Comviva’s InnoNXT Tech Challenge to speed up new-generation startups’ race to the top

Comviva — a subsidiary of Tech Mahindra and a part of the $21-billion Mahindra Group — plans to disrupt emerging sectors with future-ready solutions in its maiden cohort, while startups get a chance to explore pilot opportunities with the company’s clients.
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The past year would be remembered as one where innovation and technology rose to the occasion to ensure that people went on with their lives, even as they were restricted to their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw startups leading the charge and coming up with several ideas that leveraged technology to make lives simpler and easier. Comviva — a subsidiary of Tech Mahindra and a part of the $21-billion Mahindra Group — is looking forward to nurturing new-generation startups to join it in shaping the future with its InnoNXT Tech Challenge across emerging areas like 5G, artificial intelligence, gamification, FinTech and chatbots, among others.

Who can apply

Comviva is inviting applications from startups from March 15, 2021 till April 26, 2021. Of the applicants, 10 startups would be shortlisted and will be invited to present their pitches during the Demo Day that will take place from May 12 to14, 2021 and the winners will be announced on May 25, 2021. The three startups with the most innovative solutions will be eligible for cash grants of $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 respectively.

Startups who fulfill either of the two criteria are eligible to apply:

  • Recognised by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)
  • Startups who have a valid minimum valuable product/proof of concept, possibly with pilot customers.

The participants will have to ensure that their ideas meet the guidelines mentioned in the problem statements. Apart from a myriad of mentorship and networking opportunities, the winners of the InnoNXT Tech Challenge will get to design integrated solutions with Comviva’s products as part of a white-label partnership and explore pilot opportunities with the company’s clients. Don’t miss a chance to grab this opportunity! To register, click here.

Taking on new challenges

With an aim to revolutionise the entrepreneurial ecosystem and lead innovation across emerging technologies, Comviva has come up with six themes for the InnoNXT Tech Challenge. These are:

1. Gamification

Problem statement: Comviva is looking for ways to add plug-and-play gamification modules to its digital experience management and loyalty management offerings. The solutions designed by startups should be able to boost user engagement and user acquisition by providing customers a sense of accomplishment and competitiveness.

Scope:

  • Should be able to create a gamified story around a user flow
  • Capable to create a user interface/ user experience design around the gamified story
  • Should support elements/modules like rewards mechanism, leaderboard, coins/virtual points (redeemable), spinning wheel, badges, milestones etc.
  • Can track user attributes and touch points
  • Should link user-item interactions with elements like badges, coins and milestones
  • The rewards mechanism shall be able to give both monetary & non-monetary benefits.
  • Should offer player involvement via rules and a dedicated scoreboard
  • Customisable UI creation space for different channels

2. Personal finance manager

Problem statement: The participating finalists will have to design a white-labeled platform that serves as a digital personal finance manager for users and enables them to monitor and control their money in a hassle-free manner. It should be integrated with fintech products like digital banking and e-wallets easily. The solution should offer an omni-channel experience and must be compatible with new-age digital platforms like wearables and voice assistants.

Scope:

  • Can track and analyse finances
  • Helps user budget and plan income sources and potential expenses, while encouraging them to save
  • Manage bill and subscription payments
  • Recommend best practices to improve finances
  • Can be integrated with chatbots and financial information providers

3 (A). Conversational AI platform

Problem statement: The participating startups would be required to design a virtual assistant that offers consumers a quick, convenient, and effortless experience while helping them with their queries. The industry-agnostic platform should be designed by leveraging natural language processing.

Scope

  • Should be able to understand consumer queries, ask relevant questions and provide the right response
  • Can evolve with every conversation
  • Offer a set of rule-based common queries with configurable responses
  • Can converse in multiple languages
  • Offers a user-friendly interface

3 (B). Customer engagement through vernacular voice bots

Problem statement: As more and more people switched to digital devices and services in the wake of the pandemic, brands are realising the need to go beyond typical product offerings like emails and chatbots to ensure a more satisfactory user experience. The finalists will have to create an efficient and scalable vernacular chatbot that can be quickly deployed with minimal training.

Scope:

  • Should be able to start customer interactions through AI-enabled voice bots with casual conversations
  • Offers vernacular support in English, Arabic, French and Hindi and leverage automated speech recognition, neural networks and natural language understanding
  • Model training and testing to explore accents, voice modulation, and pauses to understand customer queries better

4. Rich media content categorisation in 5G

Problem statement: As the telecom industry prepares for the rollout of 5G services, there is a need for a firewall that could offer both signal level and content filtering, so as to prevent fraud and illegal activities. The startups would have to design a firewall that filters images/videos/documents as part of Rich Communication Services (RCS) messages and categorises them under various groups.

Scope:

  • Categorises images, videos and documents into different threat groups like pornography, extremism, graphic violence, drugs, alcohol, weapons and gambling.
  • The platform should process a sample image and video/document to show the categories that can be detected in each frame

5. Unified subscription solution

Problem statement: For this theme, Comviva is looking to collaborate with startups for an end-to-end platform that offers a seamless integration between various digital subscriptions and online services on the user's device. The interface would help the user with managing bills, availing discounts and offers, renewals and interoperability of different digital services. The platform should secure intellectual property rights and copyright protection for all app partners. It should also feature a revenue split proposition between app and payment partners and Comviva. It should be able to break-even within 18 months of its launch date.

Scope:

  • Seamless on-boarding of digital services partners
  • Offers a unified user data access for all on-boarded partners
  • Business case for both bundled and a-la-carte subscription

6. Digital advertising platform

Problem statement: The aim is to create a programmatic advertising platform that shall have components like supply side platform, demand side platform, ad exchange, ad server and data management platforms. Each component should follow security practices like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation and OpenRTB specifications, apart from ensuring precise targeting with minimum advertising budgets.

Scope:

  • Must be capable of creating user profiles in real time and syncing with customer’s transaction data on a daily basis
  • Should be effective even without third party cookies.
  • Shall support on-cloud and on-premise deployments
  • Shall have payment and billing integration for advertisers and publishers.

While the InnoNXT Tech Challenge is Comviva’s maiden cohort, it has been supporting startups and nurturing entrepreneurial talent internally for a long time. It has worked closely with startups and helped them scale ahead by way of mentorship and providing access to networking and investment opportunities. Some of these enterprises are now working as individual organisations and have a steady stream of revenue helping them scale ahead.

Comviva is also helping startups grow by catalysing their communication and engagement strategies. “Factoreal is the youngest startup launched by Comviva Technologies and enables marketers to build lifelong engagement with their customers, bringing email marketing automation, social media marketing, paid marketing, customer journey automation, e-commerce integration, and personalisation & segmentation to a single platform. With Comviva by our side, we constantly look forward to shape the next industry revolution in customer engagement,” says Aditya Dhruva, CEO, Factoreal

Yabx was another startup that was launched by Comviva in 2018 with a vision to simplify financial access for the unbanked population in emerging markets of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

“With its rich experience in the telecom and banking sector, Comviva was looking for neo growth opportunities, where technology could be a key differentiator to support innovative digital use cases. The sweet spot was digital financial services where Yabx now works to establish a meaningful connect between telecom operators, payment service providers, and banks to reach out to unserved customers,” says Rajat Dayal, CEO, YABX.


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