Rewind: India's startup ecosystem in 2023; Paying homage to grandma’s recipes

2023 was a year of hits and misses, lessons and learnings, and a fair share of drama. Sweet Karam Coffee is a South Indian snacking direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand.

Rewind: India's startup ecosystem in 2023; Paying homage to grandma’s recipes

Thursday December 28, 2023,

5 min Read


India’s markets are having a bull run.

BSE Sensex and Nifty50 both ended at an all-time high, with the former crossing the 72,000-mark for the first time. Nifty50 ended trade at 21,654.75 on Wednesday.

In other news, IT services company Wipro has filed a case against its former Chief Financial Officer Jatin Dalal and the latter has sought arbitration over the matter. This comes after the company earlier filed a case against former senior executive Mohd Haque for allegedly violating confidentiality.

Meanwhile, the RBI has asked non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to broad-base their fundraising to limit reliance on banks. While its report termed the Indian banking system and NBFCs ‘sound’ and ‘resilient’, the RBI also called for strengthening balance sheets and guarding against fraud and data breaches.

Also, India may get its very own ChatGPT.

Reliance Jio Infocomm is working with IIT-Bombay to launch a ‘Bharat GPT’ programme, Chairman Akash Ambani announced. It is also looking to launch an operating system for televisions.

Oh, and while you prepare to party on New Year’s Eve, in some parts of Scotland, the new year is celebrated by visiting a relative at midnight. Called Hogmanay, the festival became popular in Scotland after Christmas was cancelled in 1540!

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Top startup developments of 2023
  • Paying homage to grandma’s recipes
  • Indian gaming firms say ‘Olá Brasil’ 

Here’s your trivia for today: Which countries are the first to celebrate the New Year?

Startup ecosystem

Top startup developments of 2023

The year 2023 has been a challenging one for the Indian startup ecosystem amid the funding winter and layoffs. However, it’s not all gloom and doom. The top-performing sectors of 2023, according to a Tracxn report, were fintech, retail, and enterprise applications.

2023 was a year of hits and misses, lessons and learnings, and a fair share of drama. YourStory covered it all—through the peaks, troughs, and everything in between.

Learning lessons:

  • The edtech sector saw its fortunes fluctuate with BYJU'S at a crossroads following a series of issues. Meanwhile, YouTuber Alakh Pandey’s Physics Wallah, the only profitable edtech unicorn in India, is putting its money on skilling.
  • The D2C and ecommerce space saw high-octane action this year with Mamaearth parent Honasa Consumer making a stellar public debut and quick commerce company Zepto becoming the first unicorn of 2023
  • EV and battery startups are making rapid strides, with Ola Electric recently filing its draft red herring prospectus for an IPO. With FAME III just around the corner, the focus will be on charging infrastructure and EV financing.
top stories 2023


Paying homage to grandma’s recipes

For Nalini Parthiban and Anand Bharadwaj, finding the time to prepare traditional snacks authentically was a struggle. The duo founded Sweet Karam Coffee as a South Indian snacking direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand in 2015. It serves a range of South Indian sweets, snacks, in-house filter coffee blends, and ready-to-eat meal mixes.

Indian snacks:

  • Rather than preservatives, Sweet Karam Coffee uses MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) and nitrogen-flushed packaging to keep the snacks and sweets fresh.
  • “Collaborating closely with farmers, we establish a direct connection with the very source of our ingredients—the yield. In the southern regions, our millet products are sourced directly from farmers,” says Nalini.
  • With over 100,000+ customers and a presence in 32 major countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Singapore, and UAE, the startup has grown through its website and app.
Anand Bharadwaj, Nalini Parthiban, Sweet Karam Coffee


ICYMI: Indian gaming firms say ‘Olá Brasil’

Indian gaming companies are looking to launch games in Brazil due to the country’s striking similarities with the Indian market. 

The heightened regulations as well as increased customer acquisition costs are accelerating this foray.

New opportunities:

  • India and Brazil have a young user demographic. Those between the ages of 15 and 24 years account for 16.5% of Brazil’s population, as per Brazil’s Central Intelligence Agency. 
  • The user profile and proclivities are similar in these two markets; intense games such as Battle Ground, Free Fire, and Call of Duty, and casual ones like HopScotch are popular in both countries. 
  • India is the largest consumer of mobile games with 15 billion downloads annually, followed by the United States and China, according to the All India Gaming Federation. Brazil ranks fourth with 5 billion game downloads. 
brazil gaming

News & updates

  • High on hope: World stocks rallied to their highest levels since late 2022, with year-end optimism high on hopes that major central banks such as the US Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates. MSCI's world stock index touched a more than one-year high and is up 4.5%. The euro touched its highest level since August, at $1.1059.
  • New EV king: China’s BYD is poised to surpass Tesla as the new worldwide leader in fully electric vehicle sales likely in the current quarter. Some 1.3 million of the 3.6 million vehicles shipped from China mainland as of October this year were electric. 
  • Windfall gains: Shares in SoftBank Group jumped 5% after the Japanese tech conglomerate said it would receive shares in telco T-Mobile US worth some $7.59 billion at no additional cost. The transaction bolsters the listed assets in SoftBank’s portfolio, doubling its T-Mobile US stake to 7.64% from 3.75% currently.

Which countries are the first to celebrate the New Year?

Answer: The Pacific island nations of Tonga, Samoa, and Kiribati. They ring in the new year at 3:30 pm IST.

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