2 Indian startups to go to Silicon Valley for 10 months after winning Kerala govt's Global Impact Challenge
One Delhi-based startup and another from Kerala are headed to Silicon Valley after winning Global Impact Challenge, a competition announced by Kerala government to find the best technology solutions to some of trickiest problems that people and communities are facing in India.
The two startups that will get an exclusive chance to travel to the Silicon Valley in the United States are Kerala-based Ajna, which hopes to combat illegal logging and in effect climate change using autonomous drones, deep learning and blockchain, and Delhi-based Brun Health, which has created a medical device that could be an affordable solution for pregnancy monitoring.
The two startups were selected winners last week at Global Impact Challenge (GIC) in Trivandrum. This was a six-day event organised by Kerala Start up Mission (KSUM), the nodal agency of the Kerala government promoting entrepreneurship in the state and implementing Kerala State Technology Start up Policy, in association with the Singularity University, a US-based community of investors, entrepreneurs, corporations, academic institutions and governments.
The event, which aimed to find a start up that uses technological tools to address various global issues, witnessed a total of 25 enterprises out of a total of 150 entries being shortlisted to attend a six-day boot camp. During the boot camp, the shortlisted candidates were coached about building a startup. This involved lessons on developing a business model, understanding the product market mix, insights on funding, and lessons on customer retention among other things.
The fifth day of the six-day involved expert talk on Artificial Intelligence by Clap Research CEO Anoop Ambika and Machine Learning on Google Cloud Startup Ecosystem Partnerships Manager of Google Cloud India Krishnachytanya Ayyagari, and final pitch by top 20 finalists.
The final day of the event included sessions on the impact of emerging technologies on the startups and by National Enterprise Channel Lead for Microsoft Dhanniya Venkatasalapathy, and current trends in AR and VR technologies by game designer Jai Naresh among other things.
"It is heartening to see that young innovators are focused on resolving global challenges with the aid of technology. We wish these young innovators success in their endeavours. Kerala can be an arable land for their dreams, as it is emerging as a hub for innovation, technology and entrepreneurship," Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on the occasion.
The expert lectures on the last day of the event were followed by final pitch by the top 10 finalists. The 10 finalists who managed to impress the jury, which included Regina Njima, Director GIC for Singularity University, Tom Thomas, Director KSUM, Tina James, James Secretary GTech, and Chandrashekhar Reddy, Director Next Gen Healthcare, by their innovative idea and the feasibility of their plan include- EasyKrishi Private Limited, SunEmison Solar, Generobotic Innovations, EyeROV, SignNEXT Assistive Technology LLP, NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats Private Limited, BIOME, Brun Health, AJNA, and PentavalentBio Sciences Private Limited.
Following the final pitches the judges deliberated on the ideas and impressed by the scope of implantation of their ideas Singularity University decided to incubate two enterprises instead of one from India.
"The kind of startups that I am seeing in India, here in Kerala, of course coming all over from India are really some of the top three compared to the startups that we see all over the world. And that says a lot about the work that you are doing in this country," Njima told the reporters.
These two winning startups will get incubated in the Silicon Valley for a period of 10 months where they will be mentored by top experts and will get a chance to get funding from the top tech investors in the industry. They will also get a chance to interact with other GIC winners from across the globe which in turn will help them widen their vistas and broaden their horizons.
While the founders of two enterprises will be traveling to the Silicon Valley, three other teams that are SignNEXT, Sun Emison Solar and Easy Krishi Private Limited, as a part of their consolation prize, will get incubated by KUSM.