Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 12, 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 Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
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COVID-19: AstraZeneca pledges $250,000 as humanitarian aid to India

Drug major AstraZeneca on Tuesday said it has pledged $250,000 (over Rs 1.8 crore) in humanitarian aid to India to support relief activities amid the second wave of COVID-19 sweeping across the country.

The aid to India is part of the $1 million, which the British-Swedish multinational has earmarked for relief initiatives across communities, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Appitsimple and its founder Ankit Dudhwewala invest $200K in Enthu.ai (Funding)

Ahmedabad-based Appitsimple, better known for its digital products CallHippo and SoftwareSuggest, has invested $200,000 in Enthu.ai. Ankit Dudhwewala, Founder of Appitsimple, has also invested in his personal capacity.

The funding will help Enthu.ai accelerate its engineering and sales efforts and move a step forward towards its vision of enabling contact centres to deliver better customer outcomes.

Square Yards ends FY21 with $50M revenue and $1.1B GTV, Q4 earnings up by 47 pc

Square Yards, a Gurugram-based integrated real estate platform, has announced its FY21 results with $50 million revenue, up 17 percent year-on-year, and EBITDA margins of 14.2 percent. The gross transaction value (GTV) stood at $1.1 billion, up 33 percent year-on-year.

The company said it registered its sixth consecutive profitable quarter in Q4, clocking revenue of $17.2 million, a 47 percent year-on-year increase for the quarter with 15.2 percent in EBITDA margins.

SEEDS commits to disbursing 20 oxygen generators, 1,000 concentrators in Delhi-NCR, Uttarakhand

Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS) has said it is committed to procuring and disbursing over 1,000 oxygen concentrators, 2,000 pulse oximeters, and 20 oxygen generators in the Delhi-NCR region and Uttarakhand amid the raging pandemic.

The NGO said it will also procure 6,000 face masks, 5,000 PPE kits, 300 beds, 200 patients care blankets, and other critical care equipment to COVID-19 care hospitals in Delhi-NCR and Uttarakhand to begin with.

“Doctors-Overseas” by Superpro.ai is providing free video consultations to COVID-19 patients

Doctors-Overseas, a pandemic tele-support helpline from doctors all across the world, was launched on May 2 to provide free video consultations to all COVID-19 patients.

The initiative is supported 100 percent free of charge by Superpro.ai, a Bengaluru-based automated video workflows platform.

Cron AI raises $4M in Series A led by VenturEast, Kitaki Ventures (Funding)

Cron AI — a deeptech startup building a 3D data edge perception platform — has raised $4 million (about Rs 29.3 crore) in the Series A round led by VenturEast and Kitaki Ventures. Existing investor YourNest Venture Capital also participated in the round.

Myelin Foundry Co-founder and Investor

Myelin Foundry raises $1M in pre-Series A led by Beyond Next Ventures (Funding)

Deeptech AI startup Myelin Foundry said it has raised $1 million in pre-Series A round led by Japanese VC firm Beyond Next Ventures. Endiya Partners — who had invested during the seed stage — also participated in this round.

According to a statement, the startup will utilise the funding to consolidate its products in the Indian video-streaming market and to expand into international markets.

Sapio Analytics' healthcare arm launches WhatsApp chatbot to find verified plasma donor leads

Sapio Smart Healthcare — a division of government advisory firm Sapio Analytics — has launched an initiative called Sutra — a smart chatbot to get access to verified plasma donors and healthcare centres around a user's area.

The chatbot is available in both Hindi and English and aims to assist people seeking plasma in Tier II and III cities.

OYO announces 4-day week and no-reasons-asked infinite paid leaves for employees

OYO has announced a 4-day week for the month of May and 'no reasons asked' infinite paid leaves for its employees till July.

In an email (of which YourStory has a copy) to its employees, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Group CEO of OYO, shared the two initiatives with employees, and said that he truly hopes that this will make it easier for "us to tide through the next few weeks.

Prioritise vaccinating those due for second dose of COVID-19 vaccine: Centre to states

The Centre appealed to states to prioritise vaccinating those due for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine and reserve at least 70 percent of the shots supplied from the central pool for the purpose.

States have also been urged to minimise wastage of vaccine doses, the health ministry said in a statement.

COVID-19: Sewa International spends $6M on lifesaving equipment for India

Non-profit organisation Sewa International said that it has spent over $6 million to procure lifesaving equipment in the last two weeks as part of its 'Help India Defeat COVID-19' campaign.

Sewa has so far raised $16 million for the initiative to supply aid material to India. It raised $7.7 million from over 104,000 donors from its Facebook campaign and $4.2 million through its website.

India projected to grow at 10.1 pc in 2022 but outlook for 2021 highly fragile: UN

India is forecast to grow at 10.1 percent in 2022, becoming the fastest growing major economy in the world, the United Nations said, but cautioned that the growth outlook of 2021 was "highly fragile" as the country was the "new hotbed of the pandemic."

At a growth rate of 10.1 percent in 2022, India will be the fastest growing major economy in the world, ahead of China, which is projected to grow at 5.8 percent.

Karnataka decides to get 2 Cr COVID-19 vaccine doses through global tender

The Karnataka government will procure two crores COVID-19 vaccine doses through a global tender to meet the increased demand and to facilitate vaccination of the age group of 18-44 years.

Besides, the state has already placed an order for three crore vaccine doses — one crore Covaxin and two crore Covishield, Deputy Chief Minister and state COVID Task Force Head C N Ashwath Narayan said.

OkCredit launches hyperlocal search tool for medicines, COVID-19 treatment equipment

OkCredit said it has launched a hyperlocal search tool to look for medicines and critical COVID-19 treatment equipment. Through a portal co-aid.in, the company will provide real-time information on the availability of medicines pan India besides the contact number of stores for making enquiries, at a time when getting COVID-19 medicines is an onerous task.

WHO says Indian COVID-19 variant found in 44 countries, of global concern

The B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus first identified in India last year has been found in 44 countries, says the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has classified it as a 'variant of concern'.

As of May 11, over 4,500 sequences have been uploaded to GISAID and assigned to B.1.617 from 44 countries in all six WHO regions, the global health body said.

BharatPe rolls out initiative to encourage COVID-19 vaccination for merchants

BharatPe announced the rollout of its campaign ‘Covid Vaccination Cashback’ to further strengthen the Indian government’s vaccination drive against COVID-19.

Launched under ‘BharatPe Cares’, a corporate social responsibility initiative by BharatPe, this first-of-its-kind of programme aims to create awareness about COVID-19 vaccination amongst the company’s over six million merchant partners, and also encourage them to get vaccinated without delay.

India's smartphone market grew 18pc in Q1, expected to witness slowdown in Q2: IDC

Smartphone shipment in the country clocked 18 percent year-on-year growth in the March quarter, but the April-June quarter period is expected to face growth challenges under the weight of the second wave of infections, research firm IDC said.

MakeMyTrip Foundation launches CoviRide to provide transport assistance

MakeMyTrip Foundation announced the launch of CoviRide, an open, peer-to-peer community platform, to help individuals, organisations seek and provide transport-related assistance.

Currently, the services are available across New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Agra. It is looking to expand in other cities soon.

YouTube announces $100M YouTube Shorts Fund for short-form content creators

YouTube has announced the launch of YouTube Shorts Fund, a $100 million fund distributed over the course of 2021-2022, to enable monetisation and rewards for the content creators.

YouTube said that it will reach out to thousands of creators each month, whose short-form content received the most engagement and views to reward them for their contributions.

Photo: YouTube Blog

SoftBank's Vision Fund posts record profit on successful Coupang investment

SoftBank Group Corp reported a quarterly net income of $17.7 billion, led by a record profit in its Vision Fund unit after successful investment in South Korean ecommerce giant, Coupang.

The group had reported a full-year loss of $8.85 billion in 2019 after its SoftBank Vison Fund, which reported a profit of $37 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020, lost money on WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc.

LG Electronics pledges $5.5M to fight against COVID-19 in India

South Korean consumer electronics major LG, which completed 24 years in India on Wednesday, pledged $5.5 million (around Rs 40.38 crore) to fight against the second wave of the pandemic.

LG Electronics will provide financial assistance of $5.5 million, to set up medical infrastructure in these crucial times, when India is fighting against the second wave of the pandemic, the company said in a statement.

SuperOps.ai to take on legacy MSP software with $3M seed round (Funding)

SuperOps.ai — a professional services automation (PSA) and remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform — raised $3 million in seed funding led by Elevation Capital and Matrix Partners India.

Angel investors, including Kayako Founder Varun Shoor, Kovai.co Founder Saravana Kumar, POSist Technologies Co-founder Ashish Tulsian, and Livspace Founder Ramakant Sharma.

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