Startup news and updates: daily roundup (Feb 8, 2022)

Upside AI partners with Smallcase to expand reach of tech-led investment products 

Upside AI, one of India’s first funds that combine machine learning (ML) and fundamentals-based investing, partnered with Smallcase. The association will enable Upside AI to offer research services to a large set of investors across India.

At present, Upside AI serves high net-worth individuals and family offices with minimum ticket sizes over Rs 50 lakh, while the products under this association are tailored to meet the evolving needs of retail investors with a much lower threshold (Rs 1-5 lakh). 

The future of investing in India is tech-led, rules-based (“systemised”) as opposed to being human-led. Since most managers on the Smallcase platform are human-driven, Upside AI expects to stand out, given its proprietary technology and consistent track record.

Upside AI will work jointly with Smallcase to popularise systemised investing and to attract even more investors into the fold.

Hiring activity on a positive trajectory in Jan’22 with 41 pc yearly growth

At the beginning of 2022, the hiring sentiment reflected a resilience to the third COVID-19 wave as the corporate world geared up for growth. Outpacing 2021, hiring activity saw strong growth signs in major sectors, according to the Naukri JobSpeak index.

The upswing of hiring activity was observed in multiple sectors with IT software, retail, and telecom leading the charts. Other sectors that observed an uptick in hiring trend compared to last year are pharma (29 percent), medical/healthcare (10 percent), oil and gas/power (8 percent), insurance (8 percent), FMCG (7 percent), and manufacturing (2 percent). Auto/auto ancillary remained flat in January 2022 versus January 2021.

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The upswing in hiring in IT software and BFSI sectors have enabled metro cities to outperform their Tier II counterparts in the yearly growth charts. IT hubs of India — Bengaluru (+79 percent), Hyderabad (+66 percent), and Pune (+63 percent) recorded the highest growth in January 2022. Other metro cities like Mumbai (+58 percent), Chennai (+54 percent), Kolkata (41 percent), and Delhi/NCR (+35percent) also witnessed a spike in the hiring trajectory. ​​

Among the non-metros, Ahmedabad (+50 percent) witnessed the highest growth in January 2022, followed by Coimbatore (+43 percent), Kochi (+27 percent), Vadodara (+12 percent), and Jaipur (+8 percent).

ConnectEd to provide free online education to Gujarat Government School

Edtech social enterprise ConnectEd Technologies has launched an initiative with Everest Kanto Cylinders (EKC) to provide free online access to curriculum-linked educational content across Gujarat government schools.

The programme, ideated and executed by ConnectEd Technologies, aims to provide quality vernacular educational content to government school students to improve learning outcomes, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the programme, over 7,500 students from government schools under the district administration of Kutch will be provided with free online access to a web and mobile app platform. The platform contains quality educational content in local languages in-sync with the Gujarat State Board curriculum and can be viewed online or downloaded onto a device for viewing later.

Initially, the initiative aims to benefit students from Grade 9 and 10 across schools located in Gandhidham block of Kutch. Subsequently, the initiative will scale to students from other grades and regions of the state.

Clari Partners with Purple Quarter to onboard Vishy Ranganath as VP of Engineering

Clari, a connected revenue operations platform that uses automation and AI to unlock data captured in key business systems, has appointed Vishy Ranganatha as its Vice President of Engineering. Clari had partnered with Bengaluru-based bespoke tech executive search firm Purple Quarter for the leadership mandate.

The appointment at Clari comes at a crucial time when the company recently raised a $225 million Series F round.

An IIT Madras graduate, Vishy previously served as Engineer Leader, GSuite Enterprise at Google for over two years. He also brings with him a wealth of experience in the technology domain through former stints in companies like Intuit and Mindtree, where he led crucial technology projects.

In his current role at Clari, Vishy will be responsible for developing a strategic vision for the India engineering team while contributing to the overall strategy and development of the site.


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Grip Appoints Ankit Goyal as Vice President and Head of Business Development

Grip Invest, an alternative investment platform, has appointed Ankit Goyal as its Vice President and Head of Business Development. Ankit brings over 12 years of professional experience in the BFSI industry. He will play a crucial role in leading the team to enhance the strategic B2B partnerships, enabling more businesses to leverage an alternative form of growth capital.

An alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur, Ankit has previously worked with HSBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), where he has managed key corporate relationships for these institutions.

The development comes as Grip plans to double down its efforts in hiring talent across business, technology, and human resources. The new-age platform recently concluded its first user-led funding round, creating a unique opportunity for its users to become shareholders in the company. 

The round saw Grip secure $1 million in funding. Moreover, it concluded its first employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) buyback within two years of inception and saw a majority of eligible employees opting to stay vested in the company.

iLink Digital acquires Connexis to expand global data analytics and IoT footprint

Data and AI services company Connexis has acquired iLink Digital, a global technology consulting solution firm, in India. As part of this acquisition, Connexis will offer solutions and consulting services in the areas of data engineering, data analytics, and IoT solutions.

Some of its key offerings include revenue analytics solutions, 3D digital twin, integrated healthcare analytics platforms, text analytics, operational intelligence, and conversational AI solutions.

Founder of Connexis

This merger will allow Connexis to integrate its deep data, IoT, and product engineering expertise into iLink’s portfolio of technology consulting, which will enhance customer experience. These services will further enable iLink to drive experience-led transformation at scale for clients across multiple industries.

Talking about the partnership, Rohan Shinde, Founder of Connexis, said, 

“We are very excited to associate with iLink Digital ecosystem to expand our disruptive data, analytics, and IoT solutions. This merger will be instrumental in developing and integrating innovative software solutions, which cover all our client needs and beyond.”

Edited by Suman Singh