Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 23, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, February 23, 2022
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ASCI frames guidelines on NFTs; to be applicable from April 1st 2022

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has on Wednesday come out with guidelines on advertisement of Virtual Digital Asset (VDA). 

VDAs are defined as crypto products or Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)The guidelines are to apply to all the advertisements released or published on or after the 1st of April 2022. 

“Advertisers and Media owners must also ensure that all earlier advertisements must not appear in the public domain unless they comply with the guidelines, post the 15th of April 2022,” said ASCI in a statement. 

Bikaji Foods files for IPO, looks to raise Rs 1,000 Cr

Bikaji Foods International, a leading manufacturer of snacks and sweets, has filed preliminary papers with markets regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for an initial public offer (IPO) estimated to be worth Rs 1,000 crore.

During the IPO, certain shareholders of the Rajasthan-based company, including two promoters, plan to offload around 2.94 crore shares through the Offer For Sale (OFS) route.

According to the Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP), Bikaji was the largest manufacturer of Bikaneri bhujia, with an annual production of 26,690 tonnes in fiscal 2021, and is a leading maker of packaged Indian sweets, including rasgullas, soan papdi, and gulab jamun.

Reddit-acquired Dubsmash officially shut down

Reddit has finally shut down video platform Dubsmash less than two years after buying it. The social media company had acquired Dubsmash in 2020 in an auction to strengthen its wings to be the top-most short video-sharing app.

Dubsmash, a once-viral app, let users post videos of themselves dancing and lip-syncing to popular songs. The app was taken down on Tuesday and is no longer accessible for download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

CARS24 offers ESOP buyback worth Rs 75 Cr

Cars24, an ecommerce platform for pre-owned vehicles, has announced an annual ESOP buyback worth around Rs 75 crore to reward their employees. For the last four years, CARS24 has been leading annual ESOP buyback initiatives for their employees — both existing and former. The value of total ESOP buyback to date stands at Rs ~113 crore.

Founded in 2015, CARS24 is the global ecommerce platform for pre-owned vehicles with a robust presence in India, the Middle East, Australia, and Southeast Asia. With a consumer-first approach, CARS24’s mission is to transform the used car industry by taking the entire journey of searching, buying, selling, and financing online. Leveraging the latest technology advances, CARS24 has set up multiple state-of-the-art Mega Refurbishment Labs; creating new industry benchmarks for high quality used cars.

In December 2021, automotive unicorn CARS24 raised $400 million in their Series G Round led by Alpha Wave Global.

Lido Learning shuts shop

Mumbai-based edtech startup Lido Learning — backed by Ronnie Screwvala, Mukesh Bansal, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Anupam Mittal, etc. — has shut down its operations, as reported by media outlets.

While Lido Learning is yet to make an official statement, it has emailed its employees relaying its closing down. As per reports, Lido Learning has terminated around 150 employees, while many employees and vendors are complaining about due payments and salary delays on social media.

Founded by Sahil Sheth in April 2019, Lido Learning offers small group online tutoring on math, science, coding, and English from the CBSE and ICSE boards for KG - K-12 students. Lido Learning offers live tutorials with personalised attention for each student, with the teacher-student ratio at 1:6.

Team Lido

Textiles exports to touch $100B in the next 5 years: Textiles Secretary

India's annual textiles exports can rise to $100 billion in the next five years from the current $40 billion, a top official said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the 44th Foundation Day of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, said the country's apparel industry must focus on vertical integration to increase its scale and size and to benefit from the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.

"Apparel and garments are not very investment-centric but it is important from the employment point of view. Perhaps, there is a need for backward integration and more of you can get into integrated value-chain like spinning and weaving," Singh said.

Walmart Foundation announces grant for farm recovery for agri communities impacted by COVID-19

Walmart Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Walmart, on Wednesday announced a grant of over Rs 40 million to improve farm recovery in India.

The grant aims to impact and assist over 24,000 farmers across six states in India, including Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh, to manage supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and sustain their farming operations.

The grant will be presented to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) — a non-profit non-political international organisation — and its partner organisations supporting their local communities as they respond to COVID-19.

Madhuri Jain Grover retaliates against BharatPe

Madhuri Jain Grover, the Head of Controls at BharatPe, according to her LinkedIn, was recently fired from the fintech unicorn, according to multiple media outlets.

In retaliation, she posted a series of videos on Twitter, accusing the BharatPe board and senior members of the company of inappropriate behaviour.

Ashneer Grover accuses BharatPe of "leaking confidential information"

In the latest instalment of a saga that has become increasingly bitter, Ashneer Grover sent a letter to the BharatPe board accusing Rajnish Kumar, chairman of the board, and Bhavik Koladiya, co-founder of the company, of improper conduct.

First reported by MoneyControl, BharatPe co-founder Grover claims that he received a call from Koladiya asking him to fly to Gurugram "to discuss some issues." He claims that the call was made from Kumar's home in Gurugram and that Koladiya mentioned that the two of them wanted to talk to Grover.

When Grover pushed for more details on the issues to be discussed, Koladiya is alleged to have become abusive and started using foul language. "Upon such instigation, I told Mr Koladiya that if he wanted to discuss things in such fashion then I was not interested in talking to him," Grover said in the letter.

Naval Ravikant and Tim Ferriss backed fund wants to give Indian founders $1M to invest

Silicon Valley is waking up to the startup potential in India, and the newly-launched Galaxy investment entity is the latest example of America's interest in getting involved in the subcontinent's investment boom.

The idea is simple. They want to give Indian founders $1 million each to invest in new startups that they see fit in the area. The founders do not have to step away from their day jobs, and they don't have to worry about the legal and financial documents. All of that will be taken care of by AngelList.

Galaxy has partnered with Naval Ravikant, Co-founder and Chairman of AngelList; entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, who is well-known for his 'Four-Hour' series of self-help books; Mixer Labs co-founder and ex-Twitter VP Elad Gil, and others.

Four in ten Indian workers could switch jobs this year: Qualtrics report

According to a survey conducted by experience management platform Qualtrics, nearly 40 percent of workers in India could switch jobs in 2022 as a result of optimistic hiring sentiment. This number is higher than most countries in South Asia and the global average, said the Qualtrics 2022 Employee Experience Trends report.

The report surveyed 1,024 full-time employees across industries in India between the period of August to December 2021. 

While the Indian respondents reported among the highest levels of engagement and wellbeing at work, only 62 percent said they planned on staying with their current employer over the next 12 months. The report says that employers in India will be required to prioritise employee well-being, create a culture of belonging and ensure that the career goals of the employees are met at the organisation to arrest attrition.

Former CEO of Del Monte Foods join SupplyNote’s advisory board

Yogesh Bellani, former CEO and Director of Del Monte, has joined the advisory board of food and beverage supply chain automation startup Supplynote. In addition to investing in the company, Yogesh will be an active participant in charting the growth trajectory of SupplyNote in the coming months.

Founded in 2019 as a subsidiary of Adcount Technologies, SupplyNote is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that digitises procurement processes and automates inventory management, payment ledger management and other functions for the HoReCa industry. Nearly 5,000 F&B businesses including brands and suppliers currently work with SupplyNote. The company is also targeting international expansion and has raised $2.8 million in equity capital to date through its parent entity, Adcount Technologies. 

Adcount Technologies was founded in 2015 by IIT Kanpur alumni Kumar Kushang, Abhishek Verma, Nitin Prakash, and Harshit Mittal.

WoodenStreet opens three experience stores in Bengaluru

Jaipur-based digital furniture brand Wooden Street has announced opening three experience centres at prime locations in Bengaluru at Indira Nagar, Sadashiv Nagar and Whitefield. This takes the total number of stores in the city to six.

The stores set up at an investment of $1 million, will add to the brand’s network of 50 stores in India. The brand plans on adding five more stores in the coming 12-18 months as part of its strategy to expand offline, said a statement issued by the company. 

Founded in 2015 by Lokendra Ranawat, Virendra Ranawat, Dinesh Pratap Singh and Vikas Baheti, WoodenStreet claims to serve a base of over 10 lakh customers. The company offers products in the home decor and furniture range and is looking to launch office furniture and modular kitchen categories. 

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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