Bengaluru – February 23, 2022
Chiratae Ventures, the country’s largest homegrown venture capital firm, announced investments into 19 companies as part of the first edition of Sonic, its flagship seed investment initiative, identifying and investing into disruptive tech ventures raising up to USD 2Million. Launched in July 2021 with the vision of accelerating and democratizing the fund-raise process for founders, Sonic assured for the first-time time in the history of the Indian startup ecosystem a turnaround time of just 48 hours on the investment decision from the first pitch session for companies raising up to USD 500,000.
In addition to the promise of rapid decision-making for investments via Sonic, the initiative entailed standardized deal terms for equity investments. Diligence for all investments under the initiative was completed rapidly and remotely with trusted partners. The founding teams of these 19 companies will be mentored by leading founders, industry veterans, investors and receive perks and support across services in their next stage of growth.
Commenting on the success of the first edition of Sonic, Mr Sudhir Sethi, Founder and Chairman, Chiratae Ventures said, “Chiratae Sonic, our seed program has facilitated entrepreneurs to build stellar companies in India and abroad. We were an early backer of companies like Uniphore, Miko, Playshifu, Deepfence, Hevo, Squadcast, HealthPlix, amongst many others. Under our seed program Chiratae Sonic, last year we backed 19 startups. With eight unicorns in our portfolio, we are more than ever driven to support and back tech startups solving for India.”
Aditya Singhal, Founder-CEO of ByteLearn the first company from Sonic-2021 to raise a follow-on round within six months of closing the pre-seed round said “We at Bytelearn are super thankful and happy that we made the right choice by partnering with Chiratae’s team. Their team has helped, supported us and guided us in all crucial decision making. We found lot of gravity and maturity in all their decision making which we are sure will help us in future as well.”
Building on the success of the first edition, Chiratae would be launching the 2022 edition of Sonic shortly.
Highlights from Sonic 2021
● Chiratae Ventures evaluated over 3000 deals in 2021 across stages and sectors.
● While Consumer-tech, SaaS, Health-tech, Fin-tech and Deeptech were the top startup themes, very interesting sub-themes were seen across AI & ML applications ranging from hiring, education to sales and consumer behaviour. The Chiratae team also evaluated promising proposals in emerging spaces such as gaming, no-code infrastructure, EV mobility, battery tech, medical device tech, insurance-tech, etc.
● While a majority of the startups were based in metro hubs like Bangalore, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata, Sonic saw a record deal flow from across India & the world with Kochi, Ahmedabad, Indore, Guwahati, Dehradun, California, London and Israel brimming with startup activity.
● Chiratae saw a 90% increase in seed stage deals through Sonic, as the fund had made 10 seed investments in 2020.
● Of the 19 startups in the first Sonic cohort, ByteLearn raised a Pre-Series A round within six months, with many more currently in the process of raising their next rounds in the next couple of quarters.
The following are the companies that raised investment in Sonic 2021:
1. Aura Smart
● Aura Smart is building a unified intelligent home platform to control and monitor any smart devices, sensors and internet services across different brands and ecosystems for residential and commercial property use cases. The company provides a mobile app and/or a smart home gateway that enables this. Ashwani Agrawal and Abrar Ahmed, batchmates at BITS Pilani founded Aura Smart in 2018. Chiratae led the investment round with participation from angel investors.
● BeepKart is a full-stack online retailer of used two-wheelers which provides buyers the required confidence on price, quality and after-sales service using a tech- first approach to address the trust deficit in the massive used two-wheeler market. Founded by serial entrepreneurs Hemir Doshi and Abhishek Saraf who bring rich experiences with stints at top venture capital firms, conglomerates and high growth startups. Chiratae Ventures co-led its investment with Stellaris Venture Partners.
● BuyStars is a real-money player card trading platform, where users buy, sell, trade and manage a virtual team with digital player cards across Cricket, Football, Kabaddi and other sports. Founded in 2021 by Aman Satija and Sriram Krishnamoorthy, they bring a wealth of experience across growth, marketing and product management functions leading multiple marquee startups before across multiple categories. Chiratae Ventures co-led its investment with Leo Capital with participation from angels.
● ByteLearn is an AI-powered teaching assistant that helps students with maths problems, evaluates performance, grades tests, and enables them to learn any topic via its AI-powered tutoring engine while providing actionable insights for the teachers to leverage from the identified learning gaps. Founded by serial entrepreneurs Aditya Singhal and Nishant Sinha, the team carries 15+ years of prior ed-tech experiences. Chiratae Ventures has partnered with company since the pre-seed round and co-led the seed investment with 9Unicorns and Leo Capital.
● Tamasha is building a gaming ecosystem, where creators can engage communities through live social games and instantly monetise their engagement. While game developers can utilise the creator ecosystem to develop and publish community-driven games for the masses. The platform was founded by IIT Bombay graduates Saurabh Gupta and Siddharth Swarnkar. Chiratae led the investment round with participation from Incubate Fund India, 9Unicorns, Good Capital, Founderbank Capital, FirstCheque, PointOne Capital, Ice.vc and leading angels.
● VisioApps has created Louie Voice Control an assistive tech platform for individuals with low vision and upper body mobility impairment. The platform is an immersive voice solution that lets users fully control the phone & apps with just voice commands while helping them navigate the world better and be more productive, socially connected and independent. Founded by serial entrepreneur Pramit Bhargava, Chiratae co-led the investment round with Omidyar Network and participation from Unitus Ventures.
SaaS and software:
● Clientell is a no-code decision landscape, empowering business leaders to take data backed decisions and streamline business strategies by leveraging self- evolving AI. Founded by Saahil Dhaka and Neil Sarkar batchmates from BITS Pilani, Chiratae Ventures led the investment as the sole investor.
● Goodmeetings is an online video and AI-enabled platform that helps sales teams sell 10X better over video calls. They do this by providing AI powered dynamic nudges, checklists, help on the fly, workflow automation and useful insights to improve sales productivity, efficacy and decision making. Founding team comprises of serial entrepreneurs Srinivasan Narayan, Soumya Mohapatra, Abhijeet Sahoo, Alok Mishra and Ajay Srinath. Chiratae led the investment round with participation from FortyTwo.VC, Adept Ventures, 100X.VC, Atrium Angels and marquee angels.
● HUVIAiR is a construction technology company that helps businesses through its visual intelligence technology platform to enhance on-site productivity and reduce progress monitoring time while cutting down on overall project costs. HUVIAiR was founded by Vikshut Mundkur and Arjun Janananda. Chiratae Ventures led the investment with participation from SOSV, Artesian Venture Partners and RMZ Management LLP.
• Locale is a control tower for central oversight and localised decisions for real-world operations. It optimizes your operations with powerful map-based analytics, hyperlocal insights and granular decisions. Locale currently works with some of the world's largest companies, including those in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, India, and Singapore, to name a few. Locale was founded in 2019 by Aditi Sinha, a BITS Pilani graduate, and Rishabh Jain, who worked extensively on geographic information systems at Social Cops. Chiratae led the company’s seed round in August 2021.
● NetBook is a platform to abstract out the entire compute infrastructure layer from Machine Learning workflows, thus enabling Machine Learning developers to save 90% of their time that is lost due to compute bottlenecks. NetBook enables teams to connect all their private and cloud servers to manage workloads across their entire infrastructure seamlessly from a single dashboard. NetBook was founded by Sachin Chandra Bonagiri and Siddhardha Sukka who possess a broad experience in developing ML solutions and products after graduating from IIT Bombay as batchmates earlier. Chiratae Ventures led the investment as the sole investor with participation from marquee angels.
● DreamVu is a pioneer and the leader in omnidirectional 3D vision systems. It leverages patented optics with visual imaging software to create affordable omnidirectional 3D vision systems to solve some of the most challenging problems in vision globally with large scale use cases in the industrial automation space. DreamVu was founded in 2017 by IIIT Hyderabad alumni Rajat Aggarwal, Rohan Bhatial and Professor Anoop Namboodiri. Chiratae led the investment round with participation from existing investors SRI Capital and Philadelphia Angels.
13. Expertia AI
● Expertia AI is a deeptech SaaS platform with a virtual recruiter for businesses to identify top talents instantly. The company is on a mission to eliminate search, bias, error and delays from skill discovery, development and deployment. It was founded by Akshay Gugnani a Computer Science alumni of MIT and serial entrepreneur Kanishk Shukla. Chiratae Ventures and Endiya Partners led the investment round with participation from Entrepreneur First.
● Metadome (formerly Adloid), is a Metaverse that provides no-code infrastructure to millions of creators and leading brands to build immersive experiences in the virtual world. Metadome is empowering leading brands with AR deployments across automobile, home decor, beauty and accessories, and consumer electronics. The founding team comprises serial entrepreneurs Kanav Singla, Prashant Sinha and Shorya Mahajan. Chiratae co-led its investment with Lenskart Vision Fund.
● AroLeap is an intelligent strength training device designed to deliver data-driven personal training in the most convenient and engaging manner. With a requirement of just a 5ft x 2ft wall space for the device, AroLeap plans to revolutionise personal fitness training across India. The founding team comprises four batchmates from IIT Delhi Aman Rai, Anurag Dani, Rohit Patel and Amal Mechirackal. Chiratae Ventures co-led this investment with Sauce.vc and Whiteboard Capital
• ClaimBuddy is a MediClaim support company that acts as one-stop solutions for claim assistance for patients & hospitals. They are disrupting this highly broken market by leveraging technology and efficient processes and operations. Claimbuddy is founded by Khet Singh and Ajit Patel who bring prior rich experience from the insurance space and high growth stage startups. Chiratae Ventures co-led the investment round with Rebright Partners with participation from existing investor Titan Capital.
17. Hexa Health
● Hexa Health aims to be a one stop platform for a patient’s hospitalization needs. By facilitating patients discover the right doctor at the best price for their IPD requirements and assisting them for a hassle-free hospitalization experience, Hexa Health is addressing the huge gap in quality, seamless and trustworthy medical care in India. Hexa Health was founded in 2021 by Ankur Gigras, Vikas Chauhan and Aman Khanna, with the team having years of experience in the healthcare domain across leading startups, marquee consulting firms and industry giants. Chiratae Ventures co-led its investment with Omidyar Network with participation from marquee angels from the healthcare industry.
18. Stealth Company
● Chiratae Ventures also invested in a company in stealth mode in the space of B2B services
19. Deeptech Company
● Chiratae Ventures is also in the process of closure of seed investment in a Mobility deeptech company.
About Chiratae Ventures:
Launched in 2006, Chiratae Ventures India Advisors a home grown early-stage tech Venture Capital Fund backing stellar entrepreneurs disrupting or creating new ecosystems, the fund has been an early backer of Curefit, Firstcry, GlobalBees, Lenskart, and Myntra, and has invested in leaders like AgroStar, Bizongo, Bounce, Cropin, EarlySalary, GoMechanic, HealthifyMe, NestAway, Pyxis, Uniphore, Vayana, amongst others. In its 16th year of existence, Chiratae closed its fourth fund oversubscribed at $337 Million in 2021. Through the years, the team has delivered value for its investors with 40 exits and driven portfolio growth as demonstrated by $1 Billion AUM since its inception, 3 IPOs and 8 Unicorns, with more round the corner.