India-US start-up SETU will help connect entrepreneurs and investors, says Piyush Goyal
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The India-US start-up SETU, which stands for Supporting Entrepreneurs for Transformation and Upskilling, will act as a bridge between American and Indian companies, union minister of commerce Piyush Goyal said today.
The start-up will help entrepreneurs in upskilling, transforming, and leveraging the success stories of the Indian diaspora in the US, Goyal said after launching the program in San Francisco.
Urging entrepreneurs in the US to participate in the initiative, the minister said it would serve as an opportunity for them to give back to the country by supporting bright minds in India.
Goyal is on a six-day tour to the US for various programmes, which include the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) ministerial meeting and the India-US Strategic Partnership Forum conference.
Digital currency to be launched as pilot project this year: RBI Deputy Governor
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor T Rabi Sankar on Wednesday said the central bank will launch its digital currency as a pilot project this year.
Addressing the India Ideas Summit, he said Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is the most efficient system for cross-border payments. He, however, reiterated that RBI is not aiming for a cashless society but is keen to give customers viable alternatives.
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in the Union Budget that CBDC would be launched during 2022-23.
Coming soon: Guidelines for social media influencers on brand endorsements
Within the next 10 days, the government is set to announce guidelines for social media influencers who endorse brands and products.
Nidhi Khare, the head of the Central Consumer Protection Authority said influencers must provide disclaimers and will be treated as an endorser. Any violation could result in penalties starting from Rs 10 lakh.
"The consumers are gullible. They can't make out whether it's an innocent review or a commercial relationship exists between the influencer and the advertiser," Khare told CNBC-TV18.
Zomato Instant in extended pilot stage, says cofounder Mohit Gupta
Zomato's 10-minute food delivery service — Zomato Instant — is in an extended pilot phase, the food aggregator platform's co-founder Mohit Gupta told ET.
Since announcing the start of the pilot project in April, the company has scaled it from two to six locations in Delhi NCR, with plans of testing it out at two locations in Bengaluru, according to the report.
Last week, Zomato announced the start of its latest service — Intercity Legends — which allows users to order popular dishes from select locations across the country, with same-day delivery, be it biryani from Hyderabad or kebabs from Lucknow.
In the second round of layoffs, goal loan platform Rupeek fires 50 employees
Gold loans platform Rupeek has let go of 50 employees, saying that it is transitioning to a leaner cost structure with a focus on its core business of providing door-step gold loans, according to a MoneyControl report.
This is the startup's second round of downsizing, after it laid off 180 employees three months ago, as the funding winter turned into a layoff season in the Indian startup ecosystem.
The startup has indicated that it could turn profitable in the next 12-18 months, with the layoffs undertaken to move in that direction, according to the report.
CREDAI, Venture Catalysts set up $100 million proptech fund
Realtors apex body CREDAI and Venture Catalysts have set up a $100 million (about Rs 800 crore) proptech fund for supporting startups that are seeking to disrupt the real estate sector.
The Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI) has more than 13,000 developers as members, while Venture Catalysts is an integrated incubator and accelerator for startups.
This fund will invest in early to growth stage startups that have the potential to transform the real estate industry through technology, data analytics, blockchain, AI, and augmented reality.
Agnikul Cosmos secures patent for its single-piece 3D printed rocket engines
Indian space-tech start-up Agnikul has announced that the Government Of India has awarded it a patent for the design and manufacturing of its single-piece 3D printed rocket engines. Agnikul's Agnilet is the world's first single-piece 3D printed rocket engine, which was successfully test-fired in early 2021.
The announcement comes shortly after the startup announced the inauguration of its Rocket Factory- 1, which became India’s first private rocket engine facility. The facility, dedicated to 3D printing of rocket engines at scale, is situated at the IIT Madras Research Park.
Founded in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran, Moin SPM & Prof. SR Chakravarthy (from IIT Madras), Agnikul is building a private small satellite rocket — Agnibaan — which will be capable of carrying up to 100 to 300 kg of payload to low Earth orbits up to 700 km.
UserStudy raises seed funding from Better Capital
UserStudy, a SaaS startup that simplifies user research for product teams, has raised $1 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Better Capital. Other investors who participated are Sparrow VC, Maninder Gulati, Good Capital and notable angels from Gojek, Microsoft, Meta, Oyo, FlexiLoans and Upgrad.
Also Read: With 3 days a week most popular hybrid choice, India Inc looks to expand office spaces: Report
UserStudy is building a video-first research solution that gathers insights from video and audio channels in an organisation and consolidates all insights and feedback in one place. The company also helps product teams in the recruitment of the research participants with segmentation of demographics and professional attributes.
"Our vision is to build a one-stop SaaS for all research needs of product teams globally. While product and design leaders understand the importance of user research, most teams cannot do enough because conducting research is challenging and time-consuming. With UserStudy, it becomes effortless to do research. Insights are generated in a matter of hours, not weeks," said Anshul Divakar, co-founder of UserStudy.
Mental health-tech start-up Evolve raises pre-seed funding
Evolve, a mental health start-up has raised a pre-seed round of Rs 3 crore led by Rajesh Ranavat, executive director, Fund Strategic Holdings. The round also saw participation from prominent angel investors including Ankit Mehrotra and Nikhil Bakshi (Founders, Dineout) as well as senior global executives from Meta and McKinsey.
Evolve claims to be the world’s first holistic mental health app that focuses on the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Co-founded by Anshul Kamath and Rohan Arora in 2020, the startup says it has over 2,50,000 users globally, with its proprietary interface providing a virtual safe space along with personalised, evidence-based interventions to improve mental health.
Microsoft backs Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens: report
Microsoft is said to have invested in Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick's dark kitchen startup — CloudKitchens, according to a report by The Financial Times.
The investment has come as part of the startup's $850 million funding round that was closed last November at a valuation of $15 billion, according to sources cited in the report.
Earlier, Microsoft had invested about $100 million in Uber, way back in 2015, before Kalanick quit Uber following a series of controversies and scandals.