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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (July 12, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, July 12, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (July 12, 2023)

Wednesday July 12, 2023 , 11 min Read

Funding

Neuron Energy secures $2.4M in pre-Series A funding

EV smart battery manufacturer Neuron Energy has secured $2.4 million in a pre-Series A round led by Equanimity Investments and the Rajiv Dadlani Group. Chona Family Office (Havmor Group) and Kayenne Ventures, along with family offices and HNI investors, also participated.

The company plans to use the funds primarily to support key initiatives, such as obtaining essential ICAT Certifications and investing in mould development, along with strengthening the workforce by expanding the R&D team and hiring CXOs and senior management. 

The funds will fuel Neuron’s expansion of Li-Ion smart batteries for E2Ws and E3Ws while aiding in the brand’s venture into drone batteries.

“The EV landscape in India is evolving and is expected to gain pace in the coming years, as India moves towards a well-planned holistic trajectory by making significant progress towards an electric future. This also makes battery manufacturing a huge opportunity, as it is at the heart of the energy ecosystem transition,” said Rajesh Sehgal, Managing Partner of Equanimity Investments.

Founded in 2018, Neuron Energy provides lead-acid and lithium-ion technology smart batteries for e-bike, e-rickshaws, and golf carts. It has a large export and domestic network, for sales in e-bike batteries.

SupplyNote’s parent Adcount raises $2.25M in Series A round

Supply chain tech firm Adcount Technologies has raised $2.25 million in a Series A funding round led by Venture Catalysts and Artesian. Sattva Family Office, WFC, LetsVenture, Soonicorn Ventures, Cogniphy, SucSEED Indovation, SOSV, and DSP family office also participated in the round.

The funding will be used to scale Adcount's four verticals—Posify, SupplyNote, SupplyLink, and Vyap—and strengthen the product and technology teams. The funds will also fuel its international expansion, focusing on widening its global footprint, particularly in the MENA and Southeast Asia regions during Phase 1.

The company’s 18-month targets include facilitating $1.2 billion in purchases via SupplyNote, achieving $25 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) with Vyap, and distributing goods worth $150 million through SupplyLink, according to Adcount’s Co-founder and CEO Kumar Kushang.

Adcount Technologies specialises in digitising and streamlining operations for food businesses, offering the industry innovative solutions that drive efficiency, transparency, and growth. This latest round brings Adcount’s total capital raised to $5 million.

Hectar Global bags $2.1M in seed funding

B2B cross-border agri commodity procurement platform, Hectar Global, has bagged $2.1 million in a seed funding round led by Powerhouse Ventures, with participation from WEH Ventures, All In Capital, Indian Silicon Valley, and angel investors Anant Sarda and Adhish Ladha.

The primary focus for this capital infusion, as well as future equity rounds, is to accelerate the firm’s expansion into new geographies while also reinforcing its digital infrastructure, according to Hectar Global CEO Srinath Srinivasan.

Founded by Srinath Srinivasan, Sibhi Kumaran, and Aswath Balaji, Hectar Global is a Singapore-based company that provides a data-driven platform for global food buyers to conveniently purchase container volumes of quality audited agri commodities.

Hectar Global

Sibhi Kumaran, Co-founder and CBO; Srinath Srinivasan, Co-founder and CEO; Aswath Balaji, Co-founder and COO.

OneStack raises $2M funding from growX ventures, others

Fintech startup OneStack has raised $2 million in a funding round from a group of investors, including growX, Stride, 9Unicorns, Venture Catalyst, Sunil Kulkarni, and existing investors.

This investment will power the company's growth, drive team expansion, foster innovation, and establish nationwide offices. It plans to digitise over 1,000 cooperative banks and credit societies this year as well.

“They (OneStack) are focused on catering to the banks of Bharat and enriching the digital financial journeys of last-mile customers. With their innovative white-labelled app, OneStack is empowering cooperative banks to provide a personalised digital banking experience to their customers,” said Ishpreet Singh Gandhi, Founder and Managing Partner of Stride Ventures.

OneStack aims to make every Bharat Bank a neobank, and it aspires to be the TSP (Technical Service Provider) for the cooperative sector providing core banking solutions (OneCBS), mobile banking applications, UPI/QR services, and Soundbox.

It is introducing SoundBox, a branded merchant ecosystem solution for cooperative banks and credit societies. 

GreenFortune bags $1.04M seed funding from Incubate Fund, others

Green Fortune, a window and door systems brand, part of Traumbuild AndesInfra Solutions has bagged $1.04 million in a seed funding round led by Incubate Fund India. Titan Capital, Partners Fund Japan, Superb Capital and Varun Alagh, the founder of MamaEarth, also participated.

The raised capital will be used to fuel geographic expansion, novel product development and further technological enablement. The company also aims to expand its channel partner network from 50 to 300 by year-end.

“GreenFortune is carving out a platform-led high-quality, affordable brand ecosystem that empowers all stakeholders from suppliers to customers. They promote green building materials with a uniquely profitable business model,” Rajeev Ranka, Partner at Incubate Fund India said.

GreenFortune, a technology-driven window and door Systems brand, was established by alumni of IIM-Calcutta and ICT Mumbai. It aims to establish a national presence and initiate exports within the next two years.

Jellybean secures $350,000 in pre-seed funding

HR-Tech startup Jellybean has secured $350,000 in a pre-seed funding round led by a clutch of investors, including Paradigm Shift Capital and Sunn91 Ventures. MarsShot Ventures (Razorpay Founders), Vaibhav Vardhan, Saurabh Nigam (VP-Human Capital, Omidyar Network) and Sumanth Narayanan - Business head, Akamai India, also participated in the round.

The funding will be used to strengthen the product and facilitate expansion into new offerings, Jellybean Co-founder and CEO Naren Krishna, said, adding that the firm is also working on leveraging AI to enhance personalisation capabilities.

Founded in 2022 by Naren Krishna, Bhavesh Upadhyay and Ganesha Gampa, Jellybean aims to transform the way organisations design, manage, and streamline employee benefits. With over 100 benefits across various categories, Jellybean’s marketplace allows employees to choose the benefits that align with their specific needs. 

The startup claims that it currently caters to an annualised Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of over $500,000 in employee benefits.

Jellybean

Jellybean founding team.

SATYA MicroCapital receives Rs 53 Cr ECB funding from Germany’s BIB via Northern Arc

Diversified financial services platform Northern Arc has arranged about Rs 53 crore ECB (external commercial borrowing) funding for SATYA MicroCapital Limited, from BANK Im BISTUM ESSEN eG (BIB), a German co-operative bank focused on sustainable development. 

The funds will be used for meeting the credit needs of the company’s borrowers at the ‘bottom-of-the pyramid’ and empowering them, both financially and socially.

This transaction marks BIB’s second investment in India. BIB’s first investment was in Fusion Microfinance.

“Through two loan agreements aggregating to EUR 6 million, we are expanding our presence in India and thus contribute to our mission of promoting financial inclusion by empowering the economically disadvantaged communities,” said Markus Christ, Deputy head, Senior Investment Officer at BIB.

Founded in 2016, SATYA MicroCapital is a microfinance institution with over Rs 5,000 crore of Assets Under Management and footprints across the country with more than 500 branches in 50,000 villages across 22 states in India.

Other news

PayU, AWS, Chiratae Ventures launch accelerator programme for fintechs

PayU, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services India Private Limited (AWS India) and Chiratae Ventures, has introduced inFINity, a fintech accelerator programme designed for early-stage Indian startups. 

The 45-day programme offers mentorship from industry experts, curated resources, and AWS Activate credits to foster the growth of participating fintech startups.

Selected fintech startups will be announced on August 17 as the first cohort of inFINity, receiving training, mentorship, and access to PayU's payment solutions. In addition, startups will receive guidance from PayU to scale operations, expand their customer base, and access up to $25,000 in AWS Activate credits.

Moreover, Chiratae Ventures will offer actionable fundraising guidance, including potential opportunities for select startups to present to the Chiratae Investment Committee.

inFINity 2023 mentors include Anirban Mukherjee, CEO of PayU Payments; Kailash Nadh, CTO of Zerodha; Nitin Gupta, Founder and CEO of Uni Cards; and Prabhu Rangarajan, Co-founder of M2P; among others. Applications for InFINity 2023 are open till August 11.

Rapture Innovations Labs selected for SoundTech Accelerator programme

Audio technology startup Rapture Innovation Labs was selected for the SoundTech Accelerator Programme, an accelerated programme focused on innovation in audio.

Rapture is the only startup selected outside of Europe. The selection into this programme will help in accelerating new R&D, access to capital, and go-to-market to the EU, the startup said.

The SoundTech Accelerator Programme, a collaboration between Sound Hub Denmark and Danish Creative Industries (DCI), is an initiative to support startups innovating in sound and acoustics across the world.

The programme addresses sound-related challenges while ensuring their innovative ideas and business potential is optimised through market validation guidance, and access to relevant investors and business partners.

Sound Hub Denmark gives startups access to audio industry professionals, specialists and researchers within the sound industry due to proximity and support from reputed audio companies like Bang&Olufsen, Jabra, and GRAS.

Rapture Innovation Labs, co-founded in 2018 by Navajith Karkera and Jagath Biddappa, aims to revolutionise the audio industry with cutting-edge technology and products.

DealShare appoints Saurabh Kishore as Chief Technology Officer

Ecommerce platform DealShare has appointed Saurabh Kishore as its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to spearhead its technology initiatives and drive innovation.

As the new CTO, Saurabh will be responsible for leveraging cutting-edge technologies and enhancing DealShare's tech infrastructure. His expertise in areas like technology strategy, software development, and data analytics will play a pivotal role in shaping DealShare's technological landscape and propelling its offerings to new heights.

Saurabh, with over 2 decades of experience in the tech industry, has held senior positions at IBM and leading retail/e-commerce companies like Target, Tata Cliq, and IBO. 

“His expertise aligns perfectly with our vision of disrupting the retail industry and providing a one-stop omnichannel retail solution for our customers. We are confident that his expertise will elevate DealShare to new heights, irrevocably changing the way people shop and experience e-commerce,” said Sourjyendu Medda, Founder and Co-CEO of DealShare.

DealShare, a social e-commerce company, operating in over 100 cities across 6 states, provides mass consumers in Bharat with access to quality products at competitive prices.

OPPO India, AIM collaborate to set up first PPP-model Atal Tinkering Lab

OPPO India has partnered with NITI Aayog's Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to establish an Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) in Kerala. The programme encourages students to engage in robotics, electronics, and rapid prototyping projects using DIY kits.

The ATL aims to empower students in classes 6th to 12th by providing them with the opportunity to develop innovative solutions using cutting-edge technology tools like 3D printing, IoT, robotics, miniaturised electronics, space technology, drones, and technology-inspired textiles.

“Through this new modality of partner-established ATLs, we hope to democratise tinkering and make it available to many more students across the country. I invite more partners to this new and exciting initiative to establish many more ATLs in India, thus empowering more young innovators,” said Dr Chintan Vaishnav, MD of AIM.

Till 2022, 10,000 ATLs were established across 35 States and UTs in India via government grants. This collaboration marks the establishment of the first-ever ATL, based on the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model.

OPPO, AIM

Primarc Pecan announce its ONDC enablement

E2E Ecommerce Solution provider Primarc Pecan has announced its Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) enablement.

Primarc Pecan joining the ONDC Network enables its brand partners to be discoverable on buyer apps. It will provide end-to-end e-commerce solutions, covering onboarding and handling all aspects of e-commerce for its partner brands.

ONDC is a government-backed initiative that aims to create an inclusive and scalable e-commerce ecosystem through an open protocol. It enables interoperability among various participants in the e-commerce value chain, such as buyers, sellers, logistics providers, and payment gateways.

ixigo launches ChatGPT plugin, AI trip planner

Travel booking platform Ixigo (Le Travenues Technology Limited) has introduced PLAN, an intelligent trip planner powered by OpenAI. Using OpenAI's ChatGPT API, the platform delivers personalised recommendations, suggestions, and itineraries by efficiently processing and understanding user preferences.

The platform has also launched its plugin for ChatGPT, a conversational travel assistant.

Using ixigo's PLAN, users can create travel plans and explore verified personalised attractions, restaurants, activities, hotels, and tours. It provides personalised travel recommendations based on location, time, and weather. Users can choose trip themes or customise their preferences for a detailed itinerary.

Founded in 2007, ixigo is a technology company that enables Indian travellers to plan, book, and manage trips across various modes of transportation and accommodations. Leveraging AI, machine learning, and data science, ixigo helps travellers make travel decisions.

Aye Finance allocates Rs 100 Cr for Shakti Loans

Aye Finance has introduced Shakti Loan, a lending product addressing the credit challenges of women in India. With an allocation of Rs 100 crores, it aims to serve 10,000 women by providing affordable credit tailored to their specific needs. 

Aye has developed this product in collaboration with CGAP, which is a global partnership of more than 30 leading development organisations, including the World Bank, UNDP, and Mastercard Foundation, that works to advance the lives of poor people, especially women, through financial inclusion. 

Aye’s Shakti Loan has been designed to address the challenges women-led businesses face to ensure adequate capital is available for them to help them unlock their tremendous growth potential.

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


Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti