Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Aug 3, 2022)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, August 3, 2022.
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WhatsApp, Uber launch partnership in New Delhi

The two American giants have announced their WhatsApp to Ride (WA2R) partnership for residents in the Delhi-NCR region. Using this feature, locals can use the official WhatsApp chatbot to book a ride with Uber, in both English and Hindi.

According to a press release shared with YourStory, New Delhi is one of Uber's top cities by volume of rides. The ride-sharing giant believes it can reach out to a new audience demographic in India with this partnership.

The two companies ran a successful pilot of the program in Lucknow last December. It revealed that the average WA2R user is younger than the average Uber user, with more than 50 percent being under the age of 25. Within the pilot, 33 percent of inbound users were new users for Uber, and they are hoping this growth will be reflected in the new partnership.

Harvard brings student and young professional conference to IIIT Delhi

The Harvard College Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR) has announced that it will be hosting its annual Asia Conference (ACONF) at IIIT Delhi between August 20 and 24 this year. This will be the first time the conference is being held in India in its 30 year history. Previously, it held the competition at other venues such as South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

The theme for this year's conference is "Finding the Future", and will focus on the way society needs to rethink the way it tackles problems. The speakers will cover a range of topics, including the evolving startup ecosystem, data security, sustainability, and content creation, among others.

The 30th anniversary conference, and the first to be held in person since 2019, is partnered with organisations such as True Beacon, Invest India, and others. Speakers include Geoff Ralston of Y Combinator, Kunal Shah of Cred, Michael Horvath of Strava, acclaimed fashion designer Manish Malhotra, and former World Bank CTO Lesly Goh, among others.

Khatabook announces comprehensive health coverage for LGBTQA+ employees

KhataBook team

In a move to make their workplace more inclusive, KhataBook has announced that they will be providing holistic mental health and health insurance policies for all its employees, including those who identify as LGBTQA+.

With this move, live-in partners and dependents of these employees can now be covered under the employee health insurance. The company has tied up with Nova Benefits to provide this inclusive coverage. Additionally, it has tied up with YourDost to provide comprehensive mental health coverage as well.

Khatabook has stated that it currently has a gender diversity of 22 percent in its organisation, and aims to reach 35 percent within two years.

Recur Club's new financing platform helps WeVOIS grow 2.5X

Recur Club is a new trading platform that helps startups convert their recurring revenue into upfront capital needed for growth. Using this tool, IoT solutions firm WeVOIS, among others, is able to raise money by using their recurring revenue as collateral as and when needed.

According to Abhishek Gupta, CEO of WeVOIS, by using this non-dilutive form of capital, his company was able to grow revenue by 150 percent over the last nine months. Not only did it help with raising capital as needed, but also at a premium valuation.

"Their flexible financing allowed us to draw down capital at our will and enabled us to expand into new territories when we were ready for it. This has also helped us in raising equity capital at a much higher valuation as compared to the offers we received last year,” said Gupta.

Plum gets Ananya Pandey as brand ambassador for bath & body vertical

Ananya Pandey

Beauty and self care startup PlumPlum has appointed Bollywood actor Ananya Pandey as its brand ambassador for the bath and body vertical, Plum BodyLovin'.

The company says that Pandey's image as a fun and delightful perfectly encapsulates the brand image they want to build for the vertical.

Pandey will be promoting Plum BodyLovin's fragrance category.

She will be representing the company's body mists, perfumes and deodorants through a series of media engagement campaigns.

Pandey herself stated that apart from the brand appealing to her sensibilities, she also loved the fact that Plum is an animal cruelty-free company.

Plum BodyLivin' offers over 25 fragrance products in 7 fine fragrance categories.

Additionally, the company is planning to expand its offline presence to build on its current 1,110+ assisted outlets and 1,000+ unassisted outlets.

Exponent and Altigreen reveal fast charging three-wheeler EV

Electric vehicle enabler Exponent Energy has tied up with electric vehicle manufacturer Altigreen Propulsion Labs to build an electric three wheeler that can travel up to distances of 80-85 kilometres, and can be charged within 15 minutes using Exponent's charging pump.

The vehicle has a proprietary battery built by Exponent that aids with this rapid charging. Customer deliveries will being in October 2022. There is a target to build a 100 Exponent charging stations across Bengaluru in FY23 to aid the growth of vehicle sales.

Exponent Energy is co-founded by Arun Vinayak, a founding member of Ather. Additionally, the company has raised money from Hero Motor Corp Chairman and CEO Dr Pawan Munjal's family office.

(This story will be updated with the latest news throughout the day.)

Edited by Megha Reddy

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