In a bid to boost India’s entrepreneurial spirit, Facebook-owned social media giant, WhatsApp, on Monday, announced that it is going to invest $250K in the startup ecosystem of the country.
As per a Livemint report, the $250K investment will help the entrepreneurial community in India to connect with their customers. The social media company plans to do so by partnering up with Startup India, an Indian government’s flagship initiative to find 500 startups and provide each of them with ad credits worth $500, helping them to attract more customers and drive their sales.
The startups selected under the programme needs to be approved by the department for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) and must be at early traction or at a scalable stage.
Using these ad credits, startups can create online advertisements, which upon clicking will redirect the customers to a WhatsApp conversation, thereby helping them to increase their sales.
While launching the initiative, Abhijit Bose, head of WhatsApp India, said that startups and SMEs are the “lifeblood” of Indian communities and are a powerful driver of local economies. India’s entrepreneurs are at the forefront of bringing impactful social and economic change, and we at WhatsApp are committed to providing them support in achieving success,” Bose added.
WhatsApp Bullish On Indian Startups
In addition to this investment, WhatsApp has already been doing its share to promote the startup ecosystem in the country. Recently, the social media company has concluded the Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge wherein it invited entrepreneurs to develop India-specific solutions with socio-economic impact.
The challenge ended with five startups emerging as winners and receiving a grant worth $500K each. The list of the winners included healthcare startup, MedCords, virtual reality content platform, Melzo, WhatsApp-based conversational AI platform, Javis, and agritech platform, Gramophone.
According to WhatsApp, India is home to over 100K businesses out of 500K worldwide, which are actively leveraging WhatsApp’s business app to interact with their clients.
Moreover, the social media company has also recently launched a Catalog feature in its WhatsApp Business mobile application. Using the new feature, businesses can showcase their products and services to their customers.