Kstart, the seed programme from Kalaari Capital launched in February this year, has announced its first three portfolio companies for this quarter. Each of the three companies receives an investment of $500,000 in convertible notes, which will be converted to preferred stock whenever they raise their series A funding. Kstart received nearly 400 applications, with nearly half being in the B2B space. Meet the three companies that Kstart is funding this quarter (in alphabetical order).
Active.ai – Automating customer services using artificial intelligence
Active.ai uses artificial intelligence to provide insights that automate customer engagement platforms for financial services firms. The platform can be plugged into the clients’ platforms through APIs or messaging interfaces, thus automating customer service at a low cost. With 3 billion active users across the top 4 platforms, messaging is the communication medium of choice for consumers globally.
The firm was founded by three experienced entrepreneurs – Ravi Shankar, Parikshit Paspulati and Shankar Narayan – who have a decade of experience in banking and financial technology innovation. “We aspire to create the most engaging and insightful customer service platform for financial services companies on the mobile phone,” says Ravi Shankar.
AffordPlan – making healthcare affordable through planned savings
Nearly 90% of the Indian population does not have a health insurance plan, leaving them vulnerable to soaring and unexpected healthcare costs. Affordplan, founded by Tejbir Singh (CEO) and Hemal Bhatt (COO) lets patients work with hospitals to create a pre-paid flexible payment plan so that they can get the treatment they need when they need it.
Hundreds of millions of Indians struggle to pay for medical care, so the potential impact from a solution such as this is therefore truly massive. For now, the platform focuses on non-critical healthcare, where 70% of healthcare spending occurs. “Our vision is to enable healthcare affordability for millions of Indians,” says Singh.
Indee – The web video streamer
The web is full of pirated content; ahead of a new release, even big studios are on tenterhooks, hoping to avoid the financial and PR nightmare that follows a content leak. Helping them avoid this scenario is Indee, which is building what it claims is the world’s most secure platform for web video streaming. Founded by Sharan Reddy, Indee has clients like 20th Century Fox, Reliance Entertainment and Epic Pictures, which use its platform to promote and test content in a secure online environment before it is released into the public domain.
“Content creators are going to find a way to get their content directly to the consumers themselves. Indee is automating the workflow to hasten that eventuality,” says Reddy.
A platform like Indee, looking disrupt the way content is created and distributed, has the potential to limit the billion-dollar-losses that the entertainment industry suffers each year on account of piracy and leaks.
Kstart provides founders capital through a transparent funding process. In addition, portfolio companies can access a team of catalysts who provide one-on-one mentoring, access to the right networks, access to world-class learning through the Kstart Institute, and expertise from technology partners such as IBM and Google.
Kstart emerged as an answer to a need that Kalaari felt – the need for a rapid prototyping model (RPM) to enable founders to calibrate their ideas, giving them a fair chance for success. Therefore, Kstart’s goal is to create an inspiring ecosystem for young people to take challenges head-on, with the initiative collaborating with thinkers and doers from all fields.
Disclaimer: Kstart is the seed program initiative from Kalaari Capital, an investor in YourStory.
Tarush is driven towards delivering unbiased and accurate reportage while engaging with as many mediums as possible to narrate a fresh perspective. Working for the past few years in the digital space with YourStory, he has covered the Indian technology ecosystem extensively, focusing on new age Fintech companies, while building strong connects within the industry.