Globally 401 start-ups from 18 countries had participated in Open Innovation Contest this year to put their best of qualities to test and pitch before NTT and other Japanese companies.
Beating start-ups from all over the world, Nitin Gupta, founder of Indian drone technology company FlytBase, became the Grand Champion of the Open Innovation Contest of NTT Data held in Tokyo on Friday.
Twenty start-ups from across the globe made it to the finals after thorough screening. They were selected following a global search for innovative start-ups by Japanese IT company NTT Data.
Globally 401 start-ups from 18 countries had participated in Open Innovation Contest this year to put their best of qualities to test and pitch before NTT and other Japanese companies. But, Gupta’s FlytBase bagged the crown on the podium in Tokyo.
FlytBase develops smart and scalable commercial drone technology on the world’s first Internet of Drones (IoD) platform.
Gupta set up his drone company in 2013 and had developed many pivots in his business to reach this stage where it can offer its product as a platform to companies that want to use drones and need domain-specific applications. The platform enables users to do all sorts of research activities with drones.
FlytBase has its customer base mainly in the US, and its clients range from US telecom operators, security services companies, emergency response and public safety agencies among others. FlytBase is currently being incubated at Bhau Institute’s incubation centre on the College of Engineering campus, Pune .
NTT Data, part of Japanese telecom giant NTT, holds the championship event every year at the international level. For the first time NTT Data had explored India and entrusted TiE Pune to scout for start-ups in the country through an open contest. TiE Pune members Kiran Deshpande and Ajit Patil had reached out to start-ups for a national-level challenge.
Start-ups from Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolhapur and Gurgaon took part. After several rounds, 11 start-ups were short-listed 11 that made it to the final round in India. The NTT Data team picked up Gupta from the finals to represent India.
Kiran Deshpande, co-founder of Mojo Networks and president of TiE Pune, said the victory was like Indian team unexpectedly winning the World Cup or an Indian film winning the Oscars. For FlytBase, this victory would open up the Japanese market of NTT Data as well as their global business across the globe.
For NTT Data, this was a way of accessing innovation through start-ups and add next gen solutions to their portfolio of products and services, Deshpande said. Desphande said he met Japanese representatives at the NTT Tokyo show and the general perception was the fact that the Japanese market was being neglected.
“We have ignored Japan, where there are tremendous opportunities for Indian tech companies, and they need to go beyond the US and Europe market focus,” he said.
“Inspite of hick-ups and many speed bumps, India has emerged as one of top three start-up hubs globally, prompting a global giant like NTT Data to create a partnership with TiE. This will be a trend setter encouraging other multinationals and more importantly, Indian corporations, conglomerates and even government to create organise such programmes,” Deshpande said.
“The innovation platform of NTT Data is a tremendous idea whereby they seek start-ups from around the world to augment their offering. Its a win win win for NTT Data, their customers and the start-ups. Start-ups bring in focus, speed and innovation in their offering,” Deshpande added.