Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (December 19, 2023)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, December 19, 2023.

Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (December 19, 2023)

Tuesday December 19, 2023,

12 min Read

Funding

Kapture CX raises $4M from India Alternatives to strengthen its global footprint

Kapture CX, an AI-driven customer support platform for enterprises, has raised $4 million from India Alternatives, a domestic private equity fund.

The funds will be used to boost Kapture CX's global presence and market expansion, enhance product capabilities, and accelerate the development of advanced AI technologies for a more personalised customer experience.

Sheshgiri Kamath & Vikas Garg - Founder of Kapture CX

Sheshgiri Kamath and Vikas Garg, Founders of Kapture CX

Founded in 2014, Kapture CX is a SaaS-based customer support automation platform that focuses on customer support and personal interactions. It offers a customer profiling and segmentation tool, allowing users to collect and segregate all prospective interactions on a single platform.

The company claims to have over 100 ready-to-use APIs and 500 reporting formats. Its clients include Nykaa, Tata 1MG, Zepto, Meesho, Syska, Bigbasket, Ford, Netmeds, Prestige, Tata, and Wipro.

Recruitment firm Redrob raises $4M seed funding from Murex Partners, DS & Partners

Redrob, a global recruitment platform, has secured $4 million in seed funding from Murex Partners and DS & Partners.

The funding will enable the platform to integrate AI into the recruitment stages, including candidate search, messaging, and interviews. Redrob will also launch Redrob Online Skill Tests and expand its online testing platform, 'Redrob Global People Search', to enable sales, networking, and recruitment, said the company.

Founded in 2018, Redrob, an AI-powered people discovery platform, uses AI to organise global people data for sales, networking, and recruitment. Its 'Online Skill Tests' enables companies to quickly create and execute skill assessments for job applicants, enabling them to predict on-the-job performance without any human bias. The platform has over 2 lakh users in the United States, India, and South Korea.

AI-powered drug discovery startup Peptris raises $1M in pre-seed funding

Bangalore-based AI drug discovery startup Peptris Technologies Private Limited has secured $1M in a pre-seed investment round from Speciale Invest.

The funding will be used to enhance the company's AI-driven drug development efforts with a focus on novel therapies for oncology, inflammation, and rare diseases. It will also expedite the AI-powered discovery programmes and help establish a robust pipeline of potential drug candidates, said the company.

Peptris

Co-founders of Peptris (L-R): Narayanan Venkatasubramanian, Anand Budni, Shridhar Narayanan, and Amit Mahajan

Founded in 2019 by Narayanan Venkatasubramanian, Anand Budni, and Amit Mahajan, Peptris uses advanced AI to quickly identify potential drug candidates, thus reducing lab testing time. The team has received grant support from various government agencies and has been incubated at C-CAMP in Bangalore.

Medtech startup Helo Health raises seed round from ah! Ventures Angel Platform

Helo Health, a medtech startup, has raised its seed round from ah! Ventures Angel Platform, which has invested in 125 startups, bringing its total portfolio to Rs 434 crore ($54 million), with 55 investments in 2023.

The funding will be crucial for appointments, channel establishment, and market foothold, said a statement.

Helo Health's flagship product is a portable diagnostics solution capable of measuring 51 parameters and delivering instant results within 6 to 20 minutes.

The startup aims to revolutionise medical diagnostics in India with its multi-parametric solution, bridging the gap for quality diagnostics at an affordable cost, particularly in primary healthcare, especially in developing nations.

HouseEazy raises $1M in seed funding round led by Antler

HouseEazy, a vertical marketplace for resale of homes, has raised $1 million in seed funding, led by Antler, alongside India Accelerator, AC Ventures, Agility Ventures, Finvolve Ventures, and industry veterans Pirojsha Godrej and Sandeep Aggarwal.

The funds will be used to enhance the company's distribution and technological capabilities.

HouseEazy uses a proprietary machine-learning algorithm with over 1.25 million data points to offer real-time price offers, eliminating the need for multiple meetings and negotiations. It offers hundreds of pre-verified options, including virtual staging, 3D walkthroughs, and drone shoots, and provides in-house value-added services such as instant mortgage processing and legal support.

Marcos Gaming raises pre-seed funding in round led by India Accelerator

Marcos Gaming, an esports startup, has raised pre-seed funding in a round led by India Accelerator and Finvolve.

The funds will be used for content creation, IP development, and expansion into other esports titles.

Founded in 2019 by Akhil Kavuturu and Sudhir Kuria, Marcos works with professional teams and athletes in games like BGMI, Clash of Clans, and CS2, with the aim of building a gaming community and culture across India.

Evolve raises Rs 2.5 Cr in funding round led by Indian Angel Network 

Evolve, a mental health startup, has raised a follow-on funding round of Rs 2.5 crore, in a round led by Indian Angel Network and other strategic angels.

Prominent investor Niraj Saran led the funding round on behalf of Indian Angel Network, and he will join the company board post-investment.

The company plans to use the funds to expand its app offerings and focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in corporate firms.

Evolve Founders Rohan Arora (left) and Anshul Kamath (right)

Evolve Founders Rohan Arora (left) and Anshul Kamath (right)

Founded in 2020 by Anshul Kamath and Rohan Arora, Evolve is a queer affirmative therapy app. It has been working with therapists, community members, and professors to understand community needs.

The app caters to different audiences through curated content, support groups, and qualified coaches.

Evolve is also experimenting with generative AI features for personalised interventions. It has over 600,000 users worldwide. Its proprietary user interface, user experience, and interventions prioritise inclusivity, particularly for the LGBTQIA+ community, a historically underserved segment in mental health.

Other news

Zeeve expands RaaS offering with zkSync hyperchain compatibility

Zeeve, a provider of RaaS (rollup as a service) and Web3 infrastructure, has introduced support for zkSync hyperchains.

These hyperchains are sovereign, scalable, and interoperable zk-chains running on top of Layer-1 Ethereum or Layer-2 zkSync Era networks. They adopt a modular approach, allowing for different blockchain components for transaction sequencing, data availability, and privacy, without losing interconnectivity with the Ethereum ecosystem.

Zeeve's integration with zkSync's hyperchains enhances its RaaS platform, extending its enterprise-grade offerings to those looking to launch application-specific and highly customisable blockchains using ZK Stack, said the company.

This includes the vast Zeeve community of over 27,000 developers and 40 institutions. The enhancement enables swift deployment and management of Layer 3 or Layer 2 hyperchains, backed by robust infrastructure, advanced automation tools, and continuous monitoring, the company stated.

PayCraft partners with NSDL Payments Bank, NPCI to launch corporate transit card

PayCraft, a Mumbai-based fintech company, has launched the One Nation Corporate Card in partnership with NSDL Payments Bank and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

The card, built on an indigenous multi-wallet platform with transit issuance and processing capability, serves as an employee tax benefit instrument and offers a digital corporate expense management platform for employers.

The One Nation Corporate Card is a comprehensive payment solution designed for corporates and SMEs, simplifying business travel, small value payments, and branch expenses. It works seamlessly on any merchant POS device and e-commerce platform, said the company.

The card's expense management platform automates the entire business expense lifecycle. Additionally, it serves as a multipurpose card, serving as a transit travel card, tax benefit card, and business travel card. This card is accepted on public transport and other modes of public transport.

TVS Capital Funds onboards Kal Raman as venture advisor

TVS Capital Funds has appointed Kal Raman, President of Bolt, as a venture advisor, aiming to enhance its strategic capabilities and contribute to its mission as a prominent rupee capital growth private equity fund manager.

TVS Capital Funds has an AUM (assets under management) of around Rs 2,000 crore. The fund partners with top-tier next-gen entrepreneurs in financial services and B2B services, providing them with capital and capability to grow into successful businesses.

The company is raising its fourth growth private equity fund, aiming to support entrepreneurs' long-term attractiveness.

TVS Capital Funds

Kal Raman, Venture Advisor, TVS Capital Funds

Prodigy Finance appoints Sonal Kapoor as global chief commercial officer

Prodigy Finance, a international student loan lender, has appointed Sonal Kapoor as its global chief commercial officer, to drive the company's growth initiatives and spearhead its global commercial strategy.

Kapoor, who has over 13 years of experience in fintech, ecommerce, product innovation, and partnerships, has joined Prodigy Finance after eight years at Flipkart.

In her new role, she will oversee Prodigy Finance's global commercial operations, strengthen client relationships, and enhance the overall customer experience.

Ferns N Petals F&B ventures into F&B space with The U Kitchen

Ferns N Petals ventures into the food and beverage space with the launch of The U Kitchen (luxury catering).

Based in Delhi/NCR, The U Kitchen offers a diverse culinary palette including European, Asian, Korean, Japanese, Continental, French, street foods of India, and Indian regional cuisines. It caters to a wide palate worldwide, catering to various occasions such as birthdays, parties, weddings, and events.

Ride-hailing startup viaDOTS plans to onboard 50,000 cab drivers in the coming months

viaDOTS, an app-based digital meter taxi, aims to onboard 50,000 drivers by the first quarter of 2024. It has already onboarded 5,000 drivers in its first two months of operation.

The Bengaluru-based ride-hailing platform aims to revolutionise the industry through its digital meter taxi model. The platform strives to ensure fair rates set by taxi drivers and aims to empower both drivers and riders, creating mutual trust. It has no onboarding platform fees for drivers.

The platform seeks to eliminate hidden costs, ensure safety, and provide an efficient user interface for seamless operations.

viaDOTS

viaDOTS Platform

Deeptech Twyn appoints Siemens Energy leader Frank Gallardo to its board

Phygital twin deeptech startup Twyn has appointed Frank Gallardo, Global Head of Renewable Projects, Siemen Energy Frank, to its board of directors.

Gallardo's extensive industry knowledge will help accelerate Twyn's growth in the Middle East, Europe, and India, said the company. He will lead Twyn's revenue growth and expansion, analysing business decisions and providing strategic solutions.

The appointment follows Twyn's recent $1.25-million fundraise.

Twyn's platform helps companies in various industries to deliver AI-powered immersive digital twins with high fidelity.

Panasonic picks 12 startups as part of first cohort in partnership with 100X.VC

Panasonic Life Solutions India and Panasonic Corporation have shortlisted 12 startups from over 140 entries for the 'Panasonic Ignition' corporate innovation accelerator programme.

The programme, launched in October this year, aims to mentor, guide, and fund early- to mid-stage startups in energy management for commercial spaces.

After a rigorous evaluation process, 12 startups were shortlisted; they will participate in the programme over the next three months. They will receive comprehensive support from Panasonic and 100X.VC teams, including mentorship sessions, guidance, and financial resources. Panasonic will also roll out challenges for the startups and announce the final winner in March next year.

Panasonic India Innovation Centre had launched the 'Panasonic Ignition' programme, in partnership with 100X.VC, to support emerging startup founders. The programme offers investment, access to masterclasses, expert mentorship, and support for product strategy and growth. The aim is to help these founders develop innovative technologies and products to address energy management challenges in spatial infrastructure.

Gamezop expands publisher offerings with Newszop, Astrozop and Criczop

Gamezop, a provider of HTML5 gaming and quizzing content, has launched three products, Newszop, Astrozop, and Criczop, to enhance its digital publisher offerings, enabling apps and websites to integrate diverse content, boost user engagement, and drive advertising revenue.

Gamezop's plug-and-play solutions for gaming, quizzing, news, astrology, and cricket aim to boost advertising revenue by 15-40%. These solutions can be integrated within 30 minutes and are free for publishers and users.

ONDC and Meta kick off partnership to support small businesses

ONDC and Meta have partnered to help small businesses develop digital commerce by enabling them to create seamless buyer and seller experiences on WhatsApp through Meta's business and technical solution providers.

Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC) will help these providers become seller apps, bringing businesses they service onto the ONDC Network and driving commerce.

Over the next two years, Meta Small Business Academy will upskill 5 lakh MSMEs, empowering entrepreneurs and marketers to gain digital marketing skills for growth on Meta apps.

Demand for AI professionals to reach 10 lakh by 2026: Report

India ranks third globally in AI skill penetration and talent concentration, with a score of 3.09, according to a report released by Wheebox, a provider of remote proctored assessments and consulting services,

The report titled 'India Skills Report 2024' highlights the transformative impact of artificial intelligence on India's workforce. The report, based on the Wheebox National Employability Test, provides key highlights of India's leadership in the AI domain, involving 3.88 lakh participants and insights from 152 corporations.

With 416K AI professionals as of August 2023, India is well-positioned to meet the current demand of 629K, which is expected to rise to 1 million by 2026.

Wheebox

Picture- Wheebox Team Unveils India Skills Report 2024 - Impact of AI on the Future of Work, Skilling & Mobility

The report reveals that youth employability in India has improved to 51.25% over the previous year. States with large talent pools, such as Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, and Telangana, have the highest concentration of highly employable youth.

Haryana leads with 76.47% of test takers scoring 60% and above on the Wheebox National Employability Test. Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have the highest talent concentration in the 22-25 years age group, with an overall employability rate of 63.58% across the top 10 cities, said the report.

LTIMindtree, Microsoft join hands for AI-powered employee engagement applications

LTIMindtree, a global technology consulting firm, has partnered with Microsoft to introduce advanced AI-powered employee engagement applications, aiming to improve employee and customer experiences.

The Canvas.AI suite of AI solutions includes generative AI powered employee engagement applications, which will revolutionise enterprise effectiveness and personalise employee engagement, said LTIMindtree in a statement.

These applications utilise Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service and Azure Cognitive Search, offering capabilities such as content summarisation, graph-led knowledge structuring, and a copilot, thus enhancing cognitive intelligence within organisations and setting a new standard for employee engagement applications, said the company.


Edited by Swetha Kannan