Startup news and updates: daily roundup (April 25, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, April 25, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (April 25, 2023)

Tuesday April 25, 2023,

9 min Read


Chanakya Fund Trust launches Rs 100 Cr SME fund

Chanakya Fund Trust announced the launch of its maiden fund–Chanakya Opportunities Fund I—a Rs 100-crore sector-agnostic fund to invest in small and medium enterprises. Launched by Kresha Gupta, a 24-year-old chartered accountant based in Ahmedabad, the fund comes with a green shoe option of another Rs 100 crore.

“The fund will invest in profitable SME companies with high-potential opportunities in unorganised sectors. About 51% of the corpus will be invested in unlisted SME companies, termed startups in manufacturing, consumer products, and technology,” said the entity in a press note.

StepTrade Share Services is the investment manager and sponsor of Chanakya Fund Trust, which is led by Gupta and Ankush Kumar Jain. The Chanakya Opportunities Fund I, which is a closed-ended fund, will invest in around 25 companies with ticket sizes ranging between Rs 2 crore and Rs 10 crore.

InspeCity raises $1.5M from Speciale Invest

Inspecity, a space tech startup, said it has raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed funding round led by early-stage venture capital firm Speciale Invest. Antler India and Veda VC co-led the round while Anicut Capital, DeVC India and others participated in the round.

The startup will use the funds to develop its tech stack and hiring talent. 

Founded in mid-2022, InspeCity is trying to build the first city in a suitable orbit between the earth and the moon to address “the problem of resource scarcity on earth”.

“Our vision is to create a new economy in space and build human habitats that transcend the limitations of our current planetary systems,” said Arindrajit Chowdhury, CEO, Inspecity, in a statement.

In the past, it received a Rs 15 million grant from the iDEX platform “for the development of micropropulsion systems for CubeSats”, a type of nanosatellite. In addition, it has also received a Rs 1 million grant from the TIH Foundation, a not-for-profit company set up by IIT-Bombay, for “technological support to develop an inter-satellite link”.

Menhood raises Rs 2.35 Cr from Velocity

Men’s grooming brand Menhood said it has raised Rs 2.35 crore in multiple tranches from Velocity, a revenue-based financier. The funds would help the company expand its product lines and enter new markets besides allowing it to budget more for inventory and marketing purposes.

Menhood claims it has a 15% repeat customer rate every month while three-fourths of its customers opt for prepaid orders. The company is looking to expand its presence on major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Nykaa, TataCliq, Myntra and Flipkart, besides strenghtening its own website.

Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions raises undisclosed funding

Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions, a welfare delivery service provider, said it has raised an undisclosed amount in Pre-Series A1 round on Tuesday.

Innovating Justice Fund and Village Capital-managed Financial Health Innovation Fund are some of the new institutional investors it has onboarded, besides other new investors like Abhishek Rungta, Founder and CEO of Indus Net Technologies; Deep Bajaj, Co-founder of Sirona Hygiene ; Bhavin Pandya, Co-founder and CEO of Games 24x7; and independent investors such as Girish Kulkarni and Mohit Bajaj. 

The current Shark Tank India panel members–Namita Thapar, Executive Director of Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Peyush Bansal, Co-founder and CEO of Lenskart and Aman Gupta, Co-founder and CMO of boAt Lifestyle–were also part of the new cohort of investors in the company.

Existing investors such as The Deepak Group, Acumen Fund, Beyond Capital Fund  and 3i Partners also participated in the round.

Other news

Nruthya Madappa now Partner at 3one4 Capital

Venture capital firm 3one4 Capital has elevated Nruthya Madappa, who leads growth and capital development team, as Partner. The company said she has been “instrumental in driving the consistent success of 3one4 Capital's impressive portfolio of startups”.

Madappa, who joined the Bengaluru-based firm in 2020, has helped portfolio companies in raising capital, driving revenue growth and making successful exits. “Her expertise in technology, finance, and economic policy has helped her identify and support some of the most promising companies that include Open, BetterPlace, and Kapiva in India's dynamic startup ecosystem,” 3one4 said in a statement. 

Klay Preschool to expand to 400 centres in 2023

KLAY Schools, a preschool and daycare chain, will set up around 250 new daycare centres in 2023, marking an annual growth of 33%. This would include expansion in Tier-II towns as well. Currently, it has over 2,000 educators in more than 150 centres in India.

In 2022, the company increased the number of centres under its fold by 15% in major cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad and the National Capital Region. It has partnered with 430 companies such as HCL, Visa and Godrej and expects a 20% increase in onboarding more such firms in 2023-24.

RenewBuy to increase headcount by 10% by next quarter

Insurtech firm RenewBuy said it will increase its workforce by 10% by August across tech, product development, sales and insurance advisory functions. It is looking to hire sales experts, tech developers, product managers and application support developers.

The Gurugram-based company is looking to add to its headcount at its head office as well as its key branches in metro cities. Founded in 2015 by Balachander Sekhar and Indraneel Chatterjee, the company offers health, life and motor insurance products through a network of over 100,000 insurance advisors.

1 Finance granted patent for its assessment framework

1 Finance, a personal finance advisory company, has received a patent for MoneySign, an assessment framework it has developed to help users understand their traits and tendencies with respect to money matters. This would enable customised financial planning based on each individual’s needs and goals, the company said in a statement.

The framework has been developed based on “an individual’s genetic inheritance and environmental factors” with the help of psychological experts. Under this, each individual is assigned one of the eight animals/birds/aquatic creatures–each one representing a certain financial temperament and attitude–and suggests financial solutions accordingly.

Justdial partners with Maharashtra government unit

Hyperlocal search engine Justdial announced its partnership with Maharashtra Small Scale Industries Development Corporation Limited (MSSIDC) to enable the businesses registered with the latter to go online. These include small-scale industries and handicraft artisans.

Under the agreement, MSSIDC-accredited businesses will be provided with verified tags, which would be made visible on Justdial’s platforms, in an attempt to improve their visibility and credibility. 

Myntra enables search in vernacular languages

Ecommerce platform Myntra has introduced the vernacular search feature where users will be able to enter their queries in 10 regional languages besides Hindi. These include Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam and ‘Hinglish’ (a combination of Hindi and English). 

This would enable it to penetrate deeper into the smaller towns and cities given that about a fifth of its search queries are in non-English languages. In the next phase, users will be able to enter a regional language query using English keys.

Newton School launches coding tool based on GPT-4

Newton School, an edtech company that offers tech courses, has launched a coding tool called Newton AI CodeLens, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) based on Generative Pre-trained Transformer 4 created by OpenAI, an AI research and deployment company.

With powerful AI algorithms that use natural language processing, the tool explains complex programming questions in an easy-to-understand manner in addition to helping with visualising concepts, debugging support and syntax hints. 

CodeLens supports programming languages including C++, Java and Python, which can be used for web development, machine learning and data analysis.

IT the most sought-after function in Q1: TeamLease report 

According to the TeamLease Services Employment Outlook report for the January to April quarter this year, there is an increase in demand for skilled tech professionals. Close to 78% of employers in the services sector have expressed an intent to hire for IT roles while 56% in the manufacturing, engineering and infrastructure sectors are looking to fill marketing positions.

There is an increase of 10% in employers’ hiring intentions in both the services and manufacturing industries when compared to that in the first quarter of 2022. In the services sector, sales (83%) and marketing (63%) were featured as the other popular job profiles. Sales (95%) and engineering (80%) were figured as the most in-demand profiles in the manufacturing industry.

Kapture plans to double headcount in 12-18 months

Kapture CRM, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) customer experience platform, said it will hire around 200 employees across multiple positions and departments in the next 12-18 months. This is in line with its international growth plans in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the US besides expanding in India.

The company says its customer relationship management platform is used by over 1,000 customers across 18 countries. With a 100% annual growth rate, the company’s core focus areas are retail (ecommerce and offline commerce), banking, financial services and insurance, travel, and consumer durables. 

Can use WhatsApp account on multiple phones, says Meta

Meta, which acquired WhatsApp in 2014, said that it has enabled users to use the most popular messaging app on multiple phones—a limited public beta test—based on feedback received. 

The company said that one can use WhatsApp on their phone and up to four non-phone devices at the same time even if you have no charge left in your phone.

“Each companion device will connect to your WhatsApp independently while maintaining the same level of privacy and security through end-to-end encryption that people who use WhatsApp have come to expect. Importantly, we have developed new technologies to maintain end-to-end encryption while still managing to sync your data—such as contact names, chat archives, starred messages, and more—across devices,” said the company in a note on “Engineering at Meta” site, a technical news resource for engineers.

The company has started rolling out the feature to users globally and it will be available to all in the coming weeks.

(This story has been updated to correct a typo)

Edited by Akanksha Sarma

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