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Last Updated : May 04, 2020 02:17 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Exclusive: Xoogler makes its first investment in India, helps Rupifi close its pre-seed round

Xoogler pumps in between $100,000 and $200,000 into early stage ventures started by ex-Google executives.

Bengaluru-based digital lending startup Rupifi has raised an additional round of funds from Xoogler.co to close its pre-seed round of funding. This is the first investment made by Xoogler, a community of former and current Google employees, in India. While the company did not disclose the exact amount raised, Xoogler typically invests between $100,000 and $200,000 (Rs 75 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore) in an early-seed round in companies.

Xoogler is a term used to describe ex-Google executives. The platform brings together angel investors to back companies founded by ex-Google folks.

Rupifi was founded by Anubhav Jain, Ankit Singh and Jawaid Iqbal. Iqbal is the Google connect for Rupifi having worked in the California-based search engine giant for close to a decade being part of its machine learning teams in India. Before this round, the startup had brought in angel investors like Ashneer Grover, co-founder of BharatPe, Kunal Shah, founder of Cred and Ramakant Sharma, founder of Livspace, onto its cap-table.

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Till date, the Xoogler syndicate has pumped in seed money into more than 30 companies working across the United States, Australia, Mexico, Europe and now India. It is a community of more than 8,000 spread across the world with more than 1,200 being active investors in the syndicate.

“We are trying to leverage the massive network of current and ex-Google employees across the world through these deals, the platform can help starting with an early investment to connecting founders for future investment rounds and partnerships with large corporates,” said Christopher Fong, who was with Google for more than eight years and later went on to start Xoogler.co.

Amit Agrawal, who heads the New Delhi chapter for Xoogler and was at Google for almost eight years, said that they invested in Rupifi because of a high quality team, some early traction which they have already seen and good partnerships. There is a massive opportunity in the MSME lending business and Rupifi can grab it effectively, he observes.

Rupifi is a small business lending startup founded in 2019. It has a lending model where it leverages partnerships with aggregators to reach out to businesses which have an online presence. Rupifi has API integrations with lenders which can fund these businesses. It has a partnership with around seven aggregators through which they are connected to a few lakh businesses.

“We have signed agreements with a couple of B2B ecommerce players, one of the food delivery platforms, Shuttle, Dressfolk and another home interior platform. The idea around Rupifi is to lend to small businesses operating on these platforms,” said Jain, chief executive officer, Rupifi.

While partnerships have been signed, the company is yet to go live with quite a few of them because the COVID-19 pandemic has scuttled their plans.

Commenting on starting a lending startup at a time when a massive financial and health crisis is unfolding globally, Jain said that he is confident of building a scalable business but needed to be cautious. Things could also get more challenging since many of the aggregators are themselves staring at massive revenue loss and partner businesses shutting down.

“We will have to be extremely careful while lending, we cannot chase growth at this time rather try to build a resilient system and show that our lending models are working,” said Jain.
First Published on May 4, 2020 02:17 pm
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