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Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (March 19, 2024)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (March 19, 2024)

Tuesday March 19, 2024 , 6 min Read

Funding news

Brij hotels raises $4M Series A funding round led by Manipal Education & Medical Group Family Office

Boutique hotel chain, Brij hotels has raised a $4 million Series A funding round led by Manipal Education & Medical Group(MEMG) Family Office.

The round also saw participation from Abhay Jain, Abhiroop Jayanthi (MD of Bain Capital), Rajendra Rao, and Prashant Deshpande.

With a focus on sustainability and community engagement, Brij Hotels with eight properties celebrates local art, culture, and traditions.

Sprih raises $3M seed round led by Leo Capital

Climate tech startup Sprih has secured $3 million in seed funding led by Leo Capital.

Over the coming year, it plans to expand its customer base in India and grow its presence in the USA, Europe, and other key global markets.

Sprih assists businesses in measuring, benchmarking, and reporting emissions.

Sugmya Finance raises $3M from existing investors

NBFC Sugmya Finance raised $3 million from existing investors to bolster its growth and maintain a robust Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR).

"This round of fundraising will enable Sugmya to maintain its growth streak, as well as strengthen its product development and technological innovation," Vikas Singh, CEO and Co-founder of Sugmya Finance, said.

Serving borrowers from diverse locations through more than 275 branches, Sugmya has facilitated over Rs 1,000 crore in loan disbursements to 1.75 lakh active borrowers.

The company's investors include Alok Bansal, Yashish Dahiya, and Naveen Kukreja from the PolicyBazaar group, as well as executives from JP Morgan Chase and Google, along with notable individuals from the fintech and BFSI industries

Vobble raises $1M round led by Lumikai

Vobble, an immersive audio platform for children aged 4-12, secured a $1 million seed funding round led by Lumikai.

“Audio is a new category for kids, and we are keenly listening to our customers and market as we evolve our product. With this investment, we will expand our immersive audio library and will also experiment further with multi-sensory and audio-enhanced solutions and devices. It will also allow us to explore the AI and personalisation space which we are very keen to do," Co-founder and CPO Sowmya Jagannath said.

Founded in 2022 by Neha Sharma and Sowmya Jagannath, Vobble aims to revolutionise children's audio entertainment by offering original stories, podcasts, news, and music.

Relso raises $840K pre-Seed round led by Venture Catalysts and Inflection Point Ventures

Furniture cloud factory, Relso has secured $840K in a pre-Seed round led by Venture Catalysts and Inflection Point Ventures.

Relso manages the entire furniture production process from design to delivery. The funding will fuel global expansion, team growth, and innovation efforts.

"With this fundraise, we aim to supercharge our export GTM strategies, bolster our tech platform, and expand our supply chains. This infusion of capital will propel Relso and India as the top choice for our clients’ export needs, furthering our mission and vision for the future," Anshul Choubey, Co-Founder and CEO of Relso, said.

Jewelbox secures Rs 3.5 Cr round led by JITO Incubation

Kolkata-based lab-grown diamond maker Jewelbox has secured Rs 3.5 crore in a funding round led by JITO Incubation and Innovation Foundation (JIIF).

Founded by Nipun Kochar and Vidita Kochar in 2022, Jewelbox plans to use the funds for team expansion and opening more retail stores. JIIF's contribution amounted to Rs 2.97 crore.

"We are excited to receive mentorship with industry veterans who have joined in this round. Building Jewelbox has been an incredible adventure, driven by our shared passion for redefining luxury with lab-grown diamonds. Our dedication to quality and sustainability fuels every facet of our business, and through this investment we're eager to see our impact ripple through the industry," Nipun Kochar, Co-founder of Jewelbox, said.

Jewelbox founders

DBS bank sets aside $250M to lend to startups

DBS Bank India has committed $250 million to support new-age startups, particularly those driving innovation in emerging technologies.

"DBS Bank India intends to leverage our advanced digital expertise, deep Asian connectivity, and ecosystem partnerships to offer holistic support, even going beyond banking to empower these innovators to streamline operations, manage logistics and gain access to larger business networks. As a different kind of bank, our overarching objective is to become a trusted partner for startups across sectors and support them throughout the business lifecycle," Rajat Verma, Managing Director and Head of the Institutional Banking Group, DBS Bank India, said.

Other News

Autonomous driving startup Minus Zero partners with Ashok Leyland for driverless trucking

Autonomous driving startup Minus Zero has forged a strategic alliance with Ashok Leyland, a prominent commercial vehicle manufacturer.

This partnership aims to revolutionise commercial trucking by deploying autonomous solutions on a large scale.

Initially focusing on tailored autonomous trucking solutions for ports, factories, and corporate campuses, the collaboration plans to expand into hub-to-hub applications and long-haul trucking as regulatory frameworks evolve.

PhysicsWallah sees 100% online business growth in 2024-25 academic session

Edtech platform Physics Wallah(PW) has experienced over 100% growth in its online business for the academic year 2024-25, it said.

During its annual flagship event, Vishwas Diwas, PW garnered over 200,000 enrollments within 12 days, resulting in a revenue surge exceeding Rs 100 crore.

The platform boasts over 27 lakh students enrolled in paid batches on its app and over 4.2 crore subscribers on its YouTube channels.

PW conducts mega live classroom sessions with an average attendance ranging from 50,000 to 1 lakh, with the largest session hosting up to 127,000 attendees. Additionally, PW witnessed a 5-fold growth in online courses offered in vernacular languages, reflecting progress towards an inclusive digital future.

Alakh Pandey

Gram Unnati and CSC E-Governance empower smallholder farmers digitally

Integrated agri solutions company, Gram Unnati has partnered with CSC E-Governance to establish a digital platform empowering smallholder farmers in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. CSCs are internet enabled access points, which provide last mile access to various e-governance services through digital connectivity.

Through CSCs, farmers notify Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) about produce details. Gram Unnati inspects quality, offers fair prices, and purchases produce, ensuring instant payments directly to farmers' bank accounts.

The pilot project spans 60 villages, with plans for district-wide expansion in 6-12 months and nationwide implementation in 24-36 months. This initiative enhances market linkages, enabling efficient marketing of agricultural produce, thereby uplifting rural livelihoods and fostering agricultural sustainability.

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

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti