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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (June 1, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, June 1, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (June 1, 2023)

Thursday June 01, 2023 , 9 min Read

B2B FinTech platform BharatNXT raises $1.2M in seed round led by Inflection Point Ventures

BharatNXT, a B2B FinTech platform, has raised $1.2 million in a seed round led by Inflection Point Ventures (IPV). The funding round saw participation from Japanese venture capital firm Spiral Ventures, Keiretsu Forums, and Panthera Peak Capital.

“We have hit hockey stick growth, crossed Rs 1,500+ crore in GTV and expect to be doing Rs 1,000+ crore per month by the end of FY23,” said Akshat Birla, Founder and CEO, BharatNXT.

The funds will primarily be utilised for product development, enhancing the scalability of the core technology, and "expanding the team size by 4X," said the company in a statement. BharatNXT will also implement improved government systems such as PCI DSS, ISO 27001, and ISO 9001, and introduce risk management practices and controls.

With the January 2023 funding from IPV, BharatNXT has processed approximately 400,000 transactions, involving over six million backend computations. Founded in 2022, BharatNXT is a payment platform which enables instant or T+1 settlements for business payments, including GST, utility bills, and vendor payments for SMEs using credit cards.

AAljo Joseph with kshat Birla Bharat NXT

Aljo Joseph, Founder abd CBO (Left) with Akshat Birla, Founder and CEO (Right)

Upekkha funded 29 SaaS startups for accelerator programme in 2022

Upekkha, a SaaS accelerator and fund, said it received a record number of applications in 2022 and funded 29 startups whose focus areas encompassed real estate CRM, visual tools, voice AI, online learning, consumer data platforms, and UX monitoring.

Since its establishment in 2017, only 8% out of over 500 B2B SaaS startup applicants were picked for the accelerator programme.

Upekkha has a cohort of 250+ founders and 125+ startups. The first cohort hit $1 million ARR, while 90% of the initial 20 startups continue to grow at 50% YoY, as per the accelerator. Upekkha guides startups to scale globally while ensuring profitability and capital efficiency.

Upekkha offers early-stage SaaS founders a $100,00 investment, a six-month accelerator programme, and access to a network of 250+ SaaS founders for global scaling. The applications for the autumn cohort have begun.

PayU launches business payment solution provider

Online payments solution provider PayU has unveiled business payment solution provider (BPSP) in collaboration with Visa and YES Bank. This new offering is aimed at Visa commercial card customers and provides flexible commercial offerings that reduce costs for merchants.

While applicable to all eligible merchant transactions, the BPSP solution particularly benefits corporate travel agents. As part of a pilot programme, one of the largest airline services will use BPSP to facilitate corporate bookings for corporate clients through its Corporate Travel Agent (CTA) programme, offering flexible commercials.

"This solution enables non-card accepting suppliers to accept card payments, giving them a host of advantages and access to formal credit, while the payer merchant gets the myriad benefits of using Visa commercial cards," said Ramakrishnan Gopalan, Head–Products, India and South Asia, Visa. "We believe this can bring a host of small businesses into digital payments and aid the growth of the business landscape.”

PayU has also introduced the vendor payments platform within BPSP, allowing merchants to digitise payments and streamline invoice processing.

India Accelerator partners with Z-nation Lab

India Accelerator, a seed accelerator programme affiliated with the Global Accelerator Network, has announced a strategic alliance with Z Nation Lab, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund.

Through its expansion into the US market, India Accelerator aims to help Indian startups overcome geographical barriers and enter the Western market. This collaboration will enable Indian SaaS startups to develop products for global enterprise clients, extending beyond the limitations of the domestic market.

As part of the expansion plan, India Accelerator has designed a three-month cohort programme in India, supplemented by go-to-market support in the US. Startups ready to scale and expand their presence in the US will be selected for the programme, with IA and Z Nation Lab collectively investing up to $150,000 in the selected startups. Furthermore, the startups will be connected to a network of investors to facilitate raising at least $1M.

All India Gaming Federation working on online gaming self-regulatory bodies

gaming

The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) is developing a draft model charter for self-regulatory bodies (SRBs) in the online gaming industry. In collaboration with various stakeholders, AIGF aims to create a set of model documents that can be adopted by all SRBs.

To ensure inclusivity and comprehensive input, AIGF is soliciting comments from a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society, lawyers, mental health experts, player welfare representatives, and industry professionals. The research document being prepared will be based on existing best practices and international standards.

The primary objective is to ensure that the charter aligns with the obligations outlined in the IT Rules, incorporates international best practices, and prioritises user protection.

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Kapiva appoints industry veterans to take Ayurveda to the US

Kapiva, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) Ayurvedic brand, is expanding its presence in the United States with the appointment of industry veterans Nicholas Kelley as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Maria N Lacher as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

Kelley has scaled three health and wellness startups, including DripDrop Hydration, Northern Quinoa Production Corporation, and Alive and Radiant Foods. A Wharton graduate and former CFA charterholder, he will oversee the brand's operations in the US market as the new CEO

Lacher, an ex-JP Morgan brand marketer and businessperson, will focus on strengthening Kapiva's presence in the US market through targeted marketing strategies, customer acquisition, and revenue growth.

Zomato partners with Dial4242 to enable health checkups for delivery partners

Zomato, has joined hands with Dial4242, an app-based ambulance aggregator, to offer ambulance services and medical support to its delivery partners. Through the collaboration, Zomato delivery partners will have access to mobile medical units (MMUs) for free health check-ups and eye testing at convenient locations.

Currently, the MMUs are stationed in Delhi and Gurugram. The company says that within a span of two weeks after their deployment, approximately 500 delivery partners have already availed themselves of the health and well-being services provided by the MMUs.

Dial4242 operates across 735 cities in India with a network of over 12,000 ambulances and has worked with companies like Tata Group of Companies, Kelloggs, and Marico.

Kotak, Myntra launch digital fashion and lifestyle credit card

Myntra card

Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (KMBL) and Myntra have announced the launch of their first-of-its-kind co-branded digital fashion and lifestyle credit card. Fashion-conscious consumers get exclusive discounts, loyalty programmes and unlimited transactions.

"This credit card has been designed with exclusive privileges and unmatched benefits tailored to the lifestyle and fashion shopping habits of our target customers. We are committed to fulfilling their credit needs and delivering unparalleled service,” Frederick Dsouza, Business Head—Credit Cards at KMBL, said in a statement.

Food delivery platforms used subtle marketing during IPL: Redseer report

Cricket ball

Online food delivery (OFD) platforms in India have taken a different marketing approach during the IPL-2023, opting for subtle and low-key strategies instead of extravagant advertisements. This shift comes as these platforms, aiming for profitability, witnessed a scant 7% increase in business during the IPL season.

In previous IPL seasons from 2017 to 2020, OFD giants heavily advertised on prime-time television, offering attractive discounts ranging from 50% to 60% at various restaurants. They also integrated their services with OTT platforms and created customised advertisements for maximum impact, resulting in a spike of over 50% in the IPL-2020 season. However, the approach changed noticeably in the 2023 IPL season according to a report by Redseer

Despite the limited action by OFD platforms, IPL 2023 witnessed a surge in online food ordering among Tier II+ consumers, surpassing the numbers from mature consumers in metro and Tier I markets by almost 2.5X. This suggests the potential of spike events in driving habit formation among less mature users in India.

Boult joins ONDC with shiprocket

Indian audio company Boult has joined ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce), the country's biggest ecommerce platform, through its partner Shiprocket.

"By actively engaging with ONDC alongside our preferred vendor, Shiprocket, Boult is strengthening our supply chain and logistics operations while actively promoting this initiative." Varun Gupta, Co-founder and CEO of Boult, said.

Delhi-NCR-based Boult has a presence in over 99% of zip codes in India, with sales exceeding 8 million units to date.

KL Rahul joins health ecommerce startup as investor and ambassador

Indian cricketer KL Rahul, currently recovering from a sports injury, has made an investment in Hyugalife.com, a health and wellness platform backed by Sequoia India's Surge.

Hyugalife.com offers a wide range of health and wellness products, including supplements, health foods, hair and skin care products, weight management solutions, sports nutrition, and women's health products.

"As athletes, we have the opportunity to inspire others to lead healthier and more active lives. That is exactly what I aspire to do through this partnership with HyugaLife.com. I am thrilled to embark on this journey with HyugaLife and contribute to a more health-conscious India," said KL Rahul in a statement.

Meesho surpasses 500M downloads

Ecommerce platform Meesho has surpassed 500 million cumulative downloads across Google Play Store and Apple App Store combined. The platform achieved this feat in just six years, with over half of these downloads (274 million) occurring in 2022.

Meesho's Android app, which is 13.6 MB in size, is compatible with low-end smartphones and enables shopping even in areas with limited internet bandwidth.

The Meesho app was a top breakout shopping app globally in terms of monthly active users in 2022. It gained an additional 97 million average monthly active users during the year.

Meesho also recently announced that it recorded 140 million annual transacting users in 2022. it claims a vast network of 1.1 million sellers and approximately 100 million active product listings spanning 30 categories.

magicpin adds 150+ brands, 10,000 stores in 12 months

Magicpin, the offline fashion discovery and coupon app, has added more than 150 fashion brands and 10,000 fashion stores over the last 12 months, with plans to further increase its store count by an additional 10,000 by the end of the year.

Renowned brands like Puma, Titan World, Wildcraft, United Colors of Benetton, Levi’s, Lifestyle, Pantaloons, Being Human, Pepe Jeans, Jack & Jones, ONLY, Max Fashion, Van Heusen, Liberty, and Blackberry are among the major names that have joined magicpin's platform in the past year.

With an increased catalogue size of 5 million stock-keeping units (SKUs), magicpin aims to cater to a wider audience. The platform offers exclusive discounts and savings deals in collaboration with some of the biggest fashion brands in the country. These deals provide additional benefits of up to 32% off with Puma, 15% off with Titan World, and 11% off with Wildcraft, on top of the existing brand promotions.

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


Edited by Kanishk Singh