The second edition of Grand Challenge by AWS and Campus Fund is now open

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The next great idea, venture or product is lurking in the corridors of university campuses. It needs to be discovered and nurtured to fruition. Fostering the entrepreneurial ambitions of students has a significant impact on the economy. A university incubated business has the power to create more jobs and generate more sales. Successful university incubators have seamlessly integrated into some of the top educational systems globally. India, however, is a different story. Apart from a handful of institutes, the country lacks a startup ecosystem to transform the next big student startup. However, this is set to change with initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Make In India, Startup India and the National Educational Policy 2020.

In line with these initiatives and policies is the Grand Challenge from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Campus Fund. AWS provides state-of-the-art, on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to the biggest companies and governments across the globe. Campus Fund is India’s first and only dorm room fund, which invests in student-led startups. It provides students with capital, mentorship and guidance. The Grand Challenge is the brainchild of these two organisations, which are committed to finding India’s brightest and best in their entrepreneurial ventures.

The first edition of the Grand Challenge, held in December 2020, reported an overwhelming response. Now, students have a chance to submit their applications for the second edition of the event.

With partners from HDFC Bank, Wadhwani Foundation, NASSCOM 10,000 Startups, TIE University, YourStory and others, this year’s edition promises students guidance and support from some of India’s most influential industry leaders.

Applying for the Grand Challenge

If you’re a student and the founder of a startup, this competition is for you. The Grand Challenge also allows college/ university dropouts, as well as founders who have graduated in the last three years, to apply. Applications close on September 30, 2021.

The competition is looking for startups in the following sectors:

1. Mobility, AutotTech, Robotics and Automation

2. AgriTech, CleanTech, Sustainability and Circular Economy

3. Edech

4. Fintech

5. Life Sciences and Mental Health

6. Others

Journey with Grand Challenge

Once the applicants have registered, the competition will move to the first of three elimination rounds. The details of these rounds can be found on the website. You can click here to find out more, click here

The final demo will be held on November 19, in front of a high-powered panel consisting of

1. Anjali Bansal - Founder and Chairperson, Avaana Capital

2.Bharat Shah, Chairman, HDFC Securities

3. Dev Khare, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners

4. Gaurav Arora, Head of Startup Ecosystem, APAC AWS

5. Kanwaljit Singh, Founder and Managing Partner Fireside Ventures

6. Karan Mohla, Partner, Chiratae Ventures

7. Phanindra Sama, Founder, RedBus and Venture Advisor, WestBridge

8. Raghunandan G, Founder, TaxiForSure and Zolve

9. Richa Bajpai, Founder Campus Fund

10. Sasha Mirchandani, Founder and Managing Director of Kae Capital, Co-Founder Mumbai Angels

11.Shanti Mohan - Founder, LetsVenture

12. Siddharth Nautiyal, Partner, Omidyar Network

13. Soumya Rajan,Founder & CEO, Waterfield Advisors

14. Sriharsha Majety, Co-founder and CEO, Swiggy

15. Yatin Shah, Co-founder and Joint CEO, IIFL Wealth

16.Nupur Garg, Founder, WinPE

India’s Best Student-Led Startup for 2021

After the final demo, the esteemed panel will deliberate over the finalists before declaring the winner of GC. The top prize includes $2500 equity free cash prize, while the second will receive $1500 and the third $1000. The top three winners will also pitch to the Investment Committee of Campus Fund on November 20 and 21 for an investment of Rs 50 lakh to jumpstart their start-up.

Winners will also receive AWS credits and mentorship sessions with industry leaders, various benefits from partners of the Grand Challenge, and the title of India’s Best Student-Led Startup, 2021.


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