Founded in 2003, Conquest has grown into an outstanding platform for startups, enabling more than 1000 startups to succeed every year. Conquest has constantly evolved and adapted to the ever-changing needs of the startup ecosystem to emerge as India’s first ever student-run startup launchpad.

Assimilating learnings from various revamped models and experiences from the ecosystem, Conquest 2019 will provide the top 10 most exciting startups of India with 6 weeks of online mentoring from some of the best entrepreneurs and field experts out there. This will be followed by a 10-day Accelerator Program in Bengaluru consisting of investment workshops by firms like Accel Partners and Blume Ventures, mentoring sessions by successful founders and pitching to seed stage investors. With promising investment opportunities, media coverage and a prize money of Rs. 5 Lakhs on the line, Conquest is on a mission to empower founders and assist creation.

This year, Conquest has tied up with Venture Catalyst as an Investment Partner, which has set aside a fund of INR 20 Crores exclusively for Conquest startups. With investors like Dev Khare from Lightspeed, Shanti Mohan from LetsVenture, Sanjay Nath from Blume and Barath Shankar from Accel, coupled with mentors like Suvonil Chatterjee from Ola Cabs, Abhishek Nayak from Accel and Anuj Rathi from Swiggy, Conquest serves as a networking paradise for every startup out there.

In the past, Conquest has had success stories like SocialCops, which has received acclaim from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has also been recognized as the Most Impactful Startup of 2017 by YourStory. Thinkerbell Labs, the winner of Conquest 2016, aims to bring Braille within the reach of visually-impaired people and has been funded by IAN and Anand Mahindra. XWards and Pencilton, the two finalist startups of Conquest 2018, have already expanded to multiple cities after receiving support from the expansive network.

We are thrilled to announce that Himanshu Sheth Blog is a Digital Media Partner of Conquest 2019. You can  find more information about the digital media partners here.

Ishan Joglekar, CEO at Conquest, BITS Pilani, said

In those magical moments of giving birth to innovation, we stand by the crazy ones, for they are the ones pushing the human race forward by rejecting the status quo and building the future. Creation, with all its purity and nobility, is a mammoth task, and startups don’t need to rediscover the wheel every time.

At Conquest, our goal is to help startups find that one missing piece, tie that one loose end or just connect the existing dots so that they can leave their mark on the world. We have just the right people, who have done it all, to help you do it.

A Glimpse of Conquest 2019

With something in store for every founder, Conquest has become a leader in India’s startup ecosystem with multiple initiatives for all stakeholders in the industry.

  • Accelerator Program – With a goal to help the best founders build great businesses, Conquest provides a 10-day long accelerator program in Bengaluru. Fueled by the belief that multiple founders tackling similar problems in close proximity would lead to efficient solutions, the program features a unique co-living and co-working experience. Every day has something new in store for the startups, including investment workshops, fundraising pitches and mentoring by successful founders.
  • Online Mentorship Program – Conquest connects the Top 10 Startups with industry stalwarts from all over the country, enabling them to grow remotely while they continue to learn and work.
  • Grand Finale – The Grand Finale serves as the perfect platform for the Top 10 startups to pitch before Top Investors and Media houses for a prize money of INR 5 Lakhs.
  • Conquest Mentoring Sessions – Top 50 shortlisted startups are invited to attend a day-long multi-city mentoring session in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai with mentors from various domains such as Product Management, Customer Acquisition, and Fundraising.
  • Conquest Community – An initiative to build a strong and long-lasting community by bringing together stakeholder from all editions – startup founders, mentors, investors, developers and media representatives, this is the perfect platform to make the most of network synergies.
  • Conquest Academy – A one-stop shop of localized content for Indian startups. Whether you need help in acquiring your first 100 customers or in designing the perfect UI for your app, Conquest Academy ensures that you don’t have to go through tons of foreign resources.

Why should your startup register for Conquest?

Conquest has created the perfect high growth environment for every founder trying to build a great company. Be it an online word with a mentor, a casual chat with a founder, an intense discussion with an investor, a pitch to investment partners or just the cash prize, Conquest will make sure that you get exactly what you need, and much more. With numerous networking opportunities lined up, all you need to do is grab them as you take your startup to the next level.

Conquest has opened registrations, embark on your journey here.

To know more about Conquest, check out their blogs – Introducing Conquest 2019 and Why register your startup for Conquest?.

M12, Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, would extend its investing coverage to India to help entrepreneurs innovate and grow with Microsoft’s reach, expertise, and technologies. Rashmi Gopinath, partner at M12, will be leading M12’s investments in India.  Microsoft continues its portfolio of investment in the Indian startup ecosystem with M12 announcing its first India investment, Innovaccer, a startup working to solve data interoperability challenges in healthcare and helping health systems enhance their clinical and financial outcomes with a data-first approach.

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Venture capital investments in Indian tech Business-To-Business [B2B] start-ups have been trending upwards with over US$3.09B raised in equity funding across 415 deals in 2018, 28 percent more than $2.41B invested in 2017 [Source: Tracxn 2018]. Moreover, an increasing number of enterprise B2B startups are being founded in India that cater to a global customer base, most notably in artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, software as a service [SaaS], data analytics and Internet of Things [IoT]. These sectors continue to be top strategic priority focus areas for Microsoft and M12 as well. In addition, India offers unique competitive advantages by being home to top technical talent in the world including deep tech areas such as computer vision, robotics, blockchain and autonomous driving. These factors position India favorably to support highly innovative startups that can effectively compete on a global scale.

Nagraj Kashyap, Global head of M12 and Corporate Vice President, Microsoft, said

We are thrilled to broaden M12’s reach to include India. India is a market rich with entrepreneurs creating world-class startups that are poised for success on a global scale. In working with these innovative startups, we believe together we will help disrupt enterprises and industries ripe for digital transformation.

Innovaccer is a shining example of the startup opportunity in India. The healthcare SaaS startup has offices in both India and the United States, offering a comprehensive Healthcare Data Platform and intelligent care application modules for over 10,000 healthcare providers across 500 practice locations. Leveraging machine learning and healthcare-related contextual expertise, Innovaccer enables its users to consolidate financial, claims, patient, and operational data together to provide a comprehensive patient 360-view for better decision-making, care coordination, and reporting.

Abhinav Shashank, CEO Innovaccer, said

Our unique value proposition is a holistic healthcare data platform that offers data aggregation and key analytics to help healthcare systems and insurance providers to align with value-based care models and realize significant cost savings and operational efficiency. We are excited to work with M12 and Microsoft in order to leverage their best-in-class technical, industry, and go-to-market expertise to help address needs for healthcare organizations across the world.

M12 is comprised of experienced VCs and Microsoft veterans – with team members on the ground in North America, Europe and Israel. Globally, M12 has invested in over 70 startups in areas ranging from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to business SaaS and industrial drones. While the investment team functions like a traditional VC firm, the portfolio development and venture engagement groups strengthen the lines of communication between Microsoft and many of the innovation communities around the world. It has access to, and knowledge of, Microsoft’s strategic assets, enabling it to value add in excess of the contributed capital.

About M12

As the corporate venture arm for Microsoft, M12 [formerly Microsoft Ventures] invests in enterprise software companies in the Series A through C funding stage with a focus on big data & analytics, business SaaS, cloud infrastructure, machine learning & artificial intelligence, productivity and security. As part of its value-add to portfolio companies, M12 offers unique access to strategic go-to-market resources and relationships globally. The Company has offices in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, London and Tel Aviv. Please visit M12 VC for more information.

It is estimated that by 2025, there will be 1 Lakh active startups in India employing about 32 Lakh people. India has observed a substantial growth in the startup industry. As per a statement issued by the ex-Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, India has shown a promising startup growth of 36% in 2017. This trend is set to grow exponentially in the future.

Image Source – Inc42

However, with this rise in the number of startups, there has also been a hike in the ‘dead pool’ of startups. While the socio-economic system plays a vital role in ticking this number, lack of proper guidance to the startups still remains the prime cause for a lot of them to never see the light of day. While there are multiple startup accelerators now that are in place to help the startups, most of them focus either on sector-specific startups or startups that are ready to be funded. This leaves startups that are on the ideation stage and those in the unconventional sectors particularly vulnerable.

In order to address these issues, Espark-Viridian is back with the fifth edition of #AccessXcceleration, inviting early-stage startups across all sectors to participate. Interested candidates can apply between January 14, 2019~February 18, 2019. And over the period of the next four months, the acceleration program will roll out two modules providing participating startups with a dedicated mentor who would provide them with business insights, problem-solving strategies, individual mentoring sessions, besides guiding each business idea based on their specific needs.

Module 1 – It has been designed to focus on ideation for the startups. Through a validation process, startups get a platform here to discuss their startup idea in great depth, test their prototype, and guide them to reach the MVP stage. Based on requirements, the module also helps the entrepreneurs to come up with an effective pivot strategy.

Module 2 – It focuses on providing a platform to the entrepreneurs to design their startups in a lean operating framework. Following that, they design the process flow to make it reach a stage where the idea is suitable to be pitched to investors. The acceleration program also provides emerging entrepreneurs a platform to network, interact, exchange ideas, and learn from each other.

The program also includes sessions and workshops across both modules to provide knowledge-based business solutions to the young entrepreneurs. They are led by expert mentors from fields such as marketing, business development, operations, and legal, to cover every functional aspect of a startup.

The centres of Espark-Viridian are strategically located all over the country to cover regions that have seen the highest growth of startups in the past few years. Espark-Viridian is currently present in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Greater Noida, Ahmedabad, and Chandigarh. Espark invites you to kickstart your startup voyage with #AccessXcceleration by applying at https://goo.gl/fFyaH8

Kerala Startup Mission, the nodal agency of Govt. of Kerala for technical entrepreneurship in the State has partnered with Unity Technologies to launch a Centre of Excellence for AR/VR and gaming. Through this Centre of Excellence, Unity will extend support to startups developing products, services, and games on platforms including mobile, PC, and various AR/VR hardware. This Centre of Excellence will also have a special focus on providing different levels of training on AR/VR developer tools to students and professionals in the State. The partnership is a significant step forward for developing an AR/VR ecosystem in Kerala.

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Shri. M Sivasankar IAS, Secretary Department of IT & Electronics, Govt. of Kerala, said

The AR/VR market is expected to witness huge growth globally in the next 5-6 years. This growth in demand for AR/VR content and solutions will be accompanied by the sprouting up of a new set of businesses. This Centre of Excellence for AR/VR Developer tools with Unity Technologies is a step taken by the Govt of Kerala towards creating an ecosystem for new businesses to grow and cater to the global demand.

Hubert Larenaudie, Vice President of Asia Pacific at Unity Technologies, said

Unity is at the center of the AR/VR ecosystem, powering 60%+ of all content and we see this industry growing significantly over the next few years. This Centre of Excellence for AR/VR developer tools is a step taken by the government of Kerala to create an ecosystem for these new businesses to grow and thrive.

Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Startup Mission, said

Kerala Startup Mission is committed towards creating an enabling ecosystem for young ventures working on various emerging technologies. With its rich pool of creative talent, Kerala has the opportunity to become a hub for this extended reality disruption, which is a combination of content and solutions powered by hardware and distribution platforms. This emerging industry will, in turn, create new jobs that require new sets of skills. We will be working with ICT Academy of Kerala for skilling interested students and professionals on these design and development tools.

In line with the Knowledge City initiative of Government of Kerala, KSUM has a special emphasis in promoting startups working in various emerging technologies like AI, Cyber Security, AR/VR etc. Over the past one year, KSUM has touched bases with more than one hundred [to be precise] startups in these emerging technologies and has provided these startups with various support mechanisms including technology access through Future Technologies Lab, Innovation Grants, seed loans, exposure programs, and market connects. Future Technologies Lab also runs evangelization drives across the State to attract more professionals and students to take up research, learning and development programs in these newer technologies.

Santhosh Kurup, CEO, ICT Academy of Kerala, said

In the Industry 4.0 world, AR/VR is a vital technology that has applications in multiple domains, hence youth with skills and competencies in AR/VR will have a unique advantage in the future jobs market. ICTAK is delighted to be skilling interested students and professionals on these design and development tools.

About Kerala Startup Mission

Kerala Startup Mission is the nodal agency of Government of Kerala for promoting technology entrepreneurship in the state and is the implementing body for the Kerala Technology Startup Policy that supports the startup ecosystem by means of different components such as infrastructure, incubators and accelerators, human capital development, funding, and exposure programs. For more information, please visit Kerala Startup Mission.

Early stage startup accelerator Espark-Viridian launched Case In Point 2018-19 to ignite the spark of entrepreneurship throughout the country. Case In Point 2018-19 is in the second year of the flagship case study solving competition organised by Espark-Viridian. Case In Point helps budding entrepreneurs to understand the problems that a real startup faces. This provides them with an opportunity to assess their entrepreneurial and problem-solving abilities. You can find more details about Case In Point 2018-19 in our coverage here.

After an overwhelming response, the last date for attempting the online quiz has now been extended to 8th January 2019. You can attempt the case studies at http://www.espark-viridian.org/caseinpoint/ 

Finales will be conducted across 3 cities – Delhi on 19th January, Bengaluru on 22nd January and Mumbai on 24th of January. The winners will be awarded prizes from a gratification pool of ?2 Lac. They would also be awarded 6 months of free Cloud Telephony Solutions [Super Receptionist Basic Plan] by their Tech Partner, Knowlarity.

Participants selected from the first round would be divided into teams in the finales. They would be expected to come up with a feasible solution based on the detailed case study provided during the round. The presentation to the judges will be part of the decision-making process to select the winner.

Their endeavour to grow the Indian ecosystem is being supported by Faculty of Management Studies [Ecosystem partner], Innov8 [Ecosystem partner], What after College [Ecosystem partner], Startups India [Ecosystem partner], Young Engine [Ecosystem partner], Bizztor India [Digital partner], Inc42 [Digital partner] and Knowlarity [Tech partner].

About Espark-Viridian

Espark-Viridian is a startup accelerator for early and growth seeking startups. They offer a 4 month multi-centre, multi-sector accelerator programme across 5 centres in Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar, Mumbai and Delhi-NCR. To know more visit Espark-Viridian

Winners of the India Innovation Growth Programme [IIGP] 2.0, showcased their award winning technologies under a Demo Day held in Bengaluru today. The innovations included 12 industrial and 4 social sector technologies, from 2017 and 2018. The India Innovation Growth Programme [IIGP] 2.0 is a unique tripartite initiative of the Department of Science and Technology [DST], Government of India, Lockheed Martin and Tata Trusts. Supporting the Government of India’s missions of ‘Start-up India’ and ‘Make in India’, IIGP 2.0 enhances the Indian innovation ecosystem by enabling innovators and entrepreneurs through the stages of ideation and innovation, to develop technology-based solutions for tomorrow.

Complemented by several implementation partners, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry [FICCI], Indo-US Science and Technology Forum [IUSSTF], Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship [CIIE] at IIM Ahmedabad, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and the Tata Center for Technology and Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the programme aims to build an innovation pipeline in India through a high-impact programme focused on the social and industrial innovation ecosystem.

Launched in 2007, India Innovation Growth Programme [IIGP] has been one of India’s longest standing public-private partnerships. The programme has provided mentoring and hand-holding assistance to over 400 innovators coming from diverse sectors from across the country; generated over 350 commercial agreements and over $900 Million of economic value for India. [Source – Second Impact Analysis Report by Ernst & Young in 2015].

Winners of IIGP 2.0 [Source]

Through two annual parallel tracks viz. University Challenge and Open Innovation Challenge, IIGP 2.0 identifies and supports both industrial and social innovations. As part of the Demo Day event, 16 start-ups made presentations about their technologies and also interacted with potential investors and the wider startup ecosystem of Bengaluru.

[L-R] Jacob Crasta, Samir Kumar, Jagmohan Singh, Harkesh Mittal, Manoj Kumar, Himanshu Malik, R Varadharajan

These start-ups attended an intensive one-week Bootcamp at IIM Ahmedabad which included classroom sessions focused on measuring financial performance, financial modeling and valuation, design thinking, leadership, business models, pricing, etc. as well as one-on-one mentoring sessions, pitching training and networking opportunities. 10 start-ups in 2017 and 16 start-ups in 2018 were selected as winners and received grants worth Rs. 25 Lacs each as well as an opportunity to participate in an intensive global exposure visit to the United States of America to learn and access the US start-up ecosystem.

Many new companies seek to increase their investment capital by attracting potential investors. When a organization decides to enter the stock market, their starting offers for investors are known as IPO. The term IPO stands for Initial Public Offerings. This is an exciting and pivotal point in the history of the company. It’s important to remember that IPO investment is not only beneficial for expanding companies, but also for huge, privately-owned entities, and corporations seeking to transform into publicly-traded businesses.

If your company has decided on offering IPO in India, then you can start by engaging the services of an investment bank or underwriting firm, who will assist you in selecting the best type of security to be issued, selecting the appropriate opening price offerings, the right amount of shares and lastly, the time-frame.

IPO investment should not be confused with the term public offerings. The latter is used extensively by many people and is an umbrella term that includes IPO, but has a wider connotation. There are a plethora of ways through which the company can go public, and an IPO follows a specific set of procedures. Following are the preparatory steps that are involved in the IPO in India process:

  • A dedicated IPO team typically consists of professionals like underwriters, lawyers, exchange and securities commission experts, and certified public accountants.
  • Vital company data like financial performance and anticipated future operations are assimilated for the formulation of the prospectus. After this is done, the information is circulated for the purpose of soliciting reviews.
  • An official audit is conducted after the submission of the financial statements.
  • Finally, the date of the offering is decided, and the prospectus is filed by the organisation with the SEBI.

Company employees can get the opportunity to invest. However, this largely differs across different organizations. Here are some factors that should consider before deciding to invest in IPOs.

Underwriting

The collaboration between the company and an investment bank for the purpose of formulating the IPO is known as underwriting. It also includes the determination of the stock price and a thorough financial analysis. Subsequently, an announcement concerning the IPO investment scheme is made.

Obligation

Before the company is listed, the shares are given to staff by the management, so number of stocks to be given to an employee or not is company’s discretion and employee has no say. He can only accept or decline.

Prices

The initial stock prices for IPO in India is generally low, and employees can capitalize on this opportunity. This is the best period for staff-members to indulge in IPO investment within their organization.

Lockup

The stock price generally surges between the time of the IPO investment and secondary market offering. Thus, employees who purchase shares are required to hold them for a particular period before they can start selling. This IPO in India lockup can extend for up to 180 days, barring insiders from making quick initial profits that occur due to rise in stock rates. Hence, there is a fair amount of risk involved for the employees.

These important points should be carefully considered by all employees before they decide on making any kind of investment. It’s essential to make the right decisions to benefit from such deals.

Early stage startup accelerator Espark-Viridian has launched Case In Point 2018 to inculcate the spark of entrepreneurship within our country. Case In Point 2018 is in the second year of the flagship case study solving competition organised by Espark-Viridian.

Case In Point helps budding entrepreneurs to understand the problems that a real time startup faces. This  provides them an opportunity to assess their entrepreneurial and problem solving abilities.

Post the warm reception of CIP 2017 which had its finale in Delhi, Espark-Viridian is expanding the accessibility of the event pan India. This time the event’s finale will be conducted across 3 cities – Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai and has a gratification pool of Rs. 2 Lac. The winner would also be awarded with 6 months of free Cloud Telephony Solutions [Super Receptionist Basic Plan] by their Tech Partners, Knowlarity.

Speaking on the flagship event, Espark-Viridian Director Vibhuti Channa explained

We were overwhelmed with the response last year and had participants travelling from all parts of the nation to be a part of the finals. We want to make Case In Point more accessible for the budding entrepreneurs across India.

CIP 2018 would be held over 2 rounds. The first round would invite applicants to register individually and participate in an online case study competition. The case study will be based on real challenges that are faced by a startup. The second round would be held at a physical location in 3 cities – Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Participants selected from the prior round, would be divided into teams. They would be expected to come up with a feasible solution based on the detailed case study provided. The presentation to the judges will be part of the decision making process to arrive at the winner.

Their endeavour to grow the Indian ecosystem is being supported by Faculty of Management Studies [Ecosystem partner], Innov8 [Ecosystem partner], What after College [Ecosystem partner], Startups India [Ecosystem partner], Young Engine [Ecosystem partner], Bizztor India [Digital partner], Inc42 [Digital partner] and Knowlarity [Tech partner].

Espark-Viridian hopes to benefit the young developing entrepreneurs minds and add value to the Indian startup ecosystem. The last date for attempting the online quiz is January 5th 2019. To know more, please visit the Espark-Viridian website at http://www.espark-viridian.org/caseinpoint/

About Espark-Viridian

Espark-Viridian is a startup accelerator for early and growth seeking startups. They offer a 4 month multi-centre, multi-sector accelerator programme across 5 centres in Bangalore, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar, Mumbai and Delhi-NCR. To know more visit Espark-Viridian