“When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think” — Bob Parsons, Founder, GoDaddy.
The Sigma Startup Accelerator — Demo Day witnessed 8 startups pitching at the event — each better than the other ! Graced by the presence of high profile individual as judges — German Consul General to India, Ms Margit Hellwig-Bötte, executives from German sustainable development think tank GIZ, technology MNCs Citrix, Ericsson, and Harman, and Hyderabad-based business incubator IKP — the event saw a turnout of more than 100 enthusiasts, techies and entrepreneurs. It was hosted at WelcomHotel, Bangalore.
The event started with a keynote speech from Ms. Hellwig-Bötte. She painted a clear picture of the differences between the German and the Indian economy — how the State acts as the savior of the poor in Germany whereas in India, it is the society that gives back. Citing these key differences, she mentioned how startups need to leverage these factors while having a clear vision, mission and leadership which will help it in achieving it’s goals.
This was followed by 8 innovative startups pitching in front of a distinguished panel and well versed audience. The audience also interacted and rated the startups using the CrowdProduct Event Engagement Solution. The startups to pitch at the events were —
- AgroNxt — AgroNxt targets a very nice sector in the Indian landscape — technology based farming and distribution. AgroNxt platform combines multiple forms of data to minimize agricultural input uncertainty related to input usage, pricing, and availability. It focuses on agriculture industry by keeping farmers equipped with usable information that maximizes farm profitability, fostering a prosperous farming community and ultimately leading to sustainable global food security.
- Sascan Meditech — Sascan focuses on the age old saying “Prevention is better than cure”. It develops medical scanning devices that helps in detecting several life threatning diseases in its early stages. Backed by an expert team having over 35 years experience in the sector, Sascan won over the audience with it’s products.
- vChalk — vChalk is on a mission to help 1 million students in schools catch up on basic English and Math skills. vChalk enables school teachers to deliver and monitor effective practice or catch-up classes on primary level English and Math using interactive activities targeted towards students’ actual learning level.
4. Chikitsak — Delivering basic healthcare screening to the vast rural population remains a distant dream even in the age of technology. Most of the times, villagers have to travel to the nearest primary healthcare centre even for the simplest of tests. Chikitsak, a Bengaluru-based startup, aims to change this by tying up with NGOs and training their workers to become ‘Chikitsaks’ (caregivers), who can then screen the rural folk right at their doorstep. It is indeed a venture that looks out for the betterment of the society.
5. Coolar — Coolar aims to change the way how vaccines are stored and transported to rural parts of the world. It has come up with a very unique product — a refrigerator that works without any electricity or portable battery. It uses the properties of thermal energy to achieve this feat. It has already tied up with many organizations to improve the transport and storage of vaccines in the country.
6. NIRAMAI Health Analytix — Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women today. Early diagnosis is very critical to decrease mortality rates. NIRAMAI has developed a software to detect breast cancer at a much earlier stage than traditional methods or self-examination. The solution is a low cost, accurate, automated, portable cancer screening tool that can be operated by a simple clinician. The core technology of the solution is an artificial intelligence led diagnostic platform that uses patented thermal image processing and machine learning algorithms for reliable and accurate breast cancer screening. This unique solution can be used as a cancer diagnosis test in hospitals, used for regular preventive health checkups, and also for large scale screening in rural and semi-urban areas. It is indeed a revolutionary product, backed by an experienced team. No wonder, that it secured the best startup award at the event !
7. KrishWorks — Krishworks started with the aim of finding ways to effectively use technology to improve access to good quality education in India. It has a solution — a micro entrepreneur powered distribution network, wherein it succeeds in imparting quality English education, in rural areas of the country.
8. Tech for Impact — TechForImpact is redefining how sanitation is maintained in public as well as corporate toilets. It offers end to end IoT solution to monitor and semi-automatic functions of keeping a toilet clean, thereby improving the efficiency of the toilet cleaner. The solution it provides can be integrated to under use toilets easily. This is really an innovative solution that is overlooked. No wonder that it bagged the award of “Most Promising Startup” at the event.
The event saw few of the most promising startups in each sector pitch to a very highly qualified audience. The key event takeaways are -
- Startups always need to be on the move, to scale and always focus on solving real world problems.
- Niche areas provide more opportunities to grow.
- Accelerator and networking is must for spreading the word out about the product that is being built.
- Startup should also focus on the customs and ethics of a nation while building their products — this goes a long way to promote sustainability.
By Shibangsh Chowdhury