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Bangalore based Consumer Houseware startup, Basil raises INR 3.6 crore seed funding from IIMA Ventures and Appreciate Capital

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  • Basil aims to reimagine homeware & kitchenware for Millennials and Gen Alpha
  • Launches food storage and hydration categories with its range of Bento Boxes and Bottles targeting urban parents.
  • To utilize the funds to bolster its direct-to-consumer (D2C) play, expand reach via e-commerce channels and expand product portfolio.

Bangalore-based, Consumer Houseware startup, Basil today announced that it has raised INR 3.6 crore seed funding co-led by IIMA Ventures (formerly IIMA-CIIE) and Appreciate Capital. The round also saw participation from prominent angel investors such as Mohit Sadaani (Co-Founder, The Moms Co.), Aprameya Radhakrishna (Co-Founder, Koo), Abhishek Goyal (Co-Founder, Tracxn), Malini Adapureddy (Founder, Deconstruct) and Brij Bhushan (Co-Founder, Magicpin). In its first phase of scale, Basil has launched stainless steel bento boxes and bottles catering to the sensibilities of millennial parents and Gen Alpha. The funds raised will be used to bolster its D2C play, expand reach via e-commerce channels and expand product portfolio.

According to Datum Intelligence, the Indian Consumer Houseware Market is set to cross ₹507 Billion by 2027. Within the Houseware market, categories such as lunchboxes, drinkware, storage containers and insulated products, contribute to 22% of the overall market share. With the evolving lifestyle of Indians, high degree of urbanization, proliferation of nuclear families and technological advancement, India is witnessing a major shift in the houseware industry. This is especially evident for young working couples and parents in the urban setting. This lifestyle evolution offers a massive white space for Basil to bring product differentiation and tap into the changing needs of its target consumers.

Founded by Harini Rajagopalan (Ex Amazon, Flipkart group) and Mahesh Muraleedharan (launched Uber in India as their first employee) in 2023, Basil is a first-of-its kind D2C startup aiming to reimagine the consumer houseware market in India that is typically dominated by a handful of traditional players. The firm’s range of products aims to cut away from the product designs that currently exist in the market. It offers consumers distinct, high-quality, visually appealing, and tailored products that are particularly appealing to Gen Alpha and their millennial parents. Basil’s water bottles and Bento boxes represent a strategic response to a significant market gap that exists in the industry.

Announcing the fund raise, Harini Rajagopalan, Co-founder of Basil said “In an era dominated by contemporary brands, the home and kitchen sector remains surprisingly resistant to innovation, still dominated by entrenched incumbents. As parents ourselves, we realised there is a definite need for innovation and design in this category, validated by our on ground research of talking to over 900 parents. Products that are currently in the market are a sea of sameness, with minimal overlap across functional design, aesthetics as well as safety. Our mission is to disrupt this overlooked space, infusing it with breakthrough designs based on market needs, premium materials, functional designs and aesthetic appeal. With our launch product range of stainless steel leak proof bentos and water bottles, we aim to emerge as the preferred choice for Indian parents seeking the best for their children and at the same time, be seen as a fun, cool, engaging & aspirational brand for kids.”

With this round of funding, Basil will deploy 30% of the capital into R&D to develop a nuanced view of market requirements, product design iterations so that they can clear the clutter to launch sought-after products. Basil’s products are currently available pan-India on their D2C platform s well as on marketplaces such as Amazon. In the next 12 months, it will expand its product categories launching lunch bags for kids and a newer range of bento boxes customized for working professionals.

“Driven by urbanization and premiumization, the Indian home and kitchen market is witnessing a surge in online demand for branded products. As kitchens become central features of homes, Basil, led by Harini and Mahesh, is strategically positioned to innovate and tap into this trend. We are thrilled to co-lead Basil’s seed round, confident their modern approach will resonate with the preferences of the Indian audience.” – Vipul Patel (Partner, Seed Investing at IIMA Ventures).

“The kitchen and home sector has seen minimal innovation for over a decade. The Indian consumer, actively seeking both functionality and aesthetics, is no longer served by incumbent and traditional brands. This is the massive opportunity we believe Harini and Mahesh are a great team to build for. We are delighted to partner with them and co-lead the round from Appreciate Capital.” – Sairee Chahal & Abhishek Agarwal (Partners, Appreciate Capital).

About Harini Rajagopalan – Cofounder, Basil

Harini has over a decade of experience in the consumer internet space with stints at eCommerce giants such as Amazon and Flipkart. At Amazon, Harini led the product and marketing efforts for Amazon Deals, focusing on personalization and orchestrating large-scale events like the Great Indian Festival. While at Flipkart, she spearheaded the launch of multiple categories, from ebooks to large appliances, showcasing her expertise in product management, brand management, and business leadership. Harini began her career at Johnson and Johnson, where she pioneered initiatives like the Clean & Clear Times Fresh Face and contributed to launching the Clean & Clear fairness portfolio in India. Harini is an alumna of INSEAD.

About Mahesh Muraleedharan – Cofounder, Basil

With over a decade of experience, Mahesh Muraleedharan, comes with a diverse background encompassing experiences in Indian e-commerce, ridesharing, VC investing, and management consulting, He has been instrumental in launching and scaling early-stage operations for high-growth startups, including three unicorns—Uber, Rapyd, and OYO. Mahesh was the first hire for Uber in India, where he played a pivotal role in overseeing the company’s launch and exponential growth to one million trips per day. His leadership extends to navigating complex legal, regulatory, and technological landscapes, demonstrated by his contributions to setting up multiple core businesses from scratch. Mahesh is an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad.

About IIMA Ventures

IIMA Ventures spearheads entrepreneurship-led activities at and beyond IIM Ahmedabad. It studies, educates, incubates, accelerates and invests in early-stage technology startups. Over its history, IIMA Ventures has mentored over 5000 entrepreneurs, accelerated over 2000 startups and invested in 350+ companies at seed stage and 40+ companies at early growth stage, securing more than 40 profitable exits. IIMA Ventures’ consumer investments include Jollee (children’s wear), Heelium (activewear), Bombay Hemp Company (wellness), Qlan, Mech Mocha, Rolocule and Hashcube (gaming).

About Appreciate Capital 

Appreciate Capital is a gender smart, world positive companies focussed pre-seed / seed fund founded by Abhishek Agarwal and Sairee Chahal. Investor in companies like Basil, Aulerth, Teleport, Samosa Party – among others, Appreciate brings to its portfolio founders – deep building/ operating experience to the table along with its extensive network in India and globally. Over fifty percent of Appreciate cheques go to women founders / women markets.

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Rally Ventures' Justin Kaufenberg Joins PayGround Board of Directors

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SportsEngine co-founder brings payments industry experience and understanding of consumer expectations as PayGround prepares for continued growth

Justin Kaufenberg, Managing Director of Rally Ventures, has accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors of PayGround, a healthcare fintech payments platform. Kaufenberg, who is the co-founder and former CEO of SportsEngine, brings a unique entrepreneurial perspective as well as a deep understanding of payments and banking.

Rally Ventures participated in PayGround’s Series A fundraising in 2023.

“From our very first conversation, Justin and the Rally Ventures team have been enthusiastic about joining PayGround on our mission to empower individuals and families with a healthcare digital wallet,” says PayGround CEO Drew Mercer. “We are in a season of hyper-growth and innovation at PayGround, and we are looking forward to having Justin at the table as we look for ways to provide additional banking capabilities for both healthcare providers and consumers.”

A core investment focus for Rally Ventures is products that deliver mission-critical software with embedded payments and financial services.

“Fixing the payment process within the healthcare industry has proven difficult because of all of the disparate systems involved. This is an industry in dire need of innovation, and I believe PayGround is approaching the problem in a smart and strategic way,” Kaufenberg says. “I’m looking forward to offering any guidance I can to help PayGround move the healthcare payments industry forward as they develop a strategy that looks to integrate various billing systems into their platform. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this company.”

About PayGround

PayGround is a healthcare payments platform that streamlines the payment experience for providers and patients. For patients, it’s an easy-to-use mobile app to manage, track and pay all medical bills in one secure place. For medical providers, it’s a modernized payment platform that reduces costs, simplifies processes and boosts patient and employer satisfaction. PayGround — the meeting place for healthcare payments. Learn more at payground.com.

About Rally Ventures

Rally Ventures invests exclusively in early-stage business technology companies, focusing on entrepreneurs creating major new markets or bringing transformative approaches to existing ones. Since 1997, Rally Ventures’ partners and venture capital industry veterans have invested in or run early-stage enterprise business-to-business technology companies with a proven ability to deliver superior returns regardless of the overall market environment. For more information visit rallyventures.com.

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PowerPay Completes $118.9 Million Asset-Backed Securitization to Further Growth

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Inaugural deal ignites new opportunities for leading fintech company.

PowerPay, a leading fintech company specializing in real-time lending and payment solutions for contractors and physicians announced the closing of their inaugural securitization obtained by home improvement and elective medical loans, and a 144A transaction rated by KBRA.

This is PowerPay’s first securitization (PWRP 2024-1). The Company partnered with CapitalOne Securities and Chartway Federal Credit Union, Virginia Beach, VA to achieve this milestone.

“The transaction provides the Company a securitization program that will allow us to obtain access to capital markets while providing a diversified funding source to fuel continued growth for the foreseeable future,” said Mike Petrakis, PowerPay Founder & CEO. “Chartway Federal Credit Union has been a valued partner. We look forward to further success as we consolidate the space. It’s encouraging to see that our consumers and channel partners have remained resilient despite economic turmoil over the past few years. With the focus of converting transparent purchases into simple monthly payments, we anticipate being able to access public securitizations on a regular basis as the market begins to rebound.”

Headquartered in King of Prussia, PA, PowerPay launched its platform in 2020 in the home improvement and elective medical sectors and has since become one of the industry leaders in point-of-sale financing.

The securitization, totaling approximately $118 million and issued as PWRP 2024-1, consists of Class A, B, and C notes with ratings of A-, BBB, and BB-, respectively, from Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

Since its inception PowerPay has been focused on its partnership with credit unions as it provides origination, servicing, compliance, & insurance through its 10,000 + national provider network.

  • For this issuance, PowerPay originated loans to Chartway Federal Credit Union and then repurchased them through this securitization (PWRP 2024-1).
  • The transaction ultimately helped PowerPay execute its vision of developing an ABS platform, diversifying the Company’s capital market outlets and providing a viable vehicle for its credit union and bank partners to manage liquidity through the program.
  • This transaction brought 17 new institutional investors to the platform.

The issuance of PWRP 2024-1 is a landmark achievement for PowerPay as the Company continues broadening institutional support of the asset class and improving access to home improvement and elective medical financing.

About PowerPay
Launched in 2020, PowerPay is a financial technology company providing seamless consumer financing solutions to over 10,000+ national providers. The Company helps contractors and physicians convert homeowner and patient purchases into simple monthly payments through its point-of-sale lending platform. Since its inception, PowerPay has funded over $1.2B.

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All-in-One Web3 Gaming Ecosystem Blockus Raises $4M Pre-Seed After Completing a16z Incubator Program

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The announcement comes during the Game Developers Conference week, where the company will host a special side event

Blockus, an emerging, innovative force at the intersection of blockchain technology and gaming, today announced a significant milestone, securing $4M in pre-seed funding. This successful raise follows Blockus’s participation in the prestigious a16z Crypto Startup Accelerator, which not only provided access to mentors and advisors but also allowed the startup to connect with potential investors.

The pre-seed round was led by Maple VC and included Altos Ventures as well as known angel investors such as Zhuoxun Yin from Magic Eden, Michael Ma from CreatorDAO, and Bryan Pelligrino from LayerZero.

Blockus is dedicated to transforming the gaming experience by enabling studios to onboard their players and build on-chain gaming features with ease. The company has already gained traction in the market, with over 30 partners already signed, including Ambrus Studio, the team behind E4C: Final Salvation. The funding will allow Blockus to accelerate its growth, expand its team, strengthen sales operations, and invest heavily in product development.

“This pre-seed raise marks a pivotal moment in our journey,” said Jess Zhang, Co-founder & CEO at Blockus. “The trust our investors, like Maple VC, have placed in us is both humbling and inspiring. We’re ready to unlock the next level of innovation in the gaming industry, and we’re excited to bring our blockchain solutions to even more studios and developers.”

With a rapidly expanding market – approximately 62% of all dApp activity comes from gaming projects, and Web3 gaming is expected to reach $600B by 2030 – Blockus is in a prime position to capitalize on this growth.

“We’re thrilled to witness Blockus’s latest achievement,” said Johnson Yeh, Founder & CEO at Ambrus Studio. “As innovators in the gaming space, we’re proud to partner with a company that’s pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. The potential for Web3 in gaming is immense, and we’re confident that Blockus will play a major role in shaping its future.”

The announcement is made in the lead-up week to Game Developers Conference (GDC) taking place in San Francisco. There, the company will host a dedicated event on March 21 at 7 p.m. at the iconic SPIN bar to engage with the Web3 gaming community, and current and potential partners.

“Blockus has the potential to be the catalyst for a new era of gaming, built on the principles of decentralization and player ownership,” said Andre Charoo, General Partner at Maple VC. “The founders’ deep understanding of both gaming and Web3 technologies, combined with their track record, makes them an exceptionally compelling team to back. We believe Blockus is poised to lead the way in the Web3 gaming revolution.”

To celebrate its funding milestone, Blockus is extending a special offer of $20,000 in credits to potential clients for the two weeks following the announcement period. This offer presents a unique opportunity for game developers interested in exploring how Blockus can elevate their game experiences.

About Blockus

Blockus is a complete Web3 gaming economy ecosystem. Beautifully built, fully compliant, and seamlessly integrated into games, the company’s mission is to create a future where players have true ownership of their in-game assets and where gaming experiences are more immersive, engaging, and rewarding.

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