Facebook India in partnership with Telangana government’s T-Hub concluded the second round of its artificial intelligence (AI) accelerator programme recently.
The three finalists chosen by the India Innovation Accelerator programme are ftcash, Marut Drones and Innerhour. The selected startups will further receive mentorship from Facebook on go-to-market strategies for a month. The support provided would include increasing funnel conversion rates, picking up the sales model, taking the product to the entire market, and building the company.
“We are thrilled to play a key role in India’s startup ecosystem, being a catalyst for future growth, using the potential of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence to solve the major problems India is facing today,” said Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships at Facebook, as quoted by Business Insider.
As part of the programme, ten startups received four-months of training and guidance from Facebook. The training included a curriculum of interventions, specifically designed to support product development and growth in the field of AI. The 10 startups who graduated from the accelerator programme also got access to T-Hub’s ecosystem of mentors, corporates and industry network enabling them to scale their business prospects.
How Startups Addressing Social Problems Are Gaining Spotlight
The startups chosen for the cohort were primarily ones with social impact potential. These startups focus on scaling up tech to address social problems in the areas of empowerment of women and girls, agriculture, healthcare, education, climate change, resilient cities.
Mumbai-based micro-lending startup Ftcash is working towards stimulating small and micro-entrepreneurship development and financial inclusion in India. The startup raised $7.23 Mn (INR 50 Cr) in a Series A round of funding in May 2019. The round was led by two new investors, Dutch development finance institution FMO and US-based non-profit investor Accion International.
Marut Drones has been contributing towards solving diseases like Dengue by using AI-powered computer vision. The technology is used to identify mosquito infestation in ponds and using the information, medicine is sprayed, thereby safeguarding localities from various diseases caused by mosquitos. Founded by Prem Kumar Vislawath in 2019, the Hyderabad-based startup has also partnered with the local municipal corporation.
Innerhour, another startup chosen as a finalist by Facebook, provides access to psychological tools and services through their emotional health app. The startup works towards fighting the stigma and lack of access to qualified professionals in the mental health space. The startup was founded by psychiatrists Dr Amit Malik and Dr Shefali Batra and had raised ₹3 Cr in 2017.
Startups using technology to address social issues, also called socio-tech startups, are slowly becoming a centre of attention in India. These startups are providing products and services by building a technology stack to solve societal and environmental issues.
Update | 19:18, November 26, 2019
The original version of this article was titled ‘Facebook Hand-Picks Three Startups For Mentorship As Part Of AI Accelerator Programme’