Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 19, 2021)

By Team YS
May 19, 2021, Updated on : Wed May 19 2021 12:34:49 GMT+0000
Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 19, 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 19, 2021.
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More pharma firms should be allowed to make vaccine: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday suggested that more pharma companies should be allowed to make the COVID-19 vaccine in the country during the pandemic to scale up production. Addressing vice chancellors of universities in India virtually, Gadkari said he would also request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring a law for allowing more pharma companies to manufacture life-saving drugs by paying 10 percent royalty to the patent holder of the drug.

OYO to give bereavement package to Covid-19 affected families, to sponsor child's education

Hospitality unicorn Oyo has announced a slew of welfare benefits to its employees. Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & Group CEO, OYO, announced in its tweet that in the unfortunate event of the death of an employee due to COVID-19, the company will support the family of the deceased with eight months pay in full and a term insurance payout, which equals three years of their annual pay.

OYO will also sponsor the education of the employee’s children (up to two) and extend medical coverage of up to Rs 3 lakh for the spouse and children for a period of five years.

Less than 2 pc population affected by COVID in India, 98 pc still vulnerable: Govt

Less than 2 percent of the total population in India has been affected by COVID-19 so far and 98 percent of the population is still susceptible or vulnerable to the infection, the government said on Tuesday. "Despite the high number of cases reported so far, we have been able to contain the spread to under 2 pc of population," said Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal.


Edtech startup ClassMonitor raises Rs 3.5 Cr in pre-Series A round (Funding)

Indore-based homeschooling-focused edtech startup ClassMonitor has raised Rs 3.5 crore in pre-Series A funding led by PATH India and Gulf investors, including UAE-based Calega family office investor group, and Sarvann, a group of Oman-based investors. The company will use the fresh funds to build its presence across other countries and strengthen its content and technology for users.

Upswing Cognitive Hospitality Solutions raises $150K from Australia's Framed Venture Capital (Funding)

Upswing Cognitive Hospitality Solutions, a Pune-based new-age predictive data solutions startup for the hospitality and travel industry that provides its customers with data-driven cognitive solutions, recently raised a seed round of $150,000 via Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Framed Venture Capital, an Australian investment private company.

Flipkart, PhonePe continue to experience strong growth in Q1, says Walmart CEO

Flipkartand its payment app PhonePe continue to experience strong growth in the first quarter of 2021-22 in the Indian market, said US retail giant Walmart on Tuesday. Walmart International, which includes the company's operations in markets like India, China, Japan, Africa, Canada, the UK, Mexico, Canada, and Chile - had posted an 8.3 percent decline to $27.3 billion.

Fashion retailer High Street Essentials raises Rs 25.50 Cr from existing investors (Funding)

High Street Essentials (HSE), the Delhi-based fashion house and parent company of brands FabAlley and Indya, has raised Rs 25.50 crore in a round of funding led by its existing investors Elevation Capital, India Quotient, Dominor Holding, and family offices. The startup will use the fresh round of funding for expanding the direct-to-consumer (D2C) footprint of its brand both domestically and internationally.

Carbon-fiber startup Fabheads raises Rs 8 Cr in pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures (Funding)

Chennai-based deeptech startup Fabheads, which manufactures carbon fiber parts, on Wednesday announced that it has raised Rs 8 crore in a pre-Series A round from Inflection Point Ventures. Existing investors Keiretsu (Chennai chapter) and Vijay Kedia, MD, Kedia Securities also participated in the round.

According to a press statement, the funds raised will be utilised in strengthening R&D team, build global sales and distribution, and setting up infrastructure to support growth.

Cold chain vaccine

Image: Shutterstock

American vaccines effective against COVID-19 strain first found in India: US officials

COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective against the deadly coronavirus variant, which was first detected in India, top US health officials said on Tuesday. The B.1.617 virus variant — first identified in India last year — has been classified as a 'variant of concern' at the global level by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WIMWIsure launches AI-enabled bot to help citizens find a vaccination slot

Ahmedabad-based insurtech startup WIMWIsure has launched a messaging bot on the popular messaging platform WhatsApp to make it easier for citizens to get notifications on the availability of vaccination slots. Citizens can simply drop a text on the number along with their pin code and age and be notified as soon as the slot is available at a nearby centre, following which the user can book the slot on CoWIN website.

Eligible population in Karnataka to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by 2021 end: Minister

The Karnataka government has set a goal to vaccinate all those eligible in the state by November end, against coronavirus. "Our major objective is to vaccinate all by October end or November end. All our efforts are in the direction of vaccinating every citizen by the end of the year," Health Minister K Sudhakar said on Wednesday. He was speaking to reporters to announce the receipt of two lakh doses of Covishield from Pune-based Serum Institute of India.


Image Source: Shutterstock

Union IT Ministry asks WhatsApp to withdraw its new privacy policy

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has once again directed WhatsApp to withdraw its new Privacy Policy. WhatsApp had earlier claimed that it officially deferred its new Privacy Policy beyond 15th May 2021. However, the Ministry in a communication, stated that deferral of the privacy policy beyond 15th May 2021 does not absolve WhatsApp from respecting the values of informational privacy, data security, and user choice for Indian users.

Zaggle forays into neobanking space for SME segment

Zaggle, a fintech company, has launched a neo banking initiative focused on the SME segment.

This neobank foray is through Zaggle's group company, ZikZuk. The first product that is being launched under this initiative is the Founders Card – a curated credit card for SME owners to take care of their business expenses.

Bitcoin slides below $40k mark, down nearly 40pc from all-time high

Bitcoin’s dream run hit a major road bump as it slid below the $40,000 mark for the first time since February. One of the most well-known cryptocurrencies globally, Bitcoin’s tumble started when Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a U-turn and announced it will not accept Bitcoin in payments, citing environmental concerns created by cryptocurrency mining.

Gautam Adani

India's Adani Green to buy SoftBank-backed SB Energy in $3.5 billion deal

Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) on Wednesday said it has inked share purchase agreements with SoftBank Group (SBG) and Bharti Group for the acquisition of a 100 percent stake in SB Energy India for $3.5 billion (approximately Rs 25,500 crore). The transaction marks the largest acquisition in the renewable energy sector in India.

Amazon US pledges over $5M to help India fight COVID-19

As India grapples with a severe healthcare crisis due to the second COVID-19 wave, Amazon US is sending critical medical equipment worth over $5 million to support hospitals and other COVID care facilities across India. As part of the initiative, critical life-saving equipment, including 82 anesthesia ventilators, 1,238 BiPAP machines, and 60 ventilators have already reached India.

Paytm Payments Bank achieves over 430M beneficiary transactions in April 2021

Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) on Wednesday said it continues to lead as the largest UPI beneficiary bank ahead of all other banks in India. According to the latest report by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), PPBL has registered 430.04 million transactions in April 2021 as a beneficiary bank.

India climbs to third spot on EY index on impressive show by solar PV segment

India has moved a notch higher to the third spot on EY's Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index due to exceptional performance on the solar photovoltaic (PV) front. India's solar sector is expected to grow significantly post the pandemic, with generation from solar PV forecast to exceed coal before 2040, EY said in a statement.


Image source: unsplash

UTEC announces its fifth fund of over $275 million

The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners Co., Ltd. (UTEC) announced the first close of its new fund, UTEC 5 Limited Partnership (UTEC 5). UTEC 5 is expected to exceed $275 million (30 billion yen) in total by June 2021. The aggregated amount of Assets Under Management (AUM) from UTEC 1 to UTEC 5 amounts to approximately $780 million (85 billion yen), making it the largest venture capital fund in Japan in science and technology fields, and one of the largest deep-tech funds in Asia.