Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (September 21, 2023)
YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, September 21, 2023.
EaseMyAI raises Rs 3 Cr in seed round led by Inflection Point Ventures
Artificial intelligence and automation-as-a-service platform has raised Rs 3 crore in a seed round led by Inflection Point Ventures. The funds will be used for product development, recruiting a sales and marketing team, and expanding distributor network.
EaseMyAI helps businesses automate tasks that used to be done manually and eliminates the possibility of mistakes. It uses advanced technology like artificial intelligence to understand and use information from different sources like pictures and sensors.
“EasemyAI’s end-to-end solution allows businesses to deploy AI-based operating systems to automate their operations and processes. This creates a huge growth opportunity for large and small companies to focus on the core business and eliminate the manual work with the EasemyAI platform," said Madhukar Bhardwaj, Senior Vice President, Inflection Point Ventures.
"Their business model is highly scalable and IPV will support them to expand their services geographically,” he added.
KathaVersse Media Network raises $400K seed funding
, a universe and franchise-driven content IP studio committed to creating IPs with a minimum shelf life of seven years for Tier II and Tier III masses, has secured a seed funding of $400,000, led by Roshan Abbas, Founder, Encompass and Kommune; Investor Partner, Glitch and Chtrbox.
Angel investors, including Gaurav Kapur, Samit Garg, Dhawal Gusain, Rajesh Rege, Sujit Jha, Nitin Madan, and WLDD (Integrated Meme & Culture Marketing Company), also participated in the investment round. Datta Dave, Partner and Co-founder at Tulsea, is an advisor to the company.
"We are building Marvel for Bharat and creating a middle-class universe under which we are developing characters, franchises, and formats to build a cult fandom and maximise ROI for audience, advertisers, and OTT partners. The company aims to scale its IPs by adapting them in different formats such as audio, animation, merchandise, games and more," said Aakash Kumar (CEO) and Kshitiz Sudhakar (COO), Founders of KathaVersse.
Grameen Foundation’s initiative for smallholder farmers gets $2M grant from Walmart Foundation
smallholder farmers by launching the second phase of the Market Access enabled by Digital Innovation in India (MANDI) project, made possible by a $2-million grant from the Walmart Foundation.will deepen its commitment to
MANDI-II will aim to address challenges faced by smallholder farmers, especially women, in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, by building the capacities of farmer producer organisations (FPOs).
During the first phase of the MANDI project, which is also supported by the Walmart Foundation, Grameen Foundation helped build the capacity of 40 FPOs in eastern Uttar Pradesh by facilitating market linkages, providing access to finance, data and technology, and increasing women shareholder participation.
The achievements of MANDI Phase I include adding over 8,300 women as new members to FPOs, 142 self-help groups getting linked with 25 FPOs, and about 9,600 farmers benefitting from 14 agricultural technologies adopted by FPOs.
“We are excited to collaborate with Grameen Foundation for the next phase of MANDI. We believe in the transformative potential of smallholder farmers in advancing India’s agricultural sector,” said Julie Gehrki, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Walmart Foundation.
RazorpayX expands payroll management platform
RazorpayX, the business banking platform of , has expanded its payroll platform to enterprises and large-sized businesses, along with a newly built advanced system for integrations and customisations.
Having onboarded around 13,000 organisations, including startups and SMEs, in the last four years, RazorpayX Payroll will now cater to businesses of all sizes from 2 to 20,000+ employees.
A recent study by RazorpayX, titled ‘Payroll Maturity Index 2023’, analysed the payroll data of 163 enterprises across 12 key industries in August, and found that 42% of large organisations in India were struggling with payment and filing compliance issues in their payroll management. Other issues included salary delays faced by 44% and inaccuracies in payroll calculations and processing faced by 40% of the large organisations surveyed.
"Having successfully supercharged the payroll operations for startups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), now expanding our services to enterprises is a significant milestone for us at RazorpayX Payroll," said Ayush Bansal, VP & General Manager of RazorpayX.
Cashfree Payments partners with Shopify to launch onsite payments
Payments and API banking company Cashfree Payments has partnered with to launch onsite payments with cards for Indian merchants.
With onsite payments, merchants can offer a seamless and swift checkout experience to customers by directly collecting payment information on their website, eliminating the need for redirection to a third-party page, said the company in a statement.
Previously, customers were required to leave the merchant's website and undergo an additional step to complete their payment. Onsite Payments on Shopify were initially exclusive to Shopify Stores in the US. However, with this partnership with Cashfree Payments, Indian merchants on Shopify will now have access to this functionality.
"This integration enables Shopify merchants to offer a seamless checkout experience to their customers, resulting in higher conversion rates and increased customer satisfaction. The partnership between Cashfree Payments and Shopify demonstrates our mutual dedication to empowering India's burgeoning D2C and e-commerce ecosystem," said Reeju Datta, Co-founder,.
D2C brands borrow Rs 243 Cr to meet early end-of-season sale frenzy
The trend of early end-of-season sale has given rise to the demand for sachet loans among D2C brands, according to’s latest D2C 'Decoded Report'.
Between August 2022 and July 2023, D2C brands borrowed more than Rs 243 crore worth of sachet loans, a 43% increase from the same period in 2019-2020.
Sachet loans, a service introduced by Instamojo in 2020, are small-ticket cash advance loans which a business takes to manage its liquidity during high demand periods. Sachet loans saw a massive spike of 48% between 2020 and 2021 due to rising liquidity crunch and demand during the pandemic. However, because of the advantages of sachet loans, the demand for them has remained since 2021 dropping only slightly by 3% between 2021 and 2023.
While the total value of sachet loans is on the rise, the volume seems to be decreasing with stringent rules on disbursements. Sachet loan disbursement volume decreased by about 19% since 2021.
Team Fego.ai joins B2B SaaS fintech Perfios
Fego.ai’s co-founders and brothers S Kumar Srivatsan and S Kumar Srikanthan, who established two fintech ventures, OptaCredit and Fego.ai seven years ago and served on Sahamati’s TSP steering committee and Digital Lenders Association of India's management committee, are now taking additional responsibilities in product and strategy roles.
“Team Fego.ai is delighted to be a part of Perfios family, and with the depth of their product offerings across varied financial institutions throughout the globe, we are confident that our capabilities will complement Perfios's expertise," said Srivatsan.
“Both Kumar Srivatsan and Kumar Srikanthan have been pioneering some exciting work on open-finance in India, and we are elated to have the team at Perfios," said Ramgopal Subramani, Chief Strategy Officer, Perfios.
Dell Technologies Forum 2023 prioritises purpose-driven innovation
Dell Technologies Forum 2023, the flagship event of Dell Technologies, which concluded on August 24, saw over 1,100 in-person attendees and over 4,000 virtual attendees.
Drawing on the ethos of transforming ideas into innovation faster, the event prioritised the impact of digital transformation for enterprises in India and highlighted IT-driven growth.
“Technology has become the cornerstone of nation-building, empowering progress and fostering innovation in every industry. Dell Technologies is committed to supporting this transformative journey as a catalyst for digital advancement, providing cutting-edge solutions that empower businesses, governments, and individuals across the nation. We are seeing tremendous success in our role as a technology partner to Indian enterprises,” said Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies India.
In an interaction, Manish Gupta, Vice President, Dell Technologies India, spoke to Manoj Chugh, an award-winning transformational leader, on the increasing scope of work and inception of a new digital highway, powered by the growth of AI and Edge computing.
Gupta said, “With the right technology partner, a business can boost its growth, leveraging purpose-driven innovation. Focusing on the need to utilise advanced technology to meet business demands should be a priority for Indian enterprises.”
Chugh said, “In today's fast-evolving world, technology is not just an option but a necessity for the growth of businesses. With AI being at the top of every business’ growth discussion, companies need to prioritise ethical AI, resulting in responsible development and deployment of technology."
CtrlS Datacenters appoints Mohit Pande as CFO
CtrlS Datacenters has appointed Mohit Pande as its chief financial officer (CFO). Pande has a 23-year experience in the investment banking industry in the US and India.
In his new role, Pande will lead the finance and corporate development functions at CtrlS and be responsible for expanding the company’s growth across India and international markets.
“We are pleased to welcome Mohit to our leadership team as we look to accelerate the growth of our business with the planned investments of over $2 billion in new data centres and captive renewable power generation over the next five years," said Sridhar Pinnapureddy, Chairman, CtrlS Datacenters.
"We want to keep pursuing our expansion plan, enhance the services we provide to our clients and set the standard for the datacenter industry," he added.
Rising logistics demand expected to create 10 million jobs in India by 2027: TeamLease
Propelled by recent industry reforms including the government's production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, robust production figures encompassing both domestic and export activities, as well as changing consumption patterns influenced by rising disposable incomes, decreasing inflation rates, innovative business models and surging rural demand, India's logistics industry is poised for rapid growth in the coming years, said a statement by staffing company TeamLease Services.
According to the company, the positive momentum in the sector is expected to bring a significant employment synergy in the ecosystem. The sector, which is growing at a 12% CAGR, is expected to add 10 million jobs by 2027.
The increased demand is not only reshaping the logistics industry but is also opening up a slew of job opportunities, it said.
“We are witnessing the emergence of a dynamic industry that is poised to create approximately 10 million new job opportunities over the next five years, owing to a significant increase in both production and consumption. This increase in output has increased demand for logistics services such as transportation, warehousing, and distribution,” said Balasubramanian A, Vice President and Business Head, TeamLease Services.
Delhi High Court refuses to restrain Parle from using 'For the Bold' trademark on its products
The Delhi High Court has refused to restrain Parle from using the trademark ‘For the Bold’ on its products in a suit filed by PepsiCo.
PepsiCo had sought to restrain Parle from using its registered trade mark 'For the Bold' on its products. In response, Parle challenged the validity of PepsiCo's trademark 'For the Bold' and sought for framing of the issue of invalidity of PepsiCo's trademark.
The Delhi High Court, while allowing the aforesaid plea of Parle raising the issue of invalidity, rejected the prayer of PepsiCo to restrain Parle from using the trademark 'For the Bold' on its products. However, it has directed Parle not to use the tagline ‘For The Bold’ as the predominant part of its advertising campaign and not to alter the label on its 'B Fizz' bottle without prior approval of the court.
Ankur Sangal, Pragya Mishra, and Shashwat Rakshit from Khaitan & Co appeared for Parle.
Snapdeal and Agoda partner to empower Bharat consumers with travel choices
, an e-commerce marketplace, and Agoda, an online travel booking platform, have formed an alliance to address the travel requirements of Bharat consumers.
The alliance will leverage Snapdeal's vast consumer base and Agoda's travel expertise and extensive accommodation choices to deliver cost-effective travel options to millions of prospective travellers across the nation.
HealthifyMe launches AI feature to track food and nutrition
, an AI health and fitness app, has launched Snap, a food recognition system that automates the nutrition tracking process. It uses computer vision AI to identify and track foods directly from the camera gallery.
Users have to snap a photo of their food plate—and they can do so from their phone's lock screen, without even opening the HealthifyMe app. HealthifyMe’s AI capabilities then take over, identifying the food items, their quantities, portion sizes, and even micronutrients to automatically log the meal details.
The Snap feature will be available for all users this month.
(This article will be updated with the latest news throughout the day.)
Edited by Swetha Kannan