blue eximius

Inspiring Pre-Seed Funding Success Stories: Learn from Real-Life Entrepreneurs


Pre-seed funding sucess stories


In the intricate industry of entrepreneurship, securing pre-seed funding can be a pivotal moment for startups. It marks the beginning of a journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and valuable lessons learned along the way. In this blog, we’ll explore real-life success stories of entrepreneurs who have navigated the pre-seed funding landscape and emerged victorious. These stories not only inspire but also provide valuable insights and strategies for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking pre-seed funding for their ventures. Let us take a look at some of these inspiring stories together. 

1. Lenskart

lenskart logo

Lenskart, India’s top eyewear retailer, secured a massive $600 million funding round in 2023, with most of it ($500 million) coming from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and an additional $100 million from ChrysCapital. This pushed Lenskart’s total funding to nearly $850 million. Lenskart has been expanding rapidly, both in India and internationally, with a customer base of 20 million in India alone.

The company’s ambitious expansion plans include reaching Southeast Asia (SEA), with the aim to open 300-400 stores in the region over the next two years. Currently, Lenskart has around 70 stores in Singapore and plans to expand to Thailand and the Philippines.
Financially, Lenskart has seen a significant improvement, with profits reaching INR 260 crore in FY23 compared to a loss of INR 100 crore in FY22. Revenue also doubled to INR 3,780 crore. Lenskart is also venturing into manufacturing through Neso Brands, an eyewear-focused e-commerce brand, to ensure competitive pricing and broaden its customer base.

2. DMI Finance

In April 2023, Mumbai-based DMI Finance successfully secured $400 million in a funding round, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group leading the investment. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SuMi TRUST Bank) also participated in the round, which involved both primary and secondary transactions.
In January 2023, the NBFC arm of the DMI Group raised $47 million in an equity round, with Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank and existing investors NXC Corporation and New Investment Solutions contributing to the investment.
With this recent funding round, DMI Finance had raised a total of $900 million in funding.
Founded in 2008 by Shivashish Chatterjee and Yuvraja C Singh, DMI Finance was a digital lender that focused on providing credit lines for personal and MSME loans. The company primarily operated through digital channels and served as an embedded digital finance partner for major companies like Samsung, Google Pay, and Airtel.

3. Ola Electric

Ola-Electric logo
In October 2023, Ola Electric, led by Bhavish Aggarwal, secured INR 3,200 crore ($384 million) in a mix of equity and debt. The funds will drive the expansion of its electric vehicle (EV) business and establish India’s inaugural lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu.

Temasek led the equity investment, while the State Bank of India spearheaded the debt segment of the Pre-seed round.

Despite facing allegations of violating FAME-II subsidy norms and concerns regarding scooter quality and after-sales service, investors remain bullish on Ola Electric. The company plans to file its IPO papers by December 20, aiming to raise $700 million and achieve a market capitalization of $10 billion.
Founded in May 2017 by Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola Electric operates as a subsidiary of Ola and serves as an Indian electric two-wheeler manufacturer, headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
In October 2023, electric two-wheeler registrations in India surpassed 70,000 units within four months. Despite controversies, Ola Electric’s e-scooter registrations maintained a leading position in the market.
The startup expanded its product line by introducing the Ola S1X e-scooter model in August following the successful delivery of the Ola S1 Air model to customers. However, the company’s net loss nearly doubled to INR 1,472 Cr in FY23 from INR 784.1 Cr in FY22, mainly due to increased expenses.
Despite the rise in losses, Ola Electric experienced a significant revenue surge, with consolidated revenue reaching INR 2,782 Cr in FY23, a 510% year-on-year increase. Looking ahead, the EV startup aims to achieve a revenue target of INR 4,655 Cr in FY24.

4. logo
London-based AI startup secured $250 million in a Series D pre-seed fund round led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) in 2023. Other investors, including Iconiq Capital, Jungle Ventures, and Insight Partners, also supported the startup.
In a notable development, the Microsoft-backed startup disclosed that the funding round resulted in a valuation increase of over 1.8X. The funds raised will be utilized for hiring new talent, forging partnerships, and advancing technology.
Since January 2022, claims to have doubled its headcount and expanded its global footprint by opening four new offices in the US, the UAE, Singapore, and France.
With this latest funding round,’s total funding now exceeds $450 million. Founded in 2016 by Sachin Dev Duggal and Saurabh Dhoot in Gurugram, offers a user-friendly platform that enables entrepreneurs to build apps with minimal coding knowledge using AI technology.

5. InsuranceDekho

Insurance dekho logo
In 2023, InsurTech startup InsuranceDekho secured $210 million across two pre-seed round rounds to bolster its presence nationwide. In February, the startup raised $150 million in a Series A funding round, led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management and TVS Capital Funds. Other participants included Investcorp, Avataar Ventures, and LeapFrog Investments.
Seven months later, InsuranceDekho raised an additional $60 million in its Series B round, with participation from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc, BNP Paribas Cardif, Beams Fintech Fund, and Yogesh Mahansaria Family Office. Existing investors TVS Capital, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and Avataar Ventures also joined the round, valuing the startup at around $650 million to $700 million.
The InsurTech unicorn announced plans to utilize the funds to enhance marketing efforts, expand distribution in rural India, scale up its tech platform, and explore inorganic growth opportunities.
Founded in 2017 by Ankit Agrawal and Ish Babbar as the insurance arm of online car marketplace CarDekho, InsuranceDekho received $20 million from its parent firm Girnar Software in 2020. Subsequently, it was separated to function as an independent unit. The platform enables users to compare and purchase insurance from leading companies, offering motor, life, health, pet, and travel insurance options.
Regardless of challenges, InsuranceDekho reported a 29% decrease in net loss to INR 51.5 crore in FY23 from INR 72.2 crore in the previous fiscal year. Operating revenue doubled to INR 96.4 crore from INR 47.9 crore in FY22.

6. Perfios

perfios logo
In September 2023, Bengaluru-based fintech SaaS startup Perfios finalised an agreement with Kedaara Capital for an investment of $229 million in its Series D funding round. This pre-seed fund, comprising both primary and secondary sales, arrived nearly 19 months after Perfios raised $70 million, valuing the startup at $400 million.
The newly acquired funds were earmarked for Perfios’ global expansion initiatives, with a specific focus on penetrating the North American and European markets. Additionally, the startup intended to allocate resources towards technological enhancements to augment its comprehensive suite of decision analytics SaaS products.
Established in 2008 by VR Govindarajan and Debasish Chakraborty, Perfios specializes in credit decisions and analytics, catering to both B2B and B2C segments. Operating across 18 countries, Perfios boasts collaborations with over 1,000 financial institutions.
Perfios prides itself on delivering 8.2 billion data points annually to banks and financial institutions, facilitating expedited decision-making processes. Moreover, the startup processes a staggering 1.7 billion transactions each year, managing assets under management (AUM) worth $36 billion.
In a significant achievement, Perfios achieved profitability in FY23, reporting a consolidated net profit of INR 7.8 crore, primarily attributed to a substantial surge in service income from its India operations. This marked a notable turnaround from its FY22 performance, where the startup reported a net loss of INR 16.8 crore despite an operating revenue of INR 136.5 crore.

7. Zepto

Mumbai-based quick commerce unicorn Zepto secured $200 million in its Series E funding round, reaching a valuation of $1.4 billion in August 2023. This milestone made Zepto the first and only unicorn of 2023. While the startup did not disclose specific plans for the fresh capital, it announced intentions to go public by 2025.
Subsequently, in November, Zepto raised an additional $31.25 million as part of the Series E funding round. The investment came from Goodwater Capital and Nexus Venture Partners, with participation from angel investors such as Oliver and Lish Jung, and Mangum II LLC.
Founded in 2021 by Aadit Palicha and Kaivalya Vohora, Zepto capitalized on the surge in demand for rapid e-commerce delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic. The startup gained recognition after securing $60 million in funding in November 2021 from investors including Glade Brook Capital, Nexus, and Y Combinator.
Zepto competes with industry players such as Swiggy’s Instamart, Zomato-owned Blinkit, and Reliance-backed Dunzo.

Despite its rapid growth, Zepto reported a significant increase in net loss, soaring 3.35X to INR 1,272.4 crore in FY23 from INR 390.3 crore in the previous financial year. However, revenue from operations experienced exponential growth, surging 14.3X to INR 2,024.3 crore during the year under review from INR 140.7 crore in FY22.

If you’re an early-stage startup looking to raise funds, check out our list of pre-seed venture capital firms in Mumbai to reach out.

8. Zetwerk

Zetwerk logo
In October 2023, B2B e-commerce unicorn Zetwerk secured $120 million in its Series F funding round, with Avenir Growth Capital leading the investment. Existing investors Lightspeed, Greenoaks Capital, and Steadview Capital also participated in the round.
Earlier in March, the B2B unicorn had obtained INR 100 crore (approximately $12 million) in debt funding.
Notably, Zetwerk had previously raised $210 million at a valuation of $2.7 billion in December 2021, led by Greenoaks.
Founded in 2018 by Amrit Acharya, Srinath Ramakkrushnan, Rahul Sharma, and Vishal Chaudhary, Zetwerk facilitates connections between manufacturing companies and vendors for customized products, industrial machine components, and other equipment.
With nearly $674 million in total funding since its inception, Zetwerk competes with industry players such as Infra. Market, Moglix, and OfBusiness.
While the company has not yet disclosed its financials for FY23, it reported a loss of INR 59.7 crore in FY22, marking a 45% increase from INR 41.1 crore in FY21.
In a strategic move, Zetwerk embarked on an acquisition spree in 2022, acquiring four companies between July and November for a total of $50 million.

9. Mintifi

Mintifi logo
B2B digital lending startup Mintifi announced a successful Series D funding round, securing $110 million (INR 902 crore) in March 2023. The funding was led by Premji Invest, with participation from existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, Elevation Capital, and International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The startup earmarked the funds to bolster its presence in the supply chain financing domain and diversify its product offerings. Additionally, Mintifi planned to allocate investments towards scaling up its B2B payments vertical and enhancing its dealer management system.
A portion of the investment was dedicated to strengthening the tech infrastructure and improving user engagement. Furthermore, the funding enabled Mintifi to expand its capital base for credit purposes to over $600 million.

10. PhonePe

phonepe logo
Despite challenges in 2023, fintech giant PhonePe, owned by Walmart, attracted significant investor interest. The fintech decacorn raised $850 million in funding, achieving a valuation of $12 billion.
This substantial funding round considered the largest equity fundraising by an Indian startup, saw participation from prominent investors including Walmart, Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global, TVS Capital Funds, and General Atlantic.
Despite aiming to raise $1 billion in 2023, PhonePe surpassed expectations by achieving 85% of its target, demonstrating resilience amid a challenging funding landscape marked by valuation markdowns and funding shortages among unicorn peers.
The decision to raise substantial funding rounds was likely driven by factors such as an INR 8,000 crore tax liability resulting from the company’s headquarters relocation to India and the need to fuel growth ahead of its planned IPO.
Since securing the capital infusion, PhonePe has adopted a blitz scaling strategy, introducing a range of new products and venturing into new categories such as income tax payment and health insurance. Additionally, the company plans to launch various consumer credit products within the next six to seven months to strengthen its lending offerings.
Founded in December 2015 by Sameer Nigam, Rahul Chari, and Burzin Engineer, PhonePe operates as a digital payments and financial services company, boasting over 400 million registered users nationwide.
In the financial year 2022-23 (FY23), the Bengaluru-based startup recorded a revenue of INR 2,914 crore, marking a substantial increase of nearly 77% from INR 1,646 crore in FY22. However, PhonePe did not disclose its net loss for FY23.
As PhonePe continues to innovate and expand its product offerings, it competes fiercely with industry rivals such as Paytm, Google Pay, and CRED in UPI transactions, solidifying its position as a leading player in the fintech landscape.


In conclusion, the pre-seed funding success stories of these startups showcase the resilience, innovation, and determination of entrepreneurs in navigating the competitive landscape of startup financing. Each story offers valuable insights and inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. As the startup ecosystem evolves, these stories serve as beacons of hope and motivation, reminding us that with perseverance and strategic vision, anything is possible.

Must Read: Guide to Getting Pre-Seed Funding