Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 29, 2023)
YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
Wednesday March 29, 2023,
7 min Read
IIT Jodhpur researchers create cost-effective sensor for detecting fruit ripeness
A team of researchers from IIT Jodhpur, IIT Delhi, and CSIR-CEERI Pilani have created a cost-effective sensor capable of measuring the elasticity and capacitance of fruit to assess its ripeness.
While chemical analysis is destructive and not applicable in all ripeness stages, electrochemical sensing requires expensive equipment. Image processing for ripeness detection is limited to specific fruit families, and changes in colour are not reliable indicators of ripeness for some fruits.
“The development of the highly sensitive tactile pressure sensor and its integration with a robotic system has the potential to revolutionise the way in which high-value fruits are sorted today. This innovative technology offers a cost-effective solution for accurate and reliable fruit ripeness detection during harvesting and transportation, enabling high-throughput sorting of fruits based on their quality and ripeness," Ajay Agarwal, Professor and Head, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Jodhpur, said.
"The implementation of this system can have a significant impact on the fruit industry, improving efficiency, reducing waste, and increasing the shelf life and overall quality of exported fruits,” he added.
Entropik awarded patent for multimodal emotion AI technologies
is awarded a patent for its Multimodal Emotion AI Technologies by the patent office of the Indian government. The technologies specialise in interpreting and analysing facial expressions, eye movements, and voice tonality through machine learning and neural net algorithms. This allows Entropik to provide accurate and efficient consumer insights to brands, especially in advertising, user experience, and shopper research.
The patent covers Entropik's Multimodal Emotion AI Technologies and includes facial coding and eye tracking claims. Facial coding and eye tracking analyse facial expressions, muscle movements, and pupil movement to understand attention, engagement, and emotional levels.
Ranjan Kumar, Founder and CEO of Entropik, said his excitement for bringing the revolutionary Multimodal Emotion AI technology to the market. "Tech like facial coding, eye tracking, and voice AI will provide brands with answers to the 95% of questions that traditional surveys and focus group discussions cannot."
Akasa Air partners with WebEngage to enhance customer engagement
has partnered with the marketing automation platform WebEngage to enhance its customer engagement strategy.
Through the use of WebEngage's platform, Akasa Air can engage with customers via personalised communication across multiple channels. The platform will enable the airline to leverage real-time analytics to connect with users on a channel of their choice, enhancing brand loyalty, increasing customer engagement, and driving conversions with one-on-one communication.
"WebEngage’s retention platform will facilitate Akasa Air to replicate its on-ground and inflight experience across all its digital touchpoints through our smart, data-driven, and fully automated retention platform," said Avlesh Singh, Co-founder and CEO, WebEngage.
The platform's focus on customer data and analytics, personalisation engine, and omnichannel campaign orchestration system will help Akasa Air to deliver customer engagement across its web and mobile channels with relevant, personalised and contextual communication.
Kovai.co names Oscar Hackett as head of outbound sales
, a multi-product enterprise software and B2B SaaS company based in Coimbatore and London, appointed Oscar Hackett as the Head of Outbound Sales. Hackett will be responsible for building and leading the London-based sales team for Document360—Kovai.co's knowledge management product.
Hackett graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Russian Studies and International Relations and held various sales roles in startups and SaaS companies. Earlier, he led the sales process and strategy for the Startup programme in Europe and globally at SaaStock, a conference for SaaS companies. He also grew the customer base for Cledara, a UK-based SaaS subscription platform, from 50 to over 1,000.
Kovai.co, founded in 2011 by Microsoft Integration Architect Saravana Kumar, has an ARR of $10 million and a 240+ member team.
SIDBI to manage funds for Startup Odisha
Startup Odisha, an initiative to foster the startup ecosystem in Odisha, has partnered with the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to manage the Odisha Startup Growth Fund (OSGF). The move is part of the state's efforts to bring best practices and standards to its startup ecosystem and ensure effective management of its funds. The OSGF was started with Rs 250 crore ($33.7 million) from the Odisha government and has now grown to Rs 1,000 crore ($134.8 million).
In addition to managing the OSGF, SIDBI will also bring its own fund to support the startup ecosystem. Startup Odisha Executive Chairman Omkar Rai said that in the next five to ten years, Odisha will be ready with a lot of funds for startups. He called upon the startup ecosystem players from across the nation to look towards Odisha for access to funds, markets, and the best support system.
The state government is planning to open incubators in each district and every educational institution to take the startup ecosystem to the grassroots level. The 30th Convergence India Expo, underway in Delhi, is showcasing various startups from Odisha and other states.
Head of Startup India Aastha Grover said that the startup ecosystem is not only growing in terms of numbers but also in terms of funding, with unicorns growing from a handful to a strong 107 and incubators supporting startups growing immensely.
Carnot Technology enters the agri fintech space
, an agri AI-IoT platform backed by Mahindra, entered into a strategic partnership with Avanti Finance foraying into the agri-fintech space.
Through this strategic partnership, Carnot launched a working capital credit access while leveraging IoT data and unique tech capabilities and resources.
Carnot works with over 26,000 rental entrepreneurs community, which heavily relies on informal sources of lending. Through this partnership, Carnot Technology and Avanti Finance have created a credit product that will help REs manage their business operations and improve their working capital requirements, a statement said.
With an AI-enabled IoT Kit connected to tractors, REs uses the mobile-based application for real-time live tracking of their assets, exact acreages of work done, fuel status, and accounting solutions.
This partnership aims to enable new ways to credit underwrite the customers, allowing them to access tailored credit solutions based on their cash flow.
Blowhorn joins hands with DENSO, Honda
Same-day delivery platform Blowhorn has partnered with DENSO and Honda to develop a sustainable environment-friendly solution for the delivery of perishable goods in India.
Under this association, the companies will address the issue of safe and secure delivery of food, grocery, and pharmaceuticals in the country.
The trio is running the pilot programme in Bengaluru, and Blowhorn will continue to evaluate the efficiency of the project from fuel cost, vehicle maintenance, and the life of products being delivered to hasten the goal of transitioning to a 100% clean fleet by 2025.
The project aims to facilitate sustainable and eco-friendly delivery methods that do not rely on unsustainable solutions like thermal insulation bags, dry ice, or other temporary arrangements.
Honda is providing their electric bikes with a battery-swapping system for the project.
Google blocked, removed over 5.2B ads in 2022
Google blocked or removed over 5.2 billion ads, restricted over 4.3 billion ads, and suspended over 6.7 million advertiser accounts in 2022, according to the company’s Annual Ads Safety Report, which elaborates on how it created a safer experience for users in the ad ecosystem.
The report noted that Google blocked or restricted ads from serving more than 1.57 billion publisher pages across more than 143,000 publisher sites, up from 63,000 in 2021.
In 2022, Google added or updated 29 policies for advertisers and publishers, including expanding its financial services verification programme to seven new countries, expanding protections for teens, and strengthening its election ads policies.
(The story will be updated throughout the day with the latest news.)
Edited by Suman Singh