WhatsApp and Invest India have today announced the winners of the ‘Startup India – WhatsApp Grand Challenge’. The companies have announced that five startups have been awarded a total grant worth $250,000 or approximately Rs 35 Lakhs each. The five startups that have received the prize money include MedCords, Melzo, Javis, Gramophone, and MinionLabs.
For those unaware, the ‘Startup India – WhatsApp Grand Challenge’ was started earlier this year and it was meant to inspire entrepreneurs to develop solutions that have a socio-economic impact on the Indian economy. More than 1,700 entries were received for the challenge from across the country. It is also worth mentioning that around 70% of the applications received were from startups that were less than 3 months old. This shows how more and more people are switching to do business in the country.
These entries were then evaluated on the basis of their innovative thinking, the scale of impact, and ability of solving real problems that are faced by the people of the country. Ten entries were then shortlisted and were given a chance to pitch ideas to a mix of venture capitalists and entrepreneur including Shailesh Lakhani of Sequoia Capital, Vani Kola of Kalaari Capital, Deep Kalra of MakeMyTrip, Harsha Kumar of Lightspeed Ventures, and Abhijit Bose of WhatsApp.
Speaking about it, Mr Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary DPIIT, Government of India said, “The Indian startup ecosystem has undergone a dynamic transformation in the last few years, with the addition of many successful unicorns and high growth in venture funding. We are constantly working to strengthen the ecosystem to support our startups by simplifying regulations, building infrastructure, and establishing meaningful partnerships. Congratulations to the winners of the Startup India WhatsApp Grand Challenge and good luck to them for driving the country’s economic growth.”
“India has proven to propel highly innovative ideas that are making a significant impact to society and the economy, said Mr. Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India. We at WhatsApp are proud to have a role in helping the next generation of innovators use technology to help improve lives in India and around the world. Congratulations to the winners and we look forward to seeing their ideas come to life.”
Here’s more on the startups that were chosen:
- MedCords is using technology to bring affordable access to quality healthcare in rural and semi-urban areas. Their usage is spread across 2,000 villages.
- Melzo is an affordable VR content platform, that enables the masses to consume content easily on low-end devices. The platform caters to over 140+ brands and SMEs globally.
- Javis is a WhatsApp-based conversational AI platform that connects the right people with the right information to get business done quickly. The platform receives an average of 3-4 individual queries on a daily basis, and currently has 1500 active users.
- Gramophone is an agri-tech platform providing agronomic intelligence to farmers, and it aims to be a one-stop-shop for all agricultural input needs.
- MinionLabs helps businesses in reducing electricity costs and leveraging a machine learning approach. It is also useful in improving productivity by providing real-time electricity consumption insights.
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