Maruti Suzuki MAIL is collaborating with startups for open innovation in the automobile and mobility space
The Indian automobile industry is constantly evolving. Today, it is at a crucial juncture where several disruptions are taking place, and the need of the hour is to have a relentless approach towards promoting a culture of innovation. On the other hand, the booming startup ecosystem is constantly challenging the status quo and Innovating in every aspect of human life. These startups need assistance to transform their ideas into real-time applications and improve consumer experience, and who can do this better than the market leader, Maruti Suzuki.
The country's largest carmaker has launched its corporate accelerator program Mobility & Automobile Innovation Lab (MAIL), in partnership with the Japanese seed fund and co-creation centre, GHV Accelerator. MAIL is a program that looks for innovative and cutting-edge solutions in the mobility and automobile space, which are futuristic and customer-oriented.
Driving the power of innovation in India
The objective of Maruti Suzuki MAIL is to create an ecosystem in India for talent to thrive and innovate for Indian roads. The 4-month long acceleration program is a platform for startups, to evaluate their potential and provide them with necessary support and guidance, to accelerate their growth. The key benefit of the program is the access to Maruti Suzuki’s vast test bed across all facilities and data for analytics for startups. There is an added incentive of leveraging the Maruti Suzuki heritage as India’s largest utility vehicle maker.
If you're an early-stage startup or innovator with stable customers and/or early revenues, a concrete business plan and have an understanding of the relevant market needs and potential, you can apply for MAIL. The accelerator supports startups with technologies, solutions or services that might be used in the mobility and automobile space - including areas like autonomous mobility, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analysis, Blockchain, Connected Cars, Data Security, Electric Vehicle and Infrastructure, Finance, Logistics, Marketing, Loyalty Programs, Rural, Shared Mobility, Supply Chain, Vehicle Diagnostics, Vehicle Safety, Virtual Reality and Warehousing.
What's in it for startups?
Maruti Suzuki MAIL program extends a host of benefits, not only to the top three winners of the cohort but also to all the startups selected. The winners get an opportunity to do a paid collaborative project with Maruti Suzuki with the possibility of going-to-market together, win a Maruti Suzuki Car (Ciaz / Dzire / Ignis) and an educational-cum-networking trip to Japan. That's not all; they also get to meet a Bollywood celebrity - one of brand ambassadors of Maruti Suzuki.
Furthermore, All Startups in the cohort will have their travel and lodging costs covered and get benefits worth USD 10,000 from AWS in the form of credits, business support and training, along with technical, commercial and go-to-market enablement. They also get access to seven days of free co-working space at 91SpringBoard, with discounted rates for meeting rooms and event spaces, and access to networking events and workshops.
Innovative startups from cohort 2
After an extensive exercise involving screening and several pitch sessions, four startups were selected for cohort 2, and they presented their solutions to the MD and Maruti Suzuki senior management at the demo day organised in New Delhi. These startups underwent mentorship from top industry leaders from both the domestic and international startup ecosystem, and received guidance from domain experts at Maruti Suzuki. They also got access to Maruti Suzuki’s testbed and facilities to understand the current scenario and suggest solutions to fit business needs. The four startups are:
- Dave.AI - Dave.AI helps brands build a virtual sales avatar to understand their customers, customer’s preferences and deliver a personalised value selling experience that improves profitable sales for the brand.
- Rezo.AI - Rezo is an AI-powered platform that requires little human intervention and integrates across all channels – emails, social media, chats. It leverages Natural Language Processing (NLP).
- Fabrik - Fabrik is a creative portfolio platform that uses direct input of thousands of creatives that use the platform. Fabrik’s mission is to enable, support and celebrate creative talent.
- ElectreeFi - ElectreeFi is an IoT-based e-mobility technology platform that has various components and offerings both for businesses and end customers.
Startups who drove home with the winnings
Post the presentations, on the demo day, Dave.AI, Rezo.AI and Fabrik, were identified as the top three winners. They get the opportunity to undertake a paid proof-of-concept with Maruti Suzuki for actual business use case.