Sacca’s Lowercarbon doubles down on startup bringing solar modules to Indian rooftops

Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon is doubling down on a startup that is racing to bring solar modules to rooftops in India.

SolarSquare said on Thursday it has raised $13 million in a Series A funding round led by Lowercarbon and Elevation Capital, just months after securing its seed financing. Existing backers Good Capital, Rainmatter, Better Capital and social commerce Meesho founders Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal also participated in the round.

Even as India is increasingly adding generation capacity from solar power, there’s a large population of the South Asian nation – the individuals – that is yet to join the clean energy bandwagon.

Less than 0.5% of Indian homes have rooftop solar systems. Such slow adoption could dampen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious renewables goal. SolarSquare, which sells, installs and helps individuals finance solar modules, has an ambitious plan to change that. The startup also provides its solar solutions to housing societies and commercial establishments.

SolarSquare says it has solarized close to 5,000 homes in India in the last two years, helping them save about $480 yearly on their electricity bills and offset four metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

SolarSquare, which pivoted to serving the customer segment two years ago after running a profitable business selling rooftop solar to corporates for years, is currently generating revenue at a runrate of $12 million a year, said Shreya Mishra, co-founder and chief executive of SolarSquare, in an interview with TechCrunch.

“We are on a path of being a full-stack rooftop solutions provider. The market opportunity is so large, you can imagine the trust a middle class homeowner has to have to make a purchase of that size. We are innovating on every aspect of solar installation to serve our customers,” she said, adding that she estimates that solar modules worth more than $50 billion will be purchased by residences in India in this decade.

The average ticket size of a purchase of the solar module is about 2 lakh Indian rupees, or $2,410. SolarSquare also helps customers with financing options through a network of partners. Mishra said she sees the startup get a license to operate its own nonbanking financial institution to provide better options to its customers in a year.

Nikhil Nahar (left) and wife-husband duo Shreya Mishra and Neeraj Jain founded SolarSquare. (Image credits: SolarSquare)

“Solar as a product purchase pays for itself. It’s unlike a product like, say, your refrigerator, which is an expense. Once you have put solar modules on your rooftop, you start saving each month. A 2 lakh investment will result in savings of 12 lakh to 14 lakh in 25 years. But there’s a high upfront investment, so once we realized that, it’s clear that we need to bring more financing options to customers,” she said.

SolarSquare — which currently has presence in Bengaluru, Delhi, Gujarat, Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra— installs its solar panels within hours, compared to some legacy firms that take up to five days. In some homes, based on customers’ request, it builds elevated structures for mounting panels. The startup plans to expand across India with the fresh funding.

“Solar is now much cheaper and cleaner than digging up and burning old dinosaur bones, so putting it on your roof just makes sense, especially in a part of the world with as much sun as India,” said Sacca in a statement. “But getting panels installed wasn’t always easy. We backed Shreya, Neeraj, and Nikhil because they’ve cracked the code on hassle-free rooftop solar.”

Indian firms making inroads with Indian residences will help the South Asian nation’s renewables goal. Coal currently powers 70% of India’s electricity generation, but Modi has pledged that India will produce more energy through solar and other renewables than its entire grid now by 2030.

It has taken steps to help startups such as SolarSquare. New Delhi offers subsidies to homeowners who are powered by rooftop solar, allowing them to distribute the excess power they generate to grids throughout the day and use the grid power at night.

Mishra praised New Delhi’s efforts on climate change, saying: “India is the first country in the world to make net-metering, this exchange of electricity, a consumer right that makes economics more viable as you’re able to freely trade electricity with the grid. More than 80% of our homes meet 100% of their electricity requirements this way.”

“Net-metering is a policy in many parts of the world. In India, it’s a right. A policy is something that can be revised every few years, but a right is a right that is going to stick. This is one of the reasons why we became so bullish on serving the residential solar market in India. As long as net-metering is a consumer right, there is nothing else that is needed.”

Sacca’s Lowercarbon doubles down on startup bringing solar modules to Indian rooftops by Manish Singh originally published on TechCrunch

Lightspeed raises $500 million for its new India and Southeast Asia fund

Lightspeed has raised $500 million for its newest India and Southeast Asia fund, its largest for the regions, as it looks to make deeper investments in the South Asian market that is increasingly attracting global investors.

The fund, fourth for Lightspeed India, was hard-capped at $500 million, meaning the firm didn’t want to raise additional capital, said the firm, which unveiled its $275 million third India fund in 2020.

The Tuesday announcement confirms TechCrunch’s April report, which said Lightspeed had initiated fundraising deliberations for the new India and Southeast Asia fund and was aiming to raise about $500 million.

Lightspeed additionally said Tuesday that it has raised over $7 billion across several funds, including India and Southeast’s.

Lightspeed began investing in India over 10 years ago and has amassed an impressive portfolio of several fast-growing startups including Byju’s, India’s most valuable startup, SaaS firm Innovaccer, e-commerce giant Udaan, social media giant ShareChat and payments giant Razorpay.

It began investing in the Southeast Asian market in the past decade and has backed several startups including Ula, which has since been backed by Jeff Bezos, and ride-hailing giant Grab.

The firm, which has a team of nine partners in India and Southeast Asia, is nearly doubling the size of its fund because it’s seeing more opportunities in the regions as a young crop of startups attempt to solve deeper and newer problems, said Rahul Taneja, a partner at Lightspeed, in an interview with TechCrunch.

“If you dial back 15 years when India internet 1.0 started, we saw the emergence of business-to-commerce marketplaces of digital goods such as MakeMyTrip and BookMyShow. Now the Indian internet economy is much broader with so many new sectors and within those sectors, there is a ton of depth,” he said.

“Another interesting factor that we increasingly see now is the quality of entrepreneurs who are choosing to launch their ventures. Our belief is that today we have the opportunity to play much wider,” he added.

Like most funds, Lightspeed hit the brakes during the initial months after the pandemic broke. What makes Lightspeed’s strategy interesting is that it largely refused to participate in the record frenzy funding cycle of last year.

“Lightspeed has been highly selective about the startups we back,” said Hemant Mohapatra, a partner at Lightspeed, in an interview with TechCrunch. “We never want to be on the lists of funds that do the most number of deals.”

“Last year, we were seeing very high-momentum weekend deals with very, very high valuations. I will say for the most part, those deals did not meet our bar and we ended up passing on those companies. Our deployment pace compared to the market during the last year and a half was slower,” he said.

Lightspeed has remained consistent with its approach and speed of deal activities and is still investing at the same pace as last year — which compared to the market conditions now — is faster, said Mohapatra, who previously worked at AMD, Google and Andreessen Horowitz.

“It’s an area of deliberate choice for us. Repeatedly over the last few years, we have had discussions about whether we should make any changes to our strategy around the pace of investments and the kind of companies we are supporting,” said Taneja. “I think we have been fairly level-headed and in hindsight that looks great.”

“If we are excited about 10 companies, we will invest in all ten of those. If we are not excited about any of them, we will not make any investment,” he added.

Lightspeed will continue to focus on areas such as consumer internet, SaaS, fintech and edtech, the two partners said, adding that the firm is also increasingly evaluating newer opportunities in additional sectors such as climate-tech, cross-border payments and web3. Lightspeed India has invested in nine web3 startups in the last one year.

It’s also stage-agnostic about investment opportunities. Taneja said Lightspeed India works closely with other arms of the firm and whenever needed, the global fund delivers the big checks as we have seen in the cases of Udaan and Razorpay.

The world’s second most populous nation has attracted scores of high-profile investors in the past 12 years. Sequoia and Accel, both of which have also been investing in the South Asian market for over 10 years, announced new funds recently.

SoftBank, Alpha Wave Global and Tiger Global have also increased the pace of their investments in India in recent years. SoftBank invested over $3 billion in India last year alone. Tiger Global has invested $6.5 billion in the country to date, TechCrunch reported Monday.

Stripe backs India’s Clear in $75 million funding

Stripe has made its second investment in India, just days after disclosing the first. One of the world’s most valuable startups has backed Bangalore-based SaaS fintech firm Clear, the two said Sunday evening.

The 10-year-old Indian startup, formerly known as ClearTax, said it has raised $75 million in its Series C funding. The round was led by Kora Capital. Stripe, as well as Alua Capital, Think Investments and several other existing investors participated in the round, which brings the startup’s all-time raise to over $140 million.

Clear — which counts Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital India, Founders Fund, and Elevation Capital among its earliest investors — helps individuals and businesses file their tax returns. It also provides wealth management advice to individuals, and helps businesses with e-invoicing and credit.

The startup says over 6 million individuals, and more than 1 million small and medium-sized businesses and over 30,000 enterprises use its platform.

In the past 18 months, said Archit Gupta, Clear founder and chief executive in an interview with TechCrunch, the startup’s SaaS platform has grown five times. Clear said it processes over 10%, up from 3% in 2016, of India’s business invoices with a GMV of $400 billion.

Clear’s marquee offering, ClearTax, started at a time when e-filing was not as popular in India. But the startup found itself in a good spot thanks to government regulations in the following years. (The government made e-filing mandatory in the country five years ago, for instance.)

But the number of people in India, home to 1.4 billion people, who pay taxes is still fairly low. (Only about 60 million individuals pay taxes in India.) That has been one of the reasons why Clear has expanded its offerings to serve businesses and also broadened to services such as credit and wealth management.

“We are excited to partner with Clear as they innovate at scale in the Indian SaaS ecosystem, enabling enterprises and SMEs to automate their workflows around taxation, invoicing and several other adjacencies,” said Nitin Saigal, Kora’s founder and CIO, in a statement.

Gupta said the startup will deploy the fresh funds to broaden its offerings and is also beginning to expand overseas. Clear, which is already serving businesses in the Middle East, plans to expand to cater to similar businesses in Europe soon, he said.

“We welcome Kora, Stripe and our other incoming investors. Kora has strong experience in technology players in emerging markets and Stripe is a global technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet – we are excited to learn from both of them,” he said.

“India is on a massive digitisation journey and we are fortunate to be in the perfect storm of electronic invoicing, GST, UPI, cheap mobile internet and rapid adoption of technology due to Covid-19. We are doubling down on our SaaS platform to help businesses with collateral free debt and payments. This funding also gives us fuel for our international expansion.”

Elevation Capital, General Catalyst lead $12M round into health insurance startup Loop Health

Loop Health aims to be the “Oscar Health of India” and targets the country’s health insurance gap with its approach to primary care and insurance.

The Pune-based company is also the latest startup to raise funding in this area, bringing in $12 million in Series A funding in a round co-led by Elevation Capital and General Catalyst. Joining the two firms is Vinod Khosla, through Khosla Ventures, YC Continuity Fund, Tribe Capital and a group of angel investors, including NoBroker founder and CEO Amit Kumar Agarwal, Livspace founder and COO Ramakant Sharma, Meesho co-founders Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, Carbon Health co-founder and CEO Eren Bali, Codecademy co-founder and CEO Zach Sims and Maven Clinic founder and CEO Kate Ryder.

The new funding gives Loop Health a total of $14 million in funding since it was founded in 2018, Mayank Kale, co-founder and CEO, told TechCrunch. This includes a previous $2.3 million seed raise. The company was part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2020 accelerator program.

Kale, who was previously building digital patient health records across India, started the company with Ryan Singh, Amrit Singh, and Shami Raj to provide group health insurance plans from large insurers to companies of all sizes that includes a virtual primary care experience through Loop Health’s in-house medical team and network of service providers.

It is estimated that fewer than 15% of people in India have purchased healthcare insurance, and of those who have it, most plans only work on hospitalizations and medical procedures, Kale said. Loop Health aims to change that by providing ongoing care so that a person shouldn’t have to go into the hospital unless necessary.

“In talking to potential customers, half of them are buying insurance for the first time,” Kale added. “Now employees are asking for it so that the company is competitive with others providing the benefit, but then COVID made it one of the central benefits to people. The sentiment has flipped now.”

Loop Health app. Image Credits: Loop Health

Legacy insurance plans don’t typically provide coverage for most diseases for up to four years after purchasing it, but with Loop Health, 40% of Loop’s customers consult a Loop doctor in the first three months on the plan, Kale said.

Over the past 12 months, the company has begun working with over 150 companies that represent about 50,000 total members, including,, Helpshift, Knorr-Bremse, Shoptimize, Weikfield and Moonshine Meadery. Loop Health has a target to cover 1 million members by the end of 2022 and 5 million members across Southeast Asia over the next five years.

At the same time, the company has grown 50% month over month in revenue and went from 10 employees to about 80 operating in Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru. That includes 15 care specialists, Kale said.

To keep the momentum going, he intends to use the new round of capital to onboard more members, build physical healthcare clinics, hire in sales, engineering and product development.

“We will keep growing quickly and are on track to onboard a couple hundred more companies over the next 18 months,” Kale said. “We are optimizing for trust. We want to be the trusted healthcare provider, and we will do that by providing a health concierge that responds to calls in 50 seconds, provides same-day consultations, personalized care plans for chronic disease and financial cover when patients need it.”

In addition to Loop Health, other startups are addressing health insurance in India. For example, this investment follows a seed round that Khosla Ventures made into healthcare membership startup Even. Meanwhile, Tiger Global led a $15.6 million Series A round into Plum, a startup enabling employers to provide insurance coverage to their employees, and Policybazaar raised $75 million this year for its insurance marketplace.

Mayank Khanduja, partner at Elevation Capital, considers Loop Health primarily a healthcare company that also provides insurance. Insurance is difficult to figure out, and many policyholders are even unsure of which hospital to even go to, he said.

He estimates the market to be valued at $3.5 billion and growing annually at 20% to 25%. It is a deep enough pool for someone like Loop Health to attack it and grow fast, especially with the push by employees driven by COVID.

“This was missing in India,” Khanduja added. “Insurance is sold in India as a commodity product — something to keep in the drawer to hold and hope you don’t have to use it. That is what is exciting to us about Loop Health. They are providing corporate insurance, but then also a full suite of primary care intervention, which will hopefully take care of you to where you don’t need hospitalization.”

FloBiz raises $31 million to scale its neobank for small businesses in India

FloBiz, an Indian startup that is building a neobank for small- and medium-sized businesses in the South Asian market, said on Monday it has raised $31 million in a new financing round as it works to broaden its product offerings.

Sequoia Capital India and Think Investments co-led the 18-month-old startup’s Series B financing round. Existing investors Elevation Capital and Beenext also participated in the round, which brings FloBiz‘s all-time raise to over $41 million.

The startup’s marquee offering — called myBillBook — helps small- and medium-sized businesses digitize their invoicing, streamline business accounting, and automate workflows of their enterprises.

India, the world’s second largest internet market, is home to millions of small- and medium-sized businesses. Scores of startups have launched neobanks in the country in recent years to focus on serve millennials or businesses.

“SME-focussed neobanks are building engagement with business- clients through their ability to provide solutions like automated invoicing, collections/payments, accounting, inventory and sales management, taxes and in some cases interest on current deposits as well (banks can’t pay interest). This may help to ramp- up and upfront their monetisation prospects,” analysts at Jefferies wrote in a report to clients last week.

myBillBook, which supports Hindi, Gujarati and Tamil as well as English, will add support for “at least” five more regional languages within the next six months, the startup said, adding that the app has been downloaded over 5 million times.

“The product will also see deeper use of technologies like AI & image processing to make the onboarding process for the less tech-savvy SMB owners in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India a delightful first step to digital accounting,” the startup said.

Scores of high-profile entrepreneurs — including Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm, Kunal Shah of CRED, Jiten Gupta of Jupiter, Amrish Rau of Pine Labs, Krishnan Menon of BukuKas, and Nitin Gupta of Uni Cards — have also backed FloBiz in the new financing round.

“Small businesses are the real heroes of our economy. In order to power the SMB economy with technology, one needs deep understanding, instinct and empathy for this audience,” said Tejeshwi Sharma, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital India, in a statement.

“We are really impressed by the user centricity, product focus and experimentative approach of the FloBiz founders. There is almost a perfect founder market fit. The team is stoked to partner with FloBiz on their mission of building a neobank for the growing SMBs of India.”

Rahul Raj, co-founder and chief executive of FloBiz, said the startup will deploy the fresh capital to “accelerate projects which have been in the works up till now – building personalisable modules & features into myBillBook, diversifying core product offerings and preparing to roll out financial services. We have a slew of developments in the pipeline to further delight our SMB partners in the next 12 months.”

Financial concierge startup Zeni banks $34M to show SMBs their finances in real time

Zeni, a Palo Alto fintech company providing real-time financial services data to venture-backed startups, raised $34 million in Series B funding led by Elevation Capital.

The new investment comes just five months after Zeni announced $13.5 million in a combined seed and Series A round. The company has now raised $47.5 million in total since it was co-founded in 2019 by twin brothers Swapnil Shinde and Snehal Shinde.

Elevation was joined in the new round by new investors Think Investments and Neeraj Arora, as well as existing investors Saama Capital, Amit Singhal, Sierra Ventures, Twin Ventures, Dragon Capital and Liquid 2 Ventures. As part of the investment, Ravi Adusumalli, founder and managing partner at Elevation Capital, will join Zeni’s board.

The Shinde siblings started the company after selling their last company, Mezi, a travel concierge, to American Express in 2018. Zeni’s AI-powered finance concierge platform offers bookkeeping, accounting, tax and CFO services, managing these for a flat monthly fee starting at $299 per month. Founders have real-time access to financial insights via the Zeni Dashboard, including cash in and out, operating expenses, yearly taxes and financial projections. They can also download the financial data in the “slice” that they want.

At the time of its seed/Series A round, the company was managing more than $200 million in funds each month, and that has ballooned to more than $500 million, CEO Swapnil Shinde told TechCrunch. Its customers range from pre-revenue startups to businesses generating more than $100 million in annual revenue.

In addition to the cash in and cash out analysis, the company also created a search function for transactions and spend and income trends on every customer and vendor, Snehal Shinde, chief product officer, said.

Zeni Dashboard. Image Credits: Zeni

Zeni experienced 550% revenue growth year-over-year, while the company’s customer base grew 375%, driven by referrals and organic growth, Swapnil Shinde said.

Despite the growth, the Series B came as a surprise to the siblings. The company was already “very well capitalized,” with a majority of the previous round still around, Swapnil Shinde said.

However, Zeni began receiving so many inbound inquiries that he said it was too exciting to pass on. Especially with the addition of Elevation Capital as an investor. Shinde said that was appealing because the firm was an investor in Paytm, and “knows how to partner and build unicorns.”

The new funding will be used to continue scaling and building the bookkeeping and accounting functions and to accelerate hiring, particularly in the engineering, sales and finance team verticals. Shinde expects to double or triple the finance team in the next year.

“As our customers scale through to their Series B, the more you can use our solution in real time to see what is happening with your finances, especially with startups and businesses having more of a remote workforce,” Swapnil Shinde added. “Zeni fits with that.”

Ash Lilani, managing partner at Saama Capital, one of Zeni’s earliest and largest investors, said he knew how big the total addressable market was — $200 billion — and how much these kinds of financial services were a giant pain point for startup companies.

“To know where you stand financially in real time is hard to do, usually, you get that information at month-end,” Lilani said. “I believe we have the opportunity to build a large company. Though Zeni is going after startups today, the small and medium markets can be leveraged. As they grow, Zeni will become their controller on the back end, while companies can just hire a CFO for the strategic decisions.”


Swedish gaming giant acquires India’s PlaySimple for $360 million

Swedish gaming giant Modern Times Group (MTG) has acquired Indian startup PlaySimple for at least $360 million, the two firms said Friday.

MTG said it will pay 77% of the acquisition sum to Indian game developer and publisher in cash and the rest in company shares. There’s also another $150 million reward put aside if certain undisclosed performance metrics are hit, the two firms said.

Friday’s deal marks one of the largest exits in the Indian startup ecosystem. PlaySimple had raised $4 million Series A at a valuation of about $16 million from Elevation Capital and Chiratae Ventures in 2016. (The startup, which began its journey in Bangalore, raised just $4.5 million in total from external investors.)

And it’s clear why: the revenues of PlaySimple — which operates nine word games including “Daily Themed Crossword,” “Word Trip,” “Word Jam,” and “Word Wars” — grew by 144% y-o-y to $83 million last year and it was on track to hit over $60 million revenue in the first half of 2021.

“We’re very proud of the games we’ve developed over the years, and of the infrastructure and scale that we’ve achieved with our team,” said PlaySimple co-founders and management team members — Siddhanth Jain, Suraj Nalin and Preeti Reddy — in a joint statement.

“As we join the MTG family, we look forward to leveraging our proprietary technology across MTG’s gaming portfolio, expanding into the European market, investing in cutting-edge technology and building exciting new games.”

PlaySimple, which says its free-to-play games have amassed over 75 million installs and maintain nearly 2 million daily active users, plans to launch a number of games later this year and also expand into the card games genre.

“PlaySimple is a rapidly growing and highly profitable games studio that quickly has established itself as one of the leading global developers of free-to-play word games, an exciting new genre for MTG,” said Maria Redin, MTG Group President and CEO, said in a statement.

The Stockholm-headquartered firm, which has also acquired Hutch and Ninja Kiwi in recent years, said PlaySimple will help it build a diversified gaming vertical. “Scaling and diversifying the GamingCo [an MTG subsidiary] helps to accelerate the operational performance while at the same time creating a more stable business,” the firm said.

FamPay, a fintech aimed at teens in India, raises $38 million

How big is the market in India for a neobank aimed at teenagers? Scores of high-profile investors are backing a startup to find out.

Bangalore-based FamPay said on Wednesday it has raised $38 million in its Series A round led by Elevation Capital. General Catalyst, Rocketship VC, Greenoaks Capital and existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital and Venture Highway also participated in the new round, which brings FamPay’s to-date raise to $42.7 million.

TechCrunch reported early this month that FamPay was in talks with Elevation Capital to raise a new round.

Founded by Sambhav Jain and Kush Taneja (pictured above) — both of whom graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee in 2019 — FamPay enables teenagers to make online and offline payments.

The thesis behind the startup, said Jain in an interview with TechCrunch, is to provide financial literacy to teenagers, who additionally have limited options to open a bank account in India at a young age. Through gamification, the startup said it’s making lessons about money fun for youngsters.

Unlike in the U.S., where it’s common for teenagers to get jobs at restaurants and other places and understand how to handle money at a young age, a similar tradition doesn’t exist in India.

After gathering the consent from parents, FamPay provides teenagers with an app to make online purchases, as well as plastic cards — the only numberless card of its kind in the country — for offline transactions. Parents credit money to their children’s FamPay accounts and get to keep track of high-ticket spendings.

In other markets, including the U.S., a number of startups including Greenlight, Step and Till Financial are chasing to serve the teenagers, but in India, there currently is no startup looking to solve the financial access problem for teenagers, said Mridul Arora, a partner at Elevation Capital, in an interview with TechCrunch.

It could prove to be a good issue to solve — India has the largest adolescent population in the world.

“If you’re able to serve them at a young age, over a course of time, you stand to become their go-to product for a lot of things,” Arora said. “FamPay is serving a population that is very attractive and at the same time underserved.”

The current offerings of FamPay are just the beginning, said Jain. Eventually the startup wishes to provide a range of services and serve as a neobank for youngsters to retain them with the platform forever, he said, though he didn’t wish to share currently what those services might be.

Image Credits: FamPay

Teens represent the “most tech-savvy generation, as they haven’t seen a world without the internet,” he said. “They adapt to technology faster than any other target audience and their first exposure with the internet comes from the likes of Instagram and Netflix. This leads to higher expectations from the products that they prefer to use. We are unique in approaching banking from a whole new lens with our recipe of community and gamification to match the Gen Z vibe.”

“I don’t look at FamPay just as a payments service. If the team is able to execute this, FamPay can become a very powerful gateway product to teenagers in India and their financial life. It can become a neobank, and it also has the opportunity to do something around social, community and commerce,” said Arora.

During their college life, Jain and Taneja collaborated and built an app and worked at a number of startups, including social network ShareChat, logistics firm Rivigo and video streaming service Hotstar. Jain said their work with startups in the early days paved the idea to explore a future in this ecosystem.

Prior to arriving at FamPay, Jain said the duo had thought about several more ideas for a startup. The early days of FamPay were uniquely challenging to the founders, who had to convince their parents about their decision to do a startup rather than joining firms or startups as had most of their peers from college. Until being selected by Y Combinator, Jain said he didn’t even fully understand a cap table and dilutions.

He credited entrepreneurs such as Kunal Shah (founder of CRED) and Amrish Rau (CEO of Pine Labs) for being generous with their time and guidance. They also wrote some of the earliest checks to the startup.

The startup, which has amassed over 2 million registered users, plans to deploy the fresh capital to expand its user base and product offerings, and hire engineers. It is also looking for people to join its leadership team, said Jain.

SAIF Partners rebrands as Elevation Capital, secures $400 million for its new India fund

SAIF Partners has raised $400 million for a new fund and rebranded the 18-year-old influential venture capital firm as it looks to back more early-stage startups in the world’s second largest internet market.

The new fund is SAIF Partners’ seventh for early-stage startups in India. Its previous two funds were each $350 million in size, and the firm today manages more than $2 billion in assets.

SAIF Partners started investing in Indian startups 18 years ago. The firm began as a joint venture with SoftBank and its first high-profile investment was Sify. But the two firms’ joint venture ended more than a decade ago, so the firm is now getting around to rebranding itself, Ravi Adusumalli, the managing partner of SAIF Partners, told TechCrunch in an interview.

The firm — which has five unicorns in its portfolio, including Paytm’s parent firm One97 Communications, food delivery startup Swiggy and online learning platform Unacademy — is rebranding itself as Elevation Capital.

“Elevation reflects our investment ethos and re-emphasises our commitment to the founders who help redefine our future. For our existing partners, it is a commitment of continued collaboration on our path-breaking journeys together. For our new partners, it is a promise to do all we can to achieve great heights together, from day one,” said Adusumalli.

SAIF Partners has backed more than 100 startups to date. The venture firm makes long-term bets on founders and backs young firms beginning their early years when they are raising their seed, pre-Series A and Series A financing rounds.

The venture firm invests in startups operating in a wide-range of sectors and plans to continue this strategy and add more areas of interest, said Deepak Gaur, a managing director at Elevation Capital, in an interview with TechCrunch.

“Enterprise SaaS is one area where we are spending a lot of resources,” he said. “We believe the time has come for this sector and we will see many global companies emerge from India.”

More than 15 startups in Elevation Capital’s portfolio are projected to become a unicorn in the next few years, according to Tracxn, a firm that tracks startups and investments in India. These include healthcare booking platform PharmEasy, app-based platform to book home services Urban Company, insurance tech startup Acko, digital loan platform Capital Float, real estate property marketplace NoBroker and online marketplace for gold Rupeek.

A number of SAIF Partners-backed startups, including IndiaMART, MakeMyTrip and Justdial, have become publicly listed companies, too.

Mukul Arora, a managing partner at SAIF Partners, said that the state of the Indian startup ecosystem has changed for the better in the past decade. “A few years ago, we were seeing many startups replicate a foreign company’s play in India. Today, we are seeing our ideas being replicated outside of the country. Someone is building a Meesho for Brazil,” he said.

The founders have also grown more sophisticated, said Mayank Khanduja. Elevation Capital has over three dozen employees, with about two-dozen focused on the investment size.

Elevation Capital’s new fund comes at a time when many established venture capital firms have also closed their new funds for India in recent months. In July, Sequoia Capital announced two funds — totaling $1.35 billion in size — for India. A month later, Lightspeed raised $275 million for its third Indian fund. Accel late last year closed its sixth fund in India at $550 million.

All of the LPs participating in Elevation Capital’s new fund, as was the case with previous funds, are U.S.-based, and the vast majority of them are nonprofits, said Adusumalli. Without disclosing any figures, he said the firm’s previous funds have performed very well.