Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi and its investment unit, Shunwei Capital, are close to buying around a 10% stake in chalo.com, a daily commute solutions startup, for about Rs 50 crore, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The deal, which is part of Xiaomi’s efforts to increase its presence in the Indian mobile application space, values chalo.com at around Rs 500 crore, they said. This will be the Chinese company’s 11th investment India’s startup space.
“The deal is almost done and would give an exit to some investors who had invested when the venture was launched. The investment fits well in Xiaomi’s plans to invest $1 billion in the Indian start space,” one of the people said.
Chalo.com did not respond to an email seeking comment. A Xiaomi spokesperson refused to comment on the deal but said: “Xiaomi, along with Shunwei Capital, has invested in over 10 startups in India, who operate in the mobile space, to boost the startup are Hungama, ShareChat, Zestmoney and Krazybee.”
Chalo.com, previously Zophop Technologies, was founded in 2014 by Vinayak Bhavnani and Mohit Dubey and displays schedules of buses, trains and metro services in several cities. The app shows availability of Ola, Uber and other cab services in the vicinity, as well as the cost, journey time, availability and real-time movement of traffic in different languages.
This is Dubey’s second venture. He had co-founded carwale.com, a platform that shows car prices, in the early 2000s. Carwale was bought in 2010 by German media conglomerate Axel Springer, from which online automobile classifieds firm CarTrade acquired it in 2015 for Rs 590 crore. Dubey quit Carwale in March 2017, as per his LinkedIn profile.
Google executive Amit Singhal, angel investor PK Gulati, Jain International Trade Organisation, impact investor Jeenendra Bhandari and a handful of others had invested in chalo.com in 2015 and 2016.
Jain International Trade Organisation had invested around $5 million in the company, said one of the people. Some of the early investors would exit fully, while others would sell part of their stake, the person added.
Shunwei Capital is a venture capital fund focussed on early- to mid-stage investments in technology, media, telecommunications and new media.
The fund was started by Xiaomi founders Tuck Lye Koh and Lei Jun and has assets of around $3 billion under management. It has raised funds four times — in 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2018. It has invested around $228 million through 16 deals, as per data from Venture Intelligence.
Some of the biggest bets by Shunwei Capital include ShareChat, Pratilipi, Krazybee, Cashify, and Vokal. It is also looking to invest in the fast-emerging social commerce space in India and has held talks with Meesho for a possible investment.