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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (September 4, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, September 4, 2023

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (September 4, 2023)

Monday September 04, 2023 , 8 min Read

Funding news

Mental well-being tech startup LISSUN raises $1.3M in seed round

LISSUN, a mental health technology platform, has secured $1.3 million in seed funding led by Inflection Point Ventures (IPV) and Zerodha Group's Rainmatter Capital.

Existing backers such as IvyCap Ventures Advisors Private Limited, WFC, and Growx Ventures, alongside several angel investors, also participated in this round. This brings LISSUN's total funding to $2.3 million so far.

The newly-acquired capital will be strategically utilised to bolster LISSUN's technological capabilities and enhance its product offerings. The platform also intends to further expand its services while actively forging partnerships with healthcare institutions and other relevant organisations.

"We are a product-first company and build our products to deliver mental health effectively, seamlessly, and affordably," said Tarun Gupta, Director and Co-founder of LISSUN.

A key distinguishing factor for LISSUN is its collaboration with healthcare institutions to effectively address high-stress scenarios across various domains. These encompass critical areas such as infertility, rehabilitation, nephrology, and oncology, among others.

Pet-care platform Sploot raises $800K seed round

Sploot, a pet-parenting mobile app founded by Garima Kaushal and Arnav Sahni in Delhi, has secured $800,000 in its second round of seed funding. The funding comes from Info Edge's subsidiary, Redstart Labs, and a group of angel investors.

This injection of capital will enable the company to expand its range of services, which includes dog walking, grooming, and the provision of high-quality, ready-to-feed dog food. Sploot also has plans to extend its operations into new territories.

With a community-led approach, the app has over 100,000 downloads on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Sploot has already delivered more than 80,000 meals and facilitated over 100,000 dog walks in the Delhi-NCR region.

It's worth noting that Info Edge has been a supportive partner of Sploot since its initial seed funding round in 2022 when they invested $500,000 in the venture.

Other news

Rapido to onboard 500 riders in 3 months for its 'Bike Pink' service in Chennai

Bike taxi aggregator Rapido has unveiled its 'Bike Pink' service at Urban Square, Kathipara, Chennai. The service, launched with the intent of meeting the specific transportation requirements of female riders, offers female captains for their daily commutes.

Rapido Captains

In the initial phase of this launch, Rapido will deploy 25 electric bikes (EVs) for women captains who may be experiencing financial challenges. This initiative serves a dual purpose by providing accessible transportation and income opportunities for women. Rapido will be equipping them with essential safety and driving skills through comprehensive training programmes, developed in collaboration with various NGOs.

Presently, Rapido boasts a roster of over 100 active female captains in Chennai. However, the company has plans to onboard more than 500 active captains in the next three months through collaborations with NGOs.

According to Rapido, this service has the potential to enable women to earn a daily income ranging from Rs 800 to Rs 1,000, resulting in a monthly income of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 through the 'Bike Pink' service.

SBI adds UPI interoperability Central Bank Digital Currency

The State Bank of India has introduced UPI interoperability to its Digital Rupee (e₹), also known as the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

This feature will be accessible through the 'eRupee by SBI' mobile application, allowing SBI CBDC users to perform transactions by scanning any merchant's UPI QR code.

Consumer groups concerned over OTT regulation proposal in India, citing overregulation.

Eleven consumer groups, including the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), Consumer Guidance Society, and Consumer Guild, have raised concerns about a proposal regarding selective banning and regulation of over-the-top (OTT) communication services in India. They argue that this proposal could lead to overregulation and create regulatory uncertainty in the Indian market.

Their primary concern is that OTT service providers are already subject to regulation under the IT Act of 2000, which is set to be replaced by the upcoming Digital India Act (DIA). They believe that consultations related to OTT services should be integrated into the discussions surrounding the DIA. Additional consultations by regulators like TRAI could result in overlapping regulatory structures.

Furthermore, the consumer groups highlight the need for transparency in the selective banning process. They argue that the criteria for selecting OTT apps for potential banning, the reasons behind such selections, and the circumstances under which bans would be implemented should be made available to the public through a written public order. This, they say, would ensure clarity and transparency in the decision-making process.

The consumer groups also express concerns about the lack of clarity regarding the technical aspects of implementing selective bans and determining the appropriate authority to monitor such bans. Without clear guidelines, they fear that it could lead to further regulatory uncertainty and overregulation.

Pine Labs introduces affordable merchant card machines

Pine Labs has introduced Mini, a device that accepts both QR codes and cards, catering specifically to smaller merchants.

Pine labs machine

It is anticipated to be accessible at approximately one-third of the price of a standard Point of Sale (PoS) terminal.

“QR-based and card tap payments are a perfect solve for Indian consumers on the go. On the merchant side, an absolute must is a fast checkout experience and the elimination of the cost barrier in point-of-sale digitisation. Addressing these needs, we are delighted to launch a QR-first, card-accepting, cost-effective PoS solution called Pine Labs Mini,” Navnit Nakra, CRO, Pine Labs, said.

Paytm revamps lineup of soundboxes, introduce tap to pay for card users

Paytm introduced the Card Soundbox, a device capable of accepting card payments while delivering immediate audio payment notifications.

The soundbox offers both merchants and customers audio and visual payment confirmation via an LCD display.

Additionally, it features a built-in 'tap and pay' function, allowing merchants to accept card payments of up to Rs 5,000.

Indian Bank, a public sector bank in India, has collaborated with OneCard to offer mobile-first, contactless, metal co-branded credit cards. These cards provide users with comprehensive digital control, including real-time transaction tracking, spending management, EMI conversion, reward redemption, repayments, monthly budget planning, credit limit adjustments, and in-app payments.

Garuda Aerospace will PwD persons to fly and maintain drones

Drone maker Garuda Aerospace, in a bid to enhance its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEandI) efforts, has introduced the Equality Drone Training programme. In collaboration with the Bharat Drone Association and the National Drone Pilot Association, Garuda Aerospace has launched this specialised program specifically aimed at empowering individuals with disabilities.

The initiative, set to commence in Chennai, offers a comprehensive 10-day training programme at no cost, focusing on education, skill development, and training.

The course will equip them with skills in maintenance and operation including data analysis. The programme comprises training in the utilisation of drones across agriculture, surveillance and mapping, and ecommerce and delivery. The training is tailored to individuals depending on their disability to further empower them.

APIX by Safexpay streamlines verification for businesses

safexpay has unveiled APIX, a regtech platform that offers a comprehensive range of API solutions consolidated within a unified framework.

These solutions encompass a wide spectrum of functionalities, spanning from banking processes to payments and document verification, effectively catering to the diverse needs of businesses across various industries.

Traditionally, many banks and merchants have had to grapple with the challenges of integrating separate platforms for tasks like PAN verification, Aadhaar authentication, vendor validation, and data access, resulting in functional bottlenecks and the need to navigate multiple portals.

Pilgrim appoints Anirudh Likhite as Supply Chain VP, Nilesh Kambli is CX SVP

Pilgrim, a homegrown vegan beauty and personal care brand, has announced a strategic expansion of its leadership team aimed at accelerating its omnichannel strategy.

Anirudh Likhite, who was earlier with Nykaa and L'Oreal, has been appointed as Vice President of Supply Chain and Procurement. Likhite brings over 13 years of hands-on expertise in building supply chain teams, networks, and strategic processes across diverse business segments, including eB2B, general trade, modern trade, international business (exports), and Pro (dedicated to salon professionals).

Joining him is Nilesh Kambli who now assumes the role of Senior Vice President of Customer Experience. He has 11 years of professional experience working at companies including The Souled Store, 91Springboard, and HDFC, implementing effective operational strategies.

In their new capacities, both Likhite and Kambli will play pivotal roles in delivering enhanced product accessibility, superior customer experiences, and uncompromising product quality across both digital and physical touchpoints, the company said.

Amazon's Vipin Jain appointed CtrlS President-Operations

CtrlS Datacenter appointed Vipin Jain as President-Operations. He will establish a global operational framework, processes, and systems to strengthen its AI/ML offerings.

Vipin has over 30 years of experience in the data centre and telecom infrastructure domain, having worked at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Reliance Communications, Lucent Technologies, Essar, Motorola, and Siemens. He is a Gold Medalist from Delhi College of Engineering and a Stanford LEAD graduate.

This move aligns with CtrlS' expansion plans, including its first international collaboration with the National Telecom Public Company (NT) for a 150-MW data centre campus in Chonburi, Thailand.

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