Startup news and updates: daily roundup (September 9, 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, September 9, 2021.

Ola Electric postpones S1 electric scooter sale by a week to Sep 15

Ola Electric has postponed the sale process of its electric scooter S1 by a week to September 15 as it faced "technical difficulties" in making the website for purchases live for customers on Wednesday.

The company had last month launched the Ola S1 electric scooter in two variants — S1 and S1 Pro — at Rs 99,999 and Rs 1,29,999, respectively (ex-showroom, including FAME II subsidy and excluding state subsidies).

CoinSwitch Kuber onboards 10M users, says it's now India’s largest crypto platform

Indian crypto exchange CoinSwitch Kuber today said it has hit 10 million registered users, claiming this makes it the country's largest crypto platform. It added it has reached this milestone in 15 months since starting operations in India.

In a statement, the company said out of 10 million users, seven million are active users with a monthly transaction volume of Rs 15,138 crore.

Cred to offer employees new programme for wealth creation

Fintech firm Cred has said it will offer an 'Accelerated Wealth Programme' to its staff in addition to ESOPs and grants to create another avenue for its team to build wealth.

"Through this programme, team members can choose up to 50 percent of annual cash compensation in the form of special grant ESOPs that they can see grow along with Cred's growth. 100 percent of these grants can be vested on completion of one year from the allocation date," Cred said in a statement.

Biotech startup immunitoAI raises $1M in seed round led by pi Ventures (Funding)

immunitoAI, a biotech startup that is developing an AI-powered antibody discovery and screening platform, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $1 million in a seed round led by Pi Ventures, with existing investor Entrepreneur First also participating. This is pi Ventures’s first investment from their Fund 2, announced in April 2021.

Healthtech startup BeatO acquires Novique Health to offer diabetes reversal programmes

New Delhi-based healthtech startup BeatO has acquired Pune-based Novique Health for an undisclosed amount. BeatO, which provides a full-stack solution for diabetes management, is now looking to offer diabetes reversal programmes with Novique as a part of this deal.

Mumbai Angels Network invests $320K in gaming platform GameEon Studios (Funding)

Mumbai Angels Network, a premium startup investment platform for early-stage venture investments, Thursday said it invested $320,000 in GameEon Studios, one of the newest entrants in the fast-growing gaming space. 

The startup will utilise the capital to strengthen its publishing model by establishing a strong distribution network for its mobile-based games. It plans to hire senior-level talent to ensure its upcoming PC game meets international standards.

Agritech startup Farmers Fresh Zone raises Rs 6 Cr in pre-series A round led by IAN (Funding)

Agritech startup Farmers Fresh Zone that made its name in the market with ‘Know Your Farmer’ using traceability tech has raised Rs 6 crore in pre-series A round through existing investors.

The round was led by Indian Angel Network (IAN), with participation from IAN Fund, Malabar Angel Network, and Native Angel Network. With this round, the company has so far raised Rs 8.5 crore.

D2C food startup Anveshan raises Rs 3.67 Cr led by DSG Consumer Partners, Titan Capital, others (Funding)

D2C healthy food brand Anveshan Thursday said it raised Rs 3.67 crore in a seed round led by DSG Consumer Partners, along with Titan Capital and Anjali Bansal from Avaana CapitalExisting investors, including boAt Lifestyle and Beardo founders, also participated in the round.

Founded in early 2020 by three IIT-Guwahati alum Aayushi Khandelwal, Akhil Kansal, and Kuldeep Parewa, Anveshan provides high-quality, natural, affordable, and minimally processed food products directly sourced from Indian farmers, embracing traditional Ayurvedic methods.

OckyPocky raises seed round from Udaan co-founder, SucSEED Indovation Fund (Funding)

Gurugram-based interactive learning app OckyPocky raised an undisclosed investment from Udaan Co-founder and CEO Sujeet Kumar and Hyderabad-headquartered SucSEED Indovation Fund as part of its seed round, the startup said Thursday.

The edtech startup will use the capital to grow its repository of content for a wider vernacular audience and fine-tune its offerings to benefit a greater student base.

Edtech startup Clever Harvey raises $1.5M in pre-Series A round (Funding)

Edtech startup Clever Harveyhas raised $1.5 million in pre-series A round led by TechNova Ventures along with Tom Varkey & Multiply Ventures. Existing investor Education Catalyst Fund also participated in the round.

The startup plans to use the funding to expand its product portfolio, onboard key talent, strengthen its marketing outreach, and build distribution channels within and beyond India, it said in a statement.

WhatsApp says user reports on spam do not undermine end-to-end encryption

WhatsApp on Wednesday said reports sent to it by users flagging spam and abuse do not undermine the end-to-end encryption of the messaging platform.

WhatsApp's clarification came in response to a report by non-profit newsroom ProPublica that said even though WhatsApp says it does not see user content, the Facebook-owned company has an extensive monitoring operation and regularly shares personal information with prosecutors.

Reliance's mobility arm Jio-bp partners with BluSmart to set up commercial EV charging stations

Jio-bp, the fuels and mobility JV between Reliance Industries and British Petroleum, has entered into a partnership with BluSmart, a homegrown electric ride-hailing platform, to set up a large-scale network of commercial EV charging stations.

As part of the partnership, Jio-bp will set up these stations for passenger EVs and EV fleets at "suitable locations" in the country where BluSmart operates. Both partners will collaborate on the planning, development, and execution of the project.

Flipkart strengthens kirana delivery programme ahead of festive season

Walmart-owned Flipkart said it has bolstered its delivery network with more than one lakh 'Kirana' (neighbourhood stores) partners from across the country ahead of its Big Billion days sale and upcoming festive season.

Flipkart had started the programme in 2019 to onboard local stores and shops as delivery partners, and has since then invested consistently to get these businesses ready for making deliveries.

Social commerce platform Coutloot raises $8M from Ameba Capital, 9Unicorns, and others (Funding)

Mumbai-based Coutloot, an offline to online (O2O) social commerce platform, has raised $8 million in a pre-series funding round led by venture capital firm Ameba Capital.

Other investors who participated in the round include SOSV, 9Unicorns, Astarc Ventures, as well as existing investor Venture Catalysts

Amazon Pay set to help users book deposits, even as Google Pay service under RBI watch

Amazon Pay India, the American ecommerce major's payments app, is all set to offer deposit booking services for its customers, even as rival Google Pay's similar facility has invited regulatory attention within days of its launch.

Amazon Pay India Wednesday announced a tie-up with investment platform, through which the former's customers will be able to invest in mutual funds and fixed deposits, a statement said.

Employee Wellness startup Nova Benefits secures $10M in Series A round (Funding)

Nova Benefits, an employee wellness platform in India focusing on corporate health insurance, Thursday said it raised a Series A round of $10 million led by Susquehanna International Group (SIG) and Bessemer Venture Partners. Existing investors Multiply Ventures, Better Capital, and Titan Capital also participated in this round.

The startup's latest round comes six months after it raised $1 million from its existing investors.

Reliance Retail contributes 26pc of Future Consumer's FY21 sales

Reliance Retail has become the second-largest customer of the Kishore Biyani-led Future group's FMCG arm Future Consumer, contributing over one-fourth of the total sales of the company.

In FY2020-21, the retail arm of Reliance Industries Ltd purchased goods worth Rs 157.54 crore from Future Consumer Ltd (FCL), accounting for 26.8 percent of the total sales of Rs 586.15 crore, as per the latest annual report of the company.

Paytm Money launches wealth and investment advisory marketplace

Paytm Money on Thursday launched a wealth and investment advisory marketplace on its platform to offer users a wide array of investment options, curated by investment startup WealthDesk.

Users, on Paytm Money, will be able to access a host of custom portfolios of stocks and ETFs created by SEBI-registered investment managers, and invest in the portfolio they believe in or like.

OYO and Microsoft announce strategic alliance to co-develop travel and hospitality products and technology

Following Microsoft's strategic equity investment in Oyo, the Gurugram-based hospitality major has announced that it has entered a multi-year strategic alliance with Microsoft to co-develop "next-gen travel and hospitality products and technologies".

As part of this alliance, OYO will develop Smart Room experiences for travellers on the OYO platform, such as premium and customised in-room experiences for its guests.

Bengaluru-based home interior startup HomeLane raises $50M in Series E round (Funding)

Bengaluru-based technology-based home interiors service provider HomeLane raised $50 million (Rs 371 crores) in its Series E funding round led by IIFL AMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund, OIJIF II (Oman India Joint Investment Fund), and Stride Ventures. Its existing investors including Pidilite, Evolvence, NuVentures, Sequoia, and Accel also participated in the round.

According to the official statement, with this round, HomeLane has now raised a total of $104 million (Rs 765 crore) in funds over the last seven years. The RainMaker Group acted as the sole adviser for this funding transaction.

IIT Madras best institution third year in row; IISc Bengaluru best for research: NIRF ranking

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras retained the top spot among institutes all over India for the third consecutive year whereas the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru was the best among research institutions, according to the Ministry of Education's National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings.

The sixth edition of NIRF rankings was announced on Thursday by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Google brings accelerator programme for digital news startups in India

Google on Thursday announced 'GNI Startups Lab India' — an accelerator programme for independent local or single-subject journalism organisations in India.

Under its Google News Initiative (GNI), the tech giant will offer a four-month programme that "seeks to help independent local or single-subject journalism organisations find a pathway to financial and operational sustainability through intensive coaching, skills training, and other support."

Flipkart Quick hyperlocal service expands to three more cities

Flipkart, India’s leading ecommerce marketplace, has expanded its hyperlocal service Flipkart Quick to three new locations — Kolkata, Chennai, and Mumbai — and this takes the total number of cities covered to 10.

The other cities where Flipkart Quick is available are — Bengaluru, Delhi, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Noida, and Pune. By the end of September 2021, Flipkart Quick will also be available in Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, taking the total city count to 14.

Vivek Sunder, CEO, Cuemath

Cuemath appoints former Swiggy executive Vivek Sunder as CEO

CueMath, an online math learning platform, on Thursday said it has appointed former Swiggy executive Vivek Sunder as its Chief Executive Officer.

The appointment follows a planned succession strategy, and Cuemath founder Manan Khurma will now become the chairman, a statement said.

Flipkart adds new warehouse centres in Haryana; to create 12,000 job opportunities

Walmart-owned Flipkart on Thursday said it has strengthened its supply chain network in Haryana with the addition of four new facilities ahead of the upcoming festive season, a move expected to help create 12,000 job opportunities.

The new fulfilment centres (warehouses) will help create deeper capabilities to support thousands of sellers, MSMEs, and small farmers from the state to cater to the growing customer demand, create more employment opportunities while enabling faster deliveries for consumers, a statement said.

India fastest growth market for Coursera; company steps up local hiring

Coursera on Wednesday said India is its fastest-growing market with the addition of 7.5 million learners since 2020, and it is looking to accelerate this growth by hiring and forging alliances with top-tier educational institutions in the country.


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