Since its inception in 2016, the CISCO Launchpad programme which aims to create solutions for the next generation of internet users has seen a great response. Earlier this year, when Cisco invited applications for the 5th Cohort of Launchpad, 450 startups were screened to be part of this unique outreach initiative. Of these, eight startups made it to the final cohort after an intense selection process.
Delivering the Welcome Address at the Cisco Launchpad Cohort 5 Showcase Day on September 4 in Bengaluru, Pradeep Kathail, Chief Software Architect, Core Software Group & CTO Connected Car BU at Cisco, said, “This industry can only grow when disruption happens and we embrace the same.”
Speaking of the impact that the startups in the 5th cohort had seen, he said that some of their revenues had grown three times and the number of employees across the cohort startups have collectively seen an increase by 60 percent.”
Addressing the startups who were present, he said, “Graduation does not mean goodbye. You are going to remain a part of the CISCO Launchpad family.” He also announced Cisco encouraged them to meet other members from previous cohorts and be involved with motivating the startups in the upcoming 6th cohort. Cisco LaunchPad is currently inviting applications for their 6th cohort.
Steering startups to scale
This was followed by an Open House – a panel discussion on the “Voice of Startup’ with Puneet Pushkarna, General Partner, Solmark, Chairman, TiE Singapore; Amey Mashelkar, Head, JioGenNext; Takashi Suzuki, Director General, JETRO Bengaluru and moderated by Deepak Solanki, Founder and CEO, Velmenni (Cisco LaunchPad Cohort 4 Alumnus).
Speaking about what investors, particularly Reliance, looked for in a startup, Mr Mashelkar said, “Our main focus is on scale. Any startup we look at has to show the promise of scale. My advice to early-stage startups is to not focus on the product alone but also on the customer, interact with them and gauge what they want.” His opinion was echoed by Mr Pushkarna, who said that the way to scale up a business was to ‘get consumed by it. It’s important to keep listening to your customer and to evolve and evaluate your product at every stage. that investors also looked at the resilience of the founding team because life did not always work according to the business plan.
For businesses looking to venture into the Japanese market, Mr Suzuki said JETRO’s role was to support business between the two countries. “Earlier, people thought that only manufacturing companies had opportunities overseas. That is changing and open innovation and digital companies have the biggest potential. Japanese hardware and Indian software can work together.”
The highlight of the event was the startup showcase featuring the eight graduating startups. These were:
Cloudphysician: Cloudphysician leverages modern technology to provide cost-effective quality healthcare and seamlessly brings it to hospital ICUs. Its smart-ICU solution has helped increase the number of ICU beds that an intensivist can reach, thereby improving efficiency and affordability while leading to improved patient outcomes.
Founders: Dr. Dhruv Joshi, Dileep Raman, and Dhruv Sud
CRON Systems: CRON Systems is a leading technology and innovation platform company engineering that is working to bridge the gap between complex 3-D sensing technologies and real world applications using futuristic edge processing, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). Its primary application has been in the defence space.
Founders: Tushar Chhabra, Saurav Agarwala, and Tomer Katzenellenbogen
Deepfence: Deepfence is a distributed intrusion prevention and active response system that runs alongside modern cloud-native application workloads and protects them from complex multi-vector, multi-stage attacks in real time.
Founders: Sandeep Lahane, Swarup Sahoo, and Shyam Krishnaswamy
Enmovil: Enmovil is a logistics technology startup focused on enhancing operational efficiency of manufacturing industry verticals that rely heavily on field logistics for their day-to-day operations.
Founders: Ravi Bulusu, Nanda Kishore, and Venkat Moganty
Orbo: Orbo is a deep learning and computer-vision-based platform that is enhancing low-resolution videos to 1080p or 4K video formats in real-time.
Founders: Manoj Shinde and Danish Jamil
Tagvance: Tagvance is an IoT innovation startup based in Singapore that helps the mining industry track the locations of their assets and manpower. This has helped improve operational efficiency, capacity utilisation and work safety, while reducing costs.
Founders: Can Kiral and Sam Herzallah
UTORA: UTORA simplifies access to enterprise data and empowers data-driven teams with instant insights.
Founders: Anmol Nautiyal and Anindya Neogi and Anupam Nauityal
Yellow Messenger: Yellow Messenger is the leading Conversational AI Platform that empowers Enterprises to automate conversations and enhance CX across functions via smart chatbots. Their omni-channel automation layer supports intelligence on all traditional and new-age communication channels while seamlessly integrating with existing data management systems.
Founders: Raghu Ravinutala and Jaya Kishore
Delivering the closing address, Krishna Sundaresan, Vice President, Engineering – Cisco Systems, elaborated on the various engagement channels and developments made by the 5th Cohort startups within Cisco. To highlight, Yellow Messenger is working on joint GTM solutions along with the Cisco Collaboration portfolio, while Utora is engaged on the Cisco DNA Centre. Tagvance is connected with Cisco teams on mining and port management opportunities in Singapore and Australia while CRON is making huge strides securing the boundaries powered by IoT and Cisco's networking technologies.
The showcase concluded with the Cohort’s Graduation ceremony.
Collaboration for innovation
The startup showcase was followed by a networking session where all the Cisco LaunchPad Cohort members (Cohort 1 to cohort 5) had the opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with 14 corporates, including Daimler, Oracle and Société Générale. The session was organized in association with Cisco LaunchPad program partner, Zinnov.
Earlier in the day, entrepreneurship cell students and professors from various IITs, BITS and PESIT interacted with Cisco leaders to discuss driving meaningful collaboration between industry and academia.
The graduating startups will have the opportunity to showcase their solutions at the upcoming editions of the premier 'Cisco Live' event. Watch how five startups from previous cohorts participated in a global event and showcased their innovations in the 'world of solutions' section.
If you are interested in participating in the 6th cohort of Cisco Launchpad, write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.