Indian start-ups gain the most when accelerated by the world’s best

Published: March 25, 2019 4:36:04 AM

Google’s Launchpad Accelerator India and Maersk’s OceanPro programmes have helped Indian startups build innovative solutions that are globally relevant

Participants at the Google Launchpad Accelerator programme, India

By Srinath Srinivasan

In the last couple of months, some of the world’s best across various industries have announced accelerator programmes for promising Indian startups, especially the ones with a tech background. By providing a global platform, access to their top clients and in some cases, even seed funding, the companies aim to solve some of the biggest problems they face every day at a cost that is only a fraction of what larger enterprises would charge them.

For instance, startups Opentalk, THB, Perceptiviti Data Solutions, DheeYantra, Kaleidofin, FinancePeer, SmartCoin, HRBOT, and Adiuvo Diagnostics have been selected for the second batch of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator India programme. Launchpad Accelerator India is modeled on Google’s global Launchpad Accelerator programme, and is dedicated to support Indian startups that use technologies such as Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create solutions that address India’s core needs. Similar to the first batch of startups, these ten handpicked startups will get access to the best of Google and will undergo an intensive one-week mentorship bootcamp, followed by further in-person engagements over the next three months. Throughout the programme, startups will also be supported virtually on their specific needs.

“Given the growing maturity of India’s startups our programme focuses on providing startups with incremental knowledge and tools, gleaned from our experience of building products for users around the world,” says Paul Ravindranath G, programme manager, Launchpad Accelerator Programme, India. “For the second class, we aim to provide a sharply targeted programme designed around the challenges of India, and how technologies such as AI and ML can be leveraged to address their scale and complexity. Through Launchpad Accelerator India, the idea is to innovate and iterate with products in the crucible of India, to build solutions that are globally relevant.”

The startups in the second class operate in key areas like learning to become a better speaker, conversational AI for Indian vernacular languages, insurance claims and financial solutions and healthcare for the masses. While the startups above provide solutions for local problems, which eventually become a model for other markets, some of the other startups that get accelerated by the biggest of companies provide global solutions which directly get deployed across various countries.

Maersk, the largest shipping and logistics company in the world, is making huge investments in digitalisation. One of the Indian startups, LinkedDots, an Internet of Things (IoT) startup, which was recently a part of Maersk’s OceanPro accelerator programme, has come up with an Intermodal (multiple modes of transport in a container’s journey) platform and application to provide real-time visibility of container movement inland. Some of the other startups in the first edition of OceanPro are Zasti (AI), Inatrix (ML), MintM (Computer Vision), KrypC (Blockchain), LaVela Pictures (Virtual Reality) and one internal startup, Dhruv (data mining). These startups provided solutions incorporating new-age technologies including AI, VR and Blockchain among others. Each of the solutions will help improve services for Maersk customers in India and globally, making India a hub for enabling digital transformation of container logistics.

What’s interesting is that some of the startups like Zasti were not part of the shipping and logistics business before. This platform proved to be the first step in understanding the business with long hours of training from Maersk.

Sriram Narayanasami, global commercial process head, Maersk, was the brain behind creating this platform for Indian startups. Says Narayanasami, “Accelerator programmes should not be seen merely as a funding activity. We provide the startups with access to our global client and data which is difficult otherwise. Our aim is to tap the potential in India. Combining the deep knowledge we possess in serving customers in India and globally, with the passion, technical innovation and speed that our startups bring, we will be able to create a win-win for our customers and the startups.”

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