Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 4, 2021)

YourStory presents this daily roundup of the latest startup news and updates from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, February 4, 2021.
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New rules for one person companies, revised thresholds for small firms

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs on Wednesday said it has amended rules for One Person Companies (OPCs) and has extended fast track merger process to startups and other small companies.

In a release, the ministry said the incorporation of OPCs is being incentivised in order to bring in more unincorporated businesses into the organised corporate sector. The move is expected to directly benefit startups and innovators, especially those who are supplying products and services on ecommerce platforms.

E-Cell, IIT Bombay is back with the 16th edition of their annual entrepreneurship fest, E-Summit 2021 

Entrepreneurship Cell (E-Cell), a non-profit organisation run by students of IIT Bombay, is all set to launch the 16th chapter of its annual entrepreneurship fest, E-Summit 2021: A Blizzard of Ingenuity in order to celebrate and acknowledge the entrepreneurs who stood strong in the difficult times.

E-Summit 2021 is a two-day virtual event presented by WestBridge Capital, powered by IDFC FIRST Bank and in association with Rakuten, and is scheduled for February 6 and 7, 2021. 

MPL cofounders Sai Srinivas Kiran and Shubham Malhotra

MPL raises $95M from Composite Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, others (Funding)

E-sports and mobile gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) on Thursday announced raising $95 million (about Rs 692.7 crore) funding from Composite Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures, with its valuation post the deal touching $945 million (about Rs 6,890.7 crore). The series D round also saw participation from Base Partners, RTP Global, SIG, Go-Ventures, Telstra Ventures, Founders Circle, and Play Ventures, a statement said.

Koo raises $4.1M as part of Series A, Mohandas Pai’s 3one4 Capital invests

Indian microblogging app, Koo, has raised $4.1 million as part of its Series A funding. Infosys veteran Mohandas Pai’s 3one4 Capital is the latest addition to the investors on board. The round also saw participation from Accel Partners, Kalaari Capital, Blume Ventures, and Dream Incubator. The funding will be used to ramp up capabilities to solve uniquely Indian engineering challenges, and for marketing to increase awareness about the app, according to a press statement. 

PhonePe launches $200M ESOPs for all full-time employees

Fintech major PhonePe said in a blog it has launched a $200 million stock option plan for its 2,200 full-time employees, enabling everyone to benefit from the growth it saw last year when digital payments hit new highs due to the pandemic. PhonePe ESOP follows a string of several other startups such as Licious, Wakefit, and ShareChat that recently granted stock options to all their employees in an attempt to involve them in the growth plan and success of the organisation more closely.

ARAI ties up with AIM-NITI Aayog to boost startup ecosystem in mobility sector

The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)- NITI Aayog have signed a statement of intent (SOI) to boost the startup ecosystem in the mobility sector, officials said. ARAI Director Dr Reji Mathai said, "Under this initiative, the ARAI will use its TechNovuus platform and lend its experience, expertise, and equipment to nurture startups working in the mobility segment."

SATYA MicroCapital raises 153.25 Cr from Japan-based Gojo & Company (Funding)

Microfinance institution SATYA MicroCapital Ltd on Wednesday announced that it had raised fresh equity of Rs 153.25 crore from Japan-based Gojo & Company Inc. According to the startup, it closed its equity round of Rs 105 crore from Gojo & Company Inc. earlier in May 2020.

"The capital raised will be used in appropriate custom to expand our operations to a broader spectrum, thereby providing much-needed financial access to women micro-entrepreneurs for their livelihood rehabilitation", said Vivek Tiwari, MD, CEO and CIO of SATYA MicroCapital Ltd.

Aviom Housing Finance raises Rs 10 Cr in debt from Blacksoil India Credit Fund (Funding)

Delhi-based AVIOM India Housing Finance on Wednesday raised Rs 10 crores debt from Mumbai-based Blacksoil ’s new alternate investment fund - Blacksoil India Credit Fund. According to the official statement, the startup plans to disburse Rs 250 crores in this financial year. The company has previously raised Rs 60 crores in equity from marquee investors like Gojo from Japan and C4D till date, and over Rs 350 crores in debt from 37 lenders.

Online physiotherapy startup YourPhysio raises $350K from Better Capital and Titan Capital (Funding)

Nagpur-based online physiotherapy and pain relief startup YourPhysio has raised a $350,000 pre-seed round of funding led by Better Capital. The round also saw participation from Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal’s Titan Capital and BITS Pilani angel investors Sarath Sura, Venu Palaparthi, and VP Rajesh. 

The startup plans to use the funding to bolster its engineering and customer experience teams as it brings an on-demand live one-on-one treatment delivered by certified physiotherapists via video.

The team of Bellatrix Aerospace at work at IISc.

SatSure, Bellatrix Aerospace sign MoU for establishing high-resolution satellite constellation

AI-based software enterprise SatSure on Wednesday announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IP driven company Bellatrix Aerospace to help place its payloads in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Cannabis startup Hemp Horizons raises Rs 2 Cr led by Mumbai Angels with participation from AngelList (Funding)

Cannabis startup Hemp Horizons has raised Rs 2 crore as part of its seed funding round led by Mumbai Angels Network with participation from AngelList. The round also saw participation from renowned national and international angel investors like TradeIndia CEO Bikky Khosla. The company said the funding will be used to launch and market cannabis extracts, second-gen hemp seed products, which will further help solidify the company's position in the market.

ixigo acquires train booking app Confirmtkt

AI-based travel app ixigo on Thursday announced that it has entered into a definitive share purchase agreement to acquire 100 percent shareholding of Confirmtkt, a Bengaluru-based online train discovery and booking platform, for an undisclosed amount across a mix of cash and ixigo stock. 

Gurugram-based retail-tech startup NutriTap acquires Bengaluru's Pikobox

NutriTap Technologies, a Gurugram-based retail-tech startup, on Thursday announced that it has acquired Pikobox’s business for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition will help NutriTap, which is building a data-driven and asset-light, D2C retail channel, expand its operations in South India.

Mental health startup InnerHour raises $5.2M Series A investment from Lightbox, others (Funding)

Mental health startup InnerHour has raised $5.2 million from Lightbox and others. InnerHour will use the funding to scale its technology-led mental health platform to serve over 200 million Indians living with mental illnesses.

India ready to supply weapons systems to countries in Indian Ocean Region: Rajnath Singh

India is ready to supply various weapons systems, including missiles and electronic warfare systems, to countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday.

Delivering his keynote address at the IOR Defence Ministers' Conclave in Bengaluru, he said organising a conclave of countries in the IOR on the margins of the international event "Aero India-2021" shows the importance India attaches to the vision of common growth and stability, and constructive engagements with them.

21.5 pc of population showed evidence of past exposure to COVID in latest national serosurvey: Government

Over 21 percent of the population, aged 10 years and above, showed evidence of past exposure to COVID-19 in the ICMR's latest national serosurvey, the government said on Thursday, noting that a large proportion of people are still vulnerable to the infection. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) third national serosurvey was conducted between December 7 last year and January 8.

ExMyB raises seed round led by Campus Fund (Funding)

ExMyB, a B2B services marketplace startup for businesses has raised an undisclosed round of funding from Campus Fund and other angel investors including Bharat Shah, a founding member of HDFC Bank. The startup plans to use the fresh funds raised to enhance its platform, onboard higher number of quality vendors and expand customer base. ExMyB was founded in 2018 by Nishant Behl and Rohan Raj Barua, who are alumni of VIT, Vellore.

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