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Startup and news updates: daily roundup (April 3, 2024)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

Startup and news updates: daily roundup (April 3, 2024)

Wednesday April 03, 2024 , 10 min Read

Funding

Cloud security platform Arch0 secures $1.25M in pre-seed funding round led by Leo Capital

Arch0, a cloud security platform, has raised $1.25 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Leo Capital. The round also saw participation from Village Global, Indian Silicon Valley Capital, Appreciate Capital, SuperMorpheus, and angel investors.

The startup plans to use the capital to attract top talent, advance AI in cloud security, and enhance marketing and educational efforts to educate users about cloud security, AI's role, and best practices for digital asset protection.

Arch0, founded in 2022 by Nithin Jois and Tilak Thimmappa, is a cybersecurity firm that emphasises identity as the foundation of cloud security. It strives to implement proactive and automated security measures throughout the software development life cycle.

Arch0

Arch0 Co-founders

Gen AI SaaS startup Vodex raises $2M from Unicorn India and Pentathlon Ventures

Vodex, a GenAI company, has raised $2 million in a seed funding round from Unicorn India Ventures and Pentathlon Ventures.

Vodex plans to use the fund for global expansion and increase its business by at least four times within a year. The company says it has achieved a $1-million ARR in less than a year.

Vodex, co-founded by Anshul Shrivastava and Kumar Saurav in 2022, is a Gen AI-powered outbound voice calling solution that is used by businesses worldwide, particularly in the United States and Canada, to enhance outbound sales calls with a more personal and engaging experience.

The technology seeks to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and enhance customer connections by eliminating the need for traditional call centres.

Vodex

Vodex, Co-founders Anshul Shrivastava and Kumar Saurav

Rocksport raises about $3M to close its Series A round

Rocksport, Asia's in-school adventure programme provider, has raised nearly $3 million in a Series A round from The Times of India's Brand Capital, raising its valuation to $30 million.

The funds will help the startup with advertising and brand building.

Prior to this, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts had acquired a strategic stake in Rocksport to expand its pan-India presence beyond the metro cities. Rocksport now runs over 1,000 soft adventure programmes in over 1,000 premier schools.

Agritech startup ONO raises Rs 11 Cr seed funding from Aeravti Ventures, Indigram Labs

ONO, an agritech company, has secured Rs 11 crore in a seed funding round from Aeravti Ventures and Indigram Labs.

This investment will support the company's mission to enhance the agricultural supply chain in India, said the company.

Founded in 2006, ONO is an agritech company that seeks to empower farmers and ecosystem players within the APMC/MANDI network through data-driven insights and innovative technology, promoting transparency, trust, and inclusive access to economic growth opportunities. It operates in six states across more than 45 APMCs/MANDIs and has over 30,000 partners.

Other news

Edtech firm GUVI launches large language model focused on vernacular learners

GUVI, an edtech company, has introduced a large language model (LLM) with Colloquial Data Sets for vernacular learners, which will be available for free in the near future.

The initiative aims to provide native language learning resources, enabling students to excel academically and professionally, while also recognising India's linguistic diversity.

GUVI, an HCL group vernacular edtech company, is introducing LLM-powered courses to over 2.5 million learners, enabling Tier II and III students to pursue their educational goals confidently regardless of their native language or background.

GUVI

IRCTC e-catering partner Zoop clocks 20 lakh train meals in 2023

Zoop, an e-catering partner of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), clocked 20 lakh train meals in 2023, operating at over 180 stations across India.

IRCTC

Zoop, which began offering fresh food on trains in 2016, collaborates with IRCTC to improve train travel convenience through food delivery services. It currently records a monthly revenue of over Rs 2 crore.


Zoop launched WhatsApp train food delivery in Hindi and Hinglish in 2023. It also introduced a Google chatbot for food delivery, an Instagram chatbot for food ordering, and a pay-at-delivery payment option.

According to IRCTC, catering services accounted for 27% of FY22 revenue, following internet ticketing.

Agilitas Sports appoints Richard Zartman as vice president of footwear design

Richard Zartman has been appointed as the vice president of footwear design at Agilitas Sports, an innovative sportswear and apparel solutions platform.

Zartman, who has over two decades of footwear design experience, specialises in performance running footwear. He previously held senior design director roles at Adidas and Brooks Sports, where he established the Adrenaline GTS franchise and won several Runner's World Editor's Choice awards.

Agilitas Sports has acquired Mochiko Shoes Pvt Ltd, a sports footwear manufacturer in India. The acquisition is part of Agilitas' strategy to transform the sports industry and enhance its manufacturing capabilities.

The company has raised Rs 400 crore from Convergent Finance LLP, Rs 30 crore from individual investors, and Rs 100 crore from Nexus Venture Partners to strengthen its research, manufacturing, and retail capabilities.

OneTo11 eyes global expansion in LATAM and MENA

Fantasy gaming startup Oneto11 aims to expand in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa, focusing on user attraction and local experience.

The startup claims 4.5 million users and a GMV exceeding $15 million. It plans to expand its gaming library with six more games next year, focusing on ed-tech products and gamified games to expand learning horizons for school children, while also pushing the limits of blockchain technology.

OneTo11, a social networking fantasy mobile application, offers a diverse gaming ecosystem with a Play-To-Earn model. It uses DeFi and NFTs to generate income through gameplay and investment. The platform includes a Fantasy Sports app, Mobile Gaming app, Gamified Learning app, and an RPG/Metaverse game.

The platform with a diverse user base in 168 countries aged 18-65, has 81,000 daily active users during peak events and over 7.3 lakh monthly active users, enhancing its global appeal.

Allcargo Group appoints logistics veteran Ketan Kulkarni as chief growth Oofficer

Allcargo Group, an Indian logistics conglomerate, has appointed Ketan Kulkarni as chief growth officer, a logistics and supply chain industry veteran, to enhance growth and operational efficiency at the company.

He will oversee stakeholder value creation across multiple businesses, including Allcargo ECU Ltd, Allcargo Gati Ltd, Allcargo Supply Chain Ltd, and Allcargo Terminals Ltd, through regular engagement with their respective leadership teams.

Kulkarni will also manage investor relations for Allcargo Group's key management professionals, focusing on shareholder value creation. He will drive global and domestic partnerships, nurture existing customer relationships, and lead the marketing and enterprise account strategy.

T-Hub, Medtronic partner to drive health-tech innovation

T-Hub, a startup incubator, has partnered with Medtronic, a global healthcare technology.

Medtronic's Hyderabad-based Medtronic Engineering & Innovation Center (MEIC) is partnering with T-Hub to foster industry collaborations and participate in events like CXO roundtables and innovation workshops. The aim is to build thought leadership in health-tech R&D and deepen immersion into the dynamic health-tech innovation landscape.

T-Hub's startups will receive mentorship, sponsorship, and expert guidance from MEIC, while employees will participate in tailored entrepreneurship workshops curated by T-Hub, ensuring their ventures succeed.

MEIC, with over 900 engineers, supports Medtronic's global business units by offering software engineering solutions in embedded and enterprise software, product security, data engineering, systems engineering, mechanical and hardware design, and quality.

T-hub

Terra Charge and BYPL Join Forces

Terra Charge and BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) have partnered to enhance Delhi's EV charging network by installing and maintaining advanced chargers, aiming to make EV charging accessible to the public and promote sustainable mobility in Delhi.

The Japanese CPO will deploy advanced EV charging solutions in BYPL service areas, where high EV penetration is prevalent, to address the lack of advanced infrastructure, offering a range of slow AC and fast DC charging options.

The company will offer round-the-clock monitoring and support for its EV charging network and conduct training and awareness programmes in partnership with BYPL to promote the use of EVs in the community.

Terra Charge

Terra Charge has installed over 300 chargers in India and collaborated with all-electric passenger cab services to boost India's EV30@30 campaign. The Japanese CPO plans to establish long-term partnerships with BYPL to support EV charging infrastructure in the country, focusing on commercial and residential charging hubs.

Physics Wallah's skilling vertical upskills 1 lakh youth in first year

PW Skills, a skilling vertical of Physics Wallah, has upskilled 1 lakh learners in its first year, primarily aged 18-25.

It has assisted over 12,000 individuals in career transitions and provided an average 55% salary increase post-certification through its courses in partnership with over 400 corporations, including Microsoft, Deloitte, EY, TCS and Infosys.

The platform offers data science, full stack development, and data structure and algorithm courses to enhance skills and secure better employment opportunities.

The PW Skills programme attracts students from various states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Delhi NCR. It seeks to prioritise inclusivity; 20-22% of learners are women, said the company.

The platform plans to introduce advanced courses in 2024, including courses in cyber security, UI/UX design, stock market analysis, BFSI, digital marketing, and product management.

Aon acquires Global Insurance Brokers in India

Professional services firm Aon has acquired Global Insurance Brokers (GIB).

This is expected strengthen Aon's broking and advisory capabilities in the commercial risk, health, and reinsurance markets. It will also create an integrated team of over 1,100 colleagues in India.

GIB, Aon's wholly owned subsidiary, will merge with Aon India Insurance Brokers after the National Company Law Tribunal merger process is completed. GIB will operate independently in the interim, with Aon's India head Rishi Mehra joining the board as chairman.

Finayo onboards Nitin Kant as director of sales and operations

Finayo, an AI-enabled SaaS technology green mobility ecosystem, has appointed Nitin Kant as director of sales and operations.

With experience in various industries, Kant will lead Finayo to strengthen its position in the EV market. He will also expand the company's portfolio and lead the nationwide sales team to achieve significant targets.

Kant has decades of experience in senior leadership roles and specialises in building efficient teams and expanding distribution networks. He also has expertise in electric mobility and green financing.

Twid onbaords Monica Jasuja as the New Chief Growth & Partnership Officer

TWID, a rewards-based payment network, has appointed Monica Jasuja as chief growth and partnership officer.

Jasuja will lead the company's issuer growth strategy, drive expansion through partnerships, and increase market reach and revenue streams.

With experience in Fortune 150 companies and tech startups and expertise in customising digital financial solutions for diverse user groups, Jasuja will focus on innovation and new partnerships to unlock growth opportunities at Twid.

Founded in 2020 by Amit Koshal, Rishi Batra, and Amit Sharma, Twid is a rewards-based payment network that converts reward points into fungible currency. With affiliations with Axis Bank, Yes Bank, IndusInd Bank, Flipkart Supercoin, Intermiles, and Payback, Twid has access to a $2.2-billion points pool.

The company received $12 million in Series A funding from Rakuten Capital and Google. It is part of VISA Accelerator Program 2023 to create innovative payment solutions.

Stride Ventures injects $120 M into sustainable startups and eco-mobility

Stride Ventures, a venture debt fund in India, has made one of the largest climate-conscious disbursals within two years, raising $120 million in climate-focused startups since its inception.

The fund is investing in India's mobility ecosystem startups, including OEM collaborations, battery swapping, ride-hailing, last-mile delivery, recycling, and charging infrastructure. Stride Ventures also promotes advancements in solar energy, circular economy, and clean technology.

Stride Ventures supports startups and businesses in their growth journey, focusing on industries such as consumer internet, fintech, SaaS, and B2B platforms. It has a portfolio of over 140 startups including Battery Smart, Lohum, BluSmart, MoEVing, SolarSquare, Euler Motors, ChargeZone,Oben Electric , Intangles, and Solar Ladder.

Its portfolio companies have reduced environmental impact, saving approximately 90,000 metric tonnes of CO2 and covering 521 million electric kilometres, according to Stride Ventures.


Edited by Swetha Kannan