Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 21, 2022)

YourStory presents daily funding and news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, March 21, 2022.
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Inflection Point Ventures to launch a $50M VC fund

Angel investment platform Inflection Point Ventures (IPV) on Monday announced the launch of its CAT II fund Physis Capital.

Physis Capital will have a corpus of $50 million with a greenshoe option of another $25 million and aims for its first close at $20 million. It will participate/lead investments in startups looking to raise Pre-Series A to Series B capital. 

Physis Capital aims to build a portfolio of 15-20 startups with an average ticket size of $2.5 million. The fund will start deploying capital post the first close. It is in the final stage of the registration process and is awaiting approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

Vinay Bansal, Partner, Physis Capital said,

“As an angel platform, we have led some of the most well-known and big seed and Series A rounds. Our aim is now to solidify our leadership position in the growth capital investment segment. This fund is for investing in select Pre-Series A to Series B startups, to enable their success through an integrated ecosystem, consisting of technical, operational, business and strategic mentorship and support along with funding.”

Physis Capital will be actively investing in sectors like vertical commerce, consumer tech, social/content creator, B2B SaaS and Enterprise tech. It will also identify multibaggers from its IPV portfolio and back them from Physis Capital. Up to 50 percent of the fund size will be deployed in backing proven winners from the IPV portfolio. 

At Physis Capital, each investment due diligence will be led by at least one General Partner (Vinay, Ankur Mittal or Mitesh Shah) supported by a team of experienced analysts and renowned subject matter experts from the extensive CXO network built over the years.

Meesho appoints Harsh Chaudhary to lead monetisation 

Meesho, an ecommerce startup, on Monday announced the appointment of Harsh Chaudhary as CXO for monetisation. In this role, Harsh will lead the team that bolsters revenue generation from Meesho’s various business units. 

As per the official statement, his appointment to the leadership team will further augment Meesho’s growth and accentuate its scale. 

An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management - Calcutta and Indian Institute of Technology - Roorkee, Harsh has held leadership positions with brands such as Disney+ Hotstar, Myntra, and McKinsey and Company. In his previous role, he was leading teams across categories, growth partnerships, strategy and analytics, and helped build the video subscription monetisation at Disney+ Hotstar. As a seasoned business leader, he will be responsible for designing and executing the blueprint for monetising Meesho’s business model. 

Vidit Aatrey, Founder and CEO, Meesho, said,

“We are excited to welcome Harsh Chaudhary, who comes with a demonstrated history of spearheading and scaling business growth. His expertise on strategic partnerships and analytics will help take Meesho to greater heights. As we further our mission to digitise MSMEs and bring the next billion users online, monetisation will be an integral part of Meesho’s growth story.” 

Bengaluru-based ecommerce startup Meesho, founded in December 2015 by Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, is a marketplace for small businesses, which includes SMBs, MSMEs and individual entrepreneurs, access to millions of customers, selection from over 700+ categories, pan-India logistics, payment services and customer support capabilities to efficiently run their businesses on the Meesho ecosystem.

Harsh Chaudhary, CXO, Monetisation, Meesho, said, 

“Meesho has made significant strides in shaping and transforming India's ecommerce landscape. The company’s positive growth trajectory strengthens the promise it has in store for India’s unorganized retail sector. I am thrilled to join the company in its continued efforts towards building for Bharat. I look forward to building and enhancing the company’s monetisation roadmap.”

Bizongo acquires Clean Slate, to equip more than 100 cloud factories

Bizongo, a full-stack B2B trade enablement platform, on Monday announced the acquisition of Mumbai-based IoT and real-time location services (RTLS) solutions provider Clean Slate Technologies

Through this acquisition, it aims to equip more than 100 Indian factories with its IoT powered cloud factory solution by 2023. Clean Slate’s team including Siddharth Desai, Mayank Sharma, and Anubhaw Kumar will join Bizongo.

The tech platform plans to integrate Clean Slate’s assets, goods, and people tracking features and sensors to generate data and insights about the operations of the factory. The IoT-powered cloud factory will increase production visibility for MSMEs and their domestic as well as international customers. Bizongo plans to deploy the cloud factory solution at three sites by July 2022. 

The acquisition will enable Bizongo to further strengthen its technological infrastructure and provide local manufacturers access to automation and real-time data analytics, which is critical for increasing their throughput. The inter-connectivity between machinery will help small and medium manufacturers to limit supply chain disruptions, optimise production, and reduce time and effort in raising invoices and undertaking collections. This in turn will empower manufacturers to boost exports, compete with global competitors and add value differentiation by giving live visibility to customers. 

Ankit Tomar, Co-founder and CTO, Bizongo, said,

“The government’s Make in India initiative aims to place India on the world map as a manufacturing powerhouse. This makes it imperative for manufacturers to leverage emerging technologies that make their factories more efficient. Cloud factories have a critical role to play here, as they enable a manufacturer to give complete visibility across floor level operations and also the entire value chain. With the acquisition of Clean Slate, we aim to empower and enable manufacturers across India to achieve their potential.”

Founded in 2016 by IIT Bombay and SRM Chennai alumni, Mayank Sharma, Siddharth Desai and Anubhaw Kumar, Clean Slate is a Mumbai-based bootstrapped startup. Its proprietary technologies Kreto sensors and inLocate (tracking software engine) have enabled industrial giants across automotive, films and packaging, metals and engineering to securely and efficiently embark on their digital transformation journey.

Following its Series D funding in December 2021, it announced the launch of India’s first IoT-enabled cloud factory for made-to-order goods. 

CoinSwitch completes maiden ESOP buyback

CoinSwitch, India's crypto unicorn, on Monday announced that it has completed its first-ever ESOP buyback worth $2.5 million (Rs 19 crore) within 20 months of operating in India.

In less than two years, CoinSwitch claims that it has grown from 20 to 500 employees as it expands its wealth-tech offering and builds one of India's first Web3 teams.

In September 2021, CoinSwitch raised $260 million in Series C funding from Coinbase Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) to become India's valued crypto unicorn at a valuation of $1.9 billion. Other investors include Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, Paradigm. CoinSwitch is a16z's first investment in an Indian startup and Tiger Global's first investment in an Indian crypto company. 

Ashish Singhal, Co-founder and CEO, CoinSwitch,  said,

"The equity buyback programme is a small effort to acknowledge our employees' contribution to the phenomenal growth of CoinSwitch. Over 15 million users trust CoinSwitch in their investment journey, making us the largest Crypto app. We meet and exceed our targets in India because of the amazing team and shall continue to launch similar liquidity events as part of our commitment to creating wealth for all."

The company now plans to provide on its platform other asset classes and financial products to be the wealthtech destination for every Indian.

Founded in 2017 by Ashish Singhal, Govind Soni, and Vimal Sagar as a global aggregator of crypto exchanges, CoinSwitch is India's valued crypto unicorn with 15 million registered users. Today, users can choose from over 90 cryptos, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana. 

The company started its India operations in June 2020 to make crypto trading easy and simple for users.

NirogStreet appoints veteran fund manager Ashutosh Sinha as Chief Strategy Officer

NirogStreet, a technology-led end-to-end Ayurveda doctor platform, has appointed veteran fund manager Ashutosh Sinha, formerly Managing Director, Morgan Stanley (Singapore) as Chief Strategy Officer. 

Working closely with NirogStreet CEO Ram N Kumar, Ashutosh will drive the continued rapid expansion of the most widely deployed and proven Ayurveda tech platform to bring trust and deliver more impact of Ayurveda healthcare on patients globally.

The startup will benefit from the extensive knowledge and experience he gained working as a global investor for 25 years. An IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta Alumni, Ashutosh was CEO of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Singapore, and previously founded and was managing partner of Asian Hedge Fund, Amoeba Capital. 

Ram N Kumar, Founder and CEO, NirogStreet said, 

“Ashutosh joins as Chief Strategy Officer to solidify and expand NirogStreet's growth and market penetration strategy. We are confident with him coming on board the company will grow multifold in the years to come.” 

Ashutosh Sinha shared, "I have been associated as an investor with NirogStreet over the last few years and completely identify with their vision that Ayurveda has the potential to make the healthcare system of the future much more efficient and sustainable. I am looking forward to working with the dynamic team of NirogStreet.”

NirogStreet is re-building trust and accessibility of authentic Ayurveda healthcare and offering services to over 50,000 Ayurveda doctors. It has established a network of 200-plus certified Ayurveda clinics across India.

Plum partners with MindPeers to enable mental wellness at the workplace

Plum, an employee health insurance platform, has partnered with Mindpeers, a holistic science-based mental wellness platform. The partnership is a step to enable mental wellness at the workplace, where the majority of people tend to spend maximum hours working under pressure. It becomes imperative for employees to thrive and focus on making ‘take care of your mind’ a daily lifestyle. 

Both the companies are coming together to provide personalised plans to Plum’s clients focusing on their productivity enhancement and building mental strength. This includes full-stack solutions from clinical therapies to complete access to digital health panels for measuring and strengthening one’s mental health.

 

Kanika Agarwal, Founder, MindPeers said,

“Our mission is simply to make ‘taking care of our minds’ a lifestyle. Therefore, we categorically focus on making individuals address the concern as lightly as addressing any physical concern. Plum’s DNA is to be a modern healthtech partner and they understand the importance of this space very well for their clients. We hope that our analytics and digital health solutions can truly help their clients. It will be the first step towards changing how mental health services are covered in the insurance industry.”

Saurabh Arora, Co-founder, CTO and Head of Wellness at Plum, added, 

"As healthcare and insurance advisers to workplaces, we are in a position to set the right example. Incorporating people-centric policies for companies that care is important to us, at Plum and hence this partnership with MindPeers. We want employees to be fully aware that their physical and mental wellbeing is not a matter of compromise and that they should not hesitate to seek help."

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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