Even in the harsh reality that surrounds businesses today with the markets and economies suffering unprecedented loss and slowdown, there is a ray of hope when it comes to innovative startups. With the pandemic and lockdown forcing various businesses to shut shop, startups have stepped up to solve the challenges at multiple levels.
In times like these, the keen eye of the investors has shifted towards startups that are providing solutions that will help both businesses and, in turn, economies revive their growth. And a few such startups can be found at Cisco LaunchPad, a B2B corporate accelerator programme, which recently concluded its 6th cohort of startups in a live virtual event.
Sruthi Kannan, head, Cisco LaunchPad inaugurated the event saying, “To be successful in this post-Covid world, it is time for us to go back to the drawing board and rework the strategies. In startup terminologies, this is the time to pivot and create a profound impact not only for the startups but also for bigger enterprises.”
Held on August 10, the event brought forth the role of Cisco LaunchPad’s mentors, tech integration guidance, joint GTM strategy, investor connections and more, in the journey of the growth and scale of the startups from the cohort.
Through the course of the six-month-long structured programme, the Cisco LaunchPad focusses on core technology domains such as — cloud, networking, collaboration software, cyber and data security, IoT, mobility, data centres and analytics.
The Cisco LaunchPad Startup Showcase Day
The Cisco LaunchPad Graduation showcase saw presentations from all the five graduating startups — Eder Labs, Vernacular.ai, Clean Slate Technologies, SatSure and Probus.
It also saw speakers such as Debjani Ghosh, president of NASSCOM, who gave her perspective on industry startup collaborations followed by Deepak Bagla, MD and CEO, Invest India with his insights on entrepreneurship, innovation and more.
Towards the end of the showcase, Kannan announced that Vernacular.ai was inducted into the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community. The community is an invitation-only group of the world’s most promising startups and scale-ups that are at the forefront of technological and business model innovation.
The Sixth Cohort Startups Of Cisco LaunchPad
With the rise in the adoption rate of AI across industries, privacy needs more attention than ever and this is what Eder Labs has been focussing on. In early 2018, it started experimenting with different approaches to perform privacy-preserving machine learning. In the past two years, Eder Labs has worked with advanced technologies such as secure multiparty computation, fully homomorphic encryption, federated learning, and trusted hardware-based methods to achieve privacy.
Clean Slate Technologies
Envisioning a GPS platform for the indoor world, Clean Slate helps factories and warehouses track things, claiming to provide seven times better accuracy than traditional technologies.
The startup has produced solutions with Kreto sensor tags, inLocate 6.0 tracking middleware engine and inLog visualisation platform. The startup provides the customers access to any module of inLog platform to improve the utilisation of their MHE (material handling equipment) fleet, minimise inventory inaccuracy and improve productivity and safety of their workforce.
With the belief that the loss suffered by the Indian economy due to power fluctuations and distortions in supply can be prevented through digitisation and automation, Probus IoT is working on enhancing the power distribution infrastructure.
The startup aims to reduce the number of breakdowns and energy losses, as well as enable electric utilities to provide reliable last-mile connectivity and more. Going forward, the startup plans to strengthen its communication and software tech and expand to different geographies.
With voice coming into focus in a contactless world Vernacular.ai aims to be the leading voice-driven automation platform. Last year, this Series A-funded startup launched its product Vernacular Intelligent Virtual Agent (VIVA) — a multilingual AI platform — helping automate repetitive call centre queries. With the claim of having achieved a high level of accuracy in understanding and solving customer queries and concerns, the product supports over 10 Indian languages and over 160 dialects.
Founded in 2017, SatSure aims to democratise the power of data from space, focussing on the sustainability of food, water, and climate security. Its geospatial big data platform combines satellite imagery, proprietary algorithms, with IoT, drone imagery and more to generate near real-time location-specific insights.
Details From Cisco LaunchPad’s Sixth Cohort
The Cisco LaunchPad cohort took off with a two-day bootcamp which briefed startups on the modules, practices and experiments they will undertake during their tenure. Through the course of the programme, the startups received monthly connect sessions to discuss and brainstorm about various use cases, bottlenecks and probable solutions amongst each other as well as with the experts and mentors.
“Until February, startups were at Cisco’s campus physically to learn the nuances of doing business and create solutions from Cisco’s mentors, SMEs and leadership. By mid-March, as the pandemic wreaked havoc, Cisco LaunchPad along with the startups resorted to the virtual mode of interaction and collaboration over Cisco’s conference platform WebEx,” Krishna Sundaresan, VP engineering, Cisco, told Inc42.
Though the programme was forced to adopt a hybrid online-offline model for this cohort due to the pandemic, the companies quickly adapted to the changes and ensured a seamless process of the learning, growth and interactions. The startups participated through webinars, physical and virtual learning sessions.
“The 6th cohort of Cisco LaunchPad saw the arrival of some exciting startups who are advocates of solving myriad modern-day challenges and problem statements harnessing the very best of cutting-edge technologies. We are extremely proud to be associated with these startups who are racing ahead of time and creating solutions that are practical, scalable and efficient,” added Cisco’s Kannan.
The accelerator programme is currently accepting applications for its 7th cohort, interested startups can apply now.