Prosus to lead $100 million funding round for BlueStone, valuing jewelry startup at $960 million

Dutch investment group Prosus is set to lead a $100 million funding round for BlueStone, an omni-channel jewelry startup. 

This round is expected to value BlueStone at approximately $960 million, more than doubling its valuation from $440 million in September 2023.

The funding round will include both primary and secondary share sales. 

Around $60 million of the total will be a primary capital raise, which BlueStone plans to reinvest into its business operations. 

The remaining funds will come from secondary share sales, allowing early investors to exit. 

Venture capital firms such as Peak XV Partners, Steadview Capital, and Think Investments are also likely to participate.

If finalized, this funding round will follow grocery delivery startup Zepto’s recent $665 million raise at a $3.6 billion valuation, highlighting continued investor interest in Indian startups even as the broader industry sees fewer deals.

For Prosus, this deal marks its first late-stage investment since mid-2022, having previously focused on Series A deals with companies like Spotdraft and Virgio while supporting portfolio startups such as Urban Company and Captain Fresh.

BlueStone has shown significant growth, reporting operating revenue of Rs 788 crore (£75.8 million) for FY23, up from Rs 476 crore (£45.8 million) in FY22.

Moreover, the company managed to reduce its losses to Rs 167 crore (£16.0 million) from Rs 1,268 crore (£122.0 million) in the previous financial year.

Broader funding trends in the Indian tech startup sector

Data from Tracxn reveals that domestic tech startups witnessed a 13% decline in funding during the first half of 2024 (January-June), amounting to $4.1 billion (£3.1 billion).

This is a drop from the $4.8 billion (£3.6 billion) raised in the same period in 2023. The number of funding rounds also fell significantly, from 989 in the first half of last year to 540 in the same period this year, marking a 54% decrease.

This decline affected all stages of funding.

Seed stage funding dropped by 17.3% year-on-year in the first half of this year, early-stage startup funding decreased by 28%, and late-stage funding saw a slight decrease of 1.3%.

Despite these declines, the funding landscape has shown some improvement when compared to the second half of 2023. Overall funding in the first half of 2024 increased by 4% from $3.96 billion (£3.0 billion) in the latter half of last year. Funding across different stages also saw a slight uptick.

April recorded the highest monthly funding of $862 million (£661 million) in the first half of 2024, whereas January had seen the highest funding of $1.41 billion (£1.1 billion) in H1 of last year. Notably, the first half of this year has seen eight $100 million-plus funding deals.

Major funding deals in 2024

In addition to Zepto’s substantial raise, Flipkart secured $350 million, Apollo 24|7 garnered $297 million, and Meesho raised $275 million.

The retail, enterprise applications, and fintech sectors received the highest funding.

Three startups—Zepto, InCred Finance, and Porter—achieved unicorn status in the first half of 2024, showcasing resilience and growth in the Indian startup ecosystem despite broader industry challenges.

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