Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 28, 2022)

YourStory presents daily funding and news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, February 28, 2022.
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Myntra partners with fashion ecommerce platform Zalora

Myntra has announced its partnership with Zalora, Southeast Asia’s online fashion destination, catering largely to the region, including, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. As a house of brands with numerous private labels, Zalora offers an ever-expanding range of fashion trends and collections, with a firm focus on catering to evolving consumer needs and preferences, according to a statement. 

This association, Myntra says, strengthens its commitment to bring the best of global fashion for the consumers in India. 

Zalora caters to the fashion-conscious urban value seekers, under the aegis of, Origin, Zalora Basics, Active, Occasion Wear and Work, at an average price point of Rs 2,500. To begin with, Zalora will be offering 5,000 options on Myntra from its portfolio of stylish in-house brands. 

Upscalio acquires new consumer brands

 Upscalio, a roll-up ecommerce company that invests in and grows online-first brands, has picked up a stake in Gizga, Tizum, Aircase, and HomePuff brands. The brands operate in the next-gen computer, PC and phone accessories, laptop bags, and kitchenware segment respectively.

Established by Dinesh Vardhan, Vikram Vardhan and Amit Hingarh over seven years ago, Upscalio envisions scaling these brands into Rs 200 crore annual revenues in the next two years. The company will focus on expanding the brands’ geographical footprint while also ramping up new product development. Upscalio will also plan an eventual B2B foray to unlock new growth avenues for all three brands.

BikeWo acquires Munim app

Hyderabad-based BikeWo, an EV two-wheeler smart hub network in India, has announced the acquisition of Bengaluru-based staff management and business intelligence platform Munim App in a cash-and-stock based strategic acquisition deal. 

Following this acquisition, Munim will continue to operate independently, but shall simultaneously provide exclusive technology and scale-up support to BikeWo in the near future. 

With this acquisition, Bikewo has also absorbed the workforce and intellectual properties of Munim App into its fold. Going forward, the founders of Munim App will be handling its technology arm and shall be placed on the Board of Advisors of BikeWo, while the organisational structure of the Munim App team remains the same.

Additionally, BikeWo is looking to leverage Munim App’s technological expertise to build and nurture internal and external digital processes and systems that will help them to grow exponentially and pave the way towards their strong presence across the nation, according to a statement.

Google Play Pass launches in India

Google Play on Monday announced the launch of Google Play Pass in India, rolling out to Android devices in the country this week.

Play Pass is a subscription service that is currently available in 90 countries, which provides access to many apps and games without ads, in-app purchases, and upfront payments.

Play Pass will offer a curated collection of 1000+ titles across 41 categories from developers across 59 countries including many from India. Users can get started with a one-month trial and subscribe for Rs 99 per month or Rs 889 for the year. Users can also avail of a prepaid one-month subscription for Rs 109. With Google family group, family managers can share their Play Pass subscription with up to five other family members.

 

With the potential to access users across 90 countries, Play Pass will offer Indian developers of all types of apps and games a new avenue to expand their global user base and unlock new revenue streams. Google will continue to work with global and local developers to add new games and apps every month so that there is always something new to discover on Play Pass. 

Hike brings RGU on-chain, rolls out NFT Rush Avatar for community 

 

Hike on Monday unveiled the second pillar of Rush Gaming Universe (RGU) with the launch of Rush Avatar, an NFT and digital identity for Rush users. With this step towards building a new gaming economy, Rush Gaming Universe (RGU) is officially on-chain. This announcement is aligned to Hike’s Web3 vision for Rush Gaming Universe (RGU) - a play-to-earn platform.

 

To celebrate the launch of Rush Avatar NFT, a unique Launch Edition is being given to most active rush players that comes in unique rarities, ranging from ‘The Boss’, the rarest one with only 1999 in quantity to ‘Khiladi’, which is the most common. Hike plans to airdrop these Rush Avatar NFTs to its active players in the community, free of cost with the most active players getting the rarest editions. 10 percent of the supply for this Launch Edition will be reserved for future community giveaways, NFT sales and partnerships.

The airdrop will be rolled out for Android users starting 28th Feb on Android, followed by an airdrop for Apple users soon. 

Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder and CEO, Hike said, “With the Rush Avatar NFT, players will now own their digital identity in the RGU. This launch brings the Rush Gaming Universe on-chain and with it we plant the seeds to build a new game economy where consumers are owners.”

 

RGU is a place of fun and entertainment, where players can use their skills to Play, Compete and Win. In just 12 months from launch, the RGU is now doing $50M in winnings annually (Gross ARR). 

 

Clear expands into financial services with launch of Invoice Discounting for SMEs

 

Clear (formerly ClearTax), a fintech SaaS (software-as-a-service) startup, announced on Monday that it has launched Invoice Discounting product for enterprises, marking its foray into SME (small and medium enterprise) credit and B2B (business-to-business) payments. The Invoice Discounting product will be available to Clear’s existing 3,000-plus enterprise customers to provide working capital solutions to their suppliers and help grow their businesses.

Clear, which provides a suite of SaaS compliance products for over 3,000 enterprises and over 600-thousand SMEs, has seen its “business network” evolve with GST, e-waybills, and e-invoicing. The platform already processes 200 million+ business invoices with a gross value (GTV) of $400 billion.

 

Clear’s Invoice Discounting product has been designed to deliver instant working capital and liquidity to suppliers, and is expected to process $3 billion by the end of FY24. The smart AI/ML-based platform will connect to ERPs and enable a discount rate selection that is acceptable to both customers and their suppliers. The enterprises can choose from a range of financing options to fund their early payments: they can use their own surplus cash, or opt for line of credit via banks, or go through the TReDs marketplaces from within Clear’s platform.

“We are partnering with banks and NBFCs to operationalize supply chain credit at scale by enabling quick, efficiently priced credit based on actual business performance and not just asset ownership,” Gupta added.

Mobile Premier League joins hands with GameDuell, makes inroads into Europe 

 

Mobile Premier League, a mobile esports and skill gaming platform, on Monday announced that it has joined hands with GameDuell in line with its strategy to expand operations across key global markets.

 

Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, GameDuell is a games studio in community card and board games, a cross-platform gaming community with more than 40 casual online skill games delivered in seven languages.

GameDuell now becomes part of the MPL family. Following this transaction, MPL now has a presence across three continents of Europe, Asia and North America.

MPL’s expansion to Europe reinforces its commitment to the sector and a strong intent to cater to the most evolved global markets. This move also marks MPL’s foray into the Mobile F2P (free to play) space.

OTO achieves Rs 100 Cr disbursal for 11,000 vehicles through its digital commerce platform

OTO, the two-wheeler buying and financing innovator has strengthened its market position in the vehicle financing industry by financing Rs 100 crore worth of vehicles through its digital commerce platform in the last 33 months. Since its inception in 2018, the startup has facilitated the sale and financing of over 11,000 vehicles, among which approximately 2700+ vehicles are electric with more significant sales generated from its headquarters in Bangalore.

 

Starting in 2018, OTO operates on a financing model for two-wheelers where the buyer pays an upfront amount like any other finance options but claims to get up to 35 percent lower EMIs with an option to retain, return or upgrade at the end of the tenure. The platform works in partnership with various banks and NBFCs to provide hassle-free financing options to its customers.

It also provides full auto lifecycle management, from credit underwriting to insurance, maintenance, and eventual resale of the vehicle.

Paytm Payments Bank issues seven million Visa cards in FY21

India’s homegrown Paytm Payments Bank has announced that it has issued seven million Visa debit cards through its platform in FY’21. The bank has surpassed its target of issuing one million Visa cards in FY’21, driven by the acceptance of digital payments in India, according to a statement.

 

With this, the bank continues to drive financial inclusion in India by enabling users with digital payments and access to financial services.

 

To bring more convenience for cardholders, the bank had earlier enabled its customers to make international transactions using their Visa debit cards. The Bank also offers a completely digital process to apply and track updates for the card.

BoAt sets sail for Nepal

 Imagine Marketing Limited, a wireless hearables brand, has announced a partnership with TeleTalk Pvt Ltd, a part of Ramesh Corp (a company based out of Nepal), as the national distributor of Imagine’s  products in Nepal. The association will enable the companies to meet the evolving needs of customers by delivering high-quality and aspirational lifestyle-focused hearable and wearable products in the growing Nepalese market.

Speaking on the partnership announcement, Vivek Gambhir, CEO, Imagine Marketing Limited, said, 

Imagine Marketing Limited has made significant investments in developing its platforms, including investing in the areas of design, research and development of its products, and technology relationships through boAt Labs. The company recently entered into a joint venture with Dixon Technologies Limited for manufacturing and developing Bluetooth enabled hearable products and other electronic products.

21K School becomes world’s first Web 3.0 school

An online-only 21K School, has launched its very own NFT marketplace, as well as, introduced Metaverse and Web 3.0 for their K12 students around the world. Transitioning online schooling from Web 2.0 to the world’s first Web 3.0, the 21K School founders have taken their keen interest in technology and are adopting it for the school of the future, where students will be encouraged to use technology to amplify their learning journeys.

 

21K School students will soon be able to create and sell their Artwork, Books, Podcast, Music, Videos on 21K School’s NFT marketplace. They can earn reward points in the form of coins for all activities, timely submission of assignments, assessments, and marks scored in examinations, which can be redeemed for scholarships, etc. Students can also invite their friends to be part of a gamified learning journey and build the ecosystem. The Web 3.0 school is also launching a blockchain-based solution to identify marksheets, profiles of students and teachers with their accomplishments.

 

21K School is also introducing gamification within its classrooms, where students can complete their homework and assignments in a gamified manner, driven by the digital school’s artificial intelligence-enabled Learning Management System. This will not only create deeper engagements for students but will also encourage them to finish their given tasks with perfection. 21K School will also provide rewards based on views on their class videos, assessment scores and student’s feedback by 21K school, while parents can also earn points for their involvement in their child’s education journey, all in the form of 21K coins.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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