The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center has selected 15 startups across sectors such as Internet of Things and health-tech for its Milestone Makers India programme.
The San Francisco-based nonprofit had launched the programme—its first outside the US—in March along with New Delhi-based Startup India Advisory.
The programme aims to help early-to-mid-stage founders set and achieve milestones critical to their companies’ growth. While the programme doesn’t involve any funding, it will help the entrepreneurs connect with potential investors through the Startup India Advisory network.
The centre will work with the selected entrepreneurs for 12 weeks. Each founder will have a coach and three to four business mentors, a customized set of classes and access to other resources—all valued around $250,000.
The programme initially intended to select 25 entrepreneurs for the May 2017 batch but chose only 15. Each entrepreneur in the list is from a different field. The list includes eight women and seven men.
“This programme is very different from most accelerators that are focussed on startups and companies,” said Arjita Sethi, a member of the YEx board of advisers at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. “Here, we wanted to focus on entrepreneurs.”
Yatin K Thakur, founder, Startup India Advisory, said: “Entrepreneurship requires commitment, support and sustainability, and Startup India is facilitating these connections to support all entrepreneurs in Milestone Makers cohort through its partnerships and access to new markets.”
A quick look at the finalists:
Aditi Chadha, founder, DAZL: The IoT device fits inside fashion accessories and helps women manage their safety, health and daily communication needs. Chadha built the supply chain for the IoT module and fashion accessories in Southeast Asia and China. The startup has won seed funding from Vodafone and the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
Amit Arora, founder, Manuring It!: The startup was founded in October 2016. It is creating a digital platform that is accessible through a mobile missed call facility for farmers to buy organic fertilisers and seeds and rent farm equipment. Arora aims to employ 1,200 landless women farmers in the next three years to produce organic manure and assemble tools.
Amit Shukla, founder, EasyGov: The startup offers an Aaadhar stack-based cloud solution that will help people avail social welfare benefits. Shukla has worked with Accenture Strategy, KPMG Advisory and Wipro Consulting. The two year-old startup employs 25 people and claims to have 1,000 monthly customers.
Anurag Rana, founder, Threye Interactive: The IIT-Kharagpur alumnus earlier worked with ITC Ltd. His tech company works in the fields of gaming, augmented reality, virtual reality and robotics. It aims to bring military technology for consumer use. Threye’s clients include the Indian Air Force and Defense Research and Development Organisation. The startup is developing an augmented reality headset aimed at facilitating training and operations.
Gauri Angrish, founder, CAREDOSE: Angrish worked as an analyst at McKinsey and Co. in the pharmaceutical and medical device vertical. Her medicine management venture uses proprietary technology and inventive packaging to help track complete adherence to treatment by chronic patients. CAREDOSE’s B2B2C business model is focused on hospitals, drugmakers, doctors and home health companies.
Gina Joseph, founder, Zola India: The startup enables rural artisans to express themselves through wearable art like jewellery. Prior to starting up Zola, Gina spent about seven years as a media professional in advertising, public relations and journalism.
Neha Arora, founder, Planet Abled: The startup provides travel solutions to people with disabilities. Arora, who was born to parents with disabilities, earlier worked with HCL, Nokia and Adobe before starting up. Planet Abled is operational in around 20 cities and adding more experiences to its bouquet.
Piyush Kumar, founder, Rooter: The sports social network aims to connect sports fans across the world and engage them during live sporting events. Kumar spent 13 years in advertising and marketing before becoming an entrepreneur. His last assignment was with Swatch Group India as marketing head for luxury watch brand Rado. Rooter started in September 2016 and has 100,000 fans on board across football, cricket, tennis and basketball. Rooter is funded by actor Boman Irani and Intex Technologies.
Pooja Bhayana, co-founder, Let’s Barter India: Bhayana started her professional journey with a magazine in Singapore, and in India got associated with PR agency Text100. Let’s Barter is one of the largest communities for exchange of goods and services on Facebook with about 1,86,000 members.
Prachi Kagzi, founder, Little Passports Edutours: The startup conducts ‘mom and kids’ educative travel tours. Kagzi was initially an investment banker with Enam Securities (now part of Axis Bank). She founded a plastic packaging company with her husband in 2008 and sold it in 2012, before starting the travel venture.
Rachana Bagde, founder, G for Gestures: The startup integrates gesture technology with virtual reality. It allows users to interact through their body gestures and get an immersive experience in VR without wearing any expensive VR headgear. She is in her final year of a dual degree course for M.Tech degree at IIIT Gwalior.
Raja Sekhar Vasa, co-founder, Happy Adda Studios: The startup develops vernacular mobile games to reach out to the untapped audience in small towns and villages. Its mobile game “Jalebi – A Desi Adda” crossed 500,000 daily active users within six months of release and now has 6.5 million users. Happy Adda is being accelerated by Google through Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator programme. Vasa worked with Wipro, IBM and CSC before starting up.
Smita Mishra, founder, Fandoro: Fandoro is a SaaS-based social gifting platform. The startup aims to make gifting hassle-free with its machine learning algorithm-enabled recommendation engine and gift checkout process. It enables small and medium gift retailers to have an online presence and leverage technology for increased sales. Mishra has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years.
Sudeep Nadukkandy, founder, WaterScience: Founded in July 2014, WaterScience aims to make treated water affordable and accessible. Its first product, CLEO Shower Filter, reduces chlorine and effects of hard water. Nadukkandy worked as a technical specialist with ITC Infotech-Clientlogic, then as an early employee with Printo.
Vivek Naik, co-founder, Crop Stacks Agritech: The startup helps people grow food in their homes using hydroponics. Naik is the founder/coach at Goa Startup Launchpad. Prior to starting his own business, he has worked in the manufacturing industry.