Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 10, 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 Monday, May 10, 2021.
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Ola partners with GiveIndia to provide free oxygen concentrators

Ride-hailing unicorn Ola has joined hands with GiveIndia, a Bengaluru-based non-profit organisation, to launch O2forIndia initiative to provide free oxygen concentrators to those in need. Through its philanthropic arm Ola Foundation, the company will be rolling out the service in Bengaluru this week with an initial set of 500 oxygen concentrators. The service will be scaled up to provide 10,000 concentrators across India in the coming weeks, said a press note shared by Ola. 

As Karnataka enters full lockdown, here’s what is allowed and what is not

Karnataka has entered a full state-wide lockdown from today till May 24, 2021. Till date, the state has reported over 19.3 lakh cases and 18,776 related fatalities. The recent lockdown restrictions have been introduced to break the chain of COVID-19 transmissions in the state.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced the revised lockdown measures on Friday, clarifying that people can venture out only to purchase essential items during the two-week lockdown period.

FM rules out GST waiver on Covid vaccines, says move will make them costlier

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday virtually ruled out exempting Covid vaccines, medicines, and oxygen concentrators from GST, saying such an exemption will make the lifesaving items costlier for consumers as manufacturers will not be able to offset the taxes paid on inputs.

Currently, domestic supplies and commercial imports of vaccines attract a 5 percent GST, while COVID drugs and oxygen concentrators attract a 12 percent levy. Congress working president Sonia Gandhi had last month demanded that all life-saving drugs, equipment, and instruments required to treat Covid-19 patients must be exempted from GST.

C-CAMP gets Rs 12 Cr grant from Novo Nordisk Foundation to mitigate COVID-19 bed crisis

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, C-CAMP, has received a grant of approximately Rs 12 crore from Novo Nordisk Foundation. The Royal Danish Embassy in New Delhi is facilitating contact with Indian authorities for the project.

With this grant, C-CAMP will be anchoring and hosting a project to establish four emergency hospitals fitted with advanced equipment for COVID-19 care as well as a number of mobile hospital units.

Outpouring of support from the US for India, COVID-19 help touches USD half a billion

Less than a fortnight after US President Joe Biden in his conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged his country's steadfast support for the people of India, America has responded with an unprecedented financial assistance worth nearly USD half a billion.

Biden spoke at length with Modi last month and conveyed solidarity with India in its fight against the viral disease. He assured the prime minister that the US and India will work closely together in the fight against COVID-19. "Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need," Biden had said in a tweet.

FuelBuddy acquires on-demand fuel delivery startup MyPetrolPump

App-based, IoT, and cloud-enabled fuel delivery platform FuelBuddy on Sunday announced that it had acquired Bengaluru-based on-demand fuel delivery startup MyPetrolPump, which would provide it access to new geographies and customers.

With this acquisition, FuelBuddy will have over 100 bowsers (refuellers) under management, servicing 30 cities and all market segments with a combined delivery volume of nearly 40 million litres along with an experience of nearly 100,000 processed orders.

COVID-19 vaccines for those in 18-44 age group in Bengaluru from May 10: health minister

COVID-19 vaccines for people in the 18-44 age group in Bengaluru, which has almost half the number of cases and deaths in Karnataka, would be available from May 10 at all major hospitals and medical colleges, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Sunday.

"Starting Monday, Covid-19 vaccination will be provided for citizens aged between 18 and 44 years at KC General Hospital, Jayanagar General Hospital, Sir CV Raman General Hospital, Government Medical Colleges, ESI Hospitals, and NIMHANS in Bengaluru," the minister said in a statement. In other districts, the vaccine shots will initially be provided at district hospitals, government medical colleges, and all taluk hospitals.

RuleZero raises Rs 10 Cr in Seed round led by Zerodha’s Rainmatter Capital (Funding)

Rulezero, a legal/fintech platform, has raised Rs 10 crore in seed funding. The round was led by Zerodha-backed fund and incubator Rainmatter Capital, and also saw participation from Kris Gopalakrishnan, IndusLaw, and Reddy Futures, amongst others.

The startup said the funding will be used to enhance its technology and increase consumer deployments.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Fincare Small Finance Bank files Rs 1,330 Cr IPO papers with Sebi

Digital lender Fincare Small Finance Bank has filed preliminary papers with capital market regulator Sebi to raise Rs 1,330 crore through an initial share-sale. The IPO comprises a fresh issue of equity share of the bank worth Rs 330 crore and an offer for sale aggregating up to Rs 1,000 crore by promoter Fincare Business Services Limited, according to the Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP).

This offer includes a reservation for subscription by employees. The bank would use net proceeds from the fresh issue towards augmenting its Tier-1 capital base to meet future capital requirements. Further, a small portion of the proceeds will be used towards meeting the expenses in relation to the offer.

BharatPe raises Rs 50 Cr in debt from Northern Arc [Funding]

BharatPe on Monday announced that it has raised Rs 50 crore ($7 million) in debt from Northern Arc Capital, a digital debt finance platform that is focused on improving access to finance for under-served businesses and individuals in India.

This is the sixth round of debt financing for BharatPe in the year 2021. In January this year, the company had raised Rs 200 crore ($26 million) from three top debt companies in the country — Alteria Capital, InnoVen Capital and Trifecta Capital, having later raised additional capital from ICICI Bank and Axis Bank.

M3M group, Indian Air force set up 150-bed COVID care centre at Gurugram

M3M Foundation, the philanthropic arm of realty firm M3M group, on Sunday said it has set up a COVID care centre at Gurugram, Haryana, in partnership with the Indian Air Force.

M3M Foundation has teamed up with Indian Air Force to provide food and medical facilities, including oxygen, for patients in this care centre, the company said in a statement. This COVID-19 care centre will be run and managed by the Indian Air Force.

Razorpay, Paytm help NGOs raise funds for COVID-19 relief

Bengaluru-based fintech unicorn Razorpay has enabled a ‘Donate Now’ feature on the payment checkout page of all its merchants. According to the company, this allows any Razorpay merchant to nudge its customers to donate any amount after completing their payment. These donations are made to NGOs towards supporting COVID relief campaigns across the country. 

Paytm also announced that it is offering its Payment Gateway services at 0 percent transaction fees to all registered NGOs across the country, in an effort to help them secure maximum resources for swift, seamless, and smooth COVID relief work. This service would be applicable on donations of up to Rs 10 lakh. 

Eli Lilly inks pacts for Baricitinib with Sun Pharma, Cipla, Lupin for COVID-19 treatment in India

Drug firm Eli Lilly and Company on Monday said it has inked voluntary licensing agreements with Indian drug firms — Sun Pharma, Cipla and Lupin — to expedite the availability of its arthritis drug Baricitinib for treatment of COVID-19 patients in India.

The company "has issued royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary licenses to established Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers of generic medicines, Cipla, Lupin and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, who are collaborating with Lilly to accelerate and expand the availability of Baricitinib in India," Eli Lilly and Company said in a statement.

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RapiPay launches service to help COVID-19 vaccination search and registration

RapiPay has launched a tool on its website and app that links to COVID-19 vaccination data available on CoWIN on a live basis.

Agents, who use the platforms to help crores of customers conduct online payments and remittance services, will be able to use this redirected link to help customers register for COVID-19 vaccinations and book slots in their area, the startup said.

Tech transfers, supply of materials must to scale up vaccine production: Bharat Biotech joint MD

Partnerships, technology transfers, and supply of various critical equipment and materials, which go into the production of COVID-19 vaccines, are must for scaling up the production to cater to the huge demand, Bharat Biotech Joint MD Suchitra Ella has said.

Speaking at the EU-India Business Roundtable, Ella noted that more than patent relaxations, it is the partnerships and continuous supply of critical materials that are critical to ramp up the production and cater not only to the domestic demand, but also to the global demand.

Snapdeal launches 'Sanjeevani' to connect COVID patients with potential plasma donors

Ecommerce company Snapdeal has launched 'Sanjeevani' to connect COVID-19 patients with potential plasma donors, joining the growing roster of companies that have introduced digital tools to help people amid the deadly second wave of the pandemic.

In a statement on Monday, Snapdeal said it has created an easy-to-use platform, Sanjeevani, to use its wide reach in India, including across smaller towns and cities to connect people.

Sitics acquires majority stake in logistics startup Quifers

Third-party logistics (3PL) company Sitics Logistic on Monday said it has acquired a majority stake in tech-enabled logistics startup Quifers to tap opportunities amid the supply chain boom and enhance combined revenue by up to 20 percent. The company, however, did not disclose the sum involved in the deal.

This acquisition would put Sitics up the value chain in the global 3PL market. It will transit from a solution-based service provider to a technology-based service provider, the company said.

Kerala women to get exclusive kiosks to lodge complaints in emergency

Women will soon get exclusive kiosks to lodge their complaints during emergency situations in Kerala, thanks to an innovative initiative of the state police. The city-based kiosk system is envisaged to help women register their complaints in a more free and easier manner without going to police stations.

The first such facility will come up in the state's commercial hub Kochi and it would be replicated in other prominent cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Thrissur, and Kannur in a phased manner, DGP Loknath Behera said.

COVID care centre at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib to open with 300 beds

The Guru Tegh Bahadur COVID Care Centre at the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in central Delhi started operations from Monday afternoon with 300 beds.

Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, said 100 more beds will become available on Tuesday.

Kerala govt’s social media campaign challenges the traditional definition of a mother

On the occasion of Mother’s Day, Kerala government’s Department of Women and Child Development put out a beautiful message across its social media handles. The message was aimed at demystifying the glorified definition of being a mother.

Rolled out in Malayalam, the message was pro-women and progressive.

Bharat Biotech commences direct supply of Covaxin to 14 states

Bharat Biotech has commenced direct supply of its COVID-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' to 14 states, including Delhi and Maharashtra, with effect from May 1, according to the company's Joint Managing Director Suchitra Ella.

The Hyderabad-based firm has started supplying its COVID-19 treatment vaccine to the states based on the allocations received by the central government.

COVID-19 myth buster: No link between 5G mobile towers and virus, says DoT

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications has released a press statement around the misconceptions floating around the connection between the spread of COVID-19 and 5G technology.

Several misleading messages are being circulated on various social media platforms claiming that the second wave of coronavirus has been caused by the testing of the 5G mobile towers. 

Image source: Pixabay

Budget heading for vaccination expenditure does not inhibit Centre from using funds: FinMin

The finance ministry on Monday said provisioning Rs 35,000 crore-expenditure for vaccines in the Union Budget for FY22 under the title 'Transfers to States' does in no way inhibit the central government from using the funds to buy COVID-19 shots.

The amount of Rs 35,000 crore provided in the Union Budget for fiscal year starting April 1, 2021 (FY22) under the Demand for Grants No. 40, titled 'Transfers to States' has been done for several administrative advantages, including expenditure under such head being exempted from the quarterly control restrictions.

Users not accepting privacy terms to face limited functionality: WhatsApp

WhatsApp will not delete any account for not accepting its new privacy update, but users not agreeing to the controversial terms after "several weeks" will not be able to access their chat list, and eventually, will not be able to answer incoming phone or video calls over the app.

Last week, the Facebook-owned company had said users not accepting its privacy policy update by its May 15 deadline will not face deletion or lose functionality of their accounts on the said date.

Google testing new feature in Maps to enable sharing info on availability of beds, medical oxygen

Google on Monday said it is testing a new feature in Maps that enables people to ask about and share local information on the availability of beds and medical oxygen in select locations.

This is part of the tech giant's efforts to support the relief efforts amid the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lenovo commits Rs 8 Cr towards fighting COVID-19 in India

PC maker Lenovo on Monday announced aid worth Rs 8 crore towards COVID-19 relief work in India through Lenovo Foundation.

Of this funding, Rs 5 crore will be donated in the form of medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, refillable oxygen cylinders, invasive ventilators, and oximeters to hospitals where the need is high. The remaining Rs 3 crore will be dedicated towards hospital extensions and supporting medical frontline workers.

B2B risk management platform Rubix Data Sciences raises Rs 6.2 Cr in seed round (Funding)

Rubix Data Sciences, a technology and analytics-based B2B risk management and monitoring platform, on Monday, announced that it has raised Rs 6.2 crore in its seed round of funding. The round saw participation from institutional investor Cactus Venture Partners, family offices, and high net worth individuals (HNIs).

According to the official statement, the fresh fund will be used to enhance the technology and analytics capabilities of the Rubix Automated Risk Management and Monitoring System (ARMS) platform.

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