Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Jan 20, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, January 20, 2022.
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Lotus Herbals acquires 25 pc stake in new-age DTC brand Conscious Chemist

Lotus Herbals Pvt Ltd, announces acquisition of 25 percent stake in D2C clean beauty brand Conscious Chemist. Started with just three products, Conscious Chemist now has a skincare range of products spread across categories spanning face care, eye care and body care.

Commenting on the stake buy in Conscious Chemist, Nitin Passi, Joint Managing Director, Lotus Herbals, says, "We are excited about our strategic investment in Conscious Chemist since it aligns with our strategy for accelerating growth in the DTC digital native universe focused on clean beauty. The brand also resonates with our commitment to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. We appreciate the vigour, exuberance and dynamism that Conscious Chemist brings and will provide them tangible access to Indian and global markets, technological and marketing mentorship that will help in propelling its growth over the next five years."

Elaborating on the association, Robin Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO, Conscious Chemist, says, "We have always admired the legacy Lotus has built. It is a focussed ethical beauty care company anchored in bringing quality products to discerning consumers. We are confident that this synergistic relationship will drive exponential growth." 

Post the onset of the pandemic, Lotus Herbals has invested in emerging beauty brands over the past 18 months with the 100 percent acquisition of the luxury Ayurveda brand SoulTree in September 2020, followed by a 32 percent stake buy in the dermaceutical company Fix Derma India in October 2021 and its most recent investment in Conscious Chemist.

LML Electric forms strategic alliance with former Harley Davidson manufacturing facility in India

LML Electric is laying the groundwork for a long-term future in the electric vehicle business in India and around the world. The company today announced a strategic partnership with Saera Electric Auto, one of the largest auto two-wheeler producers formerly manufacturing for global major – Harley Davidson. 

Saera, located in the auto hub of Bawal in Haryana, is now set to produce the upcoming LML Electric vehicles. The highly advanced and innovative infrastructure of Saera, backed by its historical competence in manufacturing will now be leveraged to develop an anticipated EV range of products from the LML electric stable.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr Yogesh Bhatia, CEO of LML, says, "We are very pleased to announce this important collaboration with one of the most reputed manufacturing names in the two-wheeler and auto segment. Saera was our first choice because the company holds unparalleled expertise and reputation with some of the world's premier auto brands. At LML, we hold a strong vision with this alliance as we aspire to create a brand that is 100% localized and has an impeccable quality assurance that is world-class.”

“We foresee an immediate need for automakers to reduce their dependence on imports and build an infrastructure that is designed and capable to address the rapidly growing demand in India and the world over. We are confident that this partnership will be a stepping stone in our vision to redefine and reimagine the future of EV manufacturing in India to bring the country at par with global manufacturing standards.”, he further added.

Pickrr announces 'Pickrr Connect' feature to help sellers directly connect with consumers

Pickrr, a leading SaaS-based logistics startup, has announced a value-added service 'Pickrr Connect' to ease communication between sellers and their end consumers. The new feature will promote direct communication with the buyers in each stage of the post-sales process through three-notification channels: 'SMS,' 'WhatsApp,' and 'email.'

With Pickrr Connect, sellers can connect with their customers during seven different stages of the order journey from order placed to order delivered/not delivered. Prior notification is sent informing the customer not only in the case of delay, but also if the delivery address is wrong. Currently, sellers can use the SMS notification channel free of cost for two events including order picked up and packet out for delivery. 

Team Pickrr

Commenting on the new value-added service launch, Gaurav Mangla, CEO and Co-founder of Pickrr, said, "Transparency is essential for any business as they flourish based on the capability of meeting their customer expectations. This not only builds customers' trust but also contributes to customer retention.”

While the platform is already enabling small-scale online sellers to stay updated about their customers' order processing journey and avail faster money transfers with an early COD option, the new communication module will empower the sellers to create direct pathways to their customers order in real-time.  

OneWeb and Hughes announce agreement to bring low earth orbit satellite broadband service to India

OneWeb, the low earth orbit satellite communications company, and Hughes Network Systems, an innovator in satellite and multi-transport technologies and networks, announced a strategic six-year distribution partner agreement to provide low earth orbit (LEO) connectivity services across India. 

The arrangement between OneWeb and Hughes Communications India Private Ltd. (HCIPL), a joint venture between Hughes and Bharti Airtel Limited follows the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the companies in September 2021.

As the leading satellite broadband provider in India, HCIPL is well-positioned to deliver services to enterprises and governments with OneWeb capacity, especially in areas outside the reach of fibre connectivity. OneWeb will connect towns, villages, and local and regional municipalities in those hardest-to-reach areas, playing a critical role in bridging the digital divide.

 

Partho Banerjee, President and Managing Director, HCIPL, said, “This announcement marks a turning point for Digital India. Enterprise and government customers, including telecom service providers, banks, factories, schools, defence organisations, domestic airlines, and offshore vessel operators, are eagerly anticipating the arrival of new high-performing Satcom services.”   

 

Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb, commented: “OneWeb’s constellation will cover the length and breadth of India, from Ladakh to Kanyakumari, and from Gujarat to the Northeast, and bring secure solutions to enterprises, governments, telcos, airline companies, and maritime customers.”

Exfinity Venture Partners, early investor in Pixis, announces partial exit with 37x returns

Exfinity Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in technology product companies in the B2B space, announces the sale of 2.54 percent of their holding in Pixis (Aiquire Inc) to existing institutional investors. Headquartered in California, Pixis (formerly Pyxis One) is a codeless AI infrastructure company that enables customers to scale accurate data-driven marketing. Exfinity has earned a stellar multiple of 37x from Pixis and is returning close to 30 percent of the total corpus of their fund. With the partial exit, Exfinity will continue to maintain significant holding in Pixis.

Pixis has raised a Series C round of $100 million led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from new investor, General Atlantic. 

Exfinity Venture Partners Chairman V Balakrishnan is an established figure in the IT industry.

Speaking on the development, Chinnu Senthilkumar, Managing Partner & CTO of Exfinity Venture Partners said, “Exfinity was one of the earliest investors in Pixis and has been with the team since their inception. It’s been an absolute pleasure helping the young team grow to what they are today - a codeless AI platform that enables efficient marketing for enterprise customers such as Swiggy, HDFC Bank, Bajaj, Mamaearth and several others.” 

Shubham A Mishra, CEO and Co-founder of Pixis, said, “Exfinity has been a strong supporter and involved investor since our early days. The fund’s strong B2B focus, domain expertise and industry connections combined with the conviction with which they back founders has been vital in our journey of building Pixis.”

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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