Startup news and updates: daily roundup (August 24, 2022)
Robotic startup Miko collaborates with Disney
Robotic startupon Wednesday unveiled its Disney collaboration, bringing Disney and Pixar characters to its Miko 3 robot for kids. Through the tie-up, Miko will host an official Disney app on a kid’s robot platform.
The collaboration comes at the heels of Miko’s participation in the Disney Accelerator programme last year.
The robot will play animated story books with stories featuring stars from Moana, Frozen, The Lion King, Toy Story, Big Hero 6, and Coco among other popular Disney names.
“Bringing the imaginative worlds of Disney and Pixar to our platform represents a big step in kids robotics,” said Sneh Vaswani, Miko co-founder and CEO. “We are thrilled to be the first robotics platform to have such an innovative collaboration with Disney, and we look forward to raising the benchmark for kids’ engagement together.”
Founded in 2015 by Sneh R Vaswani, Prashant V Iyengar, and Chintan S Raikar, Miko claims to have more than 170 employees globally, and offices in Silicon Valley and Mumbai. It creates emotionally intelligent robots which leverage artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). Its flagship brand, Miko, has launched advanced version which uses voice-recognition technology to see, hear, sense, express, talk, and recognise faces.
The startup had raised Rs 100 crore ($13.3 million) in debt from Stride Ventures in May, which followed $28 million equity round announced by the company in August 2021.
Miko 2 robot
Telangana incubator WE Hub tie ups with UK-based Tide
Telangana’s state-led incubator for women entrepreneurs, WE Hub, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tide, the UK-based SME-focused business financial platform. The year-long partnership will allow Tide to introduce its Women in Business programme, which aims at providing financial admin and advisory services to women entrepreneurs in Tier II and Tier III regions.
The core focus areas will include counselling and educating women small business owners on regulation and compliance, accounting and financial planning, filing tax returns, loan application support, marketing and sales, in addition to facilitating peer training and networking.
Additionally, women entrepreneurs in Telangana can also use a free co-working office space on Tide premises, when starting out.
EV battery startup Neuron partners with E-Ashwa
Neuron Energy Pvt Ltd, a bootstrapped startup supplying lithium-ion and lead acid batteries for electric vehicles, announced its strategic tie-up with battery-operated vehicles manufacturer, E-Ashwa Automotive.
The purchase order includes 600 battery packs per month and 10,000 battery packs annually. It is estimated that the deal will close at Rs 2 crore a month and Rs 30 crore annually, the company said in a statement. E-Ashwa has been selling EV products and has so far set up 26 assembly units in various parts of the country. It also launched 12 different models of electric two-wheelers last year and has a few electric two-wheelers models under its own brand e-Ashwa
Founded in 2018, Mumbai-based Neuron Energy provides lead-acid and lithium-ion technology batteries for e-bike, e-rickshaws, and golf carts. The company claims to have its footprint in the Middle East, Europe, and Southeast Asia.
India's application software spending to grow 15% in 2022: Survey
End-user spending on enterprise application software in India is forecast to total $4.7 billion in 2022, an increase of 14.8% from 2021, according to Gartner, Inc.
“Driven by the digital transformation agenda, Indian enterprises will continue to expand the share of software spending in their broader IT spending. Organisations are increasingly relying on software to operate all aspects of business,” said Neha Gupta, vice president analyst at Gartner.
However, the growth in software spending will be lower in 2022 than in 2021. “The volatile global macroeconomic situation has increased business uncertainty. Organisations will continue to put new long-term projects on hold selectively and cut the scope of high-cost projects and instead look to “quick win” projects that either have a shorter return on investment (ROI) or provide a competitive edge,” said Neha.
Applications critical for maintaining the quality of customer service like supply chain management (SCM), supply chain execution (SCE), and customer relationship management (CRM) will see increased spending as organisations look to address complex supply chains and volatile marketplaces, and more effectively adapt to change and disruption. Spending on CRM software is forecast to grow 18.1% in 2022, while SCM software spending will increase 10.2%. Likewise, core financial and planning tools will see increased spending as companies look to improve their ability to manage cash and ensure a firm financial foundation upon which to grow.
Indian businesses will also increase spending on email and authoring and content services to continue to support collaboration and remote/hybrid work. A large portion of pandemic-related spending in these two markets occurred in 2020, causing a large peak that, while still growing, has slowed spending for the next few years.
Tata Neu to launch co-branded credit cards
Tata Neu, the super app of Tata Group, will soon launch co-branded credit cards in association with HDFC Bank (card issuer).
The card will be launched in two variants: Tata Neu Plus HDFC Bank Credit Card and Tata Neu Infinity HDFC Bank Credit Card. Both variants will be available on RuPay and Visa networks.
The card will enable Tata New customers to earn rewards on all spends, both online and in-store, in the form of NeuCoins (1 NeuCoin = Rs 1). Customers can then use the earned coins to make purchases across categories ranging from electronics, fashion, travel, hospitality, groceries, and pharmacy on Tata Neu and across all partner brands (online and in-store).
Spice Money, CredAble strengthen leadership team
Rural fintech startup Spice Money has elevated Kuldeep Pawar, who was previously the Head of Marketing to the role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In his new role, Kuldeep will support the overall strategic objectives of Spice Money by developing comprehensive marketing and communication strategies.
He has previously worked with brands like Niyo, Jio, Quickheal, and Vodafone and has been working with Spice Money in strategising its rural marketing.
Another fintech platformhas appointed Satyam Agrawal as Managing Director–International Business. Satyam will be responsible for the expansion of CredAble internationally, focused on the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa regions, and will help to roll out technology platforms across these markets.
Prior to joining CredAble, Satyam was associated with GlobalLinker, a digital platform in the SME space. He also held key roles in banking as Managing Director and Head of Retail Business Banking for Asia-Pacific at HSBC, and Global Product Head for Business Banking at Standard Chartered Bank.
This announcement follows after the company recently raised $9 million from Axis bank to grow the business and support SMEs.
Ecom Express integrates with ONDC for logistics services
Logistic startupannounced that it is in an advanced stage of integration with the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to provide end-to-end logistics services to small sellers and retailers on the ONDC network.
The company will be among the first logistics service providers to be available on the ONDC network, potentially enabling SMEs and retailers across India to be able to accept orders from their customers across the country and deliver through the company’s network.
T Koshy, MD and CEO, ONDC, said, “The integration of Ecom Express on the ONDC network will help increase logistics choices for buyers and sellers and help expand the reach of ONDC. This integration will help the retailers and SMEs to expand their ecommerce business to wider market opportunities.”
He further added, “On the ONDC network, either buyer or seller can select a logistics provider. A retailer can act both as a seller-side participant in the retail domain, and also as a buyer-side participant in the logistics domain to provide a complete and seamless experience for the buyer.”
Headquartered in Gurugram, Ecom Express was incorporated in 2012 by TA Krishnan, Manju Dhawan, K Satyanarayana, and Late Sanjeev Saxena.
It claims to have a fleet of nearly 50,000 delivery personnel and provides ecommerce shipment pickup and delivery service in 27,000+ PIN codes in 2,750+ cities across 28 states.
Incorporated in December 2021, ONDC is an initiative of the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce, Government of India. It is not an application, platform, intermediary, or software, but a set of specifications designed to foster open, unbundled, and interoperable open networks thereby eliminating the dependency on a single platform.
(This article will be updated with more news throughout the day.)