Microsoft Accelerator, a global program built to empower start-ups, and Accenture Ventures, which partners with and invests in growth-stage companies that create innovative enterprise technologies, today announced a new ecosystem partnership that aims to strengthen the start-up ecosystem in India.
The two companies will help growth-stage technology B2B start-ups boost their enterprise readiness and go-to market, and help achieve scale in national and international markets. This was announced at Microsoft Accelerator’s flagship event, ThinkNext 2018. The event, which was attended by over 400 business and industry thought leaders, start-ups, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs also marked the graduation Microsoft Accelerator’s 11th winter cohort.
Microsoft Accelerator and Accenture Ventures will support growth-stage technology B2B start-ups in India specializing in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Fintech, Big data, Security and Customer experience solutions, and provide access to Accenture’s global clients and Microsoft’s global network. The ecosystem partnership will help start-ups deploy solutions in large India and global client environments, improvise on their business model and sharpen their go-to-market strategy. Start-ups stand to gain by developing innovative solutions for enterprise use cases created out of the synergy between Microsoft Accelerator and Accenture Ventures and their shared innovation ecosystems consisting of start-ups, venture capitalists, universities and corporate R&D Labs.
Speaking on the ecosystem partnership, Bala Girisaballa, Managing Director, Microsoft Accelerator, said
Start-ups are the centers of innovation, and over the past decade they have played a crucial role in disrupting many industries worldwide. Today, the need is to create a collaborative environment and bring start-ups and corporates together to co-create and co-innovate. Our partnership with Accenture showcases our commitment to connect start-ups with large corporates and help them scale up to become successful businesses.
At Accenture Ventures, we believe that an open innovation approach can help enterprises accelerate adoption of ‘The New’, underpinned by innovation and digital. This ecosystem partnership is an example of how we orchestrate the innovation ecosystem and create opportunities for start-ups to grow and scale-up. We are excited about the unique value that Accenture Ventures and Microsoft Accelerator can together create for start-ups and enterprises.
Through this ecosystem partnership, Microsoft Accelerator and Accenture Ventures together will host various start-up events and summits in India which will enable them to engage deeply with the start-up network and bring new opportunities to innovate for clients. In the process, the ecosystem partnership will significantly strengthen the Indian B2B start-up network and support Startup India and Digital India programs.
About Microsoft Accelerator
Microsoft Accelerator is a global program built to empower startups around the world on their journey to build great companies. We work with market-ready startups to provide the tools, resources, connections, knowledge and expertise they need to become successful companies. Our goal is to help startups mature into enterprise-ready companies by scaling every aspect of their business. For more information, please visit Microsoft Accelerator
NetApp, the data authority for the hybrid cloud, announced the graduation of its first cohort of six startups during the NetApp Excellerator Demo Day. Located in the heart of Bengaluru’s technology neighbourhood, the NetApp Excellerator program is NetApp’s first ever startup accelerator, designed to help enterprise startups to achieve their full potential through mentorship with one of NetApp’s largest R&D teams.
NetApp mentorship helped us focus our market research, and identify the right target market and target customers we could go after. Offering us the support of its large and experienced sales machine, NetApp made the program even more compelling. Our new-found status as a NetApp Alliance Partner has given us a sure foothold in the data driven enterprise domain.
The first NetApp Excellerator Demo Day event commemorated the completion of the first cohort, all six participating start-ups : Lightmetrics, Adya, Vaultedge, Vitacloud, Enclouden and Scalend, demonstrated their achievements & progress to venture capitalists, NetApp executives and prominent industry leaders present. Sports icon and entrepreneur, Anil Kumble, was the guest of honor for the demo day event held at the NetApp campus in Bengaluru. The event marked the culmination of the first cohort’s technology and market acceleration journey. Now as alumni, the startups will have continued access to mentorship and go-to-market opportunities with NetApp, as well as eco-system connects. They will also share their experiences with startups in the future cohorts.
With our rich history of innovation and expertise in data management, we have been able to provide the right mentorship, both technical and sales related, to the startups in our first cohort. We leveraged expertise from across NetApp to help the six best startups selected from the 250 applications received. In addition, we got them the best-in-class global industry experts to help them qualify the target markets better and supplement their technical capabilities.
Strong mentorship helps build credibility and confidence for the participating startups. For example, during their time in the program, one participant, Adya, raised an angel round of funding to the tune of USD 250,000.
Commenting on the program, Deepak Visweswaraiah, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, NetApp India said
Mentoring the start-ups in our very first cohort was a valuable learning experience for us. It allowed us to reconnect with the startup that we remain at heart. We will continue to support the startups through the NetApp Excellerator program and provide them with the best ecosystem to achieve success.
Applications for the second cohort are now open. Selected startups will receive technology and business mentorship as well as access to markets and investors to realize the full potential of their ideas and products in the global market place. Applications are invited from startups working in the areas related to IOT, cloud, big data and analytics, machine learning, virtualization, data security, storage and data management, and other adjacent areas. To know more please visit http://startup.netapp.in/
About NetApp Excellerator
The NetApp Excellerator Program has been designed to help start-ups create innovative world-class products and solutions that are market-ready. The program enables start-ups to use NetApp expertise and its ecosystem of partners, subject matter experts and customers to realize the maximum potential of their innovative ideas. Startups that are selected will have access to NetApp platforms and technologies, tools, co-working space, HR, marketing, legal and tech support. NetApp will provide an equity free grant of USD 15,000 to these startups upon completion of the program. The startups own their IP and NetApp would not seek a stake in the same. For more information on this program and to apply, please visit http://startup.netapp.in; follow #NetAppExcellerator
Target announced the fifth cohort of startups to graduate from the Target Accelerator Program. A technology that makes it easier for shoppers to use self-checkout with fresh produce and an in-store digital shopping assistant powered by artificial intelligence were two of the unique solutions to emerge from the latest accelerator program.
The startups in the fifth cohort – the biggest batch yet – participated in a Demo Day today at Target’s office in Bengaluru, showcasing the products and solutions they developed and refined during the four-month accelerator program. The startups focused on areas including artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, analytics and digital experiences.
The Target Accelerator Program, which was launched in December 2013, gives startups a unique platform to develop, scale and test their products in a live retail environment while also accessing Target mentors in India and the U.S. To date, 30 startups have graduated from the program and worked with Target teams across stores, marketing, finance, legal, merchandising, mobile and digital.
All eight of the startups will continue to test their products with Target beyond the program. The startups that presented at Demo Day are as follows
Cogknit – A tool that automatically generates transcripts and closed-caption files enabling accessibility of online video content [Site]
Cognitifai– A video analytics solution that uses computer vision for varied applications such as detecting the placement and removal of products for inventory tracking and creating ‘to-scale’ digital images for online shoppers [Site]
Hyperworks– A self-checkout solution for fresh produce that uses gray-scale images [Site]
Jumper.ai – Enables shopping on social media through hashtags [Site]
Light Information Systems – A conversational bot that can be used to answer employee questions [Site]
Moonraft Innovation Labs – An interactive, in-store digital shopping assistant powered by Artificial Intelligence [Site]
Streamoid – Enables personalized product recommendations and natural-language search that suggest outfits and helps improve product discovery [Site]
vPhrase – Generates automated, natural-language insights from structured data [Site]
IoT product innovation from India
In addition to the Accelerator program, Target is looking for innovative ideas from Indian startups for Target’s Open House, a connected-device concept store based in San Francisco. Open House gives consumers hands-on interactions with new IoT products and services, and provides the entrepreneur community a spot to gather and learn from one another and consumers.
For the first time, a startup from India, Lumos, was selected to be featured at Open House. The startup was selected for Garage, a platform which serves as an area for companies with products that are still in prototype or early go-to-market stages, to showcase their smart products and get real-time feedback from consumers. Successful products from the Garage may be sold at Open House and eventually at Target stores or Target.com.
Inviting startups to apply
Target is now accepting applications for the sixth batch of the accelerator program. Startups interested in applying for the accelerator program or learning more about Target Open House can write to email@example.com
FoodCloud, India’s fastest growingmarketplace for home chefs has been accepted into Food-X, Global Food Innovation Accelerator. Food-X invests and partners with companies from across the food supply chain and helps them grow rapidly by deploying investment and some of the best mentors in the food industry.
Food-X’s parent company, SOSV is a global accelerator VC with a 250 million dollar funds under management dedicated to finding & accelerating 150 startups in some of the most human critical industries annually. FoodCloud was a top choice from more than one thousand applicants, joining because of it’s scalable business model that empowers independent entrepreneurs, the largest proportion of which are female.
Andrew Ive, Managing Director at Food-X, responsible for building, innovating and supporting the emerging Food-X ecosystem, said
The factors which impressed us most about FoodCloud were the committed team and their passion to bring great healthy fresh home cooked food to the world by empowering new entrepreneurs and in particular, women.
FoodCloud brings 1500 registered home chefs and their expertise to their customers in Delhi, NCR and Kolkata, serving more than 15,000 monthly meals. Customers now have the ability to order delicious, fresh and healthy home cooked food 30% cheaper than restaurants.
Food Cloud is growing quickly with 1500+ registered chefs. The company was co-founded by Vedant Kanoi, Sanjhi Rajgarhia and Shamit Khemka. Shamit is a founding investor who is runs the successful IT outsourcing company, SynapseIndia with 350+ employees.
Food-X is a fantastic opportunity for FoodCloud. We already have the foundation to become the the customer choice in the food delivery market in India and, if we continue to put the customer first, then the world. In just a week, we have learnt so much from the very experienced mentors who are giving us one on one time to help us identify the best way forward for our company. It’s truly an exciting time for FoodCloud!
Thus far, FoodCloud has successfully delivered over 150,000 meals. FoodCloud is also a part of the Start Up India Programme run by the Government of India and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
With the vision to bring more ‘energy’ to the Indian startup community, Shell India is inviting all energy and IT startups to enter its pan-India programme, Shell E4 [Energizing and Enabling Energy Entrepreneurs].
Through the Shell E4 programme, Shell will be scouting for startups and businesses in early, pilot, or post-pilot stages to collaborate and work together on ideas that have the potential to impact the future of energy. Shell will work with the selected cohort for a period of six months and provide them with access to Shell’s Technology and IT labs in Bengaluru, technical and commercial mentorship from within and outside of Shell, access to potential customers through its network of partners and a fixed sum investment of USD 20,000 per startup.
The Shell E4 programme builds upon the company’s global vision to support the energy sector’s evolving ecosystem. Shell has a rich history of working with entrepreneurs across the energy value chain globally. For cleaner energy solutions, Shell also introduced Make The Future campaign, under which #makethefuture Accelerator India 2017 was concluded in March this year. The programme was a platform for millennials to showcase their bright energy ideas to build solutions for the future energy challenges both globally and in India.
Commenting on the launch of the programme, Nitin Prasad, Chairman, Shell Companies in India, said
At Shell, we believe that the answers to energy challenges lie in the power of innovation. With this programme, we aim to provide a platform to energy startups that have the potential to impact the future of energy. The Shell E4 Programme provides a platform for collaboration and conversation around valuable energy transitions, offering startups an opportunity to bring their ideas to life with Shell’s guidance and support.
Shell E4 will be located at the Shell Technology Centre Bengaluru [STCB] and, is well positioned to leverage the vibrant Bengaluru ecosystem.
Following the evaluation, the selected startups will form the 1st cohort and will be incubated with Shell for a period of 6 months at their campus in Bengaluru. As part of the incubation, the cohort will gain exposure to Shell’s advanced infrastructure and IT facilities; technical and commercial mentorship; an opportunity to pitch their ideas to other potential investors and an access to Shell’s network of partners and customers in India and abroad. In addition to this, Shell will also make a fixed amount of investment. For more details and to apply visit Shell India
Techstars announced the launch of Techstars India as a joint venture company in partnership with ANSR. Headquartered in Bengaluru, ANSR builds and operates GICs and captive centres for some of the leading global companies from the retail, fintech, healthcare and media domains.
The ANSR partnership will provide Techstars with a very strong foundation to launch its Indian operations. Having partnered with 27 leading global enterprises, ANSR is the world’s largest company for establishing and operating captive center service delivery capabilities for global enterprises in support of their growth, transformation and innovation agenda. ANSR, through its innovation arm, Kyron, also operates startup led innovation programs for its corporate partners including Target, L-Brands, Lowes and Swiss Re.
With this launch, Techstars is adding India to its international roster, bolstering India’s position as a leading global startup ecosystem. India, known for its dominant role in the IT industry and home to captive centers for over 1,000 global enterprises, is rapidly gaining traction as an entrepreneurial hub. Techstars operates worldwide and across the US, including Adelaide, Austin, Berlin, Boston, Boulder, Cape Town, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York City, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Seattle, Tel Aviv, and Toronto, and has accepted over 1000 companies globally into its programs. Collectively, these companies have raised over USD 3.8B USD and have a market cap of over USD 9.9B. The launch of Techstars India will provide Techstars access to India’s rapidly growing startup and entrepreneur network as well as global enterprises that have established captive centers and startup led corporate innovation programs with ANSR and its innovation arm, Kyron Global.
We have been watching India’s growth very closely and its emergence as the third largest global startup ecosystem in less than a decade. There’s so much great activity here and the potential for growth is huge, as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. I think in addition to that, India’s prime minister underlining the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in giving productive outlets to the country’s talent is very positive. It’s heartening to see tech evangelists work closely with the government to lay out a digital infrastructure for the country which startups then can leverage. India is on a tech, digital and startup mission of sorts.
This has been a big year for Techstars. We’re 10 years old and have now seen over 1,000 companies in Techstars’ mentorship-driven accelerator programs worldwide. We are excited to announce the addition of Techstars India to the Techstars Worldwide Network.
ANSR is very excited to partner with Techstars to launch Techstars India. We believe that this is an event of national importance and a huge validation of India’s position as a leading global hub for entrepreneurial activity. The launch of Techstars India will provide an impetus to the rapidly growing startup ecosystem and the emergence of India as a dominant entrepreneurial network. This launch brings to fruition ANSR and Kyron’s pioneering efforts to successfully create a startup corporate engagement corridor towards the emergence of India’s largest startup led corporate innovation platform.
Speaking at the event, Priyank Kharge, Minister of IT, BT & Tourism said
The Government of Karnataka is focused on building a bolder and structured ecosystem and the collaboration with Techstars is exactly what the Government requires and is the right step forward. Karnataka is India’s second largest technology hub and this is validated by the fact that we have all the Fortune 500 companies. Propelled by government policies in the last 3 months, more than 3200 startups have registered with the government. We are also coming up with numerous Centres of Excellence and by the end of August we will have India’s first Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence. Karnataka today has reached its maturity as a services industry and now moving forward to R&D and innovation.
Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed. Through the Techstars Worldwide Entrepreneur Network, founders and their teams connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporate partners who will help their companies grow. Techstars operates four divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships, and the Techstars Venture Capital Fund. Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Program supercharges success and Techstars Startup Programs inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs. For more information, please visit Techstars
Backed by Accel Partners and Infosys and headquartered in Dallas, TX, ANSR is a global leader in establishing, operating and optimizing Global In-House Centers ‘GICs’ and provides end-to-end solutions to enterprises across the GIC life-cycle. Through Kyron, its innovation arm, ANSR also operates Innovation/Corporate Accelerator Programs. For more information, please visit ANSR
Fin-tech is having a huge impact on the financial services in India. It has been largely dominated by the lending and payments companies in India. Initiatives like the India Stack [UPI, e-KYC, Aadhar] by National Payments Corporation Of India [NPCI] have been instrumental in leading the Fin-tech revolution.
There are several companies in the Fin-tech sector that have innovative business models in the areas like Wealth Management [WealthApp], Digital Payments & other services [Paytm, Freecharge, etc.], Payment Banks [Paytm, Airtel, FINO], P2P Lending [i2iFunding, Lendbox, i-lend, etc.], Personal Finance Services [BankBazaar, Capital Float, etc.], Alternate/Unsecured Lending [Qbera, Loan Frame, etc.], Lending based on Credit-Line [MoneyTap], etc. Many of the fin-tech companies are leveraging Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Social Data Intelligence, Blockchain, etc. in order to solve critical business problems. For example, with the help of AI, contextual data and transaction data, your wealth managers can now come up with a ‘more relevant’ financial plan that suits your requirements.
With the rising interest in fin-tech, there is a constant debate on whether Fin-tech would kill banks, but the fact of the matter is that mainstream financial institutions are also embracing change by inking partnerships with these players in order to utilize their services. Even after eKYC, there are significant challenges [that add up to delay] in customer onboarding, a problem that is being solved by few fin-tech start-ups. There is been a rising investor interest in this sector, with fin-tech topping the funding charts of H1 2017. Traditional banking institutions are utilizing this opportunity to co-create innovative solutions with entrepreneurs for building breakthrough banking products and solutions.
Last July, Axis Bank launched its flagship Accelerator Program for start-ups, the very first Indian Bank to do so. The program is run from Thought Factory, Axis Bank’s co-innovation Lab, which is located in the city of Bengaluru. Axis Bank has partnered with Amazon Internet Services, Payments product company VISA and Singapore based Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation for co-innovating in the rapidly evolving fin-tech space. The core ideology of the lab is #UnimaginedIsUndone. The ThinkTank for Thought Factory comprises of thought leaders, change agents, serial entrepreneurs, namely Sharad Sharma of iSpirit, Manish Chokhani of Enam Holdings, Vishal Gondal of GoQii & Shankar Narayan, a Singapore based serial entrepreneur along with Axis Bank Senior Management that guides the Thought Factory team in its various functions.
Over the past year, Thought Factory has been a major Fin-Tech ecosystem enabler in Bengaluru, hosting multiple events, workshops, international visitors and other corporate clients; thereby enhancing industry-start-up collaboration.
For the first cohort of its Accelerator Program, Axis Bank’s Think Tank, from an application pool of 108, selected six emerging start-ups. Once on-boarded, the start-ups were given a structured mentorship program and access to Axis Bank’s Thought Factory office space. Axis Bank’s aim behind the program was to expedite the overall growth of these emerging start-ups along with exploring novel banking ideas with them. Axis Bank celebrated the Graduation Day of the first cohort start-ups, namely S2Pay, Pally, Perpule, Fin-techLabs, Paymatrix and GIEOM. All these start-ups target different business problems in the areas of Offline mobile payments, Analytics in lending space, Credit in rental space, etc.
Startups pitching their idea to the audience at the Thought Factory
Below are the startups that graduated from the Thought Factory
S2Pay: Enabling Offline mobile Payments [Category – Payments]
S2Pay forms a layer over payments app and enables the end consumer to make secure payments from their mobile app, even when the consumer is offline. The technology is especially useful in remote areas where there is low data connectivity thus making digital payments a reality for everyone. For more information, please visit S2Pay
Pally: AI Stack based Chatbot for Investment Advisory [Category – Investments]
Pally has created a chatbot that on the input of an image of salary slip creates an investment portfolio which maximizes tax saving for the end customer. It uses AI, Machine learning along with other proprietary algorithms to come up with a customized investment plan for each customer. Pally was also selected for the EIR program at KStart. For more information, please visit Pally
Perpule: Self-checkout on mobile app [Category – Payments]
Perpule’s app lets end customers scan the shopped products from their mobile app, and pay from within the app once the list is complete. Perpule integrates with retailer’s campaigns, thus automatically applies discounts/offers on the go. It has partnered with stores like Hypercity, More, Spar etc. For more information, please visit Perpule 1Pay
Fin-techLabs: Analytics in lending [Category – Lending]
Fin-techLabs is a financial technology innovation start-up, with a vision of providing easy access to financing across the world by powering the lending ecosystem with technology. They make the lending process swift and optimized by automating repetitive management tasks like sending emails, managing files, preparing reports, complying with regulations, etc. For more information, please visit Fin-techLabs
Paymatrix: Credit in rental space [Category – Real Estate, Payments, Credit Cards, Liabilities]
Paymatrix is an analytics-driven property rent management platform that is trying to solve the problem of credit involved in Indian rental market via enabling payments to land lords via credit cards. They also help landlords in rent/property management. For more information, please visit Paymatrix
GIEOM: Software solutions on the Cloud [Category – Analytics]
GIEOM is a cloud based software solutions and analytics company. They offer a unique business visualization technology with Intelligent linking that monitors, controls and optimizes Operations while reducing risk and increasing compliance. For more information, please visit GIEOM
The past six months have been very eventful for the start-ups, Perpule won the semifinal round of Next Money Fin-techFinals 2017 and raised a seed funding of USD 650K from Kalaari Capital, S2Pay and GIEOM on-boarded multiple new clients, Fin-techLabs and Paymatrix expanded their services portfolio while Pally evolved in its product idea and expanded its team.
We were invited for the Graduation Day at the Thought Factory, where we pitched some questions to Rajiv Anand, Executive Director of Axis Bank. Below is the brief Q&A round he had with the media/bloggers where he shares his insights about the Thought Factory, impact it has on the fin-tech eco-system, etc.
Axis Bank has always been keen on adoption of technology in its systems and solutions. Besides the Accelerator start-ups, Axis Bank along with the Thought Factory team has been working with other upcoming start-ups too. With Active AI [a Singapore based start-up specializing in AI stack], Bank is building a chatbot that can take banking & customer service to the next level.
Axis Bank’s innovation team is working on recruitment of start-ups for the second cohort of the Accelerator. For a much quicker implementation, Axis Bank is also developing a Development Platform – a sandbox environment of its APIs, which can be used by start-ups.
Additionally, they also conduct a start-up boot camp, a two-month program for grad start-up ideas under its ‘Future of Jobs’ initiative where five student teams of two members each will receive mentorship to convert their ideas into real businesses.
Target India announced the fifth batch and the largest cohort yet for the Target Accelerator Program. Eight startups were selected to develop innovative technology solutions with the potential to enhance guest experiences at Target and in the wider retail industry. These startups will work in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, analytics and digital experiences.
Rakesh Mishra, Vice President of Marketing for Target and the accelerator program’s executive sponsor said
The Target accelerator’s largest batch yet holds diverse capabilities that can add value to our business and the entire retail sector through cutting-edge technologies such as AI and machine learning. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to tap into the immense innovation potential that exists in India through the Target Accelerator Program.
The startups selected for the accelerator will go through a rigorous four-month program, wherein they will get to refine their technology offerings and pilot solutions at Target stores or headquarter locations. In addition, during their stint with the accelerator, they will have access to Target business leaders as mentors. The startups will also be provided with legal, financial and talent consulting services based on the need of the startup. At the end of the program, startups will have the opportunity to pitch their products and capabilities to investors and others in Bengaluru’s startup ecosystem, and possibly continue their engagement with Target.
The eight selected for the fifth batch of the accelerator program are:
Cogknithas a solution that extracts context from videos and is able to generate a textual play-by-play of the video content.
Hyperworkshas developed software that integrates with hardware to scan fresh produce using a simple camera.
Moonraft is a design consultant with an artificial intelligence-powered shopping assistant in the trial room.
Cognitifaiis able to perform video analytics on video footage (both live and offline).
vPhrasecan generate insights in natural language from structured data.
Streamoidenables personalized product recommendations and natural language search.
Jumper.aienables shopping on social media through hashtags.
Along with external startups, Target also encourages participation from internal teams in the accelerator program. Pal’s Prompt,an affiliate marketing solution for Facebook, was developed by one of our Target India team members and has been selected to be a part of this cohort.
The Target Accelerator Program [TAP] was launched in December 2013. Till date, 22 startups have graduated from the program. The startups work with various internal Target teams including marketing, finance, stores, legal, search engine, merchandising, mobile and digital. For more information about the program, please visit Target Accelerator Program [TAP] page