STARTUP DIGEST: Top stories of the day

There were several important developments in the startup space during the day on Wednesday. Here is a wrap of all that made news today:

Impact Guru Foundation in collaboration with Apollo Hospitals Group launches ‘COVID Warrior Upskilling Program’ for Nurses across India

To commemorate International Nurses Day, Impact Guru Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed for the purpose of making healthcare affordable and accessible in collaboration with Apollo Hospitals Group today launched ‘COVID Warrior Up-skilling Program called “ANGEL” #ThankANurse’.

ANGEL stands for Advance Nurses’ Growth Excellence and Learning. Apollo Hospitals Group will be the lead member of the Founding Circle and Principal Donor. Several other partners such as Microsoft India, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Amity University, ICFAI University, Indian Nursing Council (INC), Symbiosis International University and other institutions will be acting as Impact and Knowledge Partners.

The Tata Steel Foundation which has worked with a significant cohort of youngsters from remote parts of Jharkhand and Odisha to place them in the nursing profession across India will also leverage this platform to up-skill this cohort.

The initiative will specifically aim to upskill 1,00,000 nurses across India over the next few years with a commitment to invest up to Rs. 50,000 per nurse via scholarships for advanced skills training across the program period. The initiative also aims to provide free content and training for all nurses in India in partnership with various academic institutions, skilling, and nonprofit partners. Apollo Hospitals Group has committed to upskill a minimum of 1,000 nurses through this initiative.

Phase 1 of the program will focus on COVID related clinical, public health and disaster management aspects to enable nurses to save more lives. Phase 2 will follow with comprehensive training and upskilling of the nursing workforce community to meet the dynamic healthcare needs and will encompass six key aspects i.e. Clinical practice, Leadership training, Medtech, Research, International Nursing models and Nurse Practitioner.

The program will be moderated through a robust governance structure and will have a dedicated Governance Board, and separate Steering Committees for Technology Implementation, Academic excellence, Skill enhancement and Nursing Advisory Board, comprising of renowned name from corporates and the healthcare ecosystem to ensure fair and optimal social impact delivery. Such governance structure will ensure that the program is audited by professional and independent review partners with regard to utilization and disbursals of the funds raised.

MakeMyTrip Foundation launches community platform CoviRide for essential travel & medical assistance transfers

Community networks have emerged as a lifeline during the pandemic as people stepped up to extend support, volunteer, or offer services to communities they live in. To help meet essential travel and medical assistance needs during the pandemic, MakeMyTrip foundation has launched CoviRide, an open, peer-to-peer community platform designed to help individuals, organizations and larger community to seek and provide transport related assistance during this difficult time.

Available on mobile web and desktop https://coviride.com/, the community platform aims to solve for one of the biggest challenges of finding transport options (intercity or intracity) including ambulance services for COVID-19 infected patients. Additionally, it helps user locate a ride to a vaccination centre, drive through oxygen centres, to and from the hospital and for medical equipment transfer such as oxygen cylinder, concentrator, medicines, among others.

Updated real-time, the platform enables private vendors and organizations to reach out to users directly as soon as a transport related query matches their service. Further the ‘Offer a ride’ feature allows individuals to volunteer and offer a ride to anyone in need for any transport assistance. Currently, the platform lists transport leads and sources in New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Agra and will be expanding reach to other cities shortly.

To help address medical equipment needs, MakeMyTrip foundation is procuring 300 Oxygen Concentrators and the initial set of Oxygen Concentrators have already been shared with Gurgaon Administration, Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital, Delhi; NGOs like Hemkunt Foundation and National Association for the Blind (NAB). To better support communities directly, the foundation is also collaborating with RWAs across Delhi-NCR to assist in setting-up Covid-Care facilities at large residential areas by providing oxygen concentrators.

In parallel, MakeMyTrip Foundation is extending support to Gurugram administration through manpower deployment for contract tracing and data management services.

BharatPe launches ‘Covid Vaccination Cashback’: Rolls out initiative to encourage Covid-19 vaccination for merchants

Fintech company for merchants, BharatPe today announced the rollout of its campaign to further strengthen the Indian government’s vaccination drive against COVID19. Launched under ‘BharatPe Cares’, a corporate social responsibility initiative by BharatPe, this first-of-its-kind of programme aims to create awareness about Covid-19 vaccination amongst the company’s 6 million+ merchant partners and also encourage them to get vaccinated without delay. In India’s first vaccination Cashback program, BharatPe merchants will get a Rs. 300 instant cash back in their bank account by scanning their vaccination certificate via the BharatPe app.

The company also announced the launch of a Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker on its app to facilitate relevant information on Covid-19 vaccination. By using this Vaccine Tracker, the merchants can view details of the nearby Covid-19 Vaccination Centers, based on their location. Also, they can choose to get notified when a slot is available in their chosen area.

Sharing details about the campaign, Ashneer Grover, Co-Founder & CEO, BharatPe said “The shopkeepers in India have played a significant part during Covid by ensuring availability of essentials. It’s time now for them to start working towards unlocking. BharatPe is incentivizing all shopkeepers to get vaccinated at the earliest so that they stay safe as business picks up and footfalls at shops increase. It’s time to get back to business.”

Pristyn Care sets up ‘COVID-19 Treatment Centre’ with oxygen beds

To address the ongoing crisis arising from lack of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and medical professionals in the country, Pristyn Care – a healthcare startup has come forward to set up its first ‘COVID-19 Treatment Centre’ in Gurugram and aims to start its second treatment centre in Bengaluru soon.

The Gurugram centre houses 60 beds which are well equipped with oxygen support, medicines and food with a dedicated round the clock medical team of specialist doctors and nursing staff. Patients getting treated can avail diagnostics services such as blood investigations and CT scans through Pristyn Care’s network of government approved labs.

Symptomatic COVID-19 patients can avail treatment and care at the centre by registering themselves on the official website:  pristyncare.com/covidcentre or calling on 08792739537.

OKCredit launches ‘co-aid.in’, a hyperlocal search tool to look for medicines and COVID-19 critical equipment in your nearby area

Amid the raging Covid-19 second wave, OkCredit, has announced the launch of a website – Co-aid.in to help people in distress discover verified leads for Covid-19 critical medicines and equipment. The portal provides real-time information on the availability of medicines pan India besides the contact number of the store for making enquiries. Users can search for availability by either entering the location name or the pincode on the portal.

The company is open-sourcing data of over 2 lakh pharmacy stores and businesses on its platform. These stores and businesses sell medical products and services such as Fabiflu tablets, oximeters, O2 beds, normal beds, steamers, antibiotics, zinc/vitamin, and oxygen used for treating Covid-19 patients. The data on oxygen and beds has been crowd sourced, whereas the data on medicines is from pharmacy stores on OkCredit’s platform.

OkCredit has plans to further enhance this simple and easy-to-use portal in the coming days and append it with other Covid critical resources available in the public domain. Co-aid.in also allows pharmacy stores and businesses that are not on the OkCredit platform to register themselves on the website.

Within just 12 days of launching, the website has seen queries from 342 towns and cities, within and outside India. Search queries have also come from New York, Singapore, Seattle and Los Angeles among a number of other international locations. In India, highest number of searches have come from Bengaluru, Delhi and Kolkata but smaller locations such as Panipat, Muzaffarpur and Ranchi have also used the tool to search for nearby pharmacy shops.

Besides the pharmacy search tool, OkCredit is also encouraging people to volunteer for Covid-19 SOS requests. Known as Co Aid Volunteer (seen at the top right on the Co-aid.in website), the platform lists out volunteering opportunities for people. These could be oxygen or bed requirements, medicine needs.

Additionally, OkCredit has tied up with online doctor consultation app, Practo to take care of their doctor consultations, covid testing, priority support for ambulances, beds, medicines, mental wellness counseling, etc. The company is also encouraging employees to take time off to take care of themselves and family. It is not counting any time off in the month of May as “official leaves”.

Spoton Logistics extends support to MSMEs and SMEs with customisable logistics solutions, scales up logistics hubs to meet rising demand

Spoton Logistics, an engineering and technology-driven logistics company, has announced customisable logistics solutions to cater to the niche requirements of SMEs and MSMEs which include the Retail traders in India.

With an aim to support small businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Spoton will provide best-in-class services backed by its widest express network covering 22,000+ pin codes and its technology-enabled processes to ensure timely movement of goods across the country.

To meet the heightened demand, the company has also scaled up logistics hubs in several locations – Ambala, Calcutta, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Patna, Kochi, Ranchi and Hyderabad respectively. The additional hubs offer comprehensive facilities to expand the horizon of deliveries and are located in central locations so as to ensure the timely pickup and delivery of goods.

In Funding News,

Elevation Capital and Matrix Partners India-backed SuperOps.ai to take on legacy MSP software with $3 million in seed funding

SuperOps.ai, a professional services automation and remote monitoring and management platform, raised $3 million in fresh funding and formally launched its beta platform today. Elevation Capital and Matrix Partners India co-led the seed round, with participation from notable angel investors, including Kayako’s founder Varun Shoor, Kovai.co’s founder Saravana Kumar, Posist’s co-founder Ashish Tulsian, and Livspace’s founder Ramakant Sharma.

Founded in 2020 by serial entrepreneur Arvind Parthiban, SuperOps.ai is a modern take on disjointed MSP tools. SuperOps.ai unifies PSA and RMM tools from the ground up as a single platform. The company plans to use the proceeds of this funding to strengthen its R&D in terms of product innovation and usability, expand its team, and drive market adoption.

Myelin Foundry raises Pre-Series A round led by Beyond Next Ventures

Deep tech AI startup, Myelin Foundry, has raised a pre-series A round of $1 million led by Japanese VC firm, Beyond Next Ventures. The company was founded in January 2019 by Dr. Gopichand Katragadda, Ganesh Suryanarayanan and Aditi Olemann. Endiya Partners, who invested during the Seed stage has also been a part of the pre- Series A Fund Raise.

Myelin Foundry is a deep tech product startup transforming human experiences & industry outcomes, by building AI algorithms on video, voice, and sensor data, for edge devices. Myelin’s first product in the market, Fovea Stream, enables HD viewing experiences with SD transmission.

The new round will be used to consolidate Myelin’s products in the India video streaming market, and to expand into international markets. Myelin will further build capabilities and position itself to be a leader in the edge AI space across industries.

In Global News,

Amazon wins $303 Million court fight in blow to EU tax crusade

Amazon won its fight against an EU order to pay about 250 million euros ($303 million) in back taxes to Luxembourg in another blow to competition chief Margrethe Vestager’s crusade against preferential deals.

The bloc failed to show that Luxembourg had given the U.S. online retailer special treatment in violation of state-aid rules, the EU’s General Court ruled on Wednesday.

The victory follows last year’s landmark defeat for Vestager against Apple, which had contested an order that it pay 13 billion euros ($15 billion) in Irish back taxes.

Both Amazon and Apple were targeted by Vestager in a campaign to stamp out tax deals used by EU states such as Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to attract large companies.

Digital coin Ether hits record high as 2021 gains near 500%

Reuters reports, Cryptocurrency ether hit a record high on Wednesday, taking gains this year to almost 500% on the back of a growing interest in decentralised finance applications and increasing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies.

Ether, the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation after bitcoin, climbed to $4,372.35, eclipsing its previous record hit on Monday, and was last up 2%. Bitcoin was down a touch at $56,240.

Ether has jumped almost 500% against the dollar this year as the ethereum blockchain becomes more widely used by peer-to-peer – or decentralised – cryptocurrency platforms that enable crypto-denominated lending outside of traditional banking institutions.

The surge has also seen ether – which in the crypto world is also widely referred to as ethereum – outperform bitcoin, which has almost doubled in price this year as larger investors warm to the emerging technology.

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