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Eight startups raise early-stage funding

Eight startups raise early-stage funding
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
15 Jul, 2021

Vistas TechnoLabs, parent operator of sales digitisation platform OneCode, on Thursday said it has raised $5 million in a seed funding round led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, and Nexus Venture Partners. 

Other investors in the funding round were WaterBridge Ventures, Aakrit Vaish of Haptik, Amrish Rau of Pine Labs, Anand Chandrasekaran, Arjun Vaidya, Ashish Dave of Mirae Asset, Cloud Capital, Gaurav Munjal of Unacademy, Harshil Mathur of Razorpay, Jitendra Gupta of Jupiter Money, Kunal Shah of CRED, Lalit Keshre of Groww, Miten Sampat, Pravin Jadhav of Raise Financial Services, Rahul Mathur of Bimape, Sandeep Srinivas of Redcarpet, Sujeeth Kumar of Udaan, Sweta Rau, and Vivek Ananda of Bounce.  

OneCode, which digitally connects brands with sales agents to sell products and services to buyers who are less tech-savvy, aims to digitise 50 million sales agents across India, as per a statement. 

It currently serves over 20 brands in India including four large banks, and 300,000 registered sales agents. 

Bengaluru-based OneCode provides sales agents with access to relevant products and services, chance to earn money through sales and visibility over earnings on an app.  

Companies on the other hand are able to increase distribution in tier-II and III cities using OneCode’s technology in agent network mobilisation.  

Founded in March 2019 by Manish Shara and Yash Desai, OneCode works with a variety of financial institutions, such as banks, as well as discount brokers and credit card companies, like ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and RedCarpet. 

Shara is a computer science graduate from Rajasthan University who previously founded and sold two startups. He and Desai worked together at Dineout, where Shara led the product department and Desai, who has an MBA from San Francisco’s Hult International Business School, was a business head. 

OneCode is part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies

Digantara 

Spacetech startup Digantara on Thursday said it has raised $2.5 million as part of a seed round of funding from Kalaari Capital. 

The funding will help it accelerate product development and enable launch of its first satellite in a low earth orbits (LEO) technology demonstration mission, as per a statement. 

The startup is incubated by the Society for Innovation and Development (SID) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). 

Founded in 2018 by three 22-year-old founders, Anirudh Sharma, Rahul Rawat, Tanveer Ahmed, Digantara aims to solve space junk to eliminate the risk of collisions in space. 

Existing Space Situational Awareness (SSA) solutions are either ground-based or utilize passive sensors alone, limiting debris tracking in terms of range, accuracy, sensitivity, number of objects detected, and overall data, the statement said. 

Digantara is developing a patented SSA solution suite for modelling centimeter-sized Resident Space Objects (RSO) and space weather in LEO. It combines space weather data to prediction models. 

Digantara recently onboarded Satyanarayana Malladi as Chief Scientific officer (CSO). The doctorate holder is former project director of Space Borne Lidar at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, ISRO.  

Previously, Digantara has secured a grant of Rs 50 Lakh for a win at ISRO ARISE ANIC - Category 3 Space Robotics/VR/AR/Outer Space Monitoring. Other recent wins include OneWeb’s 2021 Innovation Challenge, for which Digantara will work with SoftBank backed OneWeb on an unspecified research and development project. 

MedPay  

Medway Technologies, parent operator of healthtech offering MedPay, on Thursday said it has raised $1.2 million in a seed funding from Britain-based Talent Investor Entrepreneur First (EF) and GrowX Ventures. 

Founded by Arun Bhatia and. Ravi Chan Ravi Chandra in April 2020, the AI-powered platform’s APIs connect healthcare service providers to insurers.  

Its Connected Care Network (CCN) of clinics, pharmacies, and diagnostic centres enables lets such healthcare centres to accept insurance payments in real-time and facilitates a cashless claims process for the insured. 

Over 95% of retail pharmacies in India are unorganized, as per a statement from the company.  

“There is an immense need for OPD insurance in India. IRDAI the regulatory body is encouraging insurers to cover OPD and most insurers are experimenting with a variety of OPD insurance products,” Chandra said. 

Currently, MedPay Connected Care Network (CCN) has access to over 50,000 health centres spread across 450 cities covering over 4,000 pin codes.  

“Our journey started during the Covid time although we have been around this space for more than a decade. In a short span of time, we were able to create the fastest-growing network recognized by a number of Insurance companies who are partnering with us. One year old MedPay has processed total OPD transactional payment volume of over Rs 14 crore,” Chandra added. 

The startup will use the raised capital to expand its existing product offerings. 

Aqgromalin 

Agritech startup Aqgromalin on Thursday said it has raised Rs 5.5 crore (about $738,361 as per current exchange rate) in a seed funding round led by Zephyr Peacock India Growth fund. 

The round also included participation from IndigramLabs Foundation, among other angel investors, as per a statement. 

Aqgromalin is a technology-driven farm diversification platform enabling farmers to diversify into animal husbandry and aquaculture. It provides solutions to farmers, practising poultry farming, cattle farming, aquaculture, insect farming, and others, to help augment their farm income by organizing supply of input and marketing output. 

Founded in 2019 by Prasanna Manogaran and Bharani C L, Aqgromalin plans to use the funds raised from Zephyr Peacock for team expansion, technology development, category addition and geographical expansion, the statement added. 

It currently deploys technology to enhance reach and engagement through its mobile and web platforms for customers. It is working on IoT monitoring solutions for animal husbandry and aquaculture with AI deep learning inference. 

It is also building a blockchain based traceability platform for animal husbandry and aquaculture produce. Headquartered in Chennai, the company has currently reached over 40,000 livestock farmers across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Assam, West Bengal, Orissa and Kerala. 

It plans to reach over 1,00,000 farmers by the end of 2021.  

BurnCal 

BurnCal Healthcare, parent operator of an eponymous fitness solution provider, on Thursday said it has raised $330,000 in a bridge round of funding dubbed pre-seed, led by Titan Capital, and SenseAI Ventures, which is a syndicate on LetsVenture. 

Other investors in the round included Kushal Bhagia of First Cheque, Farooq Adam of Fynd, Hershel Mehta and Brendan Rogers of 2AM Ventures, KRS Jamwal of Tata Industries, Aditya Kothari of Chingari, and Anupam Mittal. 

The funding received will be utilized to build the core technology, scale up the product and strengthen the founding team, as per a statement from the 100X.VC Class 3 (December 2020) cohort startup. 

The startup was founded by -- Anik Agrawal, Vichar Shroff, Chetan Reddy, Kunal Agrawal -- a team of fitness coaches and serial entrepreneurs who are alumni of IIT Bombay, BITS Pilani, and University of Rochester. 

BurnCal, the statement said, was born out of Covid, as people struggled to find consistency with fitness due to a lack of convenient options. 

The platform’s proprietary computer vision-based technology tracks the posture and counts repetitions in real-time during workouts ensuring their members get complete attention even while working out from home without having a human trainer next to them. 

BurnCal offers a subscription-based fitness membership where the premium members get access to a fitness coach, personalized workouts and nutrition plans, real-time scoring, and performance tracking. 

EDGENeural.AI 

Pune-based deep-tech startup, EDGENeural.AI, on Thursday said it has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding led by Anicut Angel Fund, the equity arm of Anicut Capital. 

The funding round saw participation from Venkat Raju, 9Unicorns, Samir Inamdar, Dilip Angal, among other angel investors. 

The raised capital, as per a statement, will be used to make investments in engineering, product development, and team expansion. 

The startup aims to empower AI practitioners, engineers, and startups with tools to deploy Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) on resource constraints, low-power and cost-effective hardware as well as optimize production models for improved accuracy and performance.  

To bridge the challenges in the burgeoning EDGE ecosystem, Sarvesh Devi and Dhairya Badiyani founded EDGENeural.AI in 2020, the statement added. 

It is building a unified, cloud-neutral, hardware-agnostic platform ENAP that can automatically craft robust, scalable, and efficient deep neural network solutions for EDGE devices ready for production at scale. 

It claims to be the only company in India building an end-to-end workflow solution focused on improving the efficacy of AI algorithms and models for EDGE devices, providing engineers/ developers with a modular fully integrated workflow designed to train, optimize, deploy and manage edge AI neural networks. 

The solution’s features include accelerating the time-to-market for EDGE AI Development by up to 5X, reducing total cost of application by up to 75% percent, optimizing latency by up to 7X while preserving accuracy to enhance performance and lower memory footprint, and open architecture and integrations into popular model training tools and frameworks. 

The company was initially bootstrapped and is currently backed by the NVIDIA Inception Program, T-Hub, StartupIndia, Microsoft for Startups, Nasscom DeepTech Club 2.0. 

Pedagogy  

Edtech startup Vedantu on Thursday said it has acquired a majority stake in Pedagogy, an artificial intelligence-enabled personalized learning platform that provides online courses and interactive digital books for students preparing for competitive examinations. 

Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed. 

Pedagogy works on a subscription-based model to provide content to its students, from publishers and content creators. 

It converts physical books into interactive content and students can access books, courses, practice questions and tests on the go through app and web platforms. 

With the deal, Vedantu said it intends to make Pedagogy’s unique product accessible to Vedantu’s over 30 million students count. The company was founded by Archin Shah in 2016. 

Students on Pedagogy purchase single subscriptions to get access to a range of preparatory books and courses for their exam along with a personalized study and a practice platform. It allows aspirants to consume content from over 175 books and courses available for JEE and NEET. 

DanaMojo 

DanaMojo Online Solutions, a payments solution startup for NGOs, said it has raised its first round of funding, Rs 3.05 crore (about $409,337), from Rohini Nilekani, Social Alpha, Pravin Gandhi, and Vasanthi Anand, among others. 

Founded by Dhaval Udani in 2016, DanaMojo aims at reducing overall time, energy and cost involved in managing donations, allowing NGOs to focus on increasing their donations. It has so far onboarded over 900 NGOs. 

Nilekani is the founder-chairperson of Arghyam, a foundation she set up for sustainable water and sanitation. Social Alpha is a multistage innovation curation and venture development platform for science and technology start-ups that address the most critical social, economic and environmental challenges. 

Gandhi is a founding partner at Seedfund.