Self-driving cars to refurbished gadgets: Top 10 startup stories of 2023

As we prepare to welcome a new year, here are the top ten startup stories of 2023. Despite a funding winter and economic uncertainty, these entrepreneurs have remained steadfast in their journeys.

Self-driving cars to refurbished gadgets: Top 10 startup stories of 2023

Wednesday December 27, 2023,

7 min Read

In 2023, we all collectively panicked over losing our jobs—not because of some economic meltdown but generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), which went mainstream this year. OpenAI's ChatGPT—the poster child of GenAI—dominated the news cycles in 2023.

Industry insiders believe that while AI (including GenAI) will impact how we work, the technology will also create more jobs. The Indian job market is estimated to witness 22% churn over the next five years, with top emerging roles coming from AI, machine learning, and data segments, according to the Future of Jobs report released by the World Economic Forum in May.

Things took an unexpected turn at OpenAI a few weeks ago as the company saw an attempted coup by its Board to remove CEO Sam Altman, followed by his dramatic return only days later as employees threatened to quit.

The year also saw AI taking centre stage in the Indian startup ecosystem. According to Generative AI - startup landscape in India, a report by NASSCOM, Indian GenAI startups alone raised over $475 million in funding between 2021 and May 2023.

Tech 30

Closer home, AI startups also shone brightly at YourStory’s TechSparks 2023 startup-tech summit. Startups picked by the jury and audience included Verdant Impact, a full-stack animal husbandry platform; deeptech startup Neural Garage; GenAI startup Sivi AI; and Jaipur-based AI-based contact identification application Naam.

Check out the complete list here.

In the past, companies such as Freshworks, Chargebee, and Innovaccer, have been part of Tech30.

Rephrase.ai, which was part of YourStory's Tech30 cohort in 2020, was acquired by San Jose-based software giant Adobe in November this year.

As 2023 comes to an end, here's a throwback on the year's top 10 startup stories.

Minus Zero

Minus Zero

Intricate challenges encompassing safety, dynamic road navigation, anticipatory human behaviour prediction, complex traffic management, and other issues have significantly impeded widespread adoption and advancement of autonomous vehicles (AVs), even in the West where there’s some semblance of traffic laws.

But Minus Zero, an autonomous mobility startup based out of Bengaluru, believes it may have the answer to fixing these issues. It employs a nature-inspired approach to artificial intelligence—even in a country like India where traffic laws are essentially treated as 'suggestions'.

Minus Zero is a tech and software company that partners with manufacturers to create a fleet of AVs. Its product includes AI-powered software, which sits inside the vehicle on a computer, as well as dashcams and sensors that help the vehicle navigate.

Read the full story here.

Soptle

Team Soptle

Team Soptle

Despite the vital contribution of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to the Indian economy, many of these businesses struggle to secure timely and cost-effective credit due to the limitations of traditional banking mechanisms.

Gurugram-based B2B credit lender Soptle aims to address this significant credit accessibility challenge by offering financing solutions to small businesses.

Founded in 2021 by Pravas Chandragiri, then a 19-year-old entrepreneur from Balasore, Soptle was conceptualised to elevate the financial well-being of SMBs, enhance operational efficiency, and optimise cash flow.

Read the full story here.

Curebay

CureBay

COVID-19 revealed the glaring inequality in healthcare services across India. While people in metropolitan cities and urban centres headed to multi-speciality hospitals, their rural counterparts, who comprise a whopping 65% of India’s population, struggled to access quality healthcare.

Witness to the gap and the growing demand for doorstep healthcare services, Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Shobhan Mahapatra, and Sanjay Swain launched healthtech startup CureBay to focus on medically underserved areas.

Bhubaneswar-based CureBay, founded in 2021, enables the last-mile distribution of primary healthcare services by leveraging technology and a network of e-clinics that make quality healthcare accessible to people in small towns and villages.

Read the full story here.

Pando

Pando.ai, supply chain SaaS startup

Chennai-based Pando, founded in 2018, strives to connect various stakeholders in the supply chain—manufacturers, warehouses, distributors, retailers, retail stores, consumers, factories, and their suppliers.

The startup targets large enterprises that may not be happy with their enterprise resource planning (ERP) providers in fulfilling supply chain demands. Once potential customers are convinced of the value they are likely to derive, Pando integrates with their existing ERP solutions.

Read the full story here.

Babblebots.ai

Founder, Babblebots.ai

Founded in 2022 by Roli Gupta, Babblebots.ai is a recruitment and talent acquisition platform that uses voice technology, conversational intelligence, and proprietary AI algorithms to interview and assess candidates for both technical and non-technical roles through 'AI-Recruiters'. It is powered by neural network GPT-3 (the technology behind ChatGPT chatbot) and Speech AI.

Mumbai-based Babblebots has emerged from stealth mode after a year of development and testing with early design partners.

The startup raised undisclosed funding in February from Rakesh Mathur (Gupshup, Junglee acquired by Amazon, Fizz Social App) and Rishi Deshpande (Chalo acquired by Booking Group, Whiterabbit.ai). They are both founding investors and advisors of Babblebots.ai.

Read the full story here.

Get Beyond Health

Get Beyond Health

Bengaluru-based startup Get Beyond Health aims to provide an accurate health report card for people, especially Indians, with parameters that are more attuned to the characteristics of the population of the country.

Once the users upload their laboratory report on the startup’s platform, it provides an in-depth health scorecard based on various parameters like age, family history, lifestyle, disease condition, etc. It also then provides personalised consultation and recommendations.

Get Beyond Health says its USP is the way it has leveraged technology to give out a fully automated health scorecard. Here the user can put their query, blood report or even an image and then their LLM model will come out with the responses quickly.

Read the full story here.

Dharaksha

Dharaksha Team

There has been a growing demand for alternative packaging solutions in the country due to environmental sustainability concerns and the need to reduce plastic waste. This has led to several alternative packaging solutions to gain traction in the packaging industry.

To cater to this demand, Anand Bodh and Arpit Dhupar founded Dharaksha Ecosolutions in 2020. The Faridabad-based B2B startup converts paddy straw stubble into biodegradable packaging material.

Dharaksha Ecosolutions uses mycelium, a mushroom root, to decompose paddy straws and transform them into packaging materials. For this, it has cultured a mushroom species which uses stubble waste as its food. It is an internally trained strain and hence multiplied internally using biotechnology.

Read the full story here.

2070 Health

2070 Health

Technology has changed healthcare significantly of late. Concepts like e-pharmacies and teleconsultations—conducting consultations via an app or phone—are no longer alien. Despite these advances in technology, gaps in areas of pain management, paediatrics, and oncology, remain.

This led Dr Pankaj Jethwani (CEO) and Sunil Wadhwani (Chairman) to start a venture studio—a platform to create new healthtech companies—in 2022. It raised $30 million in funding in June this year from healthcare-focused VC fund W Health Venture.

As per Dr Pankaj, 2070 Health has a bottom-up approach to building innovative healthcare ventures from scratch. Once the research into a particular area is complete, the firm looks to match the idea with a founder who could execute the concept.

Read the full story here.

DhiWise

Dhiwise profile

For Vishal Virani and Rahul Singhala, DhiWise was their second stint at entrepreneurship.

The programming platform helps developers convert their designs into developer-friendly code for mobile and web apps. The Surat-based startup automates the application development lifecycle and instantly generates readable, modular and reusable code.

DhiWise wants to leverage the power of community for user acquisition, growth, retention, and ultimately, monetisation. It currently has a 2,000-member-strong community.

The startup raised $7 million in a Series A round led by Accel in August last year. The round also saw participation from Together Fund, India Quotient, and founders of Fleetx, Rocketlane, and WebEngage.

Read the full story here.

ReFit

Co-founders ReFit Global

Co-founders ReFit Global

While buying a refurbished gadget is good for one’s pocket as well as the environment, a common barrier preventing consumers from getting a second-hand device is—quality.

Launched by Saket Saurav and Avneet Singh in 2017, Delhi-based ReFit Global is trying to accelerate India’s refurbished tech market.

ReFit sources phones that are exchanged on platforms such as Flipkart, Amazon, and brands like Oppo, Xiaomi, and Vivo. The company then rectifies any technical or aesthetic issues that these phones might have and distributes them via its network of offline retail partners.

The company has so far sold over 15 lakh phones out of which 80% of the phones are sourced from Flipkart and the rest 20% from other ecommerce players. In the last financial year, the startup sold nearly 500,000 handsets.

Read the full story here.


Edited by Kanishk Singh

Montage of TechSparks Mumbai Sponsors