Startup news and updates: daily roundup (June 10, 2021)
Telecom operator Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited has started providing information regarding vaccine availability through a WhatsApp chatbot, along with other customer services, according to a company source. The new service enables people to look for COVID-19 vaccine availability, without the hassle of one-time password to refresh the session.
US retail giant Walmart has said it is "open to an IPO" for its Indian e-commerce arm Flipkart but there is "no specific timeline" for the share sale. Both Flipkart and payment app PhonePe continue to do well, Walmart International President and CEO Judith McKenna said while speaking at the DB Access Global Consumer Conference on June 7.
[Funding alert] Tech-based mentorship platform MentorKart raises $150K led by Startup Buddy’s founders
New Delhi-based mentorship patented platform MentorKart on Thursday announced that it has raised $150,000 in seed round led by Amit Singal and Manish Aggarwal, Founders of Startup Buddy. In a statement, MentorKart said it will utilise the funds for go-to-market plans and further enhance its platform, strengthen its tech capabilities, and build new products.
Founders (L-R): Ashish Khare and SK Mohanty
New Delhi-based foreign university admissions platform,on Thursday announced that it had raised $2 million in a debt financing round from venture debt firm Trifecta Capital. According to the official statement, the funds will be used to fuel the company’s growth and make further inroads into the interiors of India, apart from accelerating product innovation in line with their student-first approach.
Logistics tech startup Kale Logistics has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Inflexor Ventures, a technology-focussed VC fund. The round also saw participation from other existing investors. The startup aims to utilise the funding towards product enhancement and global business growth by deploying the solution at additional overseas airports, ports, and enterprise cargo handling customers.
PC gaming is gaining strong traction in the country with gamers, including women, looking at the activity as not just a stress buster but a viable career option, according to a study by HP India.
Bharat Biotech, which is yet to publish the data of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin phase-3, expects a peer review of the jab in two to four months after it was given to scientific journals, said Raches Ella, Project Lead, COVID-19 Vaccine at Bharat Biotech on Wednesday.
Amazon on Wednesday said it has completed vaccinating over one lakh people, including frontline associates, employees and their dependents. The ecommerce major had launched its first on-site vaccination event for frontline teams three weeks ago. These sessions are currently being hosted in 26 cities, including key metros and cities such as Ludhiana, Ranchi, and Raipur in conjunction with licensed healthcare partners, a statement said.
The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has urged micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of its various schemes, including cluster development programmes. Addressing a virtual seminar organised by ASSOCHAM, SIDBI Chairman and Managing Director, S Ramann said that the institution is closely monitoring development in upcoming sectors like pharma and defence, and is developing attractive products for them.
[Funding alert] Low-code interactive customer engagement platform CustomerGlu raises $320k led by Better Capital, others
US and Bengaluru-based low-code interactive customer engagement platform CustomerGlu has raised pre-seed funding of $320,000 led by Better Capital. The round also saw participation from angel investors like Ramakant Sharma (Founder of Livspace), Sprouts Investments, Amit Singhal (Former SVP of Google Search) from SmartStart, and Aakash Kumar (SVP Growth at Hotstar).
Indonesian fintech startup BukuWarung on Thursday raised $60 million in Series A funding led by US-based VC firms Valar Ventures and Goodwater Capital. The startup will use the funds to ramp up its hiring in Bengaluru and other remote locations in India, provide more MSME-focused financial services, including lending, insurance, savings, etc., and strengthen its core accounting, digital payments, and commerce products.