6 May 2021
Chitkara University recently conducted the grand finale of the ‘India Innovation Challenge- 2021’ – one of the largest funding fest and University driven platforms for upcoming start-ups. With a mission to promote novel and practical innovations, India Innovation Championship witnessed record participation by teams from across the nation and abroad.
The Championship which was open to innovators, entrepreneurs, designers, thinkers, students, engineers, scientists, coders, trainers, academicians from any background was launched in October 2020 as ‘India Innovation Challenge – 2021’ and received a record 460 applications from the progressive sectors ranging from fin-tech, agri-tech, ed-tech, waste management solutions to the health sector. Only 23 start-ups qualified for the stringent screening and were allowed to ‘Pitch and Present’ their ideas to a panel of 10.
Amongst the four start-ups that made it to the finals of IIC-2021, the start-up created by IIT Kharagpur final year students, Tushar Singla, Mann Goel, Anuprava& Shubham, ‘eSaathi,’ attracted investment and special mention. eSaathi is a software-based UI that aims to bridge the gap between new smartphone users and apps, which have become an essential part of a post-pandemic lifestyle.
As shared by founders, their eureka moment came when they came across the fact that with nation-wide adoption of digitization for payment related tasks, especially during the pandemic, the instances of frauds had also skyrocketed (especially for new smartphone users). They were quick to identify an opportunity to leverage technology to help the users, and thus ‘eSaathi’ was born.
eSAATHI provides users with guided audio-visual assistance, which helps them navigate all the apps step-by-step, thus augmenting a real human being.
eSAATHI software has been designed to integrate itself with the partner companies’ application element ID, thus ensuring a seamless and high-quality guided experience. Once integrated, the user receives guidance to navigate through one’s phone, from unlocking the phone to making the payment or updating information.
Curated by Chitkara University Centre for entrepreneurship and education development-CEED- & coached by Orbit Future Academy, and backed by seasoned angel investors, VC partners SucSeed Indovation Fund (Hyderabad) & Modular Capital, accelerator partner 100 Watts (Pune), industry bodies like FICCI &MeitY start-up hub, the Government of Himachal Pradesh, Chitkara University’s Research and Innovation Network (CURIN) and Chitkara University NEW Gen-IEDC, the challenge was curated to drive entrepreneurship and accelerate promising Research, Innovation, Demonstration and Development (RID&D) in technology, across India.
The ‘India Innovation Championship’ (IIC)- 2021 grand finale witnessed the raising of the fund by the start-ups including ‘Pacify Medical Technologies Pvt Ltd’ (SINE – IIT Bombay), ‘3RUrban Solutions India Pvt Ltd’ (Pune based start-up and incubated by Chitkara Innovation Incubator), and,’ This life matters Pvt Ltd’ (the start-up is offering a dairy-free option and is better for vegans and lactose-intolerant). Other notable innovations and start-ups which garnered particular attention from the judges and were adjudged as having the potential to raise funding in the future included start-ups from reputed institutes like the University of Florida, Chitkara Innovation Incubator, and locations like Bengaluru, New Delhi, and Tamil Nadu.
Chitkara University and a panel of investors from Orbit Future Academy made 50 lacs rupees on spot investments to start-ups from across the cities and incubators from India. Govt. grants up to 20 lac rupees for prototype development & product commercialization were also awarded by the panel of jury members to star-ups from India and abroad.
The IIC 2021 finalists included participating teams from institutions of national and international reputation including, IIT Mumbai, IIT Kharagpur, Panjab University, Chitkara University, IIT Patna, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (Kashmir), Kongu Engineering College (Tamil Nadu), Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering (Pune), University of Florida-USA, SR University (Warangal), North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology (Itanagar), and start-ups from Bengaluru & Indore.
Mr. Nalin Singh, CEO & Co-founder Orbit Future Academy, Indonesia, applauding Chitkara University’s efforts to promote entrepreneurship shared, “Chitkara University has made many contributions developing a promising entrepreneurial ecosystem in India especially in the fin-tech, agri-tech, med-tech, and ed-tech space”.
Dr. Madhu Chitkara, Pro-Chancellor, Chitkara University, while applauding the winners, participants, event organizers, shared that “Chitkara University has a pan-India vision to support entrepreneurship & innovation while acknowledging others efforts & creativity. We congratulate ‘eSaathi’ for offering a tech solution to one of the most pressing post-pandemic tech issues, i.e., the digital divide and digital inclusion. This gives me immense pleasure to share that as an outcome of our unwavering and relentless focus on promoting ‘entrepreneurship for a greater social good’, Chitkara University has emerged as a preferred institution for the start-up’s from across the nation to seek incubation and funding opportunities.”