Unicorn India Ventures announce three investments in Kerala-based startups — GenRobotic, SectorQube and Perfectfit Fashion. The Fund has been actively exploring investment in Kerala post partnering with Kerala Start-up Mission (KSUM), which is also an investor in Unicorn India.
With the State Government’s backing, KSUM is aggressively promoting entrepreneurship in the state aligned to the vision of Startup India and Unicorn India is at the forefront to provide strategic guidance and financial support to Kerala’s fast growing startup story.
Unicorn India Ventures is a Mumbai based VC fund that invests in early stage startups working on business ideas spanning sectors like consumer, enterprise, healthcare, ESDM and deep technology domains. These investments are made from Unicorn’s first fund launched in 2015 with investments across 10 startups made over the last 2 years.
Anil Joshi, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures, says, “Kerala is the hotbed for growing startups in the country today. The State Government backed accelerator, KSUM, is working aggressively with the industry experts to nurture the startup ecosystem in the State and we are excited to partner with KSUM in fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship by way of investing and mentoring the Kerala-based startups, which is core to Unicorn India.”
GenRobotic is founded in 2015 by Rashid Bin Abdulla, Vimal Govind MK, Nikhil NP and Arun George. The Team specializes in powered robotic exoskeletons with RC Controlled Humanoid Robotic Systems and Artificial Intelligence in order to find best solution for socially important issues.
Vimal Govind, Co-founder, GeneRobotic, says, “We are working towards a mission to use robotic technology to eliminate manual labour from areas like sewer cleaning which results in 9,000 – 10,0000 death every year. The funds raised from Unicorn India will aid us in developing a market ready version of Bandicoot and meet our commitments to the clients that we have signed.”
The Company has also received a grant from BPCL to further research in the area and develop Bandicoot, a product under design to build an automatic robotic system for manhole and sewer cleaning to eliminate manual scavenging. The seed round raised from Unicorn India will be used for achieving product market fit and strategic hiring. The Company also plans to foray into international markets like Middle East and South East Asia.
Started in 2011, SectorQube, was founded by six passionate engineers – Sabarish Prakash, Nibu Alias, Ani Abraham Joy, Arjun S, Midhun Skaria, and Biniyas VL – B Tech students at Toc H Institute of Science and Technology (Kochi). Over the years the company has worked on making smart kitchen appliances and is working on next generation Roti Maker. The funds raised will be used to complete the Rotimaker and make it market ready. SectorQube also has international expansion plans where the Indian diaspora is strong.
Nibu Alias, CEO and Co-founder, SectorQube, says, “Our company is at a phase where infusion of funds from the right investor like Unicorn India can accelerate our growth and help us gain the first mover advantage. Our ongoing work on a smart kitchen appliance and an IoT platform needs funds to scale up the platform. It is at this very right and crucial point that Unicorn has decided to come on board. This will be hugely beneficial for our future journey. We plan to use the funds to fast track our R&D and begin tooling and manufacturing the product.”
Perfectfit Fashion, a Kochi-based startup, specializes in 3D body scanning systems for fashion and healthcare industry. The Perfectfit Fashion 3D scans the user to generate exact body measurements, which are used to cut apparels pattern from fabric sheet. Their highly evolved scanning systems produces the final apparel in a fraction of time taken by conventional manufacturing techniques. Perfectfit Fashion has raised seed funding from Unicorn India Ventures and will be used for product enhancement & customer acquisition.
Eobin George, Co-founder, Perfectfit, says, “We are excited to have found a passionate and like-minded investor like Unicorn India Ventures. The seed round will help us deploy our first commercial product line – The Perfit Uniform Solutions – this year. We also plan to double our team strength, set up a new development center and fast track our research and development.”
The three startups are under KSUM, which will be helping them with critical operational responsibilities like scaling up, tapping new markets, product pricing and placement. The joining of hands of Unicorn India and KSUM are likely to inspire confidence among other budding entrepreneurs in the State.
Dr Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM, says, “The State Government is committed to build a proactive start-up ecosystem by extending financial and strategic support to the startups in the state. It is under this vision that we have partnered with Unicorn India Ventures, making it the first early stage venture fund to invest in startups in Kerala. We are hoping to work even more closely with the team to help them identify other potential companies here.”
Started in 2015 by Anil Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar, Unicorn India Ventures invests solely or co-invests with another fund or institution in a startup with an innovative business idea, which can solve a real life problem. The deal size will vary from $1,00,000 to $2 million and should meet the few of certain criteria.
Unicorn Ventures has already announced investments in startups like Boxx.ai, Sequretek, SmartCoin, GrabonRent, Inc42, NeuroEquilibrium, VLCC VanityCube, Roder, and Pharmarack.
Additionally, it recently announced its foray into venture debt by launching a Rs 600 crore venture debt fund.
Kerala Startup Ecosystem
Kerala startup ecosystem has seen lot of activities in last one year or so. Just yesterday, KSUM along with Kerala IT have joined hands with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) to set up the Mobile 10X Incubation Centre in Cyberpark, Kozhikode.
In August 2017, in order to promote mobile app entrepreneurs and startups in the state, Kerala state government dictated that the government has officially sanctioned direct purchase of mobile applications from startupswho have found a mention in the list cleared by KSUM up to a cost of Rs 5 Lakhs.
Earlier in December, KSUM has also launched a 2-year structured incubation programme for startups stitching together various government schemes available for them.
Prior to that, India’s first United Nations Technology Innovation Lab for startups was set up in Kerala too, in May 2017.
To recall, in July 2016, Kerala’s Startup has launched a digital incubator for students startups – Start In College, making it the first of its kind in the entire world.