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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (October 11, 2022)

YourStory presents daily news roundups from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, October 11, 2022.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (October 11, 2022)

Tuesday October 11, 2022 , 7 min Read

Spice Money joins ONDC to make small businesses discoverable

Spice Money said that it is the only rural fintech player and one of the four buyer-side apps to be implemented on the government-backed Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC) that has gone live for beta testing in Bengaluru Urban district. 

The soft launch is invite-only before the app moves out of the beta phase and is made available to the general public. This will facilitate Spice Money to help its Adhikaris to get access to small merchant stores without being restricted to only their localities.

Sanjeev Kumar, Co-founder and CEO, Spice Money said, “Since inception, fostering inclusivity for the citizens of Bharat has been foremost in our minds. We have been working closely with ONDC, which will solve the problem of discoverability for small businesses who cannot afford to pay substantial commissions or spend for getting better visibility on established ecommerce platforms.”

Spice Money has been helping nanopreneurs grow their businesses by enabling them to onboard its network as Adhikaris at zero cost.

ONDC Kirana Store

Gaming giant WinZO with focus on Bharat onboards 100M users

WinZO, a social gaming platform, said that it has achieved a milestone of 100 million registered users on its platform this week. 

WinZO achieved this feat within four years of its inception, making it the first off-play-store app (not distributed through Google Play Store) to achieve this milestone. It has a user base comprising 90% of the users from Tier II - Tier V cities and rural areas, with 20% of users being women from rural Bharat. 

Commenting on the milestone, Paavan Nanda, CEO and Co-founder, WinZO said “This is still day 0 for us. We are humbled by the love we have received from over 100 million users. The world is looking at India for creating UPI, a fintech product that changed the way Bharat transacts. We are aiming for WinZO to be one of the finest global consumer tech products that deliver culturally relevant and safe interactive entertainment experience - putting Indian Gaming on the world map"

Over the last year, the platform boosted its branding efforts by securing multiple high-profile associations such as onboarding former India captain MS Dhoni as the brand ambassador, sponsoring Kolkata Knight Riders in Indian Premier League 2022, and sponsoring Gujarat Giants and Bengal Warriors in Pro Kabaddi League 2022.

Earlier this year WinZO also announced Game Developers Fund of $26 million corpus. It is mobilised to collaborate with companies across all forms of interactive entertainment such as game development, economies around gaming, culturally relevant content creation, live-ops, security etc to increase the entrepreneurial opportunities around gaming in the country. 

Softline acquires Value Point Systems'

Softline, an IT and digital transformation solutions and services provider, signed an agreement to acquire Indian digital infrastructure and cybersecurity solutions and services company, Value Point Systems.

Value Point System's 2,000 local customers will now have access to Softline's full portfolio of solutions and services.

Value Point Systems is an end-to-end next-generation digital infrastructure and cybersecurity solutions provider in India, with technology partners such as AWS, Cisco, CrowdStrike, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP, Microsoft, VMWare, and Zscaler, among others. Its portfolio includes six end-to-end solutions and services: cybersecurity, data centre modernisation, network transformation, cloud transformation, digital workplace, and IT-managed services.

Hervé Tessler, CEO of Softline International, said: “Value Point Systems constitutes the fourth acquisition made by our company in 2022, accelerating the three-dimensional growth strategy that we announced at our last year's IPO."

RS Shanbhag, Founder, Chairman and CEO at Value Point Systems, commented: “Thanks to this new step in our company's journey, we will now be able to grow beyond our highest expectations, and will also have access to the world's top vendors solutions and services and to Softline’s own portfolio which will enable our teams to offer an even better and wider range to our customers.”

Safex Chemicals acquires UK-based Briar Chemicals

Agrochemicals company Safex Chemicals India acquired UK-based Briar Chemicals (Briar) from the pan-European alternative investment firm AURELIUS Equity Opportunities, for £73 million ($80.8 million).

Safex is backed by private equity firm ChrysCapital, which owns a minority stake in the business.

Neeraj Jindal, Director of Safex, has joined the Board of Briar Chemicals and will steer the future growth of the company.

“We are delighted to enter the UK by acquiring the country’s pre-eminent independent agrochemical CDMO provider,” said Piyush Jindal, Director of Safex. “The addition of Briar to Safex’s crop protection business strengthens our position in the global agrochemicals market.”

“Briar is a trusted long-term partner to many of the world's largest chemical groups, with an impressive heritage,” said Matthias Täubl, CEO of AURELIUS Equity Opportunities. partners with insurtech platform Riskcovry to offer embedded insurance

Proptech platform forayed into the insurance distribution business by offering 'Rent Protect Cover' in collaboration with insurtech platform Riskcovry. The cover will provide a host of insurance benefits to its buyers at a reasonable premium of Rs 99 per month.

The insurance will cover 15 critical illnesses up to Rs 2 lakh, a personal accident plan of Rs 1 lakh, and medical expenses of up to Rs 60,000 in case of accidental hospitalisation. The tenure of the insurance policy will be annual, though the premium can be paid monthly. The benefit claim amount can be used by customers to make good on due rental payments, which otherwise would have been at risk of default due to the above-mentioned instances.

The premium of the ‘Rent Protect Cover’ will be embedded into the monthly rent payments workflow for customers of under its service ‘Pay on Credit,’ which is part of Housing EDGE (full-stack rental and allied services platform). Through this partnership, tenants will be able to secure protection in case of accidental death, hospitalisation, and critical illnesses.


LEAD elevates Anupam Gurani, Manoj Naik to leadership positions

Edtech startup LEAD has elevated Anupam Gurani to Chief Business and Marketing Officer, and Manoj Naik to Chief Finance and Operations Officer.

In addition to his marketing responsibilities, Anupam will now also drive customer success and revenue generation at LEAD, with a focus on continually delivering great results for all school stakeholders. 

In his expanded mandate, Manoj will also lead supply chain and procurement excellence, in addition to leading financial operations at LEAD.

LEAD targets accelerated growth in its partner school network as it works towards its goal of reaching 60,000 schools and 25 million students by 2026. 

Bay Capital appoints Ritwick Ghoshal as Managing Partner and CEO onshore business

Bay Capital Investment Advisors appointed Ritwick Ghoshal as Managing Partner and CEO to drive its domestic onshore business.

Ritwick comes to Bay Capital from Barclays Private Bank where he was a Director for Private Clients and was part of the India Private Banking Management Committee for the bank. He has held senior management positions with banks like Citibank NA in EMEA, ANZ Grindlays, JM Morgan Stanley, ABN AMRO NV, HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Edelweiss Private Wealth Management and Barclays Bank Plc in India, and Avendus Capital Inc in the US. 

Ritwick also co-founded a job matching platform which helped new graduates from India’s rural and semi urban locations hone their vocational and occupational skills. Ritwick, along with other co-founders, raised $3 million as initial seed capital from global UHNIs.

RenewBuy appoints Rahul Garg as Chief Technical Officer

Insurtech player RenewBuy has appointed Rahul Garg as its Chief Technical Officer. 

In his role, Rahul Garg will oversee products, technology, and digital services, and will be responsible for devising tech-based strategy to increase profitability of the company.

Rahul brings with him an expertise of around two decades in multiple roles in the IT industry. Rahul has been associated with organisations like Fidelity Business Services and Institute of Technology Kanpur, to name a few.

Balachander Sekhar, CEO, RenewBuy said, “We are moving from pure agent-led distribution to a multi-channel distribution platform, for which we are persistently building the tech stack of the company. We have recently ventured into the OEM space in the motor insurance category and are working towards an AI-based claim settlement process for seamless claim intimation, processing, and settlement.”

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

Edited by Kanishk Singh