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Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 12, 2024)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, March 12, 2024.

Startup news and updates: daily roundup (March 12, 2024)

Tuesday March 12, 2024 , 9 min Read

Funding news

The Quorum Club bags pre-Series A funding from Nikhil Kamath’s Gruhas

Invite-only lifestyle club The Quorum Club raised an undisclosed pre-Series A funding round from Nikhil Kamath’s venture capital fund Gruhas.

The Quorum Club is India’s first globally inspired, contemporary members-only lifestyle club. With this funding, the firm will position itself to build a pan-India presence. By April 1, 2024, the company said in a statement that it will have 222,000 square feet of operating assets under its management.

Gruhas was founded in 2021 by Kamath and Puzzolana’s Abhijeet Pai to invest in proptech, media, entertainment, and media sectors.

Amadeus acquires Voxel to integrate B2B payment solutions for travel industry

Amadeus—a Spanish technology provider for the travel industry—has acquired electronic invoice and B2B payments solutions firm Voxel. The deal will complement Amadeus’ payments business, Outpayce, by enhancing its existing travel sellers’ product suite, while expanding in the hospitality segment.

This acquisition will also help Amadeus better serve its corporate customers by further automating the business travel experience, from reservation and payments to expense management.

Venture Catalysts invests Rs 6 Cr in lab-grown diamond brand Fiona Diamonds

Venture Catalysts invests Rs 6 crore in lab-grown diamonds brand Fiona Diamonds. AC Ventures, Anikarth Ventures, and Bombay Shaving Company's Shantanu Deshpande participated in the round.

The funding will enable Fiona Diamonds to expand its global presence, it said in a statement.

Founded by Parag Agarwal and Surabhi Agarwal, the company offers customers a curated collection of solitaire jewellery crafted with lab-grown diamonds, aiming to foster sustainable and ethical sourcing.

Parag Agrawal, CEO and Co-founder of Fiona Diamonds, highlighted the company's vision, stating, "With Venture Catalysts' strategic investment, we are poised to accelerate our growth trajectory and establish Fiona Diamonds as a category innovator in the diamond jewellery segment. By leveraging our existing infrastructure and expanding our product offerings, we aim to triple our revenue in the first year, unlocking new avenues of growth and opportunity."

career in the Travel and Tourism industry

Other news

Recordent ties up with International Federation of Electric Vehicle Association for credit solutions

Recordent Pvt Ltd—a credit and collections management software platform—signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Federation of Electric Vehicle Association to build a credit bureau for electric vehicle (EV) businesses and help in credit risk and collections solutions.

The collaboration aims to establish an ecosystem of creditworthy sellers and buyers within the EV sector, empowering businesses to focus on their overall growth trajectory, the firm said in a statement.

“This partnership underscores our commitment to providing innovative solutions to streamline cash flow challenges faced by businesses, ultimately contributing to their financial success,” Winny Patro, CEO and Co-Founder of Recordent, said.

Y Combinator-backed digital health firm Clinikally enters luxury skincare segment

Y-Combinator-backed healthtech firm Clinikally forayed into the luxury skincare segment with the launch of Clinikally Luxe.

Luxe will bring some global luxury brands to India for the first time, offering consumers a gateway to transformative luxury, backed by science, it said in a statement.

“Witnessing Indian consumers embrace premiumisation like never before paved the way for the unique opportunity for Clinikally to add a dedicated luxury platform curated by India's leading dermatologists. Valuing the repeated requests of our esteemed users, Clinikally Luxe’s curated collection is rooted in redefining luxury, evoking a profound sense of serenity, and indulgence,” Arjun Soin, Founder of Clinikally, said.

OLX moves to new office headquarters in Gurugram

Online marketplace OLX has moved to a new headquarters in Gurugram at AIHP Milestone.

The new office also features multiple meeting rooms for brainstorming and recreational spaces to spark creativity, in line with OLX’s vision of strengthening marketplace ecosystems enabled by tech and trust, it said.

Recyclekaro to launch India’s first plasma furnace technology unit

Recyclekaro—a firm involved in e-waste and lithium-ion battery recycling in India—is set to launch the country’s first plasma furnace technology unit for extraction of high-value metals.

Plasma furnace technology leverages high-temperature plasma arcs to efficiently extract valuable metals from diverse waste streams. Unlike conventional methods that may pose environmental risks, this technology offers a cleaner, more sustainable approach to metal extraction.

Recyclekaro’s state-of-the-art unit, currently boasting a capacity of 7,500 metric tonnes, retrieves precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, along with rare earth metals from electronic waste and industrial residues. 

The move will enable Recyclekaro’s e-waste recycling capacity to increase nearly tenfold to 75,000 metric tonnes per annum.

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BluSmart appoints Aditi Shukla as President of Corporate Development

Ride-hailing firm BluSmart has appointed Aditi Shukla as President of Corporate Development. In the new role, Shukla will spearhead initiatives for BluSmart across fundraising and strategic partnerships and will work closely with the co-founders on organic and inorganic growth opportunities.

Shukla has experience in corporate development and strategy. Her previous stints include Rothschild Investment Banking (M&A advisory), Cipla’s Corporate Strategy and M&A and, most recently, Google (India), where she led strategic partnerships.

Speaking of the development, Shukla said, “I am excited to join BluSmart at this stage of the journey as we build an integrated energy – infrastructure - mobility and technology business in line with our vision to ‘Decarbonise Mobility at Scale.”

MakeMyTrip, redBus ink pact with Madhya Pradesh tourism board

Travel booking platforms MakeMyTrip and redBus have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Tourism of the Madhya Pradesh government to foster sustainable tourism development and promote the state as a premier tourist spot.

The agreement outlines a mutual commitment to promote homestays in Madhya Pradesh—a known method to increase rural and urban incomes—provide sustainable alternate streams of income, and boost low-carbon tourism in the state.

MakeMyTrip will collaborate with the tourism department to intensify the focus on promoting pilgrimage and wildlife-led travel experiences in the state through its platform. The Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board will also recognise redBus as the official bus ticketing partner.

“We believe this collaboration will help us tap into newer approaches and avenues to support our goal in a conscious, sustainable and equitable manner,” Sheo Shekhar Shukla, Principal Secretary, Tourism, and Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, said.

Education firm SmartBridge partners with IIT Madras’s Swayam Plus to offer technical courses

Education company SmartBridge has signed a memorandum of understanding with IIT Madras and the Government of India-backed platform Swayam Plus to offer a range of courses, including artificial intelligence, applied data science, cybersecurity, and Android application development, among others.

All courses are aligned with the National Credit Framework (NCRF) level 5 and 5.5, providing students with project-based learning opportunities, and making them credit-eligible, it said in a statement.

Dharmesh Pradhan, Union Minister of Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, “The National Education Policy (NEP) is on roll and, for the first time, reputed industrial houses will be coming with their own academy, partnering with the UGC, esteemed education departments, and prestigious institutes like IIT Madras. All these courses will be accredited.”

Damensch partners with technology firm TO THE NEW to improve user experience

Men’s apparel platform DaMENSCH has tied up with technology services provider TO THE NEW to improve user experience and develop a mobile application.

The company aims to expand its reach to the target audience through its website and new mobile application for Android and iOS. TO THE NEW will support DaMENSCH by enriching the website for better reach and consumer behaviour analysis and facilitating seamless integration with various payment gateways, the company said in a statement.

“Our collaboration with TO THE NEW has significantly transformed how our customers interact with our brand. TO THE NEW’s team worked with our team to take actionable steps to create, coordinate, and expedite our mobile or web app needs. The newly developed mobile application reflects our commitment to providing a superior customer experience,” Niraj Patel, SVP (Product) at DaMENSCH, said.

Uber expands diversity initiative to include people with disabilities

Ride-hailing firm Uber expanded its diversity and inclusion initiative to include people with disabilities and other underrepresented students, providing them with opportunities to intern with the company’s engineering teams. 

The She++ initiative—initially aimed to promote women in engineering—received over 4000 applications from top engineering colleges across India, highlighting an increasing desire for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

“... The expansion of She++ to encompass individuals with disabilities and others represents a significant stride in our mission to cultivate a more inclusive society. As Uber continues to prioritise diversity and inclusion, She++ stands as a cornerstone in our endeavour to forge a more equitable future for everyone. Through initiatives like She++, Uber not only shapes the trajectory of technology but also aims to propel positive societal transformation,” Dawn Carter, Director, Global Talent Acquisition at Uber, said.

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Shadowfax sets up new distribution centre in Port Blair

Logistics firm Shadowfax has opened a new distribution hub in Port Blair, weeks after raising $100 million in Series E funding led by TPG New Quest.

The expansion will help Shadowfax achieve its milestone of touching all of India’s 20,000 pin codes by March 2025, it said in a statement.

In recent weeks, Shadowfax has seen remarkable growth by expanding its market presence from 6% in early 2023 to 17% today. This growth is fueled by the company's mesh network design, which incorporates over 2,000 daily truck movements and more than 200 airline lanes, connecting 3,000+ last-mile hubs across the nation.

“This milestone marks a pivotal moment in Shadowfax’s mission to connect every town and village, in the remotest part of the country, into our network—delivering new-age solutions to every customer. Port Blair holds immense importance in India’s landscape, and we are thrilled to bring our unparalleled logistics expertise to its citizens,” Abhishek Bansal, Co-founder and CEO of Shadowfax, said.

Zomato launches hotline service for restaurants for priority support

Food delivery platform Zomato has rolled out a hotline service for restaurants to offer priority support, onboarding assistance, and growth advice.

The service will connect Zomato’s restaurant partners to a team of seasoned growth managers who will provide tailor-made advice and growth consultations including expanding their restaurant’s business footprint, optimising menu offerings, and strategising marketing efforts.

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

Edited by Suman Singh