Startup news and updates: daily roundup (October 9, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, October 9, 2023.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (October 9, 2023)

Monday October 09, 2023,

8 min Read

Funding news

Content marketplace Pep secures $2.5M seed funding

Pep, a social online marketplace for content, has secured $2.5 million in seed funding from India Quotient.

Angel investors, including Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal (Co-founders, Meesho), Kunal Shah (CRED), and Farooq Adam (Fynd), Parag Bhide (Counsel, Trilegal), Sambhav Mehrotra, Sridhar Subramanian (Founders, Startup Movers), Ravindra Yadav (data scientist), and Sargun Gulati (crypto expert), also participated in the round. 

Founded in early 2023 by Nav Agrawal and Swapnil Upadhyay, the online marketplace enables customers to explore, purchase, and monetise a diverse range of content and services, keeping affordability in mind. 

Pep's content, including live sessions, videos, one-on-one consultations, PDFs, and audio, caters to a wide spectrum of segments like cooking, DIY, fashion, devotional, health and fitness, and personal finance. It claims to have a user-friendly interface and personalised machine-learning algorithms for content discovery. 

“With our mobile-only approach, we enable people to sell content in a few clicks and directly monetise their knowledge, and reduce dependency on conventional ad-based income,” said Nav Agrawal.

Oyela raises Rs 14.4 cr from Prime Venture Partners

Oyela, a collaborative commerce platform, has raised Rs 14.4 crore in a seed funding round led by Prime Venture Partners.

Co-founded in 2021 by IIT Bombay alumni Rahul Gope and Anjan Kumar Patel, Oyela empowers emerging social businesses, product creators, and artists to sell to their audience and grow their businesses. 

Through Oyela, businesses can set up and manage their digital storefronts and leverage tools to collaborate with each other for better reach, streamline their operations, and Instagram automation to secure more sales by harnessing their social reach.

Previously, the startup had secured Rs 4.1 crore in a pre-seed funding round from Good Capital, Upsparks Capital, and Eximius Ventures, among others.

Oyela will deploy new funds to bolster its ecommerce tech, build conversational commerce engines to empower selling on Pinterest, YouTube, and Threads, and streamline the supply chain to empower GenZs to start and grow their own Instagram stores.

Camping experiences discovery platform Exoticamp raises funds 

Exoticamp, a Chennai-based camping and glamping experiences discovery platform, has raised Rs 4 crore from a group of investors, including Anil Kumar Karusala (promoter, Sai Parenteral Limited), Aditya Vuchi (CEO, Doosra), Harsh Dugar (Executive director, Federal Bank), senior employees of Spark Capital, and a few HNIs from Hyderabad and Chennai. 

The funds raised will be utilised to enhance safety measures at campsites, create exclusive and captivating camping locations, and improve the platform’s tech stack for enhanced user experience.

“This capital infusion will allow us to scale our operations, expand our portfolio with more destinations, and

elevate the overall experience for our customers. Our data reveals that nearly 95% of our customers are first-time campers. Exoticamp is dedicated to democratising camping, offering inclusive experiences in private natural settings tailored to adventurers of all levels,” said Vijay Premnath and Swaminathan, Co-founders of Exoticamp. 

The team has hosted over 20,000 campers to date, and claims to have a network spanning over 70 campsites across India. 

Women founders secure Rs 2 Cr funding at JITO hosted-startup pitch event

Five women-led startups won Rs 2 crore from a panel of investors at a live startup pitch event hosted by JITO Incubation and Innovation Foundation (JIIF). 

These startups—Ecoright, Funngro, Plan B,, and Riti Rivaz—showcased their innovations and ideas at JITO Shark Angels (JSA), which took place in Jaipur. 

The panel of women investors included—Nikita Jain (Managing Partner at Nanda Capital Holding), Saloni Shah (Associate Director at NVS Brokerage), Shekha Haran Bhandari (Head of Family Office at Haran Family Office), and Rashi Benara (Investment Manager at KM Trans Logistics Private Limited).

Previously, the inaugural season saw 41 companies pitch their startups, of which 25 received a commitment of Rs 21 crore.


UClean expands operations to southern India with 50 stores

Laundry and dry-cleaning chain UClean has expanded its operation to southern India with 50 new stores across cities, including Chennai, Bengaluru, Mysore, Hyderabad, Vizag, Kochi, and Coimbatore.

"The south India market has been incredibly receptive to our services," says Arunabh Sinha, CEO of UClean. "Our growth in this region reaffirms our commitment to delivering top-notch laundry solutions to customers. We are excited to continue expanding our footprint here.”

Sharing future targets, the company aims to set up 500+ outlets in the region by 2025. Currently, UClean has over 400 outlets operating across India.

In addition, UClean claims to be making strategic investments in technology to serve the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The company plans to introduce D2C cleaning supplies in the near future and aims to achieve a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of Rs 1,000 crore by 2025.

Wint Wealth launches basket of bonds on its platform

Bengaluru-based fixed-income investment platform Wint Wealth launched a new Securitised Debt Instrument (SDI) offering, i.e., Wint Basket, that enables investors to invest in multiple listed senior secured bonds with a single investment starting at Rs 1 lakh.

As per SEBI regulations, the minimum face value of listed debt securities under private placement is Rs 1 lakh. Since most corporate debt securities are privately placed, many investors cannot explore corporate bonds as an asset class due to the high ticket size. Even if they purchase a few units, their portfolio has a concentration risk.

Wint Basket said it would offer a basket of bonds with multiple senior secured corporate bonds as underlying assets, which would allow investors to diversify their investment by investing in a single SDI.

“Similar to equity, bond portfolios also need diversification for risk mitigation. Ideally, retail investors should allocate 5-10% of their portfolio to bonds to realise any meaningful gains. Retail investors must spare at least Rs 5-6 lakh to build a diversified bond portfolio. Very few retail investors can afford to do so,” said Ajinkya Kulkarni, Co-founder and CEO, Wint Wealth.

However, the basket still has credit, liquidity, and fraud risks depending on the underlying securities.

So far, the Zerodha-backed platform has facilitated cumulative investments in corporate and sovereign gold bonds worth over Rs 1,200 crore of over 52,000 investors.

Kapture CX appoints Nibha Kothari as VP Strategy

Cactus Venture Partners-backed Kapture CX, a SaaS-based customer experience platform, appointed Nibha Kothari as its VP of Strategy. 

Kothari brings experience over 12 years in leading strategic programmes across multiple global organisations, including Reliance, Viacom18, WNS, and BYJU’S. She is also an alumna of IIT Delhi and IIM Bangalore.

Commenting on the appointment, Sheshgiri Kamath, Co-founder and CEO, Kapture CX, said, “Vibha’s vast experience in strategy and new initiatives will play a critical role as we expand globally into new geographies and verticals. Having worked in leading companies we look forward to leveraging her insights and accelerating our growth further.” 

“As Kapture continues its evolution into a global organisation, I look forward to contributing to the ongoing success and further enhancing scalable processes,” added Kothari. 

Magenta Mobility enhances EV fleet with Tata Motors

Electric fleet operator Magenta Mobility has forayed into the electric four-wheel commercial vehicle segment through a strategic partnership with Tata Motors. The company signed a MoU to deploy 500 units of the Tata Ace EV for intra-city applications. 

“Our partnership with Tata Motors marks our entry into electric four-wheel cargo fleet across India. With this partnership, we will work closely with Tata to open up new avenues for electrification, accelerating the EV adoption in urban deliveries. Together we aim to drive sustainability in intra-city logistics in India by reducing the carbon footprint in the last-mile and mid-mile freight segment,” said Maxson Lewis, Founder and Managing Director, Magenta Mobility. 

Currently, Magenta Mobility is managing a fleet of over 1,200 electric vehicles serving clients across ecommerce, grocery delivery, FMCG, food, and pharmaceuticals for their last-mile deliveries.

Ather Energy expands e-bikes to Nepal 

Electric two-wheeler manufacturer Ather Energy is venturing into the Nepalese market as part of its global expansion strategy by introducing its flagship model, the 450X.

“So far, our scooters have worn green number plates and zipped across Indian roads. Soon, they’ll be sporting different ones as they warp through the hills and valleys of Nepal. Absolutely thrilled for this exciting chapter in our journey to begin,” Founder Tarun Mehta shared on X (formerly Twitter). 

The EV maker will establish its first global footprint by partnering with Vaidya Energy, a subsidiary of Vaidya’s Organisation of Industries and Trading Houses (VOITH), an industrial conglomerate in Nepal, with the opening of its experience centre in Kathmandu, Nepal, in November this year.

The EV maker will be introducing its flagship 450X model, now available with two battery options: 2.9 kWh and 3.7 kWh, catering to a wider range of preferences.

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

Edited by Suman Singh