Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Sept 23, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Friday, September 23, 2022.
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Zomato to start manual checks on cloud kitchens

On Friday, food delivery platform Zomato said that it will start doubling down on kitchen operators that operate multiple cloud kitchen brands.

"We are going to manually check any physical location that runs more than 10 brands out of a single location," said Zomato.

It will also create a "whitelist" of the restaurant partners that "provide a great experience".

The Gurugram-based company will also start displaying information from multiple brands linked to a kitchen on the restaurant’s page on the platform.

The announcement follows the revelation in a blog post that one such facility in Benaluru was running nearly 200 different brands.

Qwikcilver Solutions merges with Pine Labs

Pine Labs, merchant commerce omnichannel platform, said that the business of Qwikcilver Solutions Private Limited gets consolidated into a single legal entity i.e., Pine Labs Private Limited.

All the existing products, solutions, platforms, and programs by Qwikcilver will continue to operate seamlessly with no impact on users. Going forward, all co-branded Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) under Qwikcilver brand name will be issued by Pine Labs under the brand name of Qwikcilver.

In March 2019, the company had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Qwikcilver for $110 million, funded via internal cash reserves and with additional funding from existing investors.

 Commenting on the announcement, Kumar Sudarsan, President, Issuing Business, Pine Labs, said, “Qwikcilver and Pine Labs have established strong business synergies post the 2019 acquisition. The formal merger now will strengthen the association further and will usher in a new era of innovation and growth for our issuing business in India and our focused international markets. We will continue to wow our customers with our industry-leading solutions on prepaid issuing for enterprises including gift card, rewards, incentives, and several other stored value programs."

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Simplilearn partners Meta Immersive Learning to launch program in Spark AR Studio

Simplilearn, a skills training provider, partnered with Meta Immersive Learning to launch Spark AR to provide a comprehensive understanding of the skills required to create basic effects using augmented reality. 

Through Meta Immersive Learning, Meta is investing $150 million to help develop the next generation of creators, fund high quality immersive experiences and increase access to learning through technology. These courses will be launched in India, the US, Europe, Middle-East, and other key markets, and will help learners get a grasp of the basics of creating interactive and engaging user experiences and effects. Learners will also be able to master the usage of 3D modelling, textures, and other features of Spark AR Studio in order to start or boost their careers. 

The program is best suited for software developers, digital marketers, animators, AI engineers, individuals with 2-3 years of work, final year students and anyone looking to build a career in AR.

Post the completion of the program, individuals will have the opportunity to receive a course completion certificate from Simplilearn, and the Spark AR course will provide learners with upskilling opportunities to thrive in the digital economy. The other two programs on AR Fundamentals and AR Pro will be released in November 2022. 

Speaking on the program, Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO, Simplilearn, said, “We are offering this program in partnership with Meta on our SkillUp platform for free so that learners and AR/VR enthusiasts can gain a deep understanding of the concepts and upskill at no cost. Simplilearn has always been committed to providing industry relevant programs to its learners to help them stay ahead of the industry curve and excel in their respective careers. In line with the partnership, we aim to have more than one lakh enrolments for this future-focused program by March 2023.” 

Flipkart enables “Sell-Back Program” ahead of Festive Season

Ecommerce marketplace Flipkart is enabling a “Sell-Back Program” ahead of the Festive Season. The program, while supplementing efforts toward creating a circular economy and reducing e-waste, offers a safe and convenient option to sell old phones to network partners. Customers can truly upgrade via the Sell-Back program by selling their used mobile phones while receiving the right buy-back value in their bank account.

Flipkart is giving customers access to a strong and reliable re-commerce platform and the launch of the “Sell-Back Program” is a significant step in that direction. With the acquisition of Yaantra, which has a robust device quality assessment capability, Flipkart has strengthened its foothold in the re-commerce industry.

Commenting on the launch of the program, Adarsh Menon, Senior Vice President, and Head-New Businesses, Flipkart, said, “With the “Sell-Back Program”, we aim to provide our customers access to a secure, convenient, and environment-friendly option that assures the best value and quick payment. We have received strong adoption and interest for this program, which witnesses approximately one crore customers every month from across the country. At Flipkart, we consider it a priority to work towards bringing smart tech-enabled solutions to customers and help in reducing the generation of e-waste, which is a crucial step in creating a sustainable economy.”

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

Edited by Megha Reddy

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