We're into the 9th newsletter (subscribe here!) now and close to a 1000 people have subscribed for the Startup Watchlist. Our whole intention with the newsletter was to focus on high quality startups and state reasons why they deserve a place on the list. Over time we've realized that it makes more sense to have lesser number of startups on the list, say three instead of five, which we'll follow from the next newsletter. For the current edition, we're focusing on startups that are using mobile to create a social impact. Mobile has played a big role in revolutionizing industries and here, we look at some instances of how Indian startups are using mobile for the good.
An initiative by Gram Vaani, Mobile Vaani was built because last mile information distribution was broken. Mobile Vaani is a social media platform equivalent to Facebook/YouTube/Twitter for rural areas. They have built an intelligent IVR (interactive voice response) system that allows people to call into a number and leave a message about their community, or listen to messages left by others. Their flagship deployment in Jharkhand has over 100,000 users that call over 2000 times per day, and discuss wide ranging issues on culture, local updates and announcements, government schemes, and information sharing. The platform is also an effective medium for brands to reach out to the rural population.
2. CGNet Swara
CGNet Swara is also a platform that gives a voice to rural India. is a voice-based portal, freely accessible via mobile phone, that allows anyone to report and listen to stories of local interest. Reported stories are moderated by journalists and become available for playback online as well as over the phone. Operating in Chhattisgarh, CGNet Swara receives more than 400 calls per day that generate vernacular audio content.
Traffline is a product from Mumbai based Birds Eye Systems that crunches realtime data about traffic to sort out traffic woes. The mobile application helps users find the quickest route between two points, get real time traffic alerts, live agent assistance, etc. Birds Eye Systems has a patented algorithm that captures live movement on the streets through probes with GPS installed on them. These probes are vehicles or individuals on the road, traffic police of a particular city or public transport vehicles. Data is beamed through satellites in microseconds to their servers where it is crunched across parameters like congestion time, vehicular movement, etc. to come up with real time information on a given traffic situation and how to avoid it.
4. Social Cops
Social Cops aims to leverage mobile and software infrastructure to turn people into human sensors – tracking and monitoring data on a real time basis in the remotest parts of the world. This data can then be used to generate actionable insights. This Delhi based startup has collaborated with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and public administrators to make the app an open platform that can gather big data from various localities and bring accountability into the system.
Ridingo is a Mobile & Cloud based solution for ride sharing. The aim is to transform the idea of carpooling from an ideal but rare practice to practical and preferred way to commute. Ridingo is focusing on safety, coordination and mutually beneficial smooth cost sharing for car owners and passengers to make the solution work. They have tied up with corporates in Bangalore and are seeing a promising response.
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A lot of exciting things are currently underway at TechSparks as well. And stay tuned for next week for deeper drill downs on each startup!