Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Jan 24, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, January 24, 2022.
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Ezetap recognises a strong leadership team, elevates Byas​ Nambian​ to ​co-​founder

Ezetap has announced that Byas Nambisan, CEO since 2019, has now been elevated as a Co-founder by the Board. This is in recognition of his leadership in bringing the company to the forefront of India’s dynamic fintech landscape. 

The Board has also recognised Arjun Ramesh, Vice President International Sales, UAE, and Tamal Das, Vice President Customer Solutions & Software Engineering QA, as members of the Founding Team. In the past six months, the company also promoted Vineet Suneja to Chief Revenue Officer to spearhead business development and alliances with the leading merchant acquiring banks, fintech partners, and retail channels.

Ezetap has shown strong growth over the past few years and has expanded its partnership to now cover ​seven leading banks in India and has most of the marquee enterprises as its clients. The company grew over 90​ percent YoY as of December 2021. It processes $8 ​billion in annualised GTV through 4 lakh retail points and is aiming to reach Rs 7,500​ crore in annual revenue by 2024.

Flipkart Grocery expands its service to 1,800 cities across India

Flipkart, India’s homegrown ecommerce marketplace, has ramped up its ​grocery operations to now service consumers in 1​,​800 cities, including Ajmer, Amritsar, Bhuj, Bokaro, Daman & Diu, Dehradun​,​ and Kanyakumari, among others. With this expansion, Flipkart is now present in 23 states across the country taking its reach to 10,000 pincodes.

Consumers will now have an option to purchase high-quality value-driven grocery products with a selection of more than 6​,​000+ in a safe and seamless manner. At the same time, the expansion will help support local farmers as they leverage the platform to become part of the digital economy. As the third wave of C​OVID-19 becomes imminent, customers across these cities will be ableLokalo get groceries safely delivered at the doorstep, without having to leave their homes.

Flipkart has made deep investments in its grocery business for the last two years, and today caters to its pan-India customers through 22 grocery fulfilment centres. These centres are spread across 25.2 ​lakh sq. ft. in total, creating thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities and boosting local employment.

Mensa Brands acquires majority stake in gardening solutions brand, TrustBasket

​In its third partnership of 2022, Mensa Brands has invested in homegrown online gardening solutions brand TrustBasket. 

TrustBasket offers a range of gardening solutions catering to different consumer segments — from gardening kits for hobbyists to compost makers and speciali​sed soils for professionals. 

Founded in 2015 by Santhosh Appaji, Santhosh Kumar N​,​ and Shekar N, the brand​ claims to have served over 1.2 million customers in the last ​six years. TrustBasket’s products are available on its D2C website and Amazon and other e-commerce platforms.

ISB Executive Education collaborates with Eruditus to upskill professionals in Business Analytics

The Indian School of Business (ISB Executive Education) has announced the launch of the next cohort of the 12-week Advanced Business Analytics Programme with Eruditus. The programme will start from February 14, 2022.

The Indian Big Data Technology and Service Market has grown significantly in recent years with an expected CAGR of 35.1​ percent in the forecast period 2021-2026. By 2022, 90​ percent of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency. As per a report by Gartner, nearly 33​ percent of large organisations will have analysts catering to decision intelligence and decision modelling by 2023. 

Launched in April 2021, over 568 professionals have completed the programme already. 

​Spinny plans to ​expand to more than 30 cities by end of this year

​Used car retailing platform Spinny​ announced the launch of a #WithExtraCare initiative to achieve a completely contactless car buying and selling experience for customers​.​ 

​The startup aims to expand to more than 30 cities by the end of 2022 and will strengthen its online deliveries to simplify the used car buying process for consumers. The ​company​ plans to bring more technological advancement and modern solutions with contactless home deliveries this year in line with increasing consumer shift towards safety, convenience, and environment-friendly personal mobility. 

Presently, Spinny is​ operational​ in 22 cities, including Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, B​e​ngal​uru​, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Indore, Kochi​,​ and Coimbatore. 

Embedded finance startup Falcon emerges from stealth; to hit $30M revenue by March ‘23

Embedded Finance startup Falcon has launched in India, announcing its target of hitting $30​ million in revenue by March 2023. Falcon has already received backing from a number of investors from the US, India, and the Middle East, indicating the interest of the global community in the $24​ billion market opportunity as companies rush to offer embedded payments and lending products.

Shamir Karkal (Founder, Sila Money), Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta (Founders, Licious), Jeremy​ ​Solomon (Former CFO Affirm), Boling Jiang (Founder, Lithic), Rangarajan Krishnan (CEO, Five Star​ ​Finance), Deepak Shahdadpuri (MD of DSG Consumer Partners), Devesh Sachdeva (MD, Fusion​ ​Microfinance), among executives from Softbank, UAE Sovereign Fund, Silicon Valley Bank, Robinhood,​ and Facebook are early backers of the embedded finance platform.

Ex-Ola Head of Design Asis Panda joins employee wellness platform Nova Benefits

Nova Benefits, an employee wellness platform focussed on corporate health insurance, announced the onboarding of​ ​Asis Panda to its leadership team, as Director of Design.

​Asis ​comes with over 10 years of cross-functional expertise in design, insurance, and financial service, along with a deep knowledge of Product Design and Payments. Prior to joining Nova Benefits, he was the Head of Design at Ola, where he managed three key verticals, which included Ola delivery, Ola vehicle commerce, and Ola financial services. Before Ola, Asis was the Head of Design at Haptik – a SaaS company based out of Mumbai.

In his new role at Nova Benefits, Asis will lead the product design and creative teams, playing a vital role in enabling excellent customer experience.

Isthara acquires ‘Letsmobility’ to bolster technological solutions in the ​co-living and ​foodtech sectors

Isthara Co​living has acquired Letsmobility, a leading software product engineering company.​ ​ Through this acquisition, Isthara aims to leverage Letsmobility’s private cloud-based microapps platform, Livet, to digiti​se operations and introduce advanced tech solutions in the highly fragmented co-living and institutional cafeteria sectors.

Isthara aims to enhance its core technology by merging it with the proprietary machine learning framework developed by Letsmobility. Through the integration, Isthara will develop and advance into a pioneering Framework 2.0, which will enhance the digital interface of the company’s customer-facing applications. Additionally, the platform’s AI-powered suggestions, business reports,​ and custom workflows will enable the company to improve efficiency and streamline operations. 

​Qjobs crosses 2​M​ users; clocks 10x growth in a year

Qjobs, a jobs platform ​for blue and grey collar recruitment,​ claims to​ ha​ve​ achieved 10x growth amassing ​two million job seekers in a year. ​In a statement, ​Qjobs ​claims that it ​added the latest ​one​ million job seekers in a ​"​record time of 100 days​"​ and more than doubled jobs in Q3 FY22 itself, buoyed by the seasonal festive demand by ​enterprises and SMBs.

Qjobs was launched in November 2020 to efficiently address the recruiter and candidate hiring gap by offering verified jobs to job seekers and pre-screened and skilled candidates to recruiters. 

Backed and powered by Quess Corp, QJobs helps top companies in India get access to identity verified and pre-screened candidates to meet their intensive hiring needs. For job seekers, QJobs has verified job opportunities in 20+ industries across India to apply from. It has a strong network of top employers including Shadowfax, Rapido​,​​ among others.

Wadhwani Foundation and National Entrepreneurship Network announce the launch of “Wadhwani TakeOff”

Wadhwani Foundation and the National Entrepreneurship Network [NEN] announced the launch of the ​"​Wadhwani Takeoff​"​​ program​me, which ​aims to ​provide an incredible opportunity for shortlisted startups and entrepreneurs to secure an all-expense-paid trip to Silicon Valley, the global centre of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. 

The Wadhwani TakeOff programme will give shortlisted participants extensive exposure to the famed entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Valley through networking exposure with entrepreneurs, mentorship by business leaders and entrepreneurs, and​ the opportunity to pitch ideas to investors.

​It seeks to encourage and excite students already enrolled in the NEN entrepreneurship course and will simultaneously motivate new students to enrol in the course. ​Eligible participants who end up with a commercially viable idea/venture and get top certification by an independent global jury will make it to this all-expense-paid Silicon Valley trip.

Zypp Electric ​partners with EVs ​spare ​parts ​provider Mechanifyspares

​EV logistics startup Zypp Electric announced​ a partnership with Mechanifyspares, ​an online platform dedicated to providing auto components and spare parts for EVs​. ​The aim is ​to procure and repair the 5​,​000+ EVs currently on road, seamles​​sly. 

With Zypp Electric, Mechanifyspare aims to organise the disconnected electric two-wheeler (E2W) market by augmenting the existing supply chain and proprietary technology.

Under this partnership, Zypp’s dedicated team that handles repairs of its EVs will now be able to procure required spare parts by placing an online order and getting it delivered across the cities Zypp is present in. Further, Zypp will also enable Mechanifyspares in becoming a one-stop solution for all sorts of EV challenges related to maintenance and repairing.

Praveen Joshi, former Director Engineering, Sharechat, and Nitin Babel, Co-founder of Niki.ai join Lokal

Lokal, a hyperlocal social media platform, today announced the appointment of Nitin Babel as Vice President Operations and Praveen Joshi as Vice President Engineering. The appointment of both senior leadership roles is a critical step towards achieving Lokal’s vision of building India’s first super app for towns.

With this strategic move, Lokal aims to achieve operational excellence and a strong digital architecture to extend digital opportunities for India's Tier II and III users in their native languages. Nitin Babel has featured in Forbes Asia 30 under 30 and honoured by IIT Kharagpur as Young Alumni Achiever. A Digital Bharat enthusiast, he brings years of expertise and research on understanding the needs of the next billion users.

As VP-Operations, Nitin will be responsible for devising the operational strategy and aligning all the business verticals to contribute towards the larger business vision. Nitin has been a part of the startup ecosystem for over seven years. In his previous role as Co-founder at Niki.ai, he was instrumental in establishing a user-first culture across the organisation. 

An industry veteran, Praveen Joshi comes with over 15 years of experience in architecting and delivering innovative large-scale technology platforms from conception to market. As VP-Engineering, he will focus on orchestrating a robust tech framework, facilitating the business to garner high-impact results through an integrated and unified digital strategy. Leading the team of developers, engineers and collaborating with product managers, Praveen will also closely mentor the tech talent at Lokal.

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