Food delivery firm Zomato surges 65% in key India debut

Shares in Zomato, a Gurgaon-based food delivery company and first of India’s consumer tech startups to go public, closed up 64.7% in its debut day of trading in Mumbai, delivering a key insight into the appetite investors have for the world’s second largest internet market’s burgeoning startup ecosystem.

Zomato’s shares traded all day above the issue price of 76 Indian rupees ($1) and surged as high as 138.9 Indian rupees ($1.87). The 12-year-old firm ended day one of trading on BSE in Mumbai at 125.2 Indian rupees ($1.68), securing a market cap of $13.2 billion, up from about $5 billion valuation it had attained in private markets during the startup’s fundraise earlier this year.

The startup’s $1.3 billion initial public offering was 40 times subscribed last week.

Friday’s milestone of Zomato has equally been significant for the rest of the industry as startup founders and investors closely watched the performance. India’s Twitter timeline on Friday was flooded with well wishes and celebratory messages from industry colleagues.

Ashish Dave, India head of Mirae Asset, a backer of Zomato, said the listing and performance of Zomato today has delivered the missing piece of liquidity in Indian startup ecosystem.

“This validates that we can generate large IPOs, which then makes our startups more attractive for global LPs. It also gives Indian investors a chance to participate in the India tech journey rather than from watching it from sidelines,” he told TechCrunch, adding that retail investors of this generation will finally find a way to get in on the action with the brands they recognize and have grown with.

Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal was quick to reciprocate. In a blog post, Goyal wrote, “Today is a big day for us. A new Day Zero. But we couldn’t have gotten here without the incredible efforts of India’s entire internet ecosystem. Jio’s prolific growth has set all of us up for unprecedented scale. Flipkart, Amazon, Ola, Uber, Paytm – have also over the years, collectively laid the railroads that are enabling companies like ours to build the India of the future.”

“They say it takes a village to raise a child, and we are no exception. Hundreds of people have selflessly played a part in making Zomato what it is today.”

Indian tech startups have raised a record amount of capital this year as some high-profile investors have doubled down in the South Asian market. Swiggy, Zomato’s chief rival in India, said earlier this week it had raised $1.25 billion from SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Prosus among others at a valuation of $5.5 billion.

A handful of other firms are also preparing to publicly list within a few months. Financial services startups Paytm and MobiKwik filed for their initial public offerings earlier this month. Online insurance aggregator Policybazaar is expected to file its paperwork within a few weeks.

“I don’t know whether we will succeed or fail – we will surely, like always, give it our best. But I hope that the fact that we are here, inspires millions of Indians to dream bigger than we ever have, and build something way more incredible than what we can dream of,” wrote Goyal.

India considering phased roll out of central bank digital currency

India’s central bank is considering launching a digital currency, according to a top executive, giving a clear indication of its intentions for the first time after previously stating that it was studying the idea.

T Rabi Sankar, the deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India, said at a conference today that the central bank is considering introducing the nation’s digital currency in a “phased” manner while legal changes are made to the South Asian nation’s foreign-exchange rules and IT laws.

The digital currency, which will be backed by sovereign, will lower the economy’s reliance on cash, enable cheaper and smoother international settlements, and protect people from the volatility of privacy cryptocurrencies, he said.

“Every idea has to wait for its time, and the time for CBDC [central bank digital currency] is near. We have carefully evaluated the risks,” he told an audience at a conference held by think-tank Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

Sankar said the central bank’s “endeavor is that as we move forward [with the plan],” so that India’s digital currency “can reiterate its leadership position in payment systems of the world.”

The top executive’s remarks follows European Central Bank saying last week that it will begin a 24-month “investigation phase” that, if successful, could lead to the creation of a digital euro by 2025.

Also last week, China’s central bank said its digital yuan trial had reached $5.3 billion in transaction value by the end of June.

“Central banks have increased their attention on digital currencies,” said Sankar. “CBDC will be in the arsenal of most if not all central banks in the world. A calibrated and nuanced approach will be considered at the drawing board as well as with stakeholder consultations,” he said, adding that the central bank has been exploring the benefits and risks of issuing a sovereign CBDC for “quite some time.”

“We have studied specific-purpose CBDCs proposed by different central banks around the world for wholesale and retail segments. The launch of a general-purpose CBDC for population scale is being considered, and RBI is working towards a phased introduction strategy and examining use cases with little or no disruption of India’s banking and monetary systems,” he said. “However, conducting pilots in wholesale and retail segments may be a possibility in near future.”

In his remarks, Sankar also hinted that the central bank hasn’t changed its stand on private cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

In 2018, an Indian government panel recommended banning all private cryptocurrencies and proposed up to 10 years of jail time for offenders. The panel also suggested the government to explore a digital version of the fiat currency and ways to implement it.

At the time, RBI said the move was necessary to curb “ring-fencing” of the country’s financial system. It had also argued that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot be treated as currencies as they are not made of metal or exist in physical form, nor were they stamped by the government.

“They are not commodities or claims on commodities as they have no intrinsic value; some claims that they are akin to gold clearly seem opportunistic,” Sankar said today.

The 2018 notice from the central bank sent a panic to several local startups and companies offering services to trade in cryptocurrency. Nearly all of them have either since closed shop, or pivoted to serve other markets.

This proposal was challenged by several exchanges and traders, who filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court. The nation’s apex court ruled in their favor last year. This ruling was seen as “historic” but it has yet to impact the earlier circular on the policy level. In the meantime, the country has hinted that it plans to introduce a law to ban private cryptocurrencies.

In the agenda published on the lower house website earlier this year, a legislation sought to “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India,” but allow “for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology [blockchain] of cryptocurrency and its uses.”

India considering phased roll out of central bank digital currency

India’s central bank is considering launching a digital currency, according to a top executive, giving a clear indication of its intentions for the first time after previously stating that it was studying the idea.

T Rabi Sankar, the deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India, said at a conference today that the central bank is considering introducing the nation’s digital currency in a “phased” manner while legal changes are made to the South Asian nation’s foreign-exchange rules and IT laws.

The digital currency, which will be backed by sovereign, will lower the economy’s reliance on cash, enable cheaper and smoother international settlements, and protect people from the volatility of privacy cryptocurrencies, he said.

“Every idea has to wait for its time, and the time for CBDC [central bank digital currency] is near. We have carefully evaluated the risks,” he told an audience at a conference held by think-tank Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

Sankar said the central bank’s “endeavor is that as we move forward [with the plan],” so that India’s digital currency “can reiterate its leadership position in payment systems of the world.”

The top executive’s remarks follows European Central Bank saying last week that it will begin a 24-month “investigation phase” that, if successful, could lead to the creation of a digital euro by 2025.

Also last week, China’s central bank said its digital yuan trial had reached $5.3 billion in transaction value by the end of June.

“Central banks have increased their attention on digital currencies,” said Sankar. “CBDC will be in the arsenal of most if not all central banks in the world. A calibrated and nuanced approach will be considered at the drawing board as well as with stakeholder consultations,” he said, adding that the central bank has been exploring the benefits and risks of issuing a sovereign CBDC for “quite some time.”

“We have studied specific-purpose CBDCs proposed by different central banks around the world for wholesale and retail segments. The launch of a general-purpose CBDC for population scale is being considered, and RBI is working towards a phased introduction strategy and examining use cases with little or no disruption of India’s banking and monetary systems,” he said. “However, conducting pilots in wholesale and retail segments may be a possibility in near future.”

In his remarks, Sankar also hinted that the central bank hasn’t changed its stand on private cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

In 2018, an Indian government panel recommended banning all private cryptocurrencies and proposed up to 10 years of jail time for offenders. The panel also suggested the government to explore a digital version of the fiat currency and ways to implement it.

At the time, RBI said the move was necessary to curb “ring-fencing” of the country’s financial system. It had also argued that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot be treated as currencies as they are not made of metal or exist in physical form, nor were they stamped by the government.

“They are not commodities or claims on commodities as they have no intrinsic value; some claims that they are akin to gold clearly seem opportunistic,” Sankar said today.

The 2018 notice from the central bank sent a panic to several local startups and companies offering services to trade in cryptocurrency. Nearly all of them have either since closed shop, or pivoted to serve other markets.

This proposal was challenged by several exchanges and traders, who filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court. The nation’s apex court ruled in their favor last year. This ruling was seen as “historic” but it has yet to impact the earlier circular on the policy level. In the meantime, the country has hinted that it plans to introduce a law to ban private cryptocurrencies.

In the agenda published on the lower house website earlier this year, a legislation sought to “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India,” but allow “for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology [blockchain] of cryptocurrency and its uses.”

India’s BlackBuck valued at $1 billion in $67 million fundraise

India’s trucking system has a big inefficiency problem that continues to drag the economy. BlackBuck, one of the handful of logistics startups that is trying to overhaul this system, has just raised a new financing round and attained the coveted unicorn status.

Tribe Capital, IFC Emerging Asia Fund and VEF led the $67 million Series E financing round in the six-year-old startup, valuing it at $1.02 billion, BlackBuck chief executive Rajesh Yabaji told TechCrunch in an interview earlier this week. BlackBuck is the 16th Indian startup to become a unicorn.

BlackBuck connects businesses with truck owners and freight operators. It has developed a simplified app for truck drivers in India, who are typically not very literate, to help them accept work and easily navigate to their destination using Google Maps. On the client side, businesses can fire up a similar app to place orders.

About 700,000 truckers and 1.2 million trucks in India today are connected to the platform, which sees over 15 million transactions each month. “India’s truckers did not go truly digital till 2019. Since then, the supply activity has gone up by 20 times. That is the transformation our business has undertaken,” he said.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

Byju’s acquires reading platform Epic for $500 million in US expansion push

Byju’s said on Wednesday it has acquired California-headquartered reading platform Epic for $500 million, the latest in a series of moves from India’s most valuable startup as it deepens its footprint in the U.S. market.

The deal involves both cash and stock and Epic founders — Kevin Donahue and Suren Markosian — will continue to run the business, they said in an interview with TechCrunch.

Epic operates an eponymous digital reading platform for kids aged 12 or younger. The platform, which has a presence across 90% of elementary schools in the U.S., has amassed over 2 million teachers and 50 million kids (up from 20 million last year).

Epic, which counts Evolution Media as an early backer, collects and analyzes real-time anonymized and aggregated data on how many children read a book, how deeply they engage with it and where their interest starts to wane. In a Netflix-esque move, the firm has also started to release several print versions of its own original titles.

TechCrunch reported in March that Byju’s was in talks to acquire Epic. Donahue and Markosian are no strangers to Byju’s. They first met with Byju Raveendran, co-founder and chief executive of the eponymous Indian startup, four or five years ago, but conversations about an acquisition only began this year, they said.

Raveendran (pictured above) said in an interview that his son uses the app, which gave him the conviction to explore any opportunity with the startup more seriously.

“We started Epic about eight years ago with the goal of bringing books to every child. We thought through technology we can get kids excited about reading and we can remove any barrier between the child and book. We are now in almost every school in the U.S., reaching over 50 million kids and a billion books read,” said Markosian.

“It has been our personal passion to build this platform because we wanted our kids to read more, too. So when we got to this point, it really made sense for us to look at scaling globally and internationally. When we started to talk to Byju, we realized that we share a common passion for education and belief in technology helping solve this opportunity. Together with Byju, we can take Epic to the next level,” he said.

Some original titles released by Epic. Image Credits: Epic

U.S. expansion

For Byju’s, the new product expands its current portfolio and brings expertise about a demographic of the U.S. that the startup has been looking for, said Raveendran. The addition of Epic to Byju’s offerings is “complimentary from a product standpoint as reading is a very powerful format for students to learn,” he said.

“The distribution they have will also help us offer more options to students in the U.S. and reach a demographic that we have also been working to serve. They understand this demographic very well,” he said.

Earlier this year, Byju’s rebranded its international business as Byju’s Future School, as part of which it is offering coding and math in synchronous and asynchronous formats to students and plans to add music, English, fine arts and science to the catalog. Raveendran said he hasn’t decided whether Epic will be rebranded, acknowledging that the California-headquartered startup has a strong brand awareness in the U.S.

Byju’s, which launched a learning app featuring Disney characters in the U.S. earlier this month, now has three large offerings in the U.S. that Raveendran expects will generate $100 million each in revenue this year alone. “Our ambition is to make a global impact,” he said.

The startup plans to invest $1 billion in its North America business, he said. Byju’s, which also has a significant presence in China, plans to bring Epic’s offering to India and other markets, he added.

Acquisitions and fundraise

Epic is the latest in a series of acquisitions by Byju’s. In the past two years, the startup has acquired U.S.-based kids-focused “phygital” startup Osmo (for $120 million), online coding platform WhiteHat Jr (for $300 million), coaching centre chain Aakash (for nearly $1 billion), and Indian edtech startups Toppr* and Gradeup*. (*Yet to be officially confirmed.)

“We have not done acquisitions not for the sake of doing it,” said Raveendran, who himself is a teacher, pointing to the growth and success of firms he has acquired post-acquisition and how these firms have been led by their original founding teams. “Our aspiration is very long-term. We work with the founders to help them turbo-charge their growth,” he said, adding that the startup is open to exploring more M&A opportunities.

Byju’s, which has raised about $1.5 billion since the pandemic broke last year and has attracted several high-profile investors including Blackstone, said the fundraise in recent years has helped the startup to acquire younger firms. He said the startup currently doesn’t plan to raise more external capital, but he didn’t rule out more fundraises in the next few months.

Indian food delivery startup Swiggy raises $1.25 billion led by SoftBank and Prosus

It took SoftBank several years, but the Japanese investment giant is now ready to bet on India’s food delivery market. Swiggy said on Tuesday it has closed a $1.25 billion financing round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Prosus Ventures.

The new financing round, a Series J, includes the $800 million investment the Bangalore-based startup had disclosed to employees earlier this year. (SoftBank alone invested $450 million in the new round.) The new round, which Swiggy says was “heavily oversubscribed,” gives the six-year-old food delivery startup a post-money valuation of $5.5 billion.

TechCrunch first reported about Swiggy’s engagement with SoftBank and the proposed valuation of $5.5 billion in mid-April. Qatar Investment Authority, Falcon Edge Capital, Amansa Capital, Goldman Sachs, Think Investments and Carmignac and existing investors Accel Partners and Wellington Management also participated in the new round.

Swiggy said the new financing round shows the turnaround it has demonstrated in the past few quarters. Like many other startups, Swiggy was severely hit with the pandemic. The startup said its recent bet to expand into grocery delivery, and pick-up and drop service has paid off. The volume of orders it is processing now is 30% higher than those in the pre-Covid times, it said.

“The participation of some of the most visionary global investors is a huge vote of confidence in Swiggy’s mission and ability to build an enduring and iconic company out of India. The scope of food delivery in India is massive and over the next few years, we will continue to invest aggressively into growing this category,” said Sriharsha Majety, chief executive of Swiggy, in a statement.

“Our biggest investments will be in our non-food businesses that have witnessed tremendous consumer love and growth in a short span, especially in the past 15 months of the pandemic. I believe the next 10-15 years offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for companies like Swiggy as the Indian middle class expands and our target segment for convenience grows to 500 million users.”

The new investment comes at a time when Indian startups are raising record capital and a handful of mature firms are beginning to explore the public markets. Zomato, Swiggy’s chief rival in India, raised $1.3 billion in its initial public offering last week and financial services startups Paytm and MobiKwik have also filed for their initial public offerings.

At stake is India’s food delivery market, which analysts at Bernstein expect to balloon to be worth $12 billion by 2022, they wrote in a report to clients earlier this year.

A third player, Amazon, also entered the food delivery market in India last year, though its operations are still limited to parts of Bangalore. At a virtual conference ahead of the IPO last week, Zomato executives dismissed Amazon as a serious competitor for now. “There’s no major impact on market share from Amazon so far,” the company’s chief financial officer said.

For SoftBank, a regular fixture of the Indian startup ecosystem, this is the first time it has bet on a food delivery player. The Japanese conglomerate has backed Indian startups in multiple categories including e-commerce (Flipkart, Snapdeal, Meesho, Lenskart, Firstcry), ride-hailing (Uber and Ola), and edtech (Unacademy). SoftBank has invested in several food delivery startups globally including DoorDash and Uber Eats. Prosus Ventures, an early investor in Swiggy, has also backed several food delivery startups globally.

“From its early days, I have had the privilege to watch Swiggy execute on their vision to become the leader in the convenience economy. Their focus on consumer delight, product innovation, and ecosystem support has made Swiggy a compelling digital experience in India. They have the railroads in place to empower multiple businesses to reach the new age consumer on a daily basis, and food delivery is just the beginning,” said Sumer Juneja, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement.

Swiggy said it will deploy the fresh funds to accelerate its “multi-year strategy” of growing its core food delivery business and building new food and non-food adjacencies this year and beyond.

YouTube acquires Indian social commerce startup Simsim

YouTube has acquired social commerce startup Simsim, the Google-owned firm said on Tuesday. Neither of the firms disclosed the terms of the deal, but two people with knowledge of the matter told TechCrunch the Indian startup was valued at over $70 million. Simsim founder didn’t respond to a text Monday evening (IST). Two-year-old Simsim had raised about $17 million and was last valued at $50.1 million.

 

India’s GlobalBees raises $150 million to build Thrasio-like house of brands

The universe of Indian firms attempting to replicate Thrasio’s success in the world’s second largest internet market just got bigger. Three-month-old GlobalBees said on Monday it has raised $150 million in a Series A financing round led by FirstCry.

Lightspeed Venture Partners also invested in the new financing round, which is $75 million in equity and $75 million in debt. Even with a $75 million equity raise, Monday’s announcement makes GlobalBees’ round the largest Series A funding in India.

Founded by Nitin Agarwal, formerly of Edelweiss Financial, and Supam Maheshwari, a founder of FirstCry, GlobalBees acquires and partners with digitally native brands across categories such as beauty, personal care, home and kitchen, food and nutrition, and sports and lifestyle with a revenue rate of $1 million to $20 million.

The startup then helps these firms scale and sell to marketplaces and through other channels in India and outside the South Asian market, Agarwal told TechCrunch in an interview. He said GlobalBees has already acquired or partnered with over a dozen brands and they are selling both in India and outside of the country.

“At FirstCry, we created a lot of brands and realized that most of these brands reach a scale after which it becomes too difficult to scale them,” he said. “Supam and I have been talking about this for several years, trying to find ways to disrupt this market. We think there’s an opportunity to create a new house of brands that is digital native.”

Agarwal said GlobalBees will attempt to build a distribution and enterprise ecosystem in the online space similar to how traditional firms have established those connections in the offline world. (Not all brands GlobalBees engages with will get acquired on day one, Agarwal said. Typically, some brands get acquired in a span of three years or so, he said.)

“The time it takes for D2C brands to go from 0 – 100Cr (about $13 million) in revenue has more than halved over the past few years,” said Harsha Kumar, Partner at Lightspeed Venture, in a statement.

“We believe that this creates a unique opportunity to create a brand house much faster as well. With their past entrepreneurial stints together and their experience in building one of the largest ecommerce platforms in India, the duo of Supam and Nitin is the perfect team to go after this idea. Lightspeed is thrilled to be part of this journey!” said Kumar, who is joining the board of GlobalBees.

Scores of startups in India today are trying to attempt to replicate what is popularly known as the Thrasio-model. Mensa Brands, a similar venture by former fashion e-commerce Myntra chief executive, recently raised $50 million in equity and debt. 10club, another similar startup, recently raised $40 million — though much of it is in debt. TechCrunch reported last month that UpScale, another prominent player in this space, is in advanced talks with Germany’s Razor Group to raise capital.

Like Thrasio, several of these firms are trying to acquire brands that sell midrange to high-end products in categories where competition is limited. In fact, some of the categories that are common among these brands are so underappreciated that even Amazon and other e-commerce firms have not explored them through their private label ecosystems.

GlobalBees’ Agarwal agreed with this assessment, though he added that not all brands are operating in niche categories.

New York-headquartered Thrasio, which has raised over $1.3 billion in equity and debt since December last year, had acquired or otherwise consolidated about 6,000 third-party sellers on Amazon as of earlier this year.

“India is at the cusp of a D2C revolution with an estimated market size of $200 billion in the next 5 years. Indian brands have shown great promise in the recent years, and we believe that GlobalBees is building great assets to accelerate the growth of digitally native brands in the country,” said Vikas Agnihotri, Operating Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement.

Agnihotri, alongside Atul Gupta of Premji Invest, Sudhir Sethi of Chiratae Ventures and Kshitij Sheth of Chrys Capital are also joining GlobalBees’ board.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

Blackstone acquires majority stake in Simplilearn for $250 million

Blackstone is acquiring a majority stake in Bangalore and San Francisco-headquartered edtech startup Simplilearn for $250 million.

Simplilearn operates an eponymous online bootcamp to help people learn data science, AI, machine learning, cloud computing and other skills that are in demand in the market.

The startup has partnerships with several universities and colleges including IIT Kanpur, Caltech, and Purdue University and students enrolling and completing these courses get a certificate from these institutes.

The 11-year-old startup, which runs 1,000 live classes each month, says it has helped over 2 million professionals and 2,000 companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon across 150 countries.

The startup, which was last valued at $80 million in its 2016 Series C funding round, counts Brand Capital, Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners, and Mayfield among its early backers. It had raised about $34.4 million prior to today’s deal, according to insight platform Tracxn.

Kalaari Capital, Helion Venture Partners and Mayfield Fund have taken exit as part of the new transaction but the leadership team of Simplilearn haven’t sold their stakes, according to a person familiar with the matter.

“The pandemic has only accelerated the need for digital skills and the industry has demonstrated absolute readiness for upskilling online. Hence, this is the most opportune time to take the next big leap in our journey to build the world’s largest digital skilling company,” said Krishna Kumar, founder and chief executive of Simplilearn, in a statement.

“We believe Blackstone can add significant value to our company because of their scale, commitment to building businesses, and global network, which will enable us to develop partnerships with businesses and universities as Simplilearn continues to expand around the world.”

The acquisition comes months after Blackstone-backed Aakash Education Services, which runs coaching centres across the country, was acquired by Byju’s — India’s most valuable startup — for nearly $1 billion. Blackstone has since also made an investment in Byju’s.

“This is Blackstone’s first private equity investment in Asia in a consumer technology company. […] We are excited to partner with Krishna Kumar and Simplilearn’s top-notch management team to accelerate growth and build the world’s pre-eminent digital learning company, and we expect this to be the first of many such investments in Asia,” said Amit Dixit, head of Asia for Blackstone, in a statement.

Lenskart valued at $2.5 billion following $220 million investment from Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital

Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital have led a $220 million investment in Indian omni-channel eyewear retailer Lenskart, valuing the Bangalore-based startup at $2.5 billion.

The new investment, which includes primary and secondary transactions, is part of a new round Lenskart unveiled a month ago when it raised $95 million from global investment fund KKR. Bay Capital and Chiratae also participated in the new round.

Peyush Bansal, founder and chief executive of Lenskart, said the profitable startup — which sells eyeglasses and contact lenses online and through about 750 physical retail outlets across the country — has seen a surge in sales of eyewear products in the pandemic year.

The startup, which counts SoftBank among its investors, sold about 8 million pairs of eyewear last year.

Now the firm, which claims to lead the market in India, plans to scale its operations in Southeast Asia and Middle East. The combined market opportunity for eyewear in these regions will be about $15 billion by 2025, the startup said, citing its own projections.

“We’re already the largest eyewear player in India and in the top 3 in Singapore. Lenskart envisions to have 50% of India wearing its specs over the next 5 years and become the #1 eyewear platform in Southeast Asia and Middle East over the next 18 to 24 months through organic and inorganic expansion,” he said.

According to industry estimates, more than half a billion people in India are affected by poor vision and need eyeglasses, but only 170 million of them have opted to get their vision corrected.

The firm also plans to deploy some capital to broaden its technology stack to create a more personalized experience for its customers. The startup, which recently launched ‘Lenskart Vision Fund,’ said it is also looking to invest in other younger firms that are operating in eyewear, eyecare and omnichannel retail spaces.

“We are thrilled to join Peyush and his team in this journey and look forward to working closely with Lenskart’s team in helping them scale their business internationally, especially in the MENA region” said Navroz Udwadia, co-founder and partner at Falcon Edge Capital, in a statement.

The new investment comes at a time when Indian startups are raising capital at a record pace and a handful of mature firms are beginning to explore the public markets. Zomato raised $1.3 billion last week in the country’s first consumer tech IPO in a decade.

Paytm, the pioneer digital payments startup, as well as its rival Mobikwik also filed for IPOs last week.