The 22nd Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) has announced the finalists of the Yes Bank – Wharton India Startup challenge. Originally announced in August this year, the contest offers up-and-coming Indian startups a platform to interact and connect with investors and industry stalwarts from the Indian startup ecosystem.

In the startup challenge, top 10 finalists will compete for $20,000 in prizes, a chance to be crowned with the Judges Award and People’s Choice Award, and more.

The startup challenge jury will include people like – Rehan Yar Khan (Managing Partner, ‎Orios Venture Partners), Sandeep Murthy (Partner, Lightbox Ventures), Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva (MD & CEO, India Alternatives), Karan Mohla (Executive Director, IDG Ventures India), Preeti Sinha (Senior President and Global Convenor, YES INSTITUTE at Yes Bank Limited), Vishal Khare (Director, Enterprise, Citrix India and Angel Investor).

The competition will also feature a Startup Exhibit, which will host the top 10 finalists as well as 10 additional high-calibre startups that have demonstrated tremendous potential. All exhibitors will have also have access to WeWork India co-working space, fundraising services from LetsVenture and Baytree, and more.

The Top 10 Finalist Of Wharton India Startup Challenge 2017

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumAnaxee: Anaxee Digital Runners is a tech-enabled last-mile verification and data collection agency with a focus on tier II, III and IV  cities, towns and villages. It has operations in 26 states. It is building a network of 250K digital runners (feet-on-street, tech-enabled) to help corporates reach the remotest parts of India. The startup is currently based in Indore and the founders are Govind Agarwal and Nilesh Maheshwari.

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumSaral Design: Saral Designs is a Mumbai-based startup, 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. The founders are Suhani Mohan and Kartik Mehta.

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumRuban Bridge: Founded by Madan Padaki, Bengaluru-based Ruban Bridge aims to give access, choice and convenience to the rural-urban (ruban) consumers. The 300 Mn strong ‘ruban’ consumers from the 6,500 towns in India have the same needs and aspirations as the urban audience. While their urban counterparts are flooded with the choices and given exceptional experience by the new commerce firms, the Ruban consumers have traditionally had limited access and options in their day to day life.

Draft Spotting Technologies: The company operates SpotDraft, an AI-driven end-to-end contract lifecycle management platform launched in January 2017 by Harvard Law School graduate Shashank Bijapur and 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. The AI platform also allows customers to read through contracts, organise, manage and analyse them.

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumSoundRex: SoundRex is building the next generation of sound experiences. They have a patent pending technology, where they distribute wrist-worn speaker band to everyone in massive events like concerts and corporate events. It is currently based in Mumbai and was founded by Ashray Malhotra, Nikhil Abraham and Nisheeth Lahoti.

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumEduvanz Financing: The startup’s mission is to make education universally accessible by providing easy, transparent and speedy financial assistance using innovative technology solution. The startup is currently based in Mumbai and the founders are Atul Sashittal and Varun Chopra.

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumGamezop: Gamezop is a one-stop destination for casual games where users play games without downloading apps. Their aggregator app gives each user a personalised list of games each week that he/she plays and shares with friends on WhatsApp or Facebook as playable weblinks. It is currently based in New Delhi and the founders are Gaurav Agrawal and Yashash Agarwal.

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumConfirm Ticket: Confirmtkt is a travel ticket search engine for providing seamless ticket discovery and booking experience. The travel search is backed by a unique and efficient algorithm which figures out the best possible options across trains and buses to reach your destination. It is based in Bengaluru and its founders are Dinesh Kumar Kotha and Sripad Vaidya.

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumPerpule: Perpule’s 1Pay is a self -checkout app for express checkouts and easy payments in Perpule’s partnered stores like Hypercity, Spar etc. Customers can scan barcodes, create a cart and pay online seamlessly in the app to skip queues. Founded in 2016, the startup is currently based in Bengaluru and was founded by Abhinav Pathak, Yogesh Ghaturle, and Saketh BSV.

PlexusMD: PlexusMD is an online professional network exclusively for medical professionals and healthcare organisations. PlexusMD helps doctors create their professional identity in the web, stay updated on the latest news and developments in their speciality, find and connect with other medical professionals and apply to the best jobs, fellowships and courses from leading institutions. It is based in Ahmedabad and was founded by Rohan Desai, Binal Doshi and Kinnar Shah.

The Other 10 Startups Which Will Be Exhibiting

Scapic: The startup allows people create, share and explore immersive experiences. The startup is building a platform where people can build virtual/augmented/mixed reality content easily. It is currently based in Bengaluru and was founded by Sai Krishna VK and Ajay Ponna Venkatesh.

 Niramai: NIRAMAI has developed a novel breast cancer screening solution that uses machine intelligence over thermography images. Its cloud hosted analytics solution uses big data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms for early and accurate breast cancer screening. It was founded by Geetha Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur

Muddy Puddle Foods: Also called as Smoodies, Muddy Puddle is a brand of 100% fruit smoothies with no preservatives, no added sugar, no dairy. It was founded by Siddhartha Deb and Anusha Bhushan in October 2016 and is currently based in Bengaluru.

 wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumInnovision: Innovision is a product innovation company developing assistive technology solutions for the empowerment of the specially abled. The company’s focus is to develop technologies that are affordable and adaptable in developing countries like India. Innovision was founded by IIT Bombay alumni Shyam Shah and Surabhi Srivastava.

Signzy Technologies: Signzy is creating ‘building blocks for a Digital Trust system. Current solutions focus on ‘convenience’ over security and hence are not consumable in serious applications.  Signzy, on the other hand, enables Bank Grade digital on-boarding in real time, using artificial intelligence and advanced cryptography.  It was founded in 2015 by Ankur Pandey and Ankit Ratan.

Ware Now Services: The startup connects businesses in need of warehousing solutions with facilities that have space available. Founded by three classmates from IIT-BHU, Rahul Raj,  Aditya Goel and Arvind Jain,  the company aims to help businesses of all sizes streamline their supply chain and reduce their warehousing costs.

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumCapzest: Capzest is a digital lending platform focused on providing unsecured credit to individuals for income generation purposes. It secures partnerships with income generation service platforms and provides short term capital to their various stakeholders. It was founded in October 2015 in Mumbai by Rohan Adlakha and Sayantan Sarkar.

wharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumBulBul Apps: BulBul Apps was started with a vision to enable illustrators, writers, musicians, animators and storytellers to create interactive content for kids all over the world. It also helps businesses, teams and artists produce local content at global quality. It is currently based in the US and was founded by Naveen Chintamaneni, Varun Mantena and Prakash Dantuluri.

Maximl Labs: The company has a goal to empower industries with next generation technologies in order to bring breakthwharton india startup challenge-finalists-wharton india economic forumrough improvements in efficiency and safety of industrial operations. Their flagship product SyncOps addresses the problem of improving productivity and safety of large industrial projects such as turnarounds or shutdowns, commissioning projects as well as daily maintenance through a machine-learning enabled project planning and execution tool. It is currently incubated at IIT Madras and was founded by Manish Arora, Pankaj Pawan,  Samir Otiv and Tarun Mishra.

Luharia Technologies Pvt. Ltd: Based in Hyderabad, Luharia Technologies owns and operates peer-to-peer platforms for businesses and individuals. Founded by ISB alumni Keerthi Kumar Jain, Luharia’s flagship solution is Vote4Edu, which is an online peer-to-peer lending platform for K-12 education loans. The company also runs Vote4Cash, a P2P marketplace where borrowers can avail cash loans. Machine Bank, an infrastructure ecommerce platform, and P2P lending platform SMEBank are also owned by Luharia Group.

The Wharton Indian Challenge: The Journey Till Now

Founded in 1996, the Wharton India Economic Forum, is an annual conference hosted by the students of Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It is a global business forum focussed on understanding and engaging with India’s startup landscape.

It has historically attracted a host of speakers ranging from President APJ Abdul Kalam, to industrialists such as Mukesh Ambani, to investors such as George Soros. One of the objectives of the contest is to provide support to aspiring entrepreneurs by offering them a global platform to showcase their grand ideas and raise funding from leading investors.

  • 2017: CropIn Technology Solutions, Detect Technologies(Grand Prize Winner), HELPUSGREEN(People’s Choice Award),GreedyGame, Ftcash, Eckovation Solutions, Karma Healthcare, MyEasyDocs, and Nonspec Inc
  • 2016: Ketto (Grand Prize Winner), Kheyti (People’s Choice Award), Pratilipi (Powerhouse Winner), Trebene (Powerhouse Runners Up), Acuity, FRS Labs, Greensole, LoanMeet, iFreedom, and Art & Found.
  • 2015: Flintobox, PosterGully, Babychakra, Haptik, Leova, Simpa Networks, Jiffstore, Mr. Hot Foods, Smart Paddle, and Pratilipi.

Powered and supported by companies like RBC, JBM Group, Prodigy Finance, the final round of the Wharton India Startup Challenge will be held in Mumbai on January 5, 2017.

Some of the speakers and panelists for the event will include Ajay Piramal (Chairman, Piramal group), Dalip Sehgal (Former MD, Godrej Consumer Products), Kishore Biyani (CEO, Future Group), Shehnaz Gill (Head of Operations, Coca-Cola), Gopal Sarma (Partner, Bain & Company), Falguni Nayar (Founder and CEO, Nykaa), Greg Moran (Co-founder, Zoomcar), and many more. You can buy tickets here.

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