients include Reliance JioMart, McGraw Hill, Lavie, WinMagic Toys and other D2C brands across more than 10 categories. "Between the product and the market, there is a lot of noise," he said, referring to the various channels that brands need to interact with for e-commerce. Brands usually have to go to separate platforms for freight, offline, B2B and B2C channels. Prozo claims to offer a multi-channel, end-to-end platform for its clients. The company’s technology stack includes a warehouse management system, unified order management system, freight recommendation, transport management system, intelligent inventory placement, and insight and analytics products. Prozo has a 250-member team and it has been growing 40% month on month. Prior to this round, Prozo had raised capital from Earlsfield Capital Partners LLP and other angel investors. “Prozo is solving a key problem in a very large market,” said Nikhil Vora, founder Sixth Sense Ventures. “By 2025, India’s e-commerce market is expected to cross $200 billion, and there would be nearly 340 million e-commerce customers. Hundreds of enterprises, thousands of D2C brands and over a million SMEs will compete to serve this humongous customer base.”
Shopkirana raises $38 million led by Info Edge, Oman India, Sixth Sense Ventures
shopkirana | May 2, 2022

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/funding/shopkirana-raises-38-million-led-by-info-edge-oman-india-sixth-sense-ventures/articleshow/89137672.cms Shopkirana raises $38 million led by Info Edge, Oman India, Sixth Sense Ventures Bengaluru: Business-to-business grocery startup Shopkirana said it has raised $38 million from Info Edge, Oman India joint investment fund, Sixth Sense Ventures and other investors. The round also saw participation from Trifecta, Incubate Fund, Akatsuki, Ajanta LLP, Gunosy Capital and others. ShopKirana works directly with brands and gives them a boost on distribution with market intelligence. It currently works with 50,000 kirana stores in eight cities across four states —Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Founded in 2015 in Indore, the company claims to be the first mover on selling groceries directly to retailers from brands. The sector is now rife with competition from big, well-funded companies such as Udaan, Jiomart, Flipkart, Amazon and Jumbotail. But ShopKirana's cofounder Sumit Ghorawat told ET that the company has perfected a model that can help it launch in a new city every 15 days. The company was founded by former executives from the consumer goods sector -- Deepak Dhanotiya, Sumit Ghorawat, and Tanutejas Saraswat . Ghorawat said that Shopkirana is the first company in the sector to break even operationally. “With the right product-market fit and considering the heavy adoption from kirana stores, legacy consumer goods brands and direct-to-consumer or D2C brands, we are super excited to take the business to a national scale," said Ghorawat. How is the company different from Udaan, Jiomart? Essentially, all the players have a common goal -- digitise the decades-old unorganised wholesale market and bypass middlemen. “We may be trying to do something similar but the way you are doing it is very different,” said Ghorwat. Right from its inception, the company has focused on selling only packaged FMCG goods such as detergents, hair oil, shampoo, cosmetics and biscuits, not getting into selling highly perishable goods like fresh fruits, vegetables and staples. Dabur, ITC, HUL, P&G are the partners. The company conducted a pilot in Mumbai and Indore first and later decided to focus on tier-2 cities such as Indore after realising that the market was more unorganised in smaller cities. “We became super focussed on tier-2 and for the first three years, we kept our head down and made sure we have strong product-market fit and unit economics. We are the first company to hit operational break-even in the segment.” Product-market fit is the degree to which a product satisfies strong market demand. The company follows a ‘solve first, scale later’ approach rather than the other way around, which the biggest players follow. “For the first three years we stuck with one city,” said Ghorawat. “We opened one store, ran it for a couple of years, made sure the recipe was standardised and the order taking was streamlined. Then scaling did not scare us. We had one solved unit in Indore and then replication from there was easy.” “There is no one big innovation that helps us stands out. From all the way from cataloguing, understanding of the market, how pricing is competitive, all the order experience for the retailer, what kind of suggestions machine learning is giving to them, what kind of cross-selling we are able to do.” What is in it for retailers and brands? Ghorawat said its digital platform, Direct, is “highly sticky” for both retailers and brands, and as a result, the company has been able to achieve a line item fill rate of 97.5%. That means for every 100 items the trader has demanded, the company has been able to deliver 97.5. For the rest of the industry, Ghorawat said, the average fill rate is 75-85%. The platform also generates heat maps and meaningful insights for brands. “Brands come to us for mass-market insights,'' he said.”Sitting here I can tell you which street of Indore you are likely to sell cream biscuits, which pincode in Jaipur people are going to buy smooth and silky shampoo over an anti-dandruff shampoo.” A market for many players Jumbotail has also followed a similar approach by developing a model in Bengaluru and scaling to more cities. “I don’t think there are too many similarities in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi -- be it the traffic congestion, density or distances,” said Ghorawat. "But most tier-2 towns are the same. If I have success in Indore I can replicate it 50-100 times across the country." Ghorawat said he is not too worried about competition as discounting and undercutting by the bigger players is barred by many brands. If one of the platforms sells to retailers at a lower price than the one stipulated by the .. “The market is an ocean,” he said. “There is no way one player can take the entire market. It is a $500 billion market. We are adding another $55-60 billion to FMCG and grocery. That is the size of pharma. Many players will survive.”