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Mobile accelerator Tandem Capital's Habit Fund III invests in Pune-based Shoptimize, others

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 7.08.24 PMTandem Capital, a Bangalore and Silicon Valley-based mobile startup accelerator co-founded by India-born Sunil Bhargava, has revealed the latest startup portfolio of its third fund called Habit Fund III. The portfolio includes three startups -- Pune-based Shoptimize, and US-based AcceptPay and PacketZoom. While the exact amount of funding has not been disclosed by Tandem, it usually invests around $200,000 in its portfolio firms.

Founded in 2007 by Bhargava, Doug Renert and Joyo Wijaya, Tandem Capital invests 'muscle capital' in disruptive mobile products and platforms across geographies. Bhargava has 20 years of technology and marketing experience and has worked with Xerox PARC, HP, Oracle, Webvan and Business Signatures. We had earlier reported about the launch of the fund, but at that time, details regarding the fund were not available.

The size of the new fund lies in the $100 million range, according to Rohit Bhagat, partner at Tandem. The fund has on board Manipal Education and Medical Group's CEO Ranjan Pai and its chief advisor TV Mohandas Pai (they are not related) as partners and they will co-invest in the fund. The company will add more partners in the coming months.

Tandem likes to position itself as a fund investing muscle capital -- essentially a combination of cash and hands-on support in areas such as strategy, product design, technology architecture, user acquisition, employee recruiting and channel development in mobile-focused startups.

"We are very excited to launch Tandem Habit Fund III. It allows us to scale Tandem's proven muscle capital approach and track record, and takes the model global, particularly focusing on regions that are rich in talent but lack a Valley-like ecosystem," said Bhagat.

Here is a quick look at the startups that received muscle capital from Tandem.

Shoptimize: An e-commerce-focused Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering on the cloud that helps merchants set up, operate, manage and grow their sales. A 'mobile first' company, Shoptimize claims to bring together the benefits of social commerce, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), quick payment technologies and aesthetics. The startup is currently working with 20-plus businesses, making their products and services available on mobile devices for connected consumers (those who can access the internet via their handsets).

The Pune-based startup was founded by Mangesh Panditrao (CEO) and Vivek Pathak (CTO) in 2012. Prior to setting up Shoptimize, Panditrao worked with companies such as Niyuj Enterprise Software Solutions, Exact Software, JDA Software Group, Manugistics Inc. and Infosys. He holds a BE degree in Production from the College of Engineering in Pune and an MS degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University (US).

Besides Shoptimize, Pathak also co-founded a Big Data analytics startup called CloudIndra Software Pvt Ltd. He had earlier worked at Skire Inc. (acquired by Oracle), Oracle and the Kirloskar Group. Pathak holds a BS degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of Pune and an MS degree in Software Engineering and Management from Carnegie Mellon University (US).

The startup's offerings include fully configurable front-end for businesses, a sales dashboard with superior management information system (MIS) capabilities, built-in integration with payment gateways and logistics, among others. It charges a monthly fee, depending on the number of orders a merchant books in that month (there are no additional charges for set-up, hosting or transaction processing). Pricing starts from Rs 5,000 (for less than 100 orders a month) and can go up to Rs 10,000 (for 401-1,000 orders a month). Businesses doing more than 1,000 orders can call the company for a customised pricing.

AcceptPay: A cash-on-delivery platform to support e-commerce in cash-centric economies. The company has a core technology team in the Silicon Valley with business operations that work closely with banks and merchants outside the US.

PacketZoom: A mobile content delivery network started by former Google engineers. The startup claims to accelerate mobile app performance across the last mile of mobile networks, thus improving user experience.

The three teams startups were selected from hundreds of applicants, based on their entrepreneurial drive, the growth potential of their businesses and their product execution capabilities.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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