How IBM is encouraging startups and co-innovation to build a Digital India

By Team YS
September 07, 2016, Updated on : Thu Sep 05 2019 07:25:23 GMT+0000
How IBM is encouraging startups and co-innovation to build a Digital India
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This story is sponsored by IBM

The just-concluded IBM India Labs Engage 2016’ summit in Bengaluru put the spotlight on the significance of ‘Co-innovation in building a Digital India’, IBM hosted. The two-day annual event included keynote addresses by Rob Thomas, VP, Product Development, IBM Analytics, and Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, EkStep and former Chairman, UIDAI, Vanitha Narayanan, MD, IBM India, and Ravi Gururaj Founder & CEO of QikPod.

In addition to innovation showcase walkthroughs, break-out tracks on how technology is being put to good use in financial services, healthcare, and commerce, five Indian startups, who have leveraged IBM’s cloud platform and cognitive solutions, were given the opportunity to demonstrate their innovative and industry-specific offerings at the event. In addition to adopting IBM technology, these startups benefitted from access to various IBM initiatives including IBM GEP and SmartCamp India, which helped them build, launch, and scale their business.


These startups are engaged in developing solutions across different sectors. These include:

Preventive health startup

Pune-based AllizHealth has built a consumer-focused health and wellness platform for early identification, tracking, and management of health risks and conditions. It leverages the IBM cloud platform to enable users to track various health risks and parameters, store digitised medical documents, and also connect with doctors and caregivers.

Gaurav Vij, Founder and Chief Architect, highlighted the increase in non -communicable and lifestyle-related diseases in India, and said his startup was trying to address this problem by working on an innovative health management platform. He said, “Through our efforts, we are now managing the health of over 500,000 users and working with some of the leading insurance and healthcare groups in India. In this journey, we are fortunate to have a partner in IBM cloud. Harnessing the power of the cloud is central to our plans and the support, help, and guidance we have received from the IBM team, has been quite remarkable. We hope to continue this association for a win-win situation."

E-commerce personalisation

Chennai-based Tagalys has developed an e-commerce personalisation engine on IBM’s cloud that helps online retailers improve visitor-product engagement and revenues. The platform studies visitor and segment shopping behaviour, to deliver the most relevant products to that visitor across discovery channels such as site search, merchandising, and recommendations within the online retailer.

Antony Kattukaran, Co-founder and CEO, noted that the e-commerce market has matured in the last few years, making a personalised visitor experience across category pages, recommendations widgets, and search results a necessity. He said, “IBM’s cloud infrastructure is secure, scalable, and helps us meet the most rigorous demands for our online business. Our partnership with IBM has helped a team like ours focus on product innovation instead of infrastructure and compete on merit with the best in the world.’’

Online contracting solution

Winner of the RBI’s Payment System Innovation Contest and a runner up at IBM SmartCamp India 2016, Bengaluru-based Signzy uses IBM’s cognitive and cloud solutions to make the digital regulatory processes simpler, secure, and more compliant. Their online contracting solution uses technology like biometric signature and blockchain to complete the entire online digital trust system.

Ankit Ratan, Co-founder and CEO says, "Digital onboarding is a painful problem for the financial sector and the broader industry. Signzy is using a Cloud API-based approach to make this simple, yet secure and compliant. Using IBM Watson’s cognitive capabilities, we have ensured that our AI technology is enterprise-ready from day one, accelerating our go-to-market and delighting clients."

AI-based visual discovery platform

Artifacia, formerly Snapshopr, is a Silicon Valley and Bengaluru-based startup that provides an AI-based visual discovery platform designed for retailers and helps them improve engagement and conversions on their apps and websites. In September 2015, the startup had raised a seed round of funding from Amod Malviya, Ex-CTO, Flipkart. Using IBM cloud technology, Artifacia helps their partners provide unique product discovery and personalisation experiences to their customers.

Navneet Sharma, Co-founder and CEO said “We enable developers and retailers to build and deliver unique product discovery and personalisation experiences for their customers in India and the US. We have relied on IBM cloud technology to build a deep learning technology infrastructure. As the winners of IBM’s SmartCamp programme in 2015, we garnered a lot of visibility and look forward to the IBM partnership as we expand globally.’

HR technology

Bengaluru-based Talview is a leading HR technology solution provider that leverages neuro-linguistic programming, machine learning, and psycho-linguistics built using IBM’s cognitive and cloud solutions. The solution provides mobile-video hiring and helps companies accept applications, conduct automated and live interviews, supervise written and code tests via video, and complete on boarding formalities remotely on mobiles, tablets, and PCs.

Jobin Jose, Co-founder and COO, noted that they aim to disrupt the $500 billion global recruitment industry, and have identified a strong market need for a cognitive solution. He said,

“Talview Talent Insights, which leverages multiple IBM Watson APIs and the IBM Cloud Service, is the world’s first hiring solution that harnesses the power of advanced data science and machine learning algorithms, video-audio analysis, social media analytics, psycholinguistics, and speech recognition to help companies build better teams and gain a competitive advantage. Using IBM services helped us go-to-market faster with a secure, scalable solution.”

Speaking at the event, Kaushik Bhaskar, VP, IBM India Software Labs, noted that cognitive technologies are becoming a key differentiator in the global technology landscape, and hence, India needs cognitive business models to leapfrog into the lead innovator ranks. He stated that IBM is committed to working with new age, ‘born-on-the cloud’ startups and enterprises to drive innovation that will build a Digital India.

He said, “There is also a fundamental shift required from ‘siloed’ innovation to ‘co-innovation’ to rapidly drive this transformation. IBM is increasingly focused on nurturing the ecosystem to drive this change. We aim to provide startups with access to technical expertise, executive mentoring, software infrastructure credits, co-marketing programmes, sales, and VC leads.”

The invite-only event at Ritz Carlton Bengaluru held on August 29 and 30 provided an opportunity for startups, ecosystem leaders, enterprises, and investors to discover ideas that have great potential to breach technology frontiers and build disruptive applications for the cloud and cognitive era.

IBM also displayed an IoT-enabled foosball table that relied on a combination of light sensors, an Intel Edison board, and IBM Bluemix’s cloud infrastructure to display and monitor scores in real-time.

IBM also hosted immersive Design Thinking and Garage experiences, where participants had a unique opportunity to unearth emerging client needs and rapidly create market- focused solutions.

IBM India Labs Engage 2016 is part of IBM’s continuing commitment to support the Indian startup ecosystem by orchestrating the collaboration between enterprises, investors, and startup companies through various digital and physical platforms through the year. IBM engages with startups across sectors including fintech, health-tech, and retail and provides access to key IBM programmes and investments including IBM Global Entrepreneurship program; IBM physical and virtual Garages; IBM Labs; Digital Communities (Watson, Bluemix, IoT, Cloud, etc.) to fuel ecosystem innovation.