Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 4, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, May 4, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 4, 2023)

Thursday May 04, 2023,

14 min Read

Funding roundup

Africa's re-commerce startup Badili raises $2.1M in pre-Seed round

African ReComm startup Badili has raised a pre-seed round of $2.1 million from V&R Africa, Venture Catalysts, Inflection Point Ventures (IPV), Grenfell holdings, Uncovered Fund Japan, SOSV, and a dozen other family offices from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and India. The round has been led by IPV, marking Badili as its maiden investment in the African continent.


The funds raised will be used for the physical expansion of the company across a few markets in Africa as well as for the working capital, marketing, operations and repairing labs and admin.


Launched in March 2022 by serial entrepreneurs Rishabh Lawania and Keshu Dubey, Badili buys pre-owned phones and sells refurbished smartphones that are tagged "as good as new, for half the price" and come with a 12-month warranty. The startup has expanded to Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Edu-fintech startup EduFund raises $3.5M in Pre-Series A round

EduFund, an India-based edu-fintech company, has raised a Pre-Series A investment of $3.5 million led by global venture capital firm MassMutual Ventures (MMV). The round also saw participation from prominent investors DSP Investment Managers, Anchorage Capital Partners, and Kunal Shah. 

Started in 2020 by founders Eela Dubey and Arindam Sengupta, the company offers a full-stack solution dedicated to helping Indian parents plan, save, and invest in their children's future education. EduFund empowers parents to plan ahead and save across different asset classes to meet these rising costs over time. It also helps parents bridge financing needs by providing education loans and scholarships.

The app-based solution has partnered with leading Asset Management Companies (AMC) including Tata, DSP, UTI, ICICI, Aditya Birla, and HDFC to offer investment products, and notable lenders such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Credila, IDFC, etc to offer education loans. It also provides education counselling services to help prospective students understand their best-fit university.  

E-mobility enterprise software platform Kazam raises $3.6M led by Avaana’s Climate Fund

Kazam, a device-agnostic electric mobility software platform for Charge Point Operators, Fleet Operators and Electricity Grids, has raised $3.6 million in a round led by Avaana Climate Fund. Other investors include Third Derivative and existing investors Inflection Point Ventures and We Founder Circle.

The company has been building its flagship EV fuelling platform and aims to build a one-stop e-mobility software platform–digitising the entire value chain from managing energy from grid to fuelling an EV to managing a fleet.

Founded by (ex-PepsiCo), Akshay Shekhar(CEO) and Vaibhav Tyagi (CTO), the company’s business has grown to managing 150,000 kWh of electricity per month with 10% of contribution by international clients in USA, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Anicut Capital invests Rs 7 Cr in D2C agri-tech startup Uzhavarbumi

Venture Capital firm Anicut Capital invested Rs 7 crore in Uzhavarbumi, a D2C agritech startup that promotes direct commerce between farmers and consumers. Uzhavarbumi delivers farm-fresh milk to urban areas of Chennai, procuring milk from rural and marginal farmers and forming a bridge between the primary producers (farmers) and consumers. This also empowers farmers with a stable income as Uzhavarbumi procures milk from them throughout the year.

Uzhavarbumi will utilise the funds raised from Anicut Angel Fund towards enhancing its technological prowess, improving plant and machinery equipment, and amplifying marketing strategies.

The startup also aims to reform the packaging of products and increase its employee strength while expanding its operations across Bengaluru in 2023 and Hyderabad in 2024.

Uzhavarbumi procures from 2200+ farmers and operates 42 hubs across Chennai, delivering dairy products to over 15,000 customers. The startup also recently launched its Android app on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, which has witnessed over 25,000 downloads.

3D Geospatial tech startup Heliware raises Rs 7 Cr in Pre-Series A round

Heliware, a geospatial tech startup has raised a total of Rs 7 crore in Pre-Series A round, with participation from investors including JITO Angel Network Promoted by JITO Incubation and Innovation Foundation, TiE and the round was led by Amit Engineers.

The company serves various industries, including renewable, retail and supply chain, mining, construction, and defence. The team has grown from 25 to 65 individuals i.e., 160% growth, clients have increased from 30 to 60, i.e., 100% growth, order booking has increased by 200%, and revenue has risen by 106% (YoY).

Heliware’s technology is being used for mapping and analytics purposes. A patented technology stack can be used by any company for creating personalised analytics software and dashboards using their data through a Heliware engine for real-time data analysis.

Other news

Indian startups must give importance to corporate governance: Amitabh Kant

As India Inc. is pushing the needle towards achieving the trillion-dollar digital economy goal and has evolved as a hotspot for varied startups, it is imperative for companies to understand the importance of corporate governance.


To deep-dive into this, on April 29, TiE Mumbai and Nishith Desai Associates under the Indian presidency of the G-20 2023 organised an exclusive think tank conference at the research campus in Imaginarium AliGunjan, Alibaug.


The exclusive think tank conference, supported by Startup20 Engagement Group, was conducted under the guidance of Amitabh Kant, G-20 Sherpa, Government of India, and renowned international lawyer, Nishith Desai, Founder, Nishith Desai Associates. 


Key representatives from 30+ unicorns and top venture capital funds including UpGrad, MakeMyTrip, Paytm, Mobikwik, Purplle, Blume Ventures, and Avendus Capital, along with officials from NITI Aayog and Atal Innovation Mission gathered for the conference. The conference was aimed at sensitising startups on corporate governance in a bid to create India’s image as a land of well-governed companies.

Startup India

OYO to double Char Dham hotels seeing record demand  

Global travel technology company Oyo has said it will double the number of properties available for the Char Dham Yatra 2023. The new properties will be spread across key locations along the Yatra route to make it easier for pilgrims to find a comfortable, reliable, and affordable place to stay throughout their journey.

 

At present, the company has 40 hotels in Rishikesh, Haridwar, Srinagar, Kedarnath, Joshimath, and Uttarkashi, which will be doubled to 80 hotels.

 

The Char Dham Yatra is a spiritual pilgrimage of four sacred shrines nestled high up in the Himalayas. These shrines include Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath, attracting millions of pilgrims every year from across the world.

 

OYO has also witnessed a 206% increase in bookings for the Char Dham Yatra compared to the same period last year. With a year-on-year increase of 186%, Srinagar has taken the lead as the most booked destination for the Yatra followed by Rishikesh and Haridwar, according to OYO data.

oyo

Spatial partners with ARtmeTech to create an immersive brand experience in Metaverse

ARtmeTech, a creative tech firm from India, is partnering with Spatial to create immersive brand experiences in metaverse. As the official Indian partner of Spatial, they are building brand interactions in an immersive environment that connects people to narratives that are driven by brands.

The partnership between the two intends to transform the way brands encounter the virtual realm. ARtmeTech, through Spatial, aims to create a virtual space that allows enterprises to become storytellers in the metaverse by offering a range of virtual avatars that captures the essence of the users.

FanCode partners with GoKwik to increase cash-on-delivery serviceability pan India

FanCode, a destination for sports fans, has joined hands with GoKwik to expand its cash-on-delivery (COD) serviceability to deeper areas of cricket passionate Bharat.

 

FanCode Shop is a one-stop destination for sport enthusiasts looking for authentic sports merchandise and accessories at affordable rates. FanCode shop has a range of accessories and merchandise available for fans – from official jerseys to everyday wear like polos, t-shirts, joggers.

 

Moreover, they also manage the digital mega stores for three IPL teams— Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings.

Yuma Energy appoints Deepak Nanwani as the Head of Revenue & Operations

Yuma Energy, a joint venture between Magna, an automotive suppliers and Yulu, a shared electric micro-mobility player, announced the appointment of Deepak Nanwani as the Head of Revenue and Operations.

In this role, Deepak will focus on building a strong Yuma network to enable anxiety free e-mobility for the masses, building business partnerships with OEMs to bring them on Yuma’s network and implementing processes to create ongoing positive customer experiences. Deepak will also drive partnerships with communities, OEMs, and stakeholders for stronger integration of e-mobility into the fabric of cities.

Deepak has decades’ of experience across consumer technology companies in mobility and logistics industries, and comes with proven expertise in scaling business, driving growth and leading large teams.

Smart Battery swapping startup Esmito partners with ElectricFuel to offer EaaS

Esmito, a smart battery swapping solution provider, has joined hands with ElectricFuel, an EV Charging Services Provider, to roll out Energy as a Service (EaaS) platform with an aim to bring affordable, high performance battery swapping solutions to the Indian EV market.


The operations are currently being rolled out in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and will be scaled pan India in the next six months. As part of the partnership, ElectricFuel will serve as an EaaS operator enabled by Esmito's technology comprising of Battery Swap Stations backed by its smart management platform and Mobile App.

 

Esmito offers an innovative solution to such commercial fleet users wherein users of electric vehicles can swap out their used batteries at a swapping station without having to wait for charging time or needing to carry spare batteries for each vehicle.

Swiggy expands its premium food delivery service gourmet to 31 cities across India

Swiggy, an on-demand delivery platform has expanded its premium food delivery service, Swiggy Gourmet.

With this expansion, Swiggy Gourmet is now available in 31 cities across India. Swiggy Gourmet was introduced in Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai in February 2022, and has since expanded to several other cities like Pune, Kolkata, Goa, Chandigarh, Surat, Vadodara, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, and Kochi.

Swiggy will additionally launch the service in 16 new cities including Dehradun, Pondicherry, Ludhiana, Udaipur, and more. Swiggy Gourmet expansion shows that the service has found resonance among consumers especially in smaller towns and cities across India.

Swiggy Gourmet

Swiggy Gourmet

81% of organisations experiencing skilled tech worker shortage: EY, iMocha report

EY, a professional services organisation, and iMocha, a leading skills intelligence and skills assessment platform, today released a report titled “Tech skills transformation–Navigating the future of work in 2025 and beyond.”

The report indicates that a significant majority, or 81%, of surveyed organisations, acknowledged encountering a shortage in “power user or developer” tech skills. Merely 19% of the organisations reported having established a skill taxonomy, while 43% had conducted skill benchmarking at the employee level. There is an estimated global tech talent pool of over 26 million people with 65% in software engineering roles followed by 27% in IT roles and 8% in business app-related roles.

The report is a comprehensive study on how technology skills are increasingly integrating across all job roles, beyond traditional IT roles. The study assesses the topic from three lenses–in-demand tech skills across domains, the organisational impact of tech skills transformation, and organisations’ response to tech skills transformation.

The report's findings are based on in-depth interviews with industry leaders from various sectors, ensuring that multiple industries were represented from across geographies like India, the US, the UK, and the EU. Respondents came from a range of industries, including independent software vendors (ISVs) (16%), IT/ITeS (41%), BFSI (29%), and telecom (9%).

BharatPe rebrands PAYBACK India as Zillion

BharatPe Group has rebranded its multi-brand loyalty programme, PAYBACK India, to Zillion. This new brand identity is in line with the company’s vision to make Zillion ubiquitous to loyalty and rewards across the country. The new brand identity aims to target customers across age groups.

Zillion will offer a wide range of options for customers to earn and redeem with partners across the country. The customers will be able to earn ‘Zillion coins’ for their routine spends. Theywill be able to earn Zillion coins across the network of offline and online partners, including groceries, fuel, entertainment, travel, apparel, and more.

Slang Labs launches a multilingual AI co-pilot powered by GPT

Slang Labs, a Google-backed startup today announced the launch of CONVA 2.0, a multilingual AI co-pilot powered by GPT, for ecommerce shoppers.


The new generation of CONVA focuses on an intuitive and grounded conversational voice search that works on top of existing keyword-based search engines enabling a better understanding of a user’s intent. The co-pilot enables users to find answers to all their relevant questions right on the transacting screen, without having to switch to a different screen or application (eg: Google Search).


CONVA 2.0 supports voice search for all the information available within the application and uses relevant knowledge from outside as well. The app can now gauge the user’s intent and will be able to make the right personalised suggestions for things to buy. It would be able to solve all the customer queries within the context and visual experience of a traditional ecommerce app.

Chargeup forays into Mathura with 35 new EV stations

Chargeup, the driver-first company building India’s first Fi-Ne-Tech platform (Finance-Network-Technology Platform) in the EV sector, has announced its entry into Mathura district with the launch of 35 EV stations in the city offering battery swapping services, leasing and financing options to EV buyers. With this addition, the total number of Chargeup stations across the country has now reached 300.


Considering the need for a future-ready and sustainable local last-mile commute option for the people of Mathura, Vrindavan, Govardhan and adjoining areas, Chargeup has launched its services in the district. These stations will cater to both two-wheelers and three-wheelers. The new stations in Mathura will serve an estimated 700 drivers per day and provide a seamless and cost-effective transition to EVs. Chargeup aims to help local commute drivers to transform their services, earn significantly more and improve the experience of their passengers in the process.

Abu Dhabi partners with Ranveer Singh as destination brand ambassador for Indian market

Abu Dhabi has today announced Indian superstar and pop culture icon Ranveer Singh as the official ambassador.


During the two-year partnership, Singh will share his holiday highlights, inviting Indian travellers to find their pace in Abu Dhabi and enjoy everything that the destination has to offer, including an action-packed calendar of events including IIFA, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi NBA Games.

Fireside Ventures appoints Vinay Singh, Kannan Sitaram, Dipanjan Basu as co-founders

Fireside Ventures, an early-stage venture fund investing in consumer brands, announced Kannan Sitaram, Vinay Singh, and Dipanjan Basu as co-founders.


Sitaram, Singh and Basu bring deep consumer-centric experience to the table and this knowledge force has been instrumental in shaping the Fund’s vision and in establishing Fireside as India’s leading consumer-focused venture fund, the company stated. 


Collectively, the leadership team will usher in the next phase of growth and institutionalising Fireside Ventures, it added.

Zoho launches privacy-centric browser Ulaa

Chennai-headquartered global technology company Zoho launched Ulaa, a privacy-centered browser. Ulaa, derived from Tamil, means journey or voyage. The company said the browser is built specifically to secure personal data with pre-built capabilities that universally block tracking and website surveillance.


The browser is equipped with features that allow for privacy customisation, built-in user profile modes, and integrated productivity tools while keeping user data safe and private. Users can also sync browsing sessions between devices, allowing them to use multiple devices for the same browsing session. It is available for free for desktop and mobile.


Additionally, Zoho has been executing and implementing AI, through Zia, across its product portfolio, developing in-house technology running on the company's private cloud. The company is also focused on investing in AI. 


Zoho is building LLMs for empowering AI-driven communication and knowledge discovery. At present, 13 generative AI Zoho application extensions and integrations powered by ChatGPT are being launched.

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


Edited by Megha Reddy

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