Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 15, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, February 15, 2022.
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Capital A launches Evolve, a Rs 75 Cr cleantech fund to boost EV ecosystem

Capital A, a venture fund for seed to early-stage startups, announced the launch of Evolve — a Rs 75 crore cleantech fund to support startups in the field of electric vehicles (EVs), EV batteries, battery technology, Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS), and battery charging. The fund is keen on funding B2B EV startups.

“What is needed now is funding support to promising EV OEM startups and companies involved in building charging, battery management, and battery technologies segments. We have launched the fund after having developed an active thesis and forging industry partnerships that enabled us to gain deep insights into the Indian EV market,” said Ankit Kedia, Founder, Capital A.

B2B edtech startup Eupheus Learning acquires SchoolMitra 

Delhi-based B2B edtech startup Eupheus Learning acquired SchoolMitra, a cloud-based school management system. The acquisition comes months after Eupheus Learning raised $10 million in a Series C funding round from Lightrock India. 

An Indian school-focused distribution platform, Eupheus Learning has a classroom-first curriculum focussed approach. With its large catalogue of curricular and supplemental offerings, the startup works with over 5,500 schools in India and the Middle East.

Mumbai Angels, India Accelerator to co-invest in innovative startups

Early-stage investment platform Mumbai Angelsand India Accelerator partnered to co-invest in startups through The Co-investment Programme, where selected startups will gain access to Mumbai Angels’ Multiplier Programme, an exclusive marketplace for its portfolio companies.

India Accelerator, which has funded 46 startups in the last year, hopes to double its investment this year. 

Nandini Mansinghka, Co-founder and CEO of Mumbai Angels, said, “Our co-investment programme was launched with the idea of backing high-potential startups in partnership with distinguished investment networks/accelerators to enable them to scale their business.”

Paytm records highest monthly transacting users, lending increases

Paytm recorded 68.9 million users last month, the highest growth in average monthly transacting users (MTU), its parent company One97 Communications said on Tuesday.

The fintech company also reported a 105 percent yearly increase in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) — which is processed across instruments such as Paytm Wallet, Paytm Payments bank account, other banks net banking, credit and debit cards, and UPI — at Rs 83,481 crore ($11.2 billion).

A company spokesperson said, “Paytm is witnessing a broad growth across our platform as we continue to register increased adoption of our lending products, Paytm Postpaid (BNPL), merchant loans, and personal loans.”

The fintech company is also actively expanding its offline payments business by deploying more devices across the country, where lending has increased by 331 percent annually, with loan disbursal amounting to Rs 921 crore.

Y-Combinator backed Betterhalf.ai offers human matchmaking on app 

Matrimony app Betterhalf.AI on Tuesday announced a new feature, allowing users to hire human matchmakers on the app. 

“The matchmaker would be personally involved throughout the process and will help the users with handpicked profile shortlisting and personalised partner search,” the company said in a press release.

Pawan Gupta, CEO of Betterhalf.ai, said, “Human and emotional elements are very important because no one can understand the feeling and emotions of a human better than a human.”

(L-R) Colonel Arvinder Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Gujarat Titans; Ravneet Singh Phokela, Chief Business Officer, Ather Energy; and Vikram Solanki, Director of Cricket, Gujarat Titans

Ather Energy partners With Gujarat Titans in IPL 2022

Electric scooter manufacturer Ather Energy has entered into a multi-year partnership with Ahmedabad-based Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team Gujarat Titans, the startup said on Tuesday.

As Gujarat Titan makes its debut at the upcoming IPL season, the team’s official jersey will sport the Ather Energy brand. 

Ravneet Singh Phokela, Chief Business Officer, Ather Energy, said, the reach of IPL is a great platform to drive rapid brand awareness. At present, the EV manufacturer has 30 experience centres in 24 cities across India.

Claiming 20 percent growth monthly last year, Ather Energy aims to expand retail presence across the country, setting up 150 experience centres in 100 cities by March 2023.

Simplilearn, Mphasis partner to train campus hires on full-stack Java development skills

Edtech startup Simplilearn partnered with Mphasis to upskill freshers in full-stack Java development to make them job and project-ready.

The programme is designed to train learners in Java for front-end, backend, and database layer web development, with both self-paced videos and live virtual classes.

Speaking on the partnership, Srikanth Karra, CHRO at Mphasis, said, “Industry reports also indicate that full-stack development will be in immense demand in the months to come, making it essential that we as an IT firm address the needs of the sector.”

Gaming platform WinZO onboards Bhuvam Bam as brand ambassador

Vernacular gaming platform WinZO has collaborated with influencer and YouTuber Bhuvan Bam as its brand ambassador.

This is not the first time the Delhi-based gaming startup is tapping India’s vibrant influencer market. It has also signed on YouTuber CarryMinati as a brand ambassador recently.

In July last year, WinZo raised $65 million in a Series C round led by California-based Griffin Gaming Partners, taking the total tally of capital raised by the startup to $90 million.

Ecommerce aggregator SustainKart acquires homecare brand FromVedas

Sustainable products marketplace SustainKart has acquired homecare brand FromVedas, founded last year.

Having raised its pre-seed round of $500,000 last month, the marketplace aims to acquire about ten conscious direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands this year and help scale up their business. Claiming to be the largest marketplace for sustainable products, SustainKart saw one lakh orders last month.

CoinSwitch appoints R Venkatesh to head public policy

Indian crypto exchange CoinSwitch appointed R Venkatesh as its Senior Vice President of Public Policy.

With 25 years of experience in policy and government relations across industries, Venkatesh will focus on policy, regulation, and external affairs to help create a regulatory framework for crypto assets to foster growth and innovation with consumer protection for the startup.

“My top priority is to work closely with the industry and the government to help create a progressive regulatory framework for this emerging but attractive asset class to support more Indians in their financial journey," he said.

MeitY Startup hub onboards MathWorks to support tech startups 

MietY Startup Hub (MSH), an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), formally partnered with mathematical computing software developer, MathWorks, to encourage tech innovation and creation of intellectual properties in the startup ecosystem.

Under this partnership, startups at MSH incubators will receive free access to MATLAB — a programming and numeric computing platform — to analyse data, develop algorithms, and create models, and Simulink, a simulation environment for products and systems. 

Entrepreneurs will also gain access to over 100 add-on toolboxes, engineering support from MathWorks’ experts, and access to the MATLAB central user community. 

“The tie-up between MSH and MathWorks aims to benefit the tech startups by providing them necessary products and services, mentorship and technical upskilling, and assistance in market outreach, thus reinforcing the objective of MSH to promote innovation leading to the creation of world-class startups and vibrant economy,” said Jeet Vijay, CEO of MietY Startup Hub.

Edtech startup Clever Harvey launches tech course for teenagers 

Mumbai-based edtech startup Clever Harvey launched JuniorMBA Technology for high school students in partnership with Cult.Fit.

The 15-day programme aims to give students practical exposure to how tech teams at startups work by learning to solve an industry project provided by Cult.Fit. 

Sriram Subramanian, Co-Founder of Clever Harvey, said, “We welcome Cult.Fit as a partner in building up this new category of experiential career discovery. Through short case studies about how the company disrupted the fitness market and rapidly adapted to the pandemic, students will discover concepts such as user journeys, algorithms, and MVPs, which will help them see how a Chief Technology Officer would think, rather than a coder."

Hiranandani Group to invest Rs 1,000 Cr in emerging consumer tech services

Hiranandani Group is eyeing the emerging tech-driven consumer services industry with Tez Platforms, the group’s latest venture to tap opportunities in social media, entertainment, gaming and e-sports, ecommerce, personal mobility, artificial intelligence, and blockchain linked solutions.

It has an initial outlay of Rs 1,000 crore to launch services this year, and further invest Rs 3,500 crore in the next two to three years. In FY23, it plans on hiring over 250 employees across the group’s entities.

Through Yotta Infrastructure, the Hiranandani Group looks at data centres, cloud computing, and enterprise technology offerings.

Edited by Suman Singh