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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (February 27, 2024)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, February 27, 2024.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (February 27, 2024)

Tuesday February 27, 2024 , 9 min Read

Funding

Merak Ventures invests $1.45M in Farmtheory

Merak Ventures, a sector-agnostic early-stage venture capital firm, has invested $1.45 million in Farmtheory, a B2B agri-food startup.

The investment will enable Farmtheory to scale its operations and enhance its supply arm, technological infrastructure, and supply chain by reaching out to more farmers, thus ensuring a robust and sustainable source of produce. 

“Not only are they addressing the challenges of food waste, farmer income, and climate change—they're reimagining solutions with the potential to transform the agri-food landscape. By coining the term 'freeform produce' to describe crops that are irregularly shaped or sized, Farmtheory is reframing the narrative from 'ugly produce' to appreciating the value of these untapped crops,” Sheetal Bahl, Partner at Merak Ventures, remarked.

Farmtheory

Sakshi Agarwal and Arpit Agarwal. Co-founders, Farmtheory

Founded in 2019 by Arpit Agarwal and Sakshi Agarwal, and based in Bengaluru, Farmtheory is dedicated to maximising the value of farm harvests and reducing food waste. Since its inception, the brand has on-boarded 3000 partner farmers and served over 1,500 kitchens.

Reo.Dev secures $1.2M pre-seed funding from India Quotient, others

Reo.Dev, a revenue intelligence firm for developer-focused Go-To-Market, has raised $1.2 million in a pre-seed funding led by India Quotient.

Angel investors within the developer infrastructure industry, including Adam Frankl, ex-VP marketing at JFrog and Sourcegraph, Savin Goyal of Netflix and Outerbounds, and Shraddha Gupta of Hasura, participated in the round.

The funding will be used for product development and to accelerate sales in Europe and North America.

“Developers are driving the next trillion dollar infra and AI wave. We have seen changing buyer behaviour always calls for new sales software and we felt Reo.Dev will be the right team to build this,” said Anand Lunia, General Partner at India Quotient.

Founded by Achintya Gupta, Gaurav Jain, and Piyush Agarwal, Reo.Dev deciphers vast developer activities and intent signals.

Mizoram’s Tui Bon Natural secures pre-seed funding at $1.25M valuation

Mizoram-based startup Tui Bon Natural (Local) concluded its pre-seed funding round at a valuation of $1.25 million, marking a historic moment as Mizoram's first startup to secure equity financing. 

The funding was facilitated by Alsisar Impact, South Asia’s leading frontier markets incubator in the Northeast and Himalayan regions. Its strategic involvement attracted key impact and angel investors, including author and journalist Shoba Narayan, Unitus Capital Chairman Narayan Ramachandran, Mumbai-based industrialist Aditya Sheth, and Sonali Mehta-Rao of Ahaana Ventures.

It will use the funds to ramp up production, introduce new flavours, and scale distribution. 

Founded by Mizoram-native Zomawii Khiangte and Felipe Rodriguez, Tui Bon’s Local All Natural Soda non-alcoholic beverage line showcases the unique flavours of Northeast India through craft sodas made from indigenous and locally sourced fruits like pomelo, roselle, orange, and dragonfruit.

The fundraise propels an ambitious expansion targeting health and eco-conscious customers in key metropolitan areas of Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune.

Tui Bon Natural

Felipe Rodriguez and Zomawii Khiangte, Tui Bon Natural, Founders.

Other news

Nat Habit appoints Ankita Srivastava as chief marketing officer 

D2C beauty and wellness brand Nat Habit has appointed Ankita Srivastava as its chief marketing officer.

Srivastava brings almost two decades of experience in marketing, brand strategy, innovation and business, primarily in beauty, personal care, fragrances and men’s grooming with some of India’s personal care brands.

She will drive consumer strategy, portfolio expansion, and build a multidisciplinary team to accelerate the next phase of Nat Habit’s journey.

Founded in 2019, Nat Habit is a natural beauty and wellness brand. It has raised $10.2 million in Series B funding led by Bertelsmann India Investments.

IG Drones bags contract from the defence ministry

Drone tech company IG Drones has bagged a procurement order from the defence ministry to supply drones for surveillance purposes.

These drones boast industry-first features, including 5G capability, performance in extreme conditions, and vertical take-off and landing capabilities. They are versatile for both defence and medical applications.

Deployable from any terrain without needing a runway, these drones carry a 10 kg payload and have a five-hour endurance. With an IP67 durability rating, they can be controlled using NavIC + GPS navigational satellites.

Founded in 2018, IG Drones offers solutions in high-precision drone surveying, mapping, and inspection across diverse industries.

Snitch onboards Varun Muralidharan as Lead Retail Operations and Projects Head

Snitch, a direct-to-consumer men’s fast fashion brand, onboarded Varun Muralidharan as the Lead Retail Operations and Projects Head. 

With a background in retail operations, business development, and marketing, Muralidharan brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Snitch‎. He previously worked as a Retail Manager at Bestseller India.

In his new role, Muralidharan will oversee the entire spectrum of Snitch’s retail operations. His main focus will be on store operations management for overseeing daily activities within retail stores. 

Additionally, he will be responsible for customer experience enhancement for developing initiatives to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention through enhanced service, personalised experiences, and efficient checkout processes for the company.

Muralidharan’s appointment at Snitch aims to strengthen its leadership team and drive continuous growth.

Varun Muralidharan

Varun Muralidharan, Lead Retail Operations and Projects Head, Snitch.

ClickPost, BharatX announce strategic partnership

BharatX, specialising in BNPL and merchant affordability solutions, and ClickPost, an ecommerce logistics technology player, have partnered to enhance the ecommerce experience for D2C brands. 

The partnership will focus on boosting conversions for merchants selling higher-value goods online. The synergy between BharatX’s Credit platform and ClickPost’s logistic expertise aims to provide a comprehensive, seamless shopping experience for consumers. 

Apart from Sleep Company, D2C brands like Mokobara and Snitch have been leveraging the benefits of this strategic alliance and driving outcomes. 

Mahindra Finance partners with Lendingkart for MSME-focused co-lending

Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services and Lendingkart have collaborated to provide business loans for the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. The partnership will also boost Mahindra Finance’s product diversification strategy while fostering financial inclusion for SMEs.

This pan-India collaboration marks Mahindra Finance’s foray into the co-lending space exclusively for the SME sector under an 80:20 structure, where Lendingkart will leverage its tech platform Lendingkart 2gthr, the company’s flagship E2E platform, which will power the entire customer journey—from origination to underwriting, disbursals, and collections.

Terra Charge teams up with GrEL Cabs to electrify fleet services in Pune

Terra Charge, an EV charging infrastructure development firm, has partnered with Pune-based all-electric ride-hailing service GrEL Cabs to establish a park and charge facility in Hinjewadi, Pune.

In this collaboration, the EV infrastructure developer will install 11 advanced EV chargers at the designated hub, providing riders with a fast charging experience. The Japanese technology will be integrated into GrEL Cabs' electric fleet, ensuring smooth operation with their EV models and minimising downtime.

With this endeavour, the company contributes further to the EV charging infrastructure of the city, which boasts nearly 1,894 charging stations.

Terra Charge GrEL Cabs

Terra Charge teams up with GrEL Cabs to electrify fleet services in Pune.

KRAFTON India announces the launch of Garuda Saga

Krafton India and Alchemist Games have launched Garuda Saga, an Indian-themed, rogue-like mobile game. 

Garuda Saga offers players a personalised RPG experience, tailored to their unique playstyle. Drawing inspiration from rich Indian themes, players assume the role of Garuda. Armed with a trusty bow and unmatched speed, Garuda progresses through levels, conquering monsters, and acquiring new skills with each victory.

Tailored exclusively for the Indian audience, Garuda Saga is now available for download and play on Android and iOS.

Delhivery and Plix expand exclusive partnership for cross-border shipping

Logistics player Delhivery and Plix, Marico’s majority-owned D2C nutrition brand, have expanded their partnership to enable global product shipping for the latter.

Plix's existing collaboration with Delhivery entails domestic express parcel shipping in India. It has now extended an exclusive partnership for cross-border shipping too, where it will leverage Delhivery’s air freight expertise for shipments, ensuring swift and secure transportation of goods from its Mumbai warehouse to its New York warehouse.

viaDOTS unveils digital metre taxi services in Bengaluru

viaDOTS, a ride-hailing company, launched digital metre taxi services in Bengaluru to bring more transparency and fairness in cab services, benefiting both drivers and passengers alike.

With a digital metre taxi model, viaDOTS restricts price surges and price volatility during low demand as the fares are metre-calculated. The digital metre displays the estimated price before the journey commences.

The driver remains seamlessly connected through the viaDOTS Driver App, which continuously tracks the rides. 

 viaDOTS platform

 viaDOTS platform.

CleverTap partners with Zoomcar

CleverTap, an all-in-one engagement platform, partnered with Zoomcar to elevate user engagement and drive business growth. 

This strategic partnership will help Zoomcar elevate its customer engagement strategy by crafting personalised interactions that resonate with individual preferences and needs.

Real-time insights will empower Zoomcar to understand user behaviours and preferences, aiding targeted re-engagement campaigns and win-back offers. This sharpens the focus on enhancing user retention and engagement.

This partnership will enable Zoomcar to create personalised campaigns, conduct A/B testing, and optimise omnichannel experiences. It enables the promotion of specific car models and rental packages, enhances campaign effectiveness, maximises bookings and revenue, and ensures seamless user engagement across channels.

Dvara Money, Jana Small Finance Bank partner to facilitate digital banking

Financial solutions platform Dvara Money partnered with Jana Small Finance Bank Limited (Jana SFB) to combine the former’s Spark Money platform with the technological capabilities of the latter.

An integral part of this partnership is the Third Party Application Providers (TPAP) capabilities, which facilitate integrating a full-stack UPI solution into the Spark Money platform, enabling customers to link their savings accounts for payments and ensuring smooth digital transactions. 

Additionally, the solution expands Dvara's offerings with UPI functionalities such as Aadhar OTP-based onboarding and credit on UPI.

In this partnership, DM will leverage Jana SFB's technological capabilities to streamline the savings account opening process. The integration of video KYC into the Spark Money platform will introduce self-service options to the existing assisted onboarding process, expanding the platform’s reach to new geographies and user bases.

Leap Beyond, NISAU partner to launch employability hub for Indian students in the UK

Edtech platform Leap Beyond partnered with the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU), the apex organisation for Indian students and alumni in the UK to address the pressing employability challenges faced by Indian students in the UK and enhance their career prospects.

The partnership will see the launch of an employability hub aimed at making Indian students 'market-ready' upon their arrival in the UK. This initiative is expected to bridge the gap between education and employment, providing students with the necessary skills and resources to succeed in the competitive job market.

Founded by Ayesha Goyal, a UK alumni and former EY strategy consultant, Leap Beyond connects Indian students with mentors who provide market-tested, relevant advice through an AI-driven video library and one-on-one calls.

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


Edited by Megha Reddy