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Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (March 26, 2024)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (March 26, 2024)

Tuesday March 26, 2024 , 8 min Read


Proptech firm Aeria secures $1.8M pre-seed funding led by Kalaari, Foundamental

Tenant experience and asset management platform Aeria has raised $1.8 million in pre-seed funding led by Kalaari Capital's CXXO initiative and global venture capital firm Foundamental. AC Ventures, AL Trust, and a few unnamed angel investors also joined the round.

The company will use the capital to expand its presence across Southeast Asia, Middle East, and other Asian countries over the next year, it said in a statement.

Founded by Priyanka Gera and Piyush Kateja, Aeria uses emerging technologies including artificial intelligence to digitise commercial office spaces by providing parking management systems, delivery-to-desk services, fully integrated and seamless visitor management solutions, and automated complaint resolutions, among others.

“Commercial real estate in APAC is estimated at 52 billion sqft, expanding at a CAGR of 15%. However, most owners currently rely on traditional methods to manage facilities and tenants. We aim to use technology to transform this experience and bring in efficiency to the owner’s operations,” Priyanka Gera, Founder and CEO at Aeria, said.

Sampath P, Partner at Kalaari Capital, added, “... We believe that commercial real estate is going to get a massive digital upgrade. We are proud to be backing Priyanka for the second time and believe in her ability to redefine how people engage with offices and shopping malls on a daily basis.”

Kaarigar Mandi bags Rs 1.75 Cr funding from Kyt Ventures, IIMA Ventures

B2B footwear startup Kaarigar Mandi has bagged Rs 1.75 crore seed funding from Kyt Ventures, with participation from Upaya Social Ventures, IIMA Ventures, and IIM Calcutta Innovation Park.

The funds will be used for business development and expanding its AI-driven technology infrastructure. Kaarigar Mandi plans to grow ten times over the next two years, it said.

Founded by Ankit Kumar, Gagan Mukhi, and Hifza Afaq, Kaarigar Mandi offers tailored solutions to meet the evolving needs of bulk footwear buyers and fashion brands.

“Our platform is designed to bridge the gap between traditional artisans and modern bulk buyers,” according to Ankit Kumar, Co-founder of Kaarigar Mandi. “With this funding, we aim to further strengthen our infrastructure and expand our reach, creating a thriving ecosystem for footwear businesses and fostering economic resilience.”

Logistics firm JustDeliveries raises $1M from NABVENTURES Fund, FAAD Network

Just Deliveries—a Mumbai-based logistics solutions provider for perishables—has secured $1 million in pre-Series A funding from NABVENTURES Fund, with participation from FAAD Network, Anay Ventures, Caret Capital, and Mahansaria Family Office.

The funding will enable JustDeliveries to deepen its logistics networks across key cities including Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, and Delhi-NCR, and launch operations in Hyderabad. Within the next 3-4 years, JustDeliveries plans to extend its presence to 8-10 cities across India, aiming to address the need for reliable and efficient cold chain logistics solutions, it said in a statement.

Founded in March 2022 by Mansi Mahansaria, JustDeliveries helps to organise the logistics sector for F&B brands and said it works with leading QSRs, café chains, and brands with fresh and frozen products.

“In the last two years, 70+ F&B companies have outsourced their logistics to JustDeliveries, thus benefiting from last-mile efficiencies and reliability of operations. JustDeliveries has a strong key management team, bringing relevant skill sets and passion; we are confident of leading the intra-city logistics space for perishables,” Mahansaria noted.

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US-based software provider SmartBear commits increased investments in India

Pennsylvania-based software development firm SmartBear has pledged more investments in India, aimed at banking on the widening market potential of software development in the country, it said in a statement.

SmartBear launched a new training programme called DevOps Academy in Bengaluru last year to prepare entry-level participants with the hands-on skills and confidence to be a successful cloud engineers.

SmartBear is currently supporting more than 150 customers across India, representing fintech, healthcare, and transportation and logistics. The company opened an office in Bengaluru in May of last year.

Fashion rental platform Flyrobe opens second franchise store in Bengaluru

Fashion rental firm Flyrobe has opened its second franchise store in Bengaluru’s Malleswaram area.

Founded in 2015, Flyrobe offers a range of designer outfits and jewellery for rent, allowing customers to access premium fashion at affordable prices. The new store will offer personalised styling assistance and a dedicated photo studio for customers, it said.

“As the youth in Bengaluru embraced rental fashion at super lightning speed and acknowledging the strong demand, we are delighted to announce the opening of our second store, marking a significant milestone in our growth journey. The city's enthusiasm for our services is palpable, and we are thrilled to expand further by adding more stores,” Aanchal Saini, CEO of Flyrobe, said.

Canva acquires creative tools provider Affinity to expand software suite

Visual communication platform Canva has bought UK-based creative tools provider Affinity to expand its suite of creative software products.

Affinity offers its 3 million global users tools to create complex multi-layered graphics detailed technical diagrams, art and illustration, logos, mockups, documents, and magazines, among others.

“Visual communication is now ubiquitous in the workplace and investing in strategies that enhance our B2B offerings is core to the future of our business," Canva Co-founder and COO Cliff Obrecht said. 

“From sales and marketing to brand and creative teams, the need to create effective and engaging visual content is on the rise. The Affinity team comes with an incredible calibre of talent and technology, and we're delighted to welcome them to Canva as we enter our next phase together,” he added.

Enterprise AI firm Fulcrum Digital appoints Sathish Raghunathan as CFO

Global enterprise AI organisation Fulcrum Digital has appointed Sathish Raghunathan as chief financial officer.

Raghunathan has over two decades of experience in the IT sector, including SaaS, data centre and cloud services, and consulting.

“We are exhilarated to welcome Sathish to our leadership team as we continue to scale our platform engineering, digital services, and AI platform assets. His proven track record of driving financial strategies amidst growth and challenges aligns perfectly with our vision for the future. We are confident that his leadership will further strengthen our financial foundation, investment in innovation and emerging technologies, and drive sustainable growth,” said Dhana Kumarasamy, CEO of Fulcrum Digital.

Starburst Accelerator SARL partners with IIT Madras to set up €100M startup fund

France-based aerospace and defence firm Starburst Accelerator SARL has joined hands with IIT Madras to set up a €100 million fund, aimed at providing funding and accelerating boost to the aviation, space, and defence ecosystem in India.

The partnership will enable export promotion and provide support for Indian ASD startups to explore international markets through the extensive network of Starburst, it said.

The programme will provide access to entrepreneurs and innovators, drive new technologies, business ideas, and models, and allow startups and entrepreneurs to explore synergies and avenues of collaboration with industry, government, and beyond besides guiding them towards rapid implementation and global commercialisation.

“We believe it is the right momentum to faster emergence of pioneer boundary-pushing technological innovations in India. We're proud and honoured to collaborate with IIT-Madras and work with such a prestigious institution in the country. We together aim at creating a robust ASD ecosystem that supports innovation in Deeptech, and the production in India, to meet the future challenges of Aerospace, New Space and Defence worldwide players,” François Chopard, Founder and CEO, Starburst Aerospace, said.

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank ties up with Veefin Solutions Limited

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank has partnered with supply chain financier Veefin Solutions Limited to expand its working capital loan book to MSMEs.

Through the partnership, Ujjivan SFB will leverage Veefin's platform to offer end-to-end solutions on supply chain financing including supplier and vendor onboarding, credit underwriting through Loan Origination Solution (LOS), transaction management via Loan Management Solution (LMS), and collections handled through a delinquency management solution. 

These components will be further complemented by comprehensive analysis facilitated by Veefin’s Reporting and Business Intelligence solution, it said.

Ittira Davis, MD and CEO at Ujjivan Small Finance Bank, said, “We are happy to partner with Veefin Solutions, which will enable us to further enhance the credit accessibility needs of the MSMEs, thereby strengthening our digital MSME offerings. This association will help us build on the operational efficiency, thereby empowering more MSMEs to chart their growth path.”

Raja Debnath, Managing Director of Veefin Solutions Ltd, said, "We are delighted to welcome Ujjivan Small Finance Bank to our ever-growing clientele who have embarked on their SCF journey with Veefin. Financial institutions like Ujjivan SFB play a pivotal role in expanding the SCF ecosystem, reaching out to unserved and underserved customers nationwide.”

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

Edited by Kanishk Singh