20 win Infy awards for making in India

Sep 26, 2016 0

Bengaluru– Twenty organisations from diverse sectors were on Monday declared winners of the first edition of Infy Maker Awards for “making” in India by the software major’s Infosys Foundation.

“The Infy Maker Awards are testimony to our commitment to encourage ‘making’ in India and acknowledging those with innovative solutions for leveraging technology to make things easier,” said the Foundation in a statement here.

Each winner will be given an award of Rs 5 lakh, a trophy and a certificate.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

A panel of judges representing technology, academia and the business community selected the winners from 280 entries.

The jury, comprising Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumder Shaw, Author Rama Bijapurkar, Aarin Capital Partners’ Chairman Mohandas Pai, and Infosys’ Chief Operating Officer Pravin Rao evaluated the entries that were relevant to real-world problems and used technology in an innovative way.

“The awards recognise some of the best minds that unleash the power of creativity and imagination of the next-generation of thinkers. We believe the awards will ignite the spirit of ‘making’ in India and celebrate excellence in innovation,” Rao said on the occasion.

As the awards aim to inculcate and foster an ecosystem of makers, the IT major intends to empower and reward them across communities and organisations.

The awards also enable the creation of an ecosystem of innovation through “making” that will help India contribute to the larger global community of inventors and entrepreneurs.

The winners are from various categories, including health, energy, education, sound and music, social change solutions, robotics, art and design, artificial intelligence and electronics.

The Foundation initially launched the awards in support of the “Nation of Makers” initiative of the US President Barack Obama in June 2015.

Among the winners under the social change category are Sourabh Alagundagi, Sandeep Patil and Shreya Gudasalamani of AssitYou, a communicative glove solution for hearing impaired people to communicate.

Sanjeev Arjun Gaur for regenerative brakes for cycle rickshaw to make pedalling easier; Vuppari Kalyani for multi-functional elevator to move in a vertical and horizontal direction; Ilampothigai K. Vignesh, V. Anand Gopi and Ibrahim Ahmed Hassan Awad for a device to ensure safety and communication amongst linemen; Aravind S. Balaji and G. Aravind for maritime border warning system for fishermen.

Selfie innovators Arun Kumar and S. Vishnu Priya for public over-dump limiter sensor to track garbage levels; Chetan Prasad for invisible bus bay to ease parking in overcrowded areas; Aakash Goel for “Shour”, the smarter way to shower by conserving water; and K.N. Panda, Smritiparna Satpathy and Jayant Pradhan for TycheeJune, a technology to self-track and cure punctures.

Under health category, Deepika Giri, V. Krishna Kumar, Kavitha Sowndararajan and L. Jamuna for heartbeat monitoring system using light-fidelity (Li-Fi); Shantanu Pathak and Aditya Kulkarni for Clinic-in-box for pregnant rural women, who do not have access to healthcare facilities; C. Cornelius Durai, T. David Thevaram and S. Sairam for Aarduous therapist for stroke patients for physiotherapy needs.

Abhinav Shekhar Vashistha for a solution to enable autistic people communicate; Lovi Raj Gupta, Kunal Panchal, Yerra Prasanthi, Satish Reddy and Vishakha Choudhary for Sitby, a posture proctor to alert wrong posture at work; and Veerpal Sharma, Divyanshu Varshney and Roopam Sharma for Dr Fizio to ensure that physiotherapy is on the right track.

In the energy category, Krishnanand Venkatasubramanian and S. Senthilvel were chosen for their low-cost wind turbine.

In the artificial intelligence category, Kannabiran S. Gokul, Srinath V., and Boobalan B., for a human safety system for two-wheeler vehicles; and in the electronics category, Nagarjuna Paturi for weather proof liquid level switch vehicles and indicator to prevent water overflow.

“The Infy Maker Awards programme celebrates the spirit of making that is innate to all of us. The awards seek to recognise and reward the creativity of makers whose ideas and solutions have the potential to address the challenges facing the world, said the Foundation’s US arm Chairperson Vandana Sikka on the occasion.

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Hashtaag start-up raises $1 million for expansion

Sep 22, 2016 0

Bengaluru– Mobile applications developing start-up Hashtaag on Thursday announced raising $1 million (Rs.6.7 crore) through angel funding to expand its operations in domestic and overseas markets.

“The funding will enable us to hire more talent, build better products and expand our operations in India and globally,” said Hashtaag Chairman and Co-Founder Krishna Vemula in a statement here.

The city-based, year-old engineering firm works with entrepreneurs and start-ups to develop mobile apps that transform businesses through product strategy consultation, cross-platform development, quality assurance and support.

The firm is also a development partner of mobile apps such as Doors, Shouut, Paperboy, FaceChat, Curiocty,AandALogoon, owned by celebrity icons and serial entrepreneurs.

“We plan to ramp-up headcount to 100 plus from 40 by this year-end and set up offices in Chennai and Mumbai. Our San Francisco office caters to serial entrepreneurs in the US,” said other co-founder B.N. Jayavardhan.

The company sought funding to also support product research and development on the strength of posting $1 million revenue in the first year of operations.

“As mobile apps need premium design and development, we are working to provide excellence to our clients. Angel investors are recognising our potential to capture a slice of the growing market,” said Jayavardhan.

According to multinational professional services firm Deloitte, India is set to become the largest base for mobile app developers by 2017, while global research and advisory firm Gartner predicted that 42 per cent of enterprises would increase spending on mobile app development by about 30 per cent this year. (IANS)

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Entrepreneurs avoiding consensus likely to stay in market: Study

Sep 11, 2016 0

New York– Entrepreneurs who resist pressure to follow a consensus are most likely to stay in the market, receive funding and ultimately go public, says a study.

According to the study, published in the journal Administrative Science Quarterly, entrepreneurs who follow the prevailing beliefs in a market are less viable, while non-consensus entrepreneurs prosper.

“Startups and investors face constant pressure to follow the consensus and that pressure is hard to overcome,” said Elizabeth G. Pontikes, Associate Professor at the Chicago Booth School of Business in the US.

For the study, the researchers contained data from 4,566 organisations in 456 different market categories and assembled data on software organisations, their market categories, when they received venture capital funding and when they had an initial public offering.

They also interviewed investors, board members and executives in the software industry about the decision-making process for entering a new market.

The study found that both firms and venture capitalists engaged in herding behaviour by entering markets that received venture capital funding.

“Those firms and venture capitalists following the consensus suffered in the long term. They put too much emphasis on the viability of a hot market and overlooked whether their product had a good fit for the market,” Pontikes noted.

“Entrepreneurs who entered ‘untouchable’ markets — those tainted by bankruptcies — applied more scrutiny to product-market fit and, in turn, fared better,” Pontikes added.

The study has implications for entrepreneurs and investors across industries. Firms would do well to institute processes that force executives and decision makers to carefully examine whether their products are suited to compete in a market before entering. (IANS)

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Google invites Indian startups for third Launchpad Accelerator program

Sep 8, 2016 0

New Delhi– US tech giant Google on Thursday asked for applications to attend the next session of its “Launchpad Accelerator programme” through which startups can utilise Googles mentorship and product access to scale business and capitalise on local markets, while also tapping into new global opportunities.

The “Launchpad Accelerator” is a specially-designed class to help startups in emerging markets find solutions to their business challenges and successfully scale.

“This is a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between Silicon Valley and emerging markets,” Roy Glasberg, Global Lead, Launchpad Accelerator, Google, said in a statement.

The startups that can apply for the programme have to be a tech startup aiming to solve a real challenge for the local market and should have proven market fit, essentially beyond the ideation stage.

The equity-free programme will begin on January 30 next year in San Francisco and will include two weeks of all-expense-paid training.

The applications can be submitted by October 24 at https://developers.google.com/startups/accelerator/.

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Start-up Deadpool in India: Government says it is only a lean phase

Sep 7, 2016 0

By Meghna Mittal

New Delhi–Despite reports claiming that a Start-up Deadpool is an Indian reality, with as many as 800 new tech ventures closing shop or on death row in the past 3-4 years, the government contends it is only a lean phase and far from a bust.

“I don’t see any bust or any such thing. Start-ups are in various fields, like healthcare, etc. Maybe the dotcom phase is not doing well right now. There is no bust, only a lean phase,” Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Joint Secretary Shailendra Singh told IANS.

Data analytics firm Tracxn Technologies had recently compiled a list of close to 800 technology start-ups founded post-2011 that have failed or are shutting operations.

The list is similar to the one created by a website called F**ked Company after the internet bust of the early 2000s. The site itself was a take-off on a magazine called Fast Company and compiled a list of dotcom failures that came to be known as the Dotcom Deadpool.

On the Tracxn list — what could be called a Start-up Deadpool — for example, is online grocery store PepperTap, with $51.2-million funding, which has confirmed it is shutting down core operations, while start-ups like BeStylish, a fashion accessory online store, with $10 million funding, is already down and out.

“To make any detailed statement on the reasons for failure of these start-ups, we need to study the report. We will be talking to Tracxn this month to find out about the basis of the report, the reasons for failure, and analyse,” Singh said.

Talking about the likely reason for the failure of these start-ups, he said it could be their inability to scale up during a global slowdown.

“All start-ups need to be scaled up. In the global slowdown — seeing the grim market situation — the scaling up is not possible. But it is not a cause of worry as these are cyclical changes. But it (failure of 800 start-ups) is only a small story,” he said.

Tracxn, the Bengaluru-based firm, also says that the failure to scale up is one of the likely reasons for the shutdowns, as in the case of e-commerce and food technology start-ups that face a surge in digital marketing expenses due to increased competition.

“But they (the start-ups) failed to scale up due to standardisation or funding issues. Bigger players like Flipkart, PayTM, Snapdeal offer a better variety and price due to their scales and the amount of funding,” a Tracxn spokesperson told IANS.

“Replicating the foreign model without indigenisation, focusing on customer acquisition without becoming self-sustainable and ‘me-too’ syndrome of copying a popular format has led to many failures of startups,” says Amit Jindal, Partner, Felix Advisory.

“The Start-up Deadpool though is a reality but not a cause of worry,” added Nikhil Donde, Managing Director of consultancy firm Protiviti India.

“Experiementation and innovativeness are the keys to success for any start-up. The start-ups which failed (did so) either due to lack of funding, faulty business model or were mistimed against the market demand,” Donde told IANS.

On being asked if funding could be one of the reasons of failure, Industry Ministry’s Singh said, “No, funding is not an issue. Funds are constantly coming in through angel funding and venture funding. Government is also making available about Rs 2,500 crore funds every year for start-ups. In fact, it will be difficult for start-ups to absorb all the funds.”

According to research firm Preqin, $8.9 billion investments in 2015 were made in India via venture funds. But so far in 2016, only $3.2 billion has been invested in start-ups by venture capitalists.

“The funding surely saw a slight slowdown. For instance, in the first half of 2015 $2.9 billion was invested, while in first half of 2016 only $2.1 billion was invested. But the overall funding scene is not as grave. The early-stage activity has notably increased with many more micro funds and angels stepping up,” Tracxn co-founder Neha Singh told IANS.

Overall, it looks healthy for the eco-system because more number of companies are getting launching capital, but with more later-stage investors being cautious, it is forcing companies to rethink about getting their economics right early on in a more sustainable manner, she said.

Confident that the Indian start-ups story is still intact, Singh said: “We are regularly interacting with start-ups. There is a big boost to start-ups. We have to provide the right ecosystem for the start-ups, a common platform and hand-holding.”

The silver lining for the failed start-up teams is that corporates are looking at hiring of experienced entrepreneurial teams.

“Most founders of deadpooled companies have people with strong hands-on experience in knowing what works and doesn’t in a practice area or market. Failure is no longer a taboo, and the entrepreneurial mindset is highly valued among investors and corporates,” Tracxn said. (IANS)

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Petroleum Minister Pradhan urges state-run units to launch Start-up Funds

Sep 6, 2016 0

New Delhi– Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday urged the public sector undertakings to create start-up funds, as is being done by Indian private players, in order to promote innovation and nurture new ideas in the energy sector.

“I am advising my CEO friends in PSUs that if Ratan Tata can put his private funds for start-ups and if Narayana Murthy can do that for new start-ups, then why cannot you,” Pradhan said addressing a conference on methanol organised by the NITI Aayog.

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Indian Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

“ONGC has already offered Rs 100 crore for start-ups. Can we create a synergy in innovation and this kind of start-up fund. This can be a win win situation for all of us. Let us create a platform for our young Indians and scientific brains,” he said.

On the occasion of its diamond jubilee this year, state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) last month announced the launch of a Rs 100 crore start-up fund to incubate and foster new ideas for oil and gas sector development.

As part of the initiative called ‘ONGC Start-up’, the company will provide the entire support chain for start-ups including seed capital, hand-holding, mentoring market linkage and follow-ups.

According to Pradhan, an economy based on a clean fuel like methanol can create a lot of employment and entrepreneurship.

“The raw material (for methanol) should be coming from the Indian market. If we could monetise the agriculture waste and bio waste in urban areas to energy then there will be two benefits – sizeable reduction of health expenditure and our economy can be multi-fold,” he said.

“How do we reduce our import dependency. My ministry is ready to offer Rs 1 lakh crore business to scientific community. Now India is importing Rs 4.5 lakh crore worth of hydrocarbons. Technology is there. Blending of 85 per cent of ethanol in transportation fuel is possible,” he said.

In this connection, he noted that petroleum consumption is increasing in the country.

“Last financial year, where the prediction of petroleum consumption was 7-8 per cent, the actual growth was 11 per cent. Petroleum need is growing in a bigger way. Rural India is emerging in a big way. Petrol consumption is increasing in hinterland of the country,” he said.

On the occasion, NITI Aayog signed a Statement of Intent with the US Methanol Institute to work further on the technology.

NITI Aayog has set up an expert group to develop a roadmap for India to adopt the ‘Methanol Economy’ and this will explore various techno-commercial angles to enhance production of methanol through natural gas, high ash content coal and through bio, agri and municipal solid waste.

It will also draw out a technical roadmap to adopt both methanol and dimethyl ether (DME) as chemical feedstock and for power generation. (IANS)

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2017 Global Entrepreneurship summit to be held in India: Sitharaman

Aug 31, 2016 0

New Delhi– Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said next year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be held in India and it will be co-hosted by the US.

Nirmala Sitharaman-Auf-16Talking to media after the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the two countries was held, Sitharaman said the two countries agreed on a programme which will entail US experts to come to India to provide momentum to entrepreneurship.

“India and US will co-host 2017 Global Entrepreneurship summit in India. It will create new opportunities for investment and partnership.”

The press conference was also addressed by External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

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Odisha aims 1000 start-ups in next five years

Aug 23, 2016 0

Bhubaneswar–The Odisha cabinet on Tuesday approved a new Start-up Policy 2016 targeting to set up 1,000 start-ups in next five years.

“The policy targets setting up at least 1,000 start-ups in the next five years attracting substantial venture and angel capital to the state with sizable attractive employment opportunity for the educated youths,” said Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi.

The government would make a budgetary provision of Rs 25 crore to set up a Start-up Capital Infrastructure Fund to encourage the start-ups in the state.

Besides, it would participate in the private state specific funds for start-ups to set up operations in the state, said Padhi.

With the state government envisaging to be amongst top three startup hubs in India by 2020, the policy aims to usher in an innovation and startup eco-system through the creation of world-class incubation centres, funding and a supporting incentive structure at par with other states.

The government would provide various incentives to the new ventures for their sustenance.

Universities and colleges would be eligible for one-time capital grant of 50 per cent of capital cost excluding the cost of building up to a maximum of Rs 1 crore to set up incubation facility, said the chief secretary.

An amount of Rs 10,000 per month would be provided to a start-up for a period of one year only if it has got the seed round funding approval.

Besides, reimbursement up to Rs 1 lakh per year for three years will be provided to institutions, incubators, and industries for providing free internet, free electricity, and mentoring services. (IANS)

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15-year-old behind odd-even.com carpool has new initiative

Jul 27, 2016 0

New Delhi– Fifteen-year-old entrepreneur Akshat Mittal, who helped daily commuters of the capital to solve the problem of carpooling with his odd-even.com, on Wednesday announced the launch of his second venture ChangeMyIndia.org.

Akshat is currently associated with Gurgaon-based carpooling app Orahi’s advisory board as a technical and domain expert following the acquisition of odd-even.com.

ChangeMyIndia.org endeavours to bring its changemakers closer to everyday real-world problems faced by Indian citizens and assist them in addressing these concerns by devising innovative tech and non-tech solutions.

“When I was selected as an ‘Ashoka Youth ChangeMaker’ for odd-even.com, I was already thinking about the next challenge, how to initiate a bigger social change in India. I noticed how there existed no single repository where citizens can list all the issues that they face on a daily basis,” said Akshat.

“This was when we thought of creating a platform which brought together people who want a change and those who are eager to bring about the change came to my mind. Our mission is to get close to around one million citizens and changemakers on board across the nation,” he added.

Counted among one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the world, Akshat initiated ChangeMyIndia.org after getting selected as an “Ashoka Youth ChangeMaker” by Ashoka Innovators for the Public — a network of social entrepreneurs in the world.

The portal, which will act as a web platform for Indian citizens to list their problems/issues, will also allow them to register as changemakers and contribute in successfully resolving social grievances through collective and collaborative efforts. (IANS)

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Karnataka unveils booster kit for start-ups

Jul 25, 2016 0

Bengaluru–Karnataka on Monday unveiled a booster kit to nurture start-ups in the state with funding and hand-holding till they flourish.

“The booster kit provides software tools, cloud credits, access to mentors, legal and consulting accountants and access to government funding and government supported incubators,” state IT & BT Minister Priyanka Kharge told reporters here.

Priyanka Kharge

Priyanka Kharge

Announcing Rs.400 crore funding over the next four years as grant or equity for start-ups, micro and small IT and BT (biotech) enterprises, he said the Karnataka Biotechnology and IT Services (KBITS) would also help them in marketing and promotion.

“The KIBITS will sponsor participation of start-up entrepreneurs to attend networking events at national and international levels, administer tax incentive and assist them in patent filing,” Kharge said.

The new minister also said he plans to hold an open house event every month for start-ups to interact with department officials for addressing issues related to their operations.

The first open house will be held on August 16 at the state-run 10,000 start-ups warehouse in this tech hub.

“Bengaluru is the second fastest-growing start-up ecosystem in the world and the only Indian city to be ranked among the best 15 start-up ecosystems the world over,” Kharge said.

The state government has also set up a cell in KBITS to implement policy initiatives and provide incentives for incubating start-ups.

“A start-up portal (www.startup.karnataka.gov.in) will soon be launched to educate prospective entrepreneurs on our policy and benefits being offered under the booster kit,” Kharge added.

In partnership with the IT industry’s representative body Nasscom, the state government has set up 725 seats to support incubators in the warehouse, in which 325 seats are available at subsidised rate for setting up start-ups.

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