D2C oral care brand ‘Perfora’ raises $260,000 in Pre-Seed round from Sauce.vc, Huddle & others

Perfora, a digital-first and design-led oral care brand, has raised a $260,000 Pre-Seed round led by Sauce.vc, a venture capital fund that backs early-stage consumer brands. Huddle, India’s leading accelerator and early-stage fund for disruptive start-ups founded by Sanil Sachar and Ishaan Khosla also took part in the round. Other investors who backed the company in this round include entrepreneurs Bala Sarda (Founder & CEO, Vahdam Teas), Sameer Mehta (Co-founder, Boat Lifestyle) and Shashank Mehta (Founder, The Whole Truth Foods).

The capital raised will be utilised by Perfora to expand into new product categories, test out different channels, build our team and establish product-market fit. Perfora is a digital-first brand that plans to disrupt the oral care category with its well-designed, functional, and innovative products. The company has introduced India’s best-designed Electric Toothbrush, a.k.a ‘Truthbrush’ in four colours, India’s first Probiotic Mouthwash in two variants and a Smart Flosser in black gold colour. Perfora aims to elevate the everyday oral care experience for consumers.

The Gurugram-based company was founded by entrepreneurs Jatan Bawa (erstwhile Head of Product Strategy at Vahdam India) and Tushar Khurana (formerly part of the Business Expansion team at Cult.fit), who have known each other for about half a decade. “We are extremely fortunate to have Sauce.vc and Huddle Team supporting and mentoring us as we go about building a different kind of oral care brand. It is relatively easier to find investors who can provide you only capital, however very difficult to find people who are willing to put their time, money, and faith in helping build a brand. We’re glad to have unparalleled support from our investors who believe in our vision and execution capabilities”, said Jatan Bawa, Co-Founder, Perfora.

“Perfora is looking at the oral care category with a different lens with extremely well designed products, lifestyle-led communication and a very strong focus on delivering functionality. Oral care is a $2 billion category in India that is ready to be disrupted with a digital-first brand. We are thrilled and excited to be an early partner in the journey of  building a new-age oral care brand,” said Manu Chandra, Managing Partner, Sauce.vc.

Speaking on their investment in the company, Ishaan Khosla, Founding Partner at Huddle, said, “We have been interacting with Jatan and Tushar since their conceptualisation phase of building a global D2C-first oral care brand from India. Since day one, we have appreciated their attention to detail to deliver a high-quality customer experience while ensuring a laser-sharp focus on performance. Oral care in India is a segment waiting to be disrupted and given Perfora’s approach to the market, we are excited for the next phase of building alongside the team.”

Perfora is the only brand in the country that offers an option to personalise electric toothbrushes (with name printed on it). The company is working to introduce a holistic portfolio of oral care products, including morning and night toothpaste, alcohol-free mouthwash, besides other offerings. By 2023, Perfora aims to achieve an annual revenue rate of $1 million.

Unlike other consumer brands, the company launched a pre-order campaign earlier this year, where a limited number of units of electric toothbrushes were available to buy directly from their website perforacare.com. Perfora’s products are also available on platforms like Amazon India, Flipkart, CRED and soon on Nykaa and Big Basket as well.

Funding announcement | Unbox Robotics raises $7 million in Series-A from 3one4 Capital, Sixth Sense Ventures, Redstart Labs & others

Unbox Robotics, a leading supply chain robotics technology company, raised $7 million in a Series-A round led by 3one4 Capital with participation from Sixth Sense Ventures and Redstart Labs (Info Edge). The round also saw participation from Unbox Robotics’ founders Pramod Ghadge, Shahid Memon and its CPO Rohit Pitale, alongside its existing investors – US-based venture capital firm SOSV, Arali Ventures, WEH Ventures, BEENEXT, Karthik Bhat’s Force Ventures, Dr Vijay Kedia (Kedia Securities), Aditya Singh (Stride Ventures) and Pavitar Singh (Sprinklr). Other investors who participated in the round include Rahul Chaudhary (Treebo Hotels), Nikhil Vora and Kathan Shah (Sixth Sense Ventures), and Veda VC.

The funds raised will be primarily used to expand the team across functions, fulfil the customer demand internationally, R & D and expand to new geographies. The company has already onboarded some of the largest e-commerce and logistics enterprises as early adopters through trials/pilots and has filed IP for its technology in India, the US and the EU.

Unbox Robotics specialises in robotics-based fulfilment and distribution technology for small to large e-commerce, retail and logistics enterprises. The company’s high-speed robotics solutions are built to consolidate customers’ orders in fulfilment centres, as well as to sort them as per final delivery locations in distribution centres or delivery hubs. Its proprietary plug-and-play Swarm robotics can bring down the deployment time at locations to less than a week. The product’s USP lies in its ability to scan, sort, and dispatch packages in less than 50-70% physical space, while improving personnel productivity by more than 3X and reducing operational cost of package sorting by more than 60%— thereby solving challenges in warehouse management sustainably. The first-of-its-kind system allows users to automate not just bigger facilities with a physical space of a few hundred thousand sq ft, but also automate micro-hubs with less than 2,000 sqft space through an innovative and compact vertical sorting mechanism.

Pramod Ghadge, CEO and Co-Founder of Unbox Robotics, said, “We are obsessed with improving the ways packages are handled, distributed, and delivered to end customers. We believe that there’s a massive potential for building and deploying robotics tech to deliver more packages using smaller footprints at lower operational costs as we see more adoption of e-commerce and Q-commerce (quick commerce) across the globe. Since we launched our beta pilots with leading third-party logistics and e-commerce players in April 2021, we have already got orders from some of the leading e-commerce logistics companies. We are on our way to converting every other pilot or demo into a commercial contract. We will deploy the funds to build an A+ team to help our customers experience the future of logistics, sorting and supply chain across continents.”

“Unbox Robotics takes a novel approach in technology development to crack some of the most critical concerns in customers’ supply chains. We are excited to build a diverse team and further develop outstanding robotics technology for the future of global supply chains,” added Shahid Memon, CTO and Co-Founder of Unbox Robotics.

The founding team of Unbox comes with rich experience in the robotics space. Pramod had earlier implemented India’s first robot-based sorting project at a leading Indian e-commerce company, while Shahid built a robotics company in the past. Unbox Robotics earlier won the India Innovation Growth Programme 2.0 organised by the Government of India, Lockheed Martin and Tata Trusts among 2,000+ startups. The team was also awarded the Leaders in Innovation Fellowship programme by the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK.

Speaking on the investment, Anurag Ramdasan, Partner, 3one4 Capital, said, “Globally supply chain and logistics have been reshaped with the growth in e-commerce and D2C over the last decade. Every layer of the stack today requires incredible optimisation and automation today to service the growing demand. Unbox Robotics is doing amazing work in identifying and solving these high-value problems and the team built by Pramod, Shahid and Rohit bring deep domain expertise to tackle this problem at scale. We are highly excited to start this journey with them as they streamline logistics and redefine the space.”

Nikhil Vora, Founder and CEO of Sixth Sense Ventures, commented, “We believe the e-commerce and D2C boom is creating a large need for automation solutions within warehouses and FCs, with the industry slated to grow to $32 billion over the next 2-3 years. This coupled with evolving consumer expectations, labour shortage, omnichannel distribution, and technology accessibility has made robotics a priority for both e-commerce and fulfilment companies. Unbox’s compact, vertical, and modular system is well suited for current market needs. Excited to partner with Pramod and Shahid, who bring deep and relevant industry experience as we scale the company together.”

The logistics industry is expected to handle more than 2X the number of shipments in the next 5 years, while the logistics automation market is expected to reach more than $100 billion by 2026. There’s a massive opportunity to serve customers within the urban clusters using the smallest footprint of warehousing facilities possible and cater to customers in tier-2 & 3 cities with same-day deliveries. The market growth is fuelled by exponential growth in e-commerce and the focus on efficient warehousing operations.


About Unbox Robotics: 

Unbox Robotics is a leading supply chain robotics technology company, specialising in robotics-based fulfilment and distribution technology for small to large e-commerce, retail and logistics enterprises. The product’s USP lies in its ability to scan, sort, and dispatch packages in less than 50-70% physical space through an innovative and compact vertical sorting mechanism. It helps personnel ramp up productivity by more than 3X — thereby solving challenges in intra-logistics operations sustainably. Unbox Robotics aims to redefine the global future of Sorting, Supply Chain and Logistics. For more information, visit www.unboxrobotics.com

About 3one4 Capital:
3one4 Capital is an early-stage venture capital fund based in Bengaluru, India. The firm works in select market categories and in the intersection of adjacencies that are large, growing, and ready for unique products and services. The themes pursued are SaaS and Enterprise Automation, Direct-to-Consumer products and services, Digital Media, FinTech, and Deep Technology, with a focus on areas such as machine-driven actionable intelligence services for the enterprise, ambient intelligence technologies, edtech, logistics and distribution, consumer products and services, and health.

3one4’s investments are biased towards companies exploiting technology to create, grow, or dominate large markets in India. The fund also invests a portion of its capital in US-focused companies that have feedforward effects into the themes being pursued in India.

Through a deep involvement strategy, the fund works with founding teams and subject-matter experts to prioritize and strategize for product-market fit, and then optimize for defensibility and growth in revenue and impact. With a focus on margins and on delivering uncompromised end-user experiences, the fund aims to reduce risk, detect new growth opportunities, and return rewarding outcomes to all the stakeholders involved.

With its third early-stage fund and its fifth fund overall, the firm now manages a combined corpus of INR 2,300 Cr (USD 300 Mn) and a portfolio of over 70+ investments across the early stage.


About Sixth Sense Ventures:

Sixth Sense Ventures, founded by Nikhil Vora, is India’s first domestic, consumer-focused venture fund – Investing in the Consumer of Tomorrow…Today. Their core philosophy lies in partnering “Early” with first-generation entrepreneurs that are disrupting large and sticky consumer categories and helping them create value by being a good sounding board. Founded in 2014, Sixth Sense Ventures currently manages over $500M across three funds and has been ranked as the top-performing AIFs in India by CRISIL. Both their funds (SSIO I and SSIO II) have been voted amongst the top 5 funds in India over the past decade.

Sixth Sense’s third fund, Sixth Sense India Opportunities III (SSIO III) has completed 17 investments including Parag Milk, Nobel Hygiene, Fraazo, Open Secret, Stylam, GoodDot, Neeman’s, Rage Coffee, Design Cafe, Bira, Storia, Giva, Freecultr, Dogsee Chew, Wonderchef, Vedic Cosmeceuticals, and Unbox Robotics.

Techstars backed SaaS startup unremot raises $700k in a Seed Round led by Inflection Point Ventures

Techstars backed SaaS startup unremot that offers a community-driven business-in-a-box solution for consultants, has raised $700K in a seed round led by Inflection Point Ventures and participated by Digital Futurists Angels Network (DFAN), ah! Ventures and Point One Capital.

Since 18 months of the launch in Feb 2020, unremot has 14,000+ monthly active users, 40,000+ monthly visitors, 80% organic users and users from 52+ countries, with 70% from the US, Canada, UK, Australia & Germany.

 

Vinay Bansal, Founder & CEO, Inflection Point Ventures says, “unremot steps in at a time when discovering professionals on a seamless platform had become extremely important. We have organisations working on finding professionals from different domains but corporates. This platform has bridged the gap and helped Consultants create a community-like structure, increasing their discoverability factor. The fact that unremot is addressing the entire spectrum of remote working on an advanced level and keeping the entire experience efficient prompted us to back the company.”

 

The independent consultants struggle to manage their client meeting requests, scheduling, and payments, surviving the broken experiences through multiple products. This problem is solved by unremot, which is a business-in-a-box solution that provides a personal office to consultants that allows their clients to discover, request, schedule, pay and conduct meetings in a jiffy – all in one place. It combines online discovery, calendar, payments, and video conferencing into one screen and leverages a discovery-driven community interface.

Shiju Radhakrishnan, Founder & CEO, unremot says, “Our driving force for being entrepreneurs is to build products and watch users love it. The journey from our previous startup iTraveller to the current one, unremot is a testament to this pursuit. With unremot, we believe that the success of future businesses will depend on how best one could leverage the power of small communities at scale. unremot aspires to become a go-to place for consultants who want to build their client communities and we target to bring together 25 million users on unremot in the next 5 years.”

 

Commenting on the fund raise, Hemlata Varlani, CMO – DFAN shared, “DFAN is an angel network backed by a global community of 1500+ technology & business leaders. The start-ups we invest in are carefully chosen with due diligence and with our whole community actively contributing to their success. unremot’s solution brings its users on a community-based interface, enabling mutual discovery and engagement. They are solving a real problem with their ‘all-in-one tool’ designed for independent consultants to set up their own personalised online remote workspace. To capitalise the global gig economy, currently estimated to be $350 Bn and slated to grow to $455 Bn (2023), we are looking forward to unremot’s product being aggressively marketed along their robust GTM plan which includes organic search, community initiatives and affiliates.”

 

unremot is a 25 member fully remote team, led by Shiju Radhakrishnan, Nisanth Kumar, Binse Abraham, Avanti Shukla and Thahir Backer. The team has previously worked together in the past, before being acquired and taking their exits.

unremot aims to reach 1 Mn users by the end of 2022, 5 Mn by 2023 and 25 Mn by 2025. To fuel this growth, the company is targeting to raise a larger $2 Mn round at the end of the Techstars program.

Shiju Radhakrishnan and Nisanth Kumar started their entrepreneurial journey in 2012 when they founded iTraveller – an online travel planning application that enabled customers to customise and book their holidays. In 2018, iTraveller’s story took an interesting turn when it got noticed by lastminute.com – the European OTA giant was looking to enter the Indian market and decided to acquire iTraveller.com. Once bit by the entrepreneur bug, there is no going back. By early 2020, Shiju & Nisanth once again found themselves consumed by an idea that needed innovation. This later evolved into unremot.

 

 

Clensta backed by IIT Delhi raises 20 Cr as Series A led by Venture Catalysts and Inflection Point Ventures

Direct-to-Consumer personal and home care products startup, Clensta has raised over INR 20 crore in a series A funding led by Venture Catalysts and Inflection Point Ventures.

Besides Hem Angels, part of Hem Securities Limited, N+1 Capital (RBF), the existing investors along with other marquee investors also invested in this funding round, the IIT-backed startup  said in a Statement.

The funds raised will be used to scale up the company’s sales, ramp up brand marketing and expand Clensta’s online and offline presence across India. The brand has achieved a CAGR of over 130% and aims to earn Rs 1000 crore revenues in the next 5 years.

Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder and President, Venture Catalyst says, “At Venture Catalysts we give a lot of significance to startups that work towards making the world a better place. Clensta’s innovative cleaning technology reduces usage of water to a great extent. Clensta’s entry into the D2C segment is likely to create a new category of personal and home care products. We are optimistic that  Clensta will become a billion dollar tech-driven personal care brand in the next few years. Wishing the team a great journey ahead.”

Mitesh Shah, Co-Founder, Inflection Point Ventures says, “D2C wave is birthing many innovative and disruptive brands. Clensta takes the innovation further with the introduction of waterless tech in their products. Their understanding of the fast-growing D2C segment and a varied range of products in personal care impressed our investors to lead this round.”

Gaurav Jain, Director, Hem Angels says, Over the next five years, D2C brands present at least a USD 100B opportunity. Clensta have been quick to capitalise on the product, innovation and price white space. There’s no better time than now for Clensta to get off their growth plan and take their product to the next level, witnessing rapid acceleration of scale.

The five-year old start-up founded by Puneet Gupta in 2016, started with the flagship products based on Waterless Technology (Waterless Body bath & Shampoo) to enable bathing without the use of water.

As a developer of waterless technology and the curator of this category, the startup has a big presence in the B2B and B2B2C segment. However, Clensta is now tapping the massive    D2C segment with its Super Cleansers filled with smart concentrates for household cleaning and plans to launch an innovative technology based personal care category.

“Clensta matlab Cleanliness, our ethos revolves around Innovation, Science and Customer Centricity. Developing innovative technology has been one of Clensta’s foremost attributes ever since inception. Keeping in mind the Indian Home Care market size of USD 6.2 billion, we have adopted an omni-channel strategy to ensure Clensta’s presence in offline as well as online markets. In this light, this funding comes as an affirmation that we continue to lead in the right path. We will be focusing on developing innovative and sustainable products, enhancing our relations with customers and marketing and expansion of our footprints across the country. We aim to use technology to scale the personal care segment and provide personalised shopping experience to our customers.,” says Puneet Gupta, Founder CEO, Clensta.

“There are many D2C brands in India, while Clensta aims to have its own space in this crowded market. We have disrupted this niche but how! By ensuring that we need to be a little smart for the smarter customers, the brand has charted a growth path unlike any other in the segment and came up with a super cleanser with smart concentrates wherein you can make your own super cleanser with just the tap water. Also, it’s easy on your pockets as there is no charge for 90% of water content in a ready solution. Contributing to United Nations Sustainable Development goals (UNDP), Clensta pledges to reduce the use of plastic and contribute to making our planet better and greener for all. All these things clubbed together makes Clensta a scientifically driven and ecologically ethical impactful brand, added Puneet Gupta.”

A National Award winner, Clensta has proved its capabilities by surviving through the threat of developing and selling all together a new product, moreover entering into the strategic tie-up with Cipla is another attribute of fast trajectory business growth. The Company has registered 20x growth in five years. A team of IIT, IIM & SRCC grads, working experience with EY, Ogilvy, Xiaomi, Deloitte, ITC and some cool, creative minds made this possible. CA Pankaj Mittal, CFO at Clensta executed the entire financial transaction. Khaitan & Co. acted as Legal Advisors to the company.

Here are 5 startups that are providing financial assistance to small businesses

COVID-19 achieved the unthinkable: it expedited digitalization by more than a decade across sectors and industries. Due to restrictions and social distancing conventions, even small companies and kiranas have chosen to go digital. Accepting online payments, ordering supplies online, controlling inventories, and more were all part of the package. 

 

All of it, though, came with its own set of difficulties. Despite a dynamic startup ecosystem in the country, sometimes finding funds and investors for small business entrepreneurs in the growth phase is still a challenge. Here are five organizations that are providing solutions and facilitating financial uplift for small businesses by providing low-interest loans and on-demand financing for working capital. They also offer expert guidance on how to invest money and timely bill payment alerts to help people maintain clean credit histories to qualify for larger loans.

 

StoreKing

 

StoreKing, a rural retail ecosystem that connects suppliers and financial institutions to rural consumers with Kirana as an anchor, also leverages the retail/kirana stores to cater to the rural masses, by connecting them with NBFC lenders, who are otherwise inaccessible to the village folks. StoreKing has already established a network of 25000 kirana stores, which will be utilized to connect rural folks to NBFC lenders. StoreKing has so far disbursed 120 crores worth of loans and has also had a remarkable collection percentage of more than 99.6%.

 

Progcap

 

Progcap (Desiderata Impact Ventures Private Limited) is a mission-driven, inclusive financing technology firm working to unlock the transformational impact of millions of micro and small enterprises in the last mile by providing them affordable, customized finance and digitizing their supply chains. Progcap uses a mix of technology and its unique delivery model to underwrite credit and thus provide the under-banked semi-urban and rural retailers in India access to flexible, collateral-free working capital.

 

Sub-K

 

Sub-K is a digital finance (Fintech) company that offers affordable, accessible, and scalable financial and payment services to rural/urban areas that have difficulty accessing the traditional financial models. They seek to bridge the digital divide, and create a ‘financially included’ society, through a robust and widespread retail distribution network and in-house Fintech solutions. Sub-K creates a high-tech-high-touch operating infrastructure at the last mile to deliver meaningful financial services through a capital-light model and a wide distribution network. They also offer savings, credit, remittance, insurance, G2C, and B2C payments as a channel partner for formal financial institutions. Unlike single product FinTechs and exclusive digital platforms, Sub-K’s innovation lies in offering diversified financial services through digital solutions coupled with list mile connectivity. As a result, their services are cost-effective, customer-centric, highly accessible, and crafted according to the needs of the financially and digitally excluded population. 

 

ShopKirana

 

ShopKirana is a B2B – commerce that started with a vision to empower millions of retailers which connects 1.2 Bn+ population of India in terms of trade. The company is focused on technology and supply chain innovation that aims to empower retailers to be competitive by providing technology, operational expertise, and scale advantage. Idea is to partner with millions of retailers (by becoming part of their supply chain) and making it the biggest and quickest go-to-market channel for products and services. ShopKirana directly works with brands to give them a boost on the demand side and reach to masses with transparency and deep market intelligence. 

 

OkCredit

 

OkCredit is a part of the Ok network – an ecosystem of apps aimed at digitising small and medium businesses (SMBs) across India. With technology that is simple and easy to access, the startup is solving various pain points in everyday functioning of small business owners, be it tracking their accounts, managing staff at their set-up or the need to go online. Ok network’s first product- OkCredit was launched in 2017 by Harsh Pokharna, Gaurav Kumar and Aditya Prasad. OkCredit has given a complete digital makeover to the traditional register book – ‘Bahi/Udhar Khata’ and made the daily bookkeeping task simpler and effective for millions of small businesses. The app not just helps small businesses keep track of credit transactions – both payments and receivables, it sends timely reminders and also makes it easier for them to collect and settle balance amounts quickly. The app has seen more than 20 million downloads.

Cloud Fintech innovator fonYou secures €7 Million growth funding from Banco Santander’s Smart Fund

Banco Santander financing agreement will support fonYou’s ambitious growth strategy and accelerate international market expansion

Fintech innovator fonYou today announces that it has secured €7 Million in growth funding from Banco Santander’s Smart Fund, in a financing deal that will support fonYou’s future technology development and market expansion as it rolls out its innovative fintech solutions across key regions – including Latin America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The new framework finance agreement will fund fonYou’s ambitious product development programme and strategic roadmap, as it expands its sector focus beyond telecoms to integrated digital finance enablement across global fintech and ecommerce markets. fonYou’s innovation roadmap is focused on delivering new technologies to enable the deployment of embedded finance solutions – including instant payment, “Buy Now, Pay Later” and emerging credit modalities – in partnership with connected mobile operators, ecommerce, and the wider global banking ecosystem.

Harnessing its vast experience built delivering AI-driven data analytics and digital transformation solutions to power revenue growth within the telecoms sector, fonYou is ideally positioned to address the needs of multiple vertical markets that are seeking to enable frictionless, digital financial transactions in real-time at mass scale.

Fernando Núñez-Mendoza, Co-Founder and CEO of fonYou commented: “This milestone financing secured from Banco Santander’s Smart Fund is a clear expression of confidence in our business – recognising the very significant market opportunities presented by the high-growth digital finance sector, which our innovative, AI and ML-driven fintech solutions are uniquely placed to serve. We are in a unique position to take advantage of these opportunities with our multi-industry Fintech solutions based on Cloud and Artificial Intelligence. With the support of the Smart Fund, we will accelerate the expansion of our team and drive product development, as well as our international commercial strategic plan. Our first objective is to provide a new generation of users with access to the digital economy and e-commerce through open, secure financial solutions designed for mobile devices.

Banco Santander’s Smart Fund is an exclusive financing initiative that supports eligible SMEs in the development and execution of strategic growth plans for sustainable, innovative digital initiatives with strong job creation potential. With an allocation of EUR 1.12 million, the Smart Fund is supported by the INNOVFIN SME Guarantee, which is financially supported by the European Union in the context of the Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments program.

—ENDS

About fonYou (www.fonyou.com)
fonYou is a multi-award-winning fintech company that provides cutting-edge payment and lending platforms to enable telecom operators, financial institutions, and brands to manage their business online. The company is working with the world’s largest telecom operators serving more than 300 million consumers. fonYou´s headquarters are in Barcelona, Spain and it has operations offices across Latin America and Africa.

fonYou is building the future with fintech.

For further information please contact:
Press contacts:
Nicky Denovan
PR for fonYou
nicky@evokedset.com
+44 118 328 2782