Not too long ago, if you had an entrepreneurial idea and wanted to see it through, you had to pack your bags and set off to startup mecca Bengaluru. Dubbed India’s Silicon Valley, the city lured scores of hopefuls trying to make a dent in the startup ecosystem. But then, other metros opened up and we saw great startups emerging from Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Chennai.
Today, however, the trend also leans towards Bharat - India’s small towns and cities, thanks to a greater entrepreneurial climate in the country, nurturing government policies and rhetoric, as well as investors warming up to Tier-II and III India.
The far-flung Northeast, comprising eight states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Sikkim —is no longer preserved for tourists. It is fast emerging as a one-of-a-kind startup ecosystem.
YourStory lists some of these startups that are putting the region on the entrepreneurship map.
Medilane HealthTech and Consultancy Services is an on-demand healthcare service provider focusing on affordable home healthcare and medical transport services. Based out of Imphal, Manipur, the startup was incorporated in July 2017.
Currently operational in Manipur and Assam, Medilane was founded by Dr M. Dayananda Meitei, who is the Chairman and MD, and Co-founder Dr Thiyam Pinkey, who is also the COO.
Besides providing ambulance services, the startup also provides mortuary van service round the clock. It also aggregates private ambulances in the Northeast, enabling customers to book one either through their application, website, or mobile helpline number.
Medilane also provides round-the-clock home healthcare solutions, including nursing care, physiotherapy, breast and cervical cancer screening, and medical equipment and oxygen delivery. The startup has received Rs 1 crore from Government of Manipur under the Manipur Startup Fund.
Assam-based startup Brahmaputra Fables was founded in 2017 by Dhruba Jyoti Deka. Through his startup, Dhruba is simplifying and organising the highly-fragmented artisan industry. Essentially an ecommerce platform, it enables users to choose from a range of authentic handicrafts carefully sourced from the artisans in the north-eastern part of the country.
With more than 3,000 artistes on its platform, Brahmaputra Fables plans to integrate with 5,000 artistes by 2020. The startup ships its products across India, as well as to the US, the UK, and Italy. The startup, which is part of an incubator created by the state government and IIM Calcutta Innovation Park called “Assam Startup- The Nest”, is on the lookout for funds, and aims to raise between Rs 20-25 lakh.
Thangvung Privilege Services
Healthcare startup Thangvung Privilege Services has a privilege card offering financial assistance for medical emergencies at zero percent EMI and round-the-clock doorstep medicine delivery.
Launched in June 2018, the startup has tied up with 35 local healthcare organisations and NBFCs. Based out of Manipur, it has facilitated over 700 privilege cards so far. Founder Lian Thangyung’s idea is to make healthcare affordable, provide medical emergency financial assistance, and create a platform to connect with service providers.
Thangyung also provides a pay-later platform for medical services. Thangvung Privilege Services has secured funding of Rs 25 lakh from the Nedfi Northeast Venture Fund.
Gangtok-based online cab aggregation startup Wizzride is on a mission to be the one-stop solution for road commute issues in the hills. Founded by Ashish Mittal, Hemant Pandey, and Lehsang Bhutia in 2017, the startup aims to make travel in the hills easier and smarter.
Wizzride offers shared and reserved options for intercity cab bookings, along with sightseeing and tour packages. According to the founders, the company transports over 150 people every day, connecting cities like Gangtok, Darjeeling, Jaigaon, and Phuentsholing to Siliguri and Bagdogra airports.
The team claims to have made a revenue of Rs 1.1 crore during the first year, and Rs 2.71 crore in its second year of operations, with a 146 percent year-on-year growth.
Based out of Guwahati, Olatus provides customised hardware solutions for both industries and individual customers. Launched in Shillong in September 2014, the bootstrapped startup wants to bring Northeast India in the mainframe silicon trade route of the world, with the help of technology.
The company offers engineering products to companies including in ecommerce and educational players.
Founded by batchmates Parash P Borthakur and Nilotpal Rabha, Olatus’ products include robotic wheelchair for children and disabled people, animal wheel carts, 3D printers, industrial custom devices, automation devices, robots, and smart home devices, among others.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)