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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (August 28, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, August 28, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (August 28, 2023)

Monday August 28, 2023 , 7 min Read

Funding

Conversational commerce firm HeyoPhone raises $500,000 from angels

HeyoPhone, a Delhi-based conversational commerce firm catering to small and medium enterprises, has secured $500,000 from angel investors including Aakash Chaudhry (co-founder of Aakash Educational Services), Amit Chaudhary (co-founder of Lenskart), and Dinesh Gupta (co-founder of Busy Accounting).

Founded in 2022 by Ankit Jain, Heyo Phone helps businesses manage communication requirements, including calls and WhatsApp interactions, through a single platform. The startup has crossed 1 lakh KYCs and over 10000 paid customers, it said in a statement.

HeyoPhone now aims to contribute to over 5% of SMB's GDP in the coming years, according to Ankit Jain, co-founder and CEO of HeyoPhone. "The prevailing market dynamics are favourably aligned, and the confidence demonstrated by our investors in our leverage is remarkable. This infusion of funds will play a pivotal role in propelling our trajectory toward our visionary goals,” Jain added.

Fintech startup Rupid raises undisclosed pre-seed funding from EvolveX

Hyderabad-based fintech startup Rupid has secured undisclosed pre-seed funding from We Founder Circle's EvolveX. Pedalstart and Beej Network also participated in the round. The investment came under Evolve X's third cohort where they invested in seven startups in total.

The funding will fuel Rupid's mission to address the financial challenges faced by India's employed workforce and further enhance its innovative earned wage access and employee financial benefit platform, it said in a statement.

Founded by Gowtham Alluri, Karishma, and PC Varma, Rupid is an earned wage access and employee financial benefit platform that partners with companies to provide employees with instant access to their earned salaries.

"The infusion of capital from this funding round will empower Rupid to leverage best in technology and the client acquisition capabilities," Gowtham Alluri, Co-founder and CEO of Rupid, said.

Other news

Cult.fit completes 100 sign-ups for franchise fitness centres in India

Cult.fit said it has completed sign-ups for 100 franchise centres in India, expanding the reach of its fitness centres in the country.

Since its launch in 2020, Cult.fit’s franchise operations have served Tier I and Tier II cities. The model is a combination of machine-based workouts and group class facilities under one roof. In 2022, Curefit expanded its franchise portfolio by offering Fitness First and Gold's Gym outlets in India.

"The vertical is well poised to be a 30% revenue contributor at cult.fit. Our franchise partners have been invaluable in catalysing the creation of accessible fitness spaces for all and empowering individuals to lead healthier, happier lives. As we look towards the future, we are committed to furthering our impact, and we plan to establish 200 franchised centres across the country by 2025," Porko Elango, Head of business for Cult.fit, said.

EV firm Quantum Energy opens new showroom in Maharashtra

Mumbai-based electric vehicle (EV) scooter manufacturer Quantum Energy inaugurated its fourth showroom in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, on August 27.

Spanning approximately 650 square feet, the newly-inaugurated showroom operates under the dealership name EV SPEED, with Santosh S Bhosale as the dealer principal, the firm said in a statement.

"The growing interest in EV two-wheelers in the state, especially in regions like Mumbai, is truly encouraging. Our Quantum Energy scooters come with a wide range of advance features that strongly attract the interest of young audiences. As the demand for sustainable transportation solutions continues to rise, we are committed to bringing our innovative electric scooters closer to the people," said Chetana Chukkapalli, Director of Quantum Energy Ltd.

quantum energy

InMobi's Glance launches lock screen feature in Japan

InMobi's Group's Glance, a lock screen feature available for Android smartphones, has expanded to users in Japan through few leading carriers including Xiaomi and Motorola.

The feature is currently available to SoftBank Corp subscribers who use Xiaomi (Redmi Note 9T Redmi Note 10T, and 12T Pro) and Motorola (Moto G53y 5G) smartphones. In the coming quarters, it aims to expand its presence to other big carriers and Android smartphone brands in Japan, it said in a statement.

Globally, Glance is present on over 450 million Android smartphones, and is aiming to be on over one billion phones in the next two years. The platform has over 230 million active users, primarily in India and Indonesia, while it has recently launched in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.

Initially, Glance consumers in Japan will be able to discover news, trending content, and gaming on their lock screens. Content and experiences on Glance are powered by Japan’s biggest publishers, including Yahoo Japan Corporation, LINE Digital Frontier Corporation LINE Manga, Ikkyu Corporation (ikkyu.com), C Channel Corporation CHANNEL), and SoftBank Corporation.

Japan's C2C marketplace Mercari Inc sets up new office in India

Mercari Inc, a Japan-based customer-to-customer marketplace, has expanded its operations in India by setting up a new office for their Global Center of Excellence (GCoE) in Bengaluru, India.

The company said it is taking strategic steps to expand its footprint and bolster its presence in India by doubling its workforce. Mercari, boasts over 22 million active users in Japan, and aims to build a robust ecosystem along with developing financial and crypto services based on an e-commerce-type platform.

Mercari is Japan's largest community-powered marketplace with close to JPY 1 trillion yearly GMV. Located in Vaishnavi Tech Park in Sarjapur, the new Bengaluru office comprises a team of 40 employees.

"The inauguration of our new Center of Excellence underscores Mercari's commitment to nurturing innovation and technical expertise on a global scale. With our growing team of talented professionals in India, we are ideally positioned to drive technological breakthroughs and deliver exceptional experiences to our customers worldwide," Ken Wakasa, VP and Group CTO-Mercari Inc, said.

Mensa Brands to tap UAE market through brand launches on Amazon UAE and Noon

Bengaluru-based house of brands Mensa Brands is foraying into the UAE's ecommerce landscape with the launch of brands including Villain, Pebble and Folkulture on Amazon UAE and ecommerce platform Noon.

It will also launch the peanut butter brand MyFitness, which falls under Mensa's FMCG portfolio, on Talabat and Noon Minutes.

Villain, known for its men's lifestyle essentials, will offer a diverse collection of perfumes, personal care products, and lifestyle accessories to the UAE audience. Pebble and Folkulture will showcase avant-garde electronics and cultural heritage.

"Expanding our footprint to the UAE is more than just a geographical move; it's about sharing the essence of our brands with the world. Looking ahead, we're setting our sights on introducing our fashion brands to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia across all platforms, embracing new horizons and extending our connection with audiences in diverse markets," said Ananth Narayanan, Founder and CEO of Mensa Brands.

Ananth Narayanan Mensa

Ananth Narayanan, Founder and CEO of Mensa Brands

Hiring platform Unstop appoints Alekhya Chakrabarty as VP of marketing and growth

Delhi-based community engagement and hiring platform Unstop has appointed Alekhya Chakrabarty as the vice president in charge of marketing and growth.

Chakrabarty has several years of experience in the growth and marketing roles at Nestle, Unilever, ITC, and Emami. He is an alumnus of IMT Ghaziabad. In his last stint, he was leading the marketing function at Sunstone, a higher education startup.

"Unstop is on a quest to revolutionise the way talent and employers meet in today's competitive market. The possibilities of this digital playground to empower fresh talent to achieve their dreams by realising their full potential is endless.

"I look forward to fueling user growth on the platform and cultivate impactful connections with our vibrant community to make brand Unstop a category leader," Chakrabarty said in a statement.

Retail software firm o9 Solutions launches skill academy with Telangana government

o9 Solutions, an AI-powered software platform for manufacturers and retailers, has partnered with the Telangana government to launch the Supply Chain Skills Academy in Hyderabad. The move aims to help Hyderabad meet the growing demand for skilled supply chain management employees from global companies.

o9 has also entered Hyderabad through the partnership, making it a hub for expanding its research and development, product management, and global delivery operations in India. It currently has around 1,600 employees in India.

"We have been especially impressed with the growth of Hyderabad's infrastructure to absolutely world-class standards. Our fruitful conversations with the honourable Minister for Industries and Commerce, Mr K. Taraka Rama Rao, during his recent visit to Chicago, reinforced our conviction that Hyderabad is the right place for o9 India’s next phase of growth," said Chakri Gottemukkala, Co-Founder and CEO of o9 Solutions.

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