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Kriti Sanon's D2C brand Hyphen; Meet Varun Totlani of Mumbai’s Masque

Last year, actor Kriti Sanon stepped into the world of entrepreneurship with a fitness startup, The Tribe. She has since expanded her footing with a new direct-to-consumer (D2C) skincare brand—Hyphen—founded in partnership with PEP Technologies.

Kriti Sanon's D2C brand Hyphen; Meet Varun Totlani of Mumbai’s Masque

Sunday August 20, 2023 , 5 min Read


Watchmaker Titan has acquired an additional 27.18% stake in CaratLane, boosting its overall ownership to 98.28%. The deal values Caratlane at Rs 17,000 crore.

This is reportedly the second-biggest ecommerce exit after Walmart bought a 77% stake in Flipkart for $16 billion in 2018.

Elsewhere, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw emphasised the pressing need for collaborative efforts in digital security due to the interconnectedness of the global landscape during the G20 Digital Economy Working Group Ministers Meet in Bengaluru.

"Global interconnectedness creates shared security risks. Therefore, the need to collaborate on digital security has become more urgent," he said.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest battery maker has launched what it claims is the first-ever “superfast charging” battery capable of delivering 400 kilometres (249 miles) of range from just a 10-minute charge.

China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), the battery supplier to Tesla, Toyota, and VW, said its new lithium-ion battery would open up a new era for electric cars and eliminate range anxiety for owners. The production will begin later this year.

ICYMI: Meet Ötzi the Iceman, the most closely studied corpse, but in a new light! 

Once depicted as a pale-skinned man with a full head of hair and a beard, a new study of ancient DNA extracted from Ötzi’s pelvis suggests the 5,300-year-old mummy had dark skin and dark eyes and was likely bald.

Found in a gully high in the Tyrolean Alps by hikers in 1991, today, his mummified remains are contained in a special cold cell at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.

The more you know… 

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Kriti Sanon's D2C brand Hyphen
  • Meet Varun Totlani of Mumbai’s Masque
  • Urban Company cuts FY23 losses

Here’s your trivia for today: Where is the world's largest national park located?


Kriti Sanon's D2C brand Hyphen

Kriti Sanon Hyphen

Last year, actor Kriti Sanon stepped into the world of entrepreneurship with a fitness startup, The Tribe. She has since expanded her footing with a new direct-to-consumer (D2C) skincare brand—Hyphen—founded in partnership with PEP Technologies.

The brand, launched on July 27, is co-founded by Sanon and founders of PEP Technologies—Vaishali Gupta, Tarun Sharma, Vikas Lachhwani, Saurabh Singhal, and Mohit Jain (team mCaffeine).

Clean brand:

  • Sanon describes Hyphen to be “a solution-driven skincare brand that aims to provide effective products that target specific skin concerns". 
  • The brand offers face cream for oily, normal, and dry skin types, serums, and more, within a price range of Rs 400-600. It also plans to launch a new range of products by September.
  • It has invested Rs 30 crore in building the brand with a special focus on logistics, R&D, digital marketing, influencer partnerships, etc.


Meet Varun Totlani of Mumbai’s Masque

VT food 1

Before bagging a spot on the coveted Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 list, in 2016, Masque—situated in Shakti Mills, Mumbai—was making waves across the country with its 10-course tasting menu replete with an innovative take on Indian classics.

From winning the One to Watch Award in 2020 to earning the title of The Best Restaurant in India in 2023–Masque’s success also lies in the force of its team, founder and CEO Aditi Dugar and head chef Varun Totlani. 

Award-winning food:

  • After completing his education at the Culinary Institute of America, he joined Masque in 2016 as a commis chef and worked his way up the ladder to eventually become the restaurant’s head chef in 2022.
  • As for what it takes to be among the best in Asia, Totlani says the strength is in Masque’s team, which strives to showcase India’s culinary prowess through diverse techniques and local ingredients in a contemporary format.
  • While every dish has been carefully thought out, Totlani has a soft spot for a dessert of cacao, gondhoraj and chocolate, which is a tribute to the Indian bean-to-bar revolution. 


Urban Company cuts FY23 losses

Urban Company founders

Urban Company co-founders (from left to right): Abhiraj, Raghav, and Varun

Services marketplace Urban Company reported a 45% growth in revenue from operations on a consolidated basis year-on-year in FY23. The revenue from operations stood at Rs 637 crore—up from Rs 438 crore earned in the previous fiscal year. 

Home services:

  • The Gurugram-headquartered startup managed to pare down losses by nearly 40% to Rs 308 crore at a consolidated level in FY 2023. 
  • The rise in revenue from operations came on the back of growth in net transaction value of Rs 2,176 crore as compared to Rs 1,581 crore in FY 2022. 
  • Valued at $2.18 billion in its last round of funding in August 2021, Urban Company also saw its costs, including employee expenses and direct and support costs, increase marginally in FY 2023. 

News & updates

  • Unblocking hour: Elon Musk set off a firestorm by announcing that Twitter, now called X, would “delete” the service’s longstanding user-blocking feature—raising the prospect that, as a result, the app could be booted from Apple and Google’s app stores.
  • Growing concern: Embattled developer China Evergrande Group has filed for US bankruptcy protection as part of one of the world's biggest debt restructurings, as anxiety grows over China's worsening property crisis and its impact on the weakening economy.
  • Bad performance: Bitcoin ended lower by about 6% at $26,038.41, according to Coin Metrics. It wavered over $26,000 throughout the day Friday, following a stunning fall that began late Thursday. The move pulled the rest of the crypto market lower. 

Where is the world's largest national park located?

Answer: Northeast Greenland National Park, Greenland. 

At 972,000 square kms, it is the world's largest national park and the 10th largest protected area established by the Kingdom of Denmark in 1974 and expanded to its present size in 1988. 

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