Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 16, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, February 16, 2022.
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WazirX Co-founder and SuperGaming launch Tegro, a Web3 games ecosystem marketplace

Siddharth Menon, Co-founder and COO of cryptocurrency marketplace WazirX and Indian game developer SuperGaming have announced a new initiative called Tegro. Tegro is a complete Web3 games ecosystem empowering players, game developers, and investors to unlock the potential of Web3 in the best possible way — sustainable, transparent, and fair.

 

Siddharth brings deep expertise in Web3 ecosystems and scaling businesses, having built WazirX with over eight million users and billions in monthly volume.

“Mobile games disrupted the games industry and Web3 games could be an even bigger disruption,” said Siddharth. “Web3 games will be the next paradigm shift in gaming, opening new economic and creative opportunities for players, and have the potential to unlock a 2 trillion dollar market.”

However, Web3 games need to be built in a way that respects players and keeps them engaged while still onboarding institutional investors and traders who would grow this economic opportunity. Most existing Web3 games and by extension their economies don’t put players at the centre of this opportunity. 

This is where SuperGaming’s expertise, with over 300 million players and nearly 100 games developed, comes into play. 

 

“At SuperGaming, we make games that people play for years,” said Roby John, Co-founder of Tegro. “We see Web3 technologies as complementary to our player-first ethos, allowing us to produce new creative and economic opportunities for them. With the potential of Web3 games and Tegro, we can do so in a way that’s sustainable, fair, and transparent for all.”

Fisdom partners with Bank of Maharashtra to offer wealth management services 

Wealthtech startup Fisdom has joined hands with the Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) to offer a comprehensive suite of wealth management products and services to over 29 million customers of the bank. This partnership will focus on enabling large-scale facilitation and distribution of wealth products and services through the bank’s network of more than 2,000 branches and its digital platforms including the mobile banking app and internet banking.

Customers will be able to view all the details pertinent to funds in order to make well-informed decisions and also can track the performances of mutual funds in real-time. Fisdom is also planning to expand its product suite and add multiple features to provide a seamless investment experience to the customers, in the days to come.

Shri AS Rajeev, MD and CEO, Bank of Maharashtra said, 

“This facility envisages enabling our customers to add varied options at their fingertip while enabling them to avail services under one roof. This will foster our mutual fund clientele while giving them opportunity through diverse portfolios. This also shows our commitment for Digital Delivery, which shall surely add fillip to our digital journey in the days to come.”

“We believe this strategic partnership will redefine wealth management for the customers of Bank of Maharashtra as we promise them a unique and convenient investment experience. We look forward to partnering with various other banks in the near future and serving their customers with our innovative tech-led wealth management products and quality service delivery,” added Shri Anand Dalmia, Co-founder, Fisdom

Udaan removes one year ESOP cliff

B2B ecommerce platform Udaan on Wednesday announced a ‘first of its kind programme’, and has decided to remove ‘cliff’ vesting for all ESOPs. All future ESOP allocations at Udaan will vest every quarter. The one-year ‘cliff’ period is a widely prevalent industry practice that requires employees to wait for one year for their ESOPs to start vesting. Udaan has done away with this waiting period.

 

Meenakshi Priyam, Group CHRO, udaan, said,

“People trust companies with their careers. We felt that the practice of granting ESOPs with a one-year cliff doesn’t reciprocate this trust. As a progressive employer, we have decided to take the lead in balancing the scales in employer-employee relationships in the industry and revamped our ESOP policy. We want to treat all our employees as responsible adults and as equal partners.”

As a part of the revamp, the company announced that every employee at Udaan, regardless of their tenure or job profile, will be allotted ESOPs under their annual performance cycle. Further, these ESOPs will vest at a quarterly frequency and be completely vested within two years - twice as fast as the industry norm of four years.

Following these changes, the overall number of ESOP holders in the company claims to have jumped 400 percent and now covers 100 percent of its employees.

HomeLane appoints former Tata Elxsi exec Narayanan Rajagopalan as Vice President -Design 

HomeLane announced the appointment of Narayanan Rajagopalan as its new Vice President - Design to lead the design team and to stay ahead of emerging design trends in home interiors. Narayanan will report to HomeLane’s Co-founder and COO, Tanuj Choudhry.

In his new role, Rajagopalan will bring together his expertise in experience design to enhance the customer experience at HomeLane and further HomeLane’s commitment to tech-enabled design. He will also focus on expanding HomeLane’s product offerings to offer value and function for the diverse Indian households. 

Narayanan joins HomeLane from Tata Elxsi, where he led the service design domain across a variety of sectors. He comes with seventeen years of experience and has worked across both startups and established organisations.

 

Expressing his delight, Narayanan Rajagopalan, Vice President - Design, said, "I am excited to be part of HomeLane and look forward to assisting our consumers in identifying their needs, aspirations and creating solutions that will help us to deliver their dream homes.”

IOA, ESFI hold meeting to discuss training roadmap for e-sports for upcoming Asian Games 2022

To take stalk of the preparations and planning of non-Olympic sports federations participating in the upcoming Asian Games, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Dhruv Batra met the officials of nine sports federations, including Esports Federation of India (ESFI), at the Olympic Bhawan on February 14, 2022. 

E-sports is set to make its debut as a medal event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, to be held from September 10 to 25.  

During the meeting, IOA stressed on the need for a fair and transparent selection process of players and athletes. The last date for the submission of the Indian Team entries by name is April 15, 2022. 

The 2022 edition of the Asian Games will see medals awarded in eight categories of E-sports, which are EA SPORTS FIFA branded soccer games, an Asian Games version of PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor, Dota 2, League of Legends, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, Hearthstone, and Street Fighter V. 

ESFI again appeals to the probable qualifying gamers/players to get their passports ready and to get fully vaccinated. 

Besides ESFI, Bridge, Chess, Ju-Jitsu, Kurash, Sepaktakraw, Sports Climbing, Soft Tennis, and Softball non-Olympic sports federations were present at the meeting were . 

Myntra partners with global athletic brand ‘New Balance’

As Myntra continues to strategically bolster its international brand portfolio, the fashion major has announced the launch of the global sportswear brand, ‘New Balance’, on its platform. 

New Balance will host a range of products on Myntra, catering to men and women across footwear, apparel, bags and sports accessories. The brand will offer 50+ SKUs, which will be increased to 100+ in the upcoming months. 

Visibility for New Balance will be amplified extensively on the Myntra app, with a substantial presence on Myntra’s social and live commerce platforms, Myntra Studio and M-Live. In addition, the brand also has a dedicated store on M-Mall for shoppers to seamlessly browse through its large collection of styles and designs. Casual shoes or sneakers, along with open footwear and athleisure claims to have been witnessing high traction on Myntra over the last few months.

CoinDCX enhances anti-money laundering protection, announces partnership with Solidus Labs 

Crypto unicorn CoinDCX on Wednesday announced it has selected crypto-native risk monitoring firm Solidus Labs as a strategic compliance partner. 

To protect its users from known forms of market abuse and a plethora of emerging crypto-specific risks, partnering with Solidus will enable CoinDCX to forge trust and transparency on its platform, the digital asset exchange said in a release. Every transaction will be monitored on CoinDCX using Solidus Labs’ cutting-edge machine-learning detection models, and state-of-the-art connectivity and infrastructure to identify suspicious activity, the release added. This guarantees end-to-end monitoring and surveillance of user activity—from fiat deposits, trading transactions and crypto withdrawal deposits—against fraudulent transactions on CoinDCX’s platform. 

Designed to meet crypto’s risk monitoring challenges, regulation, and licensing requirements, Solidus Labs’ Market Integrity solutions are built natively for crypto transactions, providing precise and holistic detection and reporting to promptly detect, investigate, prevent and report anomalous activities. 

CoinDCX Co-founder Neeraj Khandelwal said, “As India’s safest crypto exchange, security and transparency are paramount pillars that have made CoinDCX a trusted partner in our customers’ trading journey. Especially in today’s technology-entrenched world, countering illicit activities requires harnessing the latest world-class digital solutions from leading industry players such as Solidus Labs. In our long-term efforts to maintain the highest standards of screening and due diligence, CoinDCX is committed to bolstering compliance solutions on our platform.” 

This partnership with Solidus Labs enhances CoinDCX’s compliance with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) recommendations, reinforcing its existing position to counter money laundering and combat the financing of terrorism. CoinDCX’s existing AML/CFT analytics will be integrated into the Solidus Labs market integrity hub, enabling the management of all risks in one place. 

Infibeam Avenues forays into fintech startup management space

Infibeam Avenues on Wednesday announced its foray into the fintech startup management space. The company has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary – Infibeam Project Management Private Ltd (IPML) — in GIFT City (Gandhinagar) for providing software and fintech startups with pre-build infrastructure, tools, and resources to grow the business.

The fintech startup management space is a business model, where the startups are provided with capital-intensive and complex tech and software infrastructure, software tools (licensed and free versions), and other resources, almost in a plug-and-play mode. Thus, startups can focus their energy on their core business.

"This time, Gujarat won't miss the IT bus. Technologies have evolved, and with a tech-friendly new policy, the state will attract a large number of software and fintech startups and companies. Our new venture – Infibeam Project Management Private Ltd, will tap the new emerging opportunities by aiding the software and fintech startups with required pre-build infrastructure and ecosystem," said Vishal Mehta, Managing Director, Infibeam Avenues Ltd.

M2P Fintech acquires core banking platform BSG ITSOFT

M2P FINTECH, an API infrastructure company, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire BSG ITSOFT, a provider of core banking solutions. The acquisition further bolsters M2P Fintech’s approach to providing a new generation cloud-native platform and positions M2P Fintech among a few entities globally to offer a fully integrated banking and payments stack that is built on API-first infrastructure. The platform, besides being an integrated CBS and payments stack, will also cater to emerging use cases around blockchain, trade finance and aims to accelerate their adoption in mainstream banking across different geographies.

  

Satish Krishnaswamy, Founder, CEO, and MD of BSG ITSOFT, will take up a product leadership role at M2P and will continue to build on the vision for BSG. 

He commented, "Over the past few years, we have been able to enable banks of all sizes to intelligently manage their operations and scale seamlessly. Joining M2P Fintech gives us an opportunity to accelerate our vision and build on relevant use cases. We are looking forward to integrating our core banking platform with M2P’s API stack that will benefit our partner banks”.

With over 70+ products, BSG’s platform offers a future-ready technology stack that is compatible with licensed and open-source platforms. BSG offers proprietary technology that leverages data science insights to optimise the user experience. The cloud-native platform has an extensive clientele of over 250+ co-operative banks, Small Finance banks and NBFCs. Based out of Mumbai, BSG has an existing team size of 100 and will continue to work on enhancing its product offering, thereby accelerating the pace of banking technological transformation.

Edtech startup Hero Vired introduces ESOPs programme  

Edtech startup Hero Vired on Wednesday said it is rolling out an exclusive ESOPs programme for its full-time faculty members and teaching assistants, who have completed six months with the company. The programme will automatically extend to new faculty members as they meet the stipulated tenure. 

A total of 10 full-time faculties are granted ESOPs worth around Rs 50 lakh. This is expected to hit a whopping Rs 10 crore in the next three/-four years. Depending on individual and company performance, the startup will grant fresh ESOPs every year. It is also looking at partial buyback or secondary exit in three-five years.

The startup is hiring aggressively and plans to add 50 professionals to its already growing team of 140+ by March 2022. 

 

Akshay Munjal, Founder, and CEO, Hero Vired, said, 

 

"We have witnessed phenomenal growth since our launch in April 2021, enabled by our faculty's collective conviction and contribution. The faculty ESOPs programme is our way of thanking our faculty and ensuring wealth creation for them. As a learning company focused on live instructor-led sessions, our teaching staff is the backbone of our business. Our ESOPs programme is our dynamic approach to attracting, rewarding, and retaining top talent. The Hero Vired employee stocks will hit 20X valuation in three years, and as we prepare for our IPO in the next five-six years, their valuation will rise further.”

LEAD announces an ESOP liquidation plan of $3M

Edtech Unicorn LEAD announced an ESOP liquidation plan, close to $3 million for its employees. The announcement comes at a time when LEAD is aiming to move towards a high growth trajectory post the recent Series E fundraise of $100 million led by WestBridge Capital and GSV Ventures.

With this funding, the company attained unicorn status, at a valuation of $1.1 billion, making it India’s first edtech unicorn of 2022. 

 

With close to 20 percent of LEAD’s employees owning ESOPs, LEAD Co-founder and CEO Sumeet Mehta said, 

“Our success would not have been possible without the relentless efforts of our teams. I'm delighted that we are in a position to offer significant wealth creation opportunities to those who have joined us on our mission to provide an excellent education to every child. We have also included our alumni in the liquidation plan because they continue to remain ambassadors of LEAD.”
Edited by Megha Reddy