WhatsApp and Invest India announce partnership to promote growth of startups, SMBs


This tie-up with Facebook-owned WhatsApp, touted to be one of the largest partnership by Invest India, will help further growth of SMBs in the country.

“A partnership between startups and WhatsApp is a natural step. We all end up starting our day with it,” said Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry, addressing an audience of media and select SMBs, at Delhi’s India Habitat Centre.

At this event, WhatsApp and Invest India announced a partnership to help the growth of startups and SMBs in India. This is to be one of the largest corporate partnerships Invest India has made so far. The key elements of this partnership are:

  1. The company will award $50,000 to the top five startups of the ‘Startup India WhatsApp Grand Challenge’
  2. It will also grant $250,000 in Facebook Ads to drive discovery of their businesses
  3. Startup India’s boot camp will now include tips on how to use WhatsApp for Business. They hope to reach over 50,000 startups as a part of this
  4. Select startups of Startup India will get a chance to present at state capitals where the company will conduct in-person training.

The event was helmed by Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary of Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy; Chris Daniels, VP-WhatsApp; Rajesh Magow, Co-founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip India; Deepak Bagla, MD and CEO of Invest India; and Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO of YourStory Media.

The WhatsApp SMB app currently hosts 3 million businesses and has all the tools to help a business.

“Small ideas can become big. The idea of WhatsApp is to help nurture the idea. India has a great ecosystem of startups and partnerships are the key to growth. We wouldn’t exist without partnerships with other startups. We want to be able to provide that partnership,” added Chris.

Addressing the audience, Abhishek said that this partnership will be a long-term one. He said, “Startup India started in 2016, with the idea to transform India, and this partnership is a step in that direction. We effectively have 19 states with startup policies, and the idea is to bring in the change,” said Abhishek.

“Today, WhatsApp is a part of everybody’s life. And this has reached even tier-II and tier-III cities. WhatsApp is a great example of how an idea with the right focus and alignment can grow,” said Prabhu.

Today, there are 50 million SMBs in India, who are employing 100 million people and contributes a third to India’s GDP.