5 new unicorns in 4 days! $1.2 bn raised by ShareChat, Gupshup, Cred, Meesho, Groww in 4 days
New Delhi: In these four days, even as India fought a second wave of the coronavirus and feared a shortage of vaccines, five startups gave us something to cheer about. In four straight days, there were 5 new unicorns. And, these five have raised a jaw-dropping $1.2 bn in these four days. Let that sink in. A staggering $1.2 bn raised by five new-age companies in just four days.Its raised $502 mn, and hit a valuation of $2,1bn. Its got the biggest cheque out of the five new unicorns. In fact, out of the $1.2bn raised by all the five this week, ShareChat has on its own raised nearly 40% of that. The fundraise was led by Tiger Global, ShareChat's early backer Lightspeed Ventures, Twitter, Snap, and India Quotient.ShareChat is an Indian social media network in 15 languages and claims to have a 160mn strong user community. Moj is a short video platform that was started less than a year ago in July 2020 and boasts of a user base of 120mn. Moj says an average user spends 34 minutes on the platform.Co-founder & Ceo Ankush Sachdeva is very clear on the next goal. "We have to hit 1 bn monthly active users in 5 years," he says. The focus will also be on monetisation via advertisements, e-commerce, and virtual gifting. Meesho, an early social commerce player got the second-largest cheque of $300mn, and it added SoftBank Vision Fund II to its cap table. Its valuation almost trebled to $2.1bn, and existing investors Facebook, Prosus Ventues, Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway also participated in the fundraise.#LIVE | 5 UNICORNS IN 4 DAYS! The latest one is @Gupshup, who raised $100 mn from Tiger Global l Founder @beerud speaks to @NayantaraRai in an exclusive conversation! https://t.co/I9efDTIwr4Meesho Founder CEO Vidit Aatrey told ET Now that the next big goal is to enable 100mn small businesses to succeed online. He added one of the biggest lessons from the pandemic has been to give up overseas ambitions for the next few years. "The Indian market is much deeper than we thought, and we've grown much faster than we expected. We want to grow much more in India first, and the next few years we will focus on India and then maybe global markets," said Aatrey. This two-and-a-half-year-old startup founded by Kunal Shah has entered the unicorn club with a $2.2bn valuation. Its fundraise of $215mn was led by Falcon Edge Capital and existing investor Coatue Management LLP. Insight Partners is a new investor to join CRED's cap table. Other existing investors that also invested include Tiger Global, DST Global, RTP Global, Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer Investment Group, and Sofina.CRED runs an app for members to pay credit card bills on time and earn rewards. It had taken a contrarian stance to serve a smaller niche segment, and its user base has doubled in the past 7-8 months. Its processing 22% of credit card payments in India on a monthly basis, and boasts having over 35% of the premium credit card holders on the app. CRED's ambitions are not limited to financial services. It intends to double down on e-commerce. It wants to be the platform of choice for the affluent customers with higher purchasing power. For this it also curates D2C brands and has nearly 1800 of them listed on the app."Rent payments we launched during COVID. We are seeing that consumers love the idea of earning rewards while they pay their rent through credit card and that category has done well. We are going to make that category bigger as we scale. Even CRED Pay that we launched on merchants is seeing a lot of traction. So net-net, many innovations done, many industry firsts, and very early traction shows a lot of positive things," CRED founder CEO Kunal Shah said in an interview.Its done its first fundraise in 10 years, and raised $100mn from Tiger Global to enter the unicorn club with a $1.4bn valuation. What's also important to note is that Gupshup is already profitable, and what is called a "proficorn". Gupshup is used by brands and businesses to exchange conversational messages with consumers. Its delivering a massive volume of 60bn messages a month across 30 channels especially SMS. It started off by sending messages from banks or e-commerce companies on parcel deliveries. "Now it’s moving to where you can have a two-way messaging with the business. So now for example you can re-schedule your package delivery from that message itself or you can have customer support queries answered. It’s becoming more conversational. And talking to a business should be as simple as talking to a friend," says founder Beerud Sheth in an interview. He went on to say it could even be built to chat with celebrities! The millennial-focused investment app raised $83mn in a round led by Tiger Global. Existing investors Sequoia India, Ribbit Capital, YC Continuity and Propel Venture Partners also participated. Groww was founded in 2017 by four ex-Flipkart employees Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain, Neeraj Singh, and Ishan Bansal with the aim of democratising investments, and simplifying it for first-time investors and millennials. It now has more than 1.5 cr registered users, and enables them to invest in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, IPOs, and gold. It's averaging a run rate of 2.5 lakh new SIPs every month on its platform.On becoming a unicorn, Groww co-founder & CEO Lalit Keshre told ET Now, "Funding is always a means to achieve something but comes with a lot of responsibility and expectations. We have made good progress, but it feels we have just got started. Only 25 mn people in India are investing in stocks or mutual funds. We will continue working to change this. The new capital will help us invest in new products, acquire talent, and builm more financial education platforms."When asked what kind of new products Groww is looking at, the co-founder CEO said, "Absolutely anything my customer wants to invest in...maybe one day we will be able to also tokenise real estate."