By Malavika Velayanikal for Tech in Asia
In 2015, we would have a handful of startups announcing funding from VCs and angel investors almost everyday. This year, it’s been quiet compared to then. Now investors seem to have become more cautious and that shows in the quality of the startups who bag any funding.
Today you can meet a SaaS product for businesses, a test-prep company, a doctor-consulting app, and more – five startups that got investor backing.
Whatfix helps businesses with user onboarding, training, and support with real-time interactive guidance. It creates visual, contextual, step-by-step how-to guides to handhold clients or employees through a task at hand. This SaaS product will help companies adopt new software tools without spending too much time, effort, and money on training and support.
Whatfix raised US$3.5 million in series A funding led by Stellaris Venture Partners. Its existing investors Helion Venture Partners and Powerhouse Ventures participated in the round. Freshdesk founder Girish Mathrubootham, Capillary founder Aneesh Reddy, product engineering lead at Square Gokul Rajaram, and angel investor Vispi Daver also participated.
Founded by Khadim Batti and Vara Kumar, Whatfix had earlier raised US$881,000 from Helion, Powerhouse, GSF, and angels in Silicon Valley. Last year alone, Whatfix added 15 Fortune 500 enterprises as its clients. HP, AAA, Booking.com, NASA, CNA Financial, and Wyndham Worldwide are among those who have adopted Whatfix. “Sixty percent of our clients are in the US,” co-founder and CEO Khadim told Tech in Asia without disclosing the number of clients on the Whatfix roster. His co-founder and CTO Vara have moved base to the US as Whatfix plans to scale up faster this year.
In India, the safest job you could have is with the government. There’s steady income, perks like subsidized housing, insurance, and allowances for children’s education, and you have pension – so you’re covered for life. Even clerical jobs with the government come with a bit of power and society looks up to them. That’s why over 40 million Indians appear for competitive exams the government holds every year for a few thousand jobs. Testbook helps these students prepare for the recruitment tests.
Testbook acts like a guide for students, offering answers to probable questions, as well as personal training for applicants. It also provides mock tests for jobs in the government, such as Indian Railways, State Bank of India, and India Post. It has a website, Android app, and offline test centers.
Matrix Partners has announced a series A round of investment into Testbook. The amount of funding was not disclosed.
Testbook was founded by a group of IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi alumni – Ashutosh Kumar, Narendra Agrawal, Yadvendar Champawat, Abhishek Sagar, Manoj Munna, and Praveen Agrawal – in early 2014. It raised funding from publishers S Chand & Co, LetsVenture, and Ah! Ventures last year.
Bangalore-based MockBank backed by Blume Ventures, is a competitor. It too helps you prepare for recruitment exams for various government job positions, from stenographers to banking jobs.
Micro-lending app SmartCoin which raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Unicorn India Ventures, offers customers personalized loan products to consumers. The Bangalore-based startup runs a credit-underwriting algorithm which puts together “thousands of data points on a customer’s smartphone, including financial transactions, device usage and app behavior” to build the risk profile of a prospective borrower in real-time and offer loan products that match.
The entire process, from app download to loan approval, takes less than five minutes, SmartCoin says. In the first quarter of its launch early this year, it processed over 3,000 loans, and plans to hit a target of 50,000 loans by the end of the next financial year.
“Traditional underwriting methods are largely reliant on credit histories, and thus unable to serve people with limited credit data. As a result, there is a huge underserved segment spanning not just the corporate workforce, but also the emerging aspirational class working in semi-white collar and blue-collar jobs. We believe credit should be accessible to everyone, and the process should be as simple as online shopping or cab booking,” Rohit Garg, co-founder and CEO of SmartCoin, says in a statement to the press. SmartCoin has tied up with non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and microfinance companies for loan disbursement.
The investment round by Unicorn and a few angel investors will help SmartCoin sharpen its tech platform and scale-up operations.
Executives today need all the help they can get to climb up the corporate ladder. It’s not enough that they are good at their job, but they also need to be future-ready. For that they need to upskill. Edtech company Eruditus collaborates with universities like INSEAD, Harvard Business School, Wharton, MIT Sloan, and Columbia Business School to offer around 20 executive education courses to working professionals.
Over 5,000 executives from over 50 countries have taken up Eruditus’ courses, according to its co-founder and director Chaitanya Kalipatnapu.
INSEAD alumnus Chaitanya founded Eruditus in 2010 with Ashwin Damera, an alumnus of Harvard Business School. The company raised US$8 million in a series B funding round from Bertelsmann India Investments. The courses on Eruditus cost between US$30,000-40,000.
Accenture, Microsoft, Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, and Altisource are some of its corporate clients. Its courses are designed as online programs, standalone sessions, or workshops that span a few weeks. “Learning through actual classroom interactions, online sessions, case studies, real-time simulations, and practical exercises push you right in the face of dealing with challenges,” Eruditus claims on its website.
India is notorious for its doctor shortage. There is just one doctor for every 1,674 people in India, according to a report presented last year by the country’s parliamentary committee on health and family welfare. The country is short of some 500,000 doctors, based on the World Health Organization (WHO) norm of one doctor per 1,000 people.
This is where Konsult wants to help. It lets you tele-consult a doctor through its free Android and iOS apps. You can choose any doctor from those registered on Konsult. It has psychiatrists, dentists, sexologists, cardiologists, gynecologists, general physicians, and so on. Users can also exchange medical reports and documentation through Konsult’s built-in system.
Founded by Anshul Mittal and Puneet Agarwal in 2015, Delhi-based Konsult raised US$500,000 in two rounds of seed funding from a consortium of investors from the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Australia, according to a VCCircle report.
Konsult has 1,200 doctors on board. The patient gets charged based on the duration of her call to the doctor. Of that, Konsult charges a flat commission of 30 percent and sends the rest of it to the doctor.