Startup news and updates: daily roundup (July 29, 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, July 29, 2021.
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Swiggy launches Emergency Support Services to assist delivery partners

To ensure the safety of delivery partners on the road foodtech unicorn Swiggy has introduced Emergency Support Services (ESS). These will encompass various options to cater to the needs of delivery partners during an emergency or mishap.

A statement from the company said this will include a 24*7 hotline number, emergency cards for delivery partners, and a direct link to the local police and ambulance service via an SOS button on the Delivery Partner app.

Zomato begins pilot in Delhi for grocery delivery

Zomato has begun rolling out its grocery services in select areas and for select users on pilot basis in Delhi. This comes as part of Zomato's plan to add online grocery services on its app soon, which it has been experimenting with for some time, especially following its investment in e-grocer Grofers.

Minimalist raises Rs 110 Cr Series A round led by Sequoia Capital (Funding)

Minimalist, the new-age homegrown skincare brand, has raised Series A funding of Rs 110 crore, (approx $15 million) led by Sequoia Capital India, with participation from Unilever Ventures. The round also saw multiple international investors in just nine months of its inception.

Minimalist plans to utilise the funds to enhance its infrastructure and R&D capabilities, launch in global markets, as well as double down on its content creation efforts by sharing well-researched knowledge about skincare with its consumers.

Blockchain developer tool provider Biconomy raises $9M led by Mechanism Capital and DACM (Funding)

Blockchain transaction platform Biconomy said it has raised $9 million in a private funding round led by DACM and Mechanism Capital, with strategic investments from Coinbase, Bain Capital, Coinfund, NFX, True Ventures, Proof Group, Ledgerprime, Primitive Ventures, Genblock, Rarestone Capital, Huobi Innovation Labs, and Capital Partners.

The startup stated that the the new round of funding will enable Biconomy to further propel its multi-chain transaction infrastructure for next-generation Web3.0 applications.

Easy raises $15M in Series-A round led by Xponentia Capital, others (Funding)

Mortgage tech startup Easy has announced that it has raised $15 million as part of its Series A funding round. The round was led by Xponentia Capital Partners and saw participation from global VC funds — existing investor Harbourfront Capital, Finsight VC, RaSa Future Fund, Navida Capital AB, Helena Wasserman Eriksson, and Integra Software.

Ashok Leyland to invest up to $200M in EVs

Hinduja group flagship firm Ashok Leyland will invest up to $200 million (nearly Rs 1,500 crore) in its electric vehicles journey through its UK-based arm Switch Mobility in the next few years, according to company officials.

Switch Mobility, which will play in the commercial e-mobility space globally for the group through next-generation electric bus and light commercial vehicles, will launch an electric light commercial vehicle (eLCV) later this year in India.

(Photo credit: AFP)

RBI allows non-bank PSPs to participate in centralised payment systems

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed authorised non-bank payment system providers (PSPs) to participate in centralised payment systems (CPS) such as real-time gross settlement (RTGS) and national electronic fund transfer (NEFT), as direct members.

PSPs include prepaid payment instrument (PPI) issuers, card networks, white label ATM (WLA) operators, and trade receivables discounting system (TReDS) platforms.

Sebi revising risk management framework for MFs: Official

Capital markets regulator Sebi is in the process of issuing a revised risk management framework for mutual fund industry in view of the changes in the industry landscape which will define the roles and responsibilities of officials, a senior official said.

The new framework will have policies regarding risk management incorporating a risk management culture within the organization, and principles for identification and management of risk at the level of MF schemes and overall functions of AMCs (asset management companies), its executive director SV Murali Dhar Rao said.

Government launches secured logistics document exchange platform

The government on Wednesday launched a secured logistics document exchange platform (SLDE) for digital exchange of logistics-related papers and a calculator for greenhouse gas emissions for choosing the sustainable and right mode of transport for freight movements.

The digital initiative is now set to improve logistics efficiency, reduce logistics cost, and promote multi-modality and sustainability in a big way, the commerce ministry said in a statement.

FamPay team

FamPay inks deal with Visa to launch numberless cards for teens

Teen-focussed payments platform FamPay on Thursday said it had signed a deal with card issuer Visa Inc to launch numberless, prepaid cards for teenagers to enable them to make NFC-powered payments.

Those availing the cards from FamPay will be able to customise the cards to their liking using doodles, different fonts, and unique names, the startup said in a press release.

FamPay had earlier been issuing cards on the RuPay network. The Visa cards will come with 4X rewards on every spend, complimentary subscriptions to teen brands, and Visa-specific offers.

Car servicing startup Fixcraft raises $1M in pre-Series A round from marquee angel investors (Funding)

Fixcraft, a full-stack cloud-garage car servicing startup, on Thursday raised $1 million in a pre-Series A round in equity led by marquee angel investor and debt led by Ubiquity Capital.

The startup will use the funds to widen its presence in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, and in strengthening the Operations and Technology teams. The brand claims to have already provided services to 3,500 customers till date and plans to double the number by the end of the FY22.

Smartphone shipment grew 82pc to over 33M units in India in Jun 2021 qtr: Counterpoint

Smartphone shipment in India grew by 82 percent in the June 2021 quarter to reach over 33 million units, research firm Counterpoint said recently.

However, smartphone shipment declined 14 percent sequentially due to a fall in consumer sentiment during the second COVID-19 wave. The decline was less-than-expected due to the resilient nature of the smartphone market, it said.

Unacademy becomes first-ever edtech startup to offer stock options to educators

In a one-of-a-kind move, edtech unicorn Unacademy will offer stock options to its educators, the first-ever firm in the edtech space to do so. The development comes at a time when giants such as Flipkart and Ola are offering ESOPs to their employees.

Over the next few years, the Teacher Stock Options or TSOPs worth $40 million will be given to tutors who have spent three, four or five years on the platform, the Bengaluru-based firm's Co-founder and CEO Gaurav Munjal said in a tweet on Thursday.

Homegrown skincare brand I am Love raises Rs 35 Cr in seed round (Funding)

Mumbai-based nutraceutical skincare brand I am Love on Thursday said it raised Rs 35 crore in a seed round from California-based angel investor Xentel Investments. Founded in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, its founder Shilpa Rathi aims to take the venture to the global market. 

Fintech startup slice raises Rs 75.5 Cr in debt round (Funding)

slice, a fintech startup and India’s first credit card challenger, on Thursday announced that it has raised Rs 75.5 crore in debt in Q1FY22 from multiple financial institutions such as Northern Arc Capital, Niyogin Fintech Limited, Credit Saison India, and Vivriti Capital to name a few.

Wasabi raises $1.8M led by Ankur Capital and Binny Bansal-backed 021 Capital (Funding)

Wasabi, a Bengaluru-based tech startup has raised $1.8 million in a seed round, led by Ankur Capital with participation from Binny Bansal-backed 021 Capital and Sparrow Capital.

This round also saw participation from angel investors such as Ankit Bhati - Ola, Mekin Maheshwari - Udhyam Learning, Lalit Keshre - Groww, Revant Bhate - Mosaic Wellness, Abhishek Goyal - Tracxn, and Ashish Goel - Urban Ladder.

Both profit & loss-making firms can list; welcome IPOs of unconventional biz models: Sebi official

In remarks that come amid stock market debut of food delivery app Zomato and proposed IPO of Paytm, a senior Sebi official on Wednesday said both profit and loss-making companies can come on exchanges, and entities with "unconventional business models" listing bodes well for the startups ecosystem.

Tata Sons arm to acquire controlling stake in Tejas Networks for nearly Rs 1,890 Cr

Tejas Networks, a telecom and network firm, on Thursday said an arm of Tata Sons will acquire the controlling stake in it for nearly Rs 1,890 crore in a multi-step deal.

The company has executed definitive agreements with Panatone Finvest, a subsidiary of Tata Sons (Tata group holding firm), it said in a statement.

Founder of Strata

Real-estate investment startup Strata raises $6M in Series A round (Funding)

Strata, a Bengaluru-based real-estate investment tech startup, has raised $6 million in a Series A round co-led by Kotak Investment Advisors LimitedGruhas Proptech (an exclusive fund by Nikhil Kamath of Zerodha and Abhijeet Pai of Puzzolana Group for proptech investments and special situations), Sabre Investments (an investment arm of Rahul Talwar, Promoter Family of DLF).

Cost of data breach hits record high during pandemic: IBM

Security incidents became more costly and harder to contain due to drastic operational shifts during the pandemic with the cost of data breaches to Indian organisations rising close to 18 percent to Rs 16.5 crore on an average between May 2020 and March 2021, according to a report by IBM.

Ecommerce firm Ourbetterplanet raises $300K from VANS Group (Funding)

Bangaluru-based ecommerce startup Ourbetterplanet said that it has raised $300,000 in its seed round from various investors including VANS and Manoj John, former VP with the CK Birla group, among others, for expanding its business.

SaaS startup Murf.ai raises $1.5M in seed round led by Elevation Capital (Funding)

Murf.ai, an AI-enabled voice-over startup founded by IIT Kharagpur alumni, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding led by Elevation Capital. The round also saw the participation of angel investors: Vidit Aatrey - CEO, Meesho, Sanjeev Barnwal - CTO, Meesho, Kashyap Deorahe - CEO, Hypertrack, and Ashish Goel - CEO, Urban Ladder. The startup will use this funding for hiring talent, product innovation, and market expansion.

Coralogix founders: Yoni Farin (left) and Ariel Assaraf

Coralogix raises $55M in Series C round led by Greenfield Partners (Funding)

Coralogix, the Israel-based tech startup which has lined up market expansion in India, has raised $55 million in a Series C funding round led by Greenfield Partners. The latest round of funding also saw participation from Red Dot Capital Partners, StageOne Ventures, Eyal Ofer’s OG Tech, Janvest Capital Partners, Maor ventures, and 2B Angels. 

Flipkart opens delivery hub managed completely by people with disabilities

Flipkart has expanded its employee workforce diversity initiative with the opening of a new delivery hub in New Delhi to its supply chain network, which will be managed end-to-end by 50 employees with disabilities, working in various capacities, including delivery executives, cashiers, and team leaders.

FMCG sector revenue to grow 10-12pc this fiscal: CRISIL Ratings

The FMCG sector's revenue is set to grow 10-12 percent this fiscal year, driven by price hikes affected across product categories to offset the impact of the raw material price increase and a raft of other favourable factors, CRISIL Ratings reported. 

Cricketing Legend Sachin Tendulkar invests $2M in JetSynthesys (Funding)

Digital entertainment technology company JetSynthesys has raised $2 million equity investment from cricketing legend and 'Master Blaster', Sachin Tendulkar. The investment further strengthens Sachin’s relationship with JetSynthesys.

Rajan Navani along with Sachin Tendulkar

Crypto platform Vauld raises $25M from Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures (Funding)

Cryptocurrency-based financial products platform Vauld has raised $25 million in its series A funding round, led by German-American billionaire Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures.

Investors such as Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures, CMT Digital, Gumi Cryptos, Robert Leshner, and Cadenza Capital, among others, also participated in the funding round, the company said.

Silvassa-based MYFITNESS raises around $1M in seed round led by 9Unicorns (Funding)

Silvassa-based health and fitness-focused food startup MYFITNESS on Thursday said it raised around $1 million in a seed round led by 9Unicorns.

The round also saw participation from Ashutosh Valani and Priyank Shah (Co-founders of Beardo), Arjun Vaidya (Founder of Dr.Vaidya’s), and Sharad Jain and Shreyans Jain (Co-founder of Nutrabay).

SC reserves verdict on Amazon's pleas against FRL-Reliance deal

The Supreme Court Thursday reserved verdict on ecommerce giant Amazon's pleas against the merger of Future Retail Ltd (FRL) with Reliance Retail and would rule whether Singapore's Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award, restraining the Rs 24,731 crore deal, was valid under Indian law and can be enforced.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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