Taking lessons from past mistakes, Indian startups have now started to innovate like never before, achieving maturity and thereby becoming more promising bets for both domestic and international investors
Even though the current times are tough, with August funding down 65% year-on-year (YoY), nothing seems to be holding them back in forging sustainable tech-driven ventures of tomorrow
As many as 20 of the 30 startups that comprise the August edition of our endeavour to identify cream-of-the-crop early stage ventures operate in the B2B space, and none of them have raised more than $1.5 Mn in funding so far
With Indian startups shifting their focus from growth at all costs to achieving sustainable profitability, the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem is going through a paradigm shift.
Unfortunately, this much-needed shift has come at a time when investors are restraining from writing large cheques, despite sitting on billions of dollars of dry powder.
However, what stands out is the fact that taking lessons from past mistakes, Indian startups have now started to innovate like never before, achieving maturity and thereby becoming more promising bets for both domestic and international investors.
Despite this upheaval in the startup ecosystem, innovation and the launch of new ventures have refused to stop on a dime. While the pace may not match that of 2-3 years ago, what’s particularly intriguing is that these new ventures are largely being helmed by individuals who have previously held top roles in large corporations and startups.
And continuing our tradition, we are back with the 39th edition of 30 Startups To Watch to shine a spotlight on the early stage startups who are set to become disruptors of tomorrow. What makes these startups appealing is the way they have embraced technology to run businesses efficiently, with a key focus on solving real-world challenges.
What’s more fascinating is that at the core of the operations of many of these startups is their conscious efforts to serve environmental, social and governance (ESG) obligations.
As many as 20 of the 30 startups that comprise the August edition of our endeavour to identify cream-of-the-crop early stage ventures operate in the B2B space, with none of them having raised more than $1.5 Mn in funding since their establishment. Incidentally, last month’s edition of 30 Startups To Watch featured 17 startups from the B2B segment.
This also mirrors the trend that an increasing number of Indian founders today want to solve enterprise-level problems, thereby building a customer base that has lower acquisition costs but higher average revenue per user compared to their B2C counterparts.
Without any further ado, here are the startups which caught our attention in August.
Editor’s Note: The list below is not meant to be a ranking of any kind. We have listed the startups alphabetically.
30 Startups To Watch: August 2023
Solving Component Sourcing Challenges For Indian EV OEMs
One of the primary obstacles in India’s burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) sector is the dearth of essential components such as batteries, motors, and controllers. Attron Automotive, a Pune-based startup, aims to handle this with an iron hand by introducing motors and controllers with advanced features.
Mosam Ugemuge and Shubham Pode, schoolmates and now the founders of Attron, had long dreamed of becoming entrepreneurs one day. Their desire in this direction was fuelled when they collaborated on a race car project in their earlier years. In 2021, when the EV industry was booming, the duo shifted their focus from building a motorcycle to developing customised EV components, solving sourcing challenges for Indian EV OEMs. Later, Udhay Singh and Mohit Borkar, too, joined the startup as cofounders.
Today, the startup’s product line consists of high-performance electric motors and controllers tailored for various applications, including EVs, industrial machinery, defence systems, marine vessels, aviation, and agriculture.
With its patented technology, Attron Automotive aims to enhance the performance of EVs in India while staying committed to meeting stringent environmental standards.
The startup wants to enter the EV market with its offerings in 2024. Further, it plans to expand its product portfolio by incorporating e-drive systems, comprising a motor, controller, and gearbox, in its fancy lineup of products.
AI-Powered Design Partner for Ecommerce Success
Design plays a pivotal role in shaping a brand’s identity, and it often constitutes a significant portion of a brand’s expenses. To put things in perspective, the process of photographing products and formatting images to meet the diverse image guidelines of various ecommerce platforms can cost a lot.
With a background in ecommerce, Vaibhav Prakash, Vishwanath Kollapudi, and Jamsheed Kamardeen recognised the challenges faced by small ecommerce businesses, as these often struggle to allocate substantial budgets for branding. In response to this, the trio came together to establish Blend.
The startup offers an AI photo editor, graphic designer, and poster maker platform for digital creators, small businesses, online sellers, ecommerce sellers and online resellers. The startup offers three flagship products — Background Remover, Magic Create and AI-generated background scenes. Magic Create, for instance, uses generative AI to create custom designs with a simple prompt.
Similarly, its background scene-generating feature also deploys generative AI to develop backgrounds for product images. Lastly, Blend’s background-removing tool does what it says on the tin – removes backgrounds from images for further editing. The startup also allows its users to edit images in batches.
Blend also offers a DAAS (design-as-a-service) set of APIs that allow users to remove backgrounds from images and access the startup’s growing library of templates to use in social media posts, ecommerce creatives and more.
A Neobank For Young Couples
Today, on a global scale, India is known to foster one of the most reliable and robust banking systems. However, when it comes to catering to specific verticals like teenagers, couples, and freelancers, Indian banks have yet to scale up.
Understand the need of the hour, a Bengaluru-based startup is focussed on resolving the evolving financial requirements of couples.
Founded in 2022 by Srinivas Sarkar, and Kushagra Manglik, Coupl wants to position itself as a neobank for young couples and simplify their shared financial management. They provide a joint wallet equipped with two RuPay cards, one for each partner, facilitating shared expense management. Couples can pool funds into the Coupl Joint Wallet, execute shared payments via individual RuPay virtual cards, and establish auto-deposits.
Additionally, Coupl has partnered with Bharat BillPay, an NPCI-powered service, to enable seamless utility bill payments through their app. The app is available on both the Google Play Store and the App Store.
Traditional joint accounts are typically restricted to married or blood-related individuals, excluding unmarried couples, LGBTQ couples, and live-in partners. Coupl wants to disrupt this paradigm by offering a swift solution regardless of the relationship status.
Disrupting Business Insurance For SMEs & Startups
Even though insurance is vital for contingency planning in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and startups, a substantial number of such companies often overlook the necessity of choosing required safety nets.
Founded in 2023 by Ankit Kamra and Veera Thota, Bengaluru-based Covrzy aims to assist founders in securing their businesses against a variety of risks. The business insurance aggregator offers the right insurance recommendations for startups and SMEs based on their needs, such as workforce and category of work.
However, Covrzy aspires to go beyond a conventional insurance aggregator. The founders claim the product will directly help founders and business owners navigate the complexities of business risk and insurance claims.
For instance, its recommendation engine considers the specific details of an industry and sector to suggest coverage that’s tailor-made for startups and SMEs. Further, businesses can complete the purchase of insurance entirely on WhatsApp thanks to the Covrzy chatbot.
Covrzy claims to have onboarded more than 150 businesses as customers and is targeting 1,000 clients by the upcoming quarter.
Helping MSMEs Manage Their Daily Cash Flows
Despite being one of the largest contributors to the Indian economy, The Indian MSME sector continues to grapple with several issues, with easy access to financing being the most prominent one.
To address this glaring gap, Shashwat Shrikhande and Saurabh Gupta founded DailyPe, a lending tech startup, in 2023 to solve the daily cash flow needs of micro, small and medium-sized businesses.
The Surat-based startup provides business loans to MSMEs such as medical stores, food joints, mobile repairing shops, and saloons, among others, which depend on daily revenues for their day-to-day operations. By offering daily loans, as low as INR 5K, DailyPe claims to ease bookkeeping efforts for such business owners.
Not just this, DailyPe offers collateral-free loans at low-interest rates. It currently claims to have a portfolio value of more than INR 100 Cr. It aims to generate revenues to the tune of INR 30 Cr in 2024 and achieve a customer retention rate of 80%.
Going forward, it wants to obtain a bank licence and build a portfolio size of INR 5,000 Cr with revenues of INR 1,000 Cr. It also aims to expand its offerings by taking multiple financial products such as savings, current and demat accounts, and insurance under its ambit.
Breaking Linguistic Barriers With AI-Human Collaboration
In a bid to unlock the full potential of the internet for Indian netizens, Himanshu Sharma and Nakul Kundra founded Devnagri, an AI-enabled language translation platform, in 2019. Today, the platform can translate online content into all major Indian languages, including English. Not just this, Devnagri also offers translation for documents, websites, mobile apps, APIs, images, and searches.
Along with this, the founders have developed a machine translation engine, which allows users to translate between languages automatically and the platform can also be trained to fit certain industry-specific contexts.
Devnagri’s translation services are powered by a combination of artificial intelligence and human translators. The AI helps to provide a quick and accurate translation, while human interventions ensure that the translations are accurate and culturally appropriate.
The startup claims that it has 100+ paying users, which include brands like Zomato, Swiggy, Policybazaar, Meesho, and Network18. The startup earns revenues by offering subscription plans on a monthly and yearly basis.
Hiring Gets An AI Tweak
Hiring has always been a time-consuming process, as it sometimes takes anywhere between weeks to months for businesses to hire the right talent. Yet, there is a high chance of candidates backing out or not proving to be the right cultural fit, which may lead to high attrition rates.
Having met at the Entrepreneur First (EF) cohort in 2021, a former researcher at IBM, Akshay Gugnani, and the cofounder of Koovs.com, Kanishk Shukla, joined hands to address this issue together, and from this partnership emerged Expertia AI, an AI-enabled platform built to assist hiring teams across companies.
The startup offers an AI-powered recruiting platform for end-to-end hiring, the Expertia Recruiter, which can go beyond the resume to understand the skills, personality and background of the candidate and provide a certain Expertia score.
The platform not only identifies a candidate’s skills but also pinpoints skill gaps. It actively engages with candidates on various fronts and makes them offer-ready. The startup boasts a user base of over 9,500 companies and has successfully screened and assessed more than 4 Mn professionals in less than a year.
Expertia offers a freemium B2B SaaS subscription model. Users can get started for free and explore Expertia’s ability to find professionals for them. Expertia subscriptions start as low as $200 a month and go as high as $10K or more for custom enterprise users.
The startup has set a short-term goal to reach 10 Mn professionals and 25K+ companies using the platform. Expertia is poised to reach $1 Mn in annual revenue run rate (ARR) for FY24.
An AI Platform To Manage Call Centres
Second-time entrepreneurs Ankit Durga and Megha Aggarwal got the idea for Fundamento while in the seventh year of their first startup, LEAP Skills.
The duo noticed a gap when it came to customer support services through call centres. They realised that while companies were aware of the criticality of investing in customer support teams, the return on investment was low due to high attrition rates of agents and extended ramp-up periods, that is, training and onboarding.
Fundamento positions itself as an automation platform catering to customer contact centres. The platform consists of a multimodal, multilingual, API-centric stack, which becomes the core pillar for customer contact centres.
Fundamento’s AI stack is claimed to help companies transition from agent assistance to full automation of customer support at the lower levels. The Delhi NCR-based startup has forged partnerships with tech giants like IBM, Google, and Microsoft. In the last quarter, it claims to have also secured three large contracts from IndiaMart and two other enterprises.
Its product offerings include Augment (agent copilot for query handling), Accelerate (agent copilot for task automation), and Automate (near-human AI bots for upstream customer interactions).
Fundamento’s pricing model offers per-agent, per-month subscriptions for Augment and Accelerate, while Automate operates on a pay-as-you-go basis, billed per minute of usage. Besides this, there’s an initial one-time cost for tech integration and setup.
In the next six months, Fundamento aims to secure 10-12 significant accounts and expand to the US market through channel partnerships. The startup plans to establish a global sales team by 2026 to support its potential client base in the US and eventually extend its reach to the APAC region.
Invest In Gold With As Little As INR 10
According to a consumer data intelligence report from 2022, more than 65% of Indians invest a part of their income in one form or another. Even though gold is one of the most popular investment vehicles, the connection with the yellow metal among younger generations appears to be diminishing.
Understanding the need for ‘fun’ investment opportunities while working in the personal finance space, Parth Shah and Yaagni Raolji founded GoldPe, a digital savings platform helping users start their gold investment journey with as little as INR 10.
Not just this, every time users save INR 100, they earn 10 entries to the platform’s weekly draw where they can win prizes in the range of INR 1 Lakh to INR 10 Lakh. The more users save, the more entries they receive, increasing their chances of winning cash prizes.
The startup works on a commission-based revenue model and earns a commission on the amount saved in the digital gold. The app has 140K+ downloads on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
GoldPe has plans to expand its user base to 1 Mn and manage INR 100 Cr in assets under management (AUM) by 2024. The founders anticipate these numbers to increase 10X by 2026.
Subscription-Based Bicycle Marketplace
Cycling holds a special place in everyone’s childhood memories. However, in recent years, the cost of bicycles has been steadily rising, and as children grow, it becomes increasingly impractical to keep purchasing larger bikes to accommodate their growth.
Established in 2021 by Roopesh Shah and Hrishikesh Halekote Shivanna, GroClub is dedicated to providing a bicycle subscription service rooted in sustainability. The startup offers bicycle subscriptions for individuals aged four and above.
Customers can select their desired bicycle, which is then delivered fully assembled right to their doorstep. GroClub goes a step further by offering comprehensive service and maintenance throughout the entire subscription period, all while guaranteeing a lifetime warranty on all mechanical components.
Upon completion of the subscription term, GroClub retrieves the bicycle and offers customers the option to receive a newer model if desired or renew the subscription for the existing one. Returned bicycles undergo a rejuvenation process, where the old frames are repurposed to create brand-new bicycles.
Additionally, GroClub extends the opportunity for customers to purchase the bicycle outright at the end of their subscription, offering a generous 30% discount off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. What’s more, the startup deducts the subscription cost from the total bill.
GroClub also sells multiple bicycle accessories to fit the particular model. The startup is also planning to introduce multiple children-focused products soon, including car seats, carry cots, strollers and bunk beds to its repertoire.
Medical Emergency Support In Under 10 Seconds
Efficient medical emergency response mechanisms are a major challenge in India. This is due to several alarming statistics which reveal that over 50% of ambulances fail to arrive within 60 minutes of a medical emergency, 90% of them lack basic equipment, and 97% of them do not have adequately trained personnel.
Having spent more than 10,000 hours in emergency rooms in India and the UK, Dr Karan Raj Jaggi had seen the problem up close. His experiences with this problem drove Shubham Jain and Vedant Jain to come back to India and set up Guardians in 2022.
The startup’s approach revolves around a real-time emergency management system and a comprehensive network of ambulances and hospitals. This approach empowers them to address the critical prehospital phase of a patient’s journey. To date, they have successfully established a network of more than 3,300 ambulances, 500-plus hospitals, and highly-trained dispatch officers.
The medical emergency response platform claims to be able to connect patients to trained personnel in less than 10 seconds, taking 500-1,000 emergency calls per month. The startup has developed systems that help users make decisions during medical emergencies.
The startup’s core revenue stream is Protect, a subscription plan that includes a medical emergency plan and zero ambulance charges, among other things. Users can sign up for the plan for as low as INR 49 per user per month. Guardians also makes money via monthly service fees it charges from hospitals for using its network.
Presently, operational in Delhi NCR and Bengaluru, Guardians has plans to expand to 100 cities by the end of 2024. Additionally, the company is forming partnerships with health insurance providers to extend its protective services to the masses.
Transforming User Research Through Technology
User research is an imperative step for any product-based company, as such research methods can help companies find the right product-market fit faster than their peers. More often than not, user research is time-consuming, slow and difficult to scale, which can lead to problems in the future.
Understanding this, second-time cofounders Geetika and Jashish Kambli incorporated Humanify in 2022. The startup offers a remote research platform called ExploraStory, which allows businesses to conduct user research without stepping foot outside of their offices.
ExploraStory helps businesses directly connect with their users via a secure video call, providing companies with much-needed pace and context in their research results. The startup claims to cut down research conclusion time significantly – from weeks to mere days – which is crucial in a fast-paced startup environment.
After connecting with users, businesses can then ask them to complete tasks or answer questions while they are using their products or services. ExploraStory monitors users’ screen activities, audio and videos, which are then analysed by Humanify’s AI platform to provide insights into their behaviour and experience.
Humanify offers a subscription-based pricing model for the platform, allowing companies to choose from a variety of plans based on their needs and budget.
Housekeeping Made Digital
According to a report by IBEF, India’s housekeeping market was worth $6 Bn in 2022, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5% between 2023 and 2028. However, much of this market is fragmented and unorganised, making it difficult for businesses to hire housekeepers.
Bringing some meaning to the madness is humblx. Founded by Samir Dayal Singh, Ujjwal Kumar, and Yadev Jayachandran in 2018, the startup helps enterprises manage housekeeping and janitorial staff effectively through its SaaS solution.
Via humblx’s QR-based solution, staff managers can schedule shifts, create and assign tasks for the housekeeping staff, track their progress, and receive notifications when tasks are completed. The platform also generates reports and analytics for better efficiency. The platform also offers remote monitoring of staff and public feedback on their performance.
The startup offers usage-based plans, with its basic plan starting at INR 200 per QR code per month. Some of humblx’s top clients include Sulabh, State Health Society Maharashtra, AIIMS Patna, and Garv Toilets, among others.
AI-Powered Sales Assistant
AI automation tools are emerging as an integral part of the modern sales stack, not just for their ability to streamline productivity and processes, but also to enhance and drive revenue growth. IIT alumni Shivam Gupta and Akshat Anand drew upon their experience in natural language processing (NLP) development to launch a summarisation tool that simplifies note-taking during meetings.
This idea became the seed for Instaminutes which was founded in 2021 as an AI assistant tailored for revenue teams, which claims to boost their productivity by over 2X. Powered by InstaGPT, a specialised ChatGPT framework, it automates non-productive tasks. What sets it apart is its capacity for continuous improvement through training and optimisation.
The core tech of Instaminutes is patent-pending — the startup has filed for a patent in India and is also planning to file applications in the US and UK within the next six months.
The founders want to position it as ChatGPT integrated with the popular productivity apps, capable of summarising meetings, and emails, updating CRMs, and executing recurring tasks with a simple command. While currently available only in English, the roadmap includes support for Hindi, Spanish, French, and more.
The startup’s go-to-market strategy includes SEO and content marketing, Google Search Ads, and LinkedIn engagement. Right now, Instaminutes operates a freemium revenue model, offering essential features for free and pro, and advanced versions through monthly or annual subscriptions.
Offering AI-Powered Cooking Solutions
At a time when artificial intelligence-driven products and services are increasingly gaining popularity across sectors and industries, the constantly-evolving tech, AI, has found a use case in the cookware segment as well.
In a bid to make the lives of individuals or professional chefs easier by making cooking a hassle-free affair, with a core focus on healthy meals, Ahmedabad-based On2Cook entered the cookware market in 2022.
Founded by Sanandan Sudhir, the startup, with its AI-based connected cooking devices, is on a mission to make cooking at home or restaurants more efficient, thereby saving a lot of time for individuals living a fast-paced lifestyle.
According to the founder, Sudhir, the product reduces the time and effort that go into cooking by 70% and 50%, respectively. Further, the product speeds up the cooking process without compromising on the quality of the meals — nutrients, natural colour and texture.
Last year, the cookware startup secured seed funding of INR 17 Cr from angel investors. Besides ensuring faster and better quality food at an economical price point, On2Cook can be operated via a smartphone app.
Pioneering Green Hydrogen Production For A Sustainable Future
According to the Asian Development Bank, hydrogen demand is set to rise to 15-25 Mn metric tonnes per annum by 2040, taking the market to $35 Bn by then. This growth can be attributed to the numerous practical applications of this highly flammable gas in industries such as steel manufacturing, fuel cells, fertilisers, and refineries.
Capitalising on this opportunity is Ossus Biorenewables, a green hydrogen startup, which specialises in providing process industries with on-site, on-demand green hydrogen using the waste carbon present in on-site effluents. This approach eliminates the need for storing, compressing, and transporting hydrogen.
The startup has developed its proprietary autonomous bioreactors – the OB HydraCel – that use the organic content of industrial effluents as feedstock for green hydrogen production. Pending patents in India, Japan and Italy, the OB HydraCel can produce one gram of hydrogen from a similar quantity of organic content in effluent.
One of Ossus Biorenewables’ unique advantages lies in its bioreactors’ ability to recycle effluent by consuming both organic and inorganic components, making it available for reuse on-site.
Ossus operates on a build-own-operate model, which implies that the potential customer has to pay for every kilogram of hydrogen produced, apart from a nominal installation fee. Ossus sells green hydrogen at $0.5-1.2 per kilogram, depending on the organic content in the industrial effluent and the chain length of the primary organic chemicals contributing to production. The business model has put the startup on a revenue run rate of INR 37.9 Cr for the upcoming year.
The startup has set up shop in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, with another plant coming up in Ahmedabad, which will help it take green hydrogen production to 5 metric tonnes per day. The startup also has a demo plant in Bengaluru, producing 500 litres of green hydrogen daily. Ossus’ long-term goal is to boost its production to 20,000 metric tonnes per day by 2026.
Efficient Same-Day Delivery For Brands
While shoppers are increasingly showing interest in D2C brands, they ultimately turn to larger marketplaces like Amazon or Flipkart due to the more seamless delivery experience, especially same-day delivery.
To enable all ecommerce startups with same-day delivery experience, logistics startup Pikndel comes with a network of shared dark stores which tackle the problem of last-mile delivery.
Brands can store their products in the startup’s dark stores for ultra-fast 4-hour deliveries and the company also collects products directly from existing brand-owned warehouses for same-day delivery.
The Delhi NCR-based startup charges a fixed fee on brands for every order it fulfils, while it is currently operating in the capital as well as Mumbai and Bengaluru, two high-volume hubs for D2C brands.
Over the next year, Pikndel aims to expand its same-day delivery services to all Tier-I cities in India. The startup’s roadmap includes an AI-based product that it claims will provide a personalised experience to shoppers in its delivery network.
Hospitality Sector Gets A Job Marketplace
As per a report, India’s food services industry is set to create 10 Mn jobs by 2025, with hundreds of thousands of establishments looking for job-ready individuals. However, hiring is a major challenge for this space given the highly unorganised nature of the domain.
To change this, Ram Vaibhav Kumaran and Adrien Jasserand set up Recipeat, a job marketplace for the hospitality industry, in 2022. The platform connects job seekers in the hospitality industry with establishments seeking workers across roles such as waiters, cleaners, baristas, receptionists, and stewards, among others.
The Bengaluru-based startup onboards restaurants, hotels and other establishments, allowing them to make job listings on its platform.
The startup charges INR 4,000 (excluding GST) per month for a single listing, with pricing going up to INR 22,500 (excluding GST) per month for up to five listings. Recipeat also offers custom pricing plans for establishments looking to list more than five jobs per month.
Empowering Fintechs For Seamless Digital Lending
Lendingtech has become the largest market opportunity within fintech and is set to rise to $1.3 Tn in size by 2030, per Inc42 data. Lending has also emerged as a viable option for many fintech startups to hit profitability and grow sustainably. However, many fintech startups simply lack the technical know-how to set up a lending infrastructure.
Having worked in finance and banking for nearly two decades, Raman Vig and Sudipta Ghosh set up Roopya in 2022 to provide fintech startups with the means to kickstart their digital lending ventures in under five minutes through the Roopya Money product suite.
Roopya offers four key solutions – AI Insights, Loan Origination System, CRM for Fintechs and Loan Origination Platform. The startup’s analytics platform gives insights into bureau data, alternate data and customer behaviour data, allowing fintechs to predict their customers’ needs and act accordingly. Roopya is also a part of India’s OCEN (Open Credit Enablement Network) network.
The startup’s loan origination system connects a B2B user with hundreds of LSPs (loan service providers) to generate leads. At the same time, Roopya’s loan origination platform, a cloud-based, automated platform, helps lenders to originate and underwrite loans. Lastly, the startup also offers a CRM platform designed for fintech startups to manage lending operations.
The startup has two pricing plans, one each for a credit institution and an LSP. For the former, Roopya charges INR 3.75 Lakh per month, alongside INR 95 per transaction. An LSP can avail the startup’s products at INR 5.5 Lakh per month, along with INR 125 per transaction.
Transforming Indian Agriculture With Satellite-Powered Solutions
Agriculture is India’s largest industry, with nearly 55% of the country’s population directly relying on agriculture and related sectors for their livelihoods. According to statistics from Inc42, the Indian agritech sector is projected to grow to $24 Bn by 2025, highlighting the pressing need for agricultural modernisation in the country.
Recognising this need, Sat Kumar Tomer and Yukti Gill founded Satyukt in 2018, a SaaS startup harnessing satellite technology to provide advisory services to customers. The company has developed proprietary technology capable of swiftly measuring soil nutrient content, enabling farmers to assess soil quality through their mobile devices without the need for on-site visits. Satyukt offers four primary products: Sat2Farm, Sat4Agri, Sat4Risk, and Sat2Credit.
Sat2Farm is a mobile app that delivers real-time data to farmers, including information on soil moisture, crop health, and crop yield potential. Sat4Agri offers agricultural enterprises insights into crop acreage, growth stages, and distribution. Sat4Risk supplies crop insurance companies with data regarding crop health and yield potential. Lastly, Sat2Credit assists BFSI institutions in evaluating a farm’s creditworthiness.
The startup provides its services in nine different languages and boasts an impressive client roster that includes Marico, Mahindra, Bosch, Adani, IIM Bangalore, and CISCO, among others.
Bridging The Skill Gap in Regional Languages
Skill development is one of the fastest-growing sub-segments within the Indian edtech space and is set to become a $2.5 Bn market opportunity by 2030, as per an Inc42 report.
While working with Kuku FM, the trio of Rohit Choudhary, Keertay Agarwal and Yash Banwani realised that there was a high demand for educational content in regional Indian languages. As such, they started building Seekho, a learning-focussed edutainment platform offering skill-development courses.
The platform offers engaging bite-sized videos around technology, money and business categories in Hindi and Bangla. The content is created by experts and is curated to deliver a fun learning experience. Seekho focuses on edutainment, crafting an engaging learning environment that merges education with entertainment.
Seekho monetises its platform via a subscription model. A user can subscribe to unlock all available content on the platform for INR 199 per month, as the startup continues to focus on affordability. The startup plans to tap an ARR of $10 Mn by 2024, which currently stands at $1 Mn and is growing 35% MoM.
Enabling Sellers Unlock The Full Potential Of Amazon Ads
A recent Amazon India report showed that there were more than 10 Lakh sellers active on its ecommerce platform, making it one of the largest online retailers in the country. While it offers advertisement services to sellers to be more competitive, there are only a few sellers who can effectively leverage Amazon’s advertising tools.
Having witnessed the problem first-hand, Athmajith Colote, Yogendra R. and Andrew Jervis set up SellerGeni in 2020 to help brands and sellers accelerate growth and automate ads through its suite of tools on Amazon.
Brands working on Amazon can connect their Amazon accounts and get intelligent recommendations on strategy automation. The startup claims to automate 98% of the user’s day-to-day activities in the first seven days of onboarding.
The startup has two key products, GrowZ and AisleDominator, which help brands execute complex growth strategies in just a few steps. SellerGeni’s tools allow users to know what is not working in their campaigns, why it is not working and how users can improve the outcome.
The startup charges users based on their ad spend on Amazon, with plans starting from $100 per month. Having gained 100+ users, SellerGeni is on course for a $700K ARR for FY24, growing at 20% MoM. The SaaS platform is active across geographies, though 51% of its clients come from India.
Moving forward, SellerGeni is looking to expand to the US, Canada and Japan by 2024, adding support for other platforms, including Meta, Google, Walmart and Flipkart (subject to API availability).
Ice Pops With A Healthy Twist
There is hardly any kid in this world who will say no to an ice pop or maybe two. While several brands manufacture ice pops in the highly fragmented Indian market, there is hardly any brand offering healthier popsicles that are largely free of sugar and artificial flavours.
To change this, Ravi and Anuja Kabra decided to set up Skippi Ice Pops in Hyderabad in 2020. While the husband-wife duo faced initial teething issues during the pandemic, the brand took off in 2021.
Today, the startup offers popsicles in more than five flavours, cream rolls and cornsticks via an omnichannel retail business model. The products are made using all-natural ingredients and flavours and use only RO water for their ice pops. Skippi sells via its website and quick commerce apps. It also has a distribution network of 200+ stockists and distributors across India. The startup claims to manufacture its products using a patented technology.
Skippi appeared on ‘Shark Tank India’ in 2021 and secured an ‘All-Shark deal’ in the process. The startup claims to be on a sharp growth trajectory, recording a 40X growth in revenue last year and receiving orders worth INR 2-2.8 Cr per month.
Your Parenting Partner
Over the past few years, the mom and baby care segment has emerged as one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Indian startup ecosystem. This can be substantiated by the fact that the country today fosters more than 6K startups, which offer baby products and services to parents.
Founded by Akshay and Anshul Arya, Delhi NCR-based StarAndDaisy aids parents in their parenting journey with its products, including prams, cribs and cradles, baby walkers, study tables for kids, and toys, among other babycare items.
StarAndDaisy’s lineup of products is available across marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, and Firstcry. The startup roped in Indian actor Ameesha Patel as its brand ambassador last year.
The Cold Chain Enablers
The Indian cold chain market is highly unorganised, and it is due to this fragmented nature of this sector that many businesses that trade in perishable goods have no other option but to depend on rudimentary solutions like using ice slabs, dry ice or cost-intensive solutions like a refrigerated truck.
Notably, even though the country has cold storage that is run on solar panels; however, these solar-powered centres lack efficiencies on various fronts.
During their research days at IIT Madras in 2015, Dr Soumalya Mukherjee, Dr Shiv Sharma, and Dr Rajani Kant Rai were working on phase change materials (PCM), a substance which releases or absorbs sufficient energy at phase transition to provide useful heat or cooling. This research enabled them to manufacture PCM for the thermal management of supply chains. As a result, tan90 came into existence in 2019.
The startup manufactures 20 tonnes of inorganic PCM daily in various form factors, including sachets for short usages to panels for lengthier usages, at its Chennai plant. The startup has developed its PCMs and can serve temperatures between -24 to +50°C for applications across industries such as frozen, chilled and ambient food products, pharmaceuticals and biological samples.
These PCMs have pending patent applications in India.
The startup also offers Cooling-as-a-Service (CaaS), which is aimed at customers who are in the mid-mile movement and have been using dry ice and refrigerated trucks. Via its PCM-based solutions, customers can use normal trucks for the movement of frozen products. For the same, the startup provides pre-frozen PCM panels on a lease to maintain the temperature inside ice boxes.
tan90 has two primary revenue streams – selling PCMs directly and leasing them via CaaS. The startup sells PCMs across India, UAE, Oman, Philippines, Germany, and South Korea, while CaaS is available in Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, and Hyderabad.
The startup plans to ramp up its CaaS to six more cities, while its long-term plans include expansion into the SEA market and HVAC services.
The Mainstreet Marketplace
Reseller Marketplace For Sought-After Sneakers
The sneaker culture is one of the biggest subcultures within the fashion industry, and India is no exception. According to research firm Allied Market Research, India’s sneaker market reached $3 Bn in size in 2023 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.18% between 2023 and 2028.
However, some of the most coveted sneakers are beyond the reach of many. Having witnessed the absence of good sneakers, Vedant Lamba founded The Mainstreet Marketplace in 2017. The initiative first started as a YouTube channel and eventually became a reselling marketplace.
Today, the platform has expanded to include other fashion goods such as watches, handbags, t-shirts, and more. Currently, the startup lists more than 8,000 SKUs on its platform.
The Mainstreet Marketplace follows a C2B2C business model, which means that the platform connects individual sellers to buyers. The startup acquires stock from sellers and then ships it to buyers from its locations in Delhi and Mumbai. The Mainstreet Marketplace also allows users to pay for their products in instalments via MNST Pay Later at zero extra cost or interest.
The startup earns a commission on each product sold on its platform. Its YouTube channel, which now has more than 100K subscribers, also contributes to its overall revenues.
The Mainstreet Marketplace recently achieved INR 100 Cr in annualised revenue run rate and is gearing up to launch its in-house range of products, MNST Gear. In the long term, the startup is working on expanding its retail business to four more countries beyond India.
Transforming ESG Metrics With Digital MRV Solutions
Companies are now mandated to report the environmental impact of their activities in the form of ESG reports. However, while attempts have been made to introduce a standardised system, many companies have internal metrics to showcase environmental impact, which may not be accurate and unbiased.
Having witnessed the problem first-hand while working with farmers to develop and implement climate-friendly land management practices, Navarun Atraya and Vishan Ravi Tejaas established Transitry, a climate tech startup, in 2021.
Transitry, an AI-enabled platform, provides digital MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) solutions to help organisations measure, report and verify their carbon emissions.
The startup also allows organisations to track their carbon footprint, identify opportunities to reduce emissions and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability metrics. The platform helps organisations, businesses, government departments and NGOs compile and verify their carbon emissions data, which is essential for complying with carbon reporting requirements.
Transitry’s advisory services help companies develop and implement climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. The startup also guides how to access green finance, used to invest in climate-friendly projects.
Elevating Data Solutions With ChatGPT
Pretty much nothing has changed the dynamics of the tech industry in the past decade as much as generative AI. An increasing number of organisations are jumping on the AI bandwagon now with the proliferation of ChatGPT-based tools, so naturally, the market is ripe for early innovation in this domain.
The startup is targeting pre-sales areas such as lead generation, lead qualification, quote generation, and order creation where ChatGPT can automate repetitive manual tasks.
Going forward, the startup aims to cater to solutions down the funnel, i.e., after customers are brought on board, with features targeting engagement, retention, and cancellation.
WorkHack operates on a subscription-based pricing model, billing users monthly. It claims to be catering to businesses that have workforces ranging from 10,000 to 2,00,000 individuals. The pricing ranges from INR 7-INR 3 per user per month. The startup currently serves customers in the Indian and US markets.
Building AI Infra For Software Engineers
Bengaluru-based Xylem, which positions itself as an AI infra provider, is building a low-code platform for software development teams to build, manage, and deploy production-ready AI models into their products.
Founded in 2023 by Arko Chattopadhyay, Enrique Ferrao and Pranav Reddy, Xylem has various use cases for developers. With the help of Xylem, developers can simply connect their data source, choose from its embed models, decide on resources and select the required LLM model.
The startup’s proprietary search and ranking engine, RavenX, integrates both keyword and semantic search, which helps reduce LLM costs and latency as well as eliminate inefficiencies by processing relevant data.
Xylem is planning to release the first public build of the platform by 2024 and aims to clock in $75K-$100K ARR in the same year. Xylem AI is looking to capture the growing global market of the AI enablement layer. In the short term, the startup also plans to train its in-house AI engines for use cases in businesses beyond generative AI.
Unclogging Supply-Chain Bottlenecks In The Procurement Of Medical Supplies
Although India has been one of the major pharmacy markets in the world, supply-chain issues remain a major pain point internally.
Understanding that the fragmented nature of supply chains makes the procurement process complex and hampers the quality of products, Amit Sah and Umesh Sharma founded Zoplar to simplify medical supply procurement with a one-stop platform for all healthcare requirements.
Incorporated in 2022, the Gurugram-based startup makes the procurement of medical supplies more convenient and cost-effective, thereby giving hospitals and manufacturers of medical equipment a much-needed respite.
Zoplar offers access to a wide range of products eliminates pricing and inventory complexity and ensures quality delivery and after-sales experiences.
The medical supplies provider counts Titan Capital, Saison Capital, and Beenext as its investors. It claims to have over 250 clients and delivered 50,000-plus units across more than 7,000 pin codes in India.
[Edited by Shishir Parashar]