Hello Dilli, says TechSparks; Backing risky early-stage startups

TechSparks 2023 has travelled 2,000-odd kilometres from Namma Bengaluru to Dilwalo ki Dilli. CIIE.CO backs very early-stage startups that are in segments that may not have many backers. Since the Israel-Hamas war broke out, the footage has negatively impacted the psychological health of its viewers.

Hello Dilli, says TechSparks; Backing risky early-stage startups

Wednesday November 29, 2023,

5 min Read


BharatPe has turned profitable.

Five years after its launch, digital payments startup BharatPe became EBITDA positive in October 2023. The firm said its annualised revenue crossed Rs 1,500 crore, an increase of 31% compared to the same month of the previous year. 

Also, the festive season, which falls in the months of October and November in India, brought cheer to the automobile retail segment. Automobile sales rose 19% to 37,93,584 units in the 42-day festive period this year as compared with 31,95,213 units in 2022.

In other news, Foxconn has outlined a $1.54 billion investment plan for India, following a surge in revenues in the South Asian market. 

And finally, a PSA: Google will begin purging inactive accounts, starting on December 1. 

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • TechSparks comes to Delhi
  • Backing risky early-stage startups
  • Navigating mental health during war

Here’s your trivia for today: Allo was an instant messaging app made by which company?


Roster for Day 1 at TechSparks Delhi

India's biggest startup-tech fest, TechSparks 2023, has travelled 2,000-odd kilometres from Namma Bengaluru to Dilwalo ki Dilli, bringing to the capital city a stellar line-up of speakers on day one.

Hear from India's top policymakers, Jyotiraditya M Scindia, Union Minister of Civil Aviation and Steel, and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, as they share their visions for India's next generation of leaders.

Speaker line-up:

  • Elevation Capital Co-Managing Partner Mukul Arora will flag off the premier edition of TechSparks Delhi with insights and his reading on technology in India, and when the funding winter will start to thaw.
  • Day one will also feature D2C trailblazers such as Shreyans Gangwal, Principal at Fireside Ventures; Rajit Uboweja, Principal at Stride Ventures; and Zoeb Ali Khan, Senior Associate at Sauce.vc.
  • Cult.fit Co-founder and CEO Mukesh Bansal will not only encourage you to get moving but also teach you a thing or two about business opportunities in the space.
Techsparks delhi

Funding Alert

Startup: PhiCommerce

Amount: $10M

Round: Series A1

Startup: HempStreet

Amount: $1M

Round: Pre-Series A


Why CIIE.CO backs risky early-stage startups

CIIE.CO backs very early-stage startups that are in segments that may not have many backers. Set up at IIM-A as a centre of excellence, it also functions as an incubator, an accelerator, a mentor, a knowledge hub, and a seed and venture investor, among others.

“Our aspiration is that the best founders who solve the toughest problems in the earliest stages come to us. They are at their most risky or vulnerable stages of their journey, and we would love to support these companies,” says COO Priyanka Chopra.

Investment thesis:

  • CIIE.CO has backed startup ventures and founders in segments such as deeptech, climate tech, inclusive tech, and the Bharat market.
  • CIIE.CO has two funds under the Bharat fund platform–Bharat Innovation Fund and Bharat Inclusive Seed Fund, which invest in deeptech and Bharat market focused ventures.
  • It has mentored over 5,000 founders, and over 1,500 startups have gone through its acceleration programmes.

Mental health

Navigating mental health during war

Since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7, the footage of destruction and violence has negatively impacted the psychological health of not just the families of victims and survivors, but also communities and societies living afar and watching the events unfold on their screens.

“We are seeing symptoms of anxiety, grief and depression among middle-aged women exposed to news of the war on social media,” says Dr R Padmavati, Director of Schizophrenia Research Foundation. “Young people, on the other hand, are angry and reactive, and feel the need to lash out and blame someone, anyone."


  • Dr Padmavati says that as social media quickly shifts focus from one big event to another, the mental health ramifications of news about the war may be temporary.
  • The knee-jerk reaction to tragic news and the overwhelm it causes can make one emotionally stunted and subconsciously internalise all information, leading to angst and helplessness, says Aarti Madhusudan.
  • Hilit Kletter, Director of Stress and Resilience Clinic at Stanford Medicine, noted in a blog that when talking to children about the conflict in Israel and Gaza, it’s important to find out what they already know. 
mental health

News & updates

  • Joint venture: Symphony, the markets infrastructure and tech firm, is teaming up with Google to ramp up its voice analytics offering to banks and investment firms as regulators get tough on communications compliance.
  • Antitrust: Britain's competition regulator said on Tuesday that Photoshop owner Adobe's $20 billion buyout of cloud-based designer platform Figma could harm innovation for software used by the vast majority of UK digital designers.
  • Green fuel: The first transatlantic flight by a large passenger plane powered only by alternative fuels has taken off. Operated by Virgin Atlantic, it flies from London's Heathrow to New York's JFK airport.

Allo was an instant messaging app made by which company?

Answer: Google

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Montage of TechSparks Mumbai Sponsors