Published: 11/12/2020

Good morning, it's Thursday and I had a great day off (and caught up on my Podcast queue). Also Vedica did a podcast this week talking all things Jio & the Indian Startup Ecosystem and more- https://open.spotify.com/episode/2ouJ60F7QSwJbI2VN6mdR0. In the news today, we have an invoice management app raising some capital as well as a social commerce app.

  • https://bit.ly/3lrITpw: FloBiz raises a $10M Series A
  • ➡️ Invoice management startup FloBiz is raising a $10M Series A from Greenoaks, with participation from Beenext & Pantera Capital. The founders originally ran a cryptocurrency exchange company called Koinex that raised a seed round from Beenext & Pantera in 2017 and later shut down in 2019, giving rise to FloBiz.

    ➡️ FloBiz itself raised a small seed round from several angels in 2019 so this would be the first round of institutional funding for the company. The company builds an invoice management software primary for micro and small enterprises in the country. It's Android App BillBook has over 1M installs and it also has a desktop version (probably for businesses who have a lot more invoices to deal with).

    ➡️ In these micro and small enterprises, the biggest needs for operators are products around Invoicing (FloBiz), Payroll (Pagarbook) and Khata (Khatabook) and with the recent push by startups & conglomerates alike focussing on the space is probably why we're seeing a lot of companies being funded in the space.

    ➡️ The round would value the company at around $35-$45M and would also be Greenoaks' third investment in the country (following Flipkart and Zetwerk). It seems to me that in this space, everyone is building products and features that the other is (FloBiz building a Khata product, Khatabook building a pagar product) and I wonder where the differentiation will eventually lie or if we are going to see consolidation in the space in the future.

    2. https://bit.ly/3eONIGT: CityMall raises a $3M seed round led by Elevation Capital

    ➡️ Social eCommerce startup CityMall has raised a $3M seed round led by Elevation Capital with participation from Waterbridge Ventures and a LetsVenture syndicate. Elevation Capital has previously also backed Meesho through their Series A - D rounds so they are quite familiar with the social eCommerce landscape.

    ➡️ The company aims to be the community commerce platform for the next 300M Indians coming online from Tier 2+ cities, and they will use the capital from the round to expand its supply chain to these smaller cities along with building out its team.

    ➡️ The pandemic seems to have been an accelerant for the company, which has seen its revenues grow 12x in the last 6 months. The community-driven commerce model is designed for the new online Indians who are very comfortable with WhatsApp- firstly it solves for trust as that layer of community leaders is built in and it also solves for logistics costs which goes down as the network expands.

    ➡️ WhatsApp has certainly been the medium through which a lot of commerce will go through in the digital India and with the pandemic that trend has only sped up, and companies like CityMall but also Khatabook and Dukaan (and maybe even WhatsApp themselves) are going to benefit heavily from it.

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