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India’s Unicorn Byju Raises $250 Million in Fresh Funding, Prepares For Its IPO

Indian Edtech platform Byju has raised $250 million in a new funding round from existing investors including Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), as it seeks to improve the market downturn that forced it to postpone the initial public offering (IPO).

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Start-up - Investors King

Indian Edtech platform Byju has raised $250 million in a new funding round from existing investors including Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), as it seeks to improve the market downturn that forced it to postpone the initial public offering (IPO).

The new funding raised by the startup has increased its valuation to $22 billion, the same figure at which it raised a financing round in March this year.

Speaking on the recent fundraising, Byju Raveendran, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Byju said, “Byju’s is now at that sweet spot of its growth story where the unit economics and the economies of scale both are in its favor. This means the capital that we now invest in our business will result in profitable growth and create sustainable social impact.

“Regardless of the adverse macroeconomic conditions, 2022-23 is set to be our best year in terms of revenue, growth, and profitability. Continued support from our esteemed investors re-affirms the impact created by us so far, and validates our path to profitability.”

Amid a global slowdown that affected most companies this year which led to the laying off of staff, Byju was no exemption, as the global inflation affected its market downturn, which prompted the startup to begin the laying off of around 2500 of its employees in the next six months.

It disclosed that the layoff of its employees will be done in phases which will be a big step towards cost-cutting and being a profitable company by March 2023, also achieving better unit economics which will prepare the ground for its initial public offering (IPO).

The edtech firm has faced intense scrutiny over its accounting practices in recent months which it disclosed as “challenging” as it delayed the filing of its audited accounts.

Byju raised $1.2 billion in a term B loan last November for international expansion. The startup plans to acquire US edtech firm 2U as well, but those plans have been stalled even as the company was closing a financing arrangement for the potential deal, Investors King understands.

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Fund Raising

Property Tech Company, VENCO Secures $670,000 Pre-Seed Funding

The company stated that the fund will be deployed to scale its all-in-one technology platform

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Nigeria property technology company, VENCO has secured $670,000 in an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round.

The company stated that the fund will be deployed to scale its all-in-one technology platform that manages collections, service charge administration, utilities, and visitor access, among other services associated with multi-unit property developments across Africa.

Founded by Chude Osiegbu (CEO), Reagan Mbitiru (CTO), and Uzochukwu Alor (COO), VENCO already has a growing presence in both Nigeria and Kenya with the plan to expand to other cities and countries in Africa. 

The CEO, Chude Osiegbu stated that VENCO was used by 100 estates on about 4000 property units in 2021. He added that the startup is currently in 186 estates with about 12,000 property units and now has larger estates like Banana Island and 1004 in its roster.

Although Osiegbu noted that the company presently relies on subscription fees that it charges for the deployment of its software solution, he nevertheless stated that VENCO has a long-term plan to introduce a number of monetised operations.

He added that the startup already helped finance the purchase of prepaid energy meters for the Primewater View Gardens estate, and the Tejuosho Market, a shopping mall.

In the last 9 months, VENCO says it has recorded over 200 percent growth, currently in 6 cities in Nigeria and Kenya. 

Dating from the beginning of this year, VENCO noted that it has processed more than $10 million in transaction value via its platform. The company added that it is already in talks with e-commerce platforms to enable easier access to merchants within and around the community. 

Investors King learnt that some of the investors that participated in the pre-seed funding round include Zrosk Investment Management, Voltron Capital, Decimal Point Ventures, Fast Forward Fund, Tayo Oviosu (CEO of Paga), Odun Eweniyi (COO of Piggyvest), Oo Nwoye, Desigan Chinniah, Dakar Network Angels and Viktoria Business Angel Network.

Speaking at the event, Samson Esemuede, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at  Zrosk Investment Management, said, “ We view VENCO as both a SaaS and a financial inclusion play with a potential for strong multiplicative impact across the continent.”

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Fund Raising

Nigerian Based Food Tech Startup, Orda Raises $3.4 Million in Seed Funding

Orda Africa has now raised a combined $4.5 million raised by the African-centric food tech company. 

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Nigerian-based food tech startup, Orda announced it has raised a sum of $3.4 million in seed funding after it raised $1.1 million in pre-seed funding at the beginning of this year. This makes it a total of $4.5 million raised by the African-centric food tech company. 

Investors King understands that Orda is an African restaurant cloud operating system that helps restaurants to move from pen and paper to a fully automated digital platform. 

According to the startup, it aims to help more African restaurants maximize their business operations and expand distribution. 

The tech company added that it plans to improve on some new features which include loan, credit, and payment options which will eventually enable its clients to maximize the potential of their business. 

Investors King learnt that this new round of funding was co-led by Quona Capital and FinTech Collective. Other institutional investors which participated in the seed funding include Far Out Ventures, Lofty Inc Capital, Enza Capital, and Outside VC.

In the last one year, Orda has been able to increase its customer base to more than 600 restaurants across Nigeria and Kenya while its weekly processing orders has increased by more than 500 percent. 

Speaking about the growth and focus of the company, Orda’s CEO and co-founder, Guy Futi said “From day one, Orda has been focused on building solutions for small and medium-sized restaurants”.

“These businesses operate with slim profit margins and the power of Orda’s software and financial solutions can catapult their business. Our goal is to provide end-to-end solutions that help them optimize their operations so they become more prosperous”. 

Founded in 2020 by Guy Futi, Fikayo Akinwale, Mark Edomwande, Kunle Ogungbamila, and Namir El-Khouri, Orda has the vision to help small-sized African restaurants optimize their business and achieve sustainable growth.

Meanwhile, the company has attributed its growth over the last 12 months to the excellent team it has put together, a trend it hopes to continue in the coming months. 

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Fund Raising

Proptech Startup SmallSmall Announces The Raise of $3m in Seed Funding

Lagos-based Nigerian prop-tech startup SmallSmall has announced the raise of $3 million ($2 million equity and $1 million debt) in seed funding.

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SmallSmall

Lagos-based Nigerian prop-tech startup SmallSmall has announced the raise of $3 million ($2 million equity and $1 million debt) in seed funding.

Formerly known as RentSmallSmall, the startup gives renters access to monthly rent payments while eliminating the pain points of landlords.

Speaking on the recent funds raised the startup co-founder Tunde Balogun said, “We started by understanding the pain points of landlords. Even though they collected rent one year upfront, the default rate of the yearly system is very high because when people’s finances take a hit, they might not be able to pay subsequent rent.

“The legal process of evicting tenants where they’ll have to wait six to 12 months is also not supportive of the landlords. “Our market is for young professionals with an average age of around 28 years. It’s a huge market.

“We surveyed almost 3,000 people last year in Lagos, which showed that 80% of them wanted to pay their rent monthly. So that tells you how much adoption the monthly space would have if the markets eventually opened up.”

He further disclosed that the fund will be used to expand the startup operations to other cities in Nigeria, such as Enugu, Jos and Portharcourt before the end of Q1 2023.

Founded in 2018, the startup has been leveraging technology to revolutionize Nigeria’s property rental market and has so far had over 476,000 people registered on the platform.

It has also saved renters from legal and agency fees, which has seen it transcend into one of the leading advocates for affordable and flexible rental payment platforms across West Africa.

SmallSmall has also enabled landlords to access quality tenants and help curb defaults of payments.

In 2021, the startup was accepted to join the techstars Toronto accelerator program, making it the first African property technology platform selected to join the program. 

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