Startup news and updates: daily roundup (April 22, 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, April 22, 2021.

Zomato rolls out priority delivery feature for COVID-related food orders

Food delivery and restaurant aggregator Zomato has rolled out a 'priority delivery' option for its users affected by COVID-19 and related emergencies, which will allow them to get food deliveries on priority. Deepinder Goyal, CEO and Founder, Zomato, announced the launch of the new feature on microblogging site Twitter and said: "Today, along with thousands of our restaurant partners, we just rolled out a “priority delivery for covid emergencies'' feature on the Zomato app. This feature will allow our customers to mark *This order is related to a COVID-19 emergency* option during checkout.

From rise in income to community development, how Sridhar Vembu's Zoho is transforming rural India

In 2011, Zoho opened its first rural office in Mathlamparai, Tenkasi, a newly-created district in Tamil Nadu, with six employees. At present, the office has around 500 employees. A study conducted by the Economix Consulting Group (ECG) revealed several areas of positive impact in Tenkasi, Tamil Nadu, owing to Zoho’s move to open an office in the area. Sridhar Vembu, Co-founder and CEO, Zoho, talks about this impact. 

Ola Electric announces launch of EV hypercharger network; to build 100,000 stations in 5 years

At a virtual press conference on Thursday, Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and Group CEO, Ola, announced the launch of Ola Electric’s Hypercharger Network. Ola Electric aims to create the world’s largest two-wheeler charging network to build over 100,000 charging points across 400 cities in five years. Earlier, during a factory visit in March 2021, Bhavish told YourStory that Ola Electric’s fully automated factory has the capacity to build 10 million electric two-wheelers by June 2022. 

Ola Hypercharger Network Destination Charging Station. Image Credit: Ola

Bigbasket says seeing longer delivery time in some cities due to high demand, movement restrictions

Online grocery ordering platform Bigbasket on Wednesday said it is witnessing extended timelines for deliveries in some cities due to "unexpectedly" high demand and movement restrictions. Various state governments have announced weekend curfews and lockdowns to rein in the second wave of the pandemic, which is seeing a record number of cases being reported daily. Most states have allowed the delivery of essentials via ecommerce.

Earth Day 2021: Ratan Tata recognises sustainable innovations by young innovators

Earth Day 2021 is being celebrated worldwide with a number of initiatives of planting trees, sustainable initiatives and other earth endearing causes. Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group Conglomerate, Ratan Tata took to Instagram to share his wishes for the day.

Instamojo acquihires vernacular content platform Showman

Instamojo, the full-stack solutions platform for MSMEs, on Thursday announced its first-ever acquihire of Bengaluru-based virtual theatre and vernacular content platform, Showman. As part of the move, Kshitij Bhatawdekar, Co-founder and CEO of Showman, will join Instamojo as a Product Manager, while Rutveez Roopam Rout, Co-founder and COO of Showman, will be joining as a User Research Manager.

Dealshare Founding team

DealShare raises Rs 70 Cr from venture debt firm Alteria Capital (Funding)

Hyperlocal ecommerce startup DealShare has raised Rs 70 crore from venture debt firm Alteria Capital. The startup is focussed on the mid-income demographic of 500 million new Internet users and has raised total capital of $34 million. The debt is expected to be utilised for expansion into several new markets as well as marketing purposes. Alteria Capital is India’s largest Venture Debt provider with a corpus of Rs 2,300 crore across two funds. It recently raised commitments of Rs 1,325 crore from domestic investors for its second venture debt fund.

Hero Electronix’s portfolio company Tessolve raises $40 M from Novo Tellus Capital Partners (Funding)

Tessolve, a Hero Electronix venture, on Thursday announced that it has raised $40 million from Singapore-based Novo Tellus Capital Partners, valuing the engineering and R&D services provider at $100 million. According to the official statement, the funding will be used by Tessolve to drive further growth through acquisitions and organic investments.

Raintree Family Office, ADB arm, others invest $4.9M in Smart Joules (Funding)

Energy efficiency company Smart Joules has raised $4.9 million (about Rs 36.75 crore) in funding from a clutch of investors, including Raintree Family Office. Other investors who participated in the round included ADB Ventures (the Asian Development Bank's venture arm), Sangam Ventures, Max I Limited, cKinetics Accelerator, Saket Burman from Dabur family and six other marquee angels from India and the US, an official statement said.

UK-based fintech startup Revolut starts India operations, appoints Paroma Chatterjee as CEO

Paving its way for entry into the Indian market, fintech startup Revolut on Thursday announced that Paroma Chatterjee will join the startup as its India CEO. Its move to the Indian market is reportedly part of a larger global expansion plan to be carried out in the next 18 months. Paroma, a leader in consumer tech and fintech industry, will lead the UK-based startup’s journey in India’s fintech industry, that is largely dominated by key players like Google Pay, Paytm, and PhonePe.

Paroma Chatterjee to head fintech startup Revolut's India operations

Conversational AI platform ORAI raises Rs 3.6 Cr from Inflection Point Ventures (Funding)

Enterprise conversational AI platform ORAI has raised Rs 3.6 crore in a Pre-Series A round of funding from Inflection Point Ventures (IPV), an angel investment network, marking ORAI as its thirteenth deal in 2021. IPV plans to invest Rs 155 crore this year across more than 60 startups. The funds raised would be used for international expansion and collaborations, sales and marketing along with product development and enhancements.

Govt exam preparation startup ixamBee raises $300K in seed round (Funding)

ixamBee, an online government exam preparation platform specifically focused on rural and semi-urban students, said it has raised $300,000 (Rs 2.5 crore) in seed funding. The round was co-led by Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) Angel Network, a worldwide organisation providing opportunities for investment in early-stage startups, and Mumbai Angels, a platform focused on new venture investing.

CoinSwitch Kuber raises $25M from Tiger Global at over $500M valuation (Funding)

CoinSwitch Kuber, a cryptocurrency investment platform startup, has raised funding of $25 million in a Series B round from Tiger Global Management at a valuation of over $500 million. The startup claims this is the first investment by Tiger Global in an Indian cryptocurrency company. CoinSwitch Kuber also claims that it is the highest-funded cryptocurrency player in India.

Vaccine manufacturers to ramp up production of COVID-19 vaccines ahead of Phase III drive from May 1

India’s COVID-19 situation is worsening every day. According to reports, the country has about 15.6 million cases as of now recording an average daily surge of over two to three lakh infections. In a bid to fight against the infectious disease, the central government has opened up vaccination against COVID-19 for all those who are 18 years and above from May 1.

Over 21k tested positive for COVID-19 after taking first dose of either Covishield or Covaxin: Govt

Over 21,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 after taking the first dose of either Covishield or Covaxin, while over 5,500 contracted the infection after taking the second dose, the Centre said on Wednesday. Addressing a press conference, ICMR Director-General Balram Bhargava said 0.04 percent of 17,37,178 individuals who received the second dose of Covaxin were positive for COVID-19, while 0.03 percent of 1,57,32,754 people who took the second dose of Covishield contracted the infection.

HC dismisses Facebook, WhatsApp pleas against CCI order to probe privacy policy

The Delhi High Court dismissed pleas by social media platforms Facebook and WhatsApp, challenging India's competition regulator CCI's order directing a probe into WhatsApp's new privacy policy.

Registration for COVID-19 vaccination on CoWIN for those above 18 to begin from Apr 28

Registration for vaccination against COVID-19 for all those aged above 18 will begin on the CoWIN platform and Aarogya Setu app from April 28. The central government had announced that the vaccination for those above 18 years will begin across the country from May 1 as part of the third phase of the inoculation drive.

PM chairs high-level meeting on oxygen supply, availability

Chairing a high-level meeting to review oxygen supply across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked top officials to work rapidly on increasing its production, boosting the speed of distribution, and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities. PM also said that states must act against any hoarding of oxygen and directed officials to ensure that the oxygen supply to various states happens in a smooth, unhindered manner, and called for fixing the responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction.

Paytm buys home medical equipment for team members, their family

Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma on Tuesday tweeted, saying the company had purchased home medical equipment like oxygen concentrators for its employees, their families, and communities in a bid to assuage any difficulties they may face in the coming days vis-a-vis cylinders and ventilators.

Venture debt fund Stride Ventures crosses Rs 200 Cr disbursals in 2021

Stride Ventures, a venture debt fund, has disbursed over Rs 200 crore across 10 deals that were sanctioned in 2021. This includes investments in startups such as Spinny, Bizongo, and Infra.Market. The venture debt firm has also partnered with leading banks to provide an augmented financing facility of up to Rs 100 crore to its portfolio companies.

NASSCOM welcomes Rekha Menon as its first woman chairperson

Accenture India’s Chairperson and Senior Managing Director Rekha Menon is set to take over NASSCOM as the first woman chairperson for the executive council between 2021 and 2023, succeeding U B Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer of Infosys.

Edited by Anju Narayanan