Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (November 21, 2023)
YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, November 21, 2023.
Wavemaker Partners leads $1.5M Seed+ funding round in VAMA.app
has led a $1.5 million seed+ funding round in VAMA.app.
This is Wavemaker's first such investment in an Indian tech company.
's key backers such as Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng and Harit Nagpal, as well as micro-VC investors such as Blume Founders Fund, Alluvium, Untitled VC, alongside prominent angels like Burak Buyukdemir and Dhruv Bahl, also participated in the funding round.
The faith-tech startup will use the freshly raised funds to acquire talent, bolster product development, and improve its technology, with a vision to expand its user base further.
The company has so far raised a total of $2.8 million in funding. Established in late 2020 by Aacharya Dev, Himanshu Semwal, and Manu Jain, VAMA.app is a virtual platform serving as a destination for easy access to e-pujas, e-darshans, and astrology services for devotees across India.
EventHQ raises $500,000 in Pre-seed funding led by Powerhouse
EventOps and Intelligence platformhas raised $500,000 in pre-seed funding, led by , with participation from three angel investors: Vijay Shankar, Arjun Pillai, and Karthik Ramamoorthy.
Headquartered in Delaware, United States, EventHQ was founded by Chameli Kuduva and Hari Pragdish, both professionals with expertise in SaaS, community management, and large-scale B2B events. EventHQ is an EventOps and Intelligence platform to help optimise event operations, automate event marketing and bring visibility to ROI on events.
With the recent investment from Powerhouse, EventHQ’s team plans to expand the team and focus on product development. EventHQ has opened its waitlist and has a few early customers. EventHQ is looking to go beta in the near future.
Seafund Ventures invests Rs 5 Cr across 5 sustainability-focused startups
Seafund Ventures, focusing on early-stage investments, has allocated Rs 5 crore across five startups --, , , and . The fund's plan includes dedicating 20% of its entire investible corpus to clean energy and the electric vehicle (EV) value chain, spanning sectors such as transportation, logistics, and circular economy. Seafund is currently raising its second fund with a target corpus of Rs 250 crore.
Manoj Agarwal, Managing Partner, SeaFund said, “The EV landscape in India is at its nascent stage and the opportunity from clean mobility to EV Tech is now beginning to be explored as more investors are understanding the thesis of growth. We will continue to help our portfolio companies to scale and continue to look for fresh investment opportunities in this sector."
In addition to the monetary investment, the companies will also benefit from market access and acceleration programs over the next few months.
OnFinance AI secures $1.05 Million in Seed Funding
Bengaluru-based GenAI startup, has raised a $1.05 million seed funding round led by Silverneedle Ventures and IAN.
LetsVenture Fund, SSV Fund, and Kunal Shah (CRED), along with some marquee angels also participated in the funding round. The infusion of funds will be directed towards expanding OnFinance.ai's engineering team and scaling its solution globally, with a particular focus on the United States.
OnFinance.ai's offering, powered by its financial Large Language Model (LLM) named NeoGPT, delivers AI co-pilots for research analysis, relationship management, sales, and customer success teams within banking institutions, and asset management companies (AMCs).
The company is actively planning to extend its services to banks and wealth management firms based in the US and the UK, owing to the demand for their NeoGPT AI Co-pilots in these regions.
Odisha preps for Fund Stack 3.0 - State’s annual startup investor summit
Startup Odisha, an initiative led by the MSME Department of the Government of Odisha, is gearing up for Fund Stack 3.0, a two-day annual startup investment summit. This event is set to play a crucial role in establishing meaningful connections between startups and investors, which would offer vital funding, mentorship, and support.
Leading venture capitalists and angel investors, including Equanimity Ventures, Sanchi Connect, Menterra Social Impact,, Mumbai Angels, Orios Ventures, among others will be part of the two-day pitching session.
On the inaugural day of Fund Stack 3.0, Startup Odisha will formalise strategic partnerships
by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with prominent investment firms,
Equanimity Ventures and Sanchi Connect. The event will further kick off with ‘Roundtable with Investors’, delving into the startup ecosystem and exploring the investment potential inherent in the state of Odisha.
Fund Stack 3.0 is designed to provide local startups with essential exposure to the funding ecosystem, offering an understanding of the dynamics of contemporary entrepreneurship. This initiative aligns with the vision of Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik, who aspires to position Odisha as the premier Startup Hub in India to nurture 5000 startups by the year 2025.
WhatsApp launches ‘Check the Facts’ campaign to fight misinformation
Meta-ownedhas launched an integrated safety campaign ‘Check the Facts’ to promote digital best practices that help prevent the spread of misinformation on the platform. In an effort to drive user-awareness around WhatsApp’s safety features, the month-long campaign highlights
built-in safety features like block and report, and forward labels, and encourages users to verify information through fact-checking organizations on WhatsApp Channels.
The campaign provides a simple safety guide to fight misinformation, emphasising three key actions such as understanding forwarded messages, blocking and reporting suspicious accounts, and following fact-checking organizations on WhatsApp Channels.
WhatsApp has partnered with 10 independent fact-checking organizations in India that help users to verify information in over 13 languages. Users can follow dedicated fact-checking organizations on WhatsApp Channels to receive verified updates.
PayU introduces innovative SDKs for enhanced digital payments
Online payment solutions provider PayU has released three Software Development Kits (SDKs) named Native Payment Experience on 3DS 2.0, UPI BOLT, and One-Click Net Banking. These SDKs aim to address the need for frictionless payment experiences on mobile devices, contributing to a 5-6% improvement in transaction success rates. This development comes in response to the escalating digital payment adoption in India, driven by one of the world's highest smartphone penetration rates.
"In a country where over 72% of transactions are projected to be digital by 2025, businesses must adapt to the changing payment landscape. Our SDKs are designed to capture this potential by solving for three of the most popular payment methods - Cards, UPI, and net Banking," Manas Mishra, CPO - PayU said.
PayU’s latest developments aim to make online transactions more accessible and efficient for users.
Snitch announces offline expansion
, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) men's fashion brand, has unveiled its strategy for offline expansion, The brand aims to open 8 new offline retail stores across major cities in India, including Surat, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Pune.
"While our offline presence is an important part of our strategy, we are also committed to our online presence, including e-commerce platforms and our Official Website and App," says Siddharth Dungarwal, Founder of Snitch.
By expanding into new markets and establishing a physical presence, Snitch aims to cater to the needs and preferences of its customers. The new stores will feature the brand's latest collections, ranging from several apparel and accessories.
Cashfree Payments launches ‘KYC Link’ - India’s first no-code verification solution
has announced the launch of ‘KYC Link’ - India’s first no-code verification solution for Indian businesses, to simplify digital identity verification for MSMEs, emerging and digitally transitioning sectors. The solution eliminates the need for extensive technical expertise, allowing businesses to adopt KYC solutions on day 0, and accelerating revenue generation from newly onboarded users.
KYC Link incorporates all existing verification solutions offered by Cashfree Payments, including Bank Account Verification (across a network of 600+ banks), UPI, PAN, and Aadhaar among others.
The solution enables businesses to generate personalized KYC verification links, with the feature to incorporate a business logo and color scheme to enhance the brand experience.
Microsoft launches vernacular features in Outlook Lite for Indian users
has announced new vernacular features in Outlook Lite, an email and SMS app designed specifically for Indian users that combines the best of email, and SMS in one place.
Outlook Lite brings all the important features of Microsoft Outlook in a smaller-sized app with fast performance for lightweight devices on any network. Along with being a smaller-sized app, one of the main focus areas for Outlook Lite is to solve the needs of emerging market users.
In regard to the same, Outlook Lite now supports two core scenarios, support for Indian vernacular languages and support for SMS, to enable Indian users to communicate effectively.
Outlook Lite is inclusive and caters to the diverse linguistic needs of Indian users with features such as voice typing, transliteration, and reading emails in regional languages. This makes it easier for users to compose and read emails in their preferred language.
Whether users want to dictate an email in Hindi, type an email in Tamil, and have it automatically converted to English, or read an email in Gujarati, Outlook Lite helps them do just that.
It currently supports five Indian languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Gujarati, with more languages and dialects added in the future.
The current language support in Outlook Lite includes five Indian languages: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Gujarati. It further aims to introduce additional languages and dialects, aligning with the varied linguistic landscape of India.
Julius Baer appoints Kunal Sumaya as Market Head Global NRI
Julius Baer has announced the strategic promotion of Kunal Sumaya to the position of Market Head Global NRI , effective January 1, 2024. Kunal will continue to operate from Singapore.
In his expanded role, Kunal will oversee NRI markets in Singapore, Dubai, and Zurich, reporting directly to Rahul Malhotra. Rahul Malhotra, in turn, will transition to become a Member of the Executive Board of Julius Baer Group Ltd and Head of Emerging Markets, effective January 1, 2024.
Kunal is currently the Group Head Global India and Japan Singapore. During his 13-year tenure at Julius Baer, Kunal has significantly contributed to the expansion of our Global India & Developed markets businesses from their main hubs in Singapore and Dubai.
Umang Papneja will remain in his role as CEO, Julius Baer India and continue to drive the Bank’s India transformation strategy.
New Relic appoints Rohit Ramanand as Group Vice President Engineering for India
has announced the appointment of Rohit Ramanand to the role of Group Vice President Engineering for India. Ramanand will be responsible for leading New Relic India’s product and engineering teams and will play a pivotal role in helping develop the company’s broader engineering strategy while building out the local team.
Ramanand brings almost 25 years of industry experience to the new role, most recently holding the position of Vice President Engineering at Walmart Global Technology. Prior to his role at, Ramanand held technology positions at Limelight Networks, Sapient and .
The New Relic observability platform helps engineers by providing a data-driven approach to planning, building, deploying, and running great software. Ramanand’s appointment marks the continuation of significant investments from New Relic in India, following the opening of new offices last year in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
India Accelerator and Hatcher+ partner to boost startups in key investment sectors
has collaborated with , a venture capital firm ranked among the Top 20 data-driven VCs in the world. This alliance is designed to discover and nurture promising Indian startups, harnessing the power of India's vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and Hatcher+’s advanced AI-driven FAAST™ (Funds as a Service Technology) platform.
With a substantial network comprising over 200 startups and a lineup of 1,800 mentor-investors, India Accelerator, in tandem with Hatcher+'s technological expertise, aims to cater to startups in key sectors including fintech, healthtech, agritech, impact, SME (Sports, Media & Entertainment), B2B SaaS, and D2C over the next three years.
Situated in Gurugram, India Accelerator is a scale-up program for Tech start-ups in India and UAE that helps fast-track their growth. It invests up to $500,000 of seed capital through its SEBI AIFs along with deep connections with industries to help generate business opportunities, company-building sessions, strategic mentorship, and global expansion trips.
InvincibleMeta.AI launches Web 2.5 Metaverse
InvincibleMeta.AI, the AI-powered VR platform, has launched its innovative 'Web 2.5.' initiative, aligned with government regulations and the guidelines set forth by the Reserve Bank of India. Notably, this initiative marks a significant departure from cryptocurrency, showcasing the company's commitment to facilitating a smooth transition into virtual environments within the confines of the legal framework.
InvincibleMeta.AI is pioneering the development of a SaaS-based solution complemented by a API-driven backend, which caters to the needs of businesses venturing into the metaverse, providing a streamlined pathway that avoids the uncertainties typically associated with cryptocurrency.
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL) announce the culmination of the Sustainability Accelerator Program 2023
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL) has announced the culmination of the Sustainability Accelerator Program 2023, a collaborative project with 1 Million for 1 Billion (1M 1B). The program, held in November 2023, demonstrated ABFRL's commitment to build green skills and empower Indian students while nurturing the talents required to carry our collective sustainability mission forward.
Each of the participants was presented with co-branded ‘Certificates of Participation’ from ABFRL and 1M 1B to recognise their achievements. The top 20 students chosen for industry engagement at an ABFRL campus were also honoured with diplomas recognising their excellent performance during the 5-day internship.
Six Learning Days were included in the curriculum, with instructor-led seminars that delved into essential sustainability concepts, innovations, and green skills. Following that, students demonstrated their newly gained knowledge in actual scenarios, exhibiting their skills in addressing real-world sustainability concerns.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti