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IIT Madras incubated deeptech startup secures funding

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New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras incubation cell deeptech startup Planys Technologies on Monday said that it secured a Rs 43 crore equity infusion led by renowned investor Ashish Kacholia.

The funding round also saw participation from Samarthya Advisors, Golden Birch Investments, Cogniphy Angel Fund, Krishna Defence, and Impact India Investment Partners LLC, with backing from existing investors doubling and tripling down on their support.

The startup also saw exits from many first-round seed investors.

“We intend to grow our operational capacity and enhance the inventory of underwater inspection solutions, covering high-end applications such as non-destructive testing of metal and concrete structures, and more,” Vineet Upadhyay, Planys’ Chief Technology Officer, said in a statement.

The startup said that this investment is expected to accelerate Planys’ mission to revolutionise infrastructure inspections through advancements in marine robotics, underwater testing, and digital analytics and reporting platforms.

“Planys is a classic case of research in academia getting commercialised for civilian and defence applications. I am confident that Tanuj and his Co-founders will blaze an underwater trail that will inspire many more young founders,” said Kacholia.

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Planys was founded in 2015 by IIT Madras alumni and faculty including Upadhyay, Tanuj Jhunjhunwala, Prof Prabhu Rajagopal, and Prof Krishnan Balasubramanian.

With limited resources in its first year, the startup raised Rs 1.75 crore through angel investment and developed multiple products.

–IANS

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New device to help doctors spot life-threatening infections in cancer patients remotely

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San Francisco, June 16 (IANS) US-based firm Leuko, founded by a research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has developed a device that will give doctors a non-invasive way to monitor cancer patients’ health during chemotherapy — without the need of blood tests.

Chemotherapy and other treatments that take down cancer cells can also destroy patients’ immune cells.

In some cases, the patient’s white blood cell (WBC) count gets dangerously low, a condition known as neutropenia, and the only way for doctors to monitor their patient’s white blood cells is through blood tests.

However, this new device will help doctors spot life-threatening infections in cancer patients remotely, according to MIT.

According to MIT, rather than drawing blood, this device uses light to look through the skin at the top of the fingernail and artificial intelligence to analyse and detect when WBCs reach dangerously low levels.

“Some of the physicians that we have talked to are very excited because they think future versions of our product could be used to personalise the dose of chemotherapy given to each patient,” said Leuko co-founder and CEO Carlos Castro-Gonzalez, a former postdoctorate at MIT.

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“If a patient is not becoming neutropenic, that could be a sign that you could increase the dose. Then every treatment could be based on how each patient is individually reacting,” he added.

The technology was first developed by researchers at MIT in 2015. Over the next few years, they created a prototype and conducted a small study to validate their approach.

In a study of 44 patients in 2019, Leuko’s team showed the approach was able to detect when WBC levels dropped below a critical threshold with minimal false positives.

The company has been working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the last four years to design studies confirming their device is accurate and easy to use by untrained patients, MIT said.

Later this year, they expect to begin a pivotal study that will be used to register for FDA approval.

–IANS

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India's textile exports surge by 9.6 pc despite global headwinds

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) India’s textile exports grew by 9.59 per cent in May this year compared to the same month of the previous year, despite unfavourable economic conditions in major markets such as the European Union (EU), the US and West Asian nations, according to a report by the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI).

In addition, the country’s apparel exports saw an increase of 9.84 per cent during the same period, the report points out.

CITI’s report highlighted that the combined exports of textiles and apparel in May 2024 registered a 9.70 per cent growth over May last year. India’s overall exports for May 2024 surged to $68.29 billion, marking a substantial year-on-year increase of 10.2 per cent, according to the figures released by the Commerce Ministry.

The CITI analysis shows that during April-May 2024, Indian textile exports grew by 6.04 per cent over the previous year, while apparel exports increased by 4.46 per cent during the same period. The cumulative exports of textiles and apparel during April-May 2024 saw a 5.34 per cent rise compared to the same period last year.

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The recently released export data also showed a strong performance in sectors such as electronic goods, pharmaceuticals, organic and inorganic chemicals, engineering goods and petroleum products.

Electronic goods exports shot up by as much as 22.97 per cent, underlining the change in India’s export goods basket contributed by the growth in the manufacturing sector.

Similarly, petroleum products (15.75 per cent year-on-year) and engineering goods (7.39 per cent) exports also registered high rates of growth.

Ashwani Kumar, President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), said that there is a positive trajectory in May 2024, driven by robust order bookings. Among the top 10 export markets for India were the US, UAE, Netherlands, UK, China, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Germany and France, with exports to these markets registering double-digit growth rates.

India’s overall merchandise exports jumped by 9.1 per cent to $38.13 billion, while service exports climbed by 11.7 per cent, reaching $30.16 billion.

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–IANS

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India's electronic manufacturing likely to reach around $250 bn in next 5 yrs: Report

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) India’s electronic manufacturing is likely to reach around $250 billion in the next five years, according to media reports.

At present, the electronic exports of the country stand at $125 to $130 billion.

The government also plans to address the issue of unemployment by creating jobs in the electronic manufacturing sector. Presently, 25 lakh people are employed in this sector.

In the next five years, the government intends to double the number of jobs in the sector, according to media reports.

As per Invest India, technology transitions such as the rollout of 5G networks and IoT (Internet of Things) are driving the accelerated adoption of electronics products.

“Initiatives such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart City’ projects have raised the demand for IoT in the electronics devices market and will undoubtedly usher in a new era for electronic products,” it mentioned.

At present, India’s domestic production has grown at a CAGR of 13 per cent from $49 billion in FY17 to $101 billion in FY23.

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During April 2024, electronic goods exports were recorded at $2.65 billion as compared to $2.10 billion during April 2023, registering a growth of 25.80 per cent, according to the Invest India data.

Mobile phone production surged from Rs 18,900 crore in 2014-15 to an estimated Rs 4.10 lakh crore in FY24, registering an increase of 2,000 per cent, as per top electronics industry body India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA).

–IANS

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Private data of 2,900 people leaked after TAG Heuer hacked

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Seoul, June 16 (IANS) Private data of some 2,900 South Korean customers was leaked after TAG Heuer, owned by luxury goods giant LVMH, was hacked, an official at South Korea’s Personal Information Protection Commission said on Sunday.

The incident took place between 2019 and 2020, when the watchmaker renovated its website but came under a cyberattack, according to the commission.

TAG Heuer belatedly reported the case to the commission after becoming aware of the attack when the hacker blackmailed the company in May last year, reports Yonhap news agency.

The commission ordered TAG Heuer to pay 126 million won ($90,712) as a financial penalty over the case and 7.8 million won as a fine for belatedly reporting the case in a closed-door meeting in February.

A commission official said South Korea was the first country to impose a penalty on the company.

–IANS

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India produced over 40 quantum technology startups in 2 years: Jitendra Singh

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New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) India has produced over 40 quantum technology startups in two years, few of them with global potential, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, said on Saturday.

The minister directed officials to focus on the flagship National Quantum Mission and work on the development of quantum technologies and quantum communication.

“India is currently on an equal pedestal with other nations in terms of quantum technologies,” the minister said, adding that our mission should be to establish India as a global leader in quantum technologies.

He shared the success story of ‘QuNu Labs’, a Bengaluru-based startup incubated by IIT Madras.

The startup recently signed an MoU with the Technology Development Board (TDB) for the development of security products based on quantum technologies.

The minister also said that women’s participation in research and development (R&D) has doubled in the last 10 years.

Going further, nearly 300 women scientists are going to receive research grants for three years from the government under the ‘ASPIRE’ scheme, he mentioned.

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“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to empower and provide ease of living to the last man standing should be the aim of our innovation,” the Minister noted.

–IANS

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