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Startup Digest: boAt to file DRHP for its IPO, Chingari raises $15 million, ZingHR gets $10 million & G.O.A.T Brand acquires The Label Life


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Startup Digest: boAt to file DRHP for its IPO, Chingari raises $15 million, ZingHR gets $10 million & G.O.A.T Brand acquires The Label Life
boAt to file DRHP for its IPO by January-end
Imagine Marketing, a company that which manufactures D2C brand boAt is likely to file DRHP for its IPO by January-end. Sources have told CNBC-TV18 that Imagine marketing IPO will have a fresh issue and OFS Rs 1,000 crore each. It is looking to launch its IPO by April-May 2022 and is likely to raise around Rs 2,000 core via a public listing.
boAt, operated by Imagine Marketing, had raised nearly Rs 750 crore ($100 million) from the US-based Warburg Pincus early this year. Qualcomm Ventures invested Rs 50 crore in April at a valuation of Rs 2,200 crore. In 2019, boAt received Rs 20 crore as venture debt from BAC Acquisitions, cofounded by the Flipkart founder Sachin Bansal. The startup had generated about Rs 700 crore in revenue for FY20.
Chingari raises $15 million funding from Republic Capital, others
Short-video platform Chingari on Monday said it has raised $15 million (about Rs 111.4 crore) in funding led by Republic Capital. The extended Series A round also saw participation from Onmobile, JPIN Venture Catalysts, Hill Harbour, Angellist, Venture Collective, Makan Family, Cowa Ventures, MVC Friends, Protocol Labs and other HNI family offices, a statement said.
The app will invest this new round of funds to enhance and integrate new in-app features, strengthen the backend technology team, as well as boost its marketing initiatives for 2022, it added. The major part of the fresh investment will be utilised to enhance the technology on the app, launch new features and augment the backend tech team by appointing the finest talent across artificial intelligence and machine learning with an aim to further enrich Chingari's user experience, it said.
Another important area of focus is to increase marketing initiatives to strengthen the brand's reach further into the roots of Bharat by making it a favourite among the tier III and IV audiences too, it added. The app is planning to soon launch its Live-streaming, socio-commerce and audio chat features, which will help creators to boost their engagement rates with the viewers and also open the gates for top brands and companies to collaborate with the app and its creators, leading to the next big phase of creator economy, it said.
Chingari's $GARI (crypto token) is also set to make a debut by getting listed on six global exchange platforms - FTX, Huobi, Kucoin, OKEX, Gate.IO, MEXC Global. With over 35 million monthly active users (MAUs) currently, the company is looking at further growing its user base to more than 200 million by the end of 2022. Given the surge in demand for regional content in India, Chingari also plans to increase the local content portfolio by deploying more than 20 languages on the platform.
ZingHR raises $10 million from Tata Capital Funds
Cloud-tech HR venture ZingHR has raised $10 million from Tata Capital Funds that will give the latter a 33 percent stake in the company. ZingHR will use the funding for expansion into more global markets, upgrade technology and scale up its talent pool, the firm said.
"'We have clocked phenomenal growth in the past few months, and this funding will further bolster our efforts to expand our footprints across the globe," ZingHR founder and CEO Prasad Rajappan said. ZingHR, which is already present in Australia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, is looking to expand to Europe, more countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and the US.
ZingHR offers comprehensive 'hire-to-retire solutions' to aid organisations to adopt digital transformation and improving business outcomes while enhancing the employee experience. The company serves over 700 enterprises across banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), retail, services, IT-ITeS, staffing, pharma and healthcare, and manufacturing.
Startup Your-Space raises $10 million to grow student housing business
Student housing startup Your-Space has raised $10 million from a clutch of investors for the expansion and growth of its business. The company has raised the amount in Series-A funding through a combination of pure equity and convertible debentures, it said in a statement.
The funding round was led by personal investment from Shantanu Rastogi (General Atlantic) and Ajay Gupta's (Capital Foods) family office AJAX Capital and Holy Basil Consultancy. The round also saw participation from Manish Choksi's (vice-chairman at Asian Paints) family office, Sunidhi Group's family office, Sanjaya Gupta (former MD & CEO of PNBHFL), among others.
The funds will help the company deepen its presence in a competitive crowded market. Your-Space has over 7,000 operational beds in 9 cities. It targets to have more than 20,000 beds by July this year for the coming 2022-23 academic year.
IndiaFilings raises $4.3 million from Beenext and Udtara Ventures
Compliance and regulatory service platform has raised $4.3 million from BeeNext, Udtara and angels. This is the first-ever institutional investment funding raised by the company. The funding raised will be used by the company to provide an exit to family members, it said in a statement.
"With this investment, we are looking to double our revenue, introduce newer products and grow our customer base further,” Lionel Charles, CEO and founder, IndiaFilings said. The firm utilises homegrown technology to provide regulatory and accounting services at scale and claims to be profitable with a revenue run rate of over Rs. 50 crore. With 500 employees and close to 1 lakh paid customers, at present, it said the platform has over 50,000 using it for various services.
35North Ventures and Mergerdomo invests $1 million in Cloud Tailor
Homegrown online tailoring solution provider Cloud Tailor has raised raises $1 million in its Pre-Series A round led by 35North Ventures along with Mergerdomo. Two of Cloud Tailor's existing HNI customers (Neema Rani and Nirupa Reddy) also participated in the current funding round.
The funds will be used towards the expansion of personalized fashion fulfillment centers across 8 cities in India and the growth of its technology team and the marketplace business models for Cloud Tailor, the company said in a statement.
CarzSo bags Rs 5 crore; to expand its VR tech & showroom in 'Metaverse' space, a virtual pre-owned cars showroom has raised Rs 5 crores from a group of marquee investors led by Mytash (an Indian investment arm of US early-stage investment fund). The startup plans to allocate the funds to launch multiple “Virtual Reality” based stores to further improve its presence in non-metro cities and invest in improving its showroom in the "Metaverse" space. plans on filing multiple patents for the use of "Virtual Reality" technology in the auto space. With growing inventory/revenue, the firm plans on launching 3 to 5 virtual stores to improve our presence in the Rural, tier 2 & tier 3 market, it said in a statement.
Edustoke gets Rs 3 crore in Seed Funding round
Edtech startup Edustoke has recently raised Rs 3 crore in a seed funding round led by Indus Initiatives. "We aim at expanding to 45 new cities within the country and internationally and anticipate a three-times growth this year,” said Pawas Tyagi, co-founder of Edustoke.
The brand will use the fresh capital infusion to scale to new cities across the country. It will also invest in technology to bolster its platform, strengthen its team, and build the brand. The company said it is looking at increasing its services that are being used by a host of education service providers and edtech companies to acquire customers.
Sugar Cosmetics’ parent company picks up majority stake in ENN Beauty
Homegrown beauty brand Sugar Cosmetics’ parent company Vellvette Lifestyle has acquired a majority stake in natural skin and hair care brand, ENN Beauty for an undisclosed sum. ENN Beauty’s founder, Nandeeta Manchanda will work closely with Vineeta Singh and Kaushik Mukherjee, co-founders of Vellvette Lifestyle, to accelerate the brand’s online presence and enter the retail industry, the company said in a statement.
"Our target for ENN Beauty will be to help deploy our playbook of scaling SUGAR to grow ENN Beauty past the Rs.100 crore annualized sales mark even faster,” said Vineeta Singh, CEO & Co-founder of SUGAR Cosmetics. This deal will enable ENN Beauty to leverage a digital audience of over 50+ million beauty enthusiasts while it ramps up its retail presence to 100+ outlets by the next financial year.
The team will also look at re-strategizing the brand product’s average selling point to make it more accessible and desirable to women from Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets as well. Meanwhile, the investment will give Sugar Cosmetics a play in the hair and skincare market. According to a RedSeer report, the beauty and personal care industry in 2020 was valued at $16 billion and expected to grow at 12 percent per annum to $28 billion by 2025.
G.O.A.T Brand Labs forays into women’s fast fashion by acquiring The Label Life
Building on their portfolio of leading D2C brands across categories, G.O.A.T Brand Labs has now acquired a 90 percent stake in The Label Life, a widely renowned, women’s fashion and lifestyle brand styled by Sussanne Khan, Malaika Arora and Bipasha Basu. "We will scale the brand exponentially by expanding globally and launching new product categories. The aim is to make it one of the first D2C brands to hit the 500 crore revenue mark by 2025!" says Rishi Vasudev, Co-founder, G.O.A.T Brand Labs.
The brand currently sells across categories like apparel, accessories, footwear and home. The plans are to further build these categories and expand to categories like jewellery, beauty and personal care and loungewear, among others to offer a complete range of lifestyle products. The Label Life is the latest addition to the portfolio of D2C brand acquisitions made by G.O.A.T Brand Labs.
This comes after a slew of announcements in the recent past - Pepe Jeans Inner Fashion, women's Indian wear brand - Abhishti, pet food brand - Doggie Dabbas, home improvement brand - Smart Shelter, sports and fitness brand - Hipkoo, kids wear brand - Frangipani, and skin care brand - Neemli Naturals, among others.
Antler India announces inaugural fellowship cohort
Global early-stage venture capital firm, Antler, has announced 19 student entrepreneurs as a part of its inaugural Antler India Fellowship cohort.
The chosen students are working on eight startups including Blood51, Desklamp, Liquibrium NFTPhysicals, Qube, Tezz, TickEth, spanning across sectors such as web3, clean-tech, med-tech, agritech, SaaS and creator economy, the company said in a statement.
The fellowship cohort offers an equity-free grant of $20,000 and mentorship to the students to help them turn their startup ideas into businesses, Antler said. The fellowship cohort is a 16-week programme, which provides a platform for experimentation, building and scaling, with the support of equity-free capital, mentors and a peer network, it added. The VC firm is also planning to deploy $100-$150 million in over 100 Indian startups over the next three years.
UGC, AICTE warn against ‘franchise arrangement’ between colleges and edtech companies
The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have warned their recognised varsities and institutions against offering courses in distance learning and online mode in association with Ed-tech companies, saying no “franchise” agreement is permissible as per norms.
The higher education regulator (UGC) and technical education regulator (AICTE) have also advised students and parents to check the recognition status of any programme on their websites before enrolling in any course.
"The regulations mandate that the HEIs shall not offer ODL or online programme under any franchise arrangement and the HEIs themselves are completely responsible for the programmes.
However, it has come to the notice of UGC recently that some EdTech companies are giving advertisements in newspapers, social media and television, etc that they are offering degree and diploma programmes in ODL and online modes in association with some universities and institutions recognised by the UGC," commission secretary Rajnish Jain said in official order.
“Such a franchisee arrangement is not permissible and action will be taken against defaulting EdTech companies as well as HEIs under applicable laws, rules and regulations. All the students are also hereby advised that they should check the recognition and entitlement status of the programmes on the UGC website before enrolling in any course,” he added. In a similar public notice, the AICTE has also warned against the franchise arrangement between institutions and Ed-tech companies.
The Education Ministry had earlier this month issued an elaborate advisory to parents and students dealing with edtech firms asking them, among other things, to exercise caution while making payments. The ministry had said the parents, students and all stakeholders in education have to be careful while deciding on opting for online content and coaching being offered by a host of Ed-tech companies.
Ambee launches Gspatial to bulk historical air quality and weather data
Ambee, a climate intelligence company that supplies hyperlocal environmental data in real-time, has launched, a new offering that provides historical air quality and weather data to businesses and governments across 70+ countries all over the world. The service includes street-by-street hourly air quality and weather data spanning the last 20+ years.
Ambee’s will benefit healthcare, pharma, insurance, logistics, retail, and even government bodies, the company said in a statement. helps mitigate the risks of climate change through deep and actionable insights on environmental factors, helping companies assess risks and make sound business decisions.
Shadowfax announces 2nd COVID care program for its 100K+ rider partners
Shadowfax, a crowdsourced tech-enabled platform for last-mile deliveries, has announced its second COVID care program for all its rider partners.
Shadowfax has been running on-call COVID assistance and counseling for its rider partners and families. In addition to the COVID care program, the company has also partnered with Acko General Insurance to provide insurance benefits to its riders, it said in a statement.
The company has conducted a pilot survey within its delivery network to map the COVID positivity rate among partners. The results depicted a 5X increase in the positivity rate as compared to the numbers captured during the peak of the second wave.
"We have implemented policies to ensure that our network partners stay protected and in turn, the entire delivery cycle is guarded. We have built state-of-the-art technology to keep a tab on the spread of infection among our rider partners. Also, more than 95 percent of our network is fully vaccinated and for the others, we have been making required arrangements to help them get their doses at the earliest,” said Abhishek Bansal, CEO and co-founder, Shadowfax.
VRXtream launches Metaverse platform for events
VRXtream, a next-gen immersive event platform has announced the launch of a metaverse of events equipped with AR & VR technologies. The platform is integrated with the NFT marketplace that facilitates networking, conducting social and entertainment events in the metaverse, the company said.
The newly launched platform offers a complete suite of immersive, engaging and feature-aided events instantaneously customizable with VR Spaces, NFT characters and NFT elements. The multiple Virtual Spaces featured on the metaverse platform can be customized for events and are packed with features that enable easy organization, management and interaction at the same time.
Apart from using VR technology, VRXtream also leverages blockchain technology to convert all digital assets into NFTs that are secure, tradeable and provide real ownership authority to buyers.
Rashid Khan, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Prithvi Shaw latest to announce NFT deals with Rario
Afghan spin bowler Rashid Khan and Indian batting duo Ruturaj Gaikwad and Prithvi Shaw become the latest among a growing list of international cricketers to team up with Rario - the world’s first cricket NFT platform.
The young trio joins the likes of Virender Sehwag, Rishabh Pant, AB de Villiers and Zaheer Khan as ambassadors of Rario. As a result of these partnerships, Rario has obtained exclusive rights to mint officially licensed NFTs of the three cricketers in the form of fan favourite images or video clips from their iconic on-field cricketing moments.
Apple to require employee proof of COVID-19 booster: Report
Apple will require retail and corporate employees to provide proof of a COVID-19 booster shot, The Verge reported. Starting January 24, unvaccinated employees or those who haven't submitted proof of vaccination will need negative COVID-19 tests to enter Apple workplaces, the report said. The Verge said it was not immediately clear if the testing requirement applies to both corporate and retail employees.
"Due to waning efficacy of the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and the emergence of highly transmissible variants such as Omicron, a booster shot is now part of staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination to protect against severe disease," the memo read, according to The Verge.
Many companies in the US have been strengthening their COVID-19 rules, mandating vaccination, and delaying back-to-office plans as the Omicron variant increases infections across the country. This week, Facebook parent Meta Platforms mandated COVID-19 booster shots for all workers returning to offices. It also delayed US office reopenings to March 28, from an earlier plan of January 31. Alphabet's Google on Friday said it was temporarily mandating weekly COVID-19 tests for people entering its US offices.
Russia fines Google for not deleting banned content
A Moscow court said it had ordered Alphabet's Google to pay $52,526 for not removing access to content banned in Russia, the latest in a string of fines for the US tech giant. Russia upped the ante late last year in its efforts to increase pressure on Big Tech, handing massive, revenue-based fines to Google and Meta Platforms for repeatedly failing to remove content Moscow deems illegal. The TASS news agency reported that Google had been fined for providing access to links to banned websites.
Spain moves to rein in crypto-asset advertising
Spain moved on Monday to regulate rampant advertising of crypto assets, including by social media influencers, tasking the stock market supervisor with authorising mass campaigns and making sure investors are aware of risks, Reuters reported. The rapid growth of cryptocurrencies and digital assets pegged to traditional currencies has drawn attention from regulators worldwide, who fear they could put the financial system at risk if not monitored.
The Spanish government said in its official bulletin advertisers and companies that market crypto assets will have to inform the CNMV watchdog at least 10 days in advance about the content of campaigns targeting more than 100,000 people. The new regulations will start from mid-February and allow the CNMV to specifically monitor advertising for all types of crypto-assets and to include warnings about risks involved in such investment.
The rules also apply to crypto-asset service providers when advertising their activities and to any person advertising on their own or on behalf of third parties. These include influencers with more than 100,000 subscribers who are paid to advertise and promote crypto assets, the CNMV said in a statement, adding that they will have to pre-notify the watchdog of promotional posts and to warn of risks.
Gulf Energy, Binance announce Thailand crypto partnership
Binance, one of the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, will set up a crypto exchange with Thailand's Gulf Energy Development, as per a Reuters report. Gulf Energy in a disclosure to the stock exchange said its agreement with Binance is a response to the rapid growth in digital asset infrastructure in Thailand.
Binance said it would set up the crypto exchange and related businesses in the country. Last year, Binance received a criminal complaint from Thailand's market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for operating a digital asset business without a license.
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