News & Analysis on India’s Tech & Startup Economy
Indian startups are evolving fast, but with the funding winter upon us, they are maturing into profitable businesses
In our 34th edition, we have looked at startups ditching novelty for utility and scalability
With this current edition, Inc42 has featured more than 1,000 early stage startups in the 30 Startups To Watch list
The lasting legacy of Covid-19 has disrupted the startup ecosystem as never before. But when the pandemic waves waned considerably in 2022, and the world looked forward to a cash-gushing year filled with big IPOs and mega-funding rounds, there came a hard-hitting downturn and sustained market pullback due to macro factors.
It is not new. Startups had been through these periodic down cycles, these moments of fear and panic, before roaring back to business. This time, too, there is a severe funding winter, wiping off the ebullience of easy capital.
Undoubtedly, every entrepreneur has tried to navigate the choppy waters, but few have come out unscathed. Many startups abruptly shut down or announced multiple rounds of layoffs to cut costs. According to Inc42 data, as many as 17,000 people got the pink slip by the time we published this monthly column. Valuations were slashed, too, and the ‘growth at any cost’ mantra is no longer valid.
Indian startups have been jolted out of their comfort zone really and truly. But this disruptive era’s learning and unlearning are also paving a recovery path. The business fundamentals have changed to operational profitability, and the means to achieve it is innovation – technology efficiency, which is affordable and resource-friendly.
The startup ecosystem in India has been hustling persistently to build disruptive brands, and for some, it has paid off. The late-stage funding scenario has been stark compared with just a few months ago, but this has been an eye-opener for early-stage investors. They are now guiding their portfolio companies better than before.
As businesses continue to innovate guided by aces, Inc42’s 30 Startups To Watch list adds another edition of 30 remarkable young companies which are building from India for the world.
More than growth, startups are now focussing on sustainability and business continuity. This has led to the exploration of new niches, building scalable products and innovating for both enterprises and consumers.
The 34th edition of Inc42’s 30 Startups To Watch list features a healthy mix of B2B and B2C entities across fintech, enterprise tech, blockchain, deeptech, manufacturing, green mobility (EVs), ecommerce, logistics, healthtech and more.
From intelligent data management to democratising the creator economy, insurance aggregation to end-to-end access to cancer care, babywear made of bamboo linen to making Asian condiments for every kitchen – this edition showcases many faces of technology and the growing maturity of India’s tech ecosystem.
Gone are the days when the unique usage of the internet and deeptech, heavy discounting and product personalisation wooed consumers who wanted to try everything under the sun. It is the era of utility and scalability, showcased by the startups in this list.
Check out the 34th edition of Inc42 Plus’ 30 Startups To Watch list.
Editor’s Note: The list below is not meant to be a ranking of any kind. We have listed the startups in alphabetical order.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic mandated the need for remote connectivity across most sectors. However, inspection companies with critical ground operations suffered at the time as they needed a unified way to collect, integrate, share and monitor real-time, on-the-ground data.
To help companies specialising in survey, service and maintenance, Delhi-based IaaS (Inspection as a Service) startup AiBorne Tech has developed a two-layered solution for a thorough but cost-effective digital inspection. There is a no-code simplifier to digitise survey data and an AI/AR platform to enable quality checks to ascertain whether all is well with the operations under its scanner.
Think of a surveyor assessing a damaged car, an EPC company monitoring a solar farm or an engineer in charge of an automated pipeline, and you get an idea about AiBorne’s service range.
The procedure is quite simple. Once the images/videos of the ‘target’ are uploaded on a dashboard, an interactive, AR-based graphic is created, much like what we see on 360-degree virtual tours on Google Maps. Next, the startup’s AI platform auto-checks this visual for quality issues and provides details of repair costs, if needed.
The startup had a commercial launch in 2021 and claims to have reduced manual QC by 85% for its 150+ enterprise clients, which pay a monthly subscription fee. It plans to expand globally in 2023 and aims to serve more than 25K businesses in the next five years.
Between 2016 and 2019, Mumbai-based Ceres Food ran 45 cloud kitchens and specialised in authentic Asian cuisines. But when the pandemic struck in 2020, the food startup pivoted to produce a lip-smacking range of culinary sauces, pastes and frozen items to help add authentic flavours to many delicious Asian dishes.
Ceres offers more than 20 products under two brands – Ceres Foods (liquid desi spices for non-veg dishes) and MoiSoi (a collection of oriental sauces). All items are produced at its two in-house units in the state. But the startup is planning to add two more factories in 2023.
Products are sold on its website, online marketplaces/entities like Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket and Swiggy, and physical retail stores. It also runs a B2B business and supplies to restaurants and hotel chains. Ceres sauces and mixes are also shipped to the UAE, Singapore, Nigeria and South Africa.
Big expansion is on the cards as the startup will enter the US market by December 2022, open its brick-and-mortar retail stores across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Kolkata, and add 20 more products to its offerings.
On average, Ceres sells 15K+ units per month but aims to triple its sales in 2023 and take its annual revenue to INR 15 Cr.
Data scientists Rahul Pattamata and Vysakh Sreenivasan earlier built several machine learning and data products and understood the complexity of creating a central data repository. But the problems multiply when business functions (finance, sales, marketing and more) across companies demand separate data dashboards for every critical metric set. So, the duo is building a business intelligence (BI) platform called the DataBrain to iron out the data silos and provide companies with a comprehensive view of the data landscape.
The Chennai-based SaaS startup is developing a multi-functional, cloud-native dashboard that will present real-time data for task monitoring, in-depth data visualisation and comprehensive analytics, resulting in informed business decisions.
One only needs to connect all the data sources to the dashboard for BI reporting, as DataBrain supports 150+ data warehousing solutions. Companies can write simple codes for customisable visualisation of key metrics or use pre-existing templates.
DataBrain charges an annual subscription for its services and currently runs an invite-only model to set up its client base.
Despite a rapid surge in tech developments across Web 2.0, our validation processes tend to be slow and manual. But verifying documents with a blockchain system where intermediaries do not broker the trust factor can efficiently deal with these challenges. Bengaluru-based Dhiway has taken this path to ensure large-scale data management, sharing and authentication with zero friction.
The three-year-old blockchain startup has developed a Layer 1 open-source project called CORD to help enterprises build decentralised digital repositories/utility networks at scale for hassle-free information management.
Coupled with Dhiway’s MARK Studios, a patent-pending digital credential management platform, this comprehensive tech stack enables all sorts of data exchange/migration and sharing, along with tamper-proof validation. In fact, MARK Studios creates a verifiable trust mark anchored on the CORD Network, allowing any on-ramp organisation to verify the authenticity of off-chain data.
This blockchain solution is in stark contrast to silo-based information management systems and high-cost, centralised data centres maintained by legacy enterprises.
Dhiway charges an annual subscription from enterprises using MARK Studios and has a pay-as-you-use model for those building their digital repositories on the CORD Network. It also eyes an annualised revenue of INR 2.5 Cr for the current financial year.
Currently, more than 1,500 educational institutions use the CORD Network. But Dhiway is looking to scale it up to cater to diverse goals and targets involving financial and economic inclusion, healthcare, education, agriculture, governance, migration and registry management.
Low-code/no-code (LCNC) platforms are gaining popularity as they help automate repetitive programming tasks and reduce the time and costs required for manual coding. The only glitch: Users have to choose from pre-existing modules on most platforms, leaving little scope for customisation.
However, IT consultants Vishal Virani and Rahul Shingala saw a great scope to bring both speed and creativity to routine LCNC ops. Surat-based DhiWise was launched in 2021 to help developers focus on unique-to-programme features and customisable interfaces.
For development work, the startup uses an MVC format or three interconnected elements – the model (application), the view (interface) and the controller (the backend).
Developers on DhiWise only need to code the ‘controller’ part or modify the auto-coded parts, making the process 10x faster, the startup claims. But unlike other platforms, one can also customise the ‘view’ by creating a new interface or importing a previous ‘model’, following which it will be converted into structured, legible and simple codes.
DhiWise’s API plugin will further automate the newly coded part by adding data binding, authentication, run time permissions, authorisations and more.
Individual developers can use the platform for free, but teams and enterprises have to buy monthly/annual plans for using the SaaS tools. DhiWise has not disclosed its financials but says the platform has more than 37K users. It plans to more than triple the user base by 2023.
The concept of clean mobility for all has become increasingly popular as people and businesses across the globe join the fight to reduce vehicle pollution. Pune-based EMotorad had a similar mission and came up with a wide range of e-bikes and accessories, minus the charging headache.
Its flagship product is EMX, a dual-suspension e-bike with a 10.4 Ah removable Li-ion battery, a top speed of 25 kmph, a 50 km range and multi-terrain modes. To date, the startup has 10 SKUs across four categories – mountain e-bikes, foldable bikes, kick e-scooters and accessories such as batteries, bike helmets, cycle locks, tyre pumps and more. It has a manufacturing unit in Pune with a capacity to produce 90K e-bikes and e-scooters per year.
As the bikes come with removable batteries, these can be swapped easily or charged with a three-pin plug.
EMotorad sells its e-bikes and e-scooters online (via its website and marketplaces) and offline (through dealers, distributors and exclusive brand outlets). It claims to have sold more than 40K bikes since its launch in 2020 and has a monthly revenue of INR 10 Cr. Besides India, its products are available in a number of countries, including Nepal, Japan, the UAE, Spain, Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands and Australia.
The EV startup plans to build an activity tracker for its e-bikes and develop Android and iOS apps to create a cycling community by 2023.
Gurugram-based Fairdeal Market was launched in April 2022 to make offline distribution of D2C brands as easy as selling via online marketplaces. So, it has developed a web-based platform and additional features to help brands choose the retail outlets through which they want to sell their products.
The digital platform onboards all types of retailers – kiranas, convenience stores, pharmacies/drug stores and superstores from various locations – for widespread reach and deep collaboration. Brands can sign up on Fairdeal to connect with their preferred retailers, and the startup helps them with logistics.
In simple terms, the marketplace-like distribution platform has done away with the brands’ dependency on wholesalers and other intermediaries who claim a large chunk of the revenue as sales commission.
Besides running the B2B bazaar, Fairdeal uses AI tools to provide real-time insights into brands’ inventories via a one-stop dashboard. It also partners with NBFCs to finance retailers who need the money for bulk buying.
The startup charges an undisclosed price markup from D2C brands and charges registered retailers a subscription fee for platform usage and brand relationship management. It has not disclosed the number of retail outlets on board but claims to be working with 12 brands, while 30 more are expected to join the platform by March 2023.
Built at the intersection of Web3 and the creator economy, Gurugram-based Fanztar promises a more rewarding engagement between creators and their fans. In this case, both can benefit monetarily from an interlinked digital journey.
For starters, fans will no longer consume content passively, hoping that a growing subscriber base will eventually attract monetary gains for their favourite creators. Instead, they can buy Fan Card NFTs developed by creators to drive their favourite’s growth. But this will not be a one-way thing.
Fans, too, stand to gain as each fan card is loaded with exclusive content, meet-and-greet opportunities, backstage access, social hangouts, virtual interactions and more. Plus, one gains from an income-sharing agreement for a limited period – say, a certain percentage of earnings from Insta ads or Spotify streams.
These creator NFTs are built on the Polygon blockchain and can be traded as collectables. Fanztar earns by charging a service fee on every transaction.
The year-old startup claims to have onboarded 50K users and more than 15K creators, besides selling 80K+ fan cards on its web-based platform. It plans to 10x the number of creators by 2023 and eyes more than 10K users and over 10 Lakh fan cards in circulation.
Embedded finance like BNPL (buy now, pay later) has gone mainstream to enable large-scale financial inclusion. But most Bharat consumers need access to technology and devices to avail themselves of these new-age credit facilities. Realising the need to bring the ecosystem offline for greater reach, former banker Krishnan Vaidyanathan launched Finequs in 2019.
The Chennai-based fintech startup helps retail stores facilitate small-value loans, credit card usage and insurance schemes through its web platform. Users can visit the startup’s partner retail stores and specify their financial requirements, following which store owners can input the details via the Finequs dashboard. Next, the fintech firm uses its proprietary algorithms to assess credit risks, and loans are disbursed by its 60+ lending partners.
Users can apply for loans up to INR 10 Lakh for five years. Those seeking credit cards and insurance can specify their requirements, and the Finequs dashboard will display products to suit specific needs.
The startup claims it has tied up with more than 1 Mn retail outlets to facilitate loans for walk-in customers. Each retailer gets a commission on a successful application, while the fintech charges a service fee from its lending partners. For context, it only acts as an intermediary within the loan cycle but does not take any risk.
Finequs has not disclosed its financials but says it is growing its pan-India network to act as a catalyst for widespread financial inclusion.
Embedded financing has two distinct operational segments – the consumer tech players and their lending partners. To make the operations smooth and seamless for both sides, fintech experts Siddharth Bhardwaj and Sangeet Verma launched Finverv in 2021.
The Gurugram-based fintech SaaS startup offers a small-value loan product, enabling consumer internet companies to provide credit to their users. Besides, it helps them find a lending partner of choice (from its current portfolio of 10) or onboard a new lender by taking care of the agreements, tech support, onboarding and more.
For lenders, it has a plug-and-play toolkit covering loan origination and loan management systems, credit bureau services, risk management, KYC and onboarding of borrowers.
Finverv charges a subscription fee from lenders and their consumer tech partners, with plans to build a loan book of INR 100 Cr by mid-2023. As many as 20 companies have embedded the credit infrastructure, and the fintech aims to double the number in the current financial year.
Personal health coaches help people get 70% better results than self-serving apps and gym memberships. But appointing a personal trainer costs a lot, and only a few can afford them. Launched in 2021, Gurugram-based Fitbudd has a mission to bridge this outcome gap to change one’s lifestyle in a meaningful, sustainable way.
The all-in-one fitness app has been designed to provide full-stack services, including training and nutrition modules, activity tracking, analytics, chat and video calling, CRM features and e-payment options.
Trainers/instructors can use the SaaS platform for a subscription fee and engage with their clients digitally without losing their quality or personal touch. Fitness enthusiasts can pay a fee for the personal coach of their choice and start working out.
FitBudd has onboarded 1K+ solopreneurs from 20 countries and plans to more than double the number in 2023.
Platforms for managing rental properties are becoming increasingly popular as they focus on essential functions like tenant acquisition and screening, lease development, rent management and customer care.
Joining the bandwagon in 2021, Noida-based SaaS startup FretBox has developed a multi-featured app for hostels, PGs, coliving chains and rental housing communities to look after a whole bunch of routine-to-critical tasks. These include maintaining a digital notice board and a visitor log, amenities booking, digital assistance, rent collection, security desk and more.
Using FretBox is quite easy. A property manager has to set up an account on the platform and add the building and its residents to activate the service. Residents, too, can add their respective societies via FretBox’s Residents app and use it as a digital helpdesk. The platform charges a monthly subscription from housing societies/property owners.
FretBox caters to 100+ PGs and 10+ college campuses in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Odisha, earning a monthly revenue of INR 10 Lakh. It plans to onboard more than 300 properties by 2023.
FMCG veterans Parul and Manu Sharma put the concept of Gladful into motion in early 2021 when their family paediatrician told the couple how protein deficiency could impact a child’s growth and daily activity.
Months of research later, the Jaipur-based D2C startup ventured into ready-to-cook chilla (multigrain pancakes) batters, offering vegetarian mixes made of rice, pea, beetroot, sprouts, milk protein and more. The FSSAI-approved brand also makes protein-rich cookies using unrefined cane sugar.
Gladful has 14 SKUs under two categories, containing 4-5g of protein per serving. All products are made at its in-house unit in Jaipur and have a shelf life of 270 days.
The FMCG brand has completed 60K transactions in a year, clocking 25% MoM growth. Nearly 30% of its revenue comes from sales on its website and through WhatsApp commerce, and the rest from ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and more.
It plans to cater to the quick commerce space from 2023 and earn an annual revenue of INR 600 Cr.
More often than not, pet parents have to hunt through numerous websites to find best-in-class products – nutritious (and tasty) food, treats, toys and accessories – to keep their furry friends healthy and happy. To make their life easier, pet parents and brothers Karan, Kartik and Kunal Gupta joined Ashish Kaushal and launched Goofy Tails.
Started in 2019, the Delhi-based D2C brand has set up a one-stop hub for petcare products. It offers 80+ SKUs under four categories, including food (toppers, treats and broths) for pups, adult and older dogs, cat foods, pet toys, bowls and feeders, beds and mats, houses and water fountains, grooming accessories, bows, bandanas, party gear and more.
All its products are designed at the startup’s studios in Delhi and Noida and contract-manufactured in Delhi-NCR and Gujarat. However, its FSSAI-approved pet foods are developed by pet chefs and vets and exclusively produced at its in-house facility in Delhi.
Products are now sold on marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart, on the startup’s website and through vet clinics and pet stores, totalling nearly 2 Lakh orders since its launch.
Goofy Tails projects an annual revenue of INR 1.2 Cr by 2023 and plans to enter the Middle East, Singapore and the UK markets.
Ecommerce has emerged as the most popular retail format due to its convenience. But every business model has a downside, and digital commerce is no exception. Lack of product provenance, loss of parcels, and fake and damaged goods often hit the headlines and make customers angry. So, Bengaluru-based logistics startup Gordian developed a secure delivery solution to prevent on-transit thefts.
To keep parcels safe during intracity transit in and around Bengaluru, Gordian offers IoT-enabled portable lockers and a dedicated delivery fleet. One can book the tech-locked safe box via its mobile app, and a delivery executive will arrive at the pickup location to initiate the process.
The sender can open the box using an OTP, secure the item inside and relock it. The storage box is tracked throughout the journey, and once it reaches the drop location, the recipient can open the same using another OTP.
Gordian’s services are primarily used by businesses and individuals delivering fine jewellery, gold coins and bars, laptops, mobile phones, documents and other expensive or important articles. It has a monthly subscription service for businesses and regular senders, but an on-demand booking for a one-off delivery is also possible.
Gordian has 200+ clients in the jewellery segment and plans to double the number in 2023. It may also launch secure delivery in two more cities early next year.
In a consumer-first economy, getting real-time customer feedback is essential for businesses for sales growth and retention. But the manual process of gathering this data could be time-consuming, tedious and error-prone, leading to below-par performance and a broken engagement. So, Bengaluru-based Karnival is looking to simplify and personalise the post-purchase journey by leveraging a proprietary ‘smart receipts’ technology.
Launched in 2019, the SaaS startup offers a plug-and-play service suite for brick-and-mortar stores, including a digital billing tool, coupons for upselling and cross-selling, digital forms for surveys and feedback, rewards-driven engagement, warranty cards and more.
A partner brand will have to integrate Karnival’s API into its ERP, and the ‘smart receipts’ solution will capture and store user data during billing in compliance with the law of the land. The data capture and subsequent analytics will allow retailers to target customers better and engage with them meaningfully via texts and email messages.
The martech startup claims a 50%+ increase in feedback responses and a 130%+ rise in data collection from targeted campaigns. It currently caters to four enterprise clients and charges them an annual subscription fee.
Making quality baby clothing is no child’s play, especially when it is made from sustainable materials like bamboo. For context, bamboo makes an excellent fabric – soft, breathable and naturally hypoallergenic, protecting tender baby skin.
But Noida-based D2C brand Kidbea has gone one step further and used a proprietary nanotech to make the fabric spill-proof and easy to clean. The startup sources raw materials directly from bamboo farms, and the fabric is made at partner mills in Delhi. Next, the products are designed and manufactured at its in-house unit.
Kidbea launched a range of diapers and babywear in 2021 and currently offers 60+ SKUs under these categories. Products are sold on its website and across major ecommerce platforms like FirstCry, Myntra, Amazon, Flipkart and Fynd.
The baby clothing brand will open physical stores in India, expand to the MENA region and launch a baby skincare range in 2023. It plans to enter the US market by 2025 and build a community for young and soon-to-be parents.
F&B brands (read restaurants) are increasingly looking at volume growth, but rapid expansion – within the city or pan-India – costs a pretty penny that few can afford. Enter Kytchens, a cloud kitchen service provider that allows F&B brands to operate on its turf for intra-city and intercity growth.
The service was launched in 2020 by former UberEats operations head Bansi Kotecha and celebrity chef Nachiket Shetye.
Mumbai-based Kytchens offers a ready-to-access solution that covers order procurement, production and food delivery for neighbourhood F&B brands if they want to expand to other parts of the cities where they operate or wish to enter new locations. Standalone restaurants can join its cloud kitchen operations, and customers are serviced via food aggregators like Swiggy, Zomato and Kytchens’ own outlets.
However, Kytchens now operates only in Mumbai, and its multi-city cloud kitchen services have yet to start.
The startup works with partner restaurants on revenue-sharing and helps them scale from 1 to many locations without any capex or opex burden. The cloud kitchen’s proprietary Kytchens Operating System (KOS) provides easy access to customers’ choice brands and streamlines inventory management, workforce training and planning, SOP implementation and more.
It currently runs seven cloud kitchens in Mumbai and has partnered with 25+ food brands. Kytchens also plans to increase its footprint in the city in 2023 by opening a QSR chain. In the next three years, it aims to reach the top 30 Indian cities where online food ordering sees significant growth.
Too many term plans and health insurance options can confuse people as most want simpler choices and proper guidance to nudge them towards the best plans. Three-year-old OneAssure is focussing on that to make insurance buying seamless and hassle-free.
The Bengaluru-based insurance aggregator has developed a web-based platform where one can book an appointment with a OneAssure agent to make an informed choice. Several critical parameters, including insurance needs, lifestyle details, coverage limit and premium, among others, are considered during the consultation to zero in on the best deal in the market. The startup also offers lifetime assistance and helps with claim settlement.
OneAssure has more than 150 agents who help people choose from 10+ partner insurers. It earns a commission on every transaction, has an insurance broker’s licence from IRDAI and claims to have served more than 2.5K users.
Finding the optimal price for a consumer is a critical challenge faced by companies with dynamic pricing. Oftentimes, customers and service providers are unhappy with the outcomes, and the former frequently complain about being overcharged.
Realising the need for a DIY tool that can be commercialised and used by all and sundry, Rahul Gupta, OYO’s former head of data science, launched Pricing.AI in 2021.
The AI-powered SaaS tool enables retail and travel enterprises to set up pricing and discounting experiments. A business can sign up and build a custom dashboard with details of its products. Next, the startup’s web-based algo runs through more than 500 parameters (current demand, price elasticity, competitor’s price, season, day and dates, paying capacity and more) to optimise product prices and discounts. This prevents underselling products and protects a company’s bottom line.
The startup charges an annual subscription fee and claims to have onboarded 22 clients, while 90% of its revenue comes from the US, the UK, LATAM and a few Middle East nations. It targets an annual revenue of $1 Mn in the current financial year, with an EBITDA margin of 25%. By FY25, it plans to 10x the number of clients and annual revenue.
Companies today prefer to run targeted campaigns instead of generic ads for the best possible outcomes. The only hitch: Customer behaviour evolves fast, and one needs to stay attuned to it for maximum impact. Real-time insights into consumer intelligence can get this job done without hassles, a core theme adopted by the Mumbai-based startup ProfitWheel.
Set up in 2020 by serial entrepreneurs Vivek Bhargava, Gautam Mehra and Aman Khanna, its flagship is Consumr.ai, a web-based dashboard allowing advertisers and their agencies to decode the mindset of their target audience.
The platform creates an initial layer of customer data that companies provide and combines it with non-personal behavioural signals from audience-focussed platforms. These behaviour points help brands understand what their customers are passionate about, the kind of content they consume and the activities they undertake, thus providing actionable insights for targeted advertisements.
ProfitWheel charges an annual subscription fee and plans to increase its client base in India and the US in 2023.
In this age of big data, businesses have to handle more data than is cognitively possible for humans to monitor and analyse. In fact, without cutting-edge techvantage, navigating numerous data points across company dashboards, spreadsheets and manual processes may easily lead to misinformed or delayed actions, thus impacting business efficiency.
Aware of the complex nature of business data analysis, Delhi-based PulsOps has developed a full tech stack for data monitoring and a root cause analytics platform to help businesses derive actionable insights.
Launched in 2021, it provides a web-powered, company-specific dashboard where the operations team can connect all relevant data clusters, specify the filters/context for running the analysis and set up alerts to monitor all changes in the data.
PulsOps currently targets ecommerce and logistics sectors and monitors critical metrics such as fleet, inventory and incentive optimisation. It looks at weekly business performance via its machine learning algorithm and deduces patterns and anomalies.
The data intelligence platform charges a subscription fee and plans to hire more engineers and data scientists to enhance its product.
Compared to the global average of 4.1%, only 0.4% of Indians have health insurance. But the scenario gets worse due to inadequate coverage as pre-existing diseases/critical illnesses are not always covered by a standard package, or there is a long waiting period.
Mumbai-based QubeHealth was set up in 2019 to help the under-insured, especially salaried employees, and introduced the concept of no-cost EMIs to meet their out-of-pocket medical expenses.
When a company opts for QubeHealth’s services, it has to add its employees to the startup’s customised dashboard to extend access to a money-on-tap feature. Based on their salary details, QubeHealth’s finance partner Apollo Health provides a credit line to the employees of the registered company.
Employees can raise additional amounts for healthcare/medical expenses not covered by the company-provided health insurance. One can use the physical/digital health card or QubeHealth’s Android/iOS app to raise money. But to avail of this medical financing, they must be treated at one of the 11K+ QubeHealth-affiliated hospitals and clinics.
The startup charges a subscription fee from employers and an affiliation fee from hospitals and clinics. It claims to have disbursed more than INR 1,000 Cr in medical loans and eyes an annual revenue run rate of nearly INR 60 Cr by March 2023.
In recent years, consumer and enterprise tech have matured by leaps and bounds, but the same cannot be said about manufacturing. So, in early 2020, third-generation manufacturing engineer Pinak Dattaray launched Ripik, an AI platform providing a bunch of solutions to make manufacturing more efficient and competitive.
By February 2022, the Delhi-based startup registered more than 11 IPs (intellectual properties) in the US and launched as many as six SaaS solutions. These enable production managers and manufacturing units to run analytics across procurement, distribution and shop floor optimisation for real-time decision-making.
For instance, Ripik Vision uses machine learning to convert random data into structured models to help decide on raw material and equipment requirements as well as production targets. Ripik Optimus enhances line balancing, scheduling and manpower allocation. Again, its APC (advanced process control) solution creates digital twins to optimise manufacturing processes.
Among the other three, there is Ripik Maintenance, a predictive maintenance solution for workforce management and store planning. Ripik AIFE helps build AI models of equipment to conduct root cause analyses (RCAs) and identify operating sweet spots that will maximise yield, energy efficiency, quality and throughput. Finally, there is Chao/s, a purpose-built solution to bring down costs by 3-5% at chlorine, alkali and caustic soda units.
The startup charges a development fee for creating floor plans and a monthly fee for its solutions. It eyes INR 3.75 Cr in revenue for the current financial year and plans to enter global markets by 2025.
Businesses today need to reduce their carbon footprints to control environmental impact. Many greentech platforms across industry segments are helping companies achieve net zero, but only a few focus on the supply chain, which cannot put a brake on gas or travel. So, former Bain & Company consultant Hitesh Bhuraria and second-time entrepreneur Nishant Singh started Sangti in July 2022 to help logistics players reduce their carbon footprints.
The Indore-based carbon tracking and advisory platform uses a plug-and-play dashboard to measure carbon outputs per shipment based on the weight and nature of the consignment and the type/s of shipping vehicles used.
Next, it features a host of suitable carbon management and climate financing solutions for the concerned companies so that they can make meaningful contributions to offset their carbon outputs.
Sangti currently works with India’s three largest logistics players to help them achieve decarbonisation goals. It charges a subscription fee for its dashboard use and an advisory fee on the carbon management solution/s chosen by its clients.
India’s burgeoning export-import ecosystem requires robust logistics support. Keeping that in mind, New Delhi-based Shypmax has developed a SaaS solution for end-to-end cross-border shipping, including air and road freight, door-to-door delivery of small-to-large parcels (50g-5,000 kg) and everything in-between.
Launched in 2020, the startup caters to B2B, B2C and C2C markets, helping clients book and track their global shipments in a hassle-free manner.
For the B2B segment, Shypmax takes care of all compliances and taxes, customs clearance, end-to-end warehousing, freight forwarding and more. For B2C businesses, it offers an API solution that can be integrated with carts, marketplace accounts and order processing platforms for quick and reliable services. Individuals looking to ship their packages can book its courier service.
Shypmax owns first-mile and last-mile fleets in 20 Indian cities and partners with 70+ third-party logistics and warehousing companies for global connectivity. It currently operates in 220 countries, including the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and a few Middle East nations, among others.
The startup eyes an annual revenue of $10 Mn in FY23 and plans to expand its presence in 50 more cities in India. It will introduce self-owned fleets in major operational areas by 2023 and offer ocean freight services.
The Energy Company (TEC) founders – Rahul Lamba, Pratik Somani and Prashant Rathee – were part of the founding team of EV maker Aether Energy and product managers at mobility startup Micelio. But soon, the trio realised that most of the EV two-wheelers made in India failed to fulfil the commercial requirements of green mobility due to issues around battery technology.
So, the hardware-focussed SaaS startup was launched in 2021 to provide a state-of-the-art energy storage system. Its battery, called FlexiPack, can be charged in just under 15 minutes for a 50 km top-up and requires 40 minutes for a full charge to cover a 100 km range.
Better still, these batteries can be used with all popular EV models and chargers. TEC promises to repurchase them after the battery life ends in about four years.
FlexiPack’s operations are further boosted by FlexiTwin, a freemium SaaS tool that provides timely insights into predictive maintenance, performance improvement and sustainability. But it is still in the MVP stage and will be open for beta testing in March 2023.
The Bengaluru-based startup is still at a pre-revenue stage but has run pilots with two fleet operators. It plans to sell more than 3,000 batteries in early 2023.
Kids today are growing up in a digital-first world, constantly surrounded by gadgets and technology. The outcome: Most of them, including younger children and toddlers, are glued to the internet and social media, sampling content that may not be suitable for their age.
Despite parental controls and limited screen time, iPad kids are aplenty, and content curation for young adults remains a critical issue. Enter Delhi-based Wranga with Android and iOS apps to help parents find kid-friendly content.
Launched in February 2022, the startup categorises kid-specific content, games and apps under suitable age groups and provides detailed reviews and ratings to guide parents. It also flags objectionable content in any format, whether audio, audio-visual, images or graphics.
Still in an early stage of content curation, Wranga is building its library with manually created long-length reviews of prominent pieces.
A parent has to log in to the platform and choose a piece of content from the gallery to check its suitability. Or they can pick a piece of their kid’s choice and check the ratings and reviews. If the content is watched or downloaded on the Wranga app, they are charged a pay-as-you-go fee.
The startup also creates online safety curricula for schools and conducts interactive workshops. So far, it has hosted five physical workshops. In addition, the platform makes people aware of parental controls to safeguard children’s exposure to social media and provides a toolkit to help parents counter incidents like cyberbullying.
Wranga is currently building an AI platform to aggregate parents’ reviews, ratings and choice of age-appropriate content. Next year, it will license its patent-pending review algorithm for OTT platforms and other content-focussed apps to show a kid-friendliness score and content review on the go. It will also launch a community feature, helping parents talk with experts and clarify queries.
Organic word-of-mouth recommendations tend to hold sway even when they come from perfect strangers. That’s why looking at customer reviews is a must for most online shoppers. But this feeling of trust is bound to grow manifold when the voices of friends and family gain weightage on social media, winning as much traction as influencer marketing does.
Interestingly, Delhi-based YouShd is building an entire ecosystem around this concept of ‘customers turned influencers’. It helps D2C brands gain traction based on the positive shopping experiences posted (on request) by shoppers on social platforms. In doing so, the startup has also democratised the world of influencer marketing.
This is how it works. YouShd’s B2B2C marketing solution can be integrated with a brand’s Shopify stores. When shoppers buy from that store, there will be auto sign-ups on the YouShd platform, and they will be asked to share their purchases with friends and family on social media. In return, the customers-turned-influencers will get monetary rewards based on views, clicks and conversions.
The social commerce enabler was set up in 2022, but it has yet to launch commercially. It will charge a performance-based fee from clients, a percentage of which will be awarded to consumers-turned-influencers. Currently, YouShd is inviting brands to join its waitlist.
Fighting cancer is a life-changing experience, more so due to the lack of a one-stop platform featuring the A-to-Z of cancer care, from treatments and procedures to lifestyle modifications and stress management. But no one understands this ordeal better than those who have lost their near and dear ones to cancer. It was precisely why cancer researchers Dimple Parmar and Kishan Shah launched ZenOnco in 2019 to provide streamlined, end-to-end patient care in India.
The Bengaluru-based startup has developed Android and iOS apps to connect patients with cancer experts and oncologists over calls and texts for details on surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and other advanced treatments.
It also provides support services such as diet monitoring, oxygen therapy, use of medical cannabis (for pain control) and ayurvedic practices, immune system stimulation, exercise and counselling (for patients and their families), and access to support groups.
ZenOnco charges a fee per service and has partnered with more than 12 hospitals for patient appointments via its apps.
[Edited By Sanghamitra Mandal]
30 Startups To Watch: Startups That Caught Our Eye In Nov 2022 – Inc42 Media
News & Analysis on India’s Tech & Startup Economy