From drones to prosthetics, these startups are using technology to create social impact 

From drones to prosthetics, these startups are using technology to create social impact 

Monday August 20, 2018,

6 min Read

Ahmedabad-based iCreate offers a 4 weeks to 2 years programmes and incubation opportunities to entrepreneurs, providing them with opportunities for funding, mentorship, market access, and physical infrastructure.

Image (L-R): Drone Nation and Aether Biomedical

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, inaugurated the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCreate) centre in Ahmedabad in January 2018 to incubate and work with social enterprises creating “socio-economic impact in India”.

Since then, iCreate, an independent centre to promote the Indian government’s Startup India scheme, is working to provide technology and assistance to “innovative and imaginative minds in their entrepreneurial journey”.

Speaking at the inauguration, Narendra Modi said, “The ‘i’ of iCreate is in small letters for a reason. The biggest hurdle towards creativity is ‘I’ becoming big.”

Anupam Jalote, the CEO of iCreate, says startups, particularly tech innovation-based ones, often assume that they are ready to become a business once they have solved the key technological challenges and created a functional product/service.

“Sadly, that is almost never the case. They need enormous focus, directional change, and polishing before they can become revenue generating, profitable, growth companies. This is the difference that iCreate makes in the lives of its startups.”

Ahmedabad-based iCreate provides a 4 weeks to 2 years programmes and incubation opportunities to entrepreneurs, offering them aid with funding, mentorship, market access, and physical infrastructure. Incubates have the opportunity to spend time with the advisory board, which helps them better understand the respective sectors while offering a global overview.

The centre is a joint venture by Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Limited (GMDC) and Gujarat Entrepreneurship and Venture Promotion Foundation (GEVPF). It is backed by NR Narayana Murthy, Infosys Chairman and Co-founder; Dilip Shanghvi, Padma Shri awardee and Founder of Sun Pharmaceuticals; Harsh Mariwala, Founder and Chairman of Marico; and Uday Kotak, Executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank.

YourStory takes a closer look at a few startups incubated by iCreate:

1. Aether Biomedical 

Founded in: 2016

Based in: New Delhi

Aether was co-founded by three medicos from Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, with a vision of reinventing medical technology innovation. Led by Dhruv Agrawal, Ather Biomedical is developing myoelectric prosthetic arms at low cost, making them affordable for economically weaker sections in the country. They have developed prosthetics for amputees lacking fingers and wrist joints.

“There are 10 million upper limb amputees around the globe. Eighty percent of them live in developing countries where penetration of prosthesis is less than 10 percent. Incidents of amputation due to obesity, diabetes, vascular diseases, stroke, and arthritis are rising rapidly,” Dhruv says.
Dhruv Agarwal

Aether’s first innovation, Zeus (a bionic limb), was conceptualised to address this problem since “current solutions for amputees are either too ineffective to cope with or too costly to afford, creating an opportunity for the introduction of a low-cost, high-efficacy prosthesis”.

Aether was selected as a finalist for HardwareCon 2018 and has also been chosen for an interview at TAIRA – AI Taiwan Grant.

2. Pulse Prognosis

Founded in: 2017

Based in: Ahmedabad

Led by Kajal Shrivastava, Pulse Prognosis, formally known as Nadi Horoscope, is developing a health tracking band that works on the principles of Ayurveda. The device, based on diagnosis techniques derived from Ayurveda, compares data of a particular individual to standard data, verifying diseases/ailments by using machine learning algorithms that differentiate how the pulse of a patient with a particular disease differs from that of a healthy person.

Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi interact with Kajal Shrivastava at the startup exhibition.

The team is currently incubated at iCreate and supported by DST, Government of India. Last year, Pulse Prognosis was recognised by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath; it was also spoken about by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January. The founder also won the Young Leader and Innovator Award at the Women Economic Forum (WEF) earlier this year.

3. Sonant Technologies

Founded in: 2016

Based in: Jaipur

Led by Abhinav Vashistha, Sonant Technologies has designed a wearable device, AlphaGlove, which works with input sensors on the fingers to function as an alternative communication device for deaf and mute people. The Jaipur-based startup works on Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology embedded in the glove. It makes communication for the deaf and mute easy; the user does not need to have prior knowledge of sign language.

“There are over 70 lakh deaf and mute persons in India and more than 2.5 crore in the world. On one hand, technology has enabled us to go to the moon, we are making robots to do our day-to-day work, and on the other hand, there are millions of people who can’t even express themselves,” Abhinav shares.
A pair of gloves with several touch-sensitive spots on the fingers and a wristband with display and speakers.

The startup was selected for the LIF – Leaders in Innovation Fellowship Programme run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, London last year.

4. Bioscan Research

Founded in: 2013

Based in: Ahmedabad

Bioscan enables early detection of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by road accidents, falls, violence, or natural calamities. Led by Shilpa Malik, Bioscan Research has developed non-invasive, portable on-site detection tools for instantaneous screening of intracranial bleeding. This will minimise the waiting time at tertiary care centres by sending non-critical patients to other hospitals.

Bioscan is a winner of the Indo-Israel challenge and Unitus Seed Fund Star Health 2017. Earlier this year, the startup was among the top 21 startups selected for the Lufthansa: Runway to Success Competition and also among the top 121 companies shortlisted for the Design Impact Awards.

5. Drone Nation

Founded in: 2016

Based in: Ahmedabad

Drone Nation’s Chetan Reddy (right) and Vichar Shroff (left)

Founded by Vichar Shroff and Chetan Reddy, Drone Nation is an end-to-end aerial solutions provider that integrates custom-built drone hardware and software technologies to provide complete and cost-effective solutions based on customer needs. The startup provides drone services in aerial photogrammetry, mapping and surveying, 3D modelling, inspection, and monitoring.

“Drones are equipped with advanced sensors and cameras. Advanced image processing algorithms enable us to analyse each and every pixel data to provide recommendations/measures for preemptive actions,” Chetan explains.

The startup has, till date, generated revenue of Rs 6 lakh. The team won Xbuid, the world’s premier hackathon, in May 2018, and it has received a $50,000 research grant from a leading US defence company to develop disaster management solutions using drones.