EYE ON INDIA IN THE YEAR OF THE DOG
China deal flow was rather slow this past week as Chinese get ready for the Year of the Dog. Yet India was on fire these past days with new deals.
With a forward-looking government leadership, a steady group of experienced venture capital firms, a deep pool of digital talents, improving infrastructure and the motivation to get ahead, India is coming into its own as one of the tech axis powers, alongside China and the U.S.
As smartphone usage spreads among its population (the world's second largest after China) and broadband improves, the startup ecosystem is flourishing in India.
This issue looks at several recent Indian startups that have received financing from well-regarded investors.
Silicon Dragon has long said that India would catch up to China. It's still in the works as Indian entrepreneurs and investors take cues from what else has worked in Asia's frontier tech markets and apply it locally to the Indian market. After all, India does claim the world's third largest venture capital market, after the U.S. and China. Funding levels in India last year were down by 17 percent to $2.87 billion while exit value jumped 56 percent to $2.7 billion.
has made its first investment in India, joining in on a $12 million, Series B financing of HealthifyMe, a health and fitness app that relies on AI to help users monitor food choices and track fitness goals. Singapore's Atlas Asset Management and Japan's Dream Incubator participated in the funding that included four VC firms: IDG Ventures, Blume Ventures, Inventus Capital and Dubai-based NB Ventures.
The popular app grew to 4 million users in 2017. Nutritionists and trainers guide users through diets and workouts, and an AI-empowered assistant Ria tracks all.
HealthifyMe, located in Bangalore, plans to use this fresh round of funding to deepen its presence in India by expanding into more markets and offering health foods, diagnostics and insurance products beyond its digital nutrition/fitness services portfolio. The company recently launched in several Middle Eastern markets.
Nexus Venture Partners has led a $5 million, Series A financing of Joveo, Inc., a job advertising technology platform based in Hyderabad and San Francisco.
At Nexus Venture Partners, managing directors
Sameer Brij Verma
spearheaded the deal.
Joveo will use the recently raised funding to accelerate its product offerings, expand its partnerships and scale its AI/deep learning layer.
Additionally, Joveo acquired Ripple Media Inc., a programmatic media buyer that partners with agencies to provide an open publisher marketplace and trading expertise.
As a possible prelude to an anticipated IPO of Chinese smart gadgets maker Xiaomi later this year, its wearable device partner Huami raised $110 million in a NYSE listing this past week. It's the first Xiaomi ecosystem company to go public. Stay tuned!