RBL Bank-backed microlender Utkarsh SFB plans 500 crore IPO

RBL Bank-backed Utkarsh Small Finance Bank (USFB), which mainly gives microfinance loans in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, has begun work on its initial public offering (IPO), Mint reported citing three people aware of the matter. The bank is presently in the process of appointing investment banks for its proposed IPO, which is expected to be around 500 crore in size. Established in 2009, USFB is wholly owned by Utkarsh Coreinvest Ltd (erstwhile Utkarsh Micro Finance Ltd) and counts CDC Group Plc, the development finance institution of the UK government, as its largest shareholder holding a 14% stake. Its other shareholders include Faering Capital and RBL Bank, which hold 9.9% each, followed by International Finance Corporation, Norwegian Microfinance Initiative AS, Swiss development financier responsAbility Investments AG and Aavishkaar Goodwell, a microfinance institution-focused private equity firm. Utkarsh Coreinvest received a final small finance bank (SFB) licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in November 2016 and started operations as an SFB in January 2017.

Sequoia-backed Groww raises 154 crore led by Ribbit Capital

Online investment startup Groww raised 154 crore in a Series B round led by American fintech focused fund Ribbit Capital, Mint reported. Its existing investors- Sequoia Capital India and marquee startup accelerator Y-Combinator, also participated in the round. Founded in May 2017 by ex-Flipkart employees Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain, Neeraj Singh and Ishan Bansal, Groww currently offers over 3000 mutual fund options for investment on its website. Groww plans to use the funds raised to double its team size to 200 over the next year, and launch more products. While its platform is currently free to use and it charges no commissions, it plans to monetize by offering a premium, subscription-based model. Groww raised a Series A round of $6.2 million in January this year, led by Sequoia, prior to which it had raised a pre-series A funding round of $1.2 million from Insignia Venture Partners, Y-Combinator, and prominent angel investors such as Cure.fit founders Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori, among others.

Tiger Global leads funding in Wow! Momo Foods, valuing it at $120 million

Wow! Momo Foods, which owns and operates quick-service restaurant (QSR) brands Wow! Momo and Wow! China, has raised $23 million in a Series B funding round led by Tiger Global, one of the most prolific global investors in Indian startups, Mint reported. This is Tiger Global’s first investment in a QSR brand in India. After the investment, the restaurant chain is valued at $120 million ( 860 crore), up 187% from the 300 crore valuation it had garnered in a funding round last year, when ethnic apparel and furnishings retailer Fabindia’s managing director William Bissell had invested 3 crore. Conceived in a garage by two students of St Xavier’s College, Kolkata, with an initial investment of 30,000, the firm has primarily been serving momos (a form of dumpling) since 2008. It currently has 282 outlets of Wow! Momo and 11 outlets of Wow! China across 15 cities. The startup had launched Wow! China in March 2019. It will be working toward a public offering, the company said in a statement, without giving a timeline.

ASG Hospitals raises funds in fresh round

Eye care provider ASG Hospitals on Wednesday said it has raised 308 crore in a round led by UAE-based family investment office Foundation Holdings. Symphony International Holdings also participated in the round. ASG Hospitals was founded in 2005 and has 33 centres in India, and one each in Africa and Nepal. The eye care chain, started by All India Institute of Medical Science-trained doctors, is also backed by Sequoia Capital and Investcorp. The investment will allow ASG Hospitals to pursue organic and inorganic expansion strategies to facilitate consolidation of the highly fragmented eye healthcare services sector. Bringing its full-service hub offering to its regional partners will result in improvement in the service offering for patients in micro markets, Aakash Sachdev, managing director, India, Foundation Holdings, said.

Axis Bank Set to raise 14,000 cr via share sale

Axis Bank is planning to raise more than 14,000 crore in a share sale, which could open for subscription in a week, to enhance its capital base, The Economic Times reported citing two bankers aware of the development. The Mumbai-based lender has already sent feelers to leading institutional investors — foreign and domestic — on the likelihood of a qualified institutional placement (QIP) as early as next week. The lender has appointed Axis Capital, Citi, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, UBS and HSBC as bankers to the QIP, the two bankers said. In July, the bank’s board had approved a proposal to raise up to 18,000 crore through an issue of equity shares, depository receipts, or convertible securities. India’s third largest private-sector lender, Axis Bank is seeking to immediately raise about three-fourths of that targeted amount but if the investor appetite is good, the bank could also consider raising the entire approved capital now.