More Start-ups led by SPJIMR Alumni Attract Funding

Date: 
Friday, January 6, 2017

Two exciting start-ups co-founded by SPJIMR alumni have raised around INR 450 million in funding, providing a new impetus to the efforts of the Institute to encourage, support and promote entrepreneurship among alumni and participants of its various management programmes.

TYGR, a game-changing transport and logistics app platform co-founded by SPJIMR alumnus Dipanjan Purkayastha has received pre-series, a funding of US $3 million (around INR 200 million). The funding was announced in December 2016 and came from lead investor, Franchise India, Asia's largest franchise and retail solution provider, and a group of fellow investors.

Dipanjan Purkayastha is an International Business major from the SPJIMR Class of 2002.

In another transaction, Bezahlt, an invoice financing venture in Europe co-founded by SPJIMR alumnus Naveen Prasad, has raised 3.5 million EUR (around INR 250 million) seed round mix of equity and debt. The funding came from investors like Point Nine Capital, Fly.vc, German start-up group, La Famiglia, Michael Brehm, Heiko Hubertz, Raffael Johnen (CEO Auxmoney) and Marcus Börner (CEO Optiopay).

Naveen Prasad is an SPJIMR alumnus from the Global Management Programme (GMP) Class of 2011.

The successful funding of the two ventures came soon after SPJIMR announced that Appknox, a mobile security company co-founded by alumnus Prateek Panda, raised Singapore dollars 875,000 (INR 43.5 million) in its first major venture capital funding led by SeedPlus Singapore Pte Ltd.

The announcements capped a year in which SPJIMR launched a new platform to support entrepreneurs.

In 2016, SPJIMR launched a start-up incubation centre, which currently nurtures, mentors and advises fledgling ventures and provides help and support to turn a range of ideas into viable business offerings. 

Also in 2016, two of SPJIMR's long-running entrepreneurship programmes, Grow Your Business (GYB) and Start Your Business (SYB), got together to bring on campus the largest collection of entrepreneurs ever for an alumni meet exclusively for the GYB and SYB alumni.

SPJIMR Dean Dr. Ranjan Banerjee said, "As an Institute that encourages entrepreneurship, we are always delighted to have our alumni and students move from being job seekers to job creators."

"To see members of the SPJIMR family do this repeatedly and successfully not merely in India but on a global scale is a tribute to the ability of our participants and alumni. They have worked in diverse markets and built on the many opportunities now opening up in a business environment that is changing and evolving at a dramatic pace," added Dr. Banerjee.

TYGR is the world's first app platform to automate passengers, delivery, logistics and specialty vehicles by integrating big data analytics and Internet of Things into day-to-day transportation, making it easy to plan, hire, track and pay for needs of individuals and businesses.

TYGR started with monitoring of 2,000 cabs and 500 bikes in Kolkata earlier this year, and now has automated almost every mode of transport - cabs, bikes, ambulances, trucks, buses, delivery and logistics in the city. The app has started aggressively scaling operations in other cities/countries.

SPJIMR alumnus Dipanjan Purkayastha co-founded TYGR with NTU Singapore alumnus Aditya Poddar.

"This is a first-of-its-kind mobile app in the world to automate all modes of commercial road transportation on a global scale, and is set to bring about a revolution in the logistics and route planning space. TYGR will disrupt the industry by making transportation services as easy and efficient as booking a taxi over the phone," said Dipanjan Purkayastha.

In Europe, SPJIMR alumnus Naveen Prasad teamed up with Sebastian Diemer, who earlier founded credit scoring and loans company Kreditech, and other former Kreditech employees, as part of the founding team of Bezahlt, which will work in the largely untapped space of online invoice financing.

"We will work to bridge the gap of working capital financing in Europe," said Naveen Prasad.

Invoice financing helps small companies secure quick credit and builds on a market that is too small for banks to address but large enough to fund if the risks are understood and diversified. Reports said the German factoring market alone was more than 200 billion EUR in transactions last year, the largest in Europe.

Naveen Prasad's firm, Bezahlt (which is German for 'paid') serves SMEs with its key asset as quick and improved scoring to enable it understand risks and offer rapid financing of invoices that can be for as low as 1 euro.

Naveen Prasad, who was on the SPJIMR campus to receive the alumnus achiever award in December 2016 said, "The entire GMP programme at SPJIMR enabled me and encouraged me to take the risk of doing something different. In fact, the programme itself is about risk-taking and building your mark in Europe and it helped me with my profile and previous experience in start-ups to launch myself in the European market."

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