Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Jan 17, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, January 17, 2022.
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DeHaat completes third acquisition with Helicrofter, expands footprints in Western India

DeHaat, the technology-based platform offering end-to-end agricultural services to farmers in India, on Monday announced its acquisition of Maharashtra-based B2B agri-input marketplace startup, Helicrofter

DeHaat’s Co-founder and CEO Shashank Kumar confirmed that with the integration of Helicrofter, encompassing 2,000+ agri-input retailers and 30 sellers across Maharashtra, DeHaat has now added another major Indian agricultural belt to their already expansive geographical footprint.

Currently DeHaat serves over 700,000 farmers across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. The addition of Helicrofter to their roster comes in line with the overarching goal of geographical expansion, as it marks DeHaat’s entry into Maharashtra.

Founded in 2020 by Siddhartha Choudhary, Helicrofter is a farm input ecommerce platform designed to do away with supply chain inefficiencies in the rural ecosystem. Despite the pandemic, Helicrofter has been generating revenue since the very first month of its inception and has achieved annual revenue in excess of Rs 50 crore.  

G.O.A.T brand forays into women’s fast fashion by acquiring The Label Life

Building on their portfolio of D2C brands across categories, G.O.A.T Brand Labs has now acquired 90 percent stake in The Label Life, a women’s fashion and lifestyle brand styled by Sussanne Khan, Malaika Arora and Bipasha Basu. 

Founded by Preeta Sukhtankar, along with Yashika Punjabee and Sonam Shah, The Label Life caters to the lifestyle savvy 25 years+ working women for all her fashion and lifestyle needs. The brand is popular in India and the middle-east markets and is available through its website, portals such as Myntra, Nykaa, Namshi (UAE) and a standalone store in Kolkata.

Since its launch six years ago, the brand has built a base of over 1.2 million customers and followers. The Label Life is G.O.A.T Brand Labs’ first acquisition in the women’s westernwear space. The plan is to add multiple brands in this segment. 

The brand currently sells across categories like apparel, accessories, footwear and home. The plans are to further build these categories and expand to categories like jewellery, beauty and personal care and loungewear, among others — to offer a complete range of lifestyle products. 

Antler India announces its inaugural Antler India Fellowship cohort

The India arm of global early-stage venture capital firm, Antler, has announced 19 student entrepreneurs as part of its inaugural Antler India Fellowship cohort. 

Antler India Fellowship, announced in November 2021, aims to promote entrepreneurship at the university level and as a viable career option. It offers an equity-free grant of $20,000 and mentorship to India’s brightest students to turn their startup ideas into a business. Through a 16-week programme, it provides a platform for experimentation, building and scaling with the support of equity-free capital, mentors and a peer network. 

It received 2,400+ applications from students across the country, covering 375+ cities and 700+ colleges. Of all the applications received, eight teams were chosen (0.3 percent acceptance rate) to be a part of the cohort. 

The chosen student entrepreneurs gain access to a hands-on programme, facilitated by domain experts and founders, spanning idea validation, user research, product, engineering and marketing. Mentors include Suchita Salwan (Founder, LBB), Varun Khona (Founder, HeadOut), and Ankit Gupta (Founder, Quizizz) among others. 

Antler plans to deploy $100 million to $150 million in 100+ Indian startups over the next 3 years.

6 pc spike in demand for healthcare professionals on account of rising Omicron variant concerns

According to the Monster Employment Index, the job analysis report by Monster.com, a Quess Company, robust growth in hiring activity was witnessed in the last six months with a 6 percent uptick, while December 2021 saw a monthly incline of 2 percent in December 2021 as compared to the previous month.

 

Across industries, the month of December 2021 saw retail and agro-based industries witnessing a positive incline of 12 percent, on account of multi-channel approaches, technological adoption, and government initiatives. The demand for roles in healthcare witnessed a surge of 6 percent on account of rising COVID-19 cases in the country, while roles in HR and admin (5 percent), and finance and accounts (4 percent) also saw an uptick over the month. Further, it is quite encouraging to note that the demand for entry-level/freshers and intermediate roles saw the highest monthly growth at 2 percent, as compared to other experience levels (December 2021 vs November 2021).

A year-on-year (December 2021 vs Decemeber 2020) comparison indicates that industries such as Retail (14 percent) and Travel and Tourism (4 percent) witnessed a revival and are estimated to grow further in 2022. Further, Tier-II cities such as Kolkata (13 percent), Coimbatore (11 percent), Kochi (5 percent), and Baroda (2 percent) observed favourable rise in hiring activity along with metro cities.

Craft Silicon and Karza Technologies partner to automate onboarding

Craft Silicon and Karza Technologies partnered to automate onboarding and verification with intelligent solutions to provide a delightful customer experience to Microlending Institutions. Digital disruption is picking up pace; through this partnership, Craft Silicon aims to leverage Karza Technologies and digitally empower the MFI sector (BFSI sector is a broad description) with advanced KYC services, bank account verification, front-end engagement for offering swift, smooth, and secure onboarding and user verification solution to Microlending Institutions.

 

Using Karza Technologies will further strengthen Craft Silicon's resolve to provide a frictionless customer experience while ensuring the highest protection against fraud. Their commitment is a testament to the initiative and the joint ambition to significantly improve the onboarding experience for MFI customers.

With this partnership, both companies aim to simplify the onboarding process and reinforce financial inclusion. Companies aim to simplify the onboarding process and reinforce financial inclusion address match, which in turn will assist in achieving accurate matching of facial features and real-time verification of bank accounts. It will reduce errors and customer drops during loan processing resulting in high leads to client conversion and zero manipulation. 

Crowdfunding platform Donatekart joins hands with Mzaalo to impact millions of lives

Online crowdfunding platform DonateKart has partnered with Mzaalo, a blockchain-based gamified video streaming platform, to create a positive social impact nationwide.

This collaboration allows Mzaalo users to watch premium content and earn reward coins without having to pay any subscription fee. The platform gratifies the time and attention of users by allowing them to redeem their earned coins for Donatekart vouchers and make an impact in the lives of thousands.

Donatekart has been working towards empowering and uplifting the lives of countless people and animals across India since 2016. With causes varying from ending hunger, supporting the elderly, educating underprivileged children, helping injured animals and many more, Donatekart has impacted over 1000+ NGOs so far and raised over Rs 150 crore worth of donations with the support of 5+ lakh donors. 

Zaggle appoints Sathish N as Chief Product Officer

Zaggle, a SaaS fintech company that helps businesses digitise their spends, on Monday announced the appointment of Sathish N as its Chief Product Officer. The company aims to further strengthen its suite of financial products that help businesses digitise and aggregate their spends through automated and innovative workflows.

Sathish is a seasoned fintech product leader with 25+ years of experience in launching multiple enterprise-scale products and platforms to global markets out of India in the areas of digital transformation, omnichannel engagement, payments, fintech, digital lending, customer centricity, revenue management, Enterprise Product Catalog, and Digital Core Banking.

Sathish joins Zaggle from FSS where he was working as the Deputy Chief Product Officer. He is an Electronics and Communication Engineer from Bharathiar University and has participated in the Leadership programme at the INSEAD business school.

At Zaggle, Sathish will work closely with the Fintech’s MD and CEO, Avinash Godkhindi, and lead product innovation besides being in charge of all overall product strategy, design and development.

Plix launches a social responsibility initiative ‘Plant a Tree’ 

Plix, a clean plant-based nutrition brand for daily wellness and strength, recently launched the ‘Plant A Tree’ initiative to fulfil its brand promise of sustainability for the environment and better health for people. The initiative begins in January 2022 and will be a continuously ongoing initiative. Plix has pledged to plant a tree (seed) for every single purchase made by its customers. The company has earmarked a land parcel in Maharashtra to plant the saplings.

Right from the outset, Plix has strategically focused on sustaining the balance of nature. Not using any artificial ingredients such as preservatives, flavours or colours in Plix products was the first commitment by the brand. And now, Plix is taking its environment conservation efforts to the next level with the ‘Plant A Tree’ initiative.

Founded in 2019 by Rishubh Satiya and Akash Zaveri, Plix is on a mission to transform the dietary and lifestyle habits of people globally. The brand is constantly innovating to replace the conventional formats of pills with palatable gummies, superfood powders, and effervescent. The company has products across categories such as weight loss, hair and skin nutrition, daily wellness, women’s health, and workout.

EVRE enables EV fast-charging infrastructure at all its 52 EV hubs

EVRE, an EV charging infratech player, announced that it is enabling all its 52 EV charging hubs with EVRE fast chargers. This will enable the charging hubs with AC chargers (3.3 KW industrial/Domestic 3-pin sockets and 7KW Type-II) and fast DC chargers (GB/T and CCS) for all its consumers including EV fleets and retail customers.

 

The large hubs by EVRE can charge up to 80 EVs at the same time.   

 

The charging hubs, powered with an intelligent framework by EVRE, will ensure a seamless charging experience for every EV user. Along with slow and fast unmanned smart charging, the hubs will provide single-window access to all the services through the EVRE app. The EVRE hubs will fully operate with cloud-based technology that will be capable of dynamic load management creating a one-stop-shop for all the requirements of an EV driver.

For the convenience of EV fleets, EVRE has enabled an always-connected aggregator with a one-web dashboard that provides features such as telematics for complete real-time monitoring, smart keys-management as well as automated systems for ensuring safety of the vehicles. The idea is to create a 100 percent safe and reliable network for a frictionless charging experience on the go.

 

Apart from the technology enablement, the EVRE hubs ensure a hassle-free charging experience for every EV user with installed amenities such as smart parking and charging points, Eat and Charge facility, retiring rooms especially for the comfort of last-mile delivery fleets and vehicle servicing. EVRE also offers insurance coverage against hazards to driver-users operating the charging stations. The digitally managed hubs will be equipped with solar-based EV charging solutions as well.

Flipkart Leap opens applications for second cohort of its flagship startup programme

Flipkart has announced the evolution of its flagship startup accelerator programme - Flipkart Leap to identify wider and relevant market opportunities for its selected startups. After the completion of the first cohort of the programme, Flipkart Leap will now evolve into two new programmes — Flipkart Leap Ahead (FLA) and Flipkart Leap Innovation Network (FLIN). Flipkart Leap is proud to announce this launch on National Startup Day, a day recognised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently to help startup culture spread better across India.

Designed to cater to the dynamic needs of startups across different stages, these two programmes — FLA and FLIN — will support the startups through insights, mentorship and funding as needed, while helping them scale and build disruptive innovations. With the introduction of these programmes, the startup ecosystem will be able to access end-to-end partnerships with Flipkart across their growth stages.

The Flipkart Leap programme graduated its first cohort in July 2021 with eight startups, who have gone on to raise further funding/investment post their selection in the programme.

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