Startup news and updates: daily roundup (September 13, 2022)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, September 13, 2022.
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BharatPe appoints former RBI Deputy Governor, Zomato exec as independent directors

Fintech company BharatPe on Tuesday said it has appointed former RBI Deputy Governor BP Kanungo and Zomato's Chairman Kaushik Dutta as independent directors to its board.

Following BharatPe's regulatory run-ins earlier this year, the company is strengthening its focus on corporate governance, and Kanungo's appointment is in line with that.

"Earlier this year, we had put in place a robust governance framework and were in the process of identifying the right leaders who could join the Board in building BharatPe 2.0. The recent important appointments are driven by this very thought...," said Rajnish Kumar, chairman of the board.

BP Kanungo joined the RBI in 1982 and spent close to four decades at the central bank. In September 2021, he joined the RBI's Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning (CAFRAL) as its director.

Fintech startup Zolve adds ex-Citigroup exec to its leadership team

Fintech startup Zolve has added ex-Citigroup Global Consumer Group CEO Steve Freiberg to the company's US leadership team.

Freiberg has spent almost 30 years with Citigroup and is also the Vice Chairman of the Board at SoFi.

He will focus on Zolve's overall growth and business strategy and bring the right tech and product partners onboard, the neobanking startup said.

Axio doubles customer base in last 12 months

Fintech startup axio, formerly Capital Float, said it doubled its customer base in the last 12 months to around 5.5 million, adding 10,000 customers per day.

Its loan disbursal rate has also increased to Rs 5,000 crore this year from Rs 1,700 crore in 2021.

"Our fully regulated model has enabled us to grow systematically, balancing digital innovation with unparalleled customer experience. About 60% of our customers are from non-metro cities, highlighting the acceptance of digital solutions across the underserved population," said Sashank Rishyasringa and Gaurav Hinduja, Co-founders of axio.

Co-founders of axio, Sashank Rishyasringa and Gaurav Hinduja

5ire picks stake in Network Capital

Blockchain network 5ire has bought a stake in mentorship and career advancement platform Network Capital (NC), it said on Tuesday.

With the stake buy, 5ire will access NC's human capital, which it plans to use to build a talent pipeline.

PE/VC investments fall 80% to a 19-month low in August - PTI

Investments by private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) funds plummeted 80% to $2.2 billion in August, a 19-month low, a report said on Tuesday.

The month recorded the highest ever exits at $3.1 billion, making it the best month from a sell-off perspective, according to the report by industry lobby IVCA and the consultancy firm EY.

In August, PEs and VCs invested $2.2 billion and signed 83 deals, including five large deals, raking in $972 million for Indian companies, the monthly report said.

In July 2022, VCs invested $4.1 billion, while the same stood at $11.2 billion in August 2021.

Vivek Soni, Partner at EY, said, "Indian PE/VC investment flows have shown tepidness after being resilient during the initial part of the year and reached a 19-month low."

Fire originating from electric bike showroom in Secunderabad suspected to have killed 8 - PTI

Eight people, including a woman staying in a hotel, were killed in a midnight fire suspected to have originated from an electric bike showroom in Secunderabad.

Nine others were injured and rushed to various hospitals, police said. Most victims were asphyxiated.

Source: PTI

According to one of the hotel occupants, who lodged a police complaint, he noticed smoke and fire coming out of the cellar. He, with four others, escaped from the fifth floor to the next building and called 100 for help.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Minister K T Ramarao condoled the loss of lives and announced ex-gratia on behalf of the Centre and the State government.

The fire and smoke from the showroom engulfed Hotel Ruby Pride located above the showroom.

"It appears there are 23 rooms on all four floors in the hotel. The smoke spread through the staircase from the bottom to the top floor and engulfed all the floors. Some people sleeping on the first and second floors came to the corridor through the thick smoke and died of asphyxiation," Hyderabad Police Commissioner CV Anand, who visited the spot, said.

The exact reason for the blaze would be known after the fire department's investigation.

100X.VC partners with Pidilite to identify strategic opportunities

Early stage investor 100X.VC has partnered with Pidilite Industries to identify strategic investment opportunities for the speciality chemicals company.

Pidilite Ventures, Pidilite Industries' investment vehicle, will mentor and guide businesses selected under the programme.

Mobile app aggregator startup KalaGato names Abhinav Pandey as CTO

Thrasio model-based startup KalaGato said Abhinav Pandey will join the company as its chief technology officer (CTO) to accelerate its adoption of AI, data, and analytics platforms.

Abhinav has more than 12 years of field experience, having worked with organisations such as Siemens, Accenture Strategy, Mu Sigma, and others.

Mobility startup Automovill inks a deal with DriveU to provide car services

Full-stack mobility startup Automovill has partnered with DriveU to offer car services to the latter's customers via the DriveU app.

DriveU has nearly 1.5 million active users on its app across nine Indian cities. Automovill will offer services, including dent and painting, accidental claims/insurance claim support, general car services, and AC services, among others, to DriveU's customer base directly on the app.

"With car repair and full-stack auto service models becoming more popular, we not only aim to provide on-demand assistance through a large network of partners, suppliers, and auto specialists, but we also guarantee end-to-end responsibility, from vehicle pickup to servicing, with a post-service customer connection," said Ramana Sambu, Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Automovill.

RenewBuy to double its insurance advisor workforce by 2023-end

Gurugram-based insurtech startup RenewBuy will double its insurance advisor workforce by the end of 2023, hiring across its 70 branches in India.

The startup is working towards upscaling its tech to make the insurance process seamless and easy.

"The hiring process is thus, aimed at making more and more insurance advisors take insurance to the masses, and increase consumer base, especially in the smaller regions, where insurance is still not accessible," RenewBuy said.

"We are looking at hiring insurance advisors who have been in this business, people from other professional backgrounds who are interested in building a career in insurtech, housewives, and even freshers from colleges and B-schools," said the startup's CBO Nishant Mehta.

Founded in 2015 by Balachander Sekhar and Indraneel Chatterjee, D2C Insurance Broking Private Limited—RenewBuy's holding company—helps people buy health, life, and motor insurance products. It has more than three million customers across 780 cities and towns.

Edited by Suman Singh

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