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Inside Shubhamastu, priestesses-led collective; Saving canines in Bengaluru

Priyanka Chatterjee is among the 18 priestesses part of Shubhamastu. Sarvoham Animal Foundation is a charitable organisation dedicated to the welfare of street animals. Navadhan Capital, led by Nitin Agrawal, is a tech-led financing platform for rural small and medium enterprises.

Inside Shubhamastu, priestesses-led collective; Saving canines in Bengaluru

Tuesday April 09, 2024 , 5 min Read

Hello,

It’s payday for BYJU'S employees.

Two months after delaying salaries, the troubled edtech firm told employees it has begun disbursing salaries for March, and the process will be completed over 10 days. It did so by obtaining an “alternative line of credit” after being barred from using proceeds from the rights issue.

Also, its subsidiary Aakash Educational Services was finally able to fill the vacancy of CEO after a six-month wait. It has named ex-Pearson India executive Deepak Mehrotra to the top post after Abhishek Maheshwari’s exit last year.

Elsewhere, more capital is poised to flow into the Indian startup ecosystem.

Mumbai-based Filter Capital has made the final close of its maiden fund with a corpus of Rs 800 crore. It will focus on investing in Series B and C rounds in tech and SaaS startups expanding globally.

Speaking of expansion, MakeMyTrip’s services are now available in 150 countries, including the UK, the US, Germany, Japan, Italy, and France, for online travel bookings.

In other news, audio wearable company boAt Lifestyle has been facing security concerns as the personal data of 7.5 million customers was reportedly leaked on the dark web, including names, email IDs, and phone numbers.

ICYMI: All that happened during the solar eclipse.

And lastly, the heat is becoming unbearable for most of us. But Lucknow architect Anant Krishna has found a sustainable way to keep his office cool.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Inside Kolkata-based Shubhamastu
  • Saving canines in Bengaluru
  • The Bharat opportunity

Here’s your trivia for today: Which four countries have the highest mobile banking penetration in the world?


Women stories

Inside Kolkata-based Shubhamastu

Priyanka Chatterjee is among the 18 priestesses part of Shubhamastu, the Kolkata-based charitable trust, who conduct Hindu ceremonies of weddings, memorial services, and housewarming rituals, among others.

Since its inception a decade ago, Shubhamastu has conducted innumerable ceremonies. The collective is led by priestesses Nandini Bhowmik, Ruma Roy, Semanti Banerjee, and Paulomi Chakraborty.

Refining roles:

  • Shubhamastu’s guiding principle is that anyone with “profound knowledge, purity of soul, and the capability to educate the masses” can venture into the priesthood. It does not believe one must belong to a specific caste to be a priest.
  • It conducts wedding rituals in Sanskrit, Bengali, and English for everyone to understand, and performs Vedic hymns, accompanied by songs from various poets like Kazi Nazrul Islam, Atul Prasad Sen, and Rabindranath Tagore.
  • The collective abstains from performing the Kanyadan ceremony, as it strongly believes the bride should not be objectified as an element to be donated.
Shubhamastu


Funding Alert

Startup: Planys Technologies

Amount: Rs 43 Cr

Round: Equity

Startup: Platinum Rx

Amount: $800,000

Round: Seed


Social Impact

Saving canines in Bengaluru

In 2017, Haris Ali and Madhusmitha Sahu started the Sarvoham Animal Foundation, a charitable organisation dedicated to the welfare of street animals in a small room with 20 dogs. Over the last seven years, it has grown to shelter 2,500 animals.

Cynophiles:

  • Data from the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations and All Creatures Great and Small reveals that more than 4.9 lakh animals were subject to cruelty between 2010 and 2020. 
  • Sarvoham is among the few animal shelters in the country to have quarantine units for dogs with critical infectious diseases such as canine distemper and parvovirus.
  • It has conducted over 800 animal birth control operations and administered anti-rabies vaccines to more than 2,200 animals in an effort to curb man-animal conflict.
Haris Ali's Sarvoham Animal Foundation is home to over 2,000 dogs.

Haris Ali's Sarvoham Animal Foundation is home to 2,000 dogs.


Entrepreneurship

The Bharat opportunity

Navadhan Capital, led by Nitin Agrawal, is a tech-led financing platform for rural small and medium enterprises (SMEs). India’s rural economy contributes about 50% to the GDP and supports nearly 65% of our population. 

In a podcast with Prime Venture Partners, Agrawal deep dives into the opportunities in rural India for startups and highlights how an entrepreneur can build for this segment. 

Key takeaways:

  • Agrawal believes the key to his success lies in his upbringing and the hustle culture his father embodied by working multiple jobs. 
  • He agrees that the biggest change has happened because of the ‘JAM Trinity (Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar, and Mobile). 
  • To identify problem areas, Agrawal says founders should go to the field, travel across, and deeply study what is not working. As an example, he says, banking is still not working, and there are several opportunities for startups to build and create large-scale impact. 
PVP Nitin Agarwal


News & updates

  • Handover: Pegatron is in talks to hand over control of its iPhone manufacturing facility in India to Tata Group, marking the Taiwanese firm's latest scale-back of its Apple partnership. Tata plans to hold at least a 65% stake in a joint venture that will operate the plant, with Pegatron providing technical support and owning the remaining shares.
  • Warnings:  In his annual letter to shareholders, Jamie Dimon, Chairman of JPMorgan Chase, chose AI as the first topic in his update of issues facing the biggest US bank by assets—ahead of geopolitical risks, recent acquisitions, and regulatory matters.
  • AI music: Spotify is bringing AI to playlist creation. The streaming music service on Monday introduced a new option called AI playlists in beta stage, which allows users to generate a playlist based on written prompts. It will initially become available on Android and iOS devices in the UK and Australia.


Which four countries have the highest mobile banking penetration in the world?

Answer: Turkey, Nigeria, Indonesia, and South Korea.


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