Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 31, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, March 31, 2022.
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Instamojo sees 5X growth since ecommerce beta

Instamojo, a digital platform for small businesses, said enrolment of its monthly paid subscribers grew by five times since February 2021, when it became an ecommerce enabler for D2C (direct to consumers) brands.

With small businesses owners now shifting to the digital storefront, 20 percent of Instamojo’s annual revenue is from online stores, as against 2 percent in January 2021, the company said. The company has a merchant base of more than 2 million business owners.

“Given the positive growth of the company over the past year, we look forward to further foster the growth of DTCs and entrepreneurs online, in India,” said Sampad Swain, CEO & Co-founder, Instamojo.

Fynd to collaborate with Magicpin

Omnichannel platform Fynd will collaborate with Magicpin to enable its clients to experience faster hyperlocal deliveries, reach a new customer base, and enhance their revenues.

Magicpin uses technology to enable the discovery of local places, shops, and products for consumers across categories such as food, grocery, pharma, and fashion. In 2020, Magicpin started its home-delivery business, delivering products from local stores. It has a base of 200,000 merchants.

NoBroker forays into home interiors

Real estate platform NoBroker has ventured into home interiors space with its first-ever experience centre in HRBR Layout, Bengaluru, which spans 2000 sq ft.

NoBroker plans to open an experience centre each in five more cities by the end of 2023. It has on-boarded over 50 design partners with whom it works to provide a best-in-class experience to its customers.

Damir Vrabac, COO of Valar Labs (left), with CEO Anirudh Joshi, and CTO Viswesh Krishna.

AI for oncology startup Valar Labs raises $4M

Valar Labs, an AI-for-oncology startup founded by researchers at Stanford and Harvard, has raised $4 million in a seed round led by a16z, with participation from Pear VC and former CEOs of Labcorp and Qiagen.

"We are building an AI platform that can guide therapeutic decisions made by oncologists through analysis of routinely collected diagnostic biopsies," said Anirudh Joshi, Co-founder and CEO of Valar Labs.

Valar Labs' interdisciplinary team works closely with oncologists and pathologists at cancer centres, he added. The startup, headquartered in Palo Alto, was founded last year by Anirudh, Damir Vrabac who is the COO, and Viswesh Krishna who is the CTO.

Saran Chatterjee joins Clear

Fintech venture Clear has roped in Saran Chatterjee, former product leader at GooglePay and Flipkart, as its new Chief Product Officer. In his new role, Saran will spearhead product management, design, and product marketing.

Saran comes with more than two decades of experience in product management, product marketing, product innovation, business management, and operations in India and Silicon Valley.

Prior to Clear, Saran was Director of Product Management at Google, heading the consumer payments and financial services for GooglePay India. He has worked at Flipkart, Yahoo, and Fujitsu, and co-founded home construction and services startup Housejoy.

Uniphore launches partner collaboration programme

Conversational automation company Uniphore announced its Unite App Alliance Partner Program for independent software vendors (ISV) to collaborate and cross-sell solutions.

Launched late last year, the Unite Partner Program enables ISVs to offer their conversational AI and automation technologies to joint customers. It also powers collaboration and complementary co-selling among the participating ISVs.

Fintech startup BridgeUp raises $1 million in seed funding

Recurring revenue trading platform Bridgeup has raised $1 million in its seed round, led by Darshan Patel, Founder of Vini Cosmetics. Several industry stalwarts also participated in the round.

Started in 2020, BridgeUp allows businesses to obtain cash without the hassles of traditional fundraising or the debt or dilution that come with it. Companies can trade the annual value of their monthly contracts and get their entire revenue upfront. BridgeUp enables the transactions without compromising or diluting the equity of the company.

“The company plans to use the funds for product development, team expansion, and further scaling up operations," said Zeus Dhanbhura, Founder and CEO, BridgeUp.

"We have facilitated significant disbursal in capital to companies on our platform. From B2B SaaS, EV charging, services to coworking spaces and more, we are attracting a healthy mix across the entire target segment of recurring revenue-based companies.”

Third Wave Coffee opens store in Lokhandwala, Mumbai

Premium artisan café chain Third Wave Coffee Roasters, which has built a popular and loyal community of coffee lovers in Bengaluru, Pune, and Delhi since its launch in 2016, opened its flagship outlet in Mumbai at Lokhandwala.

With this new cafe, the brand has 43 cafes in India – 28 in Bengaluru, 11 in Delhi NCR, two in Mumbai, and one each in Pune and Coonoor.

Third Wave Coffee was founded by Sushant Goel, Ayush Bathwal and Anirudh Sharma, and is known for coffee brews made using arabica beans sourced from estates in Chikmanglur and Nilgiris.

Prateek Shukla, Co-founder and CEO of Masai School, with Ved Mani Tiwari, COO and Officiating CEO of NSDC

Masai School ties up with NSDC

Skill-building school Masai School has announced a partnership with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to skill the youth for tech jobs through an outcome-driven skilling model.

The collaboration will enable aspirants to create a level-playing field for jobs in the technology sector through skill- based learning certified by NSDC. It also seeks to work toward alternatives to the banking loan system for skill-based education.

Masai School offers learning tracks such as Full-Stack Web Development, Android Development, and UI & UX Design, Data Analytics and Product Management. While the mode of education is primarily online, Masai School has campuses in Bengaluru, Patna, Pune, and Indore.

Skill-Lync grows its base of corporates

Edtech venture Skill-Lync said it has partnered with 50 corporates, like Cyient, Renault-Nissan Technology Business Centre India (RNTBCI), Tata Elxsi, Expleo, Verolt, and Segula Technologies, and enabled job offers to more than 1,000 engineering students in the financial year ending 2021-22.

Skill-Lync was launched in April 2015 by Suryanarayanan P and Sarangarajan V to address the lack of quality and application-based learning in the Indian undergraduate engineering education system. In line with its aim to provide aspiring engineers with the right skills, Skill-Lync’s emphasis is on emerging engineering technology delivered through a combination of self-paced and instructor-led sessions.

Through its partnerships, Skill-Lync offered job opportunities to young students, as well as advanced professionals across engineering domains like mechanical, electrical, civil, computer science and electronics.

Partners like Cyient and RNTBCI have also taken up upskilling programmes for their employees in the domains of electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and embedded systems, according to the company.

GetWork launches exclusive club for users

GetWork, a campus placement platform, has launched GetWork club for its user base of college students. Founded in 2019, the GetWork platform has 200 colleges, and facilitates placements from a list of 2,500 companies.

The GetWork club has been created to maximise monetary and learning benefits to its student users from across the country, the company said in a press release.

With no joining fee, students can access GetWork Club’s exclusive benefits and highly personalised recommendations from scores of brands, like Mentorkart, Column Inches, Kavishala and Noraa, on a single platform. GetWork aims to establish the newly launched club as a rewards club for young job-seekers.

StanPlus appoints Dr Navneet Singh as Medical Director

Stanplus, a healthcare emergency response platform headquartered in Hyderabad, has appointed Dr Navneet Singh as the Group Medical Director.

It has a fleet of 3,000+ ambulances with equipment for critical and non-critical care, and partnerships with 50 hospitals in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Coimbatore, and Kochi to manage their medical response systems.

With 17 years in the healthcare and healthcare-facilities sector, Dr Navneet will strengthen StanPlus’ quest to deliver the ‘First Minute, Last Mile’ Healthcare promise to save lives, according to a StanPlus press release.

Dr Navneet will be responsible for medical supervision of all operations at StanPlus, and will oversee the training, recruitment, upskilling and management of its clinical staff.

Astrid Masle-Boer joins RFPIO as VP - Sales

Response management platform RFPIO has appointed Astrid Masle-Boer as Vice President of Sales to lead its expansion in Europe, West Asia, and Africa, as well as the Asia-Pacific region.

RFPIO’s software integrations allow teams to digitally transform response management processes, and harness in-house knowledge and content across their teams.

In the past six months, RFPIO has made two acquisitions, namely RFP360, and InHub, an RFx management solution for the investment community. Since 2021, it has added 105,000 users on the RFPIO platform.

SG Analytics hires Kiran Bala as CHRO

SG Analytics (SGA), a Global Insights and Analytics Company that provides data-centric research and analytics services, has appointed Kiran Bala as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).

Kiran will lead SG Analytics’ global HR strategy to improve operational effectiveness and align with the company’s business priorities as it continues its growth story. She will work with SGA’s global HR team and senior leaders to design programs that focus on employer brand, employee experience and talent practices.

“Since the last couple of years, SG Analytics has grown phenomenally in terms of revenue and team members. We now have over 1,100 team members, with more than half of them added in the last three years,” said Sushant Gupta, Founder and CEO of SG Analytics.

Rafael Noriega to head strategy at Orenda India

Orenda India, which is part of the Berkshire Hathway Home Services network, has appointed Rafael Noriega as its Chief Strategy Officer to expand business operations and drive growth in India, as well as in international markets.

Orenda India, which operates from the National Capital Region, provides bespoke solutions across real estate services to owners, tenants, and investors.

Rafael has more than 20 years of experience in real estate operations, international development and distribution strategies for consumer products and services. He was previously the Managing Director of Global Expansion, Berkshire Hathway Homes Services in the United States.

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