Japan's Softbank To Possibly Fund Urban Ladder, Yepme and Swipe

Three Indian startups – Urban Ladder, Yepme and Swipe have been invited by Japan’s Tokyo based telecommunications and Internet corporation Softbank for possible funding round. SoftBank has invited these startups to travel to Tokyo later this month to continue negotiations that could lead to a round of funding. Softbank has recently made big news in India by investing $627 million (Rs 3,846 crore) in Snapdeal and $210 million in taxi services aggregator Ola Cabs.

Urban Ladder is an online furniture retailer, while Yepme is fashion portal and Swipe is known for making low-cost tablets & phablets. These startups are among 15 companies that met with SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son and vice chairman Nikesh Arora during their visit to India last month.

Similar to recent Snapdeal funding, the funding will be done through SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc. (SIMI), a new unit created a few weeks ago with Nikesh Arora as its head. Arora was a former top executive at Google who was roped in by SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son especially to lead investments in the internet domain.

Masayoshi Son, Chairman of Softbank during his visit to India had said that his group would invest up to $10 billion (Rs 61,000 crore) in Indian companies in the next few years, appears to be moving swiftly.

Bangalore-based Urban Ladder, set up in 2012, has until now raised $27 million from Hong Kong based hedge fund Steadview Capital, SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital, the last round coming as recently as in July.

Gurgaon-based Yepme is backed by Helion Ventures and is the first Indian fashion apparel brand to sell in international markets. Yepme clocked revenue of Rs.140 Crore in FY-14 and is targeting to double it this fiscal year.

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Pune-based Swipe telecom which manufactures low-cost tablets received Rs.30 crore funding in April this year from Kalaari Capital.


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