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 Sustainability fund Caret Capital and Ev2 Ventures, an early-stage smart mobility fund, on Thursday announced a $50 million India-focused fund to invest in startups in the mobility, distribution and employment sectors.


The ‘Caret Capital Fund II’ will invest in Pre-Series A startups in the country.


According to the VC firms, the new fund would be managed by Pankaj Bansal, Karan Mittal and Prajakt Raut as co-managing partners.


“As we commence our journey of raising a larger fund, we are fortunate to have found in Karan a partner with shared aspirations, vision, and values,” said Bansal and Raut, Co-founders and Managing Partners of Caret Capital (formerly known as Supply Chain Lab).


Mittal has earlier invested in startups like Silvercar, Chow Now, Just Inc, Hopscotch, Euler Motors, Eveez, Alt Mobility and Enmovil, among others.


The funds’ portfolios will also benefit from the deep expertise and diverse global experience of the expanded base of advisors.


“Given the size and scale of the opportunities that India has, it was crucial to expand our resources. Combining the collective power of both teams with an outstanding track record gives us the right foundation to create value supporting our thesis,” said Mittal, General Partner of Ev2 Ventures.


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Two women with advanced breast cancer have successfully undergone robotic mastectomy, a unique procedure to preserve full breast and nipple sensation, said doctors here on Thursday.


The two cases -- a 27-year-old woman and another in her late 50s -- are one of the first cases in India where the robot-assisted functional breast preservation surgery (RAFBPS), which is a minimally invasive surgical technique performed using Da-Vinci Robot, has been done, said doctors at CK Birla Hospital, Delhi.


“One of the first in India where robot-assisted functional breast preservation surgery with Latissimus flap reconstruction has been conducted, this surgery offers more precise visualisation and smaller incisions,” said Dr Mandeep Singh Malhotra, Director of Surgical Oncology at the hospital.


"In these types of surgeries, a robot is used to enter the breast from the armpit to remove tissue and reconstruct the breast, preserving the breast skin as well as nipple, if possible, thus preserving the breast sensation," he added.


The 27-year-old woman came to the hospital with a breast lump, a few months after her baby was born. Due to her denial and masking of symptoms associated with changes in the breast during pregnancy and lactation, the cancer progressed to an advanced stage.


The woman was administered neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, which allows for optimal removal of residual tumour, along with targeted medicine and she responded exceptionally well to this systemic treatment.


The patient underwent RAFBPS without complications and experienced a swift recovery.


The woman in her late 50s was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer but the cancer was multifocal, that is, she had three breast lumps. RAFBPS utilised robotic arms to remove the cancerous tissue and simultaneously harvest tissue from the back to reconstruct the breast; with a single lateral mammary incision.


“This procedure provides remarkably natural-looking outcomes while preserving full breast sensation. By retaining the original breast skin and nipple, the breast sensation remains intact, hence the breast looks as well as feels like the original breast and the robot makes this surgery simpler with better aesthetics,” Dr Mandeep said.


“Loss of breast is morbid for women of any age and should be equally evaluated for the option of breast preservation," he said.


Further, the doctor recommended the procedure to women with early-stage breast cancer, "without the involvement of overlying skin/nipple and those women who have responded very well to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy/systemic therapy."


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 Global tech-enabled consulting company Uniqus Consultech, on Thursday, said that it has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Nexus Ventures with participation from Sorin Investments.


The funding will be used for the next phase of Uniqus’ growth, which will be fuelled by the scaling-up of existing solutions, the launch of adjacent service offerings and geographical markets, and continued investments in technology, the company said.


"The current round of funding will enable us to expand our solutions portfolio, explore new markets, and further accelerate our growth plans," Jamil Khatri, co-founder and CEO of Uniqus, said.


In just over a year of launch, Uniqus has experienced significant growth. The company now has offices in eight cities across the US, India, and the Middle East, with a team of over 350 highly skilled professionals led by 40 partners and directors. They serve more than 150 clients.


During this period, Uniqus has also launched an AI Assistant for financial reporting and ESG, as well as a tech platform for ESG data management and reporting.


"The company's unique cloud delivery model coupled with proprietary technology is a game-changer for clients. Uniqus leverages both, technology and people to deliver a holistic and compelling value proposition for clients," said Anup Gupta from Nexus Ventures.

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 PC and printer major HP on Thursday introduced the 'Innovation & Digital Education Academy' (IDEA) programme in India, aiming to support educators with essential digital pedagogy skills, transform teaching methods, and enhance the learning experience for students in CBSE schools across the country.


The programme, developed in partnership with the Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA) and Verdant & Co, is designed to meet the increasing demands of educators and students in the digital age.


It is scheduled to commence in the last week of April and will run for a full academic year.


"With this initiative, we will work to transform teaching methods and enrich the learning experience for students in CBSE schools," Ipsita Dasgupta, SVP and MD of HP India market, said in a statement.


According to the company, this programme is poised to reach 50 schools, benefitting about 5,000 teachers and 50,000 students across the country. The focus will be on empowering educators with the latest tools and best practices in teaching and learning.


"As a certification and accreditation body, CENTA is keen to continuously bring to teachers great professional development initiatives. We are super excited to be collaborating with HP in taking this programme to schools in over 20 cities in India," said Priyanka Arya, Director and Chief Operating Officer, CENTA.


The programme offers two pathways for participating schools -- HP IDEA Fellow and HP IDEA Associate.


The HP IDEA Fellow pathway is a one-year teacher development programme designed for select practitioners and instructional leaders.


On the other hand, the HP IDEA Associate pathway provides focused intervention for all staff members at participating schools, allowing them to become programmes' associates by engaging in training delivered by HP IDEA Fellows.


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The electronics industry in India saw a massive 154 per cent growth in hiring and skilling in the last financial year (from March 2023 till March this year) and the telecom domain led the industry, a report showed on Thursday.


The telecom vertical accounted for 64 per cent of hiring, closely followed by lighting and automotive sectors, according to research conducted by Quess Corp Ltd, a workforce management solutions provider.


The electronics industry also witnessed a significant deployment of women in various roles, particularly in manufacturing.


“Women are increasingly being deployed as operators, quality assurance professionals, and in testing roles,” the findings showed. Women constitute 78 per cent of the industry’s workforce.


In terms of geography, Tamil Nadu leads the states with a significant 33 per cent share of electronics hiring demand, followed by Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.


“The Indian electronics manufacturing sector is on a growth trajectory fuelled by innovation and transformation. Industry experts forecast the creation of 1 million jobs by 2025-2026, and the market size is expected to reach $400 billion by 2025,” said Lohit Bhatia, President of Workforce Management at Quess Corp.


This growth is not only fueled by increasing consumer demand but has also received a boost from government initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.


The surge in women's employment within electronics manufacturing can be attributed to several factors.


The nature of the work, which often involves intricate assembly and precise handling of small parts, complements women’s skill in dexterity and attention to detail.


“Additionally, women demonstrate a strong ability to learn quickly and adapt, enabling them to thrive in fast-paced production settings,” the report noted.


Several key roles are in high demand, such as electronic engineers, instrumental engineers and electronic design engineers. The average salaries for these roles range from Rs 18,000 per month to Rs 32,000 per month.


The research also showed that flexible staffing has emerged as the preferred mode of employment in the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry.


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