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

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday June 21, 2022.

Happy Nature raises Rs 6 crore in pre-series A

Direct-to-home startup Happy Nature has raised $768,275 (Rs 6 crore) in pre-series A round from a family office and angel investors.

The startup was founded by Vishal Rastogi, Vikas Singh, Sahil Chopra and Parth Birendra to serve healthy farm-fresh dairy & breakfast foods. It said it will use the funds for marketing and branding.

Spiritual lifestyle app Paavan raises $500k

BharatFirst Technologies, the parent company of spiritual lifestyle app Paavan, has raised $500,000 (Rs 4 crore) in a seed round of funding led by Waterbridge Ventures.

The startup was founded in 2021 by IIT Delhi alumni Sankalp Jain, Nitin Agrawal and Mohit Mittal. It said it will use the funds to enhance the product, create exclusive content IPs and hire talent across functions and verticals.

Angel investors including IndiaQuotient General Partner Anand Lunia, Fitso co-founder Saurabh Aggarwal, Giva co-founder Ishendra Agarwal, Animall co-founder Kirti Jangra, Credgencies co-founder Rishabh Goel, and Gocomet co-founder Chitransh Sahai also participated in the round.

Image: Shutterstock

Chai Point appoints Manmeet Vohra as Chief Brand and Digital Officer

Chai Point, which runs a tea cafe chain, has announced the appointment of Manmeet Vohra as Chief Brand and Digital Officer. With 20 years of strategic brand-building experience and special expertise in the Consumer Retail Lifestyle Industry, Manmeet has led brand building for renowned international brands including Starbucks, Visa, and TAG Heuer.

She started her luxury lifestyle marketing journey with the Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH Group) in 2003 where she worked with TAG Heuer watches for eight years.

At Chai Point, Manmeet will focus on elevating and deepening the Chai Point consumer connection across all its channels, including the brand’s international foray.

Howdyy and Bounce Share join hands to deploy over 10,000 electric scooters

Howdyy, an Indian electric vehicle (EV)-led logistics startup announced its partnership with Bounce Share, the EV rental arm of mobility startup Bounce to deploy over 10,000 electric scooters in the next two years.

The electric scooters will be deployed across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, and Hyderabad. Howdyy forayed into logistics space in 2020 with a vision to amplify the usage of EVs in mid-mile and last-mile deliveries. This strategic partnership will contribute to green deliveries, thus helping to reduce carbon footprints. 

All scooters will come with battery swapping technology. The swapping stations work on similar principles to a fuel station. Here, swapping stations will have charged and ready-to-go batteries that delivery personnel can easily swap with their near-empty batteries in under a few minutes. With this infrastructure in place, delivery personnel wouldn’t have to wait for the scooter to charge, be anxious about the range or remember to charge it. 

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Unacademy appoints Navneet Sharma as Chief Business Officer - New Initiatives for Test Prep business

Edtech platform Unacademy on Tuesday announced the appointment of Navneet Sharma as its Chief Business Officer - New Initiatives. Navneet will be responsible for formulating new avenues of growth for the digital and hybrid models for the Test Prep business.

Navneet comes with over 18 years of experience in strategy, sales and marketing, and managing P&L. He has expertise in managing customer life cycle management, GTM programmes, and new project launches.

At Unacademy, he will chart the growth strategy, business plan, and sales development frameworks for the new avenues that the test prep business is exploring.

On the appointment, Vivek Sinha, Chief Operating Officer, Unacademy said, “At Unacademy we are expanding the value offerings to achieve the next level of growth for our edtech offerings. Following the plan to achieve our goals, we are focusing on strengthening the team with exceptional minds. We are thrilled to have Navneet as a member of our core team, his extensive experience and knowledge will be invaluable in assisting us in accomplishing our ambition."

WinZO acquires Upskillz

Vernacular interactive entertainment platform, WinZO has acquired Upskillz Games Private Limited, a Gurugram-based casual game development studio.

The all-cash deal saw WinZO acquiring a majority stake of the studio for an undisclosed amount.

This deal shortly follows a recent announcement of WinZO making investments in other high-potential game development studios, namely Bengaluru-based Bombay Play, UK-based Village Studio, and IndiGG, a blockchain based Gaming Guild.

These investments were made by WinZO under its flagship initiative, the $26 Million WinZO Game Developer Fund which was rolled out with an intention to invest in, and extend the proprietary technology, innovation, and research that WinZO has built for the unique mobile-first users of Bharat.

Will Lin joins Simplilearn as CMO

Simplilearn, a global digital skills training provider, announced the appointment of Will Lin as the new Chief Marketing Officer. Will brings to the company more than 20 years of international experience and a proven track record in scaling data-driven ROI-focused marketing operations and taking them to the next level.

He will be responsible for the overall global brand and digital marketing strategy of the company to further amplify Simplilearn’s brand awareness and to drive the transformation of marketing into a data and revenue-driven function, according to a statement.

Prior to joining Simplilearn, Will served as the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Digital Officer at RentPath where he built a world-class consumer marketing program focused on renter acquisition and growth and was instrumental in its eventual $600M acquisition by Redfin.

​​Kapture CRM appoints Jagadeesan Kumar as CFO

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software firm Kapture CRM has appointed Jagadeesan Kumar as its Chief Financial Officer and Head of Corporate Development.​

​​Commenting on his appointment, Sheshgiri Kamath, CEO and Co-founder, said, "The last few years have been incredible for us where we have witnessed exponential growth across geographies. Our focus is now to evolve into a more structured organisation that's prepared for the planned growth in the coming years. Having Jagadeesan is going to be a big help in this journey."

Alariss Global launches in India

US-based global expansion marketplace Alariss Global has announced that it will set up an office in India to help entrepreneurs with global ambitions to launch in the US and elsewhere.

Alariss Global has already worked with Indian founders backed by top investors including Nexus Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital India.

Currently also serving startups from China, Singapore, Nigeria, Germany, Canada, Spain, the UK, and Israel, Alariss says it is making a special commitment to India by opening its first overseas office here.

Rishen Kapoor, Co-Founder and CEO of Sequoia portfolio company, Toplyne, and a former Sequoia investment team member himself, said, “Talent is the biggest asset for any successful company, and one of the greatest challenges of expanding to the US. Alariss provides an impressive pool of vetted go-to-market talent that is heads and shoulders above other partners we’ve encountered in the US.”

(This is an ongoing story and will be updated with the latest updates throughout the day.)

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti