In a world where technology is increasingly taking over mundane human tasks like capping toothpaste tubes, completing sentences, managing inventory and even driving, automation has played a huge role in the workplace economy by helping cut down human input on repetitive tasks.

It is estimated that office productivity loss due to employee time spent on administrative tasks (that can be easily automated) costs nearly $5 trillion annually, and roughly 69 workdays are spent doing such tasks. For gig economy workers and independent professionals who earn money based on the time they spend producing results-oriented work, this loss in productivity translates directly into decreased incomes.

This and many other reasons compelled Gaurav Tripathi, a graduate of IIT-Bombay, to set up Superpro.ai – a platform that helps independent professionals save time and earn more money by using artificial intelligence and automation to help perform time-consuming, yet simple tasks such as scheduling consultations, collecting payments, sending email reminders for follow-ups, generating invoices and sorting and collecting data, among others.

Gaurav says Superpro’s value proposition is that it substantially helps independent professionals increase their billable hours. It also gives them access to analytical tools that provide insights on how professionals can maximise their productivity, improve their performance and grow their business faster – stuff that was previously only available to big corporates.

“We combine nearly eight to nine tools that professionals would have required to offer their services, into one, and save them a lot of precious time which they can spend on billable tasks,” says Gaurav, in an interview with YourStory.

The platform, in addition to backend automation and analytics, allows professionals to create their own professional page that highlights their expertise and services – starting with a video message that it asks its users to shoot and upload. It gives businesses wanting to get in touch with professionals listed on Superpro several contact points within the platform, without ever revealing their personal information such as emails or phone numbers.

Most of the ‘solopreneurs’ on the platform use it to offer video-based services such as consultations, webinars, coaching, live courses, and training, among others.

Superpro

An screengrab of Superpro.ai's platform

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COVID-19 accelerating the ‘future of work’

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the number of people coming online to look for work, and geographical boundaries have blurred between those offering services and those needing them.

Gaurav says he has seen an uptick in the number of professionals on Superpro over the last couple of months too – more than 1,000 people are now offering services ranging from music and dance lessons, to live cooking classes, on the platform.

“Where earlier professionals were able to sell their services only in their neighbourhood or their cities or towns, geographical boundaries have now expanded. We had someone recently sell piano lessons to learners in the US, so no longer do people have to stay confined to their geographical location,” he adds.

Users have to spend not more than two minutes to get set up on the platform, which comes pre-loaded with a host of software and applications that enable video calling, payment collection, email automation, etc.

“Professionals can start delivering without any investment – they don’t need to buy subscriptions, websites. Their only investment is their laptop or their mobile phones,” Gaurav quips.

The sign-up and the services are free for Superpro users – the startup only takes a small cut of the money they make, when they start making it.

“We get paid when you, a Superpro user, gets paid,” he says.

The startup, founded in August 2019 by Gaurav and his co-founders Vijay Goel, Vivek Kumar, and Sagar Ramteke, earns over Rs 5 lakh, annually. Superpro.ai, which has been incubated by SOSV is currently looking to raise $500,000 over the next one month.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

Original Source: yourstory.com

Founded in 2017, WorkApps with its enterprise-grade messaging platform for large organisations has been working towards enabling enterprises to augment their communication efforts, improve efficiency and change the way people collaborate and work together. “While we worked with enterprises, we realised the communication requirements for sectors were different and specialised and needed messaging solutions,” shares Rudrajeet Desai, Co-Founder and CEO, WorkApps.

The realisation saw the startup led by Rudrajeet Desai, Shankar Borate and Kaizad Shroff mastering workflows to make chatting as well as audio and video calling more effective for banks, NBFCs, insurers and the other players of the FinTech sector.

“Today, we are synonymous with being a video banking company. WorkApps’ video platform enables banks in the sector to migrate business processes and customer interaction to video channels,” he says.

This includes 14 key processes such as KYC, credit verification, loan and wealth advisory, customer support, online assistance during digital onboarding, video Medical Examination Report, and asset verification among others.

As the WorkApps’ video banking solution gained momentum, one use case in particular, began gaining increased traction – the VideoKYC. Further impetus came in the form of an RBI amendment to the KYC norms in January 2020 that allowed banking and other lending institutions regulated by it to use Video-based Customer Identification Process to onboard customers remotely. And, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, the nationwide lockdown thereafter, and the need for minimising physical interaction saw the video KYC solution gaining increasing significance so much that VideoKYC has been rolled out as a product in itself within the larger gamut of the WorkApps’ video banking solution.

Watch the video to see how VideoKYC makes it easy for banks, NBFCs, payment banks, small finance banks, wallets, fintech to onboard customers remotely seamlessly

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Building on AWS

While the environmental factors provided the nudge for accelerated adoption, the key growth drivers for VideoKYC have been its depth of features, smooth user journey, security and data ownership. And AWS has played a key role in enabling this. “VideoKYC’s development, staging, testing and production setups are hosted on AWS enabling a product company like us to focus only on core product and feature development. It helped us reduce the effort required to deploy and manage development infrastructure by almost 80 percent,” says Rudrajeet.

This has translated into a faster time-to-market. “What would otherwise take three months gets done in three weeks when you are leveraging AWS services.” Pointing to the face match with documents feature on VideoKYC, Rudrajeet says it would have been extremely challenging for a small startup like WorkApps to create a face comparison feature on its own from scratch. On AWS, it’s literally like a takeaway. You can integrate a face comparison feature by leveraging Amazon Rekognition in just about three hours.”

In addition to Amazon Rekognition, VideoKYC uses a range of services like AWS Elastic Load Balancer, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for MySQL, Amazon ElastiCache for Redis, Amazon Elasticsearch Service, AWS Lambda, Amazon CloudWatch, and Amazon Simple Email Service, among others.

“The Video KYC platform runs on different traffic such as https, web sockets for web and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)/UDP (User Datagram Protocol) for audio/video traffic. The different load balancer options such as Application Load Balancer (ALB) for https and Network Load Balancer (NLB) for TCP and UDP available on AWS Elastic Load Balancer addresses our different needs. The inherent capabilities of these load balancers to scale for different loads solve our scalability concerns,” explains Shankar, the CTO and Co-founder. And, given that different banks have different capacity needs, which also vary at different times during a day, Amazon EC2 helps to scale up and down the infrastructure, providing cost savings in addition to flexibility. VideoKYC also leverages Amazon Simple Email Service to send notifications to email and uses AWS Lambda to call their messaging service to integrate alerts to its chat platform. “This way we can see all the alerts in e-mail as well as in the chat application,” says Shankar.

The AWS advantage

The breadth of AWS services, its ability to facilitate scale, and the quick turnaround time to setup infrastructure were critical aspects that led VideoKYC to choose AWS. But another but equally critical reason to choose AWS was its strong security framework.

“AWS provides many native security features, which are required when you operate in the Banking and Financial Services space. And, KYC in particular is a highly regulated subject in India because you are owning very critical information such as bank account details, Aadhar card details, among others,” says Shankar.

AWS provides different security control such as Virtual Private Network (VPC),Security Groups, and Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles to control the accesses of infrastructure along with secure connections using Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Secure Shell (SSH), Shankar explains.

While VideoKYC offers a number of deployment options – from a complete SaaS model hosted on AWS (Mumbai Region) to Hybrid SaaS model to private cloud or even traditional on-premise model, most of its clients are on AWS. “So this makes deploying and managing our platform on their AWS infrastructure extremely simple, reducing the time-to-market and the cost of management and support.”

A pioneering effort

Today, VideoKYC powers over a million transactions for India’s top banks, which includes Kotak Bank, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Paytm Payments Bank, RBL Bank, and Yes Bank. In addition to that, other BFSI players like HDFC Life, Aditya Birla Capital, Max Life Insurance, Tata Capital, Muthoot Capital also use various other services of WorkApps. Rudrajeet says that VideoKYC has been a pioneer in the space. “We were the first to launch the solution with Kotak 811, and today we are also the largest deployed solution in the BFSI sector.”

The on-ground impact speaks for the efficiency and effectiveness of VideoKYC.

“It has brought down the customer onboarding time to 15 minutes from an average of 48 hours as is the norm in a physical KYC process. Banks also save about 90 percent of the KYC cost when done on video. In addition w.r.t. the consumer convenience perspective, the impact is massive,” says the CEO. He adds, “The Video KYC platform, which is deployed on AWS by most of our customers has become the largest customer acquisition channel for banks in India.”The global opportunity

Reflecting on VideoKYC, Rudrajeet says creating a video KYC platform when there was no set precedent and then working on it to develop and nurture into a market-winning enterprise grade platform has been a journey that has catapulted the startup to growth.

“VideoKYC has today become a WorkApps’ flagship product.” The support of angel investor Sashi Reddi (SRI Capital) has also provided the startup much needed guidance on building a global product.

The founder explains that the startup’s strong understanding of the banking and NBFC sector and its dominance in the Indian market has doubled up as an advantage to further its global expansion plans. “The volume that Indian banking players handle is very large. In fact, the volumes handled by one single leading banking player in India is often equivalent to an entire country’s banking volume in some cases. In addition, when it comes to digital banking regulations, India is a forerunner in the space. So, there’s a lot to learn from India for other markets.” It has already channelised efforts in the direction by launching in Thailand in August. “We are in talks with local banking players,” reveals the Founder. Middle East and SouthEast Asia will be a key focus area for VideoKYC's global expansion in the coming months. “While the KYC regulations will be different across regions, we are looking at co-creation to win the market,” says Rudrajeet.

Industry experts say that the accelerated shift to digital will fundamentally change the way banks will scale and grow. Rudrajeet concurs and says “Video will be the future of banking and WorkApps aims to become the default video banking platform for the sector.”

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Original Source: yourstory.com

Even as the coronavirus pandemic caused investors to become risk-averse, Indian startups continued to raise funding. However, the deal sizes shrank, pointing to the fact that investors put in less money in more startups to spread their risks.

Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, and Mumbai retained their top spots in terms of the number of deals and funding raised. YourStory Research data revealed that the number of funding deals closed by Mumbai-based startups jumped about 20 percent to 79 in the first six months of 2020, up from 66 deals in H1 2019.

According to data accessed by YourStory, 69 deals were closed by Mumbai-based startups since the nationwide lockdown, announced at the end of March.

funding, startup

Image Source: Shutterstock

Here are the top 10 funding deals by Mumbai-based startups funding during the lockdown. (We have considered deals that were closed since March 25)

InCredInCred

Bhupinder Singh, Founder and CEO, InCred.

In July, NBFC InCred raised Rs 500 crore in debt funding from various public sector banks and public financial institutions.

The latest round of financing will boost the startup’s lending expansion across select segments in the consumer, education, and MSME markets.

Founded in 2016 by Bhupinder Singh, InCred started its operations with consumer lending in March 2016. It then diversified into small business lending in March 2017. At present, it claims to have a loan book of over Rs 2,000 crore. 

In April 2019, the digital lending platform had raised Rs 600 crore in its Series A round, led by Dutch development finance institution FMO.

Also Read[Funding Alert] NBFC InCred raises Rs 600 Cr in Series ARebel Foods

In April 2020, cloud kitchen operator Rebel Foods raised $50 million from existing investor US-based hedge fund Coatue Management, according to its filings with the Registrar of Companies.

Founded by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee in 2010, Rebel Foods has overseas operations in Southeast Asia and Europe. Globally, it runs 325 cloud kitchens.

Earlier this February, the startup had raised additional venture debt of Rs 35 crore led by debt funding firm Alteria Capital.

Also Read[Funding alert] Faasos' parent Rebel Foods raises venture debt of Rs 35 Cr led by Alteria Capital TopprZishaan Hyath, CEO and Founder, Toppr

Zishaan Hayath, CEO and Founder, Toppr

In July, edtech startup Toppr raised Rs 350 crore in Series D round, led by Foundation Holdings, with participation from existing investors, including Kaizen Private Equity.

Toppr will use this latest investment to further help to develop the artificial intelligence (AI) based Toppr School Operating System (OS), a platform for schools to run digitally unifying in-school and after-school learning to create a standardised and personalised experience.

Founded in 2013 by Zishaan Hayath, the startup has cumulatively raised Rs 700 crore to date.

Also Read[Startup Bharat] How these IITians turned their student project into a profitable global edtech company CarTrade

In June, online automobile classifieds platform CarTrade raised Rs 321 crore ($42.5 million) from two of its existing investors in its Series H round of financing.

Earlier in 2017, the firm had raised Rs 370 crore in a funding round led by Temasek Holdings and a US family office.

Founded in 2006 by Vinay Sanghi, the portal also offers car price information, certification, insurance, used car finance, comparisons, on-road prices, and reviews. In November 2015, the platform acquired CarWale, an online classifieds portal, in an all-cash deal.

LEAD SchoolLead School founders

LEAD School co-founders: Smita Deorah (left) and Sumeet Mehta

In August, edtech startup LEAD School raised $28 million in a Series C round, led by Westbridge Capital along with existing investor Elevar Equity.

This round of funding will be used by the company to accelerate the development and rollout of new product offerings, increase its school network in Tier II and III cities, and hire talent across domains. 

Founded in 2012 by Sumeet Mehta and Smita Deorah, LEAD School combines technology, curriculum, and pedagogy into an integrated system of teaching and learning to create affordable private schools. It has partnered with 800-plus schools with an estimated three lakh-plus students in more than 300 cities in 15 states.

Also Read[Funding alert] LEAD School raises $28M in Series C round led by Westbridge CapitalNykaaNykaa

Falguni Nayar, Founder & CEO, Nykaa with Nihir Parikh, Chief Business Officer (2nd row, 3rd from L-R)

Online beauty turned omnichannel lifestyle retailer Nykaa raised three rounds of funding adding to $24.7 million. In June, the startup raised Rs 19.6 crore from Sunil Kant Munjal as part of its ongoing round.

In May, it raised Rs 66.64 crore from its existing primary investor Steadview Capital. With this round of investment, Nykaa became valued at $1.2 billion, thus entering the startup unicorn club.

Earlier in March, it raised Rs 100 crore from its existing primary investor Steadview Capital. This came after it had raised an additional Rs 100 crore from Singapore-based TPG Growth IV SF last year.

Prior to that, in September 2018, Nykaa raised Rs 113 crore from Lighthouse India Fund III, and another Rs 160 crore through primary and secondary share sales.

Since its launch in 2012 by Falguni Nayar (former Managing Director at Kotak Mahindra Capital), Nykaa has been instrumental in shaping the beauty and lifestyle industry in India through its omnichannel reach and curated product offering.KettoKunal Kapoor

Actor and Co-founder of Ketto, Kunal Kapoor

In July, Ketto — a crowdfunding platform for fundraising of social, creative, and personal causes — raised Rs 109 crore to help and support more than three lakh people in various capacities.

Founded in 2012 by Bollywood actor Kunal Kapoor along with Varun Sheth and Zaheer Adenwala, Ketto has been distributing PPE kits and ration kits, and providing support to migrant workers. It has established community kitchens to feed hundreds of people every day.

Earlier this year, Ketto raised Rs 30 crore in crowdfunding through the philanthropy arm of CleverTap, CleaverTap4Good.

Also Read[Funding alert] Kunal Kapoor's crowdfunding platform Ketto raises Rs 109 Cr amidst the pandemicServifysreevathsa

Sreevathsa Prabhakar, Founder, Servify

In June, Service Lee Technologies which operates device management and support platform Servify, raised $11.37 million in its Series C round from a clutch of existing investors.

Earlier, in April, it secured Rs 1.9 crore in debt from Germany-based Barkawi.

Launched in 2015 by Sreevathsa Prabhakar, Servify is an app-based customer support service channel for consumer electronics.

In three years, it has created a complete service life cycle management platform enabling top electronics and smartphone brands, carriers and retailers in device diagnostics with distribution, sales, warranty management, after-sales service, end of life management, and ecommerce capabilities.

Also ReadWith 740 million devices on its platform, Servify is India’s king of after-sales experienceLido LearningLido

Team Lido

In April, Lido Learning, an edtech startup that focuses on live online tutorials, closed a $7.5 million Series B round led by Ant Financial-backed BAce Capital. This put the edtech startup’s overall funding at $10.5 million.

With this round of funding, Lido plans to build a presence in Tier II and III towns to democratise high quality education across India. It will also expand into more curriculum-focused subjects, and 21st-century skills like analytical thinking, critical reasoning, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Earlier in March, it raised another $3 million led by Picus Capital backed by Rocket Internet Founder Alex Samwer, and President of Paytm Madhur Deora.

Founded in 2019 by Sahil Sheth, Lido Learning offers live tutoring and personalised online coaching sessions to students from Class V-Class IX in Math and Sciences from both CBSE and ICSE boards.

Also ReadEdtech startup Lido Learning to hire senior citizens as tutors during coronavirus Suryoday

In May, scheduled commercial bank Suryoday Small Finance Bank (SSFB) raised Rs 62.14 crore from existing investors including Gaja Capital, Kotak Life, Lok Capital, TIAA, and Kiran Vyapar. 

SSFB, which provides microfinance loans to customers, has launched a working capital loan product for its MFI customers to meet their urgent liquidity requirements during the lockdown.

The bank has over 20 institutional investors with a healthy mix of institutional investors, development funds and private equity investors.

(With inputs from Sujata Sangwan, Thimmaya Poojary, Debolina Biswas, Sindhu Kashyap)

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.

Original Source: yourstory.com

Online investment and wealth management platform Paytm Money officially announced the appointment of Varun Sridhar as its new Chief Executive Officer. He will be leading the launch and development of the equity brokerage apart from growing its existing services.

Varun Sridhar shared, “ At Paytm Money, I hope to build along with a fantastic team the most cost-effective and consumer-friendly products and experience for investors and traders. The wealth management and financial service solutions that Paytm is building are transforming the lives of millions of Indians and are relevant globally as well."Varun Sridhar

Varun Sridhar, CEO, Paytm Money

Also ReadFintech unicorn Paytm launches slew of initiatives to help people fight COVID-19

Varun has led the digital transformation journey of some of the top retail banks in India and abroad. Most recently, he served as the CEO of FinShell India, where he launched realme PaySa, a fintech platform on mobile. Prior to this role, he was with BNP Paribas for close to eight years, where amongst other assignments, he supported the acquisition of Sharekhan.

Under his leadership, Paytm Money will continue to simplify, innovate, and bring wealth management products to millions of Indians. Varun will be reporting to Amit Nayyar, President at Paytm.

“Paytm Money is on a mission to empower millions of Indians with wealth management products. We are very excited to welcome Varun, whose experience in retail banking, broking, and wealth segment would help us accelerate our goals. I look forward to working closely with him to expand Paytm Money further," said Amit.

Headquartered in Bengaluru, Paytm Money has over 300 employees. It claims to have more than six million users on its platform, availing direct mutual funds and NPS.

The company also announced that Amit Kapoor has joined as the new CFO and Vice President. Prior to this role, Amit was working the CFO at life insurance company Aviva India.

In the next 12 to 18 months, Paytm Money aims to invest Rs 250 crore as it plans to launch new businesses, including the equity brokerage during the current financial year.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.

Original Source: yourstory.com

Plum, a Bengaluru-based group health insurance startup that works with corporates, has raised Rs 7 crore in seed funding. 

 

The round was led by Incubate Fund with participation from Gemba Capital and Tracxn Labs along with angel investors, including Abhijit Gupta and Ram Sahasranam of Praxify Health, Sudheendra Chilappagari of Belong.co, Nitin Jayakrishnan of Pando, and Alvin Tse of Xiaomi. 

 

Plum

L-R: Saurabh Arora (CTO) and Abhishek Poddar (CEO)

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The company said it planned to use the funding to scale business and engineering teams so as to solve some of the toughest engineering challenges in insurtech and build innovative distribution channels.

Working with nine insurance companies, Plum claimed to have over 100 companies as customers within just four months of launch.

Abhishek Poddar, Co-founder and CEO, Plum, said, 

 

“We want to be the de-facto platform for employee health insurance, initially in India, and later in other developing markets like Southeast Asia and Latam.”

 

The startup, through its online platform, is on a mission to enable employee health insurance for over 1.1 million companies in India by reinventing how health insurance works. It understands the needs of a corporate and guides them on setting up their group health insurance in less than 60 minutes. 

 

Plum additionally helps employees with improved health benefits including doctor consultations, health check-ups, fitness and yoga, mental wellness, nutrition, and dental care. The platform, which has an insurance intermediary licence from IRDA, enables ease of experience for employees with guided claims support.

In the current situation, Plum also offers COVID-19 to its clients, including Twilio, Instawork, Posist, RevvSales, The Label Life, Growfit, StayAbode, Fampay, myHQ, and Jiny. 

 

Plum was founded in late 2019 by Abhishek Poddar and Saurabh Arora, who comes with experience in financial technologies and insurance distribution.

 

Saurabh Arora, Co-founder and CTO of Plum, said,  “At Plum, we are imagining group health insurance products from the ground-up. We have built underwriting and fraud detection rails with insurance companies that never ever existed. This has enabled us to offer pricing that may be up to 80 percent cheaper than existing market pricing, to companies as small as seven employees. At Plum, we are building a truly online insurance platform that covers front end (distribution) and back end (pricing, carrier and compliances).”

 

According to the startup, the group health insurance market in India, which is almost 50 percent of the total health insurance market, is expected to grow to Rs 100,000 crore by 2025. It has seen an annual growth of about 25 percent in the last few years, and is doubling every three years.  

 

Nao Murakami, Founder and General Partner at Incubate Fund India, said, 

 

“Group health insurance is a very complicated product in nature and the entire customer process, from buying to claiming, is still very manual in India. So, there is a huge gap between insurance companies, employers, and employees. Plum is filling this gap by bringing transparency and efficiency through beautiful technology and product.”

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)

Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.

Original Source: yourstory.com

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