Meet the deep tech startups of Entrepreneur First’s Indian cohort
London-based talent investor Entrepreneur First or EF is an entrepreneur maker. Founded by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentick in 2011, it supports individuals who wish to build global companies. EF not only invests time and money in potential entrepreneurs but also helps individuals to find a co-founder and build startups from scratch.
Each year, EF announces two cohorts in each of its locations - London, Berlin, Paris, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and invites applicants to select future founders. Once the startups are built, it helps the founders showcase their ideas to investors and raise seed funding. Having helped 1,200 individuals build over 200 companies across these cities, EF is now in Bengaluru.
Esha Tiwary, General manager, India and Matt Clifford, Chief Executive and Cofounder of EF
Earlier this year in January 31, Entrepreneur First launched in India and announced its maiden Indian cohort of 50 entrepreneurs, who were selected from a pool of 900 applicants. In fact, it's already building its second cohort.
“Our growth in Asia is proof that deep tech talent is abundant outside Silicon Valley. Our first cohort in Bengaluru and our second, which is already underway in Bengaluru, has been exceptional examples of this,” Matt said.
At the inaugural Indian Investor Day on Monday, August 19, in Bengaluru, EF featured startups from its first Indian cohort. Here are the finalists of the cohort.
Founded by Danish Sinha and Nagmanjunath Shivakumar, PakkaProfile is transforming the way companies profile the blue-collared workforce. Poor literacy rates among delivery executives and ride-hailing drivers make fitment assessments a challenge for the companies.
PakkaProfile uses a gamification approach to overcome this challenge and assess personality traits such as empathy, customer centricity, integrity, and reliability. It has contracts with Swiggy and Zomato, who cover up to 90 percent of the Indian food delivery business with 3,00,000 delivery executives each day.
Founded by Gordana Ilic and Akshay Jain, Mesotope is innovating for carbon efficiency. The team is using chemistry to bridge innovation, efficiency, and activated carbons resulting in up to 300 percent higher efficiencies across applications including water treatment and energy storage.
PhD-holder Praapti Jayasawal and Computational Biologist Avlokita Tiwari have built an Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled SaaS (Software as a Service) that diagnoses drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) within five hours. This is unlike the existing drug-resistant tuberculosis diagnostic, which takes four to six weeks.
AarogyaAI has partnered with leading diagnostic labs in India to build and validate the product.
Unnikrishna Menon, a dental surgeon from NYU, and Sankar Seramani, Machine Learning (ML) expert, built a voice AI software to improve customer service compliance for healthcare providers.
The software will extract voice conversations and provide insights to the front desk staff to improve patient conversations. The startup already has five pilot projects in Singapore.
A digital finance platform for small and medium business, Kount was founded by ISB graduate Bhargavi Vijaykumar and IIT Bombay alumnus Ankit Parashar.
The platform not only empowers SMB entrepreneurs with financial data but also enables them to manage banking transactions, reconcile them, and provide cash forecasts in its dashboard.
Outside Voice (Singapore)
Founders Aakash Dhuna and Vibhas Jain built Outside Voice to conduct qualitative market research at scale using intelligent bots. The bots can recruit the right respondents through social media, interview them, and analyse responses to draw conclusions.
The claim to automate the $11.4 billion market research space. Outside Voice’s bots can conduct market research 5X cheaper and 10X quicker than the traditional agencies. They are currently working with five research agencies and will soon on-board clients including Gojek, Sephora, and Citibank.
Singapore-based Leorix manages infrastructure for high-frequency data pipelines. Founded by Thana Kunganesan and Sri Kuganesan, Leorix has partnered with several leading cloud providers in Southeast Asia.
Instead of paying hundreds of developer hours to build complex custom solutions, Leorix helps companies to set up and run in days’ time.
Intensel (Hong Kong)
Intensel claims to be the intelligence behind climate risk and its dollar value. The company uses AI-powered numerical weather prediction models to predict climate risks. Founded by climate scientist Saurabh Singh and financial engineer Entela Benz, it uses CFD engineering approach and financial modelling to translate climate risk into a dollar value.
Its paid clients include CLP Holding, Arup Group, CLSA, and an international bank.
Founded by Co-founder of healthtech company Healthians Anuj Mittal, Opmagic.ai, as the name suggests, is an AI-powered SaaS tool. It helps small manufacturing businesses manage resources and double their speed and capacity.
It intelligently manages materials, manpower, machines, and money to ensure a bottleneck free workflow in real-time. This not only results in on-time deliveries at half the time and cost, but also gives a huge competitive advantage for SMBs to grow sales.
Aurora: AI-assisted assessments (Singapore)
Founded by Harvard University graduate Karishma Kamal Galani and AI expert Ramsri Goutham Golla, Aurora generates K-12 assessments 100X faster.
Its system uses AI to understand concepts and generate quality questions to evaluate understanding. The startup claims to make learning dynamic, personalised, and fast.
BrainSight.AI is a SaaS tool that helps psychiatrists to diagnose mental disorders using MRI scans. The AI-powered software empowers hospitals to diagnose patients accurately and with speed.
The tool provides AI-based imaging biomarkers to identify and classify disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and dementia.
Founded by Rimjhim Agarwal and Liana Emmanuel, BrainSight.AI is pilot testing their prototype with two hospital chains, including the largest private hospital chain in India.
Founded by Hafiz Nadirshah and Abheek Bose, AtomBrush is building robots to automate the laborious task of painting buildings. They deploy swarm robotics systems to increase productivity by 12X and thus, cut down labour costs by 80 percent, improving its quality.
AtomBrush has paid pilot agreements with four blue-chip firms and Singapore’s innovative paint company. The startup also have customers across seven countries in their pipeline.
Founded by Gayathri Natarajan, Elmira Soghrati, and Mahesh Nathan, KrossLinker develops insulation material for bio-pharma packaging. The startup has already confirmed pilots with two temperature-controlled packaging companies and have eight more in their pipeline.
KrossLinker’s aerogel technology provides high-performance insulation that can be used multiple times. The company soon plans to spread to other verticals including aerospace, oil, and gas.
LightSpeedAI Labs (Bengaluru)
LightSpeedAI Labs is building an optoelectronic processor that accelerate AI computations. Founders Rohin Yeluripati and Dinesh Natesan say that the exponential growth of AI demands fast, low-power processors. And this need can no longer be met by silicon-based hardware.
LightSpeed AI Labs’ optoelectronic processors use light to compute. It plugs into standard PCIe slots in server racks and integrates with the existing ML libraries. Having reduced the cost-per-compute and inherent scalable opportunities, the startup claims that its processors can enable sustainable computing for future AI.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)