Bengaluru-based sales automation SaaS platform LeadSquared has joined the unicorn club by raising $153 million at a $1 billion valuation (post-money) from WestBridge Capital and other investors in a Series C funding round. With this, LeadSquared has become the 103rd startup to enter the coveted unicorn club in India and the 18th to enter the club this year.

Before this, Sequoia, Goldman Sachs-backed online cosmetics retailer Purplle raised $33 million at a $1.1 billion valuation on June 9, becoming the 102nd unicorn in India. Noida-based ed-tech platform PhysicsWallah had become the 101st unicorn this month after it raised $100 million in Series A funding from Westbridge and GSV Ventures.

LeadSquared, the startup founded by Nilesh Patel, Prashant Singh, and Sudhakar Gorti in 2011, aims to make high-velocity sales execution software a growth engine for companies. Its customers span healthcare, edtech, lending, banking, insurance, stockbroking and marketplaces. The company has around 2,000 customers including Aditya Birla Capital, Dunzo, BYJU's, NIIT, Manipal University, Amity University, Olx, Kotak Securities, Cars24, Zoomcar and Profectus Capital.

WestBridge Capital manages around $8 billion of capital across funds in India and Mauritius that focuses on investments in India. Gaja Capital, which is the existing backer of LeadSquared and a leading mid-market focused private equity firm, also took part in the latest funding round. It had invested $32 million in 2020 and $3 million during its Series A led by Stakeboat Capital in 2019. This takes the overall funding of the startup to $188 million. Other investors included Skateboat Capital and International Finance Corporation (IFC).

LeadSquared offers an end-to-end efficiency platform for different teams – including marketing, call centre, inside sales, field sales, and other feet-on-street teams, that include verifications, collections, and vendor onboarding.

LeadSquared's CRM platform "takes away the guesswork" from sales execution and brings efficiency to customer interaction. It captures leads from channels automatically, manages and transfers them to "the right teams, ensuring zero lead leakage and zero missed opportunities".

The company released products like sales performance analytics and a suite of tools to digitise application processing (an important process for finance and education) in the past year. It also offers a developer platform and no-code workflow builder to its customers.

"With this financing, we will double down on growth investments in India and North America, start building in APAC and EMEA, add new offerings to our product portfolio, and fund acquisitions. To support our growth, we plan to double our headcount in the next 18 months,” says Nilesh Patel, CEO and founder, LeadSquared.

Nilesh, who holds a degree in instrumentation engineering from the Delhi Institute of Technology, Delhi University, has around two-decade-long experience in sales and marketing. He says "a great product and customer service are central to becoming a technology partner of choice".

LeadSquared has a team of over 1,200 employees, and the company makes most of its revenue from operations in India.

WestBridge Capital's co-founder and MD Sumir Chadha says LeadSquared's core SaaS metrics are unique and focus on building an easy-to-use platform that "transforms sales processes through automation". "Future of LeadSquared is very exciting to us and we look forward to a long partnership with the company.”

Barclays acted as the exclusive placement agent for the Series C funding. Apart from India, the company has a base in the United States, the Philippines, South Africa, Australia, and Indonesia.

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