Startup news and updates: daily roundup (June 20, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (June 20, 2023)

Tuesday June 20, 2023,

11 min Read

Funding

Fintech startup TransBnk raises $1M from 8i Ventures

Mumbai-based fintech startup TransBnk has secured $1 million in a seed funding round led by early-stage venture capital fund 8i Ventures.

TransBnk will use the capital to grow its product and technical teams and expand its product line. The company aims to reshape the management of specialised accounts and B2B payments, which are the foundation of lending ecosystems, capital markets, supply chain finance, and treasury management.

Founded by veterans in transaction banking from IndusInd Bank and Aditya Birla Finance in April 2022, TransBnk offers a programmable transaction banking system that empowers financial ecosystem players, including banks, NBFCs, and emerging fintechs, to manage multi-party transactions in a compliant manner.

"TransBnk's innovative tech stack is gaining traction as the gold standard for frictionless B2B transactions, strengthening our partnerships with key players in the private banking, NBFC, and fintech sectors. With the support of 8i Ventures and our robust team of angel investors, we are thrilled to accelerate our vision," said Vaibhav Tambe, CEO and Co-founder of TransBnk.

Volt Money raises $1.5M in pre-seed funding

Volt Money, a lending platform for instant secured loans against mutual funds, has secured $1.5 million in pre-seed funding from a group of investors, including Titan Capital, All In Capital, Praveen Jadhav (Raise Ventures), Aditi Kothari (DSP Adiko Holdings), Gemba Capital, Kunal Shah (Cred), and Ashish Kehair and Rahul Jain (Nuvama Wealth).

It will use the funding to recruit key personnel for product development and establish beneficial partnerships.

The Bengaluru-based fintech company enables mutual fund investors to borrow cash at low-interest rates, interest-only EMIs, and no pre-payment charges. It aims to serve over 10 crore investors with Rs 40 lakh crore in investment to help meet short-term cash requirements without compromising long-term financial goals.

"We're at the cusp of disruption of instant secured loans in India. With the advanced digital infrastructures for KYC, account aggregator, and pledging capabilities, we're ideally positioned to seize a unique and very large opportunity," said Lalit Bihani, Co-founder and CEO of Volt Money.

Adtech platform Anantadi raises seed funding

Anantadi, a tech-enabled virtual product placement platform, secured undisclosed seed funding from SucSEED Indovation Fund and CIE IIIT Hyderabad under the AVISHKAR Deep Tech Accelerator programme and SAMRIDH Startup Accelerator of MeitY.

Founded recently, Anantadi offers an AI-powered programmatic ad platform for on-demand and virtual product placement (VPP) solutions to the entertainment and video creator industry.

"This funding will be instrumental in supporting our ongoing product development efforts and bringing our virtual product placement solution to market faster. Early institutional capital is a strong vote of confidence in our vision and potential, allowing us to continue building towards a successful launch and positioning ourselves as industry leaders in the virtual product placement space," said Tushar Patil, Founder and CEO of Anantadi.

Healthtech startup Neuphony raises pre-Series A funding from ah! Ventures

Brain health technology company Neuphony has secured an undisclosed amount of pre-Series A funding from ah! Ventures. Existing investors also participated in the round.

Neuphone operates in the field of brain-computer interface (BCI) devices using neurofeedback techniques. It has a presence in 16+ countries and 15 brain gyms.

"By providing a platform that connects psychotherapists, neuroscientists, coaches, counsellors, and all other stakeholders, we enable access to research-backed data and validated information. This empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their mental health journey, leading to improved outcomes and overall well-being," said Co-founder and CEO Ria Rustagi.

Apparel startup Sujatra raises debt funding from Peter Thiel-backed Velocity

Pune-based apparel brand Sujatra secured undisclosed debt funding from Peter Thiel-backed revenue financier Velocity.

Sujatra will use the funds for research and development and geographical expansion. The company aims to spread the idea of designer Indian ethnic wear inspired by traditional art forms in the North American market.

Founded in 2016 by Chitralekha Das, initially, the brand combined Indian art forms, paintings, and fabrics to create unique saree designs. Now, it has a wide product range comprising of sarees, kurtis, dresses, tops, and blouses.

Al Mutlaq invests undisclosed amount in rewards platform Thriwe

Saudi Arabia-based conglomerate Al Mutlaq has invested an undisclosed amount in rewards and benefits platform Thriwe, enabling the latter to expand into Saudi Arabia through a joint venture.

The company aims to generate around $100 million in revenue from the Saudi market over the next 36 months.

 

The company will use the funds from Al Mutlaq to enhance a loyalty and rewards ecosystem and customer experience in Saudi Arabia, strategise the regional operations and strengthen Thriwe's technology solutions in line with domestic requirements.

Founded in 2011 by Dhruv Verma, Thriwe is headquartered in India and has offices across the nation, UAE, Singapore, London, and Florida. It had earlier raised funds from angel fund YourNest fund and Africa’s Ison Networks.

"We have been doing reasonably well in Dubai and have been associated with various financial institutions like FAB, Mashreq, RakBank, ENBD, etc., running managing loyalty programmes for them as well. Our goal is to empower businesses in Saudi Arabia with a user-friendly and customisable platform that will enable them to build stronger relationships with their customers by driving loyalty and retention," said Dhruv Verma, Founder and CEO of Thriwe.

Other news

Chingari lays off 20% of workforce amid organisational restructuring

Short video Chingari has let go of 20% of its employees as part of a larger cost-cutting and restructuring exercise. This comes just weeks after co-founder Aditya Kothari quit the company.

The company will provide affected employees with a severance package equal to two months' salary and three months of health insurance coverage to assist them during this transition.

"We are devoted to supporting our impacted employees by providing all-encompassing support such as career counselling and job placement assistance. Our priorities continue to be streamlining processes, boosting productivity, and matching resources to our long-term growth goals," a Chingari spokesperson said.

Inc42 was the first to report on the development.

Startup Summit TwentyOne by SeventyTwo facilitates funding worth Rs 15 Cr

Startup Summit TwentyOne by SeventyTwo, a mentorship event organised by IVY Growth Associates in Surat, has facilitated fundraising worth Rs 15 crore. The three-day summit, from June 16 to 18, attracted over 16,000 visitors. The final day alone saw 10,000 visitors.

Over 200 startup founders, 500 investors and industry leaders, and 10,000 people participated in the summit, according to a press statement.

The event provided a platform for networking, learning, and collaboration. With the presence of 50+ VCs, 15+ angel networks, and 300+ angel investors, it offered an opportunity for startups to showcase their proposals before investors.

PrepInsta Optimus

Image credit: PrepInsta

Edtech startup PrepInsta launches AI-powered assessment tool

Placement preparation edtech startup PrepInsta has rolled out a new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assessment tool called Optimus by PrepInsta Prime. It is aimed at enabling schools and universities in evaluating student performance and potential through a comprehensive range of assessments, including multiple-choice questions, hands-on programming, coding exercises, and hackathons.

The tool aims to transform the way educational institutions track student performance and curate personalised learning models to enhance overall academic outcomes.

"This SaaS assessment tool empowers colleges and universities to unlock the full potential of their students through personalised learning experiences. With Optimus as a complimentary addition to our PrepInsta Prime subscription, we are revolutionising the evaluation process and paving the way for enhanced academic outcomes," said Manish Agarwal, Co-founder and CMO at PrepInsta.

Credit Wise Capital in co-lending partnership with Muthoot Capital

Mumbai-based NBCF Credit Wise Capital has launched a co-lending partnership with Muthoot Capital with an investment agreement of Rs 400 crore to disburse two-wheeler loans to customers.

The partnership aims to provide seamless financing solutions to customers purchasing two-wheelers across India digitally through Twin2—a proprietary product that ensures a hassle-free experience for customers. It will also enhance Credit Wise Capital’s product offerings and expand its market reach and augment its operational capabilities.

Logistics firm Gati expands to 1,000 pin codes in India

Gati Ltd., a Hyderabad-based logistics and supply chain firm owned by Allcargo Group, has added 1,000 pin codes to its delivery network, marking a 25% increase in its direct coverage.

Gati serves businesses and customers across 19,800 pin codes, covering 735 districts out of 739 districts in India.

"This (delivery network expansion) shall be a continuous endeavour at Gati to give fast and direct access to its customers. By building a robust network, we are not only driving efficiencies for large enterprises but also strengthening small and medium-sized businesses, thus contributing to economic growth,” said the company in a statement.

Pratt & Whitney engine tool

Image credit: Pratt & Whitney

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Pratt & Whitney, Awiros launch AI-based aircraft analysis tool

US-based aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney has partnered with aerospace startup Awiros to launch an AI-enabled aircraft engine analysis tool Percept at the Paris Airshow 2023.

Percept is a computer vision product that operates on top of the Awiros Video Intelligence Operating System. Its cloud-based interface allows users to capture images and videos of aircraft engines on their mobile devices and receive real-time responses on parts availability. This helps enable faster and cost-efficient turnaround of leased engine assets.

The solution will be deployed exclusively on Pratt & Whitney's most advanced commercial engines, including the Pratt & Whitney GTFTM engine and the V2500.

GITAM launches Andhra Pradesh's first technology-enabling centre

Following a grant of Rs 3.28 crore from the Department of Science Technology, GITAM has launched DST GITAM Technology Enabling Centre (G-TEC), the first-ever such centre set up in Andhra Pradesh, at its Visakhapatnam campus.

The project aims to bridge the industry-academia gap and provide an enabling ecosystem for faculty innovators and MSMEs in the state.

G-TEC will focus on identifying new-age technologies and making them available for market assessment of technologies required for industries in Andhra Pradesh, and refining technologies by networking with various technology development Labs.

“Academia is the base for knowledge generation. However, in India, effective institutional mechanisms are largely missing in academia to translate R&D output into technological wealth. G-TEC will work to network researchers with institutes, national laboratories, and industry to create an ecosystem for technology development and technology transfer,” said Prof Raja P Pappu, Coordinator-G-TEC, Director, Research and Development, GITAM.

P2P lending firm LenDenClub facilitates ESOP liquidity

Mumbai-based peer-to-peer lending platform LenDenClub has facilitated ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) liquidation for its employees.

Among the company's workforce consisting of 200 employees, approximately 30% of team members, spanning senior, mid-level, and junior positions, possess ESOPs. When considering the current liquidation event, about 85% of eligible employees have opted to exercise their right to participate.

Founded by Bhavin Patel and Dipesh Karki, LenDenClub has disbursed loans of over Rs 11,000 crore and has an active customer base of over 85 lakh investors. In 2022, it launched a corporate venture capital for early-stage tech and fintech startups, offering them acceleration through mentorship and access to capital.

whatsapp privacy feature

Image Credit: WhatsApp

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WhatsApp launches new feature to silence unknown callers

Meta-owned WhatsApp has rolled out a new privacy feature enabling users to automatically screen out spam, scams, and calls from unknown people for increased protection. 

WhatsApp also introduced Privacy Checkup to educate users on various privacy measures. The feature guides users through important privacy settings to help them choose the right level of protection, all in one place.

DCM Shriram Foundation and The/Nudge Institute launch challenge to solve agri-water issues

DCM Shriram Foundation and The/Nudge Institute's Centre for Social Innovation along with the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (GoI), have launched an Rs 2.6 crore prize challenge, aimed at fostering innovation at the intersection of agriculture and efficient use of water.

The challenge seeks to encourage leading agritech and social impact entrepreneurs to develop population-scale solutions and innovations within India's agri-water ecosystem, with a massive impact on stagnant livelihood opportunities, especially for smallholder farmers, it said in a statement.

“Any effort aimed at conserving water on a large scale must closely align with the needs of agriculture. Such a programme would have to navigate through a complex web of factors, including weather conditions, selection of crops and varieties, yield potential, water requirements of crops, available irrigation resources, water-saving technologies, agronomic practices, agricultural extension services, accessibility of agricultural inputs, electricity availability, and numerous other variables," Aman Pannu, President, DCM Shriram Foundation said.

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


Edited by Suman Singh