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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (February 15, 2024)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Thursday, February 15, 2024.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (February 15, 2024)

Thursday February 15, 2024 , 9 min Read

IDC Kitchen secures Rs 1.5 Cr funding from Velocity

Bengaluru quick service restaurant (QSR) IDC Kitchen has secured Rs 1.5 crore in funding from Velocity, a financing platform backed by Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures.

The funds will be directed towards marketing initiatives and other inventory-related expenses.

"The rise of online food ordering and factors, such as low start-up costs, ease of operations, and localized menus, are expected to drive the growth (in the QSR space) in coming years. Given the favourable demand outlook, the domestic QSR industry is looking at aggressive store capex over the medium term," Velocity said in a statement.

Established in 2012, IDC Kitchen has 11 locations in Bengaluru, 2 in Mumbai, and 1 in Raichur making Rs 30 crore in revenue per annum. It specialises in South Indian cuisine such as Idli, Dosa, and Coffee.

"I am confident that this infusion of funds will not only fuel IDC's brand growth but also set new benchmarks in the restaurant and QSR industry," Atul Khichariya, COO & Co-founder of Velocity, said.


Neo-Bank Fero secures debt from SIDBI

Freo, a digital banking platform, has secured an undisclosed debt investment from SIDBI, marking the financial institution's inaugural venture into the fintech sector.

The funding arrives as Freo gears up for rapid expansion, aiming to deepen its footprint in India's burgeoning fintech market.

"We're extremely excited to initiate this partnership with SIDBI, marking a pivotal moment in Freo's evolution. This collaboration isn't just a significant achievement for us; it symbolizes the beginning of what we anticipate will be a long and fruitful relationship," Anuj Kacker, Co-founder, Freo, said.

SIDBI actively invests in various sectors, including mobility, startups, and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). It manages several Fund of Funds (FoF) programmes on behalf of the Indian government and state governments. These programmes aim to boost startups and MSMEs by investing in SEBI-registered Venture Funds and Alternative Investment Funds.

iluvia secures Series A from Fireside Ventures

iluvia, a Bengaluru-based professional haircare startup, has secured an undisclosed amount in a Series A round from Fireside Ventures and Multiply Ventures.

"With this funding, we are empowered to bolster our R&D investments while further expanding our product offerings with innovative and unique solutions for professionals as well as consumers. With Series A closed, our aim is to ramp up talent acquisition and expand our team by recruiting skilled professionals who share our passion," the founders said in a statement.

Founded by Nishant Gupta and Palash Pandey, both alumni of Vellore Institute of Technology, iluvia focuses on delivering innovative solutions tailored to professional haircare needs, with a commitment to science-backed formulations, positioning itself as a trusted innovator in the premium segment of the growing Indian haircare market.

“The beauty and personal care space is growing rapidly in India and there are many ways to cater to the market's needs. Our thesis at Multiply Ventures has been to partner with founders who solve a large niche with research-focused, Science-backed, safe products with clear deliverables on the outcome. iluvia checks all the boxes with its very focused product line-up," Sanjay Ramakrishnan, Founder & General Partner, Multiply Ventures, said.


Nishant Gupta and Palash Pandey, co-founders of Iluvia

OrbiMed invests in Arcatron for R&D, new products, branding boost

Arcatron Mobility Pvt. Ltd., a consumer medical company based in Pune, has secured growth capital from OrbiMed, a global healthcare investment firm.

With the funding Arcatron will increase R&D efforts, introducing new products, and enhance branding and marketing initiatives.

Arcatron under its flagship brand “Frido” offers mobility assist devices like wheelchairs for patients with limited mobility, orthopaedic insoles and ergonomic cushions.

Dr. Sunny Sharma and Sumona Chakraborty of OrbiMed are joining the board of Arcatron. "“We are very impressed with the team’s expertise in product development and marketing, and are excited to partner with Arcatron in building a leading consumer medical company." Sharma said.

Other News

PedalStart launches Series-2 fund, $250K for early-stage startups

Startup accelerator PedalStart has launched of its Series-2 fund, securing $250,000 to support early-stage startups.

Following the success of its inaugural fund deployment, PedalStart aims to further fuel innovation and entrepreneurship by providing capital to 5-7 promising startups. The selection process involves rigorous vetting to identify startups demonstrating notable progress and execution within PedalStart’s Accelerated Startup program.

With a growing network of over 10,000 startups and 300 mentors, PedalStart offers a platform for founders across various sectors to access funding, guidance, and a supportive community. Entrepreneurs interested in applying for the Series-2 fund can explore the application process on PedalStart's website, with a focus on sectors like robotics, deep-tech, and medical science.

Amazon India awards $100K to Mirana Toys, Avimee Herbal, Perfora

Amazon India announced Mirana Toys, Avimee Herbal, and Perfora as winners of its Propel Startup Accelerator Season 3, awarding them a total of $100,000 in grants.

The program, launched in March 2023, received 1,200+ applications from startups across India. Selected finalists received $1M+ in AWS credits and other support services.

"Over the past few months, we've had numerous opportunities to engage with industry leaders, venture capitalists, and peers, gaining invaluable insights into the intricacies of establishing a global business, catering to diverse global customer preferences," Devansh Sharma, Co-Founder of Mirana Toys, said

"Using the above support and guidance we did our pilot of selling on Amazon USA in the past 6 months and it has grown successfully, we are now confident to scale our business to multiple new global markets in the coming years," Sharma added.

The top 10 finalists pitched to a jury, which selected the winners based on various parameters.

TNSDC inks partnership with Gupshup for WhatsApp chatbot to link job seekers with employers

The Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation (TNSDC) in partnership with Gupshup has launched a WhatsApp chatbot named Ilaya to connect job seekers with potential employers.

The initiative aims to bridge the gap between technically skilled and unskilled individuals in Tamil Nadu seeking employment and job providers, particularly targeting jobs not widely advertised on traditional platforms.

Representational image

Representational image (Unsplash)

Job seekers can register by calling a designated number and providing their WhatsApp number, then interacting with the chatbot to input their details and preferences. The chatbot matches candidates with available job postings from placement partners and provides support through a follow-up system managed by Ilayathalam, a support center under TNSDC.

This initiative, a first-of-its-kind by a state government in India, aims to empower job seekers across various sectors including Electronics, Telecom, BFSI, Logistics, Retail, and more. Within just two months of its launch, the chatbot has successfully connected over 1000 job seekers with job opportunities.

Gupshup, a Conversation Cloud platform, supports this initiative, leveraging AI and CPaaS to facilitate better communication between brands and customers.

Flipkart partners with NSDC to offer free online courses in ecommerce, retail, and warehousing sectors

Flipkart has partnered with the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) to offer free online courses, aiming to empower individuals with skills necessary for careers in ecommerce, retail, and warehousing sectors.

Through its 'Project Bright Initiative' and the Flipkart Supply Chain Academy, Flipkart will train, skill, upskill, and certify candidates.

“This MoU is a significant milestone in NSDC's efforts to equip citizens with practical job skills that align with the needs of the industry."

"Flipkart is working across states including Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal through industry MoUs and has trained thousands of youth who have undergone online and on-the-job training and have received certifications. Shortlisted students also got an opportunity to work along with full-time supply chain employees at facilities across the country, giving them real-life exposure of work." It said in a statement.

Edu Ministry, TeamLease, NSDC launch Digivarsity to upskill 10 lakh students over 5 years

The Ministry of Education, led by Dharmendra Pradhan, has initiated a collaboration between TeamLease EdTech and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), aimed at integrating academic learning with practical work experience.

This partnership introduces Digivarsity, a tech-first platform by TeamLease EdTech, synergizing with Skill India Digital, to provide enhanced access to higher education and employment opportunities.

Digivarsity offers work-linked degree programs with essential workplace skills. With an investment of Rs 100 crore over five years, Digivarsity aims to reach over 10 lakh students and revolutionize higher education in India.

Newton School appoints key executives to bolster AI and ML departments

Edtech platform Newton School has appointed two key executives, Prashant Kohli as Senior Director Marketing and Paridhi Agarwal as Assistant Vice President-Business.

Paridhi Agarwal, with 14 years of business management experience, joins from Flipkart where she led category teams in lifestyle segments. At Newton, she will head the Data Science department, focusing on driving growth and customer experience through outcome-based learning.

Prashant Kohli, an engineer turned marketeer with a diverse background spanning multiple sectors, brings his expertise to brand building and growth strategies.

"Today, new age technologies like AI and ML have become an integral part of our lives and to fulfil the evolving demands of the industry, Newton is focused on bridging the gap between traditional education and industry demands," the company said in a statement.


T-Hub and Hexagon with startups

T-Hub announces 12 startup cohort for LAB32

Startup incubator T-Hub, in partnership with Hexagon, has announced the latest cohort of its flagship program, LAB32.

The 100-day program will focus on AI-driven innovations in Digital Twin, Real-Time Language Translation, and Predictive Maintenance.

The collaboration aims to provide selected startups with mentorship in Go-to-Market strategies and access to valuable resources and partnerships. Twelve startups were chosen out of over 230 applications.

With the latest cohort, LAB32 has supported overall 300 startups and securing over $410 million in funding.

STAN partners with Aptos Labs for gaming platform expansion

STAN, a gaming community startup based in Bengaluru, has partnered with Aptos Labs to introduce an esports and influencer fandom platform.

STAN has over a million Monthly Active Users (MAU) and 250k users engaged in Web3 activity.

The collaboration aims to leverage Aptos Labs' blockchain platform for scalability and security, enhancing STAN's gaming and NFT offerings.

STAN's recently raised a pre-Series A funding round of $2.7 million.

The platform envisions broadening its use cases, focusing on enhancing the gaming experience and global expansion into LATAM and Asia.