The sixth edition of TechSparks 2015 has just concluded with three days of intense, electric activity. The best and brightest stakeholders in the Indian startup ecosystem were in attendance over the three days. The event kicked off with a hackathon on October 29, and the next two days were packed with speaker sessions, panel discussions, hiring circles and startup pitches, not to mention an elegant cocktail evening with investors. Some of the biggest names from the industry, including Naveen Tewari of InMobi, Dhiraj Rajaram of Mu Sigma, Shashank ND of Practo, T V Mohandas Pai, and 50 other experts, spoke at the event.
This year’s theme was Tech for a Billion, to celebrate technology, innovation and ideas that have the potential to impact a billion lives. Here they are, this year’s brightest sparks, the companies that made it to the Tech30 list, introduced in no particular order.
- Aarav Unmanned Systems (AUS) develops high-end autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), customizable for a variety of applications. AUS has ventured into civil, research and defence application capabilities using short-range UAVs.Founded by Nikhil Upadhye, Suhas Banshiwala, Vipul Singh and Yeshwanth Reddy, AUS’s core team is drawn from premier universities like IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Bombay.
- Banyanpod Technologies is a media technology company in the on-demand entertainment space. Fropcorn, its hyper-local content distribution product, delivers high-quality content to consumers over wi-fi.Co-founder/CEO Kartik Poddar has worked in product management and marketing in companies like Komli Media and Microsoft, while Co-founder/CTO Kartik Bansal is a self-confessed geek who has worked with Shindigg and Microsoft.
- Basil Systems’ home automation product, CloverBoard, is a wi-fi-connected smart switchboard that gives users convenience, energy savings and security. Its suite of sensors provides time-of-the-day-based intelligence and learns user's usage patterns.Founded by Ritika Dhyawala, Nirmala Kunwar and Kumar Nishant, software designers and engineers from NIT Jaipur, the team has worked with companies like SAP, TATA Power and various startups in the past.
- Bfonics is an end-to-end proximity-marketing platform, leveraging Apple’s latest iBeacon technology and Google’s Eddystone. The product aims to enable channel partners to effectively engage with audiences and create a meaningful experience.Founder and CEO Unni Peroth is a seasoned IT professional who has earlier worked at IBM and HP. He was also co-founder of LenDen and Nfonics Solutions. The team also comprises COO Binoy Mathew, CTO Arun Raj and CMO Romy Mathew, all of whom are experienced professionals.
- Mobisy Technologies’ Bizom, a ‘mobile-first’ cloud solution, provides real-time communication and analytics for sales, distribution, strategy, HR and branding teams.Founder Lalit Bhise, inventor of Hybrid application programming leads Bizom, while co-founders Vasudeva Manjuth, Shree Bhise and Supreeth Reddy have deep experience in mobile, cloud and software technologies.
- Capacloud’s Ecotop is a 2x2 feet floor tile that can grow any plant on any horizontal or vertical surface without a lot of maintenance.Founder Jayabrata Bhaduri has spent over 7 years in various companies across functions such as R&D, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, sourcing, global trading and supply chain. His inclination towards clean tech led him to bootstrap Capacloud.
- Cyclops MedTech is a medtech startup working on surgical and eye-tracking solutions. Their first product is a wearable eye-tracking device for accurate diagnosis of episodic neurological events like vertigo.The core team comprises co-founders Dr Srinivas Dorasala and Dr Ravi Nayar, clinicians who are ENT surgeons and vestibular specialists. Co-founder Niranjan Subbarao, a serial entrepreneur, heads sales and marketing, while Chetan Jakkoju, an engineer specialising in computer vision and machine learning, is their technology lead.
- Daily Rounds is a network of doctors with over 180,000 practicing doctors on the platform. Doctors use the Daily Rounds app to learn and share clinical cases, as well as the latest medical updates, guidelines and news.Daily Rounds was founded by Dr Deepu Sebin, Nimmi Cherian and Priyaank Choubey. Deepu has worked in primary and tertiary healthcare, while Nimmi and Priyaank are computer science graduates with experience at technology MNCs and startups.
- Furdo intends to make interior design simple. The startup has a "try-before-you-buy" 3D interior design solution that allows new homeowners to virtually walk through and experience their designed home.Furdo was founded by Ishwar Sundararaman, Kiran Singh and Arvind Prakash Singh. Kiran has 18 years of experience in 3D visualisation, IIM-B alumnus Ishwar previously founded Revu and Clubd, while Arvind founded Vrixx.
- Gridle is a productivity platform for work. This cloud-based standardised application can be customised according to a company’s needs.Gridle has a young enterprising team in founders Yash Shah, Anupama Panchal and Abhishek Doshi. The trio have known each other for 10 years and have worked together on 12 projects and a failed startup. They’ve been building Gridle for the past two years and have also raised a round of seed funding.
- Guesstaurant is gamifying the foodie experience. Its platform lets users discover new places to eat by solving a quiz.An IIT-Kanpur alumnus, founder Bal Krishn Birla worked with Infosys and Amazon before beginning his startup journey. He has earlier been part of founding teams of startups like AskLaila, ZopNow, AdalBdal, SongPedia, Bhoole Bisre Geet, and Potluck Restaurant.
- Habba (by Rang De) is an online store for traditional artisans of rural India.Founder and CEO Ramakrishna NK was elected to the Ashoka fellowship in 2012 in recognition of Rang De’s game-changing efforts to lower the cost of borrowing when the focus was mostly on accessibility and not affordability.
- InnAccel is a medical technology acceleration company focused on innovation for low- and mid-income markets. InnAccel has built a proprietary innovation platform and forged partnerships with national and global entities to support startups and entrepreneurs.Co-founder and CEO Siraj Dhanani is a successful entrepreneur (PharmARC), investor and healthcare professional, while co-founder and CTO A Vijayarajan is a medical technology veteran with over 30 years’ experience (and was previously with GE Medical Systems). Dr Jagdish Chaturvedi, an ENT surgeon, is the Director of Clinical Innovation.
- InnovAccer is a data science firm that enables organisations to accelerate their data-science adoption. Its flagship product, Datashop, helps businesses collaboratively determine business solutions by integrating disparate data sources and transforming them into actionable insights.The company’s founders, Abhinav Shashank, Kanav Hasija and Sandeep Gupta, are experienced in data analytics, data warehousing and related solutions. They have played leading roles at companies like Ingersoll Rand and universities like Harvard and Wharton.
- Meltag is a direct customer-connect platform that provides loyalty programmes and CRM solutions for brands in India.Vinil Vadi has spent the last 15 years in startups as well as large, billion-dollar corporations, engineering highly scalable and next-generation product cores in the e-business and consumer internet segments for Fortune 500 companies like Asera Inc, WebMD, BP, BN.com, Walgreens and Tyson Foods.
- Storefront Display Technologies’ Nifty Window offers a SaaS platform aimed at helping brick-and-mortar businesses drive in-store sales across search, social media and mobile channels.Co-founder and CEO Sujit Thomas Zachariah was earlier Product Director at Yahoo! US. Rakesh Raghuvanshi, Co-founder and President, earlier founded retail consulting firm Live1India and was CEO of Showtime Group.
- Niki.ai offers an artificial intelligence-assisted buying experience for the mobile platform. It helps consumers across all commerce functions, like booking a bus ticket to ordering food online using a chat-based format.The company was founded by four IIT-Kharagpur graduates. Sachin Jaiswal is also co-founder of Innovaccer, Keshav Prawasi was earlier with Amazon, Nitin Babel was with Ipsos, while Shishir Modi was with IndiaReads.com.
- Omni is a consumer internet company that is working on enabling a close-knit community within neighbourhoods. The focus is on providing access to local level information and knowledge that can be of great use to all members of a community.Co-founder Jackson Fernandez’s last stint was as a VP at Snapdeal after his group-buying venture was acquired. Prior to that, he set up and managed wego.com in India. Co-founder Balamurugan Balasubramanian is a BITS-Pilani alumnus and has built tech products in the social networking, e-commerce and ad-serving domains.
- Ploud.io is focused on building a futuristic platform that is at the intersection of virtual reality, deep learning, sensation and artificial intelligence.Co-founder Raghu Venkatesh is a technology evangelist who loves pushing the boundaries in technology. He comes with experience in different fields like game development, ideation, innovation solutions and strategies. Co-founder Fazil V N has been a part of many startups since his teenage years, including W3Graphix, Appsud and Sketchmonk.com.
- Qustn Technologies’ Qustn is a mobile-first SaaS platform that aims to help companies engage and train their remote workers, resulting in a direct impact on revenue and profit.Co-founder Mrigank Tripathi is a serial entrepreneur with 16 years of experience in the telecom domain with Oliver Wyman, Reliance Infocomm and Swisscom Vetures. Co-founder Sachin Grover was managing the Yahoo! global mobile homepage and has 15 years of technology experience with Microsoft, Yahoo!, Satyam and HP.
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- Sattva MedTech’s Sattva Fetal Life is a portable healthcare device weighing less than a kilo and uses advanced sensors to acquire physiological data. Designed for Indian conditions, the device is non-invasive and compliant with IEC standards for medical diagnostic equipment.Co-founders Vibhav Joshi and Sumedh Kaulgadh, both electronics engineers from BITS-Goa, have previous entrepreneurial experience with the New Venture Creation Program and startups like Jana Care.
- Save Indian Grain.org is a social enterprise dedicated to developing modern grain-storage solutions, subsistence market places, agri-stakeholders and cluster maps for small and marginal farmers in India.Founder Anurag Awasthi earlier worked with global not-for-profit organisations in Washington D.C. and holds a Masters degree in Accounting from University of Rhode Island.
- Shapecrunch is reinventing how people buy their footwear by bringing in 3D printing for insoles. A large number of people suffer problems owing to flat feet, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, etc. and Shapecrunch is a ‘custom-fit’ solution to those problems.The founding team consists of Jatin Sharma, Nitin Gandhi and Jiten Saini. Jatin and Nitin are engineers from PEC with several years of product design experience and 3D printing. Jiten is from BITS, and has machine learning expertise. Amitabh Nagpal is the company’s angel investor and mentor.
- Smart Square Technologies’ app, CUREFY, enables everyone to instantly talk to doctors from premier hospitals over phone or video chat. The company aggregates the lean time inventory of doctors from premier hospitals to give its users enable 24x7 access to medical professionals.Co-founder Raghav Sehgal is an IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus with over eight years of experience in healthcare, retail and finance, while co-founder Mayank Agarwal is an ISB-Hyderabad alumnus with experience in software and hardware engineering.
- Bottle Lab Technologies’ SmartQ is a smartphone app that helps employees of big tech parks avoid long queues at the massive food courts that such complexes normally house.Co-founder Krishna Wage, an IIM-Calcutta alumnus, has nine years’ experience in sales and marketing with brands like Columbia Asia, Citibank, Heineken and Honda. Co-founder Abhishek Ashok is a post-graduate from IISc-Bangalore with two years work experience as a chip component designer with Intel. Co-founder Sujit Lalwani is an NIT-Surathkal graduate with more than 10 years of experience in sales and marketing.
- TrueSemantic Labs helps companies track and improve their customer experience at scale.Founder Kalyan Manyam earlier founded three companies – Innova Health Systems in 2002 (acquired), Indyarocks.com in 2006 (acquired) and Mojostreet (acquired). He was also heading the APAC sales and alliances for Solix Technologies, a Silicon Valley-based data management company.
- TruckSumo is an aggregator of small commercial vehicles (mini-trucks). Using technology, TruckSumo connects businesses with local logistics needs in real-time to service providers who can fulfil those needs.Co-founder Arun Rao, an IIT-Kharagpur alumnus, has extensive experience in building and scaling sales/operations teams at two startups. Co-founder Nithin Baalay was earlier the CTO of BuyThePrice.com and founder and promoter of SayShaadi.com.
- Upshot is a mobile user engagement platform that helps enterprises increase user engagement, retention and monetisation. It is a comprehensive mobile marketing platform that will help mobile marketers and developers gather deep, actionable user insights.Upshot was founded by Bharath Lingam. An IIT-Madras alumnus, Bharath also runs [x]cube Labs and previously held leading positions at Mahindra Satyam, Pandora Networks and Knowledge Infotech.
- Vitymobi Systems’ MobiProbe is product that offers efficient crash reporting and log monitoring for apps on the Android and iOS platforms.Founder Manish Kumar is Vitymobi’s Technical Architect. An electronics and electrical communications engineer from Punjab Engineering College, Manish has over six years of experience in software development and mobile development.
- Voodoo is a digital assistant on the handset. It integrates with all the apps on a device and helps users get the best deals, compare prices, get coupons and give their ratings and recommendations within the app.Mohit Mittal, co-founder and CEO, is an IIT-Madras alumnus who has started four companies so far. Two of these—Preburn and Burrn—have been acquired. Co-founder Vijaysimhareddy Devarapalli is an IIT-Kharagpur alumnus who also co-founded Preburn (acquired by FreeCharge).
These are the 30 companies that were selected to demo at TechSparks 2015. Keep an eye on them for some great news in the coming years!
You can vote for your favorite amongst the Tech30 here.
A big shoutout to TechSparks 2015 sponsors – Sequoia Capital, ICICI Bank, Money on Mobile, Microsoft, Signal Hill, IBM Bluemix, PwC, Atom Tech, Teamchat, Govt. of Karnataka, Intel, Rabbler, Dailyhunt, Reverie, Loginext and PayUBiz; Partners – Duff&Phelps, Taxmantra, Dineout, Exotel, 360ride, Yoga Bar, Chai Point, GWC; and our Media Partners – TV9, Fortune India, RedFM and Deccan Herald.