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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 23, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, March 23, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 23, 2023)

Thursday March 23, 2023 , 11 min Read

Mark Zuckerberg announces new WhatsApp app for Windows

Mark Zuckerberg announced a new WhatsApp app for Windows, which will enable group video calls with up to eight people and audio calls with up to 32 people—all from the desktop.

Sharing on Facebook, Mark said, “Launching a new WhatsApp desktop app for Windows. Now you can make E2E encrypted video calls with up to eight people and audio calls with up to 32 people.”

"WhatsApp started as a mobile app, and those roots remain as strong as ever. But with hundreds of millions of people using WhatsApp on computers and tablets, we’re focused on making the messaging and calling experience across devices even better," he adds.

The new Windows desktop app is expected to load faster and is built with an interface familiar to WhatsApp and Windows users. Users can host group video calls with up to eight people and audio calls with up to 32 people. Further, the company aims to continue to increase these limits over time.

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Chennai Super Kings onboards drone tech startup Garuda Aerospace as official partner

Drone startup Garuda Aerospace has partnered with Chennai Super Kings. As part of the agreement, Garuda Aerospace will be the official drone partner for the 2023 season, marking the first-ever drone partnership for a team.

Garuda Aerospace is a dual DGCA-approved drone startup that manufactures make-in-India drones and trains young professionals in the field of drone technology. The startup recently raised $22 million—the largest ever Series A fundraise in the drone sector. Former Indian cricket team captain and brand ambassador Mahendra Singh Dhoni is also a shareholder in the company.

The Change Engine accelerator for pre-idea startups announces first cohort

The ChangeEngine, a Gurugram-based startup studio, launched its inaugural cohort of ACE: Agents of Change Entrepreneurs, India's first accelerator for pre-idea startups. The fully funded, six-month programme aims to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs who are passionate about solving ambitious problems by helping them go from problem discovery to launch and fundraising while developing scalable solutions to tackle difficult problems.

ACE is targeted towards enthusiastic final-year students and recent graduates who are interested in addressing complex challenges and developing solutions that can be scaled. The programme offers each founder Rs 6 lakh over six months, along with the possibility of receiving additional funding of up to Rs 2 crore at the end of the programme.

The founders, who will be chosen through a competitive process, will be mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs and product professionals, and have access to active advice from funders.

Additionally, the programme offers office space, credits and discounts on various SaaS tools, and free access to legal and accounting services. After completing, participants will receive support in raising funds from venture capitalists and angel investors during their demo day.

Foodpanda to work on e2W vehicle battery swapping pilot in Singapore

Gogoro and Cycle and Carriage Singapore (C&C) partnered with food delivery platform Foodpanda India in a battery-swapping pilot that will support smart electric two-wheel vehicles for last-mile deliveries in Singapore.

The partnership follows Singapore Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) announcement last year that it awarded Gogoro and C&C with a battery-swapping sandbox pilot for electric two-wheel vehicles.

As announced in September 2022, Gogoro and C&C have partnered to introduce a new and more efficient approach to electric refuelling for two-wheel delivery fleets using Gogoro’s six-second Swap and Go battery swapping.

The addition of Fodpanda as a partner allows for the trial of Gogoro’s Smartscooters and the battery-swapping platform to conduct last-mile deliveries. Insights from the trial will be used to guide the next steps to accelerate the adoption of sustainable mobility as Singapore moves towards a transportation system using cleaner and more sustainable energy.

Nearly 8 in 10 Indian professionals heading back to office by choice: LinkedIn

Workers are generally more receptive to working in the office, with 86% of Indians saying they feel positive about it compared to a year ago. New research by LinkedIn reveals a shift in workers’ attitudes towards going to the office. While they used to feel obliged to physically be in the office, 78% of Indian professionals say they now do it by choice.

 

Another trend embraced in the office is that of desk bombing. The research reveals that most workers like it when a co-worker shows up unannounced at their desk to have a chat. 62% of respondents in India see desk bombing as a great way to have impromptu conversations. The majority of GenZ workers in India (60%) have experienced desk bombing and find it useful.


The LinkedIn research revealed that 63% of Indians feel working remotely has no harmful impact on their careers, however, a similar percentage of people also believe their chances of career growth could be reduced if they didn’t go to the office as much. This could be a potential reason why 71% of Indians agree that they feel they have to overcompensate when working from home to show that they are serious about work.

Water utility startup Boson Whitewater partners with PYSE 

BOSON Whitewater, a water utility company that converts STP water into high-quality potable water, has partnered with PYSE, a fintech company that allows retail investors to invest in green and sustainable projects. Through this collaboration with PYSE, Boson Whitewater will be able to implement and scale its sustainable water infrastructure projects, while also prioritising and supporting the environmental goals of Pyse’s investors. 

Pyse is a specialised sustainability funding platform that helps individual investors participate in special assets. By investing in sustainable assets like water management, Pyse allows everyone to participate in making their cities resourceful and sustainable in terms of water. 

Over the last several years, Boson Whitewater has been actively working towards promoting sustainable water infrastructure by converting STP-treated water into the highest quality potable water.

RunR Mobility, EMF Innovations have partnered to encourage Make in India vehicles

High-speed electric scooter manufacturer RunR Mobility has partnered with EMF Innovations, a tech company that delivers cost-effective and reliable electric mobility solutions. With this partnership, EMF Innovation will be the powertrain design and manufacturing partner for RunR Mobility.


The partnership will cater to a collective objective of providing a better class of EVs for Indian roads. Furthermore, it will cultivate trust in the minds of Indian buyers who are looking forward to innovative, affordable, and 100% indigenous electric vehicles.


"This strategic partnership will build a stronger relationship between EMFi and RunR Mobility," Sivasankari T P, Managing Director of EMF Innovations, said. "Technology today is playing a critical role, and both companies realise that they need to accelerate R&D to remain competitive. With EMFi’s application support and RunR’s strengths, I am sure we will be able to unlock our full potential while catering to the EV needs of the Indian buyers."

BosonQ Psi joins IBM Quantum Network

BosonQ Psi (BQP) has joined the IBM Quantum Network startup programme to experiment and develop quantum algorithms for engineering simulations on quantum systems. 

Collaborating with established researchers from universities, R&D labs, and end-user industries, BQP intends to boost the performance of complex engineering simulations using Qiskit libraries, simulators, and IBM quantum systems via the cloud.

BQP's quantum-powered simulation platform serves applications in aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, biotech, and other industries. It allows researchers to engage in proof-of-concept projects and simulations. 

Quantum-powered simulations aim to provide innovative breakthrough solutions for complex engineering problems with realistic, accurate and accelerated simulations.  

Airbus collaborates with BITS Pilani WILP to upskill professionals

Airbus has collaborated with Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani’s Work Integrated Learning Programmes (WILP) division to help upskill some of their specific professionals in data analytics.  

Data analytics can help enhance fleet reliability, reduce delays, and ensure higher safety for passengers by mitigating the risk of safety incidents.  

Considering the current and future trends of the aerospace sector and the need to further upskill some of its professionals in data analytics to help address such trends and beyond, Airbus is collaborating with WILP through its MTech in Software Systems programme with a specialisation in data analytics.

Timex India partners with Unicommerce

Timex India has collaborated with Unicommerce for its ecommerce operations. This partnership aims to enhance the customer experience by further building the efficiency of Timex India's logistics and order fulfilment processes.

As part of the collaboration, Timex India has deployed Unicommerce’s order management and warehouse management platforms at its warehouse to further strengthen its ecommerce business operations and elevate the post-purchase experience for its online buyers.

Unicommerce's advanced platform will provide Timex India with real-time visibility and control over its orders, inventory, and shipments. This will enable the brand to dispatch orders faster and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Tips Music signs new deal with JioSaavn

Tips Music(Tips Industries Limited) has renewed its content-sharing partnership with the digital music streaming platform JioSaavn. 

As part of the deal, Tips Music provides JioSaavn with a catalogue of over 30,000 tracks and 5,500 albums spanning 24 languages. It’s a collaborative effort to deepen engagement with Indian audiences.

The strategic partnership between Tips Music and JioSaavn delivers a streaming experience for music lovers around the world with the latest hits as well as classics from the 90s and 2000s from the music label. 

The growing user base of JioSaavn in the regional space will also help open doors for Tips' content in the South and other regional markets that they have ventured into since 2022.

Amazon announces Propel Startup Accelerator Season 3

Amazon India today announced the launch of the third season of Amazon Global Selling Propel Startup Accelerator (Propel S3)—an initiative designed to provide dedicated support to emerging Indian brands and startups to reach customers around the world. 

The Propel S3 will support up to 50 D2C startups to launch in international markets and create global brands from India. 

The programme offers participants a chance to win total rewards worth over $1.5 million including AWS Activate credits, ads credits, as well as logistics and account management support for one year. The top three winners will also get a combined $100,000 in an equity-free grant. 

Amazon will also help participating startups connect with Revenue-based-financing firms including Klub and Velocity who will provide curated offers to the participating startups to expand their business at scale. 

The applications for the programme open today and will close on April 30, 2023.  

NASSCOM Foundation, IG Group collaborate to digitally skill individuals

NASSCOM Foundation has collaborated with IG Group, a global fintech company, with the vision of strengthening and empowering the youth to become technically competent and join the global workforce. 

The collaboration aims to make a significant impact on the lives of disadvantaged women and people with disabilities in Bengaluru.

The project, which will benefit 300 local individuals between the ages of 21 and 30 years, is part of an effort to empower marginalised communities through skill development and digital literacy.

The project aims to empower the communities by improving their digital and financial literacy, which, in turn, will enhance their employability prospects. Through the project, the beneficiaries will receive training in augmenting their communication skills, and soft skills as well as digital and financial education. Additionally, technical training will be provided in BPO training and digital accessibility training.

PrepInsta appoints Ramkumar G as National Lead

Placement website PrepInsta has announced the appointment of ex Examly, Ramkumar G as National Lead, Strategic Alliances.

In his new role at PrepInsta, Ramkumar’s primary responsibility will be to assist the edtech brand in acquiring and retaining B2B clients. He will also look into forming strategic partnerships with higher education institutions and academic management groups.

Ramkumar G, a seasoned professional, brings with him over nine years of industry expertise in edtech handling, training, sales, operations, partnerships and alliances, the company said.

Prior to joining PrepInsta, Ramkumar worked at institutions like Lovely Professional University where he headed a team of 25 trainers and assistant professors of the Department of Analytical Skills. He also worked with edtech brands including Harappa and Examly. 

Inspira Enterprise announce new leadership hiring 

Global cybersecurity services organisation Inspira Enterprise has strengthened its leadership team with three professional hires from the industry.   

Bharati Sudhir from IBM India has been appointed as Chief Marketing Officer; Anil Rander from LTI MindTree has joined as the Group Chief Financial Officer; and Sujeeth Williams from NTT is the President of BFSI. 

Sudhir and Rander will have global functional responsibilities, while Williams will be responsible for driving the BFSI business in India.

These leadership changes are a part of the global expansion strategy, the company said. Inspira Enterprise focuses on industries like BFSI, higher education, healthcare and the public sector.  A combination of large managed security service provider engagements and services-in-a-box kind of offerings will drive Inspira’s growth aspirations, it said.

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


Edited by Kanishk Singh