Startup news and updates: daily roundup (April 27, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
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Übank partners with CleverTap to offer world class omnichannel customer experience  

CleverTap, SaaS-based customer engagement and retention platform, on Wednesday announced its partnership with Übank, the digital banking application from VPBank. Through this partnership, CleverTap plans to optimise Übank’s user experience, accelerate user engagement, and drive financial inclusivity.

Übank’s mission “Bank less, Get more” aims to remotely address financial needs of customers, especially the low and middle-income segments by automating banking processes. By integrating CleverTap’s solution into its digital banking platform, Übank can now drive user engagement more efficiently through the three major journeys — payment, deposit and spending, and shorten the average period time of deposit. 

CleverTap enables Übank to personalise their user experience using real-time behavioral data with precise predictive recommendations, leading to engagement opportunities based on each user’s exact needs.

Gunneet Singh Bally, Head of Products, Customer Engagement, and Partnerships Übank said,

"We, at Ubank, wanted a marketing automation tool with five distinct strengths: high on personalisation, unbeatable on data security, consistent new feature development in the pipeline, deep on the use of AI and ML for customer profiling and segmentation, and multiple ways of notification display on the app. We've met these requirements at CleverTap with the support of the local business team and development centre; CleverTap has delivered what we have asked for in our customer engagement plan."

Marc-Antoine Hager, Regional Vice President, Sales at CleverTap added,

 

“We are excited to support Übank in their digital journey to serve millions of users in Vietnam. Powered by our AI driven and automated marketing capabilities, Übank can optimise their digital campaigns and achieve higher user engagement.”

Edtech startup Safalta onboards Virendra Sehwag as its goodwill ambassador

In a bid to promote its messaging of providing accessible education and bridging the employability gap, Safalta — an edtech platform announced that it has joined hands with Indian cricketing legend, Virendra Sehwag. Coming on board as Safalta’s goodwill ambassador, Sehwag has expressed his trust in the platform’s teaching quality and its mission to provide affordable education to the Indian masses. 

Catering to semi-urban and rural India, Safalta is a bridgital startup that synergises digital innovation with socio-economic sensitivities and helps its students leap over the hurdles of accessibility, Affordability and accountability by offering “destiny-changing education”. As a part of its multi-pronged approach, Safalta focuses on soft skills, Classes IX-XII competitive and government exams along with vocational courses and upskilling initiatives.

Himanshu Gautam, CEO and Co-founder of Safalta said, 

“Our efforts are directed towards providing affordable and high-quality education to kids from semi-urban and rural backgrounds as there is a vast untapped bank of resources and skills that is waiting to be utilised. Our core is exam-preparation where we prepare students for different competitive Government exams like NDA, Banking, Teaching etc.”

Virendra Sehwag said,

“Being an educator, I can understand the significance of quality teachers and the need to provide accessible education to the masses. I must appreciate the commitment of Safalta and their team that have not compromised on the quality and have provided courses at unbeatably affordable prices. Kudos to team Safalta for their commitment and drive and their courses that make students job-ready and successful.”  

Anuj Khanna Sohum joins the board of OSlabs Pte Ltd 

Singapore-based Affle Global Pte Ltd on Wednesday announced that it has nominated Anuj Khanna Sohum to be a Non-Executive Director on the Board of OSlabs Pte Ltd, the app and content discovery platform which operates IndusOS. His appointment as a Non-Executive Director effective April 22, 2022 was confirmed by unanimous vote of all the investor directors and founder directors of Indus OS.

As per the official release, based on filings with ACRA, AGPL owns about 40 percent of Indus OS issued preference shares, a class of shares owned by various investors. AGPL holds the highest percentage of the investors' votes in that class of shares.

AGPL will continue to emphasise enhanced corporate governance, transparency and good corporate hygiene in all spheres of functions and operations for the benefit of all stakeholders. AGPL believes that Sohum’s appointment as a Non-Executive Director of Indus OS is a significant milestone in its journey and it looks forward to contributing to Indus OS scaling greater heights.

Cashfree Payments continues to lead bulk disbursals in India with over 50 pc market share

Payments and API banking solutions startup, Cashfree Payments, on Wednesday announced that it continues leading the payments disbursal in the country with over 50 percent market share. Its bulk disbursal product, Payouts, surged over 100 percent in FY22 compared to FY21. The ease of onboarding, seamless integration, quick turnaround time, better user experience, and customer-centric support systems have helped the company to serve its customers while leading disbursals. 

Cashfree Payments helps businesses make payouts instantly via multiple methods: bank accounts, UPI ID, IMPS, NEFT, Paytm, Amazon Pay, cards and native wallets, 24X7 even on bank holidays. The system verifies the new beneficiaries, instantaneously adds as well as activates them, enabling them to make accurate payouts everytime.

The startup claims that it is highly reliable, scalable and resilient with risk mitigation features such as fraud detection and API level security. The company’s Payouts suite is designed to address all needs and issues of the businesses through its product innovations like Cashgram and Global Payouts.  

At present, Cashfree Payments has been doing peak processing of 1000 payouts per second. Cashfree Payments’ disbursal platform is helping thousands of merchants in making over 2 million disbursals a day to beneficiaries. 

As per the startup, payouts to UPI handles has grown over 562 percent in FY22 compared to the same period a year ago while IMPS has grown consistently at 91.3 percent in FY22 over FY21.

Akash Sinha, CEO and Co-founder, Cashfree Payments said,

"We believe that the Indian economy has leaped into a new phase of growth where it calls for an increased adoption of digital payments. Through Payouts, we are ensuring seamless disbursals of payments, wages, rewards and refunds, among others, for the convenience of businesses and users alike. Payouts suite is significant for businesses looking to expand and grow as it offers a wide range of solutions for varying needs of the customers. Our products range from collecting and disbursing payments to a verification suite, softPOS and banking APIs covering the entire array of payments solutions needs of companies. Cashfree Payments aims to solve critical business problems using technology and innovation. With a future ready mindset, we look ahead for greater achievements, growth and value for all stakeholders.”

Cashfree Payments claims that it works closely with all leading banks to build the core payments and banking infrastructure that powers the company’s products and is also integrated with major platforms such as Shopify, Wix, Paypal, Amazon Pay, Paytm and Google Pay. Apart from India, Cashfree Payments products are used in eight other countries including the USA, Canada, and the UAE.

Upstox strengthens leadership team with key appointments 

Investment platforms Upstox on Wednesday announced the appointment of three senior executives to the leadership team. The company has hired Sudeep Ralhan as Chief Human Resources Officer, Manoj Agarwal as Head of Compliance and Sriram Krishnan as Vice President - Information Security. 

Shrini Viswanath, Co-founder, Upstox said, “We are thrilled to welcome Sudeep Ralhan, Manoj Agarwal and Sriram Krishnan to the Upstox family. With their unparalleled leadership, expertise and knowledge, they will play pivotal roles that will position Upstox for the next phase of growth.” 

As per the official release, Sudeep Ralhan, joining as Chief Human Resources Officer at Upstox, will lead the company's human resource strategy, driving the scope for expansion, talent acquisition and resource allocation. Under his leadership, Upstox aims to fuel growth through progressive people practices, creating better employee experiences and building a high-performance and inclusive culture. He will be based in Bangalore and will be leading all teams across talent acquisition and human resources.

 

Sudeep has over 20 years of experience across all facets of Human Resources, is passionate about diversity and believes in the power of leadership. He has worked with organisations including Accenture, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and Walmart. In his previous stint, he was the Vice President - People at Walmart Global Tech, India, where he led the company’s growth and established a strong talent footprint and brand.

Manoj Agarwal, joining as Head of Compliance and Legal at Upstox, will oversee adherence to all business protocols in addition to liaising between the company and regulatory authorities on all legal matters. He will help build a collaborative and robust business relationship with key policymakers and government agencies to ensure a smooth and ethical business journey. Manoj is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry. 

Before joining Upstox, he was the Head of Internal Audit, Legal, Secretarial, and Compliance at Kotak Securities for 18 years and served as the Senior Executive Vice President. Earlier in his career, Manoj has also been associated with Tata Consultancy Services and HDFC Securities.

Sriram Krishnan, joining Upstox as Vice President- Information Security, will be heading the information security portfolio. He will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategic long-term information security roadmap. Sriram  has been in the information security domain for more than 16 years and has expertise in strategising, leading, and implementing security initiatives across technology, consulting, and banking industries. He has focused on building solutions and programmes tailored to business needs through a data-driven approach. Prior to joining Upstox, Sriram was the Director - Information Security at Freshworks, leading cybersecurity initiatives in the organisation. 

Upstox currently caters to a customer base of over 9.5 million. As a leading digital investment platform, Upstox offers a number of new features and an intuitive interface that enhances customer experience and promises to make investing simple, stable, seamless and secure.

VDO.AI appoints Akshay Chaturvedi as the Chief Business Officer, Supply

VDO.AI, recently appointed Akshay Chaturvedi as the Chief Business Officer, Supply. The latest appointment will enable the global advertising technology innovator to strengthen its capabilities by building the publisher vertical, globally. In his new role as a lead, Akshay will oversee video-led engagement and revenue maximisation for publishers across the world.

VDO.AI offers monetisation management solutions for publishers across web, mobile, CTV and OTT apps. Akshay will leverage his skillsets that span across strategy, product, and business leadership, especially in the digital domain, to contribute in building publisher connect, over newer geographies, beyond India.

Amitt Sharma, Founder and CEO of VDO.AI said, 

“These are very exciting times for the adtech landscape around the globe and having established our footprint in India, we want to offer our unparalleled and innovative monetization solutions overseas, as well. We are confident that Akshay will leverage his domain expertise and entrepreneurial skills to not only help the publishers unlock higher engagement rates with premium advertisers and incremental revenues but also reimagine the entire digital advertising gamut, globally.”

Addressing his vision for VDO.AI, Akshay Chaturvedi, Chief Business Officer, Supply, added, 

“VDO.AI is poised to scale its momentum and I am humbled to join the team at this juncture of growth. The increased adoption of CTV/OTT as well as the visible shift of interest towards web solutions creates a blue-ocean opportunity across the globe. Publishers today are increasingly seeking immersive, engagement-led experiences, and seamless Omni-channel integration, driven by responsive content and VDO.AI has been at the forefront of offering all these services. I look forward to propelling them on their roadmap of attaining global success.”

His previous roles include being a part of Vice Chairman's corporate strategy team at Times of India group, Founder member of Gaana.com, and Business Head for ZigWheels.com at Times Internet. His past four years were dedicated to being an entrepreneur running a full-stack boutique digital services company that worked with marquee Indian and global organizations. In addition, he also dabbled as a strategy consultant and startup coach.

Moglix announces executive elevations, strengthens leadership as it enters next phase of growth

B2B commerce company Moglix has elevated three of its senior leaders: Mukund Vasudevan, Partha S Dash, and Sandeep Goel as the new managing directors of the company. The announcement comes as a boost to Moglix’s senior leadership as it is poised for global expansion and growth.

 

Rahul Garg, Founder and CEO, Moglix said,

“Moglix is in an exciting phase of growth as we expand our operations globally and deepen our expertise, reach, and impact. It’s great to have three very strong leaders play a larger role in fulfilling our vision of creating tremendous value for the customer as we scale. They are not only experienced, but extremely passionate leaders and their leadership is sure to steer us continuously in the right direction.”

Mukund Vasudevan joined Moglix in July 2021 to lead strategic partnerships and will now be leading the Enterprise Solutions business vertical, working with its enterprise customers to transform their supply chain. An IIT Bombay and Chicago Booth School alumnus, Mukund started his career with Schlumberger in Brazil. He moved to McKinsey where he worked with CXOs of Fortune 500 companies and transitioned into leadership roles at Pentair and Ecolab. Prior to Moglix, he was the Managing Director Ecolab, India and Southeast Asia.

 

Partha S Dash joined Moglix in 2015 and has been a part of the seed to scale journey for the MRO and packaging verticals. Going forward, he will focus on growing the new business verticals and geographies. Partha is an NIT Rourkela and XIM alumnus, he has worked in leadership positions at manufacturing giants such as ITC, Tata Steel and Olam International across 15 countries globally. Before joining Moglix, Partha was heading the distribution business for Olam in the entire South Africa.

 

Sandeep Goel joined Moglix in 2018 to lead product strategy and scale the human capital function, building processes and culture as the organisation scaled from 300 to 1,400 employees during a global pandemic. In his new role, Sandeep will lead strategy and operations. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Science, Sandeep has previously held CXO positions in software companies. Prior to Moglix, Sandeep had been the CEO at Acuvate, where he led digital transformation for many fortune 500 companies and grew Acuvate into a multi million dollar business.

 

Having end-to-end supply chain operations from strategic sourcing to financing, Moglix is a global digital supply chain solutions company. Its global sourcing and delivery footprint spans across 1000+ large enterprises, 500,000+ MSMEs and 18,000+ suppliers across India and the Middle East. 

Nova Benefits appoints Raj Nayan Datta as Chief of Staff, Kumar Prabhakar as Director of SMB Sales

Nova Benefits, an employee wellness platform focused on corporate health insurance, announced the onboarding of Kumar Prabhakar, Director SMB Sales and Raj Nayan Datta, Chief of Staff, growing and strengthening the company’s leadership team.

 

Datta, joining Nova Benefits as the Chief of Staff, comes with expertise in Business Intelligence and executing strategy, and over five years of experience in the field. Prior to onboarding with Nova, he was the head of BI and Strategy at Unacademy. Previously, he was the Co-founder of a Junior VC that shares insightful commentary of the Indian startup ecosystem.

 

Prabhakar, appointed as the Director of SMB Sales at Nova Benefits, comes with over 13 years of cross-functional expertise in sales, operations, and customer service, along with a deep knowledge of mobilising revenue channels and building and streamlining operations from scratch. Prior to joining Nova Benefits, he was the Associate Director of Sales at Razorpay, where he was heading large and diverse sales, operation and customer service teams across B2B and B2C segments. Previously, Prabhakar was a core team member and built a startup from scratch for the Mahindra Group.

 

Saransh Garg, CEO and Co-founder, Nova Benefits said, 

“At Nova Benefits we are at a pivotal point in our growth journey as we align to cover millions of lives in India. With that in mind, we are thrilled to welcome Kumar Prabhakar and Raj Nayan Datta as part of our leadership team at Nova Benefits at this significant time. We believe that the knowledge and expertise that each of these leaders bring to the table will help us grow successfully and achieve our vision to cover 10 million lives in India by 2025. We’re excited to work with the new leaders in transforming the employee wellness space and build happier and healthier workplaces.”

In September 2021, the company raised $10 million in its Series A funding round backed by Bessemer Venture Partners and SIG. 

Airtel acquires stake in cloud network solutions provider Cnergee Technologies 

Communications solutions provider Bharti Airtel on Wednesday announced that it has acquired a strategic minority stake in cloud-based networking solutions provider Cnergee Technologies under the Airtel Startup Accelerator Programme. 

 

Navi Mumbai-based Cnergee specialises in integrated networking solutions over cloud for businesses  of all sizes. Cnergee has developed a range of 5G ready software tools for Network as a Service (NaaS) that can be deployed at scale to enable zero touch service provisioning, central remote monitoring,  and management of all connected devices with a host of real time analytics. 

 

The stake acquisition will enable Airtel to sharpen its NaaS proposition for SMBs who are looking to accelerate their shift to cloud-based applications. Airtel already offers a wide range of connectivity and productivity solutions for SMBs backed by unmatched distribution network reach across India. 

 

In addition, Cnergee’s advanced software tools will boost Airtel’s ‘Work From Anywhere’ solutions  portfolio as businesses look to adopt hybrid work models in the post pandemic world. 

 

Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO, Airtel Business said,

“As businesses move to cloud-based  applications, software defined agile networks are becoming the norm. Airtel is on a mission to  accelerate the digital transformation journeys of enterprises through our world-class NaaS platform.  We welcome Cnergee to the Airtel Startup Accelerator Programme and look forward to deploying their  ‘Made in India’ solutions at scale in the fast growing NaaS market in India.”  

Airtel Business serves over one million businesses of all sizes through its integrated portfolio of – connectivity, conferencing, cloud and data centers, cyber security, IoT, adtech, CPaaS (Airtel IQ), and more.

 

Suvarna Kulkarni, Founder and MD, Cnergee Technologies said, 

 

“Cnergee has always believed in  developing innovative, intelligent and cost efficient cloud based solutions. It is an exciting time for Cnergee to partner with Airtel in this digital transformation journey and reach out to emerging  businesses of all sizes driving Digital India.”

Kristal.AI acquires a global investment platform Globalise

Kristal.AI, a digital-first global private wealth management platform, on Wednesday acquired global investment platform Globalise which delivers access to US stocks, ETFs, and ETF baskets for Indian investors. Together they complement each other with Kristal.AI being strong in institutional products like pre-IPO deals, hedge funds and VC funds for the affluent and HNI segment and Globalise offering stock and ETF investing with no minimum requirements for the affluent and retail segments.

 

Kristal.AI has $400 million of assets under management and its user base has grown 7x in calendar year 2021. Since its inception in 2016, Kristal.AI has been providing access to premium products and advisory services to institutional and accredited investors across 20+ countries. Strategic acquisition of Globalise will enable retail investors to invest in global products via fractional investments.

 

Speaking on the development, Kristal.AI’s Founder and CEO, Asheesh Chanda said, 

“Today Kristal.AI enjoys a leading position in global investment space and is a preferred choice for the affluent segment. The acquisition of Globalise is complementary as it will help us offer stock and ETF investing with no minimum requirement for the affluent and retail segments. The acquisition will help us penetrate the retail segment and deliver on our mission to bring access to best-in-class products and advisory within the reach of everyone.”

“Globalise was created with a vision to make every Indian investor access global products. The merger helps us deliver access to premium global products. We couldn't have found a better home than Kristal.AI for our customers, partners, and team to continue living our vision” added Viraj Nanda, CEO and Co-founder of Globalise.

 

The customers and partners of Globalise will not experience any change in pricing or product. The entire operating team of Globalise has been retained and continues to operate from their respective locations. Over the next few months, Kristal.AI and Globalise teams will work closely to integrate product flows and customer accounts.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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