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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 3, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 3, 2023)

Wednesday May 03, 2023 , 11 min Read

Funding deals

Solar Ladder raises Rs 11 Cr in Seed funding 

Solar Ladder, a supply chain platform for Solar Installation companies, has raised Rs 11 crore in Seed funding from Axilor Ventures, Titan Capital, DeVC, Stride Ventures, and angels from Atha Group, NIPHA group, Varun Alagh (Founder, Mamaearth), Subin Mitra, and Aditya Bandi of Groyyo, Deepak Jain (Partner, Bain and Co.) among others.  

Solar Ladder plans to use the funds it has acquired to distribute software that automates solar installation processes, enabling installers to expand their business and establish a marketplace for cheaper procurement, financing options, and insurance products for both installers and end customers. The goal is to become the go-to ecosystem for solar installation companies.

The company offers services such as SaaS, procurement, financing, and other value-added services for solar installation companies. It has over 250+ customers, including major players such as Mahindra Solarize and Fourth Partner Energy. 

Other news

Borzo to strengthen its services in Hyderabad; plans to increase the delivery partner network by 3X

Borzo, an intra-city same-day delivery service, plans to strengthen its services in Hyderabad. It plans to increase its drive base bt 3X from its 1000 drivers in the city currently.

It aims to provide its service to all the pin codes in the city and enable seamless last-mile deliveries for Hyderabad-based SMEs, enterprises, D2C (direct-to-consumer) brands and hyperlocal segments.

The company plans to enhance its technology, API, and delivery partner network to streamline B2B and hyperlocal deliveries and will invest in its marketing efforts to reach out to more businesses, it said in a statement.

It also plans to work towards electrifying its fleet in Hyderabad this year.

Borzon has increased its presence by expanding to 8 new cities including Amritsar, Guwahati, Jodhpur, Kota, Lucknow, Udaipur, and Dehradun. It now has a footprint in 22 cities, including major metropolitan areas such as Mumbai, Delhi/NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai, as well as smaller cities like Kanpur, Indore, and Bhopal.

DroneAcharya Aerial Innovations achieves 417% growth in revenues and 742% growth in profits 

DroneAcharya Aerial Innovations, a Pune-headquartered integrated drone ecosystem startup listed registered a growth of 417% in total revenues at Rs. 18.57 crore during FY 2022-23 as compared to Rs. 3.58 crore for FY 2021-22. 

The company posted strong numbers owing to higher student enrolments and strategic tie-ups. The company’s EBITDA and profits after tax stood at Rs. 4.99 crores and 3.42 crore, respectively, with both registering a 700% upwards growth as against FY 2021-22. 

The year’s performance was led by scale impact kicking in during H2FY23 – with revenues for the half year growing at 172%. DroneAcharya also partnered with GridBots for drone production and has expanded also its operation to Thailand. 

759M Indians Active Internet Users, to Reach 900 Mn By 2025 

 The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KANTAR have released a report titled ‘Internet in India Report 2022’ which states that 52% of Indians (about 759 million people) are ‘active’ internet users, accessing the internet at least once a month. This number is expected to grow to 900 million by 2025.

According to the report, of the 759 million ‘active’ internet users, 399 million are from rural India, while 360 million are from urban India, which shows that rural India continues to drive the growth of the internet in the country.  

Urban India witnessed only 6% growth, while the rural India which saw 14% growth rate over the past one year.  However digital divide exists across states, with Bihar (32%) having less than half the level of internet penetration than the leading state Goa (70%).  

There are 57% female users and and 54% male users. It is estimated that by 2025, 65% of all new users will be women, which will help correct the gender divide. 

The report also suggests that Indians are adapting social media platforms as the next ecommerce destination, with a staggering 51% year-on-year growth in social commerce. Additionally, digital payments have witnessed 13% growth over 2021 to reach an estimated 338 million users, of which 36% are from Rural India. 

SoleSearch raises $730,000 (INR 6 CR) in debut funding round

SoleSearch, an Indian street culture brand has raised Rs 6 CR in their first funding round from Venture Catalyst, Anthill Ventures, Cornerstone Sports LLP.

The brand eyes on online an offline expansion. Additionally the company plans to increase its workforce and build a larger team. 

The brand launched in 2021, aims to streamline the unorganised street and youth culture industry in India with a holistic omnichannel approach for the current and next generation of Indian shoppers. 

Lohum and ACKO partner to Recycle and Reuse batteries covered under EV Extended Battery Warranty Insurance 

Lohum, India's largest producer of sustainable energy transition materials,  and ACKO Insurance, a genral insurance company, have come together to recycle and reuse batteries that will lead to faster adoption of Electric Vehicles in India.  

The collaboration between ACKO and an EV battery OEM will enable easier access to advanced aftermarket services for Indian EV customers, dealerships, and other stakeholders. 

ACKO will continue to provide performance warranty insurance for EV batteries to multiple OEMs and offer a hassle-free redressal experience in case of performance-related issues. Lohum, on the other hand, will work towards collecting, repurposing, and recycling used batteries that will come back as a result of liability from the product, thereby reducing the environmental impact and producing sustainable Lithium-ion raw materials for new batteries. integrates ChatGPT into home appliances

Consumer Hardware startup, is integrating ChatGPT into their flagship product, the DelishUp⤴. 

delishUp⤴,  has a smart jar which can not only heat and cook food but also can automate chopping and stirring ingredients for a variety of dishes from gravies to one-pot meals. 

Pilgrim onboards Vishakh Narendran as the Chief Business Officer and Ameya Gogate as Senior Vice President 

Pilgrim, a D2C (direct-to-consumer) personal care brand, appointed two new members to their leadership team—Vishakh Narendran (ex-Good Glam Group) as the Chief Business Officer and Ameya Gogate as the Senior Vice President, Finance and Accounts. 

Pilgrim plans to enter into the offline business this year.

It aims to diversify its sales channels by targeting offline retail markets in Tier II and III cities. By December 2023, the brand expects to generate 20% of its sales from offline channels. Currently, 35% of Pilgrim's sales come from the top 10 metros and semi-metros, while the remaining 65% is generated from Tier II and III cities.

Vishakh Narendran, ex-Senior Vice President, The Good Glamm Group, brings over 13 years of experience in building sales channels and category management across general trade, modern trade, marketplaces, and distribution.

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Zomato in a bigger soup with restaurants

Zomato Expands its Association and Standardises on New Relic

The food ordering and delivery platform, Zomato has adopted New Relic, the all-in-one observability platform for engineers to ensure high performance and reliability across its 17.4 million monthly transacting customers and 330,000 active restaurant partners in approximately 1,000 Indian cities. 

With New Relic, the Zomato engineering teams can be proactive in fixing issues quickly across its infrastructure, applications, and services ensuring optimal performance and user experience.

It provides a lower investigation time and thus the issues can be resolved as soon as they arise to minimise any impact on the end-user experience.

PhonePe launches UPI LITE 

PhonePe's UPI LITE feature is now live on its app. Through this feature, users can initiate low-value payments under Rs 200, with a single tap from their account without entering a PIN. 

It debits the on-device UPI LITE balance without involving the customer's bank and is supported by all major banks and UPI merchants across India. Users can activate the feature on the app through a simple process that doesn’t involve any KYC authentication. Users can load up to Rs 2000 in their LITE account and make transactions of up to Rs 200 or less in one go. 

Cashfree Payments partners with Yes Bank to offer international payment collection service

Cashfree Payments and Yes Bank will offer an international collection service allowing its account holders to collect payments in over 30 foreign currencies. 

The funds received can then be converted into INR and settled into their local bank account in India within one business day. Exporters can share payment collection details with buyers via email, SMS or WhatsApp, and buyers can make payments using local rails. Exporters will receive settlements in INR in their local bank accounts and foreign inward remittances advice within 24 hours.

In addition to having dedicated facilities in 4 currencies (USD, GBP, EUR, and CAD), the product also enables global collections in over 30 currencies up to the equivalent of $10,000 in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) Online Payment Gateway Service Providers (OPGSP) guidelines.

eBay appoints Vidmay Naini as General Manager for Global Emerging Markets

eBay has appointed Vidmay Naini as General Manager for Global Emerging Markets. He will now be responsible for leading eBay’s Global Emerging Markets, which include India, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Israel, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. 

In this role, he will lead eBay's efforts in helping businesses from Southeast Asia and India tap into global demand and become part of the global economy, leveraging his 18 years of experience in the organisation in ecommerce, strategy, P&L (profit and loss) general management, cross border trade, policy advisory, online payments, and strategic investments and partnerships.

Masai School’s growth driven by a 300% increase in student placement   

Masai School, a job tech platform, placed over 200 students in a month, bringing the total number of placements to over 3,000 in as many as 1,000 Indian companies. Driven by a 300% increase in student placements, the revenue is expected to grow 3X over FY21-22.


Masai closed its Series B funding round in November 2022. The company is now targeting a revenue of Rs 150 crore in FY23-24 to increase its revenue 5X in the next three years. The company has revealed plans to further expand its headcount with a 110% increase in the workforce in FY22. 

Practo joins the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) ecosystem

Practo has revealed that its practice management software—Ray is now compliant with the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). All doctors and healthcare professionals using Ray will now be able to join the ABDM ecosystem and can avail all the benefits provided by the government.

 Ray users can also use other practice management services, such as booking and managing appointments, writing digital prescriptions, SMS reminders to patients among others. 

The National Health Authority (NHA) has also recently said that all health facilities registered on the health facility registry (HFR) will be eligible for incentive schemes irrespective of the number of beds. 

Axis Bank, India Shelter Finance Corporation enter a strategic partnership

Axis Bank, and India Shelter Finance Corporation Ltd (IndiaShelter), a Gurugram-based Housing Finance Company, have inked a strategic partnership under the co-lending model.

Under this model, both lenders will offer secured MSME loans to middle and low-income segment borrowers from the semi-urban regions.

The partnership aims to use the financial expertise of Axis Bank and the strong loan processing technology of IndiaShelter to assess the borrower’s credit profile and offer them loans at optimal interest rates.

Tata AIG appoints Anjani Kumar as CTO  

Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limited has appointed Anjani Kumar as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO). 

Anjani, with 24 years of experience in digital business transformation and diverse industries, has been appointed to lead the digital agenda of a company across B2C, B2B, and hybrid global enterprises. Previously serving as CIO of Strides, he successfully drove their digital agenda through the "Path2Digital" programme.

Anjani’s career spans extensive experience, including strategy and operations at Nissan, Strides and Safexpress, as well as, management of P&L for products and services at IBM and Collabera.

Homesfy opens office in Dubai

Mumbai-based Homesfy Realty Ltd., a listed real estate tech-enabled brokerage firm, has expanded its roots to Dubai with plans to further broaden its horizons globally. 

The move comes shortly after a sharp growth in the Dubai real estate market attributable to the policies adopted by the UAE government.

Around 40% of buyers were Indian belonging to major cities such as Delhi-NCR, Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad, and Punjab, making them the leading buyer demographic in Dubai, as per the company.

In the fourth quarter, the company reported its transaction value in India had jumped by 51%.

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ZestMoney pivots to SaaS as PhonePe eyes its tech, talent

Jobs and networking platform apna to empower job seekers

Jobs and professional networking platform Apna has adopted MongoDB Atlas, a cloud-based solution to enhance user experience. This comes after apna's decision to focus on innovating and making its platform more personalised and to help match the right person with the right job.

Since its implementation, apna has experienced a significant reduction of 90% in downtime incidents and a notable increase of 40% in developer productivity. It has also reported improved user engagement on its platform, enhancing the overall user experience. 

By using MongoDB Atlas, the platform will gather feedback from users and optimise the user experience. MongoDB Atlas serves as the primary data source for apna's content management system, facilitating all interactions that occur on the app.

(This article will be updated with the latest news throughout the day.)

Edited by Megha Reddy