Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Jan 13, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, January 13, 2022.

Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao becomes Asia's richest person ahead of Mukesh Ambani

Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, who launched crypto exchange Binance in 2017, has become Asia's richest person, with an estimated net worth of at least $96.5 billion (excluding his crypto holdings), as per new calculations from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Zhao's net worth surpasses that of Mukesh Ambani, the Indian entrepreneur whose fortune has also soared over the last two years, as per reports.

In an interview, a Binance spokesperson told CNN Business that "CZ intends to give away most of his wealth, even 99 percent of his wealth, just like other entrepreneurs and founders."

Last year, Ethereum Co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Coinbase Founder and CEO Brian Armstrong also became billionaires on the back of 2021's crypto bull run.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO, Binance

Vedantu appoints Pankaj Jain as CFO

Edtech unicorn Vedantu today announced the appointment of Pankaj Jain as Chief Financial Officer, who will reportedly build and manage a diverse team while ensuring strong financial planning across each vertical of the business.

With over 25 years of experience in the finance industry, Pankaj is a seasoned Chartered Accountant and a member of the Institute of Cost Accountant of India (ICWA).

He said, “In my current role, I intend to create a finance structure that will actualise Vedantu's vision and envision new plans to drive the company’s growth to the next level. I look forward to being part of Vedantu’s mission to create accessible and affordable education for every child in the country.”

QuickShift launches second fulfilment centre in Bengaluru

Plug-and-play logistics firm QuickShift revealed it has launched its second fulfilment centre in Bengaluru to cater to the surging demand, owing to the rapid growth in online transactions across marketplaces and brand portals.

The 65,000 sqft facility will give thrust to the company's commitment to providing services such as warehouse fulfilment, logistics, order management, and last-mile delivery in the burgeoning markets of South India, the startup said in a written statement.

"This facility will help to ease and smoothen delivery services in this thriving market and will ensure the product reaches the right place, right hands, hassle-free with 100 percent accuracy. Same-day delivery today has made a tremendous impact on online businesses, and we believe that by reducing the amount of time between making an order and receiving it can greatly enhance customer satisfaction levels and experiences," said Anshul Goenka, Founder and CEO, Quickshift.

Greymatter launches picking solution supported through assist robot

Fulfilment modernisation startup GreyMatter today launched a new optimisation in its GreyMatter™ AI software that delivers assisted picking in order fulfilment, supported through the new Ranger™ Assist robot. 

GreyMatter and Ranger Assist dynamically optimise and orchestrate how order fulfilment workers and robots work together. Enhanced by artificial intelligence, the advanced assisted picking robot enables collaborative picking for faster, more accurate fulfilment, particularly for fast-moving items in ecommerce orders, the firm claimed.

“As the most advanced, yet easily adaptable assisted picking robot, Ranger Assist works with GreyMatter to help retailers deliver on customer promises with speed, tackling the challenges of rising order volumes, increasingly competitive labour pools, and escalating consumer expectations for immediate and free deliveries," said Akash Gupta, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, GreyOrange.

Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike ranks #1 for modern endpoint security market share

CrowdStrike, a firm involved in cloud-delivered protection of endpoints, cloud workloads, identity, and data, today announced it has ranked #1 for the second consecutive time for Modern Endpoint Security revenue market share in IDC’s report: Worldwide Modern Endpoint Security Market Shares, July 2020 - June 2021.

According to the report, CrowdStrike owns “14.2 percent total shares of the 2021 endpoint security market and brought in $986.1 million in revenue, demonstrating 75.1 percent growth.”

The report examines how during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations globally transitioned from on-premise data centres to public clouds and expanded the need to secure both endpoints and workloads in their IT environments.

Survey findings from IDC indicate adoption of cloud applications shows no signs of slowing down, and in fact, will most likely increase moving forward.

NODWIN Gaming acquires 100pc stake in licensed merchandising firm Planet Superheroes

Nodwin Gaming, a leading South Asian esports company and a material subsidiary of Nazara Technologies, announced it has acquired comic, pop culture and superheroes merchandising retailer Planet Superheroes.

This new addition will enable NODWIN Gaming to offer iconic global merchandise to the millions of youth who engage with NODWIN Gaming via its popular IPs such as India Premiership, VCC, NH7, and DreamHack.

NODWIN will also expand on the current offerings of Planet Superheroes by exploring partnerships with global publishers like KRAFTON, Gameloft, Riot Games, etc., to create innovative and locally relevant merchandise and licensing offerings on games like BGMI, Valorant, PUBG PC, Asphalt, CSGO, etc., that have become household names.

D2C meat startup Fipola to invest Rs 40 Cr to double retail presence

Fipola Retail, an omnichannel meat D2C startup, announced its expansion plans across the southern part of India by investing over Rs 40 crore. It will double its retail presence across the key states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and cities like Hyderabad by March 2022.

This would take Fipola’s retail presence to over 100 stores, making it one of the leading meat retail startups of India, it said in a statement.


Sushil Kanugolu, Founder and Managing Director, Fipola, said,

“Fipola is charting an extremely aggressive expansion strategy for the year 2022. To begin with, we would be launching over 40 stores across our existing markets, which would enable us to garner a very high market share in this competitive ecosystem. This is part of our larger strategy to reach over 250 retail stores pan-India by 2023-24.”

Snapdeal partners BOB Financial and NPCI to launch contactless RuPay credit card

Snapdeal has joined hands with BOB Financial and NPCI to launch a co-branded contactless RuPay credit card, which aims to popularise the adoption and usage of credit cards among the growing number of online buyers from India’s smaller cities and towns.

The co-branded credit card will reportedly be equipped with contactless features and will be offered on the RuPay platform.

Snapdeal said it receives over 86 percent of its orders from outside metro cities, with more than 72 percent of its orders coming from buyers living in Tier 2+ cities and towns, each with a population of less than one million.

Snapdeal’s core target audience is the value-seeking, middle-income, and price-conscious buyers who predominantly live in the smaller cities of India.

Kapiva forays into ingestible skin foods category with vegan, gluten-free Ayurvedic Glow Mix powder

Kapiva, a homegrown Ayurvedic D2C brand, announced it is foraying into the ingestible skin foods category with the launch of Glow Mix, a plant-based supplement in a ready to go convenient sachet.

Aimed at nourishing the skin from within, Glow Mix will empower people to address skin dullness, anti-ageing, pigmentation, dark circle, and UV damage concerns, adding a natural glow to their skin, the startup claimed.

Ameve Sharma, Founder, Kapiva, said, “Our aim has been to enable our consumers with alternate Ayurvedic solutions they can incorporate in their life to make it better and holistic.  Hence, realising the need-gap for holistic solutions in the skincare industry, we decided to venture into the Skin Food segment with the launch of Glow Mix."
Edited by Suman Singh