Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (Nov 14, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, November 14, 2023.

Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (Nov 14, 2023)

Tuesday November 14, 2023,

5 min Read


Breathe ESG raises pre-seed round funding led by 100X.VC

Breathe ESG, a startup offering enterprises SaaS (software as a service) solutions for sustainability management, has raised $315,000 (about Rs 2.61 crore) in a pre-seed funding round led by 100X.VC.

The funding will be used to increase product capabilities, improve the suite of offerings, and expand into global markets.

100X.VC was the first institutional investor to invest in Breathe ESG.

"Post 100X.VC pitch day, KANJ Realty Ventures and Hyderabad Angels, notable angel investors like Vipul Jain (Chairman, Kale Logistics and Partner, Hearth Ventures), Pradeep Lala (Managing Director and CEO at Embassy Services) and Prashant Naik (Managing Partner, GRICAA) invested in the company," the release added.

Breathe ESG was founded in July 2022 by Karantaj Singh and Shaayak Chatterjee. The platform assists enterprises in streamlining their sustainability efforts, making the transition to sustainable practices more accessible, efficient, and affordable, according to the release.

"Sustainability management is essential for companies in today's complex business landscape, as it integrates ESG practices into core business strategy to strengthen a company's reputation and attract consumers and investors," it added.

InsuranceDekho CEO Ankit Agrawal invests Rs 25 Lakhs in Heseos

Ankit Agrawal, CEO and Co-Founder of InsuranceDekho, has made a strategic investment in a smart technology products company, Heseos. 

The investment was announced during an episode of the reality television show Indian Angels.

The infusion of Rs 25 lakh in capital and an additional Rs 25 lakh as debt at 9.5% interest into Heseos signifies Agarwal's support for innovative ventures driven by focused founders with high integrity quotient, it said in a statement. 

Founded by Irshad Bhatt, Heseos provides IoT solutions for homes and working spaces.  

“I was impressed by the founder's commitment to professionalism. Irshad knows exactly what he is building. I strongly believe that a business can only thrive if the person leading it has a clear vision. The founder demonstrated a solid understanding of unit economics. He knew that in B2B sales, you have to be focused on building deep relationships. I liked his integrity quotient; hence, I decided to invest in the business,” said Agrawal.  

Other news

Indian consumers willing to pay higher premium on sustainable products: Study

A large number of people in India have shown a high level of concern about environmental sustainability, to the extent that they are are willing to pay a larger 15-20% premium for sustainable products compared to other countries.

A global study by Bain & Company exploring the top sustainability concerns for business leaders, their customers, and their employees, highlighted some key insights into the Indian market.

The study found that this heightened level of concern among Indian consumers could be driven by the spiking levels of pollution in major cities and the increased incidence of flash floods in different parts of the country. However, they are still at an early stage of understanding sustainability and a number of related behaviours are influenced by cultural norms and financial realities.

“While Indian consumers show growing interest in sustainability, there's a noticeable gap between intent and action, mainly due to factors like high prices, limited product information and availability. This presents a distinct opportunity for businesses to take the lead by educating consumers and innovating to offer sustainable products at attractive price prices,” said Karan Singh, Partner and head of the Asia Pacific Sustainability practice at Bain & Company.

Further, the report highlights that consumers in fast-growing markets, where the study found environmental concerns to be highest—such as India, Indonesia, Brazil, and China—people are willing to pay a greater premium, between 15 and 20% on sustainable products. Consumers in the UK, Italy, Germany, and France, on the other hand, are only willing to pay between 8 and 10% extra.

This trend was particularly found visible in urban, high-income, Indian households where they have the infrastructure to support sustainable behaviour

The willingness to pay a premium may be driven by their perception that these products are healthier for them and their family and of higher quality. 

“Additionally, since the market for sustainable products is mostly untapped, the consumers are more open as they haven’t yet been sufficiently exposed to sustainable products and therefore have not experienced the higher prices; which reflects an unmet consumer need rather than the demonstrated behaviour,” the study said. 

HCLTech names Sonia Eland as country manager for Australia, New Zealand ops

IT services company HCL Technologies (HCLTech) on Tuesday announced the appointment of Sonia Eland as executive vice president and country manager for its Australia and New Zealand operations with effect from April 1, 2024.

Eland takes over from Michael Horton, who moves into a consulting role after a stint of close to 10 years, during which he helped establish HCLTech as a digital technology services partner in Australia and New Zealand, the company said in a release.

"Sonia brings with her over three decades of experience across a diverse set of industries such as consulting, technology, banking, retail and travel," according to HCLTech.

Before joining HCLTech, she was the technology strategy and transformation partner at Deloitte Australia. In the past, she has worked with organisations such as DXC Technology, CSC, Fujitsu, Westpac and HSBC.

HCLTech has been operating in Australia and New Zealand for over two decades, delivering capabilities around digital, engineering, cloud and AI across a range of verticals.

This year, the company extended its partnerships with ANZ Bank, Cricket Australia, and agribusiness firm Elders.

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