Cisco LaunchPad’s Cohort 6 graduates underscore value proposition amid challenging environment
Building on a consistent trend of propelling top-notch startups, Cisco Launchpad’s Cohort 6 Showcase Day exhibited businesses that dealt with a diverse range of products and services from data privacy and security with Artificial Intelligence (AI), to the digitization of distribution grids and multilingual voice bots for support.
Cisco Launchpad is a B2B corporate accelerator program that, ‘propels deep-tech startups working in disruptive technologies.’ Its program, with a batch size of six to eight startups, sees Cisco helping them through providing mentorship programs, tech integrations, joint GTM strategy, investor connects and ecosystem enabling events.
Including the startups that make up the sixth cohort, the accelerator has paved the way for 47 startups to achieve their next level of growth in just four years since its inception.
The Cohort 6 Showcase Day was kickstarted by Sruthi Kannan, Head, Cisco LaunchPad, who laid out the agenda for the day and shared key insights into Cisco’s role in driving innovation and engagement with startups.
“Cisco LaunchPad believes in the true potential of startups and recognizes the importance of giving back to the startup community by creating an exciting environment for startups,” she said.
Calling upon Krishna Sundaresan, the VP of Engineering at Cisco to say a few words about the Showcase day and Cisco’s engagement with the ecosystem, Sruthi said, “A visionary leader does not look at what is there, but what could be. And Krishna is one such leader who drives massive impact.”
Krishna touched upon Cisco’s efforts at nurturing the startup ecosystem through Cisco LaunchPad and how they have actively engaged with B2B startups that are building solutions for enterprise tech and futuristic disruptive tech.
“Deployment of these solutions have been done across the world. Graduation is just a milestone — our engagement lasts through the life cycle of the startup. In fact, two startups from our cohorts have been acquired by leading players, $64 million was raised in total by our portfolio and 71 percent of our startups received follow-on funding.”
Reiterating the importance of innovation in the current pandemic, Krishna said that right from healthcare solutions like Cloudphysician to social distancing solutions and sanitation solutions, startups from Cisco Launchpad’s previous cohorts have been on the frontlines.
Krishna also announced the launch of Cisco Kalki — the first-ever immersive VR experience Centre for startups.
Krishna’s address was followed by the first phase of the Showcase with presentations from three of the five graduating startups — Eder Labs, Vernacular.ai and Clean Slate Technologies. The showcase of each of these startups was preceded by a short statement by each of their mentors who guided them through their cohort journey. The common theme across all these statements was the fact that the mentors themselves ended up learning a lot from the startups, and not just the other way around thereby paving a way for effectively inter weaving startup solutions with enterprise technologies.
Sharat Satyanarayana, Co-Founder & CEO of Eder Labs, spoke on how the company helps enterprises accelerate AI adoption while ensuring data privacy, along with providing a secure environment for AI computation.
This was followed by a presentation by Siddharth Desai, co-founder and CEO of Clean Slate Technologies on its Internet of Things (IoT) and real-time locating systems (RTLS) solutions that helps customers to boost their productivity from location intelligence. It offers multi-sensor hardware tags (Kreto) and proprietary indoor tracking software engines (inLocate 1.0, 4.0 and 6,0), among other solutions.
This was followed by a showcase by Sourabh Gupta of Vernacular.ai, a startup which raised Series A during the cohort period that offers a multi-lingual AI platform that automates call centers and builds voice assistants for enterprises, enabling them to achieve significant savings on call centers through the use of voice bots.
Be the disruptors
Taking a break from the demos, Sruthi welcomed Debjani Ghosh, the first woman president of the National Association of Software & Services Companies (NASSCOM) to share her perspective on Industry Startup collaborations.
Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM
In her short and crisp address, Debjani asked an important question, “Do we want to be disruptors, or do we want to be disrupted?” She was speaking about grabbing the opportunity to innovate and create disruptive solutions for the world, instead of waiting to see what others are doing. “We need the ecosystem to come together to enable this growth and Cisco is playing an important role in contributing to the growth of the startups ecosystem. We also need to ensure that we are building a talent pipeline that is made for jobs and skills of the future. Innovation is now about finding and solving the biggest, most crucial problems of the world”
Transforming tomorrow together
Taking off from Debjani’ s inspiring words, Harish Krishnan, Managing Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements at Cisco took to the virtual stage to introduce Deepak Bagla, MD & CEO of Invest India to enlighten the audience with his deep insights into the world of entrepreneurship, innovation and transforming tomorrow’s world together.
Deepak Bagla, Managing Director & CEO, Invest India
Deepak started off by congratulating Cisco Launchpad for identifying and bringing forward critical solutions with a large footprint in the last few years and that Invest India has had the opportunity for working with many of its cohort participants.
Speaking on the contribution of the startup ecosystem in India’s growth story, Deepak said that the engine of India’s growth has moved from large cities to small towns, citing that there are registered startups in 563 districts in the country.
“India’s amazing entrepreneurial mindset enabled startups and MSMEs to continue delivering tablets, mobile phones and computers to people’s homes in the middle of the pandemic. On March 30, India did not have a single PPE kit. By July, we have 800,000 PPE kits. This was done by MSMEs and startups by partnering with larger companies. This is where amazing India’s amazing ability to pivot and innovate comes to the fore. This is creating the India of tomorrow.”
Deepak also urged everyone in the audience to share their ideas and innovations on a video and share it with Invest India for them to showcase India as the solution hub of the world. He also added that Invest India actively works with several Indian states to build capacity as well as bring in global best practices in investment targeting, promotion, and facilitation areas.
“We want to create a community of startups where they can learn from each other, engage with each other to improve on their solutions, to come up with better business models that are applicable around the world,” he said.
Deepak’s word of advice and insights on transforming the startup ecosystem made way for the remaining two startups to present their solutions.
Rahul Mishra, Co-founder, and COO of Probus shared how the company helps distribution utilities digitize their distribution grid and have clear visibility of their network through its integrated end-to-end IoT platform. This was followed by the showcase from Prateep Basu, Co-Founder and CEO of SatSure and its satellite imagery-based decision intelligence for large area analytics. The company leverages advancements in satellite remote sensing, machine learning and analytics.
Sharing some good news ahead of the Showcase Day’s end, Sruthi announced that along with SatSure, Vernacular.ai was inducted into the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community — an invitation-only group of the world’s most promising start-ups and scale-ups that are at the forefront of technological and business model innovation.
Cisco Launchpad is now inviting applications for the 7th Cohort Accelerator Program from high-potential startups. To apply, click here