Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (January 9, 2024)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, January 9, 2024.

Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (January 9, 2024)

Tuesday January 09, 2024,

13 min Read

Funding

Accio Robotics raises $1.8M in pre-Series A funding

Bengaluru-based Warehouse robotics startup Accio Roboticshas secured a funding of $1.8 million in a pre-Series A funding round. The round saw participation from notable investors, including Big Capital, Unisync Angels, Daniel Fitzgerald, as well as existing investors such as Roots Ventures and Anuj Bihani (Founder – Impaqt Robotics/Alstrut).

Accio Robotics had earlier secured investments from 100X.VC, CIO Angel Network, and a group of angel investors, led by well-known figures such as Ajay Sarupria and Uday Sodhi.

The startup plans to utilise the funds to reinforce the technology and product team, establish channels for international growth, and enable more robot deployments.

"Accio robotics ability to operate in both 2D and 3D configuration makes it particularly attractive choice for warehouse automation and we look forward to supporting the company achieve great success," said Preetinder Singh Panjrath, CFO, BIG Capital.

MyMuse secures $2.7 M in pre-Series A funding

Sexual wellness brand MyMusehas bagged $2.7 million in a mix of debt and equity financing, with participation from existing investors such as Saama Capital, Sauce VC, and Whiteboard Capital. Trifecta Capital, along with Kunal Shah, participated in the funding round. 

The funds will be used to finance inventory, strengthen the brand’s omnichannel presence, and scale its distribution operations nationally. MyMuse also plans to increase its product portfolio and brand awareness through online and offline advertising and activations.

Founded by the husband-wife duo Sahil and Anushka Gupta in 2021, MyMuse says it has experienced approximately 15% growth month over month. The platform has served over 1.5 lakh customers spanning over 800 cities in India, including Tier I, II, and III markets.

Credit-on-UPI platform SalarySe raises $5.25M

Financial management app SalarySe has secured $5.25 million in a seed funding round led by Surge (Peak XV’s rapid scale-up programme) and Pravega Ventures. The funds will help SalarySe in developing its technology stack for credit-on-UPI and drive adoption of the product in India.

Less than 4% of Indians have access to a credit card, making the country’s revolving credit market among the lowest penetrated in major economies. 

The startup aims to help over 100 million salaried employees in India in managing their salaries, promoting spending, saving, investing, and financial planning to reduce financial stress. The company is set to launch the credit-on-UPI system for salaried employees in the coming months, collaborating with banks, HR SaaS platforms, and employers for the rollout.

Summit Works Ventures invests $500k in pet care startup Awwzo

US-based emerging venture capital Summit Works has invested $500K in early-stage pet care startup Awwzo.

The Bengaluru-based startup is establishing a network of pet boarding centres where professional care ensures pets feel at home when their owners are away. It leverages advanced technology, offering pet owners real-time updates on their pets' well-being and activities through a mobile application for pet care.

"Travel has always been a concern for pet parents. Despite the challenge, no organised player has catered to this market. Summit Works' expertise, know-how, and network are invaluable as we build this solution together," said Rahul Ranjan, Founder of Awwzo.

Other news

upGrad records 65,000 graduates in calendar year 2023

Phalgun Kompalli, Mayank Kumar, Ronnie Screwvala, Co-founders, upGrad

Edtech platform upGradlast year marked a milestone with 65,668 graduates, including 22,000+ completing long-format courses and around 44,000 learners in self-branded certifications like Agile methodology, project management, devops, cloud computing, and blockchain, the company said it a statement.

Women's enrollment in this segment reached 40%, with top choices being digital marketing, HR, and data science.

upGrad insights show that mid-career professionals (4-10 years of experience) preferred long-format courses, while freshers and early professionals (0-3 years) favoured certifications for rapid skill enhancement.

“Although it's an eventual transition, nearly 30% of our QoQ enrolments on an average come from Tier II and III cities, signifying the gradual adoption. We closed 2023 on a very high note and this year will only accelerate our commitment to impacting a bigger learner base while also supporting GOI in powering India’s online learning infrastructure and nation-building,” said Mayank Kumar, Co-founder and MD, upGrad.

This year's growth represents a 6.5x increase from the previous calendar year, making a contribution to the edtech player’s year-over-year growth trajectory.

Pocket FM appoints Suyog Gothi as VP and India Country Head

Audio Series platform Pocket FMhas appointed Suyog Gothi as vice president and India country head. In this role, Gothi will lead the company's operations in India, working closely with co-founders Rohan Nayak and Nishanth KS.

Prior to this, Gothi led the merchant lending division at PhonePe, playing a pivotal role in scaling up PhonePe's UPI payments business. 

"I am thrilled to be part of Pocket FM, a company that is truly revolutionising audio entertainment. I look forward to advancing our mission, fostering innovation, and empowering voices across the nation's diverse auditory landscape," said Gothi. 

At Pocket FM, Gothi will be responsible for overseeing operations in India and implementing initiatives aimed at strengthening Pocket FM's market leadership. 

Also Read
What 2024 holds for Indian crypto exchanges; Pocket FM’s FY23 revenue jumps 647%

mCaffeine launches ESOP programme for employees

mCaffeine

Tarun Sharma, Co-founder & CEO, mCaffeine

Mumbai-based direct-to-consumer (D2C) personal care brand mCaffeine has announced its employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). The initiative aims to create 100 crorepatis within the company, fuel wealth creation and contribute to the country's economic growth. Eligible employees across seven different verticals within the industry will be beneficiaries of this ESOP scheme.

The startup will allocate 10% of its shares, allowing employees to directly benefit from the brand's growth. 

"With over 50% employees eligible for the ESOPs, we couldn’t think of a better gift for our beloved caffeinators as we enter a new year. The ESOP scheme opens a new growth avenue for employees and the brand alike, hence creating opportunities for a collective and brighter tomorrow,” said Tarun Sharma, Co-founder & CEO at mCaffeine. 

Infibeam Avenues signs Rs 2,000 Cr MoU with Gujarat government

AI-powered fintech firm Infibeam Avenues has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat government, with a proposed investment of Rs 2,000 crore in the 10th edition of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2024.


The investment is earmarked for the financial year 2030 in its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Hub for developing cutting-edge vision AI-technology for payments and platforms specifically tailored for retailers.


The signing ceremony was presided over by the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Bhupendra R Patel, along with other ministers and top government officials.

 

"With this MoU, we aim to fortify our partnership with the Gujarat government, opening up avenues for growth for retailers across the country. The incorporation of AI technology will not only elevate the competitiveness of retailers but also position Gujarat as a leading AI Hub for innovative solutions in the rapidly expanding Indian retail sector," said Vishal Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director of Infibeam Avenues Ltd.

Bizongo introduces 'Next' mobile app for MSMEs and large enterprises

Vendor Digitization platform Bizongohas launched ‘Next’–a business financing app for MSMEs, SMEs and large enterprises. It aims to increase disbursements via the platform by over $3 billion in four years. 

During its initial phase, the app will provide embedded financing, including supply chain finance, business loans, capex loans, factoring, and structured finance. This will be extended to over 14,000 manufacturers through 30 banks and NBFCs.

The app enables small enterprises with easy application for credit, documentation and access to collateral-free credit on the go. It powers businesses to apply for credit to 30+ financial institutions at one go and auto-fetches data for verification to reduce time and effort in seeking working capital.

Angel One appoints Anuprita Daga as Group Chief Information Security Officer

Angel One has appointed Anuprita Daga as its group chief information security officer. In her new role, Daga will enhance the information security, cyber security, and data privacy framework. Her focus will be on developing and enforcing security policies to safeguard sensitive customer information and data across the organisation.

“This marks a significant milestone for Angel One as we proudly welcome Anuprita to our team, as the group chief information security officer. With Anuprita at the helm of our security strategy, we reaffirm our dedication to fortify our commitment to ensure enhanced security measures to our clients," said Dinesh Thakkar, Chairman and Managing Director, Angel One Limited. 

Daga has 25 years of domain expertise in leading security transformation, establishing security strategy, managing data privacy, and compliance with regulatory and global standards in the banking and finance industry. 

Terra Motors signs MoU with Tamil Nadu government 

Global Investors Meet 2024

EV ecosystem developer Terra Motors Corporation India and the Tamil Nadu state government have signed an MoU to strengthen the electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure in the state. 

Under the MoU, the company will invest Rs 50 crore to enhance the state’s EV charging infrastructure with anticipation to create employment opportunities in the state. Terra Motors aims to utilise its advanced technology and global market knowledge to provide EV solutions for the unique requirements of the state's EV market. 

“Our investment in Tamil Nadu will allow us to enhance the existing EV charging infrastructure in the state, strengthening India’s EV charging network. I am confident our partnership will set new standards in the global EV industry and allow us to contribute significantly towards Tamil Nadu’s economic development,” said Akihiro Ueda, CEO of Terra Motors.  

This investment aligns with India's green transportation initiatives, contributing towards the goal of having 30% of newly registered private vehicles to be electric.

Physics Wallah signs MoU with ETS India to elevate global education

Edtech platform Physics Wallahhas partnered with ETS India, a subsidiary of the US-based ETS, to offer guidance and support to students aspiring to study in top international universities, aiding in preparation for the GRE® and TOEFL® exams.

With this collaboration, Physics Wallah aims to streamline the study abroad market through its new vertical called 'PW Unigo', focusing on Tier II and III cities. It aims to bridge the gap where students often face challenges in finding the right channel to fulfill their dreams due to a lack of awareness and mentorship. 

Students will be provided free one-on-one counselling sessions and will have access to the registration process and augmented learning support, among other resources. Merit scholarships worth Rs 20 lakh per annum will be given to students taking TOFEL and GRE exams, in addition to discounts of up to Rs 5,000 on test fees for students. 

Tejus Jose appointed as director of operations for ibis and ibis Styles India

Tejus Jose has been appointed as the director of operations for ibis and ibis Styles India, a key portfolio within one of the top hospitality groups, Accor Hotels.

In his new role, Jose will oversee operations for 21 hotels across 14 cities in India. This announcement closely follows the recent unveiling of ibis Styles Goa Vagator, the latest property resulting from the collaboration between InterGlobe Hotels and Accor.

Jose boasts a 23-year-old career in the hospitality sector, with expertise in hotel management, sales, and marketing. Before joining ibis, Tejus served as the general manager at the first Hilton in Bengaluru, the Hilton Bangalore Embassy GolfLinks.

MV Nair joins Propelld board as director

Fintech startup Propelldhas welcomed financial industry veteran MV Nair to its board as a director. With a career spanning over four decades, Nair has played a crucial role in India's financial services sector, holding key positions in various pioneering companies as an operator, advisor, board member, and investor.

Nair serves the position of non-executive chairman at KFin Technologies Limited, India's premier registrar and a leader in investor servicing. Notably, KFin Technologies recently made its debut on the public market in December 2022.

In an advisory capacity, Nair contributes to TransUnion LLC, a global credit reporting agency. This role builds on his substantial tenure as the chairman of TransUnion CIBIL, India's largest credit bureau, where he served for more than a decade. He also provides advisory acumen to a portfolio of private equity and venture-backed firms.

Law firm Nishith Desai Associates develops AI chatbot NaiDA

Global law firm Nishith Desai Associates has launched NaiDA, an in-house developed AI chatbot exclusively designed for its lawyers.


Utilising the advanced GPT-4 model from OpenAI and hosted on AWS servers, NaiDA is tailored to empower lawyers by providing intelligent insights in their daily workflows.


The current dataset consists of multiple cross-industry research papers, M&A labs, hotlines, podcasts, videos, and other content developed by the firm over the years. The AI chatbot enables legal research and content integration, among other possibilities yet to be explored.

Pernod Ricard India Foundation partners with NSRCEL IIM Bangalore for circular economy startups

The innovation and entrepreneurship hub of IIM Bangalore, NSRCEL, has partnered with Pernod Ricard India Foundation to drive initiatives towards a more sustainable and circular global landscape.


Pernod Ricard India Foundation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pernod Ricard India Private Limited, has been actively involved in various sectors such as healthcare, education, environment, and livelihood. The programmes initiated by the foundation are closely aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and revolve around national indicators and targets set by the NITI Aayog SDG index.


Launched in April last year, the one-year programme by NSRCEL and Pernod Ricard India Foundation aims to nurture and scale 20 innovative projects in the circular economy. Startups in the cohort include CarbonCraft, Gud Gum, and Sunbird Straws.

South Korean Dental Bridge enters Indian market with 'DoctorBridge'

Dbridge India Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of South Korea's Dental Bridge Co, has introduced the 'DoctorBridge; platform, which connects medical device manufacturers with end users, especially doctors and dentists.

As a prominent player in the Korean facial aesthetics market, Dental Bridge aims to introduce the latest trends for users who want to achieve the highly sought-after Korean glass skin look.

The launch of DoctorBridge took place at the World Dental Show in Mumbai and the annual conference of the Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of India in Delhi last November. According to the company, the platform secured several memoranda of understanding with doctors in India for future collaborations.

PedalStart launches PedalStars 2.0 to build core team members for startups

Gurugram-based startup community builder and accelerator, PedalStart, has unveiled the second edition of its flagship initiative, the PedalStars Fellowship to empower individuals aspiring to forge a career in the startup ecosystem as core team members.

'PedalStars 2.0' aims to select, train, and support a cohort of 20 individuals passionate about the Indian startup ecosystem. The initiative is geared towards nurturing them into future leaders within the startup landscape over the next six months.

Selected participants or fellows in the programme will receive a monthly stipend of Rs 15,000. Upon completion of the programme by May 2024, placement assistance will be extended to help fellows secure positions as early or core team members. Opportunities may arise within PedalStart or in one of the 20+ portfolio startups affiliated with PedalStart.

(The copy will be updated with more news throughout the day.)


Edited by Megha Reddy