“Humanity’s greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
This opinion, from one of the world’s wealthiest men and well-known philanthropist Bill Gates, is more than applicable to the current social entrepreneurship scene in India. Home to the third largest number of tech startups in the world, India also has a large number of new-to-the-internet/bottom-of-the-pyramid users whose lives can be vastly improved through greater accessibility to technology and more digital literacy.
The Code for the Next Billion programme, a joint initiative by Facebook and NASSCOM 10,000 Startups, was launched in 2015 with this very aim in mind: to nurture social impact startups that are creating digital innovations for the betterment of society using technological innovations that don’t cater only to digital natives and instead serve to bring larger sections of India’s population into the digital fold.
The second edition of the programme, launched in October 2017, saw over 250 applications, and after a rigorous screening and selection process, including an in-person presentation to a jury of industry stalwarts, 10 startups from diverse sectors such as healthcare, education, agritech, blockchain made the final cut.
The 6-month immersive programme is supported by funding partners Unitus Seed Fund, Ankur Capital and Indian Angel Network, outreach partner Invest India, incubation partner Social Alpha and design mentorship partner Design4India.
Over the course of the programme, the startups will be mentored by IT industry experts, get access to C-level leaders, VCs, thought leaders, ecosystem evangelists and social change leaders. They will also get a global platform to showcase their products, and a chance to get funded and incubated as well.
Here are the 10 startups that will be participating in the second edition of the Code for the Next Billion programme (listed in no particular order).
1. Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions Private Limited: A social enterprise working to make welfare schemes more accessible to citizens, Haqdarshak’s multi-state, multi-lingual mobile technology platform helps citizens discover, apply for, and benefit from government and private schemes that they qualify for.
2. Eye-D: An assistant to those who are visually impaired, the app helps the user be aware of their location, explore and navigate to nearby places of interest, evaluate their surroundings with their smartphone camera and ‘read’ printed text.
3. Bodhi Health Education: The startup helps healthcare and dental care organisations hire the right candidates and train them efficiently with proven technology solutions.
4. TheTeacherApp: A not-for- profit venture, the app aims to plug holes in the training infrastructure for educators in the country, and guide and train teachers from schools all across India.
5. Jiovio Healthcare Pte: The organisation provides personalised and predictive maternal care using AI, IoT and wearable technology.
6. KrishiHub: This startup improves famers’ lives by providing them with a platform that enables them to sell directly to businesses like restaurants, hotels, canteens and retail stores, eliminating middlemen. Doing so lets the farmers get the best prices for their produce.
7. PublicVibe: This is a news aggregation platform where you can find instant local news and videos in English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati from all leading newspapers and news channels.
8. Right2Vote Infotech Pvt Limited: This is an online verified voting platform for all kinds of elections, including polls for government bodies, corporate organisations, colleges and schools, among others.
9. ChainFrame: A blockchain products company, ChainFrame is focused on using the power of blockchain to create radically transparent systems for large scale public use for state and national governments.
10. Helper4U Services LLP: The startup aims to do away with middlemen in the hiring of unskilled or semi-skilled helpers, benefitting both the job seekers as well as the employers.
With the programme giving wings to these innovative ideas through extensive support across the board, these 10 promising startups are all set on their way to flying high.