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Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
Here are the top headlines from the startup space.
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Debt marketplace CredAvenue turns unicorn, secures $137M in Series B fundraise
Debt marketplace CredAvenue has raised $137 million in its Series B fundraise led by Insight Partners, B Capital Group, Dragoneer and existing investors.
Post the fundraise, the fintech startup has become the latest to enter the unicorn club at a valuation of $1.3 billion. It has become the fastest Indian fintech startup to join the billion-dollar club within 18 months of being established, the firm said in a statement.
The startup, which counts Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed Venture Partners, TVS Capital, Lightrock, Vivriti Capital and Indian fintech CRED among its backers, will use the funds to expand its business in India along with key global markets and will also deepen its technological capabilities.
The firm claims to be clocking a cumulative Gross Turnover Volume (GTV) of over $12 billion. Currently, CredAvenue claims to have facilitated debt funding of over Rs 90,000 crore to over 2,300 corporates with more than 750 participating on its platform. The company recently acquired artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered debt recovery platform Spocto Solutions.
Agritech platform Otipy secures $32M in Series B round
Agri-tech startup, Otipy has secured $32 million in its Series B funding round led by Westbridge Capital.
Existing investors SIG and Omidyar Network India also participated in the round. The fresh investment comes six months after Otipy raised $10.2 million in its Series A funding round.
“Leveraging our fast supply chain and community leader network we aim to provide fresh, quality produce to consumers at the lowest price. We will continue to build on our proposition for value conscious consumers. The series B round of funding will support us as we expand to new pin codes, strengthen our supply chain, invest in cutting edge tech, add product categories and accelerate our mission of making fresh, nutritious food accessible to all,” said Varun Khurana Founder and CEO, Otipy.
The company claims to have witnessed exponential growth in the current financial year and expects its turnover to jump nearly five times to Rs 100+
crores by the end of this fiscal year.
E-sports gaming startup Gamerji raises $1.1M in Pre Series A round
Esports gaming platform Gamerji has raised $1.1 million in a Pre-Series A round led by Unicorn India Ventures. The round also saw participation from Stadia Ventures, Urmin Group family office and existing investors.
The startup plans to use the fresh funds to enhance tournament organization technology, build social features for the gamers & and expand to MENA and south east Asia, it said in a statement.
The startup currently has 2.3 million gamers on its platform and has conducted more than 29K tournaments till date. Since the seed round in Dec 2020, Gamerji claims to haveincreased its user base by 3X and is conducting more than 200 tournaments every day for more than 15 titles.
The company plans to gain more than 5 million users from India, while also expanding its tournament services in MENA & SEA in 2022.
Digital pension startup PensionBox receives $160K investment
PensionBox, a digital pension app, has raised $160,000 in a funding round led by angel investors such as Kishore Ganji, Keynote India, Aprameya Radhakrishna, SAT Industry, among others.
The 100X.VC-backed startup will use the fresh capital to hire a strong team and build its product faster in coming months to lead the way in the pension sector in India, it said in a statement.
PensionBox helps users digitise pensions and secure their retirement with the right pension. Users can create their personalised digital pension plan within minutes to track pension savings, contribute and withdraw pension online.
Sara Ali Khan invests in The Souled Store, to join as equity partner
Actor Sara Ali Khan has invested an undisclosed amount in D2C fashion brand The Souled Store. With this, the actor is set to join the casual wear and pop-culture apparel brand as an equity partner.
“Being an ardent pop-culture lover, and a firm believer in originality and comfort being as important as fashion, I see the brand as a perfect fit to invest in. I look forward to being part of the TSS family,” said Sara.
The firm had earlier raised Rs 75 Crores from Elevation Capital. Angel investors and startup founders including - Sahil Barua, co-founder Delhivery; Gunjan Soni, chief executive officer, Zalora; Revant Bhate, co-founder, Mosaic Wellness; Ramakant Sharma, founder, Livspace among others, invested too.
With over 4 million customers, the brand’s current product portfolio includes top wear, bottom wear, innerwear and active wear for men and women.
OTHER STARTUP NEWS
Mensa Brands partners with home storage solutions brand Pretty Krafts
E-commerce rollup unicorn Mensa Brands has announced its partnership with home storage solutions brand, Pretty Krafts.
Pretty Krafts’ product line-up comprises of closet organizers, laundry bags, shirt stackers, hanging storage units and a host of other home storage products that are popular on Amazon and Flipkart.
“The home storage solutions category continues to register strong growth, both in India as well as globally, giving an impetus to Pretty Krafts to scale, with the right mix of product, marketing, logistics and inventory management. This is where Mensa comes to the fore with a vision to scale the digital-first brand exponentially,” said Ananth Narayanan, Founder and CEO of Mensa Brands.
CAMS acquires majority stake in fintech firm Fintuple
CAMS, which acts as a registrar and transfer agent for mutual funds, on Monday said it has acquired majority stake in Fintuple Technologies, a fintech platform for alternative investment funds (AIFs) and portfolio managers.
With the addition of Fintuple's portfolio of offerings, CAMS is geared towards further strengthening its value proposition for AIF and PMS (portfolio management services) marketplace, according to a statement.
The company, however, did not disclose the financial details of the deal.
Founded in 2018, Fintuple is a new age start-up which has launched niche technology offerings in the areas of client digital on-boarding, KYC, fund data, fact sheets and analysis and other digital support solutions for AIF and PMS.
"We expect the AIF and PMS markets to grow at a CAGR of more than 20 per cent over the next decade, and hence found investing into Fintuple as a great opportunity that will assist CAMS and Fintuple in building overall market reach and driving innovation," Anuj Kumar, Managing Director - CAMS, said.
Zeta enters into global partnership with Mastercard
Banking tech unicorn and credit card provider Zeta has announced a 5-year global partnership with Mastercard. As part of the deal, Mastercard has also made an undisclosed investment in the company.
As part of the deal, the firms will go-to-market jointly to launch credit cards with issuers worldwide on Zeta's modern, cloud-native, and fully API-ready credit processing stack, a statement said.
“With Zeta’s next-gen credit card processing platform, we are fundamentally rewiring how issuers launch credit card programs by offering new paradigms over legacy mainframe systems,” said Bhavin Turakhia, co-founder & CEO of Zeta.
One Moto India partners with Global Assure to provide roadside assistance to its customers
One Moto India, the British premium EVs brand, has announced partnership with Global Assure, a roadside assistance company in India.
With this partnership, Global Assure will offer 24x7 support to One Moto India customers regarding any automotive breakdown along with other assistance services.
The brand has been expanding its portfolio of products and services. So far it has already released 3 EV two-wheeler products on road- Byka, Electa, and Commuta, it said in a statement.
One Moto India plans to widen its footprint across 5 states, and 10 cities in next two quarters. The brand aims at manufacturing 50,000 units by the end of the financial year.
Edtech startup Skill-Lync ties up with Renault Nissan Tech to train professionals
Education technology startup Skill-Lync has partnered with Renault Nissan Technology & Business Centre India (RNTBCI) for training and up-skilling of professionals.
The partnership will drive comprehensive talent transformation programmes and the two partners will launch co-branded programmes to build a talent pipeline for their future needs, the company said in a statement.
RNTBCI is the captive automotive technology and business centre supporting automotive alliance Renault and Nissan globally.
As part of the partnership, Skill-Lync's students trained in various areas, including electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, embedded systems, model-based development, automotive design, finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and data analytics and data science, will be considered for entry-level and lateral hiring at RNTBCI, depending upon suitable skill sets and requirements.
Moreover, internship opportunities will also be provided to Skill-Lync students at RNTBCI's Chennai facility which will help them gain experiential learning, it added. On the other hand, RNTBCI employees can also enrol for up-skilling programme (electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles) on the Skill-Lync platform, which are delivered through a combination of self-paced and instructor-led sessions.
Skill-Lync will invest in creating advanced course content to drive year-round training programs at the RNTBCI's training centre, it added.
ShareChat announces policies around childcare, fertility, miscarriage, and adoption for employees
ShareChat, a social media platform, has introduced several policies for all its employees, especially women, to create a nurturing and conducive environment for its workforce.
The company is providing special leave allowances and packages around childcare, fertility, adoption, and miscarriages. It will allocate ﬁve days a year to all its employees for emergencies related to the health or education of their children. The company will also provide Rs 7000 per child per month, up to six years of age, to all women employees as in-house nanny expenses, it said in a statement.
Adoption support will be provided by ShareChat in the form of 26 weeks of leave to adoptive mothers of children aged below 6 months and 12 weeks of leave for adopting children above that age.
In addition to this, fertility-related treatments like egg freezing and care packages for all expectant mothers will now be a part of ShareChat’s employee health insurance policy. Up to 12 weeks of leave will be provided to commissioning mothers, the firm added.
Microsoft unveils fourth data center in India
Microsoft has unveiled its fourth data centre in India, betting on rising digital consumption in one of its fastest-growing markets.
Microsoft India head Anant Maheshwari said the company was making long-term investments in the country, although he declined to confirm reports by local media of a $2 billion price tag for the latest centre.
"A public cloud data center is not a one time investment, it is a continuous investment that we have," Maheshwari told Reuters. "In the last two years, we doubled the capacity in the existing three data centers."
Maheshwari said Microsoft was continuing to grow its workforce in India from 18,000 currently "both through the pandemic and going forward." "We already serve more than 340,000 companies in the country," Maheshwari said.
The new data centre is located in India's southern state of Telangana.
Faasos becomes largest India-origin QSR chain with 500+ restaurants in 10 countries
D2C unicorn Rebel Foods’ homegrown brand, Faasos, said it has touched the milestone of the 500 restaurants across 10 countries making it the largest Indian origin QSR chain, globally.
Faasos entered 7 new countries in 2021 - the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Bangladesh. Motivated by an 80 per cent consumer repeat rate in India. The brand also added 55 new internet restaurants and 50 new cities in the last quarter, it said in a statement.
The brand witnessed a 7.5X order growth within months of its launch in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore. The brand was launched in Thailand in August 2021 and witnessed a 150% growth in just one month. From January 2021 to 2022, revenue grew at 11x led by strong brand positioning which today represents ~70% of Rebel Foods’ portfolio sales across 6 countries in South East Asia, the company said
“In 2022, we want to work on building awareness and salience for Faasos in these markets to grow it further. We’ll also look at the continued increase in footprint in current markets and expand into a few new markets,” said, Ankush Grover, Co-founder, Rebel Foods.
B2B retail startup Arzooo launches marketplace for sellers
B2B retail platform Arzooo has launched a B2B seller plaform, Falcon. The marketplace is open to individuals or businesses who are distributors, wholesalers, a large format player or an OEM to take their products to a larger offline market with Zero distribution cost.
The seller platform is end to end tech driven based on all Do It Yourself (DIY) service where Sellers have to register on the Falcon platform with relevant details which will eventually create an order dashboard for their business where they can list their products, view and manage new orders from retailers, the company said in a statement.
During the pilot, sellers have done business of over 200 crores on the platform, Arzoo added.
Rooter bags media rights deal for South Asia's esports tournament organizer Skyesports
Game streaming platform Rooter has acquired the media rights deal for all of Skyesports’ IPs for the next one year. As per a company’s statement, it is one of the largest media rights deals in Indian esports.
Skyesports is an esports tournament organizer in South Asia that conducts competitions under its self-owned IPs. The announcement is in line with Skyesports’ and Rooter’s aim of making esports and game streaming as accessible as possible, the statement added.
Post this deal, all of Skyesports’ original competitions will be broadcasted exclusively on Rooter. The tournaments will be streamed in several languages which include Hindi, English, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, and Telugu.
This deal will further enable the platform to further tap into the esports market by leveraging Skyespots’ large viewer base. Rooter will also be producing additional content based on Skyesports’ IPs throughout the year to offer more entertainment to fans.
In January, the company announced that it had raised $25 million in its series A funding round led by Lightbox, March Gaming, and Duane Park Ventures.
Yulu completes 3M battery swaps till date, eyeing $100M fundraise
Electric two-wheeler startup Yulu has announced that it has achieved more than 3 million battery swaps till date.
The startup said it will operate at 3 million monthly battery swaps and a fleet of 1 Lakh EVs by the end of 2022.
As per an ET report, Yulu is also planning to raise up to $100 million to expand its business model. The firm will expand its fleet to 100,000 units by the end of the year, open up franchisee models to reach newer cities and cater to personal buyers in the next one year.
boAt onboards Rashmika Mandanna as first female Brand Ambassador
IPO-bound D2C brand boAt has onboarded actress Rashmika Mandanna for their wearables category and women’s day campaign ‘#DanceThroughLife’.
The Pushpa fame actress is also the first female ambassador onboarded by boAt exclusively for the wearables category and to endorse TRebel Collection, it said in a statement.
“Through this partnership, we intend to establish our presen ce in the southern market, along with strengthening our position in the smartwatches category,” said Aman Gupta, Co-Founder and CMO Imagine Marketing.
Women job applications witnessed 25% Y-o-Y increase in 2021: Naukri.com Report
Women's job applications witnessed a 25 percent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) increase in 2021, according to a report by Naukri.com.
The findings showed that there were 2,113 million female job applications in 2021, the number was 1,687 million in 2020 and 1,410 million in 2019.
In terms of women's job applications, the report witnessed a 25 percent Y-o-Y in 2021, and a 20 percent Y-o-Y in 2020.
“With over 20 crore female job applications across all industries, functional areas and experience bands on our platform is a positive indication that Indian women are open to exploring new career opportunities. The y-o-y growth of 25% in women job applications in 2021 can be credited to the pandemic-induced new working models of remote/hybrid. As a result, women professionals, especially those who were on break are now motivated than ever to restart their careers and take up work assignments.”, said Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer, Naukri.com.
2X QoQ growth in job posting by top unicorns in India: apna Report
2021 was a milestone year for the Indian startup ecosystem with 44 companies entering the ‘Unicorn Club’. There has been a 2X quarter on quarter (QoQ) growth in job posting by top unicorns in India, according to a recent report by apna.co.
At present, apna is the preferred hiring partner of 30 Indian unicorns including the ones joining the club last year, it said in a statement.
The report highlighted that more than 80 percent of hiring demand has been for the top 3 categories -- Delivery persons, field sales, and business development. . E-commerce, social commerce, and food delivery emerged as the top hiring sectors. Online education platforms were also recorded generating a variety of job opportunities for the professionals in the country, the report added.
GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY & STARTUP NEWS
Uber raises first-quarter profit forecast on strong ridership, delivery growth
Uber has raised its outlook for first-quarter core profit on Monday, as its ridehailing business was recovering faster than expected on the back of a surge in airport rides and an increase in the number of offices being reopened.
The company also said customers continued to order food at a high rate in February.
As per Reuters, Uber said in a filing it now expected adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $130 million to $150 million in the first three months of the year, up from $100 million to $130 million it previously projected.
"Our mobility business is bouncing back from Omicron much faster than we expected," Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said. He said consumers were eager to book rides for travel, commuting or nightlife.
Khosrowshahi said gross bookings for airports, which are among the most profitable routes for Uber, were up over 50% month-on-month in February and headed to be one of the strongest ever in the upcoming travel season.
Ride-hail trips in February remain only 10% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels in the same month, Uber said. February mobility gross bookings had recovered to 95% compared with February 2019.
On the delivery side, gross bookings reached an all-time high in February, the company said.
Netflix suspends service in Russia
Netflix has suspended its service in Russia, a company spokesperson told Reuters. Earlier this week, Netflix temporarily stopped all future projects and acquisitions in Russia as it assessed the impact of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.
"Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia," the Netflix spokesperson said.
Netflix had earlier said it had no plans to add state-run channels to its Russian service, despite a regulation that would require it to distribute state-backed channels.
TikTok suspends livestreaming, new uploads in Russia
TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, said it would suspend live-streaming and the uploading of videos to its platform in Russia as it reviews the implications of a new media law signed on Friday by President Vladimir Putin.
"We have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law," the social media company said in a series of Twitter posts. It said in-app messaging would not be affected by the decision.
According to Reuters, the US government on Saturday condemned the new law, which threatens jail terms of up to 15 years for spreading what the Kremlin describes as "fake news".
Apple expected to launch new low-cost 5G iPhone
Apple will likely announce a new low-cost version of its iPhone SE with 5G capabilities at its annual spring product launch event on Tuesday, analysts told Reuters.
The iPhone maker is also expected to launch a new version of the iPad Air and a high-end Mac Mini at the event.
Apple's iPhone SE is currently priced at $399. CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino said Apple could attract more price-sensitive consumers if the price remains the same for the new version.
NFT startup Immutable valued at $2.5Bn in Temasek-led financing
Australian NFT startup Immutable has raised fresh funding from investors led by Singapore's Temasek in a round that values it at $2.5 billion, as it taps a surge in interest in cryptocurrency and NFT ventures, Reuters reported.
Investors in the $200-million funding round include Mirae Asset, ParaFi Capital, Declaration Partners, Tencent Holdings and others, Immutable said.
The company had raised money at a valuation of $410 million in its previous funding round in 2021, it said.
Shareholders urge Amazon to boost tax transparency: Report
Twenty-four Amazon investors are urging the tech giant to step up transparency in tax disclosures and adopt a new reporting standard, the Financial Times said.
Asset managers Nordea, Royal London and several large European and US pension funds are among those pushing for Amazon to issue a transparency report in line with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) tax standard, the newspaper said.
They want to bring a shareholders' resolution demanding the new standard at the company's annual meeting this year, it said, citing a letter to be sent this week to the US regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Aggressive tax practices can expose a company and its investors to increased scrutiny from tax authorities, adjustment risks, and increase their vulnerability to changes in tax rules," the investors said.
These measures come at a time when nations are looking to protect their tax bases from deleterious practices, they added in the letter seen by the FT.
The 100 groups that signed the letter included several environmental, social and governance-focused and religious funds, although not all were investors, the paper said.
(Edited by : Priyanka Deshpande)
First Published: Mar 7, 2022 8:58 PM IST