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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (June 6, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (June 6, 2023)

Tuesday June 06, 2023 , 11 min Read


D2C brand Koparo raises $1.25M led by Saama Capital

Personal hygiene brand Koparo has secured $1.25 million in a pre-Series A round led by Saama Capital. The round saw participation from Fluid Ventures and M Venture Partners along with new angels Rajesh Sawhney (Founder and CEO of GSF Accelerator), Sridhar Sankararaman (Multiples PE), and Ramesh Menon (Ex-Future Group, Hypercity), and existing investors DSG Consumer Partners.

The funds will be used to build an offline presence, invest in brand building, and drive product innovation, Koparo said in a statement. The company currently offers a portfolio of over 15 products and over 30 SKUs across core cleaning, specialty cleaning, and accessories. Its products are available through its own website, which contributes to approximately 40% of overall revenue, leading ecomm sites and 70 stores of Reliance Retail and Modern Bazaar.

"The modern Indian home is ready for new cleaning products that are effective yet not laden with harsh chemicals. Several sub-categories within cleaning are already responding well to our proposition. With the backing of some of the best consumer investors, we feel confident of executing well on our category-defining play at Koparo," said Simran Khara, Founder of Koparo.

SaaS firm Togai raises $3.1M in seed round led by Together Fund

B2B SaaS startup Togai has raised $3.1 million in seed funding led by Together Fund. Investors BoldCap, Core91, and angels including Prasanna Shankar (Co-founder of Rippling) also participated in the round. The capital will be used for product development and expanding into new geographies, the company said in a statement.

The company’s B2B plug-and-play model is now open to public access. Its monetisation marketplace, currently in beta, hosts over 10 apps and integrations, empowering users to visualise the flow, pinpoint leakages, and bridge the gaps in their entire quote-to-cash process, sans any engineering effort, according to the company.

"With Togai, SaaS companies can rapidly test and implement their pricing strategies and can go live within days instead of months," said Abhishek Rajagopal, Co-founder and CEO of Togai. "We are poised to continue our journey in building end-to-end monetization solutions for this burgeoning segment and any B2B entity seeking to implement pricing changes to drive growth and profitability. Furthermore, we are excited to expand our reach to additional territories."

Other news

YC-backed Novatr appoints Mishu Ahluwalia as Chief of Staff, Rajat Tiwari as VP Sales

Y Combinator-backed edtech firm Novatr has made two new appointments—Mishu Ahluwalia as Chief of Staff and Rajat Tiwari as Vice President of Sales.

Ahluwalia is the co-founder of two startups—GoHive and Roofpik—and has over 22 years of experience across domains like technology, real estate, and ecommerce. As the Chief of Staff at Novatr, Ahluwalia will be responsible for various functions including business growth and strategy, partnerships, crisis management and finance, the company said in a statement.

Tiwari has held leadership roles in BYJU’S and Camp K12 and has experience in sales and strategy. As the Vice President of Sales at Novatr, Tiwari will play a key role in establishing sales processes across verticals and fostering cross-functional collaborations within departments. His addition to the team will be pivotal in terms of driving Novatr’s projected revenue growth and expansion, the company said.

The company said it is currently clocking an ARR of $8 million. It recently raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Y Combinator, Powerhouse Ventures, Soma Capital, and notable angels like Amit Ranjan, Co-founder, Slideshare. 

Scaler partners with Disney+ Hotstar for World Test Championship final

Scaler has joined hands with the online streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar as the official partner for the World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and Australia from June 7-11, 2023.

Through this association, the edtech startup aims to garner around 50 million cumulative impressions for its latest brand film that urges working professionals to be self-driven in their hungry pursuit for skill-based career growth, Scaler said in a statement.

"This collaboration marks a pivotal step in Scaler's evolving brand-marketing journey as we move beyond the safe harbour of our minimal investment for a maximum-impact approach. Our goal is to enhance visibility for the brand by aligning with niche sporting events that reach our desired demographic," Rahul Karthikeyan, Chief Marketing Officer Scaler and InterviewBit, said.

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Igus India to invest Rs 100 Cr in new Bengaluru plant

Igus India, a firm dealing in motion plastics, is set to open a new four-acre, 84,000 sq ft integrated campus in Bengaluru in 2023. It will invest Rs 100 crore to grow this plant and add new items to its manufacturing capabilities.

Igus has already invested around Rs 15 crore in the first phase of construction of the facility, which is expected to be operational in the coming months, the company said in a statement.

The company expects to double its revenues in the next 3-4 years, according to Deepak Paul, Managing Director, igus (India). Igus India revenue has grown from Rs 118 crore in 2020-21 (during the pandemic) to Rs 199 crore in 2021-22 and to Rs 284 crore in 2022-23.

"Igus has a global focus on cost-sensitive and sustainable solutions, designed to meet customer demands, in line with our motto ‘Tech up, cost down’, which is also the Indian approach to technology and innovation, a key factor that has led to our significant growth in the country," Paul added.

GoKwik acquires Telephantt to tap into WhatsApp commerce

Ecommerce enabler GoKwik has acquired communications platform Telephantt for an undisclosed amount.

With this acquisition, GoKwik has now launched its third product KwikChat, a one-stop solution on Whatsapp catering to multiple use cases across the ecommerce funnel. Brands can use KwikChat to power their end-to-end conversational commerce backed by GoKwik’s seamless checkout experience and return-to-origin (RTO) intelligence, the company said in a statement.

"Acquiring Tellephant is a step towards enabling deeper solutions for ecommerce brands and helping them further scale their business," Chirag Taneja, Co-founder of Gokwik, said. "With KwikChat, we aim to boost revenues for over ecommerce brands straight out of WhatsApp which has become an increasingly important channel for brands to drive marketing automation campaigns as well as to ensure superior customer experience."

Zaggle launches employee expense automation platform for businesses

SaaS firm Zaggle, which provides spend automation solutions and corporate cards, has launched an employee expense automation platform called XPNS. It aims to help growing businesses optimise expense processing costs, improve cash flow planning, and drive bottom-line savings, the company said in a statement.

The company said the platform will allow businesses to migrate from a manual to a fully automated expense workflow in less than 30 minutes, reducing the time and costs of managing expenses by 75%.

"Do-it-yourself applications have transformed the consumer payments space and our customers, especially tech-savvy businesses, expect similar intuitive consumer-grade solutions to manage business payments. With XPNS, we’re excited to redefine our industry in terms of innovation and customer expectations," Raj N, Chairman and Founder of Zaggle said.

Airbus launches drone pilot training programme in India

Airbus announced its plans to introduce drone pilot training courses in India, catering to the increasing demand for skilled professionals in the industry.

Starting from June 26, 2023, the course has received approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and will be conducted at the Airbus Training Centre in Bengaluru.

This five-day programme encompasses both theoretical and practical aspects, designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of aspiring drone pilots. Expert instructors approved by DGCA from Airbus will deliver theoretical training covering essential topics such as drone regulations, fundamental flight principles, air traffic control procedures, maintenance, operations, and aerodynamics.

In addition to theoretical instruction, students will engage in practical training, which includes simulator sessions and hands-on flying experience. Upon successfully completing the course, participants will be awarded a certificate from Airbus, validating their achievement.

US food company Cargill launches pet health-focused digital platform in India

US-based food corporation Cargill announced the launch of its pet care app called Zoovinet.

Launched in October last year, Zoonivet aims to simplify pet healthcare by connecting pet parents with qualified veterinarians remotely via video call. It aims to bring convenient and accessible veterinary care to pets through e-consultation available to pet owners across the country, the company said in a statement.

Zoonivet has completed more than 800 video consultations pan-India and has crossed 100,000 app downloads on Google Play Store. It has also introduced home vaccination services on the app, completing over 400 vaccinations in Bengaluru. The home vaccination service will be extended to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Lucknow by the end of this year.

The pet healthcare brand has also launched surgery and home diagnostic services for pets in Bengaluru, and in future, plans to scale the platform to offer these, and additional services such as medication, pet food and pet boarding in all key markets pan India, the company said.

"As we expand further, we will continue adding tech-led interventions to enhance the consumer experience on the app, while ensuring fur babies get quality services, at the click of a button," said Ruchir Vatsal, Founder of Zoovinet.

Inera appoints Adarsh Mundhra as Finance Head for India operations

Inera by Absolute, a bioscience company, has appointed Adarsh Mundhra as the Finance Head for its operations in India, aiming to bolster its presence in the bio-abled farm inputs industry within the country.

In his new role at Inera, Mundhra will assume responsibility for overseeing the financial management of the division, including tasks such as financial planning and analysis, risk assessment, reporting, and compliance. Additionally, he will play a crucial role in establishing robust financial and business controls.

“We are confident that Adarsh with his extensive experience in farm inputs business will provide strong financial leadership. He will contribute significantly to our company's success and help us bring about a tectonic shift in agriculture,” Neeraj Choudhary, Group Head Finance, Absolute, said in a statement.

IVY Growth Associates announces second season of startup summit

IVY Growth Associates, a venture capital firm and startup accelerator, has partnered with SteamHouse India Limited to announce the second edition of their annual startup summit, '21BY72,' that will take place in Surat.

The primary objective of this summit is to foster collaborations, provide a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase and present their innovative concepts, and create investment opportunities for global investors. It has served as a launchpad for successful startups like Emotorad, Legalpay, Stylework, and Gorillalink (an Israeli startup).

Scheduled to be held on June 16, 17, and 18 at Avadh Utopia in Surat, the summit expects the participation of more than 60 venture capitalists, over 500 angel investors, and 200 startups from various parts of India and the world.

Prominent figures from the startup ecosystem, including Shark Aman Gupta (Co-founder and CMO of boAt), Arjun Vaidya, CA Sarthak Ahuja, and renowned VC firms like 100X.VC, Blume Ventures, and Artha Ventures are expected to join the event.

The summit will feature knowledge-sharing sessions conducted by over 80 industry veterans and more than 10 influencers, as well as live pitching sessions. It is anticipated that the live pitching sessions will facilitate funding opportunities for more than 20 startups.

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Lightspeed Photonics appoints Mahir Mehta as Chief Business Officer

Lightspeed Photonics, which manufactures processors that integrates photonics with electronics, has appointed Mahir Mehta as the new chief business officer (CBO). Mehta has over 25 years of experience in finance, business planning, operations, and business development.

In the new role, Mehta will focus on driving business growth and developing partnerships, the company said in a statement. Mehta joins Lightspeed Photonics from Intel, where he served as the Business Development Director for the Internet of Things (IoT) and played a pivotal role in the Intel Startup Programme.

"Mahir Mehta’s expertise will allow us to further explore how our visionary technology could be used within multiple industries to unlock new capabilities and competitive advantages. This will help speed our business in meeting its goals for new partnerships and revenue," Rohin Y, Founder and CEO of Lightspeed Photonics, said.

E-mobility firm BattRE appoints Kumar Abhishek as COO

Jaipur-based BattRE has appointed Kumar Abhishek as the chief operations officer (COO). Abhishek has over 22 years of experience in the automotive industry and has worked at Hero MotoCorp and Maruti Suzuki where he managed sourcing and supply chain functions.

"His deep knowledge and experience in strategic sourcing and supply chain management will strengthen our operations and contribute to the continued success of our company," said Nishchal Chaudhary, founder and CEO of BattRE Electric Mobility.

Founded in 2017, BattRE is an electric vehicle startup that manufactures electric scooters. It has a network of 400 dealerships across 21 cities.

BLADE India launches helicopter services for Tirumala Tirupati pilgrims

BLADE India, a joint venture between Hunch Ventures and BLADE Air Mobility Inc, has launched same-day return helicopter services, connecting Bengaluru to the Tirupati airport. The service aims to enhance connectivity for pilgrims, especially the elderly, the company said in a statement.

The flights are available on demand at Rs 3.5 lakh (excluding GST) and can accommodate five guests at a time. They can be booked via crowdsourcing or charter services.

(The story will be updated throughout the day with the latest news.)

Edited by Megha Reddy