Scoring groceries to eat better; Udaan raises fresh capital

Xume enables users to scan the barcode behind a packaged food item through an app and access the ingredients list with their nutritive values. Udaan has secured $340 million in a Series E financing round. Aiswarya Rao found herself trapped in her home when the severe cyclonic storm Michaung.

Scoring groceries to eat better; Udaan raises fresh capital

Friday December 15, 2023,

5 min Read

Hello,

More fresh capital.

On Thursday, B2B marketplace Udaan, which has spent the last two years fine-tuning its business strategy to achieve profitability, raised $340 million.

Bengaluru-headquartered biopharma company PlasmaGen Biosciences also secured Rs 225 crore from UK-based Artian Investments, public markets investor Ashish Kacholia, pharma industry entrepreneurs Anurag Bagaria, Dushyant Patel, and other investors. 

In other news, B2B ecommerce platform Jumbotail reported a Rs 264 crore loss in the year ended March 2023, double the Rs 124.7 crore loss incurred in the previous year. Beauty and personal care unicorn Purplle also saw its loss widen to Rs 230 crore in FY23—up from Rs 203.6 crore in FY22.

BharatPe Co-founder and former Managing Director Ashneer Grover has moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), alleging oppressive conduct and mismanagement by the board of the fintech firm.

Oh, and new research reveals how Neanderthal DNA may be the reason why some of us are morning people.

Are you a morning lark or a night owl?

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Filtering out bad groceries
  • Udaan raises fresh capital
  • Disability in times of Michuang

Here’s your trivia for today: What famous monument, apart from the Eiffel Tower, did Gustave Eiffel help design?


Startup

Scoring groceries to eat better

Mumbai-based Xume enables users to scan the barcode behind a packaged food item through an app and access the ingredients list with their nutritive values. It wants to be the go-to platform for nourishing eating choices.

"Even though some of us eat with health in mind, very few of us pay attention to the labels on the products. With Xume, we wish to make it easier for consumers to know what they’re consuming," explains Akshaye Jalan, Founder and CEO of Xume.

How it works:

  • Xume leverages AI to assign a score to each product based on over 60 parameters such as the percentage of sugar, trans fat, preservatives, etc.
  • If a user scans the barcode printed behind a food packet using Xume’s smartphone app, they can view the ingredients list and a personalised score measuring the healthiness of the product. 
  • It has partnered with six organisations in the insurance, diagnostics, and healthcare space to integrate its personalised grocery-scoring intelligence. 
xume


Funding Alert

Startup: Udaan

Amount: $340M

Round: Series E

Startup: Exponent Energy

Amount: $26.4M

Round: Series B

Startup: QNu Labs

Amount: $6.5M

Round: Pre-Series A1


Funding

Udaan eyes profitability with fresh capital

B2B ecommerce player Udaan has secured $340 million in a Series E financing round led by London-based global investment manager M&G Plc. The funding is a combination of fresh equity investment and conversion of existing convertible notes into equity.

Money matters:

  • Udaan aims to use the funding to strengthen customer experience and market penetration, forge strategic vendor partnerships, and reinforce supply-chain and credit capabilities
  • The Series E round is expected to enable Udaan to hit operational profitability in the next 12-18 months.
  • The company has raised over $1.5 billion (debt and equity) so far from investors including Lightspeed, Tencent Holdings, and DST Global.
udaan


Disability rights

Being disabled during Michuang storm

Aiswarya Rao, a disability rights advocate, Founder of Better Home Shelter, and a medical doctor from Chennai, found herself trapped in her home when the severe cyclonic storm Michaung caused floods in Chennai.

"Due to a hip subluxation I developed a few years ago, I’ve been unable to go up the stairs. Albert (brother) hauled me up five steps with much difficulty, and then the both of us gave up. I sat on the steps and tried to reach out to the helpline numbers that were flashed on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter), but there was no response," Rao narrates.

Rao's ordeal:

  • People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters as they are the last to receive any help.
  • Our built infrastructure—including homes, workspaces, public spaces—is hostile to people with disabilities.
  • My immediate plan is to install a lift in the coming months, as I feel that floods are going to be a recurring feature in Chennai.
Aiswarya Rao

Aiswarya Rao


News & updates

  • Fair content: OpenAI has reached an agreement with Axel Springer, the Berlin-based owner of publications including Business Insider and Politico, to train its generative AI models on the publisher’s content and add recent Axel Springer-published articles to OpenAI’s viral AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT.
  • Digital security: The European Commission has asked technology giants Apple and Google to clarify their risk management regarding their online platforms for purchasing apps under a new regulation known as the Digital Services Act.
  • Declining demand: Global oil demand has been slowing “drastically” in the fourth quarter of 2023 and countries outside the Opec+ cartel will be able to meet all the increases in consumption expected for next year, the International Energy Agency has said.


What famous monument, apart from the Eiffel Tower, did Gustave Eiffel help design?

Answer: Statue of Liberty. Gustave Eiffel, who is renowned for the tower in Paris, also designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty for New York Harbor.


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