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Bangalore-based UpGrad becomes India’s newest unicorn with $185M funding round

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Startups/VC

Let’s start with a brace of unicorn stories and then delve into some earlier-stage startup news, yeah?

Indian edtech is still hot

This time it’s UpGrad, a Bangalore-based startup that “specializes in higher education and upskilling courses.” It just raised $185 million at a $1.2 billion valuation. Temasek led the round. Notably, it was a two-part affair, with an earlier tranche worth $120 million first valuing UpGrad at a price of around $600 million.

Turkey’s first $10B startup

$1 billion isn’t cool. Do you know what is? $10 billion. I suppose that that means that Turkish e-commerce platform Trendyol is cool? At least General Atlantic and SoftBank Vision Fund 2 think that it is cool enough to be worth $16.5 billion. Per our reporting, the company serves around 30 million shoppers who generate around 1 million packages per day. That’s a lot of shipping.

Now, let’s talk about some younger startups:

RentCheck wants you to get your dang deposit back

 And it has raised $2.6 million to power its efforts. Everyone knows what the problem space is here, so we care a bit more about how the company intends to tilt the rental market more toward renters themselves. Per TechCrunch, the company’s software “works by providing a way for property managers to facilitate and conduct remote, guided property inspections.” So long as more of us get our dang money back, cool.

Canopy raises $15M for loan-servicing software:

Sure, the back end of the financial world isn’t super fun to think about, but it is huge and potentially lucrative. Canopy Servicing is attacking the fintech market with a focus on building software that will help companies better offer and service loans. Credit is a massive problem space, and with $15 million new dollars, it will be interesting to see how quickly this API-delivered startup can grow.

Meta app search, hell yeah

Today CommandBar left its beta period and announced that it has raised $4.8 million. The company’s tech is a search layer that sits atop web apps, making them easier to, well, search. Frankly, this kicks butt. Why? Because finding what you need inside web apps can be an enormous hassle if you are in a hurry and not fluent in the application you are presented with. Which happens to everyone. Every day.

LawVu is building Salesforce for legal teams

Back to the topic of things that are important, if not entirely Super Very Cool, let’s talk about software aimed at helping legal teams. LawVu is working in the space and just raised $17 million NZD to back its efforts. It’s building a digital space for legal teams to share documents, communicate, and more.

Moove wants to provide car financing to African drivers

After noting that African car ownership rates lagged other continents, the founders of Moove decided to tackle the issue. The startup is starting with working to provide asset-backed financing to folks who make money with their cars and just raised $23 million.

Early-stage brands should also unlock the power of influencers

Before you hire a marketing consultant who doesn’t understand your products or commit to a CMO who has several years of experience — but none in your sector — consider influencer marketing.

If the phrase evokes images of celebrities hawking hard seltzer, think again: An influencer can be as humble as an enthusiastic Reddit user who manages your Telegram channel.

According to Uber growth marketing manager Jonathan Martinez:

“ … You don’t need to find influencers with millions of followers. Instead, lean toward micro influencers for testing, which will bring cost efficiency and the ability to sponsor a diverse range of people.”

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