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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 18, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, May 18, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (May 18, 2023)

Thursday May 18, 2023 , 11 min Read


Speed Kitchen raises undisclosed seed funding from Inflection Point Ventures

Speed Kitchen, a Delhi-based cloud kitchen startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Inflection Point Ventures and a group of HNIs and angel investors.

The funds will be used to expand presence across India and hire a team to lead the expansion, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Founded in 2021 by Paurav Rastogi and Shamin Kapoor, Speed Kitchen helps brands with cloud kitchen needs from finding the ideal location for the culinary operation to building a food and beverage brand. It also provides brands with low capital expenditure and operating expenses and an easy expansion into new geographies. It competes with Rebel Foods and Curefoods.

In the last 18 months, the company has expanded across Delhi-NCR, Jaipur, Pune, Bangalore and Mumbai. It will focus on Tier II and III markets going forward, the statement said.

Nature's Fresh Express raises undisclosed investment from Aye Fintech\

Retail startup Nature's Fresh Express, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Aye Fintech, a financial services firm for agriculture and food sector. The move aims to strengthen Ayekart's product portfolio and expand its retail offerings while supporting the growth of Nature's Fresh Express.

Founded in 2005, Nature's Fresh Express is a Pune-based company specializing in growing various exotic vegetables. It has partnered with more than 1000 farmers to date, and its customers include Godrej Nature Basket, CCI, Pizza Hut, Tacobel, and Subway.

It has a presence in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, MP, and Kolkata and is rapidly expanding and will soon establish its presence in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, according to a company statement.

Other news

Migration assistance firm Leverage Edu launches operating system for universities

Leverage Edu, a Delhi-based migration tech platform, has launched a new operating system Univalley OS for universties. The SaaS solution will enable universities to streamline and automate their student recruitment processes, from application assessment to payment tracking to visa issuance.

Univalley OS leverages artificial intelligence to help universities assess applications faster, receive and manage student payments in international currency, and conduct automated credibility interviews powered by artificial intelligence, the company said in a statement.

Univalley OS can be integrated with almost every existing management platform available with universities traditionally and the company will offer free-of-cost migration for non-compatible software.

Myntra launches AI-based personal style assistant for recommendations

Fashion platform Myntra has introduced a new artificial intelligence-powered style assistant My Stylist for personalised recommendations. The digital style assistant will recommend the right outfits and suggesting a complete look to the users, the company said in a statement.

My Stylist will utilise artificial intelligence to offer customers complete shoppable outfit recommendations based on four different factors: uploaded images from their offline wardrobes, their purchase history on the app, browsing history on the app, and trends on the platform, thus giving instant access to styling options and enhancing a user's shopping experience.

The feature throws recommendations from over 4.5 lakh styles from the fashion and lifestyle categories currently, which includes all topwear, bottomwear, footwear and accessories. Since the launch of the feature, the feature has witnessed good adoption, the Flipkart-backed company said.

Tide and Transcorp launch India's-first recycled PVC RuPay Card

Tide, UK's leading SME-focused business financial platform in partnership with Transcorp International Limited, a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulated Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) license holder, launched India's first recycled (rPVC) Rupay card, along with MCT Cards & Technology Pvt. Ltd. and NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India).

The move reinforces Tide’s commitment to becoming a more sustainable company, including its pledge to make reaching Net Zero simpler for its members (customers) in India, and globally. Made from 99% recycled plastic, this is the first such move by a fintech company in India, the company said in a statement.

Each rPVC card will save 7g of carbon and save 3.18g of plastic, which would ordinarily be used in the production of a new card made with virgin PVC, it added.

Dunzo launches Project Swabhimaan to support financial literacy for women delivery partners

Quick commerce firm Dunzo has launched Project Swabhimaan, a financial literacy programme for women delivery partners and store pickers associated with the organisation.

The training will help the executives with access to information that can help them make sound financial decisions. This will benefit their financial-well being in the long term, irrespective of their employment with Dunzo, the company said in a statement.

In 2023, Dunzo aims to train over 100 women. In the long-term this will become an essential training available to all its partners as part of their onboarding sessions, it said.

slice appoints Venkatesan Vaidhyanathan as Chief Architect of Technology

Fintech platform Slice has appointed former Razorpay executive Venkatesan Vaidhyanathan as Chief Architect of Technology.

Vaidhyanathan has nearly 20 years of experience in building and scaling technology platforms across industries. This appointment comes at a crucial time for slice as the company aims to strengthen its technological capabilities further and accelerate its growth in the highly competitive digital payments and financial services market, Slice said in a statement.

In the new role, Vaidhyanathan will be responsible for driving technology innovation at slice and will lead the development of its next-generation digital platform. He will work closely with the company's leadership team to enhance slice's technology infrastructure, strengthen its product offerings, and further improve customer experience.

Porter makes first international expansion in UAE

On-demand logistics platform Porter has commenced operations in Dubai, its first expansion outside India. The expansion comes under the company’s current plan to explore the GCC regions, and the Indian subcontinents. 

The Tiger Global-backed company said that it will provide a tech-enabled platform to ensure hassle-free deliveries through its LCVs and two-wheelers in the region for small package delivery requirements of both personal and businesses. Presently with more than 20,000 customers onboard, Porter plans to make an investment of $6 million in UAE for the next 3 years.

Porter is looking to bolster operations in these cities and further increase customer acquisition by 2x to 40,000+ and vehicle base by 3.2x to 800+ by March 2024, it said in a statement.

The company, backed by Tiger Global, Sequoia and Lightrock India, had raised $100 Million in Series E funding to fuel its expansion plans.

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Fintech platform Finhaat logs 18 lakh customers in FY23

Finhaat, a Mumbai-based financial services platform, has logged a customer base of 18 lakh across 60% of India’s pincodes through its insurance products in FY23.

The fintech startup is currently in the process of expanding its reach to more rural communities of India, across states including Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. 

The firm has partnered with more than 40 institutions including leading insurance companies in nine months of operation since June 2022, it said in a statement. Finhaat intends to expand its existing product distribution network by including more than 200 partner institutions, resulting in a rise in the insurance policy count from 18 to 65 lakhs, this fiscal year.

Established by Sandeep Katiyar, Vinod Singh, and Navneet Srivastava in October 2021, Finhaat offers financial services to the emerging middle-class and lower-income segments in India.

Paytm launches co-branded RuPay credit card in partnership with SBI 

Payments and financial services firm Paytm has launched a co-branded credit card in partnership with SBI on the RuPay network. 

The Paytm and SBI Card partnership, which began in 2020, is now expanding with the addition of National Payments Corporation of India's RuPay, to create an inclusive digital payments ecosystem, Paytm said in a statement.

The card will offer users rewards and exclusive privileges worth up to Rs 75,000 with a complimentary Paytm First Membership that also includes OTT platform membership, flight tickets discounts through Paytm app. 

Cardholders receive cashback of 3% on Paytm SBI Card on booking movie and travel tickets on the Paytm app, 2% cashback on all other purchases on Paytm App, and 1% cashback on spends elsewhere. They will also receive the added benefit of a 1% fuel surcharge waiver and Rs 1,00,000 cyber fraud insurance coverage in the case of ‘Platinum’ cardholders.

Fake ChatGPT apps are scamming users through Google Play, Apple’s App Store

Sophos, a British cybersecurity firm, has uncovered a host of fake artificial intelligence-powered assistants that are duping users of thousands of dollars by overcharging customers.

These fleeceware apps take advantage of loopholes in Google Play and Apple’s App Store by overcharging users for functionality that is already free elsewhere, as well as using social engineering and coercive tactics to convince users to sign up for a recurring subscription payment, Sophos said in a statement.

Yes Bank
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YES Bank launches mobile app for merchants with Mastercard, Worldline India

YES Bank has rolled out a new mobile app YES PAY EASY for retailers, traders, and merchants to accept cashless payments from customers. The app will enable merchants to transact with their mobile phones through multiple digital modes like Bharat QR, Tap-On-Phone and SMS Pay.

Merchants will be able to collect payments via multiple modes, share digital charge slips with their customers instantly, and generate reconciliation statements with a click. Merchants will also be able to track pending payments and send reminders to customers using the Khata feature, which helps merchants to record pending payments digitally and send reminders to customers, YES Bank said in a statement.


YES PAY EASY app will be available in eight languages including English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, and Bengali. It has been built in collaboration with leading payments firms Mastercard and Worldline India. 

The rental cost for the merchant to use this application would be substantially lower than a regular POS terminal, according to the bank.

PMI Electro Mobility enters Goa with deliveries of electric buses

PMI Electro Mobility, India's largest electric bus manufacturer, has entered Goa by delivering 20 electric buses to Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited (KTCL), the state transport undertaking.

The buses were flagged off by the Chief Minister of Goa in the presence of Shripad Y. Naik (Minister of State for Tourism and Ports), Mauvin Godinho (Minister of Transport), Vishwajit P. Rane (Minister for Urban Development and Health), Atanasio Monserrate (Minister for Revenue and Labour), and Ulhas Y. Tuenkar (Chairman, KTCL and MLA of Navelim).

Shipping aggregator NimbusPost signs agreement with India Post for postal service

Nimbuspost, a tech-powered shipping aggregator based in Gurugram, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India Post for facilitating ecommerce postal services.

The collaboration will enable NimbusPost to leverage India Post's extensive network of 156,434 post offices nationwide to provide affordable and reliable shipping services to 80,000+ SMEs, large-scale enterprises, D2C brands, and online sellers.

Founded in 2018, NimbusPost has tied up with over 27 carriers and has registered over 2 million transactions daily, the firm said in a statement.

Edtech firm byteXL appoints four senior-level executives

Hyderabad-based IT-focused edtech platform byteXL has appointed four senior-level executives—Pravin Tatavarthi as Chief Mentor, Manish Kumar Sah as Head of Learning Strategy, Karthik Divi as Head of Technology, and Shankar Sivaramakrishnan as Head of Content Creation and Visual Learning Tech.

The company has over 1.2 lakh students from 100 colleges actively learning on the byteXL platform with an engagement rate of over 75%, it said in a statement. 

byteXL has entered partnerships with the likes of Microsoft, GoDaddy Academy, Fortinet NSE, Leading India AI, and for curriculum vetting and certifications. 

Neeman's inks partnership with Unicommerce to streamline supply chain

Fashion brand Neeman's announced an association with ecommerce enabler Unicommerce to streamline its supply chain functions. This partnership will help the brand accelerate its growth plans and provide customers with an even better shopping experience.

Neeman’s is currently managing its four warehouses and order from 10 sales channels through Unicommerce solutions and processing over 80,000 orders every month, it said in a statement.

Coursera introduces partnerships with IIM-A, SP Jain Institute, others for online degrees

Global edtech firm Coursera has rolled out four new partnerships with institutions including IIM Ahmedabad, S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Zoho and Fractal Analysis for online degrees and certifications.

The company also introduced artificial intelligence-powered tools, including a virtual coach to answer questions and share personalised feedback, a content creation tool, and a virtual reality tool for immersive learning.

Coursera is also launching a skills-based recruitment service, Coursera Hiring Solutions, to unlock career opportunities for Coursera learners, it said in a statement.

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

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti