Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Jan 11, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, January 11, 2022.
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Filmmaker Karan Johar joins hands with Wrogn’s parent company Universal Sportsbiz

Filmmaker Karan Johar has joined hands with Universal Sportsbiz Pvt. Ltd. (USPL) to be their Chief Creative Advisor. He will be working closely with the brand’s in-house design, marketing, and creative team, and will provide direction for the upcoming campaigns. USPL’s fashion brands include Wrogn, Imara, Single, and Wrogn Active.

Anjana Reddy, CEO of Universal Sportsbiz, said, “Karan Johar has a strong sense of the pulse of consumers, especially Gen-Z and Millennials. He has a proven track record of being a smart businessman and has foresight into trends and businesses he partners with, creating a win-win situation. Unapologetic and always ahead of the curve, he has the right synergy with our brands. Together, we are looking forward to capturing the Indian fashion market in a big way.”

Founded in 2014, USPL brands are retailed at Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, and Lifestyle in the large format retail along with multi brand outlet channels, and on Myntra, Flipkart, on marketplaces, besides its exclusive brand stores in over 45+ cities and it’s brand websites wrogn.in, Imara.in and singlelife.in.

LazyPay forays into card segment, launches LazyCard

PayU finance’s Buy Now Pay Later solution LazyPay has joined hands with SBM India to launch LazyCard, a prepaid payment instrument backed by a credit line, foraying into the card segment. The card aims at empowering financially underserved Indians with easy access to credit.

LazyCard will provide customers with a credit limit of up to Rs 5 lakh. Consumers may avail the card at zero joining fee and zero annual fee.

LazyPay

Commenting on the launch of LazyCard, Prashanth Ranganathan, CEO, PayU Finance, said, “As per various industry reports, today only three in every 100 Indians own a credit card, creating a massive credit gap in our economy. We are excited to launch ‘LazyCard’ to empower and elevate the underserved, by giving them means to carry out financial transactions without worrying about their bank account balance. Backed by our proprietary credit underwriting capabilities and data science muscle, the card boasts the largest pre-approval base of 62 million customers, helping more people qualify, particularly in the pandemic’s strenuous economy. We aim to reach corners of the population and give a card in the hands of all underserved Indians.”

Neeraj Sinha, Head – Retail & Consumer Banking, SBM Bank India, said, “There is a need to solve credit needs using Smart Banking solutions that are available, accessible, and affordable. SBM Bank India is endeavouring, as a part of its comprehensive SmartBanking solution set, in partnership with LazyPay, to introduce the Visa powered LazyCard. Further, this card will smoothen the entire loan processing capability at LazyPay’s end thus helping to bring them towards better financial inclusion. We are elated to partner with LazyPay towards this prepaid card.”

Healthy breakfast & snacks brand True Elements allots ESOPs worth Rs 4 Cr

D2C brand for healthy breakfast & snacks, True Elements, has initiated an allotment of equity shares under its employee stock ownership plan (ESOPs), starting December 7, 2021. Largely bootstrapped, the brand currently has an ARR of Rs 75 crore and has allotted Rs 4 crore worth of shares under its ESOP scheme to 60 employees at zero consideration.

Speaking about the initiative, Sreejith Moolayil, Co-founder & COO at True Elements, said, “Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on us all and despite all odds we have managed to record steady growth in a highly uncertain, cluttered, and competitive market. All credit goes to our robust team of TRUE people who pulled off all stops to build and see our revenues bounce back. Rolling out these ESOPs is our small yet hopefully impactful way of rewarding them for their hard work and contribution.”

True Elements offers ESOPs to their current employees, while also providing the stock appreciation rights to all the future employees joining the organization.

FreshToHome received one order per second in 2021

FreshToHome, the fresh fish and meat ecommerce platform, disclosed that by receiving nearly one order per second, it clocked more than two million orders per month in 2021, as per its statistical report. It also revealed that chicken, mutton, fish, and prawns, are the most ordered products on its website and app.

While chicken and Rohu fish ranked as the most sought and ordered products across North India, down South, chicken still ruled everyone’s heart and Sardine was the fish of choice, followed by the meaty mutton.

Shan Kadavil, CEO, FreshToHome

Shan Kadavil, Co-founder & CEO, FreshToHome, said, “2021 has been a great year for FreshToHome. The report reveals some interesting and evolving trends in the industry. We received one order every second in 2021; while people’s love for chicken across the country became more evident as it became the most ordered product everywhere. Fish continues to be a very large percentage of the protein requirement in India.”

Eggs were the most popular items from the list of new releases in 2021 on the app. The report also suggests that the highest buyer of meat, fish, and seafood in a single year on the FreshToHome app spent Rs 9.6 lakh.

Jio Mart Ex-VP Sanjay Mishra joins Arzooo as Vice President Sales

After spending seven years with Reliance Jio and its new retail arm, Jio Mart, Sanjay Mishra has joined the Arzooo team as Vice President, Business Development. He will be spearheading Arzooo’s growth and expansion across the country.

At Arzooo Sanjay’s charter will be to drive Arzooo’s expansion and reach into Tier-III and Tier-IV cities on its mission to power offline retail with technology and financial capability, making them competitive and scalable. He will be leading the sales organisation of Arzooo and providing leadership to its sales and business development teams.

“Arzooo journey has been very fascinating as it is making waves in the retail ecosystem. I am thrilled to be a part of this young and energetic team at Arzooo and excited about taking the enterprise to new heights,” he said.

Apna ropes in Silicon valley data leader, Ronak Shah

Jobs and professional networking platform Apna.co has appointed ex-Coursera data leader Ronak Shah as the Head of Data. Ronak will be leading apna’s data science and engineering teams to build a data-powered platform that will help Apna’s user base to fulfill their aspirations.

Manas Singh, Chief Business Officer at Apna, said, “Ronak is a product visionary with a passion to incorporate data learning and innovation to improve the quality of living. His vast knowledge and expertise will play a pivotal role in improving our platform as we build for the world.”

Ronak Shah

“Data can play a significant role in apna’s mission of solving the earth-scale problem of skilling and unemployment,” added Ronak about his new stint.

Simplilearn launches latest brand campaign #JobGuarantee

Global edtech player Simplilearn announced the launch of its latest brand campaign, #JobGuaranteed. The campaign focuses on its ‘Job Guarantee’ programs that assure a job upon course completion.

The two programs launched thus far in Data Science and Full Stack Development include a 100 percent job guarantee within 180 days of completing them or money-back features. This integrated campaign will be launched across multiple digital platforms, and print media.

Founded in 2010 and based in San Francisco, California, and Bengaluru, Simplilearn is a digital-skills bootcamp that offers world-class work-ready training to individuals and businesses around the world.

LegalPay partners with NBFC Jumbo Finance

Delhi based fintech startup LegalPayhas partnered with NBFC Jumbo Finance for the secured interim financing. The company plans to have more such partnerships this year as there is an increasing number of companies going under insolvency.

Under IBC 2016, Interim Financing is a short-term super-secure loan that allows an insolvent company to remain operational while it is undergoing a Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP). LegalPay targets mid-market companies including MSMEs undergoing insolvencies that have a requirement of Rs 10 lakh - Rs 5 crore.

LegalPay’s CEO and Founder Kundan Shahi said, “We are aggressively capturing the insolvency market and partnering with renowned NBFCs to deploy funds in insolvency markets and enjoy lucrative interest rates for short-term super-secured lending. This will provide investors with more opportunities to invest in distressed debt assets over the foreseeable shorter time horizon.”

"Investing in distressed debt assets is an interesting space for us as investors and we look forward to our partnership with LegalPay to explore opportunities in the insolvency market/space," Smriti Ranka, Managing Director of Jumbo Finance, added.

Fintech platform Fintso partners with smallcase to offer direct equity

Fintso, a B2B2C fintech platform, has partnered with Smallcase to provide unique investment opportunities to the 15 lakh retail investors managed by 3,400 financial product distributors on its wealthtech platform. Through this partnership, distributors will be able to offer curated baskets of stocks and ETFs that are based on a theme, strategy, or goal to their clients, called smallcases.

Commenting on the partnership, Rajan Pathak, Co-founder and MD, Fintso, said, “The collaboration with smallcase will enhance access to a new asset class. Fintso is known for its’ user experience, at par with, if not better, than that being offered by large wealth managers serving HNIs. The collaboration will also accelerate the adoption of smallcases with retail investors, given the high degree of trust that they place on their existing financial product distributors.”

With distributors aiding the investment process, investors using Fintso will be able to access smallcases and make curated stocks a part of their portfolios, making them an intrinsic part of their long-term wealth creation.

Vasanth Kamath, Founder and CEO, smallcase, said, “We are delighted to partner with Fintso and unlock a new use-case for our platform as they join the fast-growing smallcases ecosystem. With this integration, smallcases, managed by leading advisors, become a core part of the investor's portfolio delivered through trusted intermediaries operating on Fintso's best-in-class technology platform.”

SMB neobank startup FloBiz appoints Rabi Agrawal as Head HR

FloBiz, a Bengaluru-based fast-growing SMB neobank, has appointed Rabi Agrawal as Head, Human Resources. With close to one and a half-decade of experience, Rabi will assume charge of talent acquisition, management, and people operations for the organisation.

FloBiz is building an ecosystem of software offerings and financial services to cater to the most pressing needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in India through its flagship product myBillBook - a leading GST billing and accounting solution.

Rabi Agrawal said, “I am excited to be a part of FloBiz and heartened with the organisation’s core ideology of keeping people and teams at the centre of every business decision. Our HR team has enabled great progress even during these unprecedented times. I look forward to designing and delivering impactful people strategies and talent programs to meet organisation-wide objectives and further fuel business growth.” 

In 2021, FloBiz announced its association with actor Manoj Bajpayee as the brand ambassador and launched the #BusinessKoLeSeriously campaign. It raised $31 million Series B led by Sequoia Capital India and US-based Think Investments in September 2021 and $10 million Series A led by Elevation Capital and existing investors Beenext and Greenoaks Capital in March 2021.

Mohit Sharma, Founder and CEO, Oye! Rickshaw

Oye! Rickshaw looks to scale 10X, expand operations in 25 cities this year

EV mobility player Oye Rickshaw is set to launch its operations in 25 new cities along with deploying 100,000 commercial EVs by the 2022 year-end to achieve the annual revenue run rate target of Rs 4,500 million.

With 10,000+ e-rickshaws, the Delhi-based micro-mobility company offers its services in six cities of Delhi NCR, UP, and Haryana. The company recently launched its services in Kanpur and aims to expand to 25 cities this year in the coming months, starting with Jaipur, Lucknow, and Meerut, among others.

“Through our rideshare and delivery model, we have directly impacted in reducing 1.5 million tons of GHG emission by the end of 2021. With our forward-looking approach, we are focused to work towards building a bigger, better, and sustainable business that has a multiplier effect on society and the environment. The sole purpose of the company is to build an efficient future-ready ecosystem around e-rickshaw to solve micro-mobility challenges in ride and delivery by providing safe, convenient, affordable, eco-friendly short-distance transportation through EV adoption & building cost-effective energy distribution channel that eventually helps millions of e-rickshaw drivers increase their net take-home earnings,” said Mohit Sharma, Co-Founder, Oye! Rickshaw.

Founded by IIT-Delhi alumnus Mohit Sharma and NIT-Allahabad alumnus Akashdeep Singh, it claims to have completed over 3.5 million deliveries to the direct customers of Flipkart, Udaan, Grofers, Jiomart, etc. in 2021.

Aditya Birla Education Academy launches special training workshops for non-teaching staff

Aditya Birla Education Academy recently launched an upskilling program for its non-teaching staff of educational institutions to empower them with essential skills for the better functioning of schools.

A series of five workshops was conducted in December 2021 focusing on skills like communication, collaboration and productivity, and some domain-specific topics. The courses were attended by over 100 non-teaching staff from leading schools across the country.

The non-teaching staff were from different schools across India namely Oberoi International School, Ajmera Global School Borivali, Dadar Parsee Youths Assembly High School, Children's Academy, Loreto School Bowbazar, South City International School, Birla High School, etc.

Commenting on the programme, Neerja Birla, Founder & Chairperson, Aditya Birla Education Trust said, “We are pleased to extend our cooperation to educational institutions and support them in upskilling their non-teaching staff by offering enrichment programs designed specially to train them. We look forward to providing more such opportunities for upskilling the non-teaching community and serve them with practical new-age skill sets required to stay relevant in the education space.”

Edited by Megha Reddy