Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Mar 08, 2022)

YourStory presents this daily roundup of the latest startup news and updates from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, March 8, 2022.
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LetsVenture launches Women Founders Network programme

LetsVenture launched the Women Founders Network (WFN) initiative on International Women’s Day. It focuses on women entrepreneurs in India to help them build and lead disruptive startups and aims to educate women founders and mentor them to raise capital and run a successful venture. LetsVenture plans to onboard about 1,000 women founders and investors on the platform in the next year through this initiative.

  

WFN will encourage women to inspire more women to become entrepreneurs and eventually help in passing the baton to the next generation of women entrepreneurs.

Commenting on the launch of the programme, Shanti Mohan, Co-founder and CEO, LetsVenture said,

"Last year we decided we would start an initiative based on the low number of women investors. The Women Investor Network gave us 3x the numbers we had aspired for. The learning has been that if we create a cohort-based safe space for learning for women we will see returns. That is the basis of launching a Women Founder Network. The programme will focus on providing personalised mentoring, focused product support, and fundraising through LetsVenture’s network of founders and investors. Think of this as an accelerator for women founders who are looking to build large scalable mainstream businesses.”

As part of the programme, 10 pre-seed/seed-stage startups will be selected and matched with a startup founder and a super angel from the LetsVenture portfolio who will serve as these founders' mentors. Founders will be able to spend structured 1:1 time with both mentors who will work on the startup's product and business over the course of six weeks. 

Fleetx announces ESOP buyback worth Rs 3.9 Cr

FleetX, intelligent freight visibility and fleet management platform, has announced that it has facilitated Employee Stock Options (ESOPs) for a significant number of its employees as part of the recent fundraise. The liquidity transaction for the same has totalled approximately Rs 3.9 crore.

 

The ESOPs buyback has been rolled out to 45 eligible current and ex-employees, as part of the closure of Fleetx’s Series B funding led by IndiaMart, with existing investors India Quotient and BEENEXT also participating. 

“Fleetx’s growth is a reflection of our people and their contribution, it wouldn't have been possible without our people to reach where we are today. ESOPs liquidity is our way to thank them for their continuous effort and the belief they have in us. We are a great believer of ESOPs and continue to create a culture of responsibility with rewards along with significant financial upside which can’t be achieved with just salary.,” said Vineet Sharma, CEO and Co-founder of Fleetx.io. 

Fleetx Announces ESOP Buyback worth Rs. 3.9 Cr

Vineet and his co-founders Abhay Jeet Gupta, Udbhav Rai, Parveen Kataria, and Vishal Misra founded Fleetx in 2017 to offer a suite of IoT and software-based products to industries helping them digitise their logistics operations and improving the safety, efficiency and sustainability of their vehicles and operations. 

“We are looking to double down on our product and technology and scale our GTM capabilities. While we continue to focus and scale in the Indian market, we are evaluating some of the geographies outside India as well. We believe that our product can compete globally even today, and it’s just about cracking the GTM with the right strategy and great people,” said Sharma. 

Paytm Money offers Deepak Shenoy founded Capitalmind’s Allcap Momentum portfolio

Paytm has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Paytm Money is now offering Deepak Shenoy-founded Capitalmind’s Allcap Momentum portfolio. 

Deepak Shenoy founded Capitalmind, a SEBI registered portfolio management service, in 2014 and presently it manages over Rs 650 crore in assets and advises on Rs 1,000 crore in its PMS.

The first portfolio being offered by Capitalmind is the Allcap Momentum portfolio which has shown a return of 37 percent over the last year. The portfolio is reviewed monthly and would comprise 25 stocks at any point in time. Stocks are weighted according to their rank and volatility compared to other candidates. Investors will get regular rebalancing updates on the portfolio. Paytm Money users can invest in the Capitalmind Allcap Momentum portfolio by paying a subscription fee. 

With its advisory marketplace, Paytm Money in partnership with WealthDesk offers retail investors an opportunity to invest in ideas, themes or trading strategies they believe in with low-cost wealth creation strategies, while also removing unnecessary risks. The marketplace has now grown to include four advisors and 20 portfolios.

Varun Sridhar, CEO of Paytm Money said, “With our advisory marketplace, Paytm Money offers users an opportunity to invest in curated investment portfolios created by subject matter experts. We are expanding the marketplace and are pleased to onboard Capitalmind, founded by Deepak Shenoy, to our list of advisors. Capitalmind’s portfolio will be a great addition to our marketplace.”

Deepak Shenoy, CEO of Capitalmind said, “We are excited to partner with Paytm Money and Wealthdesk to offer our active investing strategies. At Capitalmind, we use quantitatively built algorithms to create portfolios that are extensively designed, tested and managed by us for our customers. Allcap Momentum is among our flagship portfolios and we are pleased to announce that it is now available on Paytm Money and Wealthdesk.”

Slice spearheads Pledge For Equal Pay in India

Credit card challenger Slice launched #PayEqualIndia, an initiative to address the gender pay gap in the country. Through this movement, Slice aims to bring together companies and startups to create awareness about the gender wage gap in India and pledge to practice ‘Equal Work, Equal Pay, Equal Workplace’.

In an attempt to address the gender wage gap issue which goes much deeper than salaries, Slice encourages Indian enterprises and startups to sign the pledge as the first step towards removing unconscious bias, structural barriers and promoting best practices to continually reduce and eventually close the pay gap.

Speaking about the initiative, Rajan Bajaj, Founder and CEO, slice said, “We believe in a diverse and inclusive workplace that rewards calibre and merit, gender no bar. Research cites that the pandemic has made the effort to bridge the gender wage gap harder. slice has always been an advocate of equal pay with our policies being a reflection of this philosophy. slice currently benefits from the relentless contribution of our women employees who make up 30 percent of our entire workforce. We aim to radically increase this in the coming months to make our workforce a gender-balanced one.”

He added, “Today, Indian companies and startups are increasingly practicing Equal Pay but we have a long way to go. Keeping that in mind, we encourage CXOs and HRs of like minded companies to come together and sign the pledge in an attempt to increase awareness about the issue.” 

CHARGE+ZONE completes electrification of 1,000 km of national highways in India

Charge+Zone, a technology-driven electric vehicle charging network company, announced that it has successfully electrified over 1,000 km of National Highways in India by setting up a network of twenty unmanned, app-driven EV charging points along the Gujarat-Maharashtra national highway. 

Through this, the company has successfully cracked Dealer Owned Company Operated (DOCO) and Company Owned Company Operated (COCO) models for public charging networks on Highways. 

Designed for both personal and public e-mobility, these charging stations have been installed as part of the company’s larger goal of electrifying 10,000 km of national and state highways over the next three-five years.

Deployed at convenient and strategic locations along the highway, CHARGE+ZONE’s charging stations are Rapid DC charging points with CCS2 as charging protocol catering to electric four-wheelers. These stations can provide up to 80 percent charge in 45-60 minutes and a full charge in 90-120 minutes depending on the EV’s battery size. 

CHARGE+ZONE completes electrification of 1000 kms of National Highways in India

Commenting on the achievement, Kartikey Hariyani, Founder and CEO, CHARGE+ZONE said, “We are immensely proud to have accomplished this milestone as part of our larger vision of building a robust network of one million EV charging points by 2030.  Through our national highway electrification program, we have successfully implemented full stack EV charging solutions across multiple cities and states that are accessible, affordable and easy to use. We also want to bring about a paradigm shift in the way people perceive EVs by addressing issues of range anxiety and the availability of energy for long hauls. In the long term, our goal is to reduce electric vehicle’s range anxiety by scaling up the charging network over the next three to five years along national and state highways and consequently be a catalyst in India’s transition to green mobility.” 

The charging stations have been installed at key locations on highways connecting Mumbai, Nashik,  Ahmedabad, Surat, Navsarim and Rajkot.

Simpl appoints Vivek Pandey as Vice President - Engineering

A Buy Now Pay Later platform, Simpl announced the appointment of Vivek Pandey as Vice President – Engineering. In his previous role, Vivek served as Staff Software Engineer at Google India.

 

Vivek comes with more than 15 years of experience in computer science engineering. He also co-founded QGraph – a marketing automation platform offering android, iOS and web push in 2014, which was eventually sold to Taipei-based Appier. He studied BTech. in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur, followed by Masters in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and later did an MBA from IIM Bangalore.

Commenting on the executive appointment, Simpl’s CEO and Co-founder Nitya Sharma said, “We are excited to welcome Vivek Pandey as VP-Engineering. A strong engineering team is crucial as we place technology at the core of our business reimagining the payments side in fintech with transformative products. Vivek will be instrumental in augmenting our engineering team. We believe a strong technology and engineering vertical will help scale up the business and ensure continued operational excellence.”

Vivek Pandey, Vice President, Engineering – Simpl, stated, “In this journey towards revolutionizing digital payments in India, it’s exciting to join Simpl. I look forward to building resilient, dynamic technology systems while contributing towards achieving Simpl’s commitment to simplify and democratize the digital payments landscape in India.”

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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