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Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (May 6, 2024)

YourStory presents the daily news roundup from the Indian startup ecosystem and beyond. Here's the roundup for Monday, May 6, 2024.

Startup news and updates: Daily roundup (May 6, 2024)

Monday May 06, 2024 , 12 min Read


50Fin raises $550,000 from Arali Ventures

Fintech startup 50Fin has raised $550,000 in its latest funding round led by Arali Ventures and Nitin Gupta.

This influx of capital will fuel the startup’s expansion plans and technological advancements.

Founded in 2022 by Aditya Srinivas Prasad and Darpan Tanna, 50Fin provides solutions to both consumers and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).

Following its initial raise of $500,000 from investors including 100X.VC, Arun Venkatachalam and Keynote Fincorp in 2023, the company claims to have experienced exponential growth, with its distribution capacity surging by over six times.

“We have also launched our B2B vertical, which allows Banks and NBFCs to digitise LAS (lending against securities) for the clients while completely automating the entire operations of the product,” Prasad said, adding that the company is on track to reach profitability in the next 12-16 months.

Gyan Live raises undisclosed capital from Classplus

Government exam-prep platform Gyan Live has raised undisclosed capital from B2B edtech firm Classplus.

Gyan Live would use the funding to scale its business further, expanding its offerings to include central government and school exam preparation in regional languages. It will also enable Gyan Live to leverage Classplus’ technology, enhancing the learning experience of students and boosting reach.

Founded in 2019 by Taral Patel, Mahesh Ahjoliya, and Chetan Patel, Gyan Live is a learning platform for government exam aspirants in Gujarat. Through its app, Gyan Live provides live classes, recorded lectures, comprehensive study materials and test series to support students in their exam preparation journey.

QUE announces strategic investment from Shikhar Dhawan

QUE, a premium eyewear brand, has collaborated with Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan. He joins QUE not only as an investor but also as a partner and brand ambassador. 

QUE, co-founded by Shashank Saurabh, Abhishek Deep, and Kumar Vagish, is gearing up for its launch.

The onboarding of Dhawan will play a pivotal role in QUE's trajectory—by enabling the brand to launch strongly, amplifying marketing efforts, and enhancing product offerings. 

QUE aims to make its premium sunglasses accessible to a mass premium audience across India and beyond.

“As someone who values both fashion and functionality, I believe QUE's innovative approach to eyewear will resonate with consumers seeking premium products that complement their lifestyles,” Dhawan said.

QUE team with Shikhar Dhawan

QUE team with Shikhar Dhawan. Image credit: QUE

Coromandel increases shareholding in Ecozen with Rs 24 Cr investment

Coromandel International Limited, an agri solutions company, has increased its investment in Ecozen, a climate-smart technology solutions provider. 

The Rs 24 crore investment was made through its wholly-owned subsidiary and corporate venture capital arm Dare Ventures Limited. With this, Coromandel has increased its shareholding in Ecozen to 5.54%, an increase of 3.13%.

Ecozen provides innovative and sustainable solutions such as solar-powered irrigation (Ecotron) and cold chain systems (Ecofrost) that have touched the lives of over 180,000 farmers in India. 

The company has set its sights on expanding its offerings and market presence into Africa and Southeast Asia to build climate-smart solutions for agriculture.

The company leverages advanced technologies including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and energy storage to boost agricultural incomes and also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and food losses. 

Other news

Sterlite Power appoints Reshu Madan as CEO of Global Products & Services business

Sterlite Power, a developer of power transmission, has appointed Reshu Madan as Chief Executive Officer, Global Products & Services (GPS) business. He succeeds Manish Agarwal who has decided to pursue an opportunity outside the company.

Madan will work closely with Manish Agarwal for a smooth transition as he integrates into his new role. Effective May 1, 2024, Reshu will report to Pratik Agarwal, Managing Director, Sterlite Power.

Madan is a seasoned industry professional, having spent over 25 years in leadership positions across power and infrastructure. Over the last five years at Sterlite Power, Madan has driven the growth of its Power cables vertical. Before Sterlite Power, he held leadership roles at Crompton Greaves and TBEA Energy.

Mindgrove launches India’s first commercial MCU chip

Mindgrove Tech, a fabless semiconductor startup, has launched India’s first commercial high-performance SoC (system on chip) named Secure IoT.

The RISC-V-based chip is expected to allow Indian original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use an Indian SoC in their products and help reduce the cost of their feature-rich devices, without compromising on high-end features. It is estimated to cost 30% less than other chips in the similar segment.

Secure IoT is a high-performance microcontroller clocked at 700 MHz. The chip is designed to provide programmability, flexibility, security and computing power for controlling applications on a wide range of connected smart devices.

This chip can control wearables like smartwatches, smart city devices like connected electricity, water, and gas meters, and connected home devices like smart locks, fans, speakers, as well as, as well as EV battery management systems and control systems, amongst others.

Mindgrove Chip

Image credit: Mindgrove Technologies

VA Tech WABAG launches initiative to empower startups in the water sector

VA Tech WABAG, a water treatment company, has launched BLUE SEED, an initiative designed to foster innovation and support emerging startups in the water sector.

Through this programme, VA Tech WABAG will invest in, nurture, and empower promising startups with innovative water technology solutions that will shape a secure and sustainable water future.

The initiative will identify and invest in early-stage water technology startups with high growth potential and will provide comprehensive support and resources to accelerate the success of these entrepreneurs.

The initiative was launched by Gopal Srinivasan of TVS Group, Chairman and MD of TVS Capital Funds Limited in the presence of Rajiv Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, VA TECH WABAG.

“Through this initiative, we aim to cultivate a vibrant ecosystem of innovative solutions that can contribute to making the industry more sustainable and in building a resilient future,” Mittal said.

Tech Data to launch capital division in Singapore, Australia, and India

Tech Data has launched its capital division in Singapore, Australia, and India, offering flexible financing solutions powered by selected financial institutions exclusively to its partners and end customers.

The launch in Singapore is on May 6 and in Australia on May 16. The launch for India will be announced in the future.

Through its partnership with selected financial institutions, Tech Data Capital simplifies the financing process where a payment solution can be integrated into a product sale and be funded for the full term upfront.

This eliminates credit risk for the partner and provides increased customer value. Partners will

also gain access to dedicated financial teams with expertise, comprehensive training, and integrated selling alongside product marketing and sales teams.

Partners will be able to offer financing options such as instalment payments and deferred payments, with terms ranging from 12 to 60 months.

Zen Mobility inaugurates manufacturing plant in Gurgaon

Zen Mobility, an electric vehicle OEM, has inaugurated a manufacturing plant in Manesar, Gurgaon, dedicated to the production and assembling of the Zen Micro Pods, the company’s flagship electric vehicles tailored for urban commuters.

Situated on a 2.5-acre campus, the facility has a capacity of 50,000 units per year. It features comprehensive testing capabilities, including roller testing and dyno testing, ensuring quality and safety standards for all Zen Mobility products.

Beyond manufacturing, the plant houses advanced research and development facilities for design engineering and product planning.

The new facility can offer in-house customisation for innovative cargo box solutions, catering to a diverse array of applications like ecommerce, grocery delivery, food distribution, FMCG logistics, third-party logistics, cold chain management, dairy product delivery, and pharmaceutical logistics.

Zen Mobility manufacturing plant

Zen Mobility manufacturing plant. Image credit: Zen Mobility.

BlackSoil invests $49M across 30 deals in Q4FY24

Alternative credit platform BlackSoil deployed $49 million (Rs 391 crore) across ~30 deals, including 11 new deals and exited four portfolio companies in the fourth quarter of the financial year 2023-24 (Q4FY24).

In Q4FY24, fintech accounted for 37% of its total investments, followed by SaaS, deeptech, and IoT at 18%.

During this period, BlackSoil made investments in fintech companies such as Rupeek, Werize and OTO. It also exited from firms such as Freight Tiger, Homeville Group and Koye Pharmaceuticals, where it made debt investments.

In FY24, BlackSoil witnessed a 40% rise in disbursement, totalling over $118 million. It exited 18 deals while simultaneously making strategic investments in 64 deals, of which 36 were new deals. 30 of its investees raised a consolidated capital of $680 million.

The company said its year-on-year disbursement grew by 110%, and its assets under management (AUM) increased by nearly 50% year-on-year.

PeopleStrong, Google Cloud partner to transform employee experience with GenAI

PeopleStrong, an HR and payroll tech company, and Google Cloud have announced a strategic alliance aimed at accelerating transformation and innovation in HR for businesses across Asia.

This partnership will integrate Google Cloud’s AI capabilities, including Vertex AI and Gemini models, with PeopleStrong’s comprehensive HR tech platform.

PeopleStrong’s HR Tech 4.0 platform is powered by Generative AI. With over 2200 open APIs, it creates a robust, interconnected HR ecosystem that elevates employee experience and improves ease of use for the HR admin.

Adda247 hires Bimaljeet Singh Bhasin as CEO of Skilling and Higher Education business

Google-backed Adda247 has appointed Bimaljeet Singh Bhasin as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Skilling and Higher Education Business.

Bhasin will focus on setting up-skilling, upskilling and higher education businesses in line with Adda247’s vision to empower youth across the country by making them job-ready and build high-impact and sustainable talent solutions for businesses.

He has close to 25 years of professional experience and has held key leadership positions across public and private limited organisations such as NIIT Limited, Manipal Global Education Services, and Wipro Ltd.

Over the last 15 years in the education and skilling industry, Bhasin has been instrumental in launching many innovative education and skilling initiatives in collaboration with companies across sectors helping scores of job aspirants start their careers, existing professionals move up the career ladder, and companies build high-quality talent.


Anil Nagar, Founder and CEO of Adda247 and Bimaljeet Singh Bhasin, CEO of Skilling & Higher Education Business, Adda247.

HCLTech, AWS enter strategic collaboration to accelerate GenAI adoption

HCLTech has announced a global strategic collaboration agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to accelerate GenAI-led enterprise digital transformation.

HCLTech and AWS will help enterprises explore and develop GenAI-led use cases, proofs of concept, tools and solutions. They will develop a structural framework with target-based milestones aligned to business strategy that enables the co-creation of customised GenAI-led solutions and offers clients flexible consumption models.

The companies will work together to implement AWS GenAI services or enterprises across multiple industries. Leveraging HCLTech’s full technology stack, core engineering capabilities and AI experience, this alliance will allow clients to see the impact of their GenAI investment and gain early access to AWS's advanced GenAI services.

RupeeRedee onboards Prerna Arora as HR Head

RupeeRedee, a digital lending platform, has onboarded Prerna Arora as the new Head of Human Resources.

As part of the new role, Arora will be responsible for overseeing all facets of RupeeRedee’s human resource strategy, including conflict and grievance management.

She will play an instrumental role in balancing employee relations, enhancing employee performance and experience, along with compliance of labour laws. In addition, she will be playing a key role in recruiting, retaining, and developing top talent to bolster the platform’s overall growth and long-term success.

Prior to this, Arora served as the HR Business Partner at Unlimit In Pvt, where she was responsible for formulating and implementing HR policies, along with overseeing HR operations.

Drone Destination, IFFCO sign MOA

Drone-as-a-service provider Drone Destination signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with IFFCO to collaborate for drone spray over an area of up to 30 lakh acres.

As part of the MoA, Drone Destination will undertake drone spray in 12 states across the country. These states include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttrakhand.

The drones will be spraying IFFCO nano urea, nano DAP, Sagarika, IFFCO MC agrochemicals and other IFFCO & IFFCO JV’s agri-products, to enhance agricultural productivity and efficiency.


Milagrow eyes Rs 100 Cr revenue in next three years

Milagrow Humantech, a brand of consumer robotics, has set a target of touching Rs 100 crore in revenue over the next three years.

This goal aligns with the company’s vision of driving an affordable robotics revolution tailored for Indian households and businesses.

Milagrow offers a diverse range of cleaning robots-- floor cleaning, pool cleaning and window cleaning robots.

Milagrow said it is ramping up its production capacity and expanding its distributor network across the country. The company is actively hiring for diverse roles in sales, field operations, and on-ground teams. Additionally, Milagrow plans to raise funding in the next 2-3 years to fuel its growth trajectory further.

Tetr College of Business announces scholarships worth Rs 2 Cr each for Bachelors programme

Tetr College of Business, a global business school, has announced the launch of its education scholarship worth Rs two crore each that will enable 15 exceptional Indian students to join the inaugural batch of its global undergraduate programme, ‘Bachelors in Management and Technology’.

The Tetr Scholarship will offer these students an opportunity to live, learn and build businesses across seven countries including the UAE, India, Singapore, Ghana, the US, Brazil, and Italy over four years.

As part of the programme, students will get to study at the world’s leading educational institutions like INSEAD - France and SDA Bocconi, as well as NUS Singapore, and IIT among others.

Global business, education, and technology luminaries like Daniel Garret Van Der Vliet, Manoj Kohli, Alexis Montesinos, Thorsten Truijens and Nitin Gaur will teach these students throughout the 8 semesters.

The B-school will also establish a $1.6 million venture fund called ‘Tetr Launchpad’ for aspiring entrepreneurs, complemented by mentorship from an extensive network of venture capitalists, founders, and industry leaders.

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

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti