WhatsApp and Invest India today announced the winners of ‘Startup India – WhatsApp Grand Challenge’. Five startup firms were selected as winners of the challenge and were handed $50,000 (approximately Rs 35 lakhs) each for developing homegrown product solutions to address the problems that are faced by many people across the country.
The five startups were selected from 10 shortlisted entities which were allowed to pitch their ideas in front a jury comprising of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs which included Shailesh Lakhani (Sequoia Capital), Vani Kola (Kalaari Capital) Deep Kalra (MakeMyTrip), Harsha Kumar (Lightspeed Ventures), and Abhijit Bose (WhatsApp). The firms were selected on the basis of innovative thinking, the scale of impact and the ability to solve real problems faced by the citizens in the country.
The Startup India – WhatsApp Grand Challenge was launched earlier this year in a bid to inspire Indian entrepreneurs to develop solutions that have a socio-economic impact on the country’s economy. WhatsApp partnered with central government’s Startup India programme which has over 19,000 startups registered with it, spread across 513 districts.
The 10 firms which were shortlisted to pitch were selected from over 1,700 entries from 25 states. The five startup firms which emerged as winners are: MedCords, Melzo, Javis, Gramophone and MinionLabs. Here’s a look at these winning firms:
MedCords uses technology for bringing dependable and affordable access to quality healthcare to semi-urban and rural parts of India. The firm digitally manages medical records of patients, provides comprehensive e-consultations, and delivers insights using data science.
Melzo offers affordable virtual reality content platform, which enables users to consume content easily on low-end devices. It caters to over 140 brands and SMEs globally, and have reached over 3 million views across 200 countries.
Javis provides a WhatsApp-based conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform that connects the right people with the right information to get business done quickly. Its AI platform receives 3-4 individual queries per day on an average and currently has 1500 active users.
Gramophone provides agronomic intelligence to farmers and aims to be a one-stop-shop for all agricultural input needs. The firm says that it can help farmers reduce cultivation costs by up to 20 per cent, and increase production by more than 30 per cent.
MinionLabs provides real-time electricity consumption insights that help businesses reduce electricity costs. The firm says that it has helped businesses save 12-16 per cent on their annual electricity costs.