Kerala startup gets Rs 1 crore to develop India’s Zoom; wins govt challenge

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August 21, 2020 2:53 PM

A tech startup from Kerala has won a government challenge to create a video-conferencing platform similar to Zoom and has received Rs 1 crore.

Joy Sebastian’s Techgentsia Software Technologies Pvt Ltd took on the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology’s Digital India (MEITY)’s “Grand Challenge”.

A tech startup from Kerala has won a government challenge to create a video-conferencing platform similar to Zoom and has received Rs 1 crore. Joy Sebastian’s Techgentsia Software Technologies Pvt Ltd took on the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology’s Digital India (MEITY)’s “Grand Challenge” that was rolled out on April 12 and developed a world class video-conferencing solution amid a boom in demand for the same due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 44-year-old Joy Sebastian is in limelight now with it winning the prestigious challenge and a whopping cash prize.

Equivalent to Zoom

While there was a rise in demand for video conferencing apps, the existing player Zoom had safety concerns due to which a homegrown app was needed. “Security has been pointed out as a problem with Zoom. Vconsol has addressed it with tighter measures. Each participant will have a different password. And, to ensure that only those expected or invited are able to join the video-conference, an OTP verification code will be sent to mobile phones of participants,” Joy Sebastian said. Techgentsia will now be provided with financial support of Rs 1 crore, and additional Rs 10 lakh for operation and maintenance for the next three years, according to the IT Minsitry.

Joy Sebastian, who left his career as a tech consultant in Kochi and moved to a village near Alappuzha, took a leap of faith with one dream — starting an R&D centre for video-conferencing solutions. “I started Techgentsia in 2009 with a friend, Tony Thomas… We have been focusing on R&D in video-conferencing solutions from the beginning, and have a few clients from the US, Europe and India for our B2B model. We have grown over the years, and now employ 65 people,” Joy Sebastian, who completed his MCA from TKM College of Engineering in Kollam, said, The Indian Express reported. 

For Sebastian, the government challenge came as an opportunity to showcase his dream to the world. “We decided to develop a product for the country. Now, that dream has materialised,” he said. The state government also runs a 66-acre Info Park near Alappuzha, close to a village from where Joy Sebastian hails.

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