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WhatsApp India just gave $50,000 each to these 5 Indian startups

These five startups were selected by WhatsApp India from close to 2,000 entries evaluated for innovative thinking, scale of impact, and the ability to solve real problems faced by Indians.

Ramarko Sengupta
18th Jun 2019
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WhatsApp India on Tuesday handed cheques for $50,000 each to the five winners of a grand startup challenge it had organised with Startup India, the government's flagship initiative.


The five startups were selected from 10 firms that had been shortlisted to pitch to a jury of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs on Tuesday. These were selected based on their ability to solve real problems faced by Indians using technology and innovative thinking.


WhatsApp India startup challenge

The winners of the grand startup challenge with Abhijit Bose, India Head, WhatsApp (third from left). The challenge was held by WhatsApp India in partnership with the government's flagship Startup India initiative.

Here are the winning startups.


MedCords


Based out of Kota, this startup uses technology to bring dependable and affordable access to quality healthcare to rural and semi-urban areas. It digitally manages patient medical records, provides comprehensive e-consultations, and delivers insights using data science.


Melzo


The Surat-based startup offers an affordable virtual reality content platform that enables people to consume content easily on low-end devices. Catering to over 140+ brands and SMEs globally, it has reached more than three million views in over 200 countries.


Javis


Based out of Mumbai, this startup offers a WhatsApp-based conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform that connects the right people with the right information to get business done quickly. Its AI platform receives an average of three to four individual queries per day, and currently has 1,500 active users.


Gramophone


The Indore-based agritech startup works with farmers, providing them with agronomy services and the right inputs during the entire cropping cycle. It says it can help farmers reduce cultivation costs by up to 20 percent, and increase production by more than 30 percent. The company has raised Pre-Series A funding of $1 million from InfoEdge.


MinionLabs


This Bengaluru-based startup has made it easier for people to do their bit for the environment. It has created a smart energy device that monitors and analyses energy consumption of multiple devices, and helps reduce energy spends.


The jury that picked the five startups included Deep Kalra, Founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip; Vani Kola, Founder and Managing Director of Kalaari Capital; Shailesh Lakhani, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital; Harsha Kumar, Partner at Lightspeed Ventures; and Abhijit Bose, India Head of WhatsApp.


Invest India and WhatsApp joined hands last year in October with the idea of providing a boost to the Indian startup ecosystem. Through this partnership, they have trained 15,000 aspiring entrepreneurs from Tier II and III cities across the country under the Startup India Yatra programme.


As part of this partnership between WhatsApp India and Invest India, a grand challenge was launched in January this year, in a quest for transformative solutions that can make a large scale socio-economic impact. The challenge received an overwhelming response from all over the country.

 

Close to 2,000 entries were evaluated for their innovative thinking, scale of impact and the ability to solve real problems faced by Indians.




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