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30 Startups To Watch: The Startups That Caught Our Eye In May 2022 – Inc42 Media

Aprajita Ashk
Every month, the Inc42 team curates 30 sector-agnostic startups with a unique value proposition
This month’s list includes 30 unique startups primarily solving niche and tech-related problems across ecommerce, deeptech and fintech space
As the startup funding winter looms, the 28th edition of the ‘30 Startups To Watch’ series aims to put emphasis on companies creating value instead of chasing valuation
Are we witnessing darkness at noon? A startup funding winter right after a peak season and the emergence of the 100th unicorn in India? The funding boom of 2021 drastically changed ‘normal’ funding activities. Now that the VC euphoria and FOMO are getting tested against profitability and cash flow, the funding deluge has turned into a trickle. Will the startup ecosystem again face a downturn as it did in 2016?
Marquee investors, including Y Combinator, Sequoia, have called it a funding winter. Winter is probably here, and it will be the survival of the fittest from now on. But serious founders and value creators are rarely daunted by these periodic slowdowns. Amid layoffs and shutdowns, amid pessimistic sentiment, volatile markets and a liquidity crunch (high inflation and interest hikes add to the woes), they will continue to build.
Our monthly column 30 Startups to Watch also adds to this value-creation exercise. In a country where 80 startups get registered every day, recognition is hard to come by. Therefore, the Inc42 team selects a handful of early-stage startups that are set to make waves in their respective sectors. This month’s list features the startups creating value-added products for the ecosystem and solving niche and sectoral problems that may lift them to profitability.
This month’s list includes 30 unique startups solving critical problems with unconventional tech and innovative processes across fintech, enterprise tech and ecommerce. In the 28th edition of the series, we have listed companies resolving long-standing problems of space travel, retail investments, biofuel supply chain, data policing and more.
This time, the enterprisetech segment features eight startups specialising in DesignOps, DevOps, product visualisation and a few more niche use cases. Then there are eight more from the fintech and the ecommerce segments. We have also listed four unique healthtech startups. One is helping people live a better life by understanding their genetics. The second deals in livestock nutrition. The third is anonymising mental health conversations. And the fourth is making generic drugs affordable.
The list gets more interesting every month, with remarkable startups making it to the top 30. But this month, most of the startups listed below have raised even less than $1 Mn. They are setting a precedent that funding is only a tiny part of the larger startup game, and a product of value will top valuation and eventually lead to profitability.
Editor’s Note: The list below is not meant to be a ranking of any kind. We have listed the startups in alphabetical order.
Companies like SpaceX have made space travel more affordable as they leverage reusable launch vehicles (RLVs) to put satellites into orbit. As a result, there is a growing demand for reusable rockets as the global satellite market is poised to reach $15 Bn in 2028.
Set up in 2020, Abyom from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, aims to bridge this demand-supply gap by building reusable rockets for satellite launches and RLVs. The startup is developing a control and monitoring system for reusable rockets and a rocket booster with a portable rocket engine testing system to launch satellites into low Earth orbit.
The bootstrapped company intends to finalise its revenue model, raise capital to set up a manufacturing unit and pilot a reusable rocket by 2022. It targets one that can be used 15-70 times, thus reducing the cost of the launch by 30%. The startup plans to manufacture its reusable rockets by 2025 and become a part of the global community for space enthusiasts.
As enterprises increasingly switch from physical to digital and on-premises operations to cloud in the wake of the pandemic, data breaches have jumped multifold. In the first two months of 2022, 2.12 Lakh cybersecurity incidents were reported in India, and it is likely to spike, as cybercriminals now target more diverse datasets for multiple uses. To counter this growing threat, Pune- and Palo Alto-based Airavana is building a cloud platform for personal data discovery across cloud applications to reduce data privacy risks, improve data security and enable enterprises to manage and protect customers’ personal data.
Set up in 2021, the SaaS startup offers an integration service so that enterprises can track their customers’ (personal) data footprints across their applications and quickly detect potential breaches and violations in case of any unauthorised data movement. Apart from this data policing, Airavana helps enterprises align with the privacy regulation of the land where they operate (CCPA, GDPR, SOC2, HIPAA, PCI and more) and enables infosec and privacy teams to enforce relevant policies to monitor and remediate privacy and data security violations.
The need to learn the nitty-gritty of personal finances at a young age has fuelled the demand for startups like Akudo, which aim to build an ecosystem for teens and help kids make financial decisions in a safe and controlled environment.
Set up in 2020, Bengaluru-based Akudo has already registered 800K+ teens and parents via its iOS and Android apps. One can start the financial journey using Akudo’s prepaid Visa debit card, backed by RBL Bank. The fintech startup enables family-friendly controls and oversight on the app alongside many features such as financial goal setting, savings and a gamified rewards system encouraging teens to use their pocket money responsibly. It also offers bite-sized informative content to help the kids learn how to manage their finances. Akudo aims to reach 2 Mn Indian users (teens and their parents) by the end of this year.
With less than 5% insurance penetration in India and 99% of it still happening offline, the insuretech ecosystem needs a technology push for optimum growth. Furthermore, building an insurance product that ensures ease of operations and data security is challenging. Aware of the current scenario, Mumbai-based Assurekit was launched in 2019 to offer cloud-based solutions to any enterprise willing to enter insurance distribution to boost the industry.
Now in its early-access mode, the SaaS startup offers an API integration tool called AssureCore to digitise product design (the way brands offer insurance policies, either as a standalone product or bundled with their core offerings) and claims processing. Assurekit works with legacy companies and helps them sell their products on third-party websites.
The startup currently deals in car, bike and commercial vehicle insurance but plans to enter the health insurance space by FY23.
Boltzmann Labs
Preclinical drug discovery is an arduous task that requires a long time and millions of dollars in investment. As India has a deficient research ecosystem compared to many major economies, there is an urgent need to optimise this process. Founded in 2019, Boltzmann Labs is looking to deal with these hurdles with a bouquet of solutions to help improve Indian researchers’ pace of work and connect them with institutions willing to fund their work.
Boltzmann offers four pay-as-you-go research tools that allow researchers to design and test new drugs before taking them to trials. These include BoltChem, a SaaS-based molecule design studio; ReBolt, a synthesis planning tool; BoltBio, a target/biomarker identification tool, and BoltPro, a protein engineering suite. The startup claims its solutions will increase research efficiency by 66%.
It further offers joint venture opportunities between researchers and contract research organisations (CROs) such as Sarsuag Discovery, CSIR and more. Consequently, it plans to work on asset outlicensing when such partnerships result in preclinical candidates that can be licensed out to big pharma companies.
Boltzmann Labs plans to set up 10 JVs with CROs by 2022 and take five molecules to the investigational new drug phase by 2025.
With fossil fuel prices going through the roof and no reprieve in sight, it is time to boost low-carbon and cost-effective import substitutes. Of course, EV and hydrogen fuel cell-based transportation may become mainstream in future. But in the short term, biofuels can be widely used as an alternative if India can develop an efficient supply chain. Launched in 2020, BuyOfuel is a B2B marketplace that hopes to address this issue through seamless procurement and sales. 
The Coimbatore-based startup signs up biofuel suppliers, aggregators and consumers so that sellers and buyers can easily connect and transact via its ecommerce platform. Waste generators can also sign up and sell the waste used for biofuel production. The startup earns a commission on each transaction and charges a fee for value-add services such as a data analysis dashboard and invoice management.
Big Indian corporate houses such as ITC and the Aditya Birla Group are among Buyofuel’s clientele. The company wants to replace 1-2% of India’s total fossil fuel consumption with biofuels by 2025, which means it will look to transact around 13-26 Mn metric tonnes of biofuel via its platform. The startup also eyes an ARR of INR 63 Cr in FY23 and a monthly GMV of INR 75 Cr.
DesignOps is one of the most critical components of a product company, and both design and product managers play a significant role in a business success story. But to achieve well-rounded growth, design functions need to be scaled up in sync with product requirements.
Launched in 2021, Bengaluru-based Cubyts has developed a B2B SaaS platform to make efficient scaling possible through improved inter-team communications in terms of design requirements, impact measurement and repository creation. It operates as a standalone collaboration tool as well as a TPA-integrated platform and comes with freemium offerings, including design templates, customisation-as-you-go and ease of use.
The startup is currently in the early-access stage and has onboarded 50 teams. It targets to onboard 500+ companies and eyes an ARR of $1 Mn by the end of this year.
In spite of the recent unfortunate incidents with on-road EVs, the demand for electric two-wheelers is still on the rise in India, and the likes of Ola Electric, Okinawa, PURE EV and Ather Energy are going all out to capture a significant chunk of the market. However, there is a massive gap in this ecosystem. The e-scooters in circulation operate as personal vehicles, but they are not optimised for commercial use cases.
In contrast, EV startup Dispatch Vehicles is working on a purpose-built, commercial-use e-scooter and targeting a launch by March 2023.
Set up in 2020, Mumbai-based Dispatch aims to increase EV proliferation in the fleets of aggregators like Zomato and Swiggy. Although some consumer internet and ecommerce companies have already started electrifying their fleets, Dispatch wants to disrupt the segment with an e-scooter specifically designed for commercial applications.
The startup claims that its e-scooter, patented in 32 countries, including India, will provide customisable parts to meet the requirements of ride-sharing, food delivery, bulk courier services and delivery of emergency items that need to be refrigerated. It can also be used as a normal e-scooter after working hours, and the accessories can be swapped between the front and the rear.
Apart from targeting gig workers, the company aims to explore B2B options such as fleet-as-a-service (to help ecommerce companies reduce capex) and energy-as-a-service (to sell EV batteries). It has also tied up with a contract manufacturer with an installed capacity of 6 Mn scooters annually and plans to start production by 2022.
As social commerce rises globally, one of its branches gaining prominence is visual commerce. It is all about leveraging compelling visual content, including augmented reality, to enhance customer experience. That is how Bengaluru-based Dybo intends to differentiate ecommerce brands. It is unlocking the full potential of visual commerce by offering custom try-on with its AR tech stack.
Launched in 2019 by BITS Pilani alumni Dhawal Jain and Aman Kumar, Dybo has developed two virtual display solutions for furniture brands. With Dybo360, brands can provide a 360-degree view of their products. With DyboAR in use, end consumers can virtually place catalogue products inside their homes and play around with a product’s colours and materials to match their preferences. To obtain the desired output, brands need to upload product images, and Dybo’s GI and gaming tech experts convert the photos and videos into interactive media.
The startup has a subscription-based business model, has worked with 200+ furniture brands and now plans to refine its products for other categories like apparel, accessories and electronics.
In India, mainstream learning often follows the beaten path and rarely encourages students to discover their passion and learn relevant skills. At times, even young professionals need to find their calling and master the skill set required to rise and shine. Unsurprisingly, such an ecosystem mostly churns out an unhappy, clueless and skill-deficient workforce. Aware of these issues, three-year-old Edubuk helps people identify their passion and be in charge of their careers.
On the B2C front, the Hyderabad-based startup offers a multiple intelligence, interests and talent (MIIT) test to help applicants discover what field will suit them best, given their education, passion and skills. Next, it suggests a career path and relevant upskilling courses available online on its platform or offline via its partner institutes. The company also provides job assistance and resume help. Interestingly, resumes are developed using blockchain to decentralise the process for users and make it easily accessible and verifiable for employers.
On the B2B front, the startup partners with educational institutions to provide ERP and LMS solutions for the courses on offer. Its revenue channels include fees for the MIIT screening test and online courses, charges for creating blockchain-based resumes and commissions earned from offline partners.
Edubuk has onboarded 25K+ students from 10+ institutions and targets quadrupling the user base by 2022. It aims to reach 10 Mn users and partner with 100+ institutions in three years.
Livestock farming in India commands a market worth INR 93,000 Cr. But very few farmers/breeders use industry-standard animal feed to secure the health and nutrition of their farm animals despite the rising demand for dairy and poultry products. To raise awareness regarding animal nutrition and disrupt the $25 Bn global animal feed industry, friends and serial entrepreneurs Kumar Ranjan and Ravi Chauhan (both from agricultural backgrounds) launched Efeed in 2021.
Pune-based Efeed is a Healthify-style platform for farm animals, helping livestock farmers choose and integrate the right kind of nutrition on its app to customise the animal feed as per their requirements. After farmers are made aware of how animal produce can impact end-users, the next step is to determine the nutrition targets for their livestock based on age, weight and expected yield.
Efeed’s android app advisory then provides relevant suggestions and fodder recipes based on the animal health analysis and the farm’s location. A small fee is charged for this service post which farmers can source raw materials to prepare the feed at home, buy it from local shops or go for the startup’s ready-to-serve products.
The app is currently available in Hindi and English and has served 1.2 Lakh+ farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka. Efeed plans to foray into the northeast, starting with Assam and aims to offer more language support as it expands. It is also looking to set up an offline franchise store chain, of which two stores are already operating in Uttar Pradesh.
EV Plugs
To boost the usage of electric vehicles in India, EV users must have hassle-free access to charging stations and service infrastructure similar to what is available for fossil fuel-run vehicles. So, New Delhi-based EV Plugs is building an aggregation platform for EV users to locate and book charging and maintenance services.
Set up in 2021, the startup allows users to sign up and choose their vehicle types via Android and iOS apps. Based on the location and the vehicle’s requirements, the apps come up with a list of suitable stations and their details.
Much like the EV sector in India, the company is still in a nascent stage with no revenue model in place. But it plans to add ‘slot booking’ for charging and servicing EVs, thus reducing the wait time for users. It will also partner with companies setting up EV infrastructure for location accuracy. By 2023, the company plans to expand its network coverage to more than 50K charging stations across 200+ cities from the current 1K+ listings in 50+ cities.
Factsheets May Fello
Talk investments, and people put it off for another time, citing low returns and other excuses. Mention something as hot and happening as fantasy gaming, and they rush to spend real money on it despite low winning chances. Only 6% of Indians regularly invest to grow their assets compared to 39% who love the regular adrenalin kick from fantasy gaming. To make good of this quirky mindset, Fello was set up in 2021, allowing people to go for gaming if they invest first.
To begin with, the Bengaluru-based startup offers attractive investment solutions, including mutual funds, digital gold and more. But aware of the average Joe’s habitual reluctance to follow a ‘personal finance’ regime, Fello has come up with an invest-to-play model to inculcate saving and investment habits.
The fintech startup awards game tokens to users after investing via its platform. These can be used to play in-house games like tambola and cricket championships on its android app. However, Fello users cannot use real money to play games, only the tokens they win by investing. Their rewards points from games can be used for further investments or to redeem shopping coupons.
Fello is working with banks and asset managers to provide savings and investment solutions. It earns commissions from these financial partners, but the platform is free for retail investors. The company claims to have 400K users. It aims to reach a user base of 1 Mn by FY23 and an AUM of $50 Mn as it plans to launch a neobanking platform.
Top-quality, personalised skincare products are often considered a luxury in India, and very few people can access or afford them. Then there are pocket-friendly mass-market products, but these are not always suitable for all skin types. Understanding how the lack of innovation in this space hurt consumers, two-year-old Foxtale spent more than a year on research, development, tests and trials before launching the first collection of skincare products in December 2021. The USP: These four products would suit every type of Indian skin.
Aiming to reduce the essential skincare regime from 10 minutes to two, Mumbai-based Foxtale offers a cleanser, a serum, a moisturiser and a sunscreen. Used together, they can take care of many skincare issues like fixing flakes and grease for dry and oily skins and helping with spot reduction. These can also be used as a makeup base. All products are developed in-house, and the company procures as many as 76 ingredients from all over the globe.
The D2C brand sells its products pan-India via its website and ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and 1mg. It will also partner with more ecommerce channels in 2022 to enhance its online presence and ensure better reach across the country.
Students need to learn industry-specific skills to become job-ready in a knowledge-driven economy. But the Indian education system is built on a traditional model focussing on higher education (read engineering/medical studies) and grades instead of mastering job-worthy skills. Worse still, students from Tier 2 cities and beyond suffer the most. Many of them cannot afford elitist higher education and lack employability even after a college degree due to our skill-deficient education system. So, FunctionUp was launched in 2021 to help them upskill without spending a fortune on technical education.
The Bengaluru-based edtech startup offers a four-month-long and stream-agnostic virtual boot camp in backend engineering, focussing on basic to specific skills like coding, software development, data science, data analytics and product management. It also helps students build ‘skill’ portfolios by allowing them to work on real projects and places them across its partner companies. Students in the final year of college or those who have recently graduated can apply for this programme. The startup has an income-sharing model, and a student thus placed has to pay FunctionUp 17% of the salary for three years if the annual remuneration is more than INR 5 Lakh.
FunctionUp says it has onboarded 1K+ students, and its revenue is growing 46% month-on-month. It aims to build a 1 Mn+ user base by 2025. It targets an ARR of $2 Mn for FY23 and intends to launch gamified cohorts, specifically for data analytics, product management, UI-UX and frontend engineering this year.
Generic Aadhaar
Generic medicines (as opposed to branded ones) account for 70% of the Indian pharmaceutical market. But the steady rise in medicine prices due to cost escalation of raw materials can put too big a dent in one’s wallet. Enter Generic Aadhaar, a Mumbai-based startup that offers generic medicines at a price that is nearly 80% less than the brand ones.
Launched in 2018, the startup sells generic medicines through its franchise-owned retail chain and passes on the price benefits as generic drugs incur no research cost, and no intermediaries are involved here. Store owners also get up to 40% margin on 700+ generic medicines. The pharma startup further provides billing and inventory management software to franchise owners for a fee.
Generic Aadhaar has an in-house manufacturing and warehousing unit in Mumbai and supplies its medicines to more than 1.5K franchise stores across 150+ cities. It plans to add another 1K franchise stores to its network in the current financial year.
The world of work has gone upside down after the onset of the pandemic. Businesses continue to follow safety protocols, and many teams still operate remotely. However, working in silos may lead to a lack of transparency and redundancies, affecting a team’s productivity and overall goals. So, two-year-old Hatica, a DevOps platform specialising in engineering operations, allows teams to get insights into workflow and productivity in real time.
The Gurugram and San Francisco-based startup provides productivity insights through touchpoints that feature collaborations, team tasks, individual assignments and further measures to improve workflow management. As a result, managers better understand their teams’ targets and workloads and how to align them with business goals while ensuring no team gets overburdened.
The subscription-based SaaS platform is still in beta and plans to launch later this year. It aims to become the go-to platform for software team management by 2025.
Haus & Kinder
Gone are the days when locally produced luxury materials and seasonal colours ruled the look and feel of home furnishings and home décor. Today’s generation is increasingly embracing the global style of all things chic, soothing and minimal. Founded in 2018, D2C startup Haus & Kinder intends to disrupt the traditional home essentials industry with its design-led products.
The Mumbai-based startup offers a wide selection of home furnishing and décor items, including cotton bed sheets, zero-twist towels, embroidered cushions and more, in sync with the latest trends and colour palettes. It has recently launched baby care products such as baby beddings, playmats, swaddles and sleeping bags. Haus & Kinder houses 250+ SKUs across 12+ categories, all manufactured in-house.
Its products are sold pan-India via the Haus & Kinder website and ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart and FirstCry. It has recently entered the UAE market and plans to launch in the US by partnering with Amazon Global in the current financial year. The brand eyes an ARR of INR 60 Cr in FY23 and aims to become an INR 500 Cr company in another two years.
Indika AI
Industry 4.0 primarily focusses on optimising AI/ML to replicate human intelligence for task automation. While artificial intelligence provides the solutions here, data is the feed that nourishes AI. In brief, the quality and performance of AI solutions depend heavily on the relevance of annotated datasets. Indika AI was launched in 2020 to develop data training solutions to help deeptech companies with data collection for algo training, data de-identification and anonymisation, and transcription and annotation services for siloed data.
The Mumbai-based startup initially operated as an on-demand service provider for many industry sectors, including the BFSI, medical AI, autonomous vehicles, media and entertainment and more, while working out the right product-market fit. Based on that exercise, it has developed a bouquet of solutions for image, audio-video and text annotation, search relevance and content moderation. The data-as-a-service startup has adopted a subscription model and currently provides annotation services to more than 20 companies.
Indika is also working on a workflow management system for collecting training data and data labelling for AI applications across sectors. The startup will use vernacular languages to provide localised, high-quality datasets and aims to train more than 10K data analysts from finance, medical and legal domains by the end of 2022.
Jumping Minds
Mental health issues are still taboo in India, given the widespread social stigma, and seeking professional help is not easy. The country has 0.75 therapists per 100K people, and few can afford long and expensive treatment. Therefore, those suffering from such disorders often feel more comfortable discussing their problems with friends or reliable but unrelated, non-judgemental listeners. Noticing this trend, Jumping Minds was launched in 2021 to provide a community-based platform for afflicted people keen to have an anonymous conversation before they approach a therapist.
Here is how the Gurugram-based startup works. Users can sign up to connect with mWarriors (anonymous contributors with empathy and listening skills) and talk about their problems without revealing their identities. Jumping Minds also has a social media-style wall, where users can post their feeds to inspire one other or interact with other users. One can use this platform for free, but the android app also includes the mCorner with premium features such as meditation tools and yoga lessons to improve the user’s mood.
The startup claims to have 200K+ community members and plans to build an AI-enabled and chatbot-style platform to make mental health solutions accessible to all. It also aims to onboard 1 Mn+ users and launch globally by 2022.
Personalising ‘personal finance’ can be pretty challenging, and wealth managers often end up providing general investment schemes that may not yield the desired outcome. But with data insights from 2 Mn+ data points from a single user, Bengaluru-based Koshex remains a step ahead when it comes to helping retail investors manage their money.
Set up in 2021, the fintech startup offers customised investment solutions across fixed-income and market-related products like mutual funds, smart deposits, and digital gold based on an investor’s budget, savings and expenses. While it partners with SEBI- and the RBI-approved asset management platforms to offer investment deals, Koshex has joined hands with another wealth tech startup, SafeGold, for digital gold investments. Currently, the web-based platform does not charge anything for its services. Users can log in with their mobile numbers and PAN cards to create and track their financial plans.
Koshex aims to automate the personal finance journey by 2023 to make all investment-related activities hassle-free for a big chunk of the 100 Mn+ millennial investor segment.
Factsheets May 1 Pillow
Investing in cryptocurrencies is often considered a lucrative option, given their potential profitability. But there is a big downside. The crypto market is highly volatile compared to other asset classes and requires extensive investor education. More importantly, crypto investors’ money lies idle on the blockchain, and the earnings happen only when there is a market jump.
Enter Pillow, which offers the crypto equivalent of mutual funds called Pillow Cases. It allows crypto investors to benefit from highly lucrative cryptocurrencies and earn additional interest income from stablecoins like the USDT and USDC as well as other cryptos such as BTC and ETH.
Set up in 2021, Singapore-headquartered Pillow allows retail investors to deposit their crypto assets to the startup’s app. The startup invests the quantum in 500+ collateralised DeFi protocols across 10 chains and insures it to reduce risks and maximise returns. It pays up to 14% interest per annum on stablecoins and up to 6% on BTC and ETH, and there is no lock-in period for retail investors.
Pillow uses BitGo as the custodian which insures digital assets worth more than $100 Mn for assets under custody. The startup keeps a part of the interest return made above the maximum guaranteed 14%. It plans to scale to 100K users by 2022 and expand beyond BTC, ETH and USDC/USDT into MATIC and SOL.
More than 58% of Indians depend on agriculture and allied sectors for their livelihoods. But inefficiencies at the grassroots continue to plague the sector, and bulk buyers of agricultural produce struggle to cope with crop quality, logistics and financial issues. Moreover, due to their sole dependency on government-appointed traders, these transactions are seldom hassle-free. To ensure a smooth business flow for all stakeholders, agritech startup Poshn has built a platform to help organise the bulk buying market, distribute processed commodities and facilitate agritech financing.
Set up in 2020, New Delhi-based Poshn has developed a four-party ecommerce platform for wholesale buyers, bulk sellers, agri finance providers and logistic startups. It enables commodity price discovery and manages the distribution for bulk buyers like JioMart, DealShare and CityMall.
For agri suppliers registered as sellers on the platform, Poshn provides bigger market access, insights into market trends, working capital and a platform for auctioning commodities. It has also integrated third-party logistic companies to offer transportation services, while financial institutions on Poshn provide loans to buyers and sellers.
The startup is operational in India, the Middle East and the SEA markets and primarily deals in staples. It has multiple revenue streams, including commissions from distribution and logistics channels and credit disbursements and onboarding fees from buyers and sellers of agri commodities.
Poshn claims to have onboarded 200+ agri buyers and sellers and earned INR 240 Cr in revenue in FY22. It plans to expand into five primary agri commodities and reach an ARR of INR 1,500 Cr in the current financial year.
The consumer internet market in India is expected to reach $1.6 Tn by 2025, with ecommerce and consumer services such as mobility and home utility taking the lead. This is a huge opportunity, but few SMBs from Tier 3 locations and beyond can leverage it as they mostly operate offline. So, QPe was set up in 2021 to bring them online and move them to a new growth trajectory as the number of internet users rises steadily.
The New Delhi-based startup provides offline sellers access to its full-stack solution through its android app. Its offerings include setting up an online store, managing orders, stock and catalogue, providing multiple payment gateways for a smooth checkout, chatbot integration and a dedicated business manager to help the company grow to its full potential. It also provides an analytics dashboard for sellers to monitor and analyse customer data and user behaviour. In addition, QPe helps improve the physical in-store experience by allowing brands to create QR code-based catalogues.
To set up an online shop, a seller only needs to add the store name and the brand, select a business category available under the 20+ category list and create a catalogue.
To help small businesses further, the startup has integrated hyperlocal delivery options from Shadowfax and Dunzo and provides access to intercity, interstate and global delivery partners such as Shiprocket, Blue Dart and FedEx.
QPe runs on a freemium, subscription-based model wherein store creation is free, but other services are billed depending on the features. It has so far onboarded 1K+ merchants, and the app on the Google Play store has clocked 10K+ downloads.
Secure Blink
Thanks to the rising digitalisation, mobile apps today are ubiquitous, available across networks and in the cloud. Hence, building foolproof app security has become essential to prevent data and code thefts by cybercriminals. That is why Tapendra Dev, a former security consultant to the government and law enforcement agencies, set up Secure Blink in 2020 to help companies proactively address the vulnerabilities associated with critical applications.
The Noida-based startup has developed a product called Threatspy that helps developers automate the detection, prioritisation and remediation process while predicting future-prone threats in an application. The integration crawls through the back end of tech stacks, locates hidden subdomains, web pages and lost app traces, and detects misconfiguration issues. It then analyses the issues over the common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS), predicts future threats, differentiates false positives and creates a plan to prioritise and mitigate the risks.
Secure Blink has opted for a subscription-based revenue model and has already worked with 12 or more enterprises. It is now bringing more features such as behaviour analytics and CISO strategies to the Threatspy platform and wants to roll it out for 100+ enterprises by 2022. It plans to onboard 300+ customers, reach $1 Mn ARR, work with companies from the Middle East and the EU and build more security solutions for mobile apps and the IoT space in another two years.
Lately, ecommerce in India has witnessed hypergrowth as people shopped online in the wake of the pandemic for safety and convenience. But on average, around 80% of shoppers drop off at the checkout stage without completing their transactions. Given this daunting data, Bengaluru-based ShopFlo saw an opportunity to help brands create a smoother checkout experience and thus reduce cart abandonment.
Incorporated in 2021, the startup became operational in May this year and provides a SaaS tool called Shopflo Checkout that can be integrated with online shopping sites to enable a 1-click checkout system with minimum cognitive load experience for consumers. If a buyer still abandons the shopping cart, the Shopflo Recover tool, a WhatsApp Business integration service, allows customers to complete the purchase directly on the messenger app. This feature is currently available for Shopify stores only, but Shopflo intends to roll it out for Woocommerce and Magento stores.
It charges a certain percentage of a brand’s monthly GMV earned via Shopflo checkout and may look to offer the service on a subscription. A month into launch, the SaaS startup has onboarded 15+ merchants and aims to refine its product further.
Traya Health
Body positivity is the ‘in’ thing globally, and most of us try to cope with how we look. However, certain issues can still affect our self-confidence and emotional well-being. One such condition is alopecia or hair loss which can lead to baldness. In India, alopecia, especially among men, is often considered a common occurrence, and very few brands work on reversing hair loss. But Traya Health is one such brand that has gone all out to fight genetic hair loss.
Hailing from Valsad, Gujarat and based out of Mumbai, the haircare startup was launched by the husband-wife duo of Altaf Saiyed and Saloni Anand in 2019 after Altaf suffered from hair loss and opted for a healthy mix of nutrition and medicines.
Traya follows a three-pronged approach – a combination of dermatology, ayurveda and nutrition – to manage hair loss and attain hair goals. A user has to take a hair test to determine scalp health and lifestyle issues post which they get connected to a hair expert. The expert offers a free consultation to select the ideal hair care package. The startup has a money-back policy if its solutions (a mix of lifestyle changes, nutrition and diet plans and use of ayurvedic products) fail to deliver results within five months.
While Traya mostly banks on its website to convert users taking the free hair test to customers, it also sells its ayurvedic products on ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart and 1mg. As of now, it offers more than 20 SKUs under four categories. The company claims it has served 100K consumers, with an 80% repeat rate, and plans to increase its user base to 1 Mn by this year.
Uravu Labs
The amount of potable freshwater on planet earth has remained reasonably constant over the ages. But a clean water crisis now looms large due to global warming and population explosion. According to UNICEF, nearly half of the global population could live in water scarcity areas by 2025. That is why startups like Uravu Labs are working on the ‘renewable water’ concept that may help resolve water scarcity to some extent.
Set up in 2019, the Bengaluru-based deeptech startup is developing hardware to convert atmospheric water into liquid. (Think of the natural condensation process, and you would get the basic concept.) Uravu has not disclosed the specifics but states that the technology turns air into water by using solar heat, industrial waste heat and even heat from biomass waste. It will soon file for a global patent for this proprietary technology.
According to the startup, air contains 6x more water than the world’s rivers combined, and it is replenished naturally every 8-10 days. Since this water (vapour) is already in its unadulterated form, there is no waste during the conversion.
Potential use cases for this air-to-water technology can be beverage and HoReCa companies, as the average cost of water conversion will be an affordable INR 3-7 per litre compared to packaged drinking water that costs INR 5-20 a litre. Corporations can buy the system directly from Uravu, or retail users can purchase water from the startup’s plants, to be built as part of its water-as-a-service model. Currently, Uravu is targeting both B2B and B2C markets, but it is also looking at B2G as a potential opportunity.
The startup has tested its system with AB InBev, a brewery company, and onboarded five clients. It plans to turn EBITDA positive by 2025 and manufacture units with a production capacity of more than 10,000 litres per day.
The Covid crisis has dynamically changed how individuals used to perceive personal healthcare. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, the ‘woke’ Indians have been proactively working out, following better diets and taking care of their physical and mental health. To reinforce this transformation, wellness evangelist Dr Sanjeev Nair started Vieroots, an epigenetic lifestyle modification company, in 2020. In simple terms, the startup helps people make informed choices about health and wellness based on their individual genetic and metabolic profiles.
Bengaluru-based Vieroots uses its proprietary geno-metabolic screening EPLIMO to offer personalised recommendations for ideal diet and exercise. Each test costs INR 35.4K, and a user needs to book a date either on the startup’s website or through a partner centre. Next, a sampling kit is home-delivered so that one can collect the swab samples and send these back to the company. The EPLIMO procedure conducts 200+ tests to assess the samples and predict the risk of several medical conditions, including lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high BP, cardiovascular disorders, cancer and more. Based on the analysis, the startup recommends lifestyle modifications spanning diet and supplements, exercise, yoga and meditation alongside consultations with genetics doctors.
Vieroots offers two more medtech tools – a nutrition profile test called Nutrigenome and an FDA-approved EKG device called KardiaMobile to check heart health. In addition, it has an in-house team of researchers and wellness coaches building solutions at the juncture of ancient and modern medicine.
The startup plans to expand its user base in 2022 by launching 20+ Vieroots experiential centres across the country for people to experience its products and services.
Fitness enthusiasts worldwide are always looking for standout activewear to improve their performance and define their style. From comfortable to multifunctional, fashionable to star-endorsed, the choices are many, and the global market is poised to reach $423 Bn by 2024. Bengaluru-based D2C brand Zymrat also joined the activewear bandwagon in 2018 and, a year later, launched a pocket-friendly collection for Indian consumers.
The men’s apparel brand has launched 60+ SKUs across nine categories and uses two cutting-edge production techniques. One is SuperVent, a fabric-knitting process for optimum breathability, and the other is SuperSilva, which infuses silver ions into any fabric to kill odour-producing bacteria.
Zymrat produces its activewear line in-house and sells it via its website. The startup claims 35K+ customers and a 30% month-on-month revenue growth in FY22. It targets an ARR of INR 35 Cr in FY23 and aims to launch an athleisure collection for women.
Edited By Sanghamitra Mandal
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