Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 25, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Friday, February 25, 2022.
2 CLAPS
0

AppsFlyer appoints Ritu Sharma as Country Manager in India

San Francisco and Benguluru-based AppsFlyer, the global attribution and marketing analytics leader, on Friday announced the appointment of Ritu Sharma as the Country Manager in India. Ritu will lead AppsFlyer India’s business operations across all categories in her new role.

As per the statement, she will focus on expanding the current customer portfolio, scaling up existing business while growing sustainable customer relationships through a consultative approach. To that end, she will manage and closely integrate with teams across functions.

Ritu brings over 25 years of experience in leading teams across technology, telecom, and broadcast industries.

Sanjay Trisal, General Manager, AppsFlyer INSEA/ANZ, said, 

“As we see a surge in India’s mobile-first users and New Bharat contributing to the economy, we are looking at driving our customers’ growth and progress in rural and semi-urban markets with a  privacy-first product strategy in the evolving mobile ecosystem. India is one of our fastest-growing markets, and under Ritu’s leadership, we will be able to sustain and grow our substantial presence in the region.” 

Before joining AppsFlyer, Ritu was the Head of Global Sales at Amagi Media Labs. She led the global sales organisation across Asia Pacific, Europe, and the US in both the linear and nonlinear space. She has held leadership roles across functions, including sales, marketing, deal structuring, client retention, operations, and general management in global multinationals and startups.

Previously, she was associated with Vodafone, Encompass, and Proficio.

WazirX unveils BUIDL, an own exchange program for crypto entrepreneurs

India’s crypto exchange, WazirX, has unveiled BUIDL that is allowing crypto entrepreneurs to build their billion-dollar exchange. 

According to the official statement, BUIDL - crypto version of the term ‘build’ - WazirX aims to take the ecosystem to the next level by helping aspiring crypto entrepreneurs navigate the landscape. The platform will provide various tools and capabilities to entrepreneurs by releasing its APIs, thereby giving them access to over 300 trading pairs, the statement added.

Entrepreneurs will also receive technical assistance and guidance in developing product modules and counseling on KYC and AML (anti-money laundering) compliance concerns. In addition, WazirX will assist these budding entrepreneurs in obtaining funding by connecting them with eager venture capitalists.

The company has partnered with a few venture capital funds to help users grow more by providing grants and funding opportunities.

Siddharth Menon, Co-founder and COO at WazirX, said,

“We started the programme with the goal of paving the way for the future generation of crypto entrepreneurs who wish to start their own exchange using WazirX's expertise. The goal is to expand the ecosystem to cover the underserved niches in the Indian market as effectively as possible."

"We envisage talented entrepreneurs with fire in their bellies to utilise this programme as a springboard to create their own businesses for solving challenges and propelling the country’s growth trajectory.”

IIT Kanpur develops novel nanoparticles for disease and rice crop protection

A team of researchers led by Dr Santosh K Misra and Piyush Kumar from the Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, IIT Kanpur, has developed a novel nanoparticle-based bio-degradable-carbonoid-metabolite (BioDCM) that can protect crops from fungal and bacterial infections.

The research was done in collaboration with researchers Dr C Kannan and Divya Mishra from ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research, and Dr R Balamurugan and Mou Mandal from the School of Chemistry, University of Hyderabad.

This is the second such innovation in the agriculture sector since last year from IIT Kanpur. In 2021, out of the 107 patents filed by the institute, one invention was the Bhu-Parikshak soil-testing device that has proven to significantly reduce the time and hassle required for testing soil in the lab.

Prof Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur said,

“As the problems faced by the farmers are multifold, our efforts also have been relentless to enrich the whole ecosystem of farming, in general. In that regard, the invention of these novel nanoparticles would lessen the worries of crop infection and give a boost to crop yield.”

The bio formulation is non-toxic in nature, eco-friendly, easily degradable, and is established to be a potent natural inhibitor in suppressing the growth and development of soil-based plant pathogens, including fungi and bacteria. 

It helps in the crops to defend themselves by eliciting defence and meeting the level of competition towards better productivity.

The invention also helps in overcoming some shortcomings such as less control on bioavailability, premature degradation and absorption by the crops, thus, making it a feasible option for farmers. 

FarEye introduces new sustainability capabilities to minimise CO2 emissions

FarEye, a global SaaS platform provider transforming last-mile logistics, on Friday announced several new capabilities for more environmentally sustainable delivery operations, route optimisation, and consumer experience. 

These include Green Vehicle Route Planning, Long-Haul Truck Route Planning, Carrier Allocation System, and Sustainability Dashboard.

“In a world shifting towards prioritising environmental sustainability, we are dedicated to complementing and supporting our customers’ sustainability goals. In 2021, customers that used our platform collectively helped reduce carbon footprint by 40,961 tons. We see this number continue to increase as our customers adopt and use these new capabilities across the first, mid, and last-mile in their delivery network,” said Suvrat Joshi, Chief Product Officer at FarEye. 

FarEye said the intelligent delivery management platform is designed to help customers boost delivery efficiency, enable green fleets, and gain visibility into outcomes of sustainability initiatives. 

The platform claims to be processing over 100 million transactions every month, supporting more than 25,000 drivers and is integrated into a network of over five million vehicles, improving billions of deliveries worldwide. The company is on a journey to achieve 100+ million transactions per day with processing petabytes of data.

Crypto unicorn CoinSwitch launches Recurring Buy Plan for crypto purchases

Bengaluru-based crypto platform CoinSwitch has launched Recurring Buy Plan (RBP), a simple and planned way to purchase crypto assets in India.

With this launch, CoinSwitch aims to enable users to beat market volatility and avoid making impulsive buying or selling decisions. 

Founder and CEO, CoinSwitch, Ashish Singhal, said,

"The CoinSwitch Recurring Buy Plan will allow users to purchase crypto in a planned manner and enable the user to avoid the impulse to time the market and make emotional trading decisions. It will also empower users to explore this new asset class in a more structured and disciplined manner."

With the help of RBP, users can set aside a fixed amount of money to purchase a crypto asset every month over a long period of time, allowing them to focus on a long-term strategy rather than timing the market.

On CoinSwitch, users can deposit only Indian rupees from their verified bank accounts. The company permits only resident Indian bank accounts on the platform and conducts screening (for Politically Exposed Person status, Sanctioned list, and negative news) and other KYC checks.

 

Three simple steps required to create an RBP - click ‘Recurring Buy’ on the buy page, and choose the preferred amount; select the preferred repeat date; and confirm the order.

The startup said that there should be enough balance in the CoinSwitch account for future/repeat orders.

The upper limit of buy orders on the platform is Rs 2,50,000. Users can have a single or multiple RBP for a single crypto.

Founded in 2017 by Ashish Singhal, Govind Soni and Vimal Sagar, CoinSwitch is India's crypto unicorn with 1.5 crore registered users. 

Today, users can choose from over 90 cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana.

In June 2020, the company started its India operations to make crypto trading easy and simple for users. It is backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, Paradigm, and Coinbase Ventures.

OMOTEC raises $130K in Pre-Series A round from ah! Ventures 

STEM education based research and innovation school of India OMOTEC (On My Own Technology) has raised $130,000 from investors led by ah! Ventures.

 

ah! Ventures’ has done a total of 113 investments (in 86 startups) to date, taking its total investment portfolio to Rs 260 crore ($34 million) with 13 exits and 23 follow on rounds. 

OMOTEC provides the courses to students with ages ranging from six to 18+ years. The course content is mapped to ICSE, CBSE and IGCSE boards.

The startup has already trained 74,500+ students. The courses are provided via three modes: School, Online curriculum and through OMOTEC’s own Research Labs. With subjects focused on Technical Design, Mechanical Construction, electronics, coding and analytics, OMOTECH has a tech content of 1,200+ hours in its’ reservoir.

 

OMOTEC has already achieved a total turnover of more than $1.10 million over its five-year growth journey. It is also poised towards a turnover of $0.5 million in the coming fiscal year.

Ed-fintech startup akudo registers 1M members on its platform

Akudo, a learning-first neobank for teens, announced a staggering 500 percent increase in its registered user base in the last five months. The startup has registered one million users on its platform, empowering teenagers to make financial decisions in a safe and controlled environment.

As per the official statement, 50 percent of its users are from Tier-II cities such as Patna, Lucknow, Indore, Ranchi, and Chandigarh, with monthly spends equalling users in Tier-I cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai.

In September 2021, the startup raised $4.2 million in its seed round led by Y-combinator, JAFCO, and Incubate India, to name a few. The startup aims to reach more than five million households by the end of 2022 with an increased focus on building open financial communication amongst parents and children.

Lavika Aggarwal, Co-founder, akudo, said, 

“Just like acquiring a skill, developing positive habits around money is easier when you’re young. At akudo, we have created innovative practical and theoretical ways to introduce teens to the fundamental concepts of financial awareness and money management.

Pepper Content collaborates with Classplus, launches Rs 20 lakh grant for creators

Pepper Content, a content marketplace, on Friday announced the launch of a Rs 20 lakh grant in collaboration with Classplus, a platform that assists creators in starting their academy. The collaboration aims to empower a $75-150 million (as per AdLift) creator economy with diversified monetization opportunities. 

 

Talking about the booming creator economy, Anirudh Singla, Co-founder, and CEO, Pepper Content, said,

"The last talent revolution that came out of India was Indian tech talent for the world back in the 1990s with Infosys, TCS, etc. We believe that this decade is going to be the age of creators, where platforms that celebrate creators and enable them will thrive. We are excited to partner with Classplus to launch a unique creator grant of Rs 10 lakh in cash and 10 lakh as support tools with no string attached and enable creator-preneurs.” 

Mukul Rustagi, Co-founder and CEO, Classplus, added, “Classplus Clan is very passionate about helping content creators achieve their full potential of fandom and freedom. In this long journey, we would love to extend assistance to upcoming and budding creators who can inspire the country. And we found similar thought partners in Pepper Content and decided to launch a grant for the next-gen creators together."

Edited by Megha Reddy