Startup news and updates: daily roundup (July 31, 2023)
YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, July 31, 2023.
SBICAP Ventures-backed Neev II Fund invests in Nutrifresh
SBICAP Ventures-backed climate and sustainability-focused SME fund, Neev II Fund, invested in agritech firm,Farm Tech.
Operating across 33 acres, the agritech startup focuses on producing hydroponically-grown residue and chemical-free vegetables and fruits, and offers direct-to-consumer (D2C) services in markets such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, and Bengaluru.
Having taken a significant minority position in the company, this is Neev II Fund’s fifth investment, the statement said.
Currently, the fund has a clientele of 50+ B2B aggregators, besides trade outlets, and delivery partners across cities. Nutrifresh is set to scale to a remarkable 100+ acres within the next 12 months, it added.
"The need for sustainable local-for-local food production for fresh, nutrient-rich foods has never been greater after the disruptions in supply chain," Sanket Mehta and Ganesh Nikam, Founders, Nutrifresh, shared. "The investment will give us the resources needed to secure our expansion as a pioneer in hydroponic agriculture in India by investing in growth, key hires, enhancing our foothold, and technology portfolio and ultimately deliver our solution across the country."
LC Nueva AIF raises Rs 50 Cr from SIDBI
LC Nueva Alternate Investment Fund has raised Rs 50 crore from the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), the company announced on Monday.
LC Nueva has used 75% of the capital and the remaining amount will be used subsequently on its existing portfolio of startups, it added.
The fundraise is part of the SIDBI's Funds of Funds Scheme for startups, the company said. The scheme was approved by the central government in 2016, with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore to be managed by SIDBI.
LC Nueva is a sector-agnostic early-stage fund formed after a partnership between Lighthouse Canton and Nueva Capital, which primarily invests in pre-Series A or Series A startups, according to the company.
The fund has a portfolio of 32 companies from various industries with a fund size of Rs 350 crore, it added.
NBFC Clix Capital gets $20M loan from GCPF
, a new-age NBFC, has signed a $20 million loan from Global Climate Partnership Fund (GCPF), a Luxembourg-based impact investing fund managed by responsAbility Investments AG.
GCPF is a public-private partnership fund that finances renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across developing and emerging nations, both directly and indirectly. The funding will be earmarked for sustainable projects that help to mitigate climate change.
Clix Capital said it closed a fundraise of Rs 1,206 crore, its highest-ever quarterly fundraise since its inception. “The company's core book AUM marked a 43% YoY growth, and profitability witnessed a 534% YoY increase, showcasing the company’s continued commitment to deliver excellent results,” it said.
Rakesh Kaul, MD and CEO of Clix Capital said, “As climate change mitigation becomes a cross-policy agenda globally, our efforts are aligned to advance sustainable and green lending. As a responsible lender, we are committed to supporting India’s green journey via credit support and assisting businesses with CO2 reporting, green lending development, and environmental and social risk management initiatives.”
Mufin Green Finance raises $1M from Shell Foundation
, a listed NBFC focussed on EV financing, has secured Rs 8 crore (approx $1 million) from Shell Foundation to offer commercial loans to two-wheelers and three-wheelers electric vehicles (EVs).
The funding is aimed at catalysing commercial debt by enabling Mufin to leverage approx $40-60 million debt over five years in two to three cycles for additional lending through recycling of de-risking pool. This would allow Mufin to fund about 42,000 EVs for low-income clients, providing over 210 million rides to low-income groups, it said in a statement.
Presently, Mufin stands at an AUM of Rs 300 crore, and plans to multiply its portfolio by at least 20X in the next three years, tapping new territories and products.
Paytm launches new soundboxes
, the parent of fintech firm , has launched two new audio payment alerts devices—Paytm Pocket Soundbox and Paytm Music Soundbox.
The pocket soundbox comes in the size of a debit card and is designed for merchants who are on the move. The other one doubles up as a speaker that can also be connected to the phone to play music through Bluetooth besides sounding payment notifications.
The easy-to-carry device provides five-day battery life, 4G connectivity, and a torch for merchants, including cab and auto drivers, electricians, delivery agents, parking fee collectors, and cart vendors.
“We are driving innovation further with two new devices, both of which have been designed to bring convenience to merchants. The Pocket Soundbox will be a gamechanger for merchants on the go, while the Music Soundbox announces payment alerts, and also solves for a lifestyle experience. With these new devices, we continue to lead technology for small shops of India,” said Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
As of June 30, 2023, more than 79 lakh merchants are paying subscriptions for Paytm’s payment devices (soundbox and PoS).
Leverage Edu launches student accommodation platform Fly Homes in UK
Study abroad platformhas launched a student accommodation platform, Fly Homes. It also completed its six months-pilot in the UK and claims to have achieved Rs 100 crore gross booking value.
We launched Fly Homes with a singular aim of providing end-to-end solutions to students," said Founder and CEO Akshay Chaturvedi. "We want to make sure that they have access to safe and comfortable accommodation, a part-time job to help with daily expenses as well as access to alumni for guidance. That is why Fly Homes has achieved resounding success.”
The platform has onboarded 500+ student bodies in partner universities that help students in getting part-time jobs and internships. The company has plans to expand to other countries in Europe and the US in the next two quarters.
AWS, Accel to support generative AI startups
ML Elevate 2023, to support startups building generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications.(AWS) and venture capital firm announced a six-week accelerator programme,
The programme will provide startups access to AI models and tools, business and technical mentorship, curated resources, the AWS Activate programme, and up to $200,000 in AWS Credits. This also includes peer support from a community of AI and ML startup founders and the opportunity to scale production-ready generative AI applications on Amazon SageMaker JumpStart, it said. The cohort will also have a fundraising opportunity through a dedicated Demo Week to pitch leading VC funds, angel investors, and industry leaders.
Generative AI startups that have already developed a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and intend to seek funding in the next 12-18 months are eligible to apply.
“Generative AI offers an unprecedented opportunity to revolutionise and transform businesses globally. Through ML Elevate, our aim is to support generative AI startups to develop industry-focused solutions and innovate to drive the digital economy,” says Vaishali Kasture, Director of AWS India and South Asia at Amazon Web Services India.
PrepInsta promotes Anmol Bhatnagar to Head of Institutional Partnerships
Edtech platformhas promoted Anmol Bhatnagar to the position of Head of Institutional Partnerships. The senior executive has been associated with the firm for a year as the regional head of partnerships.
In his new role, Anmol, who hails from a legal background, will spearhead the expansion of B2B collaborations for PrepInsta, focusing on cultivating relationships with colleges in the Delhi-NCR Region, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
In the near future plans, PrepInsta aims to expand its network of partnered colleges and position it as the go-to placement partner for educational institutions.
Vinod K Dasari joins Tresa Motors board
Vinod K Dasari, who served as the CEO of Royal Enfield and Ashok Leyland, has joined the board of Tresa Motors, OEM manufacturer of medium and heavy electric trucks, as its Chairman.
Dasari, who was also the president of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) in the past, will spearhead the company’s strategic direction, drive innovation, and foster synergies within the organisation.
“With his extensive domain expertise, he will play a pivotal role in reinforcing Tresa Motors' position as a leader in the electric trucking business,” it added.
Founded by Rohan Shravan and Ravi Machani in 2022, the Bengaluru-based firm’s core competencies are in industrial design, electric powertrain, and battery-related technologies. It is currently developing electric trucks in the 18T-55T GVW segment and unveiled its first vehicle, the Model V0.1, in July.
HostBooks appoints Yogesh Singhania as Chief Business Officer
, a SaaS-based business management solution platform, has onboarded Yogesh Singhania as Chief Business Officer.
Prior to his new role at HostBooks, Yogesh was associated with Airtel, Vodafone, Hello Verify, Rico, and Idea in a leadership position where he looked at customer satisfaction, territory expansion, and overall organisation growth. The company said the new appointment will help it streamline and scale-up operations, and enhance the overall customer experience.
“The role of finance departments and accountants has turned inefficient with the implementation and complexities of new tax regimes. HostBooks is definitely a revolutionary product for the market and we look forward to bolstering its business development efforts in the near future,” Singhania said.
T-Hub, Infinity Learn partner to push AI innovation
T-Hub has announced a strategic partnership withto push startups in the education segment across Telangana.
With an aim to amplify AI with a fresh focus on educational initiatives, T-Hub will design and organise the ‘Innovation challenge’ tailored for the Infinity Learn team. This challenge will allow them to demonstrate their expertise and ingenuity, addressing industry challenges and unveiling cutting-edge ideas and solutions, the company said in a statement.
Infinity Learn's leaders will join T-Hub's mentor panel to guide and support emerging entrepreneurs.
Ujjwal Singh, President and CEO of Infinity Learn, said, “This strategic MOU with T-Hub signifies an alliance focused on fostering innovation, knowledge sharing, and industry leadership, with a strong emphasis on harnessing AI initiatives to enhance customer centricity in businesses across diverse sectors.”
(This article will be updated with the latest news throughout the day.)
(The copy was updated to correct Muffin Green Finance's fundraise figure.)
Edited by Kanishk Singh