Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (February 7, 2024)

YourStory presents daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, February 7, 2024.

Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (February 7, 2024)

Wednesday February 07, 2024,

9 min Read


Cashinvoice secures $3.4M in Series A funding

Cashinvoice secured $3.4 million in Series A funding led by HDFC Bank, Pravega Ventures, and Accion Venture Lab. The company targets $2.4 billion in loan disbursals to MSMEs by FY25, aiming to expand operations, enhance market presence, and develop new products.

"This strategic investment will enable extended financial inclusion for the missing middle by deploying innovative SCF technologies. It underlines our dedication to transforming MSMEs’ cash flow and working capital management, creating a more streamlined and efficient supply chain finance landscape," Shrinivas Kasar, Co-founder of Cashinvoice, said.

Cashinvoice's digital invoice discounting marketplace aids anchor companies and MSME partners, integrating with corporates for loan processing against invoices. So far, it has facilitated over 15 lakh invoices totalling more than Rs 15,000 crore.

ControlZ secures $3M seed funding to enhance phone renewal technology

Pre-owned mobile phone startup controlZ raised $3 million in seed funding from 9 Unicorn and Venture Catalysts.

"With these resources, we aim to further strengthen our technology by automating the complete renewal process. Our efforts are towards increasing the lifecycle of as many devices possible because if a fraction of the resources used in making new phones were used in renewing, the world would be a better place," Yug Bhatia, Founder and CEO of ControlZ, said.

ControlZ aims to extend a smartphone's lifecycle with component-level renewal of pre-owned devices. Contrary to typical refurbished devices, ControlZ prioritises the comprehensive renewal of smartphones, enhancing both appearance and functionality.

"ControlZ is making a massive impact on the environment by helping reduce e-waste in the $70 billion pre-owned smartphone segment," Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder and Managing Director, Venture Catalysts, said.

"We expect ControlZ to be a market leader in the segment in the next three years with their advanced facility for Apple and OnePlus devices, thus accelerating their positioning in this fast-growing sector while making an impactful environmental difference," Sharma added.

Piscium secures Rs 6 Cr for medical devices, eyes global expansion

Piscium, a nano-technology startup focusing on medical devices, has raised Rs 6 crore in Series A funding led by Unicorn India Ventures.

"Unicorn India Ventures agreeing to come on board to fund our Series A round gives us the much-needed impetus and backing to scale up the business into an internationally renowned dental and medical device company in the near future," Malay Dikshit, Founder and CEO of Piscium, said.

Founded in 2017, the startup aims to elevate dental and medical practices with its patented nano-diamond technology. With a portfolio of over 10 product categories, including dental burs and alginates, Piscium targets to reach 300,000 dentists worldwide by 2027.

"As volumes grow, Piscium is also developing its vendor ecosystem to deliver precision and quality. The company has served over 25,000 dentists till now, it said in a statement.

Koparo secures Rs 5.2 Cr for brand expansion

Sustainable home care brand Koparo raised Rs 5.2 crore in funding from 4P Capital Partners and Rs 70 lakh from Shark Tank India, with boAt's Aman Gupta and SUGAR Cosmetics Founder Vineeta Singh as investors.

Launched in 2021 by Simran Khara, the brand focuses on naturally powered, child-safe, and pet-friendly cleaning products, aiming to reach 10 lakh Indian consumers in the next two years.

Koparo will use the funds for brand building and distribution expansion. Valued at Rs 70 crore, the startup closed last fiscal revenue at Rs 5 crore and is planning to clock Rs 12 crore this fiscal and grow to Rs 50 crore in the next two years.

Chennai startup Torus Robotics secures $470K seed investment

Chennai-based robotics startup Torus Robotics Pvt Ltd secured a seed investment of $470,000 led by TNIFMC, with participation from Forge Innovation and Ventures and SINE IIT Bombay.

It will use the funding to scale up its research and development operations, aiming to swiftly bring its innovative powertrain technology for electric vehicles (EVs) to the market.

“Torus' unique approach in the development of axial flux motors aligns with TNIFMC's commitment to fostering innovation/R&D in the state and investing in ground-breaking technologies that can be commercialised at scale," said Karthic Ramamoorthy from Tamil Nadu Emerging Sector Seed Fund.

Torus Robotics develops compact and lightweight axial flux motors and controllers for EVs. Beyond the EV market, it aims to explore opportunities in power generation and robotics industries, aligning with the global demand for sustainable solutions.

GrowthCap Ventures raises Rs 20 Cr as first close

GrowthCap Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, has raised Rs 20 crore as the first close and plans to invest in 10-12 startups over the next 20 months with an amount in the range of Rs 2-6 crore. The firm will focus on sectors such as fintech, SaaS, and deeptech.

GrowthCap raised capital from a mix of CXOs, institutions and family offices.

Pratekk Agarwaal, General Partner, GrowthCap said, “Obtaining the Cat2 fund license in July '23 and achieving the timely first close is a noteworthy milestone for us. For our inaugural fund, we have selectively garnered investments from accomplished operators who have successfully built large organisations. This exclusive funding opportunity is by invitation only."

Cactus Venture Partners raises Rs 630 Cr in its first fund

Cactus Venture Partners (CVP), a VC firm that makes early investments in growth-stage startups, marked the final close of its first fund at Rs 630 crore receiving commitments from both domestic and foreign investors.

A statement from CVP said Indian financial institutions such as SIDBI, Self-Reliant India Fund (SRI Fund), and the UP Startup Fund participated, besides family offices and Ultra High Net Worth Individuals. It also noted that investors from the US, Singapore, EU and the UK also participated.

With this fund, the VC firm—co-founded by Anurag Goel, Amit Sharma, and Rajeev Kalambi—will primarily focus on climate-tech, healthtech, and B2B SaaS sectors at the Series A and early Series B stages. To date, it has made five investments and aims to make another 10-12 in the next one to two years.

On the closing of the fund, CVP General Partner Amit Sharma said, "The success of our fundraising effort underscores the confidence placed in our ability to identify and nurture high-potential startups. We follow a disciplined investment approach focused on building a high-quality high-conviction portfolio.”

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Groww added over 1M new SIPs in December

Groww added over one million new systematic investment plans (SIPs) in December 2023, accounting for a quarter of all new SIPs in the month in India.

According to AMFI data, the number of SIP accounts in the country reached 7.63 crore, with 40.3 lakh new SIP accounts added in December—the highest ever recorded in a month. Over 10 lakh of these new SIPs were executed through Groww.

"The recent surge in SIPs validates that new investors are being responsible and prudent. India has witnessed over 50% year-over-year growth in new SIPs, while on Groww, it has doubled in the last 12 months," said Harsh Jain, Co-founder and COO of Groww.

Inflows in India’s mutual fund schemes soared to their highest level in December, driven by retail participation through SIPs. The industry experienced an all-time high of Rs 17,610.16 crore in SIP contributions during December.

Biz2X appoints Pankaj Sharma as Chief Revenue Officer

Biz2X, a digital lending SaaS platform and a subsidiary of Biz2Credit, appointed Pankaj Sharma as its Chief Revenue Officer, who will lead revenue generation efforts, focusing on strategic sales, business development, and marketing initiatives to drive growth in line with Biz2X's expansion plans.

"Prior to joining Biz2X, Sharma served in key roles at Lentra, Experian, and Dun & Bradstreet. He demonstrated leadership in enterprise sales within digital lending SaaS and data analytics, catering to banking, financial services, and large/mid-corporates.

"I look forward to playing an integral part in the growth and success of Biz2X by leveraging my understanding of financing needs across industry segments to shape up the organisation’s marketplace model, Maadhyam, and build a strong lender ecosystem on the platform as well as scaling up the Biz2X digital lending SaaS platform," Sharma said.

Cleartrip launches corporate travel management tool Out of Office

Flipkart-owned Cleartrip launched Out of Office (OOO), a corporate travel management tool, for businesses of all sizes.

The OOO feature will offer real-time policy adjustments, integrated travel expenses, and access to corporate fares. It also features one-click onboarding, GST billing for large enterprises, detailed expense reports, and multiple provider options.

"OOO is a plug-and-play solution that adapts to organisational needs quickly. It can manage multiple booking behaviours (self-booking, travel desk booking) and multiple entities in a single instance. The focus of the tool is 30% on bookings and 70% on policy adherence. Notably, the tool addresses a common pain point for corporates by enabling the procurement of hotel invoices," the company said in a statement.

It also gives access to self-contracted corporate fares, real-time invoices, and a reconciliation engine.

It is already working with 300 SMEs and 10 large corporations, processing a monthly business volume of Rs 20 crore. Its early adopters include The Federal Bank and Sify Technologies.

AWS launches space-tech startup accelerator programme in India

Amazon Web Services (AWS) India has launched a space-tech accelerator programme focused on startups in this segment in association with T-Hub and Minfy.

Called the AWS Space Accelerator: India, this is the company’s first such programme focused on space-tech startups following the MoUs it signed with ISRO and IN-SPACe in September last year to support these young companies.

This will be a 14-week programme that will provide the space-tech startups resources, expertise, and guidance around technology and business capabilities along with AWS platforms. The programme is open to both early-stage and mature startups.

Startups qualifying for the programme will receive benefits such as $100,000 in AWS credits, as well as guidance from experts at ISRO, IN-SPACe besides other support from T-Hub and Minfy. T-Hub will provide assistance in areas of business establishment, fundraising strategies and fine-tuning pitch presentations. Minfy will run a series of sessions covering topics including foundational AWS knowledge, advanced cloud architecture etc.

(This article will be updated with the latest news throughout the day.)

Edited by Suman Singh