Startup news and updates: daily roundup (April 12, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (April 12, 2023)

Wednesday April 12, 2023,

12 min Read

SaaS platform SimpliContract raises $3.5M in Pre-Series A round

Bengaluru-based enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm SimpliContract has secured $3.5 million in Pre-Series A funding led by Emergent Ventures. The round saw participation from Kalaari Capital, Picus Capital, Foster Ventures, Leslie Ventures, and Sentinel Ventures.

The funds will primarily be used to fuel SimpliContract's growth and expansion in the US and European markets, with a focus on investing in sales and marketing, the firm said in a statement.

Founded in 2020, SimpliContract caters to the Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) market with its artificial intelligence-powered platform, to over 20,000 clients across including BYJU'S, Flipkart Group, and NHS. The company says it has a total contract value of $30 billion under management.

SimpliContract has raised $5.3 million so far, including the current round. The B2B startup had previously raised $1.8 million in seed funding in June 2021.

"With digitisation and automation taking center stage, CLM is no longer a 'good to have' but a 'must-have' for enterprises. We've seen a considerable uptake for our CLM platform basis its maturity, versatility, and unique features compared to contemporaries in the market," Guru Venkatesan, Co-founder and CEO of SimpliContract, said.

Ex-BharatPe executives' startup raises $3.5M from Matrix Partners

GenWise, a consumer-facing digital app for the elderly, has raised $3.5 million in a seed funding round led by Matrix Partners, according to an Entrackr report. The Delhi-based stealth startup was founded by former BharatPe executives Rajat Jain (CPO for lending and consumer products), Geetanshu Singla (vice-president of technology) and Nehul Malhotra (head of consumer lending platform PostPe).

GenWise helps younger family members stay connected with their parents or senior ones, while giving elders the independence to use technology and access customised solutions on their own. It will offer products across finance, wellness, commerce, payments and social networking and will also provide personalised sessions for elders to help navigate existing mobile services and daily activities, according to its website.

The firm will be valued at around $6-8 million post funding given the current market conditions. However, Nehul Malhotra said the valuation mentioned is "quite low as compared to reality", according to the report.

Edtech startup Oneistox raises $1.2M in seed funding

Oneistox, an edtech startup focused on the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, has secured $1.2 million in seed funding from Y Combinator, Powerhouse Ventures, and Soma Capital with participation from angels like Amit Ranjan, co-founder of Slideshare, Deepak Menon, VP-Microsoft among others.

Founded in 2021 by Harkunwar Singh, Vipanchi Handa, Mehul Kumar, and Chaithanya Murali, Oneistox offers upskilling programs tailor-made for AEC professionals to help them build industry-relevant skills and stay ahead of the curve.

With the new funding round, the startup has been able to achieve 30% month-on-month growth in the last 12 months while doubling down on its platform infrastructure, developing more new-age courses for learners, and expanding its team.

"The AEC industry is ripe for disruption, and Oneistox aims at leading the charge with cutting-edge upskilling courses. We are thrilled to have amassed the support of such an eminent investors panel over the last year. Our goal is to ensure that the next generation of AEC talent is armoured with future-ready skills to meet the ever-evolving demands of this industry," Harkunwar Singh, Co-founder, Oneistox said.

Good Glamm Group partners with GoKwik to expand cash on delivery service

Content-to-commerce company The Good Glamm Group has joined hands with ecommerce enablement platform GoKwik to expand cash-on-delivery (COD) service to Tier II and Tier III cities.

The Mumbai-based firm aims to reduce the risk of return to origin and non deliverability of orders, it said in a statement. GoKwik will use its solutions backed by technology and data science to ensure robust RTO protection and unlock further growth potential for Good Glamm Group, it said.

COD continues to be a preferred mode of payment, accounting for 60-80% of orders on ecommerce platforms, even as the adoption of digital payments in India is growing.

Partnering with GoKwik has allowed us to do just that, and we are confident that this collaboration will enable us to expand our customer base and drive business growth while minimizing COD losses,” said Manan Jain, Group Chief Growth Officer of Good Glamm Group, said.

Good Glamm Group
Also Read
Good Glamm Group’s ambitious target of becoming a billion-dollar company

Agritech firm INI Farms raises $1.95M from Aavishkaar Capital

Agritech firm INI Farms has secured funding worth $1.95 million from Aavishkaar Capital's ESG First Fund. This is the first investment from Aavishkaar Capital's $250 million fund focused on environmental, social and governance outcomes.

Founded in 2009 by Purnima and Pankaj Khandelwal, INI Farms exports fruit and vegetable crops across India including contract farming, aggregation, supply chain management, and are serving food retailers globally. NI Farms is working closely together with AgroStar to build a digital farmer network with over 5 million users, and a retail network of more than 2,000 stores.

"This investment will provide us with a great opportunity to grow multi-fold with expansion into the entire agriculture output business and leveraging our strong supply chain capabilities," Purnima Khandelwal, CEO and Co-founder, INI Farms said.

Cricketer Hardik Pandya invests undisclosed amount in food brand Yu

Cricketer Hardik Pandya has invested an undisclosed amount of money in consumer food brand Yu.

Founded in 2021 by Bharat Bhalla and Varun Kapur, Yu Foodlabs offers a range of over 14 easy-to-make packaged foods including pasta, cup noodles, oats, and halwa. The company says its products are made using natural ingredients and contain zero preservatives. It has an online and offline presence with more than 4,000 physical stores and provides catering service to SpiceJet and Akasa Air flights.

The Gurugram-based brand raised Series A funding led by Ashish Kacholia and Asian Paints Family in October 2022.

Pandya has also joined the firm as a brand ambassador. Yu is expected to launch a maiden campaign during the IPL 2023 season which will be led by Pandya, Yu said in a statement.

IIT Madras launches AR/VR-based education model for rural schools

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras are developing an education model that will use augmented and virtual reality-powered tools to facilitate learning in rural schools.

The aim is to use immersive and experiential learning methods to teach subjects like social science, history, sciences and languages, which can enhance efficiency and prepare students for higher education, the institute said in a statement.

Project Coordinators Dr Merin Simi Raj and Dr Avishek Parui have created the first AR-based mobile app called ‘MemoryBytes,’ which captures the history of the transnational Anglo-Indian community across 500 years. The mobile app, available in Android and iOS versions, provides an interactive, animated, and augmented experience of photographs, maps, and archival documents.

"By developing pedagogic tools using AR/VR technology, the project could potentially revolutionize education in rural areas by enabling virtual access and mobility through portable platforms. This project could also bridge the ‘Digital Divide’ between urban and rural school students," Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras, said.

PM Narendra Modi to lay foundation stone of healthcare facility at IIT Guwahati

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to lay the foundation stone of the Assam Advanced Health Innovation Institute (AAHII) at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati on April 14.

Gulab Chand Kataria, Governor of Assam; Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam; Dr. Mansukh L. Mandaviya, Minister of Health and Family Welfare of India, Govt. of India, and Keshab Mahanta, Minister, Medical Education and Research, Assam, will also be present at the event.

The multi-specialty hospital at IIT Guwahati is expected to inculcate next generation scientific and technological innovations in the area of healthcare, the institute said in a statement.

WhatsApp launches campaign to spread online safety awareness

Meta-owned WhatsApp has launched a campaign named 'Stay Safe with WhatsApp' to spread awareness on how to ensure safety online.

The campaign focuses on educating users about WhatsApp’s in-built product features and safety tools that equip people with the safeguards to help protect them from online scams, frauds and account compromising threats, WhatsApp said in a statement. The safety features include two-step verification, blocking and reporting practices, and privacy settings control.

"This campaign is an important reminder for people on how they can safeguard themselves in today’s digital first world and aims to reinforce consumer habits that ensure key safety features on WhatsApp become second nature to users so that they can stay safe from messaging scams and to protect their friends and family," Shivnath Thukral, Director, Public Policy India, Meta, said.

Supply chain firm FourKites appoints Rocky Subramanian as President

Supply chain-focused SaaS firm Fourkites has appointed Rocky Subramanian as President to further its global expansion plans. Subramanian will work alongside CEO Mathew Elenjickal to drive the company’s strategy, growth and customer affairs globally.

Subramanian was earlier the Executive Vice President and CRO at Ceridian, where he helped the company grow to over $1.2 billion in revenue. He previously served as the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of one of SAP’s largest market units. Prior to SAP, Subramanian served in various roles at Oracle/PeopleSoft, Renaissance and NCS Pearson.

“He has a proven track record in delivering big wins for customers, building world-class teams, championing workplace diversity and culture, scaling processes and growing thriving partner ecosystems. Just as important, he passionately shares my belief that better supply chains make the world a better place. I’m honoured to welcome him to our executive team as we accelerate FourKites’ growth trajectory," Mathew Elenjickal, CEO of FourKites, said in a statement.

Unacademy launches AI editing tool Cohesive AI

Unacademy Group has launched Cohesive AI, an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled tool to curate content. The tool is expected to help creators, marketers, customer support, and sales teams.

The interface allows editing text, adding AI-generated images, and translating into over six languages with ease. It has more than 100 pre-built templates for SEO ads, blogs, and social media posts. Cohesive AI will also launch a Google Chrome extension soon that can be used across Gmail, Twitter and LinkedIn, Unacademy said in a statement.

"With Cohesive AI, we are taking a step in the direction to transform the way content is created, optimised and shared. Cohesive AI is a powerful, intuitive AI editor that will craft superior content that is not only limited to text but also includes visuals," Hemesh Singh, Co-founder and CTO, Unacademy, said. "The future of generative AI is bright and we are proud to be at the forefront of this journey to bring its power to enhance and simplify content creation to the world."

Also Read
Rocket Learning's tech solution for early childhood education empowers anganwadis, parents

Apparel brand Armour Heavy raises Rs 1.6 Cr from India Accelerator

Delhi NCR-based D2C apparel maker Armour Heavy has secured pre-seed funding of Rs 1.6 crore in a round led by India Accelerator.

Founded in 2021 by Rahul Rai, Armour Heavy offers clothing with high-performance material suited for fitness. Armour Heavy plans to use the fresh funding to scale its online presence and invest in research and development, it said in a statement.

"These are founding years and there is a lot of ground to cover. The satisfying part is that all is going as per the plan. We are proud that our investors have bestowed their trust in us and now building AH is a common vision of the many who are invested with us," Rahul Rai, Founder of Armour Heavy, said.

Shiprocket partners with BillDesk for seamless checkout experience

Logistics firm Shiprocket has joined hands with payments platform BillDesk to offer single-click checkout solutions for customers.

Through the partnership, Shiprocket aims to leverage BillDesk's system to provide a seamless payment experience to customers. BillDesk will benefit from Shiprocket's direct-to-consumer network, the firm said in a statement.

"With the rise in D2C commerce in India, quick checkout solutions are going to provide a great advantage to merchants in enabling a seamless consumer experience. This partnership will enable us to further our mission of empowering businesses and help us provide an all-encompassing and compelling offering to them," Saahil Goel, Co-founder and CEO, Shiprocket said.

Sparkling water brand Polka Pop raises undisclosed pre-seed funding

Flavoured sparkling water brand Polka Pop has secured an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding from a group of angel investors, including Atishe Chordia (founder of Doodleblue Innovations), Parasar Sarma (a former growth leader at Wakefit), Senthil Natarajan (Managing Partner at Kovai Pazhamudir), and Shikha Gupta (Managing Director of Life Fitness India), and Premnath K (Founder and Director, Blue Band Sports Ltd), among others.

The company plans to use the funds to target a monthly sale volume of over one lakh bottles a month, it said in a statement. Over the next six months, Polka Pop is focused on targeting hotel chains, bars, restaurants, and office spaces. It is also in talks with a few funds regarding the follow-on seed round that will be utilised to build out existing channels and establish a retail footprint across all major metro cities, according to a company statement.

Launched in 2021 by Gaurav Khemka, Polka Pop offers unsweetened flavoured drinks with zero calories and preservatives. It currently sells over 40,000 bottles per month across platforms including Swiggy, Zepto and Blinkit.

"At Polka Pop, we are working on building a clean beverage brand where taste and health go hand-in-hand. I would like to thank the angels for believing in our mission right from the start.," Gaurav Khemka, Founder and CEO of Polka Pop, said.

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

Edited by Megha Reddy