Venuelook, an Online-to-Offline [O2O] platform and marketplace for venue aggregation, recommendation and booking has raised an undisclosed amount in their pre-series A funding from marquee angel investors and successful entrepreneurs like Srikant Sastri [Co-founder, Crayon Data], Shailesh Rao [Senior Advisor – TPG; McKinsey & Co; Board Member – JLL], VP Rajesh [Managing Partner – Banyan Capital Advisors LLP] and Vishal Sampat [Founder of Convonix].

Venuelook’s proprietary aggregation and AI backed algorithms help identify and match customer requirements with the best venue options available, thus simplifying the venue discovery and booking process for weddings, social and corporate events. Their experienced event managers help ensure the event is smooth and hassle-free.

Founded by a first-generation woman entrepreneur, Ruchi Garg, with over 12+ years of experience in technology and events industry, Venuelook was started with an aim to create an end-to-end solution for every event, from weddings to corporate events, celebratory occasions and get-together parties. Venuelook helps discover and book the right kind of venue using a combination of technology and domain expertise thus offering the Indian consumer a one-stop-shop solution for all their venue booking and event requirements.

Started from Delhi and first covering NCR, Venuelook has helped over 2 lac people discover the right venue for their events. Venuelook’s engine has also resulted in better fill rates. Srikant Sastri, Co-founder, Crayon Data commented

Our investment decision was influenced by the robust tech and execution capabilities built by Ruchi and her team which has resulted in a phenomenal growth rate of over 20% month over month in the last 1 year.

VenueLook’s founder Ruchi said

Venuelook has over 15,000 venues already listed, making us the biggest marketplace of event spaces in India. We plan to use the funds from the current round to replicate our success in Delhi-NCR to other major cities of the country. We have already put in place a team for Mumbai and are in the process of expanding to 16 other cities.

By making the most of technology and analytics, we will provide better value to both, our end customers who want a hassle free experience while organizing their events and venue owners, who can leverage our algorithm to improve their occupancy levels.

About VenueLook

VenueLook is a venue aggregation, recommendation and booking platform for weddings, social and corporate events. Since its launch, the company has served 2 lac+ real events and now has 15,000+ venue spaces showcased on the platform making it the biggest aggregator of venues [event spaces] in India.

Indian Angel Network, Asia’s largest network of Angel investors, has invested Rs. 3.5 crore in Pune-based start-up SparesHub, an automobile parts start-up. SparesHub will utilize the funds for its geographical expansion and to strengthen its technology capabilities. The funding was led by Indian Angel members Neeraj Garg, Harsh Gandhi, and Ankur Agarwal.

Founded by Tapas P. Gupta and Arijit A. Chakraborty, the SparesHub team currently comprises 27 employees. It solves the problem of the unavailability of, and over-expensive, automobile parts which result in a significant loss of time, money, and efforts for car owners in India. Since its inception, SparesHub has been working to dis-intermediate and digitize the automobile parts industry in India.

To this end, it is introducing modern supply chain and logistics methodologies in the industry, and caters to B2B customers. SparesHub works with India’s leading car companies and part manufacturers to make OEM and OES parts available to its customers [multi-brand service centres, service aggregators, fleet owners and insurance companies]. Existing investor Holomua Group Inc, also participated in the investment round.

Padmaja Ruparel, President and Co-founder of Indian Angel Network, added

The decision to invest in SparesHub was taken after a careful assessment of the business, the team’s vision, and its strategy to achieve the same. The company has the makings of a modern tech-based venture, with a unique business model, a strong technological framework, a product that fills a major gap in the market, and of course, a strong team. We are confident that the team will continue to enhance its product and build its USP, and emerge as one of the leading players in its domain.

Tapas Gupta – CEO of SparesHub, commented

Our mission is to create a whole new level of customer delight by leveraging technology. SparesHub is challenging the traditional methodologies and bringing in global best practices in the automobile parts supply chain and logistics domain.

We are truly grateful for the funding from Indian Angel Network and the faith they have shown in our business model, and we hope for a long and fruitful collaboration with the Network.

Indian Angel Network is Asia’s largest network of angel investors that invests in early-stage businesses, which have the potential to create disruption. The members of the network are leaders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem with strong operational experience as CEOs or a background of creating new and successful ventures. IAN goes beyond the normal, informal, local club structure of angel groups to a larger institutionalized model because of its nimble but robust, standardized, and transparent processes that allow it to scale across geographies and a large number of members.

InsurTech startup Kruzr has raised 1.3 Million USD [Rs. 9.5 Cr] for its seed round led by Saama Capital with participation from Better Capital. Kruzr is a preventive motor insurance technology which helps insurance companies personalize policy premiums & improve their risk model by delivering an engaging preventative driving assistant to their customers. Kruzr is founded by Pallav Singh, Ayan, and Jasmeet Singh Sethi.

Kruzr blends the power of voice technology and artificial intelligence in its personal driving assistant that helps drivers minimize mobile distractions, drowsy driving, speeding and external risks like weather and accident-prone zones. In pilots with insurers, Kruzr managed to cut down distracted driving by 80%. Kruzr is working with motor insurance companies in Europe, UK and India to bring its technology to their customers to prevent accidents & improve claims.

Pallav Singh, co-founder and CEO, said

Road accidents cause over 1.3 million deaths globally every year, and motor insurance companies lose billions of dollars due to these. However, more than 75% of accidents are actually preventable with timely driver assistance. We at Kruzr are building technology to minimize these accidents and help make motor insurance truly preventive and customer-centric.

The funds raised will be utilized to grow the technology team, scale the product, and expand the business in Europe and UK.

Pallav, Ayan, Jasmeet of Kruzr

Suresh Shanmugham, Managing Partner, Saama Capital, said

We were very impressed by the founding team’s vision for Kruzr and their significant customer progress in the European automobile insurance market.  We believe Pallav, Ayan and Jasmeet can build a world-class product company out of India serving this sizeable and growing global market.

Vaibhav Domkundwar of Better Capital, said

Kruzr is leveraging the latest advances in mobile, big data, and AI to build a unique preventive driving technology that will save lives and help motor insurance companies design personalized policies. I’ve watched the Kruzr team learn and iterate to build traction with the world top insurers & am excited about the future ahead.

About Kruzr

Kruzr is positioned as the world’s first technology powered smart driving assistant and is designed to automate driver safety. The mobile app automatically detects driving and begins to play the role of your driving assistant. It filters out all important calls and messages, thus reducing distraction while driving, one of the major causes for road traffic incidents across the globe.

Fino Paytech, the payments technology company and promoter of Fino Payments Bank, has invested in CityCash [Tap Smart Data Information Services Private Limited], a Mumbai-based fintech start-up, for an undisclosed stake. The investment is in line with Fino’s strategy of providing banking and payments solutions to emerging India.

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The two companies have joined hands to design an ecosystem for payments wherein Fino will be the issuance and settlement institution of the prepaid payment instrument and CityCash will offer its NFC-based cashless payments technology and micro-payment merchant acquisition.

India’s public transport system of 150000 buses carries over 70 million commuters every day, clocking an annual turnover of about INR 50000 crores, of which 95% transactions happen in cash. There is a massive opportunity to digitize this sector using low cost NFC based TAP and PAY solution on the lines of highly successful Oyster card of London and Octopus card of Hong Kong. Customers can similarly use Fino and CityCash co-branded card for all retail micro-payments apart from other transport payments such as for auto and cabs.

The partnership with Fino shall bring the most extensive network of BC agents across the country to enable physical card issuance and on-going service of the customers. Some large state and city bus corporations have shown tremendous interest in the Fino and CityCash payment solution and implementation is at advanced stages.

As a part of its digital strategy to engage with customers, Fino has already launched a suite of products such as RuPay debit cards, mobile banking app BPay, UPI, Net banking and FasTag for toll payments.

These products along with NFC based tap and pay solutions would allow Fino to reach out and facilitate digital payments for a wider segment in line with Digital India initiative of the Government.

PlanetSpark, a Gurugram-based EdTech startup on a mission to make traditional tuitions obsolete through powerful and gamified learn-tech products and certified teachers in K8 segment, has been infused with funds worth Rs. 1.6 crore by FIITJEE, India’s leading education company. PlanetSpark will use the funds to rapidly grow its existing 200+ home based tuition centers by close to 350% to 750+ home-based tuition centers across Delhi NCR and beyond. The funds will also be used to develop powerful, heuristic, gamified learn-tech products for an integrated instructional learning experience.

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Kunal Malik, Co-founder, PlanetSpark, said

At its core, PlanetSpark is a tech company aiming to organize the unorganized market of tuitions in India through scalable tech solutions. We firmly believe that the era of boring tuitions is over and the vast and unorganized tuition’s market is ripe for getting organized through full stack tutoring model, following the trend in other markets like transportation, logistics, food delivery or e-commerce.

Parents don’t want to send their children to unverified and un-certified tuition teachers any more and they are ready to prefer a professional brand which brings game-based learning models, instructional content, and technological backing and mobile apps.

With a ‘Blended Learning’ approach to teaching school subjects to preteens, the startup combines Face to face Classroom learning and tech-based learning. The company develops gamified learning content such as mobile based learning games, educational cartoons, learning activity boxes, workbooks and board games and partners with qualified homemakers and helps them start their home based tech enabled tuition centers using PlanetSpark’s gamified teaching content, technology and training.

Maneesh Dhooper, Co-founder, PlanetSpark, said

We are clear that the future of early and primary education lies in a Blended Approach to learning where one combines face-to-face teaching with technology. It is a known fact that purely online ‘learning apps’ don’t work as one cannot eliminate the human element of a teacher, especially for younger kids. At the same time, just face to face learning models are neither scalable nor make the learning process fun and gamified using Tech. Hence the sweet spot lies in Blended Learning.

Kunal Malik [L], Maneesh Dooper [R] of Planet Spark Team with Teachers

In order to create highly engaging games and learning cartoons for children, the company’s game development team has designed two product innovations that can create a learning game or a learning cartoon within a few hours. This would help the company exponentially scale its content offerings to more subjects and classes in the coming months.

Commenting on the development, Mr. D. K. Goel, Chairman Emeritus Fiitjee Group, said

The home based blended learning model of Planet Spark is poised to empower teachers, students and parents in the learning process.

The team is now gearing-up for the release of its learning tablet which has been developed as a series of story-based learning adventures designed by Russian game design experts. The company plans to scale-up to 5 more cities in the next academic year to spread the joy of learning pan-India!

About Planet Spark

PlanetSpark is making traditional tuition’s obsolete through powerful and gamified learn-tech products and certified teachers. It partners with qualified and smart homemakers and opens tech-enabled tuition centres from their homes. It follows a blended learning approach of a combination of classroom teaching with gamified online learning.

It offers a complete spectrum of learning products such as mobile based learning games, educational cartoons, learning activity boxes, workbooks and board games, especially designed for younger children. PlanetSpark was founded by Kunal Malik and Maneesh Dhooper, alumni of XLRI Jamshedpur with experience in global organizations such as Unilever, Novartis Switzerland and startups such as UrbanClap. Find out more here.

CloudSEK, an information security risk management SaaS-based start-up, has raised Rs. 14 Crores in its Pre-Series A investment led by Exfinity Venture Partners and StartupXseed. CloudSEK will leverage the freshly raised funds to evolve its flagship product XVigil, a unified risk management platform. The company will also use the funds to expand its footprints in India and South East Asia. After establishing itself as a preferred cybersecurity solution in the financial, e-commerce and transportation sector, CloudSEK now plans to target the pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and retail industry.

CloudSEK is the brainchild of Rahul Sasi and was founded in 2015 with its headquarter in Singapore and an operational center in Bengaluru, India. CloudSEK, a cybersecurity platform powered by machine learning, entails Rahul’s journey from being a college dropout to becoming a successful tech entrepreneur. Being criticized for dropping out of engineering college and predicted for a career failure, Rahul continued his journey as an ethical hacker and security expert through his successful career. Before co-founding CloudSEK, he has worked with Citrix Systems, one of the biggest names in the software industry.

Commenting on the post-funding plan Sourabh Issar, the CEO, CloudSEK, said

Being a product-only organization, our revenues are primarily generated through license sales. This investment for us is a vote of confidence from some of the eminent architects of the Indian IT Industry. We plan to utilize the funds to develop the existing products and expand our presence in India as well as South East Asia.

CloudSEK offers cybersecurity platform powered by machine learning and promises to build a risk-free digital security ecosystem. X-Vigil, CloudSEK’s SaaS-based flagship product is an outcome of the company’s four years of diligent research and development efforts. Cloudmon, another product by CloudSEK, tracks network and application related security issues associated with the client. The start-up was seed funded in 2015 by M.E. Meeran Foundation, the investment arm of Kochi-based Eastern Group.

Chinnu Senthilkumar, General Partner & CTO, Exfinity Venture Partners, said

The dark web is moving faster than Law Enforcement agencies. The losses due to cyber-related crime, worldwide, is estimated to be upwards of USD 600 Billion. Globally, Cyber Attacks are on the rise and about 500,000+ Cyber Attacks have already been reported in India in 2018.

Many of these attacks are targeted towards BFSI networks, Government Departments and may potentially end up targeting power grids, oil and gas pipelines which have the potential to cripple any economy. With companies increasingly adopting cloud solutions, CloudSEK’s unique non-intrusive solution can detect digital footprint leakages of any enterprise in real-time helping the CSOs to strengthen the Cyber-Defence.

Speaking of its investment, Ravi Thakur, Partner, StartupXseed Ventures said

Technology is redefining the way Risk Management is being practiced and CloudSEK has forayed into that space with applications in Cyber Security. Looking at their product, clientele and growth rate, they have struck the right chord to crack the business. Moreover, what fascinated us is their way of solving the problem which is very effective and scalable at large along with strong team background and execution capabilities.

CloudSEK already includes leading banks, e-commerce and technology organizations in its clientele. Federal Bank, Go-Jek, Bank Bazaar, HDFC Bank and Grab Taxi are in CloudSEK’s client list, five of which are unicorns.

[L-R] Rahul Sasi & Sourabh Issar, Founders of CloudSEK

Talking about the association with CloudSEK, Shalini Warrier, CFO, Federal Bank, said

Federal Bank and CloudSEK have had a relationship since July 2017 and it is a relationship that has grown over the last few months. Cybersecurity is a key risk for the financial services industry and CloudSEK has played an important role in mitigating some of the risks we experience in the fast-changing digital world.

Through this association, we have been successful in unearthing potential points of compromise in our security posture and they have worked with us to address these concerns. Their threat intelligence has been very useful to us. We wish Rahul and CloudSEK the very best in their future endeavors.

Sameer Ratolikar, EVP & CISO of the largest stable Indian Private Sector Bank, while speaking about the relationship with CloudSEK, said

It has been a great experience working with the team at CloudSEK, their focus on building a Machine Learning driven Digital Risk Management platform is commendable.

CloudSEK has been helping organizations by providing them timely, specific and actionable intelligence, thereby preventing digital security infractions. The start-up promises to build a risk-free cyber security ecosystem in Asia. The exclusive gamut of cyber security tools offered by CloudSEK is all set to make India ready for what is being assumed to be the next phase of the digital revolution.

About StartupXseed Ventures

StartupXseed is a Seed-stage VC firm led by bureaucrat-turned-VC investor Mr. B.V. Naidu. It is backed by former Infosys board members Mr. V Balakrishnan and Mr. TV Mohandas Pai, along with Mr. Ramakrishnan [Ex CDO and M&A head – HCL], Mr. Siddhartha Mookerji [Founder – Software Paradigm International] and Mr. Ravi Thakur [Entrepreneur]. It invests from Aaruha Technology Fund, whose focus is Deep Technology Start-ups creating products for B2B Businesses. For more information, visit StartupXseed

About Exfinity Ventures Partners

Exfinity Venture Partners is an early-stage frontier technology fund backing enterprise companies [B2B] in India and across the India-US business corridor. With established connections and ecosystem across India and USA, Exfinity focuses on pioneering startups that are ready to scale across the global stage. Exfinity follows a practitioner-driven Investment approach knowing what it takes to build, scale and list technology companies in India and the USA. For more information, visit Exfinity Venture Partners.

CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd., an agriculture technology startup, has raised INR 58 crores [$8 million] in Series B financing from Chiratae Ventures [formerly IDG Ventures India] and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Strategic Investment Fund [London and Seattle]. The financing will scale CropIn‘s ‘SmartFarm‘ technology platform in India and globally to expand its reach from 3 million acres across 2 million farmers to more than 10 million actively monitored acres across 7 million farmers.  With this capital infusion and its increasingly rich data-set, the Company will further develop its machine-learning-based SmartRisk platform to achieve unprecedented levels of plot-level crop detection and yield prediction.

Headquartered in Bengaluru with 180+ customers across 29 countries, CropIn enables businesses in the agriculture-ecosystem to adopt a data-driven approach through its ground-to-cloud technology platform. It thus empowers agribusinesses to ‘grow more with less‘, and drive initiatives around Digitization, Traceability, Predictability, Sustainability and Compliance. CropIn’s client portfolio includes many large global agribusinesses, banks, government bodies and development agencies. Through its product platform, CropIn addresses a global market of digital-based agriculture services that is estimated to hit $4.5 billion by 2020.

[L-R] Krishna Kumar, Kunal Prasad, and Chittaranjan Jena of CropIn

The company’s initial product, SmartFarm, is a highly customizable mobile app and web interface for farm management deployed across agribusinesses’ own field agents allowing for business-to-business-to-farmer plot-level farm management.  Because data is collected and curated by agribusiness employees active at the plot-level and scrubbed for any inconsistencies by CropIn, there is high-confidence that the information accurately reflects what is happening on the farm representing ‘ground-truth’ data. CropIn then builds on this data to enhance traceability and monitoring for its agribusiness clients through various Software-As-A-Service [SaaS] offerings.

CropIn Founder & CEO Krishna Kumar, said

To feed the 9.7 billion people in the world in 2050, agriculture efficiency must increase  by 35% – 70% and technology is the key. India’s rich mix of farming practices and small landholdings provide a massive data set to inform our models. Further, as a SaaS company, geography has never been a limiting factor for expanding our customer base. We are currently active in 29 countries throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and in select European markets. As ground-truth information from these geographies continues to fill our data lake, it provides insights that create a paradigm shift in the agriculture ecosystem globally.

At the back end, CropIn’s data lake amplifies this ground-truth data with local weather information and high-resolution satellite imagery, which form the foundation of machine learning. By analyzing and interpreting this data for the 265 crops with nearly 3,500 variants on its platform across billions of data points that grow every day, CropIn is building an agri-information highway that will detect patterns and predict the future of the crop highlighting the risk and opportunity for agri stakeholders. CropIn provides near-real-time actionable insights to agriculture processors, distributors, inputs providers, lenders and insurers through its connector APIs. Additionally, CropIn’s algorithms can establish historical performance of every pixel at farm and regional level.

Karan Mohla, Executive Director, Chiratae Ventures India Advisors, said

We fundamentally believe in the Founders’ vision of creating a global agri-tech leader, while partnering with multiple stakeholders including agri-businesses, farming companies, financial lending & insurance companies. The sheer impact of CropIn for their global customers across 29 countries based on the unique data sets captured by the platform, is staggering. The potential to revolutionize agriculture leveraging technology and machine learning has never been greater, and we believe Krishna and Kunal will continue to pioneer this industry for years ahead.

With this investment, CropIn has raised a total funding of $12 million till date.

Technology driven Sanitation start-up Fresh Rooms announced a seed funding of INR 30 Million from angel investor. Based on the Internet of Things [IoT] model, Fresh Rooms is world’s first-of-its-kind model of pay-and-use washroom, which promises a luxurious and hygienic space to freshen up with added advantages of Café, Luggage room, rest rooms, etc.

Founded by young entrepreneur Ashutosh Giri, Fresh Rooms is the extension to the modern-day Smart Toilet that will ensure you to experience smart washroom, which will automatically clean after every use. It completely works on the eco-friendly model that has the waste management, water-recycling facilities, where most of the operations will be powered by solar energy.

Ashutosh Giri, Founder – Fresh Rooms, said

The perception about public toilets in India is completely gloomy. That’s why we have taken this challenge to change the entire eco-system of public sanitization. Nowhere else in the world such facilities are available. To translate our idea into reality, we needed a fund and today, we have received an angel investment of INR 30 Million from Angel Investor . We are happy to receive this initial support, which will help to change Indians’ experience of public toilets.

Keeping our foot forward with the technological perspective, we have also developed a Fresh Rooms App that will allow the users to acquire detailed information about the surrounding restrooms, such as the location of the nearest public toilet, details of opening hours, accessibility, parking and other services in just 3 clicks or within seconds. We are in conversation with other investors as well. Funding will be used to expand the brand Fresh Rooms to the key cities and busiest destinations of the country.

These Fresh Rooms washrooms will maintain the temperature according to the weather and will automatically clean after every use unlike the other existing pay-and-use public toilets. Washrooms will be maintained based on high hygiene parameters. Users will get points for charges that they pay for washroom usage, which they can redeem for buying a freshly brewed cup of their favourite beverage.

Freshrooms Founder Ashutosh Giri

Fresh Rooms promise to deliver the best and the most efficient operations, management, services and CRM that no other player in the segment could ever offer. Fresh Rooms will open employment opportunities for numerous employees as their team will comprise of young and energetic people who could deliver maximum for the Fresh Rooms’ users.

About Fresh Rooms

Fresh Rooms, is a sanitation start-up which is introduced on the model of pay and use washroom. Addressing to the issue of hygiene in public toilets Fresh Rooms promises to offer a luxury space to freshen up, while also taking care of their user’s luggage and their comfort. Fresh Rooms has been envisaged on a model that will have public restroom, refreshment centre, cloakroom and lounge, side by side at all across the country’s busiest destinations. The company will extensively be operating on Internet of Things [IoT], rather than dependent on humans, to keep restrooms clean, fresh and perfectly hygienic as per the unique selling proposition of this start-up. Whatever customers pay as service charge for use of restrooms, they will get points against that, which they can redeem and buy refreshments like tea or coffee or any eatables from the attached Fresh Rooms cafe. Inclusive to all this, there is an awesome Fresh Rooms App which will help you locate the nearest public toilet, details of opening hours, accessibility, parking and other extra features [parking, baby change, adult change, shower, water, sharps, sanitary] to provide maximum comfort to its users.