For the top 20 startups, chosen as part of Leap To Unicorn, a special initiative for early stage startup growth and funding by IDFC FIRST Bank, in association with Moneycontrol and CNBC-TV18, the selection process has been exhaustive and enriching. It began with a call for applications, which allowed about 500 of India’s best startups to take part in a month-long bootcamp. Specially curated sessions with industry leaders helped these startups hone their investment propositions further. Armed with new knowledge and insight, the startups submitted revised pitch decks along with pitch videos. A stringent evaluation process yielded the top 20 startups, who now stand on the cusp of a big breakthrough.
The revised startup pitches were rated on five parameters; Team, Market Potential, Product/Innovation, Traction (user/customer engagement), Defensibility Moat (how easy it is for a new entrant to enter the market this startup operates in) and Presentation/Presentability. While the shortlisted pitches scored well on Product/Innovation, what set the leaders apart were solid scores on Market Potential and Defensibility Moat, reflecting the founders’ depth of market knowledge and breadth of experience. The diversity in founder profiles was only matched by the scope of innovation on display.
As expected, Healthcare and HealthTech is well represented among the top 20 startups of Leap To Unicorn. Some, like HealthySure, AyuRythm, Alpha Coach and Arficus, are deploying technology in novel ways to expand access to proper healthcare, while others, like Ayati Devices Pvt. Ltd., CyGenica, getactyv.com and Unlearners Tech Pvt. Ltd. are building products that will revolutionize health services. Wellness, as an expression of more mindful and sustainable existence, continues to inspire new ideas, as demonstrated by the presence of Terra X, a sustainable lifestyle brand, or Artinci and Mountaintribe, two purveyors of healthy food tech, among the top 20. A sustainable world could do with seamless logistics and flexible supply chains too, a prospect brought to life by drone-delivery capabilities of TechEagles Pvt. Ltd., one-stop warehousing solutions offered by Hyphen SCS, or BEYOBO’s integrated global supply networks.
Among the top 20 startups are also those who are redefining social interactions in meaningful ways. FROB (Friends of Books) is a convenient amalgamation of social media and reading apps, where communities of book lovers can come together. 60PlusIndia provides an avenue for children living far to care for their elderly parents and track their well-being. Many of the top 20 startups have broken new ground in provision of integrated services, like Manjha Technologies, whose platform provides a vital link between fish farmers, fisheries, and other industry stakeholders. The fintech startup in the mix, Thoughtle Technologies Pvt. Ltd., has devised an AI-powered digital platform to deliver a whole suite of financial and ERP planning services to businesses, similar in many ways to what Expertia AI aims to do in the realm of Human Resources. The top 20 also includes MiniMines Cleantech Solutions Pvt. Ltd., which is pioneering ways to enable a circular economy for Lithium ion batteries.
The top 20 startups will now present virtual pitches to the esteemed jury for Leap To Unicorn, comprised of Prashanth Prakash - Founding Partner, Accel, India, Siddarth Pai - Founding Partner, 3ONE4 Capital, Bhavik Vasa - Founder & CEO, GetVantage, Aakrit Vaish - Co-Founder & CEO, Haptik, Shanti Mohan – Co-founder & CEO, LetsVenture & trica. The top 5 will be selected to feature in a nationally televised Grand Finale, where they will pitch for significant funds. Those who don’t make it will have the consolation of having made their mark on a national platform, besides featuring in a soon-to-be-released ‘Top 100 startups to watch out for’ report by IDFC FIRST Bank.
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