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Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (May 28, 2024)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (May 28, 2024)

Tuesday May 28, 2024 , 11 min Read

Funding

Solinas raises undisclosed funding from Neev II Fund

Water and sanitation focused robotic solutions startup has secured investment from Neev II Fund, managed by SBICAP Ventures Ltd, as well as private sector capital from Zerodha Founders investment arm, Rainmatter Capital.

Established in 2018, Solinas focuses on developing robotic and AI solutions to address issues like pipeline defect detection and manual scavenging elimination.

Solinas said it intends to use the funds to enhance its product range, expand its market presence, and further its goal of climate change adaptation by strengthening water and sanitation infrastructure resilience.

"Working along with Neev II, we eagerly anticipate sculpting a future for this industry that is both cleaner and more sustainable, eradicating the challenges of inadequate access to clean water and sanitation infrastructure the world," said founders Divanshu Kumar and Moinak Banerjee.

Solinas' range of products includes Endobot, a crawler robot designed for internal condition assessment in pipelines, and Swasth AI, an AI-based platform for data analysis and management of collected pipeline data.

Inspeq raises Rs 9.1 Cr

Responsible AI development platform Inspeq AI has raised $1.1 million in a pre-Series A investment round from Sure Valley Ventures.

Delta Partners, Plug and Play, and several other angel investors including Pocked FM founder Prateek Dixit and Meta Ireland's Rick Kelly also participated in the round, the company said.

Inspeq AI was founded in 2023 in Dublin, Ireland, by Apoorva Kumar and Ramanujam Macharla Vijayakumar.

The startup plans to use the funds from the round to expand its product development team and extend its marketing and sales operations in India, Ireland, and the UK.

"This investment will greatly accelerate Inspeq AI's growth trajectory as we work towards advancing AI safety and performance on a global scale," said Apoorva Kumar, Co-founder and CEO of Inspeq AI.

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Gravity raises $1M

Personalised banking platform Gravity said it has raised $1 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Kettleborough VC, as well as others from the banking industry.

The startup will use the funds to develop its tech, it said in a press release.

Launched in 2024 by former bankers, Satish Krishnaswamy and Rohit Maroo, Gravity provides interoperability among banking applications, simplifying the tech ecosystem and increasing efficiency for banks. It also offers customised products and features tailored to individual users.

"Through GRAVITY, we are addressing fragmented banking systems, which limit the efficiency potential of banks while also restricting them from offering personalised experiences to their customers," said Krishnaswamy, the startup's Co-founder and CEO, in a statement.

Maxvolt Energy raises $1.5M

Lithium battery manufacturer and supplier Maxvolt Energy has raised $1.5 million in funding from multiple angel investors. It plans to use the funds to develop fast-charging batteries.

"In the prototype development phase, the company aims to launch the final product [the fast-charging batteries] in phases by the end of 2024 after thorough R&D. In the first phase, we will reduce the charging time to 2 hours and 1 hour in the subsequent phase," said Satendra Shukla, CBO at Maxvolt Energy.

Maxvolt Energy Industries Pvt Ltd, established in 2019, produces lithium battery packs for electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage systems, and medical device batteries.

AbleCredit raises seed funding

AI credit underwriting company AbleCredit has raised $1.25 million in a funding round led by Merak Ventures. Venture Catalysts and Helios Holdings also participated in the round.

AbleCredit hopes to use the funding to scale its AI operations and grow its business.

"Credit underwriting, historically a time-consuming process in loan disbursement, is ripe for transformation with recent advancements in AI," said Manu Rikhye, Partner at Merak Ventures.

"AbleCredit's innovative tools promise unprecedented speed and efficiency in underwriting, empowering companies to make decisions faster and more effectively," Rikhye added.

Founded by Utkarsh Apoorva, Harshad Saykhedkar, Ashwini Prabhu, and Anubhab Bandyopadhyay, AbleCredit has developed a GenAI model that helps financiers underwrite credit over 20X faster and reduce operational costs.

Skippi raises pre-Series A round

Ice pop brand Skippi IcePops has raised Rs 10 crore in a pre-Series A funding round led by Hyderabad Angel Network and Venture Catalysts. It is in talks to raise Rs 7 crore more.

The round also saw significant participation from Soonicorn Ventures, HEM Securities, and other angel investors.

Skippi plans to use the funding for marketing, developing new products, and hiring leadership personnel.

"Skippi has demonstrated that there are vacant spaces available for startups in FMCG foods, even though the category is dominated by large multinationals and domestic players," said Pradeep Dhobale, Vice Chairman and Lead Investor, Hyderabad Angels.

Launched in 2021, Skippi is an ice pop brand available on major online platforms such as Zepto, CRED and Amazon.

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Other news

InCred names Vikram Agarwal as COO

Financial services company InCred has appointed Vikram Agarwal as its next Chief Operating Officer.

As the newly appointed COO, Agarwal will spearhead critical functions at InCred Capital, including overseeing technology, operations, client servicing, compliance, and risk management.

Vikram Agarwal brings over 25 years of experience, including his tenure as COO and CRO at Julius Baer India, where he played a pivotal role in strategic acquisitions and served as a board member.

Paytm Insider names Varun Khare as new COO

Paytm Insider, a popular entertainment platform, has named Varun Khare as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Khare, who previously led the company's business division, played a crucial role in driving growth for the company over the past four years. Under his leadership, Paytm Insider saw a significant increase in sales and expanded its reach to new markets, the company said in a press release.

In his new role as the COO, he will lead the company's operational strategies, driving growth and innovation across the business.

Prior to joining Paytm Insider, Khare worked with Fountainhead MKTG and then with Oranjuice Entertainment in the live events and entertainment industry.

WinZO, DPIIT partner to name 18 startups for Gamescom, LatAm

WinZO and DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) have partnered to select and sponsor gaming startups from India to represent the country at Gamescom, Latam.

The partnership aims to provide a platform for Indian gaming startups to showcase their creativity and technological prowess on a global stage.

The winners underwent a selection process from a large pool of over 100 participating companies and colleges, and were vetted by a panel of industry veterans, including Rohit Kumar Singh, Suresh K Reddy, Sanjeev Bikhchandani, etc.

Among the startups selected to represent India at Gamescom, Latam are a diverse range of gaming ventures. For instance, "Gods Of Cricket" offers a cross-platform AAA cricket game with features like 11v11 multiplayer and community events.

Another title, "Unsung Empire: The Cholas," presents a narrative-driven 3D action-adventure game centred around the historical journey of Rajendra Chola.

Ecom Express, Skye ink deal for last-mile deliveries

Logistics solutions provider Ecom Express Limited and drone tech company Skye Air have partnered to integrate drone delivery technology into their last-mile delivery ecosystem, aiming to enhance delivery speed, improve efficiency, and reduce carbon emissions.

The partnership between Ecom Express and Skye Air involves using drone technology for deliveries in Gurugram initially, with plans to expand across India later.

The aim is to speed up deliveries, improve efficiency, and reduce carbon emissions, the companies said.

"By harnessing the power of drones, we are not just delivering parcels; we are revolutionising the delivery landscape with a focus on efficiency and sustainability," said Ankit Kumar, Founder and CEO of Skye Air.

"Leveraging our state-of-the-art tech stack and infrastructure, including Skye Pod and Skye UTM, we aim to enable faster, safer, and more efficient deliveries," he added.

online gaming

Photo: YS Design

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Gamerji launches in Southeast Asia

Esports tournament platform GamerJi has launched its operations in Southeast Asia, starting with Indonesia and the Philippines.

The company has gone live in the two countries with eight games, including PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, Valorant, Clash Royale, and FIFA.

Gamerji hopes to add a million users from the region to its platform over the next 12 months.

"As esports continues its exponential growth, gaining recognition globally from esteemed Olympic councils to governments, educational institutions, brands, and industries, Gamerji is committed to enhancing its presence in SEA markets which have been witnessing the soaring popularity of esports," said Soham Thacker, CEO and Founder of Gamerji.

SaralSCF disburses Rs 940 Cr in FY24

BlackSoil Group's supply chain financing vertical SaralSCF has disbursed over Rs 940 crore across 1.46 lakh invoices in FY24, up 30% from the previous year.

SaralSCF added nearly 7,000 borrowers and 20 anchor partners to its platform. Its footprint now extends to 50 new cities across India. The supply chain finance platform hopes to expand its clientele in the future by onboarding more financial institutions.

SaralSCF provides comprehensive supply chain finance services for the entire supply chain ecosystem, including manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers. It offers working capital to a diverse range of borrowers, such as micro and small entrepreneurs, mid-sized traders, manufacturers and

women entrepreneurs.

"Being a tech-enabled platform, we are able to cater to the unique requirements of the supply chain ecosystem through technology and seamless digital solutions, giving us the edge in the industry," said Gaurav Bagrodia, President of SaralSCF.

Yubi names Anil Mehta as independent board director

Debt fintech startup Yubi has appointed industry veteran Anil Mehta as an independent director to its board.

Mehta has held leadership positions at various financial institutions, including Max Life Insurance, ANZ Banking Group, and Bank of America before setting up India Shelter Finance Corp, a housing finance company that extends credit to middle-income households.

"His extensive experience in financial inclusion and proven leadership in building scalable businesses will be invaluable as we continue to empower the debt ecosystem," said Yubi Founder and CEO Gaurav Kumar, in a statement.

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Ace Turtle names Karandeep Singh Jaiya new CBO

Tech-retail startup Ace Turtle has named Karandeep Singh Jaiya as its new chief business officer. In his new role, Jaiya will lead the business operations of a cluster of brands.

Ace Turtle is the exclusive licensee of several global brands including Lee, Wrangler, and Toys "R" Us.

Jaiya last served as brand head for Jack & Jones at Bestseller India. He also has leadership experience across roles in India and the Middle East.

"As the retail industry shifts to tech-driven omnichannel mode in India, Ace Turtle stands at the forefront of innovation in this realm," Jaiya said.

"I look forward to partnering with the talented team at Ace Turtle and helping deliver business growth, seamless operations, and exceptional value to our consumers," he added.

Algorand launches developer training platform with NASSCOM

Algorand, along with NASSCOM, has launched a new developer course on NASSCOM's FutureSkills Prime platform, which will help students learn how to develop applications using Algorand's blockchain technology.

The company is creating new training materials for developers that follow national standards, aiming to help young developers in India learn important skills that employers want, according to NASSCOM.

Algorand Foundation said it has set up over 50 Algorand Blockchain Clubs at university campuses across India. These clubs are supported through webinars and travel opportunities to domestic and international events, where students can participate in workshops with leading Web3 entrepreneurs and developers.

The clubs encourage innovation and collaboration among students.

Tide enables bill payments for SMEs

Business finance platform Tide has launched a bill payments feature in partnership with Setu.

The feature will allow SMEs to make payments seamlessly and across platforms, for a wide range of services including insurance premiums, gas, electricity, loan instalments, and municipal tax.

Tide's customers will be able to track and trace their business expenses and gain a better understanding of their cashflows.

Founded in 2017, Tide hopes to onboard half a million SMEs in India onto its platform by the end of 2024.

Nykaa parent appoints Santosh Desai as independent director

FSN E-Commerce Ventures has appointed Santosh Desai as an independent director for a term of three years starting July 15, 2023.

beauty, personal care, Nykaa, makeup, skincare

Image credit: Shutterstock

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Desai, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, currently serves as the MD and CEO of Futurebrands. In his previous roles, he worked as president - India, for McCann Erickson, and vice president for marketing at PepsiCo.

Nykaa has also re-appointed Seshashayee Sridhara and Pradeep Parameswaran to the company board. The company revealed the appointment along with its fourth-quarter results released last week.

Oben Electric expands into Delhi, Pune, Kerala

Bengaluru-based e-motorcycle startup Oben Electric will be expanding to Delhi, Pune and Kerala.

It aims to launch 50 new showrooms and service centres in 12 cities, across the year.

Oben Electric's rapid expansion has been led by its flagship electric motorcycle, the Oben Rorr, which features an 8 kW IPMSM motor and accelerates from 0-40 kmph in 3 seconds with a top speed of 100 kmph.

Modenik names LV Vaidyanathan as executive chairman

Essential wear company Modenik has appointed LV Vaidyanathan as executive chairman, following the retirement of Sunil Sethi from the role.

IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus Vaidyanathan previously served as the CEO and MD of P&G India. He has 25 years of experience working in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.

"As I embark upon my new journey focused on strategic/advisory roles and entrepreneurial venture that gives back to the community, it is with great confidence that I pass the baton to LV Vaidyanathan, whose extensive expertise and vision will propel Modenik to new heights," said Sethi, in a statement.


Edited by Swetha Kannan