The Indian startup ecosystem mourns the death of former CEO of FreeCharge Govind Rajan
FirstPrinciples VC Nitin Sharma joins Antler as Partner
SME and MSME loans startup Aye Finance appoints Ujual George as chief risk officer
We bring to you the latest edition of movers and shakers of the week in the Indian startup ecosystem.
This week began on a tragic note as Govind Rajan, the former CEO of FreeCharge and Airtel Payments Bank, and COO of Google backed edtech startup Cuemath, passed away aged 46, on Monday (January 18).
Rajan had over two decades of experience across various roles across marketing, sales, operations, customer development, both at executive as well as senior leadership roles. He started his journey with the Indian startups in 2015 by leading fintech startup FreeCharge, which later got acquired by Snapdeal from Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon for $400 Mn. At the time, it was one of the largest M&A deals in the Indian startups.
The news came to light after CRED and FreeCharge founder Kunal Shah shared it on Twitter. “It’s hard to process this loss as it’s so hard to believe someone who was so full of life to be no more just like that. Life is so fragile,” tweeted Shah, mourning the death of Rajan.
Let’s take a look at some of the other important movers and shares in the Indian startup ecosystem this week:
Antler Appoints Nitin Sharma As Partner
Early-stage venture capital firm Anter recently appointed FirstPrinciples VC founder Nitin Sharma as Partner. In the next four years, Antler looks to invest over $100 Mn in India, and Sharma is expected to co-lead the investments alongside Urban Ladder cofounder Rajiv Srivatsa.
Till date, Sharma has invested in more than 50 tech startups across the globe, including Reliance acquired Fynd, OnJuno, Niki, Kutumb and others. Previously, he has worked with NEA and was also a founding team principal at Lightbox Ventures, India.
Elevation Capital Appoints New Vice President
Early-stage venture capital firm Elevation Capital this week announced that it appointed Amit Aggarwal as the new vice president. With his new role, Aggarwal will be working alongside other two vice presidents, Akarsh Shrivastava and Srinivas Bhaskar, where he will be focussing on early-stage investments and startups, particularly in consumer internet, financial services, enterprise SaaS, consumer brands and B2B services.
An IIM Calcutta and IIT Delhi alumnus, Aggarwal previously worked with Facebook as their India Lead for strategic planning and operations. Before this, he has also worked with companies like Hero Electronix, Bain and Company and others.
Bertelsmann India Investments Promotes Rohit Sood As Partner
Growth stage venture capital firm Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) recently promoted Rohit Sood as Partner from Principal. With this, Sood will be leading BII’s investments in the technology sector with special focus on consumer, B2B commerce, financial services, mobility, agriculture, travel and enterprise SaaS. He has led investments in Lending Kart and Rupeek, and is also a board observer at Pepperfry, Shiprocket, Treebo Hotels, Licious, Lets Transport, Agro Star.
Aye Finance Appoints Ujual George As Risk Head
SME and MSME loans startup Aye Finance recently announced that it appointed Ujual George as chief risk officer (CRO). At Aye Finance, George will be responsible for strengthening the risk management capabilities and driving operational transformation. He has over 25 years of experience in banking and financial services. Prior to this, he has worked in senior leadership roles at RBL Bank.
AgNext Onboards Subrat Panda As CTO
Agritech startup AgNext recently onboarded Dr. Subrat Panda as the chief technology officer. In his new role, Panda looks to develop smarter and intelligent SaaS solutions on the AgNext platform and expand globally. In addition to this, AgNext which has about 12 patents around agritech solutions, now looks to target more than 70 patents in the next two years with Panda leading the innovation.
With over two decades of experience in AI, hardware and software, Panda previously has worked with companies like Capillary Technologies, Synopsys, IBM STG, Nvidia and Taro among others.