Petabyte Technology announced it has secured Series A funding of $8 million led by Acrew Capital and followed by Greycroft Partners, Correlation Ventures and Ridge Ventures. Petabyte’s flagship solution, rhapsody.vet, is a sophisticated cloud-based platform that enables veterinary practices to modernize and build a sustainable future. Rhapsody’s mobile tools, including unique standardized codes and a virtual medical exam, enable veterinary practices to streamline their entire operations. The platform’s simple design makes for an easy transition that allows practices to quickly increase efficiency and better meet client needs. Vishal Lugani, Indian American partner at Acrew Capital, and Ian Sigalow, co-founder and partner at Greycroft Partners, have joined Petabyte’s Board of Directors. Also joining the Board is Tim Mahlman, former president of Verizon Media’s ad platform business, who will also act as Petabyte’s President. Prior to Petabyte, Michael Hyman held executive positions at leading companies such as Amazon and Verizon, and acted as CEO of many successful startups. With this funding, the company plans to accelerate product development and expand its customer service teams, which support veterinary practices with best-in-class technology and training. The company has offices in Bellevue, New York, Cleveland, Naples, and San Francisco.

Tech Mahindra Acquires BORN Group

BORN Group, a digital transformation agency with a focus on customer experience and enterprise commerce solutions, has been acquired by global technology and services firm Tech Mahindra Ltd. Founded in 2011, a private equity firm True North and Zodius Capital, a growth capital and build-out investor, set forth to create a new-age marketing agency that helped brands adapt to the digital economy. Their vehicle, BORN, grew out of a combination of two acquired firms, Group FMG, a content production house and a New York-based marketing boutique specialized in creative design, Pod1. The company is widely recognized and award winning and serves a roster of clients who seek enterprise commerce and experience management solutions. Dilip Keshu, Indian American CEO of BORN, said, "I promised my clients, shareholders, partners and employees to live up to a simple adage - Onwards. Upwards. I am happy to have delivered on that promise. We have grown exponentially and the time has come for us to go from 8 countries to 90, from 10 specialisms to 30, and continue our journey as a transformative agency that will be remembered as being bold, authentic and beautiful." CP Gurnani, MD and CEO, Tech Mahindra, said, "We're delighted to welcome BORN Group to the Tech Mahindra family. The acquisition reinforces Tech Mahindra's focus on Digital and enhances our expertise in the Creative, Content and Commerce space and establishes us as a significant player in the rapidly growing Electronic and Mobile Commerce segment globally."

Accel Partners Raises $550 Million

Silicon Valley-based VC firm Accel Partners has raised its sixth India fund worth $550 million to boost its early-stage investments in the country. The new capital will be “primarily invested in seed- and early-stage startups across what we believe to be one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world: India,” the company said in a recent blog post. The 35-year old American VC set up its first fund in India in 2005. Over the last 15 years, Accel Partners has scaled its team to over 50 people in India, where it now manages $1.6 billion in assets, according to reports. “The world was a very different place [in 2005],” it said in its blog. “Just 1 in 50 Indians had access to the internet and mobile phone ownership was nascent. Yet we firmly believed that India was on the cusp of a big change. Today, the opportunity ahead is significantly bigger than when we started in 2005. India can now digitally identify 1.3 billion people, has 600 million internet users, and 150 million online transacting customers with a national payments platform that processes $20 billion a month.” So far, Accel Partners has invested in 100-plus early-stage startups in India, in line with its global strategy of investing in seed-stage companies. In fact, Accel Partners said it was the first institutional investor in about 85 percent of startups in its portfolio.

Madhya Pradesh Ranks 3rd in Lonely Planet's 'Best Value Destinations 2020'

Madhya Pradesh, one of India's most popular tourist destinations has been ranked No. 3 in the world under the 'Best Value Destination 2020' category by Lonely Planet. The state is blessed with rich wildlife experiences, awe- inspiring culture and heritage, ancient spiritual sites, architectural wonders and an array of cuisine offerings, according to a news release. Each year, Lonely Planet's Best in Travel lists start with nominations from Lonely Planet's vast community of editors, researchers, locals and influencers and are decided by a panel of industry experts. Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, managing director of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, said, "It is a matter of great pride for us that Madhya Pradesh Tourism features at number three on this list. Wildlife spotting excursions in Madhya Pradesh come at a reasonable price and certainly the celebrated sights of Khajuraho, Orchha and Mandu offer real value for money considering their historic heritage and exquisite beauty."

India's Paytm Raises $1B Led by T Rowe Price

Paytm, the India-based mobile wallet service, announced a $1 billion equity round that will be used to expand into new financial service models. The investment round was led by a group that included funds advised by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., as well as existing investors Ant Financial, Softbank Vision Fund. Discovery Capital, another existing shareholder, participated in the round. "At Paytm, we are committed to bringing a half billion Indians to the mainstream economy by onboarding them in the formal financial ecosystem," founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said in a blogpost. "This new investment by our current and new investors is a reaffirmation of our commitment to serve Indians with new age financial services." Paytm serves merchants in more than 2,000 cities and towns spanning across 650 districts, providing low-cost digital payment acceptance using QR-code technology. The company is planning to expand its financial services offering to include lending, insurance, investments and stock investing to the mass market. The company also plans to expand its content offering through Paytm Inbox, providing gaming, news, video and other content.

By GIOVANNI ALBANESE Jr., India-West Staff Reporter

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