India has now entered the Lockdown 5.0 phase, which basically relaxes the restrictions on a host of businesses, including hospitality and retail to a large extent. Although there’s still fear in the minds of consumers and businesses, they are starting to adapt to the ‘new normal’. The changes in the lockdown have brought the need for new innovations from startups and transparent processes to streamline the supply chains, business and team communications as well as identify ways to connect with the consumer in a more grounded manner.
For many industries, the road to recovery is long. However, there are a few sectors where pandemic has created positive momentum. While scouting for the startups to watch out for May 2020, we came across a number of early-stage startups that have managed to survive the storm.
More than half of the startups that made the list or to be precise, 56% are from deeptech, fintech and enterprise tech, while 60% of the startups operate on the B2B side.
This is not surprising at all, given the way the traditional BFSI ecosystem has struggled to maintain its manual KYC work, underwriting and collection processes, and the fact that SMBs and businesses opted for work from home at large scale to push the market for enterprise tech.
30 Startups To Watch: May 2020
Startups are a risky asset class. However, Covid-19 has changed the way businesses are operating so far in many ways. Even, traditional businesses that have been shy about adopting tech have to consider digital presence as a key part of their identity, while online players are busy extending their verticals into different untouched domains. These factors are acting as a catalyst to accelerate the growth of sectors such as enterprise tech, deeptech and fintech at a fast pace.
Inc42 brings to you a curated list of 30 early-stage startups that have managed to stand out in these tough times and have the right momentum to make a difference in the market.
Editor’s Note: The below list is not meant to be a ranking of any kind. We have listed the startups in alphabetical order.
Why AccioJob Made It To The List?
An end-to-end SaaS-enabled marketplace, AccioJob’s business model lies at the intersection of empowering non-tech professionals with HR tech and edtech expertise. Backed by Y Combinator, the startup pitched itself as “HandShake for India”, taking inspiration from the US-based startup HandShake. The idea is to bridge the skill and training gap in the young non-tech professionals primarily in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets.
AccioJob says that for every 200 posts, only 6-7 candidates are able to clear the interview process, with the majority lacking in communication and soft skills. The startup is currently connected to more than 100 colleges. It offers more than 50 hours courses both offline and online to train students and share profiles with the companies. Interestingly, the courses are available in Hinglish, a preferred language amongst young college graduates in the country.
While students are trained without any charge, the startup receives its revenue from commission from the companies as well as selling its SaaS management product to the colleges. With Covid-19 pandemic, the company has also launched ‘PreHire’ to monetise on the available training courses. In near future, the startup looks to scale its business model to offer guaranteed job placement, something that every student and college aspires for.
Why Authlink Made It To The List?’
Globally, the electronic document management market is expected to hit $6 Bn in market size. Blockchain-based startup Authlink is looking to grab a slice of this big opportunity. It is building a coherent ecosystem for brands, product owners, independent QA’s, and third-party service providers. This ecosystem together creates a chain of trusted information regarding a product and document.
The Authlink network creates a digital footprint of each step involved in the creation of a product and the issuance of a document. The footprint created on the network ensures the product provenance, proof of authenticity, and proof of ownership. Further, the company is soon going to launch an owner vault, which is a secure mobile app for product and certificate owners to easily store, manage, share, and transfer their valuables electronically.
The platform has its proven use cases in several industries and is being launched with a focus on jewellery & luxury goods, automobiles, educational & professional certificates, and government licenses. It also utilises smart contracts to keep all platform data secure and maintain user privacy.
Why Azah Made It To The List?
Pain, cramps, rashes, discomfort. This is the usual story of a typical menstruation cycle for most women. In India, there are issues around hygiene too as most rural women still prefer to use low-cost cotton cloth pads instead of sanitary napkins due to cost and availability. While many femtech startups are trying to tap this rural base, others focused on the urban woman with organic products.
Azah claims that its pads are made with organic cotton along with a hypoallergenic non-woven fabric that leaves an ultra-soft surface. The core consists of a non-toxic and eco-friendly absorbent which ensures a dry feeling even after several hours.
It is the first company in India to ensure that the pads are MADE SAFE-certified, meaning that they have been extensively tested and are free from chemicals and irritants that shouldn’t be in contact with the sensitive areas of the body.
Overall the opportunity to tap is vast. For instance, the revenue in the feminine hygiene segment amounts to $4.6 Bn in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 5.4% (2020-2023). How well Azah is able to break through to the audiences in Tier 2 and Tier 3 market will determine its long-term success, but the scale is often a big hurdle to cross for the organic product segment in the Indian market.
Why Bank Of Hodlers Made It To The List?
Bank Of Hodlers (BoH) is the first neobank in India to use cryptocurrency as a cashback. Just a few months back, the startup might not have made the list, but as the Supreme Court verdict on March 4, 2020 lifted the ban on cryptocurrency trading, Bank Of Hodlers was one of the first to catch our eye, given that it’s not doing the crypto exchange model.
In cryptocurrency speak, hodl refers to buy-and-hold strategies of long-term crypto investors. Hodlers are those who are not in it for the short haul in the crypto market. A team of BITS and IIT graduates, BoH partners with banks to roll out co-branded products and offer features like 30-second account creation, one-stop platform to trade on different cryptocurrency exchange platforms and more.
With a global user base of 60K (20K in India) it claims to make 3% of the assets under management per year and have scaled this venture to $2.2 Mn in AUM. In the last two months, the transaction volumes also rose almost 10 times amid the ongoing controversies in the banking sector linked to HDFC, YES bank among others. The founders believe Indian cryptocurrency user base will rise to 12 Mn-14 Mn by the end of this financial year.
Why Brainwired Made It To The List?
The agriculture sector has not only had to deal with the Covid-19 threat, but also the swarms of locusts currently over India. Further, it’s not just about the crops, but also the livestock and the farmland animals that have been impacted due to the supply chain constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Brainwired has developed a livestock health monitoring and tracking solution named WeSTOCK which enables farmers to maximize their profits at a reduced expense. Livestock population in India rose 4.6% to nearly 536 Mn in 2019, according to the livestock census. While there are a lot of startups in the Indian agritech space catering to farm to fork supply chain, as well as fisheries, so far there is less focus on the livestock segment.
Brainwired is among a few startups who are looking to tap this niche in India. With more than 1000 cattle already tagged, the startup is using AI and machine learning to analyse the data pointers and share real-time updates with farmers on the health of livestock, daily milk collection, veterinary support, technical expertise and more.
It is also in talks with various distribution partners to help farmers monetise the milk at a better price. A blockchain-based tracking code will also be implemented to enable transparency in the supply chain for the end-user.
This is similar to the QR code Ninjacart uses for adding traceability to its food supply chain service. Going ahead, Brainwired is also looking to use data from sensors on the cattle to partner with microfinance institutions and insurance organisations for loans and insurance of livestock respectively.
Why Chimes Radio Made It To The List
When Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, one segment which rapidly gained progress was OTT. In the period between March 1 and 21, OTT registered a 34% increase. However, a large chunk of this growth is in the video segment.
Podcasts are still finding their way into mainstream media. Things are further challenging in the kids’ segment where prime players like Voot Kids, Zee5 Kids, YouTube have already become a daily parcel of kids life. However, with concerns rising around little one’s screen time, now that school classes are also ongoing online, parents are now looking for alternatives.
Chimes Radio is tapping a similar sentiment. An audio platform, Chimes radio offers content exclusively for children. With Nursery rhymes, stories, education around the world and more, it is tapping a user base of 1.5 Lakh listeners on the platform.
It is also hosting podcasts for parents with child specialists, psychologists, experts and more. Overall, as per PwC, India now has 40 Mn podcast listeners which also make it an extendable market to kids as a target audience.
Why CyborgIntell Made It To The List?
There are a lot of AI and ML focused data analytics solutions available in India claiming to help businesses make informed decisions. However, businesses are still struggling to integrate these technologies into their operations. They are still largely dependent on human talent and conventional resources to make decisions based on these insights.
CyborgIntell’s flagship product iTuring AutoAI intends to change this. iTuring reviews and transforms data and automatically selects features that will produce the most accurate predictions. Within hours, it develops and reviews a range of models to select one that produces highly accurate, reliable predictions.
The value, the startup claims, lies in the simplicity it brings to the table where anyone can use this solution. The solution is actively used in areas such as fraud detection, digital marketing, customer retention among others.
Why Dhiyo.ai Made It To The List?
In India, out of a total workforce, close to 85% are in the unorganised sector. This workforce includes delivery staff, drivers, security, facility, beautician, school workers, maintenance workers among others. Most of the time, word of mouth is the only way they are able to land jobs.
With this ‘Bharat’ at the heart of its vision, Dhiyo.ai is looking to create an impact in the blue-collar workforce segment using vernacular to remove the existing friction. Using a combination of voice, vernacular and conversational AI, Dhiyo’s multilingual employment platform is tapping right on the nerve of PM Narendra Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
As Covid-19 had hit this segment in the worst manner, the Dhiyo team believes that helping build digital skills in the blue-collar workforce should now be the top priority of India’s economic revival. The mass of unemployed unskilled labourers in small towns and villages need to be integrated back into India’s digital economy.
Dhiyo sees a need to provide a learning and development platform that can quickly and efficiently garner the bulk of the blue-collar workforce and transform them into skilled labourers. This should also help workers that have been impacted the most recover at a faster pace.
Why Dotpe Made It To The List?
The retail landscape is about to change in a big way. DotPe provides digital transformation and commerce solutions to brick and mortar outlets and helps in accepting contactless orders. It offers QR codes which are placed by merchants on the tables or at the takeaway window.
The customers can simply scan this QR code to order, and pay from their mobile phone browsers and receive order details on WhatsApp. Customers can pick up orders from the takeaway window with zero manual intervention. This means the commerce and payments happen on the user’s mobile browser while the post-transaction communication, customer invoicing, feedback etc. shifts to WhatsApp.
Although there are similar solutions available in the market, Dotpe team believes there is no direct competition in the segment as they are still using merchants and not tying up their audience to an app. Customers are still interacting directly with retailers. With Dotpe, the end customers don’t have the hassles of downloading any app and can start ordering by simply scanning a QR code.
It is right now focusing on the food & beverages, quick service restaurant and grocery segments with over 2500 large enterprise businesses using its O2O based commerce and payments solution. Some of the clients are Haldiram’s, Barista, Beer cafe, Smoke House Delhi, Social etc.
Why Enercent Made It To The List?
The electric vehicle ecosystem is still budding in terms of infrastructure. Enercent is a multi-sided energy platform for EV platforms to solve the problem of grid overloading and managing infrastructure.
It acts as a bridge between EV consumers, charging infrastructure owners/operators, parking lots, EV OEMs and utilities/power producers. For example, a hyperlocal delivery service provider can install Enercent charging infrastructure at its warehouses, delivery centres, order fulfilment centres and more.
Each delivery executive will have a frontend app, wherein he can schedule and block time for charging based on his delivery schedule for the day. They are also notified when the vehicle is charged and ready for delivery. The aim is to help businesses treat EV as a regular vehicle fleet and to be able to scale it with zero capex on charging infrastructure as an end to end service provider.
On the client front, Enercent is currently working with one client. However, the client is able to help them scale across 20-25 cities, thereby hitting a growth run rate of $2 Mn in the next 18 months with 2000+ charging points deployed.
Why Euler Motors Made It To The List?
When mobility makes a full comeback in the months after the lockdown, the focus will be on sustainable mobility. Companies are using this time to build up the infrastructure. Euler Motors is an automotive and energy startup focussed on sustainable last-mile commuting and transport with electric mobility as a service.
It also has a dedicated manufacturing and R&D facility for production of light commercial EVs along with automotive-grade lithium-ion battery packs that could match the performance required for intracity logistics in all-weather, temperatures and road conditions It is focussed on bringing three and four-wheeler light commercial electric vehicles for cargo and passengers.
The company has already provided its vehicles to companies like BigBasket, EcomExpress, Udaan and BlueDart. According to Inventus Capital India managing director Rutvik Doshi, for the Indian market to unlock the next wave of growth in electric mobility, it is essential to drive the adoption in the commercial vehicle segment with superior electrical vehicles and infrastructure. Euler is building its capabilities in this the same direction.
Why EWar Games Made It To The List?
In India, esports was widely talked about when it was included as a medal event in the 2018 Asian Games and India won a bronze medal. It gained further popularity in August 2019, when Bhubaneswar hosted the FIFA U-19 qualifier esports tournament that saw a participation of over 130 players.
Today, India has turned into a favourite destination for game organisers across the world. For instance, India is today home to big gaming events such as All India Open Esports League, Inter-school technology event organised by Exun Clan, NSG Championship, PUBG Mobile India Series, The Tekken World Tour, ESL (Electronic Sports League) India Premiership among others.
Among the platforms catering to this is EWar Games, a vernacular gaming app offering multiple games and tournaments with real money rewards. With 100K+ downloads and 2 Mn+ gamers connected so far, EWar is quite optimistic about creating a unique positioning for itself.
It provides ad-free streaming service and has incorporated eight vernacular languages so far. Capitalising on the rising popularity of competitive gaming in India, EWar now wants to strengthen its roots in India, position itself as a leading, go-to-destination for e-sports enthusiasts in India, and eventually take Indian esports players to the global levels.
Why Expertrons Made It To The List?
First, there were call centres, then came bots and now is the time for video bots. With the need for experts rising in every field, Expertrons has come up with what it calls the first AI platform featuring video bots of experts who have shared their experience of landing a dream career like a job, internship or even a B-school.
The experts are from top firms like BCG, Google, One Plus, Morgan Stanley, Pepsi, Rakuten or even recent graduates from top B Schools like IIMs, ISB or Harvard.
Aspirants can get connected to the AI-recommended experts and also get hired through a referral. While communication with a chatbot is usually one way, video bot communications feel more real, personalised and have a human touch to it.
The technology is currently being used in different colleges and universities. It claims to have video bots ready for 600 experts with 12,000 minutes of content with more than 200 consultations on its platform.
Why GetVantage Made It To The List?
Funding is a challenge in the best of times, but Covid-19 has hit the investor ecosystem hard as well. As a result, startups are being forced into giving away too much equity to get whatever funds they can get.
GetVantage is a revenue-based financing platform, providing growth capital to businesses without the founder’s having to dilute equity. With an estimated 300K MSMEs and startups currently spending on digital marketing, tech, and infra services, the market is growing by the quarter.
Overall digital spending is close to $8 Bn annually and is the fastest-growing segment at 25% – 30% CAGR. With its innovative funding model, GetVantage has witnessed unprecedented interest with a 3x increase in demand in the last month alone and is currently reviewing a few hundred applications.
It currently provides capital advances between INR 20 Lakh to INR 2 Cr at flat fees that are recovered as small shares of future revenues. It further plans to support and fund 200+ startups and digital businesses over the next 2-3 years.
Why GramFactory Made It To The List?
If nothing else, the pandemic has certainly brought supply chain, logistics and transport networks into mainstream discussion. Along with debates on availability of essentials, Indian social media and internet forums were rife with talk about supply chain bottlenecks and hurdles. This also impacted the retail landscape tremendously as warehouses and distributors lacked the manpower to keep the supply chain running.
GramFactory is a tech platform that helps small retailers streamline their sourcing, monetize their assets better, and gets them access to trade credit in these tough times. It is primarily a technology-enabled marketplace for local kirana shops to source products directly from food & beverages, personal care & hygiene, and confectionery brands.
Shop owners and retailers can purchase items for resale in wholesale or bulk quantities. Despite the emergence of several hyperlocal grocery players, a major chunk of FMCG sales occurs through small stores spread over a large geography.
With the lockdown bringing the focus on hyperlocal delivery, the retail industry has begun to realize that distributors are supply chain partners. GramFactory adds a layer of technology to keep a check on inventory, supply logistics, better visibility on teams and more.
Why Hypermine Made It To The List?
In a world where everything is online, identity theft can lead to consumers and businesses losing access to crucial services. Hypermine intends to build a solution to help people take back control of their digital identity. In today’s world, where every smartphone application and web page require access to a user’s personal information, data collection is rampant.
Data may not be deleted by service providers even after customers stop paying and when data breaches occur, all this data is leaked and made public. So the simple question here is, should a company bear the responsibility to protect a user’s data in the first place? Shouldn’t this be left to the user?
With this premise, Hypermine has developed a blockchain-based open network wherein the information will be stored in an encrypted manner. This can only be accessed with a user’s permission and will be shared in an encrypted format only, without risking the security of the data. This is based on public-key cryptography.
Hypermine here acts as a host which can help users in troubleshooting and recovering lost passwords. The startup is currently working with government agencies and is hoping to roll out the solution to consumers as well. However, the startup says nothing will change unless people understand that it’s not normal to casually share access to location or phonebook or gallery or share details like Aadhaar or PAN whenever asked by any website.
Why inVOID Made It To The List?
The big problem in establishing identity and verifying authenticity online is the fact that these hurdles often deny consumers the use of fintech services. inVOID offers an AI-based solution to read and validate KYC documents in the Indian market. It is a SaaS-based e-KYC & Video KYC platform for streamlining and automating onboarding and ID verification.
The platform is device-agnostic, supports regional language and is extensible for various sectors. It offers a national ID card OCR tech which works on all types and formats of national ID cards valid in India. This can also operate at low bandwidth considering bottlenecks in connectivity.
The solution works on proprietary technology with a primary focus on BFSI, matrimony, gaming, mobility industries for remote authentication and verification. The company is already in the revenue mode churning out up to $10K per month.
With a primary focus on India, it is also expanding presence in Singapore and Bangladesh with partner integrations in other international markets.
Why Leap.club Made It To The List?
There are 13 Mn -14 Mn working women professionals in India. However, only a handful of them are in leadership positions, working as entrepreneurs or leading boards of Fortune 500 companies. As the marketing gurus say, the foundation lies in networking. Gurugram-based leap.club is looking to change the male-dominated equation in this regard by bringing women better networking opportunities and beating the clutter of LinkedIn and other existing professional social networks.
Founded in December 2019 and launched in May 2020, leap.club has raised $340K in its pre-seed funding round. The brainchild of ex-Zomato executives, Ragini Das and Anand Sinha, the company is backed by investors such as Whiteboard Capital, FirstCheque, Artha India Ventures along with angels like Sweta Rau (founder – White Ventures), Amrish Rau (CEO, Pinelabs and founder, Citrus Pay), Deepak Abbot (ex-SVP, Paytm), Harpreet Singh Grover (cofounder, Co-Cubes) among others.
Talking to Inc42, cofounder Sinha had earlier said that the idea stemmed from research on professional networks for women. The founders realised that women need much more help and Sinha says men also have a role to play in understanding the challenges women face in the business and solving them.
leap.club is designed as a paid membership programme for women to strengthen their journey into senior leadership. The company currently has sold out its first two batches for May and June, each consisting of 30 members.
At the same time, there are around 4000 women on the waitlist to join the programme. The company’s first batch began in Delhi NCR, with members from a variety of companies and industries like Uber, TikTok, Dunzo, EY, NDTV, Group M, Tinder, Invest India, Google along with founders of successful startups like Josh Talks and Fittr and others.
Why Mosaic Wellness Made It To The List?
Direct to consumer model will open up new opportunities for vertical ecommerce players as well as niche consumer product makers. SAIF Partners MD Mukul Arora believes that over the next 8-10 years, there is an opportunity to build large Indian consumer brands across verticals.
Mosaic Wellness is a consumer brands company, which has launched what it claims to be India’s first men’s-centric wellness platform called Men Matters. It’s also working on its next brand called Be Bodywise, which is expected to launch in August 2020. Men Matters offers hair care, personal care, weight loss and sexual performance products as well as counselling to men who might need specific advice on their problems.
The range of products is said to be cruelty-free and made from natural ingredients. Its upcoming Be Bodywise brand will cater to women wellness through similar products.
Why OnePlay Made It To The List?
While consumers have lapped up OTT and video streaming content by the heaps during the lockdown, the companies running these platforms also earned a wealth of data which can be aggregated to create further startups.
OnePlay is a universal content discovery and recommendation platform aggregating contents from top OTTs with a real-time search and recommendation engine. On the B2B front, it offers a SaaS platform for other companies looking to add OTT-related discovery and recommendations.
For instance, an online films guide website can redirect users to the right platform to help them watch the content. It can also even give real-time insights around artists and creators, redirecting users to live TV channels as well.
The recommendation engine helps in getting actionable insights on the landscape of OTT video streaming, new trends, user behaviour and more. In the near future, the startup is looking to tap the vernacular market and is also looking to integrate its search and recommendation engine with podcast companies.
Why Phable Care Made It To The List?
In the time of social distancing, telemedicine has emerged as the preferred means of seeking quality healthcare in the country and in a stroke of great timing for once, the government cleared telemedicine guidelines just days after the lockdown. This clarity brought a huge wave of telemedicine platforms to the fore with startups leading the way.
Phable is on a mission to create an ecosystem of patients, doctors, hospitals, health devices, insurance and patient care service providers. For patients, it provides a single platform for digitising prescriptions, personalised health reminders, tracking vitals by syncing with devices from daily steps to blood levels and symptoms.
It primarily works with chronic disease patients only such as women undergoing IVF treatments, diabetes and others. Once the prescription is shared, the patient can order medicines, lab tests, schedule next appointments, connect with dieticians, etc all at one place.
The Phable Care team gets in touch with the patient and keeps track of the progress of treatment while also sending feedback to the doctor. This helps doctors intervene at an early stage in case the current treatment is not showing the desired results.
Also, it works on the basis of a prediction engine, wherein on the basis of current and historical data, the AI engine can predict how much time a patient will take to complete the treatment.
Why Podnet Made It To The List?
Innovation has no boundaries when it involves technology that seamlessly steps into the real world. Podnet’s Switch interacts with an apartment building’s electrical panel to automate the process of managing, monitoring & controlling electricity consumption. It also offers residents and building managers an online dashboard to monitor the data.
With its smart energy management solution, Switch helps users to save up to 40% on electricity bills. It also helps customers ensure that appliances only work if they meet certain parameters defined by them. This can help commercial buildings adjust the power according to requirement automatically.
The next innovation is a wireless communication network to allow IoT devices to communicate with each other. A small tower the size of a Wi-Fi router is installed at each of the locations with a Podnet Switch. This helps the network communicate within a range of 15 Km and more.
In comparison to telecom towers, it consumes a power of just 20 watts and can help IoT devices to operate for more than 12 years on the same tower. According to reports, more than 50 Bn IoT devices will be connected globally by 2020. However, a large chunk of these IoT devices will be used in manufacturing and industry automation. Here price will be the deciding factor, and Podnet is certainly looking to gain an edge here with its mass solution.
Why Procol Made It To The List?
Founded by former Zomato employees Gaurav Baheti and Sumit Mendiratta, Procol is looking to create a niche in the fast-growing food and retail procurement segment.
The pandemic has brought an unprecedented focus on this aspect of commerce and Procol is targetting food, retail, and FMCG companies by reducing procurement and related supply chain costs and turnaround time. Procol follows a marketplace-like model for its procurement platform for live auctions, market rates, collaboration, and intelligent commodity insights.
It offers a one-stop mobile platform wherein the agri buyers and sellers can connect and bid in real-time auctions for agri commodities. Since its launch in 2018, Procol has bagged clients such as Haldiram, Big Bazaar, and Bikanervala. Overall, it claims to have a network of 1500+ partners across 100 locations.
According to Karthik Reddy, Managing Partner, Blume Ventures, agri commodity buying in India is a $400 Bn large broken market riddled with inefficiencies, a gap which platforms like Procol are tapping into. Online auction is a segment which can also help the farmers provide a direct selling platform and increase the bargaining power as well as provide a selling network to small farmers as well.
Why QuillTrace Made It To The List?
The problems in the retail and food supply chain were bared open during the Covid-19 lockdowns. This is an area where development is happening at full throttle and it’s also one of the most receptive to new innovations.
QuillHash Technologies’ QuillTrace is a blockchain-based procurement platform that’s made easier to integrate with existing supply chain systems to make them more transparent, sustainable and secure. QuillTrace serves solutions for different industries like organic food supply chain, pharmaceutical, logistics, jewellery supply chain, gold, diamond, gemstones or any other supply chain.
It helps track information on each product from production to delivery or purchase point and can aid in analysing, planning activities, and making trade-offs based on information from the entire supply chain. It claims to be developing blockchain applications such as smart contracts, decentralised apps, crypto coins, decentralised finance and decentralised exchange on Ethereum, EOS and Hyperledger.
Why RACEnergy Made It To The List?
In India, three-wheelers have offered the best return on investment for commercial EV deployment. Not only is charging of three-wheelers easier, but it’s also easier to use them for local transport and thus bringing faster returns to commercial EV fleet operations.
RACEnergy is building a high-performance retrofit kit for converting existing conventional three-wheelers auto-rickshaws to electric and providing energy infrastructure support through its proprietary battery swapping stations. According to Sanil Sachar, partner at Huddle, electric vehicle adoption has been the greatest in the three-wheeler segment in India but only for low-speed vehicles or electric rickshaws. High-speed three-wheelers still remain unaffordable for the bulk of drivers and the supply is limited.
RACEnergy says its kits would enable auto drivers to transition to electric without investing in a new vehicle, thereby allowing them to drive more, reduce operating costs and also earn more per ride. It’s looking to close the access gap in the EV ecosystem.
Why Recko Made It To The List?
Built around the purview of offering financial security to the companies with high volumes of transactions such as ecommerce platforms, insurance providers and banks, Recko aims to automate the entire reconciliation process.
Recko works with businesses to help solve efficiency problems with payments reconciliation. It is employing AI models to analyse transaction data and automation for reconciliation processes. Being an independent third-party transaction reconciliation layer, it ensures that each transaction is accounted for and all settlements can be done in a timely manner.
Working with Indian internet companies, it reconciled transactions worth $2 Bn in its first year. It intends to build a global company and wants to become the default solution in the market for transaction reconciliation. Having already made headway in India, the startup is now going after businesses in the US market that are also facing similar challenges.
Why Refrens Made It To The List?
Just like enterprise SaaS changed how businesses used technology to refine their processes, the gig economy has brought new opportunities for independent and freelance workers. But these workers face issues related to payments and settlements on a regular basis due to a lack of international payments and cross-border settlement support.
Refrens is aiming to ease the problems of tracking, collecting and managing payments faster and in a credible manner. At present, the startup covers 37 currencies across 100 countries and uses Cashfree as a payment gateway for domestic transactions.
For online payments, it charges a nominal fee of 1.65% on all debit cards or UPI transactions and a 2.3% on credit cards, payment gateways and netbanking. Refrens is targeting freelancers and small agencies in the field of B2B services. It aims to create a network of 1 Mn freelancers by the end of 2020.
Why Riskcovry Made It To The List?
Online insurance sales for new business, which are in a nascent stage in the country, are fast catching up and are likely to grow at a CAGR of 13% to become a $37 Bn opportunity by 2025, according to a recent report by JM Financial.
Riskcovry offers an ‘insurance-in-a-box’ model to cater to any business’s digital insurance needs. Working on a B2B2C model, it offers API and SaaS technology to enable insurance enablement to enterprises, ecommerce players as well as fintech startups without the traditional overhead of building teams, technology, acquiring licenses and setting up processes.
Riskcovry claims any consumer business can enable insurance across any customer engagement channel. Riskcovry’s product is also white-labelled so it can be branded according to the business’s needs. Currently, it’s looking to increase penetration of sachet loans and configurable products for smaller niches within life, general and health insurance categories. These include 7-in-1 hospitalisation, handbag protection, cancer care, renters insurance as well as products designed for startups.
Why Rupifi Made It To The List?
Any startup that is working towards solving the long-standing challenges in SME lending and finance is likely to attract new business and investors. Having survived through back-to-back funding crises with the NBFC crisis of 2018 and the non-performing assets controversy in mainstream banking, SMEs are turning towards digital solutions for an alternative. While the opportunity for enterprise tech startups in the SMB segment is huge, the same can be said for lending as well.
SME-focussed fintech startup Rupifi is partnering with ecommerce aggregators and marketplaces through lending APIs to connect with prospective SME clients. It earns commission through loan deals made through the platform by these aggregators. Credit is then issued to businesses based on their history with the marketplace and the products and services they are offering. Although in beta stage, the startup has garnered enough attention from the leading investors in the fintech space.
The Bengaluru-based startup was set up earlier this year and competes with players like Open, Capital Float and Indifi. It claims to have a partnership with seven aggregators, which includes B2B ecommerce players, a food delivery platform, transport tech startup Shuttl, Dressfolk and a home interior design platform.
Why Xtracap Made It To The List?
Xtracap Fintech aims to accelerate local GDP growth by moving small businesses from unorganised to organised environments through access to on-demand liquidity and habit-forming technology applications.
Its Bridge2Capital product provides access to short term affordable capital, giving businesses an edge in the market. Borrowers are extended credit limits and short term loans are disbursed to the suppliers against bills submitted.
The business model allows deeper level engagement with the small business owners, once sufficient data is collected for the different invoices financed and repayment experience. The basic premise here is that the small business over time will understand the power of technology and will be willing to use simple habit-forming applications for higher efficiency.
Bridge2Capital expects to target 500K small businesses in a serviceable market of 8 Mn retailers in small cities and towns of India over the next 7-8 years. The company says it will form a distribution-focussed subsidiary to create a distribution network with local partners in 250 high consumption districts in the next five years.
So that’s our 30 Startups watchlist for the month of May 2020. Inc42+ members can access our picks for the past three months here. To nominate a startup or suggest a name for us to check out, please email at [email protected]