Startup news and updates: daily roundup (August 16, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, August 16, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (August 16, 2023)

Wednesday August 16, 2023,

6 min Read


Fintech startup Vegapay raises $1.1M pre-seed funding

Digital lending and card management platform Vegapay has secured $1.1 million in pre-seed funding. The round was led by Eximius Ventures along with DSP HMK, Capri Global, Upsparks Capital, MGA Ventures, Climber Capital, and angel investors including Arun Venkatachalam (Murugappa Group) and Pratekk Agarwaal (General Partner, GrowthCap Ventures).

Vegapay plans to use the funds towards developing its technology to enable frontline adoption for traditional and non-traditional institutions, the company said in a statement. It also aims to create an omnichannel lending solution, which would help institutions customise the type of product they choose to offer, such as co-lending, secured credit, and unsecured credit.

Founded in October 2022 by Gaurav Mittal, Himanshu Agrawal, Puneet Sharma, and Abhinav Garg, Vegapay is building a lending tech stack and a card management system that enables regulated entities and fintech firms to issue and increase penetration of card and lending in India.

"Banks and fintech players take months to launch new financial products like credit cards and lending offerings. However, we can help them reduce the time taken to bring products to the market by 90%. This would enable our partners to launch their products in just one week," said Gaurav Mittal, Co-founder and CEO of Vegapay.

"Our mission is to assist our partners in achieving the $1.5 trillion AUM by providing customised digital lending solutions at an unprecedented speed," added Mittal.

Other news

ONDC launches WhatsApp chatbot ONDC Sahayak for sellers

The Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC) has launched a WhatsApp chatbot called 'ONDC Sahayak' to help sellers familiarise themselves with digital commerce.

The feature, which is currently in the beta phase, aims to spread awareness among sellers about ONDC's advantages, showcase live categories, connect sellers with seller network participants, and simplify the onboarding process. In addition to English and Hindi, the chatbot will soon be able to understand and communicate in Marathi, Kannada, and Tamil. It will also receive more improvements and updates in the next few months, according to a statement.

The digital commerce protocol now supports 12 regional languages, including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu.

The expansion highlights ONDC's commitment to embrace India's diversity and foster inclusion in the digital realm, ensuring that Indians can engage with the ONDC protocol in their chosen language, starting from August 15, the statement said.

TIDE partners with North Eastern Handicrafts & Handloom Development Corporation

TIDE, a UK-based firm focused on small and medium enterprises, has signed a memorandum of understanding with North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Corporation to promote nearly 2.1 million handloom weavers and 3.5 million handicraft artisans across 800 clusters in Northeast India.

The partnership will also assist in widening market reach and enabling financial inclusion of small weavers.

This comes at the helm of the handloom development corporation's technology and innovation drive, which includes projects for digitalisation of the handloom sector using artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) and ERP implementation for inventory tracking and mapping, according to a statement.

North East contributes 65% of India’s total handloom production and has the highest concentration of handloom weavers in the country, with women's participation at around 88%.

This partnership will help elevate Tide’s India Chapter of ‘Women in Business’ and enable women handloom weavers across North East India to benefit from the mentoring and knowledge sharing sessions that will help grow their businesses and overcome administrative challenges, said the firm.

North Eastern Handicrafts and Handlooms Development Corporation works under the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Government of India. It attempts to develop and promote the indigenous crafts of the region by connecting craftsmen with prospective markets and consumers.

Indian economy

Agritech startup Digicides enters APAC region with Philippines

Delhi-based agritech firm Digicides has forayed into the Asia Pacific (APAC) region with Philippines. APAC has more than 450 million smallholder farmers and generates roughly 30% of global agri-foodtech financing activity. 

Founded in 2017 by husband-wife duo Dipanjan Dean Dutta and Saswati Bag, Digicides aims to bring innovative technology to revolutionise the farming industry, empower farmers and facilitate their connections between agri-product companies and potential customers in the region. This will thereby help to enhance crop productivity, reduce costs and promote environmental sustainability.

The firm aims to expand to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia soon, it said in a statement.

“The Asia Pacific region shares immense similarities with the Indian market with sizable agricultural communities. Given our success in our home country, we meticulously planned this expansion, which is expected to penetrate 50% of the agri market in the Philippines followed by other countries,” Dipanjan Dean Dutta, Co-Founder and CEO of Digicides, said.

InMobi acquires Quantcast Choice to enhance its privacy management platform

InMobi, the California-based provider of content monetisation and marketing technologies, has acquired consent management platform Quantcast Choice for undisclosed sum. 

The deal reinforces InMobi's commitment to bolstering its privacy management platform for mobile app and web publishers, empowering them to navigate the dynamic and intricate privacy landscape, it said in a statement.

InMobi plans to integrate Quantcast’s services within its publisher SDK offering, aiming to deliver improved data governance, easy consent management, and heightened privacy control, thereby ensuring full compliance with global privacy regulations, it added.

The transition of Quantcast Choice customers to InMobi's offering is set to begin in the coming months, with the launch of the new publisher offering expected in the early fall.

LegalPay launches online dispute resolution service Bharat Dispute Resolution

Gurgaon-based litigation financier LegalPay has rolled out an online dispute resolution service called Bharat Dispute Resolution (BDR) aimed at helping businesses, including fintech startups, banks and NBFCs recover their dues easily.

BDR will use artificial intelligence, data analytics, and legal expertise to resolve disputes and recover dues in a fast, cost-effective, and hassle-free manner, the firm said in a statement. It will also enable automation of bulk notices, tracking responses, administration of stamp duty, and access to a data repository for cases intertwined with the legal services of experienced professionals, it added.

BDR aims to manage 1 lakh cases by the end of this year.

"BDR will also reduce the burden on the judiciary and promote alternative dispute resolution methods. We are excited to launch this service and help millions of businesses across India. We are confident that BDR will continue to grow and scale in the coming years and become the preferred choice for dispute resolution across the globe", said Kundan Shahi, Founder and CEO of LegalPay, said.

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