Bleak week for funding as big deals go missing

The total value of private equity and venture capital (PE/VC) deals in India fell for the second straight week from the previous five-day period, amid a shortage of big-ticket transactions.

The week saw an almost equal mix of mid-sized and small deals, with only one transaction valued at more than $50 million. However, three deal values remained undisclosed.

Startups secured about $177 million last week, less than the about $194 million raised in the previous week. Similarly, deal volumes, which have largely remained consistent in the last few weeks, also plummeted, with PE and VC investors closing 15 transactions last week as against 20 in the previous five-day period.

In the week’s largest deal, Agilitas Sports, a sportswear and athleisure solutions platform led by Abhishek Ganguly, the former managing director of Puma India, raised 430 crore, or about $52 million, led by a 400-crore investment by homegrown PE firm Convergent Finance. Agilitas raised the remaining funds from a group of individual investors. The deal also marked Convergent’s second platform-style deal.

Among other large deals, two startups raised about $28 million each last week comprising e-sports firm Nodwin Gaming and data analytics startup Course5 Intelligence.

As part of the first tranche of a larger $55 million round, Course5 Intelligence raised $28 million last week from 360 ONE Asset Management Ltd (formerly IIFL Asset Management Ltd) Tech Fund. The firm will deploy the funds on organic and inorganic growth, with the firm set to increase its investment in advanced AI capabilities. Meanwhile, Nazara Technologies-backed Nodwin Gaming also raised $28 million from five investors, including parent PUBG creator Krafton and digital entertainment firm JetSynthesys. The new round catapulted Nodwin’s valuation to $349 million.

Lightbox, which had backed brands like Rebel Foods, Dunzo, and Paymate, last week led a funding round for Rooter, another game streaming and e-sports platform. The firm raised $16 million in a mix of debt and equity from a slew of investors such as Trifecta Capital, Pivot Ventures, Baldota Family Office, Global Play Media, Denlow Private Trust, Venture Catalysts, and Potential Ventures.

Among other mid-sized deals, e-commerce giant Amazon via its startup-focused fund Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund invested about $13.5 million in Surat-based men’s innerwear brand XYXX Apparels Pvt. Ltd.

In other news from the PE space, VCCircle last week reported that homegrown PE firm WestBridge Capital, which has, of late, been buying small stakes for sub-$50 million, has now bet on US firm Zscaler Inc. The PE firm picked up about 2 million shares in the company which is currently valued at $236 million. Last week also saw a significant uptick in consolidation activity, even as the value of all the deals remained undisclosed. Four mergers and acquisitions were closed last week compared to just one in the previous five-day period.

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