Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 8, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
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India's first crypto unicorn CoinDCX has now more than 1 Cr users

CoinDCX, India’s first crypto unicorn, said today it now has more than one crore users. This milestone follows CoinDCX’s phenomenal growth since its inception four years ago and is a firm step towards the company’s vision to provide safe, secure, and easy access to digital assets to five crore users in India.

Neeraj and Sumit, founders of CoinDCX

Celebrating the company’s achievement, Sumit Gupta, CEO and Co-founder, CoinDCX, said,

“Accomplishing such a phenomenal milestone in just under four years since our launch is a remarkable feat and is a testament to the growing demands for digital assets in India. CoinDCX’s exponential growth in the past year attests to the trust that our customers have placed in us as the nation’s safest crypto exchange and from our commitment to drive transparency and credibility in the industry. With this achievement, we look to push forth with our mission to offer a trusted trading experience and champion education and awareness in blockchain technology and digital assets.”

Upside AI partners with Smallcase to expand reach of tech-led investment products 

Upside AI, one of India’s first funds that combine machine learning (ML) and fundamentals-based investing, partnered with Smallcase. The association will enable Upside AI to offer research services to a large set of investors across India.

At present, Upside AI serves high net-worth individuals and family offices with minimum ticket sizes over Rs 50 lakh, while the products under this association are tailored to meet the evolving needs of retail investors with a much lower threshold (Rs 1-5 lakh). 

The future of investing in India is tech-led, rules-based ("systemised") as opposed to being human-led. Since most managers on the Smallcase platform are human-driven, Upside AI expects to stand out, given its proprietary technology and consistent track record.

Upside AI will work jointly with Smallcase to popularise systemised investing and to attract even more investors into the fold.

Hiring activity on a positive trajectory in Jan’22 with 41 pc yearly growth

At the beginning of 2022, the hiring sentiment reflected a resilience to the third COVID-19 wave as the corporate world geared up for growth. Outpacing 2021, hiring activity saw strong growth signs in major sectors, according to the Naukri.com JobSpeak index.

The upswing of hiring activity was observed in multiple sectors with IT software, retail, and telecom leading the charts. Other sectors that observed an uptick in hiring trend compared to last year are pharma (29 percent), medical/healthcare (10 percent), oil and gas/power (8 percent), insurance (8 percent), FMCG (7 percent), and manufacturing (2 percent). Auto/auto ancillary remained flat in January 2022 versus January 2021.

Image Credits: Naukri.com

The upswing in hiring in IT software and BFSI sectors have enabled metro cities to outperform their Tier II counterparts in the yearly growth charts. IT hubs of India — Bengaluru (+79 percent), Hyderabad (+66 percent), and Pune (+63 percent) recorded the highest growth in January 2022. Other metro cities like Mumbai (+58 percent), Chennai (+54 percent), Kolkata (41 percent), and Delhi/NCR (+35percent) also witnessed a spike in the hiring trajectory. ​​

Among the non-metros, Ahmedabad (+50 percent) witnessed the highest growth in January 2022, followed by Coimbatore (+43 percent), Kochi (+27 percent), Vadodara (+12 percent), and Jaipur (+8 percent).

25 pc of people will spend at least one hour per day in the Metaverse by 2026: Gartner, Inc

By 2026, 25 percent of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social and/or entertainment, according to Gartner, Inc. 

 

“Vendors are already building ways for users to replicate their lives in digital worlds. From attending virtual classrooms to buying digital land and constructing virtual homes, these activities are currently conducted in separate environments. Eventually, they will take place in a single environment – the metaverse – with multiple destinations across technologies and experiences,” said Marty Resnick, Research Vice President at Gartner.

 

Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. It is persistent, providing enhanced immersive experiences and device-independent and accessible through any type of device, from tablets to head-mounted displays. 

  

Because no single vendor will own the metaverse, Gartner expects it to have a virtual economy enabled by digital currencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The metaverse will impact every business that consumers interact with every day.

ConnectEd to provide free online education to Gujarat government schools

Edtech social enterprise ConnectEd Technologies has launched an initiative with Everest Kanto Cylinders (EKC) to provide free online access to curriculum-linked educational content across Gujarat government schools.

The programme, ideated and executed by ConnectEd Technologies, aims to provide quality vernacular educational content to government school students to improve learning outcomes, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the programme, over 7,500 students from government schools under the district administration of Kutch will be provided with free online access to a web and mobile app platform. The platform contains quality educational content in local languages in-sync with the Gujarat State Board curriculum and can be viewed online or downloaded onto a device for viewing later.

Initially, the initiative aims to benefit students from Grade 9 and 10 across schools located in Gandhidham block of Kutch. Subsequently, the initiative will scale to students from other grades and regions of the state.

Clari Partners with Purple Quarter to onboard Vishy Ranganath as VP of Engineering

Clari, a connected revenue operations platform that uses automation and AI to unlock data captured in key business systems, has appointed Vishy Ranganatha as its Vice President of Engineering. Clari had partnered with Bengaluru-based bespoke tech executive search firm Purple Quarter for the leadership mandate.

The appointment at Clari comes at a crucial time when the company recently raised a $225 million Series F round.

An IIT Madras graduate, Vishy previously served as Engineer Leader, GSuite Enterprise at Google for over two years. He also brings with him a wealth of experience in the technology domain through former stints in companies like Intuit and Mindtree, where he led crucial technology projects.

In his current role at Clari, Vishy will be responsible for developing a strategic vision for the India engineering team while contributing to the overall strategy and development of the site.

Grip Appoints Ankit Goyal as Vice President and Head of Business Development

Grip Invest, an alternative investment platform, has appointed Ankit Goyal as its Vice President and Head of Business Development. Ankit brings over 12 years of professional experience in the BFSI industry. He will play a crucial role in leading the team to enhance the strategic B2B partnerships, enabling more businesses to leverage an alternative form of growth capital.

An alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur, Ankit has previously worked with HSBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), where he has managed key corporate relationships for these institutions.

The development comes as Grip plans to double down its efforts in hiring talent across business, technology, and human resources. The new-age platform recently concluded its first user-led funding round, creating a unique opportunity for its users to become shareholders in the company. 

The round saw Grip secure $1 million in funding. Moreover, it concluded its first employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) buyback within two years of inception and saw a majority of eligible employees opting to stay vested in the company.

iLink Digital acquires Connexis to expand global data analytics and IoT footprint

Data and AI services company Connexis has entered into a strategic acquisition agreement with iLink Digital a global technology consulting solution firm, in India. As part of this acquisition, Connexis will offer solutions and consulting services in the areas of data engineering, data analytics, and IoT solutions.

Some of its key offerings include revenue analytics solutions, 3D digital twin, integrated healthcare analytics platforms, text analytics, operational intelligence, and conversational AI solutions.

This merger will allow Connexis to integrate its deep data, IoT, and product engineering expertise into iLink’s portfolio of technology consulting, which will enhance customer experience. These services will further enable iLink to drive experience-led transformation at scale for clients across multiple industries.

Talking about the partnership, Rohan Shinde, Founder of Connexis, said, 

“We are very excited to associate with iLink Digital ecosystem to expand our disruptive data, analytics, and IoT solutions. This merger will be instrumental in developing and integrating innovative software solutions, which cover all our client needs and beyond."

Moneyboxx appoints Vikas Bansal as Chief Risk Officer

Moneyboxx, a BSE-listed NBFC that provides small-ticket business loans to MSMEs in Tier-III towns and beyond, appointed Vikas Bansal as its Chief Risk Officer. Bansal served as National Credit Manager – Emerging Business and Digital Lending in his previous role at TATA Capital.

With over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, Vikas’s areas of expertise include credit underwriting, risk assessment, portfolio management, strategic planning, and digital lending across the retail and MSME space.

SuperGaming ropes in WazirX co-founder Siddharth Menon as advisor for new crypto platform and GamesInbox

SuperGaming has roped in Siddharth Menon, Co-founder and COO of WazirX, as an advisor for its upcoming Web3 initiatives. He will work with SuperGaming to build its crypto platform and games and will be deeply involved in designing the economy of these games and advising on the best way to harness the power of Web3 to other game developers through SuperGaming's crypto platform.

SuperGaming has over five years of game development experience with recent hits such as MaskGun, with 60 million players, and Silly Royale, with 14 million players. It’s also working on Indus — a crafted-in-India for-the-world battle royale for PC, consoles, and mobile.

Besides, the company has its gaming engine for running hyper-scale, real-time multiplayer games used by third-party studios, with the official PAC-MAN game being the most famous among these.

Binance announces strategic partnership with YG Entertainment

Blockchain startup Binance has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build a strategic partnership with YG Entertainment Inc. (YG), one of South Korea’s leading multinational entertainment corporations. 

 

As part of this partnership, Binance and YG will cooperate on a range of blockchain projects, including collaborations in the NFT space. Binance will provide the NFT platform and technology infrastructure, while YG will supply NFT content and gaming assets.

 

The two companies also have plans to develop Binance Smart Chain-based games, collaborate on building the Metaverse, and actively pursue various digital asset opportunities to develop unique experiences and services for fans. 

Cashify announces Rashmika Mandanna as its first female brand ambassador

Cashify, a re-commerce marketplace, has appointed South Indian film superstar Rashmika Mandanna as its brand ambassador for an integrated marketing campaign. Having worked in the Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada film industries, Rashmika is renowned as a pan-India youth icon.

The two-year partnership will help Cashify further spread its message of reliability, accessibility, and trustworthiness to the youth. The startup will run four separate multi-lingual campaigns in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Hindi on TV and across digital platforms.

The campaign will be released across digital platforms and TV channels by the second week of February 2022. The first phase of the campaign will target states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.

Snapdeal partners with GoKwik for AI-supported shopping experience

GoKwik, a Gurugram-based ecommerce enablement company, has partnered with Snapdeal, where it will use GoKwik’s AI and machine learning solutions to offer an enhanced customised shopping experience to its users.  

 

Snapdeal will integrate GoKwik's AI model that studies customer behaviour across various stages of the shopping funnel by analysing over 200+ parameters, including historical data and customer behavioural patterns, etc. 

The AI model will assist Snapdeal in gaining useful insights to provide customers with relevant and customised shopping experiences. GoKwik will also help uncover industry insights with its vast network intelligence by analysing industry-relevant data.

 

At present, Snapdeal draws more than 86 percent of its orders from outside metro cities, with more than 72 percent of the orders flowing from buyers living in smaller cities and towns. 

Snapdeal will also use GoKwik's automated address correction, which verifies the accuracy of the addresses customers provide and find their exact locations by identifying the nearby area. This intervention is designed to have a positive impact on package delivery rates, ensuring that returning customers don’t have to fill in these details again and complete their shopping quickly and easily.

Edited by Suman Singh

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