The 22nd Wharton India Economic Forum and the 5th Wharton India Startup Challenge yet again saw some tremendous ideas that can be pathbreaking in solving subtle societal problems. Access to Universal Education and Affordable Healthcare being the BIG issues of today, startups which focussed on these issues had an edge over most others. However, those that emerged as winners are once again those with a strong emotional connect with the audience. Here is a list of 5 most innovative startups at Wharton India Start-Up Challenge in the last 5 years.
Have you watched the movie ‘Padman’? Then you must be aware of how cheap sanitary napkins can play a crucial role in menstrual hygiene. Well, I am talking about SWACHH: World’s First Automatic and Compact Ultra Thin Sanitary Pad Making Machine. I am talking about Saral Designs.
Saral Designs, is a Mumbai based start-up, working on increasing access to high-quality affordable sanitary napkins using a smart distributed manufacturing technology developed in-house. Founded in 2015, Saral aims to create a better future in menstrual hygiene and sanitation using product design, machine technology, and innovative delivery mechanisms.
In developing countries, due to poor infrastructure, either distribution costs make the products 60% more expensive in voluminous products like pads and diapers, or the existing brands not catering to remote locations. This startup aims to be able to reach the 80% of the women who do not use hygienic menstrual products by solving the problem of access and affordability.
Spotdraft is a legaltech startup that aims to reduce the hassle of drafting contracts and other legal documents. As far as India is concerned, the legal and compliance service market is capped at $6.2 Billion and is still growing. Vakilsearch and MyAdvo are two startups that connect clients with advocates. However, SpotDraft is an AI-driven end-to-end contract lifecycle management platform. It is innovative in the sense that you can generate a legal document by answering just a few questions. Thus, a business firm can easily create a contract for a professional deal in very less time. We all are aware that preparing business contracts to come up with tie-ups with companies or clients take hours and hours of work and is a cumbersome process. You can also track your payments and in case a payment is pending, an automated invoice can be sent to the borrower. A machine learning algorithm trained on over 3.5 million legal documents is at the heart of SportDraft.
This startup has raised whopping $550k seed funding from Hunch Ventures, Spiral Ventures, and some other venture capitalist firms in 2017. This funding will help the Gurugram based startup to scale up and market its product. SpotDraft that was launched by Harvard Law School graduate Shashank Bijapur and Ex Googler Madhav Bhagat.
SpotDraft’s technology is currently aimed at small businesses and freelancers to help them draft solid contracts, send automated invoices and payment reminders. But going forward, the AI platform will be able to read through contracts, organize, manage and analyze them.
Eduvanz is a new finance company. With innovative loan products, faster service and transparent conversations, the company is all about helping the students get ahead and find success. Whether one is looking to do a new skill course, grab that next promotion, or just want to invest in the future, Eduvanz works with several partners to accomplish the goals that one sets and achieve financial independence.
Crowdfunding is not a new thing in India, at least in 2018. ‘Ketto’ aims to give it another dimension. It boasts of several successful fundraising campaigns for education and healthcare. You can find students raising funds for their innovative ideas and projects as well. I came across a post where the students of Aligarh Muslim University have raised over 2.5 lakh (250000 INR) for their Formula SAE car. So, Ketto is a new platform to voice your dreams. The largest fundraising campaign so far is INR 10 lacs to send Shiva Keshavan to winter olympics.
It is the largest platform for Indian languages and also the Powerhouse Winner 2016. It’s basically, is a self publishing platform thatis currently functional in 5 different languages. Founded in 2014 and helmed by its five founding pillars, Rahul Ranjan, Sankaranarayanan Devarajan, Sahradayi Modi, Ranjeet Pratap Singh and Prashant Gupta, the company is continuing to stand strong. ‘Pratilipi’ has now created a niche for Indian writers to publish in their mother tongue.
Some previous finalists of the Wharton India Startup challenge include Zoomcar, Zostel, Saaman, Travel Gourmand (2014), Postergully, Smart Paddle, Mr. Hot Foods, Jiffstore (2015), Trebene, Greensole, FRS Lab (2016). Interestingly, PosterGully has received funding over $160,000. Haptik has received funding over $12 million. ‘TargetingMantra’ has been acquired by SnapDeal. Simpanetworks has been funded over $5 million.