Today’s rising startups include a couple of unusual ones: an Ahmedabad-based #startup with a multi-terrain e-bicycle and a company that takes up resorts, turns them green, and runs them. Read on.
Leisure travel company V Resorts takes up the management of resorts, turns them eco-friendly, and runs them on a revenue-share model with the owners of the properties. Founded by Duke University grad Aditi Balbir, V Resorts runs 70 such resorts across 15 Indian states.
The company announced its third round of funding of US$4 million from Seedfund and RB International. It is mulling an expansion into Southeast Asia. “Our competitors are aggregators who solve the problem of discovery – ‘Where to go’. The travel space is flooded with such aggregators but no player is currently targeting the problem of on-ground experience. We at V Resorts solve the problem of customer experience – from manpower to vendors, procurement, booking, feedback etc – covering the entire gamut of hospitality services,” Balbir said.
AI startup Niki started in 2015 as a simple, no-frills virtual assistant that would hail a cab – Uber or Ola – for you. The app was very light and worked well in poor internet conditions, so the founders were targeting mostly the second and third-tier cities of India where the internet sucks and most people have basic smartphones with very little memory and space.
But a lot has changed since then. Niki has been using machine learning to get smarter, do more things, and it is not beta testing a voice assistant feature. It has announced a series A round of funding of US$2 million from San Francisco-based fund SAP.iO and existing investor Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures. This is SAP.io’s first investment in India. Partner at True North Haresh Chawla, angel investor Arihant Patni, and a few others participated in the round.
Fintech company Rubique is a marketplace for loan and credit card products. It helps individuals as well as small-and-medium-sized enterprises find quick finance options, and has integrated with financial institutions to disburse loans. Founded in October 2014, Rubique proprietary algorithms to assess the credit score of applicants.
The company announced a bridge round of funding of US$3 million from its existing investor Kalaari Capital and Udayan Goyal, managing partner at Apis Partners. Its earlier round of funding in September 2015 – series A round of US$3 million – was led by Kalaari Capital. YourNest Angel Fund, Globevestor, and Dexter Angel Circle had participated in the round.
Formcept helps enterprises mine actionable insights from their data. The data analytics company’s product named Mecbot uses deep learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics tech on an IoT interface.
Founded by Suresh Srinivasan and Anuj Kumar, Formcept is incubated by the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) – IIM Ahmedabad. The startup announced an undisclosed amount of series A funding from venture capital fund GVFL in India. The capital infusion will help the company take its product global and expand its team.
A new multi-terrain e-bike, Lightspeed, is launching today in India. It promises a noiseless motor, rechargeable batteries, and a pedal boost assist for tough climbs on city roads as well as while off-roading. Riders can switch between manual to battery power whenever required and its display panel will give alerts on battery status.
Founded by engineer Rahil who has an MSc in design and transport from the UK’s Coventry University, Lightspeed is running a crowdfunding campaign currently on Fueladream.