An Indian couple became the country’s first man and woman to grow their respective startups into ventures valued at least $1 billion, known as unicorns.
An Indian couple became the country’s first husband and wife to build their respective startups into ventures valued at least $1 billion, known as unicorns. Oxyzo Financial Services, a sirbptial lending startup co-founded by Ruchi Kalra, said Wednesday it has reached the milestone with its first $200 million fundraising round led by Alpha Wave Global, Tiger Global Management, Norwest Venture Partners and others. Less than a year earlier, her husband Asish Mohapatra’s OfBusiness reached the same rating following support from SoftBank Group Corp. and others.
Kalra, 38, and Mohapatra, 41, are alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology and met while working at McKinsey & Co. Both startups are profitable, an unusual achievement for young growth companies. Kalra is the chief executive officer of Oxyzo, while Mohapatra is the CEO of OfBusiness.
Matrix Partners and Creation Investments have also invested in Oxyzo in what is one of the largest Series A rounds in the Indian startup industry.
Oxyzo, a mix of the words oxygen and ozone, was founded in 2017 by Kalra, Mohapatra and three others as an offshoot of the couple’s first startup, OfBusiness, which they started with three others in early 2016. Oxyzo uses technology to crack data. and providing purchase financing to businesses, through the provision of cash-flow-based loans in a credit-poor country where small and medium-sized businesses struggle to obtain working capital.
OfBusiness, formerly known as OFB Tech Pvt., supplies bulk commodities such as steel, diesel, food grains and industrial chemicals to small and medium-sized businesses. Mohapatra said the valuation surpassed $1 billion when SoftBank and others invested last April. In December, the startup’s valuation reached nearly $5 billion as SoftBank and others poured more money into it, he said over the phone.
Kalra, who was a partner at McKinsey, left the company to join entrepreneurial forces with her husband, who left the venture capital firm Matrix. “We were both itching to go out and build something,” she said.
The two startups work separately with different offices and teams, Kalra said. However, they target the same industries, such as infrastructure manufacturing and subcontracting. Both are located in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi.
Oxyzo has more than 500 employees and a data warehouse specialized in supply chain analytics. It has disbursed over $2 billion in loans and has been profitable since its inception.
In the statement, investor Norwest described Kalra as the “country’s first female founder in India of a profitable fintech unicorn”.