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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (June 27, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, June 27, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (June 27, 2023)

Tuesday June 27, 2023 , 13 min Read

Funding

Rannkly raises $185,000 in seed funding

Online reputation management platform Rannkly has raised $185,000 in a seed funding round, led by venture capital firm 100x.vc, with participation from Riziliant Technologies.

The funds will primarily be allocated towards sales and technology development. The company aims to enhance its platform’s capabilities and strengthen its sales efforts to expand its customer base and drive growth. 

“Their (Rannkly) AI-driven platform brings a fresh approach to empowering businesses, and we believe their innovative solutions will redefine the industry. We are excited to be part of their journey and confident in their ability to make a significant impact in the digital landscape,” the 100x.vc team said in a statement.

Rannkly’s AI-driven platform helps businesses to streamline their online reputation management by centralising the monitoring, analysis, and response process. With a single dashboard, businesses can create and schedule interactive posts, improving their online presence and customer engagement.

Sukham raises $275,000 in pre-seed funding led by 100X.VC

Sukham, a brand that helps men with their sexual wellness, has raised $275,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by 100X.VC. Angel investors, including Papa CJ, Yash Kotak, Anuj Puri, Ankul Agarwal and Viswanath Ramachandran also participated in the round.

The company intends to utilise the capital for new product launches and treatment plans based on Ayurveda. It will also use the funds to strengthen its tech capabilities.

“Sukham addresses the lack of open discussion around sexual problems among men with its wellness solutions and effective treatments. Its products and treatment plans are a perfect blend of Ayurveda and modern medicine, which makes it promising to enable men to seek treatment for their sexual problems without any hesitation,” Ninad Karpe, Partner at 100X.VC, said in a statement.

With the funding, the company plans to achieve its vision of impacting the lives of 160 million Indian men sooner, and plans to accelerate its growth and expand its operations domestically.

Sukham was established in 2022 by Vivek Krishna, with Ananya Sarkar, Ishan Pant and Nitin Deswal, as Co-founders.

Oben Electric secures Rs 40 Cr in extended pre-Series A round

Bengaluru-based EV startup Oben Electric has secured Rs 40 crore in an extended pre-Series A round, bringing its total pre-Series A fundraising to Rs 72 crore (equity and debt). 

The round saw participation from Stride Ventures and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), along with new investors including Mumbai Angels and other high-net-worth individuals. Existing investors like Kalvani Family Office, US India EV Angels, and We Founder Circle also participated.

“With this funding round, Oben moves one step further into becoming one of the brightest trailblazers in the space in India. We congratulate the dynamic team at Oben and hope they continue setting new benchmarks while helping the world ride towards a greener tomorrow,” Nandini Mansinghka, CEO of Mumbai Angels, said in a statement.

The EV startup recently opened its first experience centre in HSR Layout, Bengaluru. It will start delivering its electric motorcycle, Oben Rorr, from July 2023. 

Founded in August 2020, Oben Electric is an R&D-driven organisation that designs, develops, and manufactures electric motorcycles and critical EV components in-house. It has raised a total funding of Rs 88 crore since inception to increase its production capacity to 100,000 units per year at its 3.5-acre manufacturing facility in Bengaluru and meet its working capital requirements for distribution expansion.

Oben Electric

Oben Electric Co-founders. | Image credit: Oben Electric

BluJ Aerospace secures $2.25 million in seed funding

Hyderabad-based deep tech startup BluJ Aerospace secured $2.25 million in a seed funding round led by Endiya Partners and Ideaspring Capital, with participation from Rainmatter Foundation.

The company will use the capital to advance the development of its inaugural commercial offering: a fully autonomous cargo electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Additionally, it will support the company's workforce expansion, construction of essential facilities, and establishment of critical testing infrastructure necessary to progress towards certification.

Established in May 2022, BluJ Aero was co-founded by Maruthi Amardeep, Sri Vatsavaya, and Utham Kumar Dharmapuri. Its team of nine individuals comprises former employees of organisations such as Boeing, GE, ISRO, Siemens, and Collins Aerospace.

IIMK LIVE, Cochin Shipyard Limited award Rs 80 lakh seed funding to Kerala-based startups

IIMK LIVE and Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) have awarded Rs 80 lakh seed funding to two startups from Kerala as part of the USHUS Scheme. 

IIMK LIVE identified NyQuest Innovation Labs Pvt Ltd and Pelican Thermogenics Pvt Ltd as the standout startups through a rigorous selection process and awarded them Rs 50 lakh and Rs 30 lakh in seed funding, respectively.

Pelican Thermogenics has developed a decentralised, modular microwave-based rapid dehydration system designed for fishermen, farmers, farmer-producer organisations, and fish processors. NyQuest Innovation specialises in the development of a hybrid drivetrain suitable for various applications such as autonomous underwater vehicles, remotely operated vehicles, and unmanned surface vehicles. 

"I sincerely hope that this initiative of CSL supported by IIMK will help in catalysing the maritime startup ecosystem in the country and facilitate a larger participation of the startup fraternity in opening up the immense potential in this relatively unexplored sector,” said Madhu S Nair, CMD CSL.

CSL and IIMK LIVE have introduced the 'USHUS' startup framework, which facilitates the development of innovative products and solutions to bolster the marine industry. 

Other news

Java Capital, Capital A announce pitch event for climatetech startups

Java Capitaland Capital-Ahave announced the inaugural edition of Climathon’23, an event that will offer an opportunity for entrepreneurs building the climatetech space to pitch their early-stage startups for up to $1 million in investments. 

The event is aimed at driving climate awareness, fostering innovation, and providing significant investment opportunities for startups in the climate space. During the event, which will take place on July 5 and 6 in Bengaluru, Java Capital and Capital A will listen to sustainability-focused pitches for a continuous 24-hour period.

“Although 24 hours may not suffice to address the highly significant challenge of climate technology, it undoubtedly represents our climate endeavour to bring together entrepreneurs who share a common vision in this field and provide early support to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit,” Ankit Kedia, Founder and Lead Investor at Capital A, said in a statement.

The startup pitches will be evaluated based on criteria such as innovation, market potential, scalability, and environmental impact. The winning startup(s) will not only secure substantial funding, but also gain exposure to a global network of investors, mentors, and industry leaders. 

Capital A and Java Capital have made investments in the sector in companies like The ePlane Company, Sudo Foods, Okulo Aerospace, Matchlog, Tan90, Bambrew, Chargeup, Oorja, and Entuple E-Mobility.

e-Sprinto to expand its presence in Assam with 10 showrooms

Electric two-wheeler brand e-Sprinto plans to expand its presence in Assam with 10 showrooms across various cities in the state by August 2023.

The move stems from Assam’s increasing adoption of electric vehicles. It is part of e-Sprinto’s strategic growth plan to establish a strong presence in key North-East markets. 

“Our foray into Assam will mark a significant milestone for e-Sprinto as we set our sights on conquering the Northeast market. Assam’s growing interest in electric vehicles and its potential as a thriving market aligns perfectly with our mission to provide reliable, performance-oriented, and sustainable electric two-wheelers,” Atul Gupta Co-founder and Director of e-Sprinto, said in a statement.

Out of the 10 showrooms planned for Assam, e-Sprinto is particularly focused on strengthening its presence in Guwahati, the largest city in the state. The EV two-wheeler brand aims to open two showrooms in Guwahati by the end of this calendar year. To support the growing network of showrooms, e-Sprinto will also establish an extensive service and maintenance infrastructure in Assam. 

e-Sprinto was founded in March 2022 by Vinod Gupta, Atul Gupta, and Shalu Gupta.

Deliveroo’s India Development Centre forms 'Women in Tech' team

Hyderabad-based Deliveroo India Development Centre has introduced the 'India Women in Tech' Group as a component of its global Women in Tech Employee Resource Group (ERG) dedicated to enhancing gender diversity and empowering women in technical positions.

The primary objective of the Women in Tech ERG is to provide assistance and facilitate the progress and advancement of women occupying technical positions. This initiative aims to create broader prospects for women in technical roles within Deliveroo while fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment.

“At Deliveroo, we are committed to fostering an inclusive work environment that celebrates diversity and empowers women. We recognise and embrace the positives that women bring to the table and through this initiative, we aim to bridge the gender gap in technical roles and contribute to a more inclusive and diverse tech ecosystem,” Sashi Somavarapu, Vice President of Engineering and Country Head, Deliveroo India, said in a statement.

The ‘India Women in Tech’ team consists of enthusiastic women based at the India Development Centre (IDC). Currently comprising 26 members, the team aims to be proportionally represented in various spheres and make significant contributions to Deliveroo’s global Women in Tech ERG.

Deliveroo

Investment firm AlphaGrep appoints Bhautik Ambani as CEO of domestic arm

Mumbai-based AlphaGrep, an investment management and trading firm, has appointed Bhautik Ambani as the CEO of its Indian investment management unit.

Bhautik will be responsible for driving business growth, strengthening and expanding the firm’s domestic presence, and enhancing customer experience, the company said in a statement. 

Under Ambani's leadership, the company has already launched AlphaGrep’s maiden AlphaMine Absolute Return Fund – Category III AIF (Alternative Investment Fund).  

Bhautik was earlier associated with Avendus Capital Public Markets Alternate Strategies LLP as Managing Director & Partner. He was also associated with Ambit Capital, Kotak Wealth Management, and Mirae Asset, in various capacities.

"... With a combination of talent, technology, analytics, and global scale – we expect to strengthen the company’s position in the PMS & AIF space, harness quant investment strategies, and generate good investment experience for our stakeholders," Ambani said.

Priority Pass partners with NPCI to enable lounge access to RuPay cardholders

Priority Pass Access India, an airport lounge and travel experiences programme, has partnered with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to enable RuPay cardholders access to over 50 domestic airport lounges.

The development comes shortly after a recent Collison study surveyed over 5,400 frequent travellers across seven Asia Pacific markets (1,063 of which were India-based respondents) and revealed that lounge access is the number one most desirable travel benefit at the airport. 

Eligible cardholders of RuPay will also enjoy access to a network of railway lounges in India, the firm said in a statement. 

Digital signature provider eMudhra appoints Scott Rea as SVP

eMudhra, a provider of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), digital identity, and digital signatures, has appointed Scott Rea as Senior Vice President - Global Strategic Advisor.

Rea will be based in Utah, North America, and his role will focus on expanding eMudhra's presence and influence in the PKI and digital signing domain in North America and Europe, the firm said in a statement.

Prior to joining eMudhra, Rea led DigitalTrust, the United Arab Emirates National PKI provider, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of the UAE National Digital ID (UAEPASS) and other national PKIs in the Gulf region. His previous roles also include serving as Senior Vice President of Trust Services at DarkMatter, Senior PKI Architect at DigiCert, and Senior PKI Architect for Dartmouth College.

"Scott's appointment comes at a pivotal moment as we continue to evolve our portfolio and expand our global footprint in the PKI and digital signing sector," said V Srinivasan, Executive Chairman of eMudhra.

eMudhra Scott

Ferns N Petals appoints Ashish Goel as CTO

Gifting brand FNP (Ferns N Petals) appointed Ashish Goel as the CTO to spearhead the company's technological advancements globally.

Goel will be responsible for driving the company's technological vision, overseeing the development of digital products, and enhancing the brand's online platform. His primary focus will be on leveraging emerging technologies to deliver personalised and engaging experiences to customers across all touchpoints.

“As we ready ourselves for the next phase, innovation, technology and sustainability will play a crucial role. Ashish with his extensive experience and expertise will be a valuable addition to our leadership team. His extensive experience and expertise will help us drive our digital transformation journey, enhancing our position as an industry leader,” Pawan Gadia, Global CEO and  Director of FNP said.

Goel has a rich background in leadership and a proven track record of driving digital transformations. He has a deep understanding of the ecommerce industry and has successfully implemented digital strategies for various renowned brands. Goel was the Co-founder and CTO at Milk Basket.

FNP considers this appointment to be of significance as the brand focuses on its digital-first strategy, with its global presence encompassing various geographies including India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Singapore.

Gupshup appoints Mike Donohue as SVP of Global Sales

Conversational engagement platform Gupshup has appointed Mike Donohue as Senior Vice President of Global Sales. 

Donohue will be responsible for driving overall sales strategy and execution. He will lead the sales teams across regions, nurture and develop customer relationships, as well as identify products and offerings to grow the business.

“Mike Donohue has deep domain expertise, global sales experience and has helped organisations scale up to hundreds of millions in revenue. He'll help us take sales to the next level by driving revenue growth in a predictable way, something that is really critical for a public company, like Gupshup plans to be,” said Beerud Sheth, CEO and Co-founder of Gupshup.io.

Donohue has global executive and revenue leadership experience at both late-stage private and post-IPO companies including PayPal, Square, Leanplum, and Optimizely. He was most recently the Head of Commercialisation and GTM at PayPal.

Donohue’s appointment comes at a time when Gupshup.io is expanding in international markets witnessing adoption and growth for conversational solutions in marketing, commerce and support. 

The Executive Centre invested over Rs 100 Cr in H1 2023

The Executive Centre (TEC), a premium flexible workspace provider, has invested over Rs 100 crore in the first half of 2023 with the signing of eight new centres in India and intends to invest and expand more in the second half of this year. 

These new centres at—Helios Business Park, Bengaluru, DLF Centre, Connaught Place, New Delhi, One Horizon Centre and DLF Downtown in Gurugram, FIFC in Mumbai, Salarpuria Knowledge City, RMZ Nexity in Hyderabad, Prestige Palladium Bayan, Chennai—are strategically located in grade A office spaces adding 2 lakh sq ft and 2,200 workstations to the company's existing portfolio.

The centres will host a wide variety of facilities to boost productivity and promote work-life balance including state-of-the-art fitness centres, wellness rooms, mother's care rooms, business lounges and baristas, a library, phone booths, and cafés.

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


Edited by Megha Reddy