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Hope on the Horizon: It's Not a Funding Winter for Some Startups

Is 2024 the turnaround year for startups? Former Swiggy Mall Head raises $3 million for his startup. Gaming startup STAN and RagaAI were also fortunate to secure funding. How has the funding trend transformed in 2024? Read on.

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Swati Dayal
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Startups funding

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While 2023 saw the lowest funding in seven years for startups, most founders expect 2024 to be better. At least 85 per cent are optimistic about raising their next round at a higher valuation this year, according to a survey conducted by venture debt firm InnoVen Capital. The same report states that of those who attempted to raise money in 2023, 68% had a favourable experience vs 71% in 2022. 

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In 2023, the funding landscape for Indian startups experienced a substantial 72% decline. However, a glimmer of hope emerged in January 2024, bringing a stroke of luck for select startups in the AI and food sectors.

Former Swiggy Executive Raises $3 Mn for New Offline Retail Startup

Former Swiggy executive Karthik Gurumurthy, who headed the company's e-commerce unit Swiggy Mall until December last year, has secured USD 3 million in funding for his latest venture in the offline retail space. According to a media report, the funding round is being led by Matrix Partners India, with a USD 2 million investment, and additional funds coming from a group of angel investors.

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Matrix Partners India Takes the Lead

The ongoing funding round, although still subject to potential changes, has Matrix Partners India playing a significant role in supporting Gurumurthy's new venture. This development follows reports in November 2023 about Gurumurthy's departure from Swiggy, initiating discussions with investors such as Accel and Matrix Partners India at that time.

Convenio: A Fresh Approach to Retail

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Gurumurthy's latest venture, likely to be named Convenio, as per the media reports, aims to address the consumer challenge of obtaining high-quality fresh produce, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, and bakery items, at affordable prices. Gurumurthy's Convenio will mirror the low-cost physical store for fresh produce.

STAN Raises $2.7 Mn in Pre-Series A Round

Bengaluru-based gaming startup STAN has successfully secured USD 2.7 million in its pre-Series A funding round, attracting investments from new backers, including Aptos Labs, Pix Capital, Maelstrom Fund, and GFR Fund, along with continued support from existing investor General Catalyst. CoinDCX Ventures, Climber Capital, TDV Partners, and Coinswitch Ventures also participated in the funding round.

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Strategic Growth Plans

STAN, founded by Parth Chadha, previously raised USD 2.5 million in seed funding in May 2022. The latest funds will be utilized to expand the platform's creator supply, enhance user engagement, and further monetize the gaming community. STAN's unique platform facilitates creators in building and monetizing communities, engaging users through digital collectibles, chat or audio rooms, and exclusive celebrity communities.

STAN boasts over 4 million users within just 1.5 years of its existence, with 75% of its user base coming from tier II and tier III cities in India. The platform witnesses 50 million annualized micro-transactions, showcasing organic growth and an impressive 70% retention rate among paying users.

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RagaAI Secures $4.7 Mn Seed Funding

Gaurav Agarwal, a veteran in the technology sector, has raised USD 4.7 million in seed funding for his start-up, RagaAI. With his startup, Gaurav wanted to address the limitations of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly in generative AI.

Transformative Testing Platform

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RagaAI, founded in 2021, aims to address the reliability challenges of AI through the development of a comprehensive testing platform. Agarwal emphasizes that their testing procedures enhance accuracy, prevent business setbacks, and increase safety, allowing users to unlock the full potential of AI.

Agarwal's personal encounter with an AI failure while in a semi-autonomous vehicle underscored the issues he had long been concerned about. He believes that AI's repeated failures, especially in generative AI, threaten to impede its progress. RagaAI's focus on testing aims to mitigate these concerns and propel the advancement of AI technologies.

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