Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and Invest India, the government-backed investment facilitator, have launched a programme to support top Indian startups that have built products using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, facial recognition and cyber security.
Called Tech4Future, the challenge will seek to identify the most promising startups working in these sectors. For the top solution, SoftBank Group will provide the cash prize of $50K and also invite them for an incubation opportunity in Japan for 2-3 months, depending on the quality of the solution.
The Tech4Future Grand Challenge
The challenge is open to startups across all stages i.e. ideation, validation, early traction, and scaling.
Invest India and SoftBank group have narrowed down the problem statement for the startups to find a solution to across the four fields:
- Machine Learning: Crowdsourced platforms/Data processing units leveraging technology to detect and block fake news
- Artificial Intelligence: Leverage technology to solve global mobility problems with a focus on road traffic safety
- Face Recognition: Leverage technology to usher face recognition feature to the next level
- Cyber Security: Leverage technology to secure digital vehicle components and systems to avoid tampering
These solutions can be applied across sectors including marketing, aeronautics, aerospace and defence, AR VR (Augmented + Virtual Reality), architecture, telecommunications and networking, non- renewable energy, renewable energy, green technology and more.
The applications are open till December 31, 2018 and the result will be announced on January 31, 2019. To join the Tech4Future challenge or get more details you can go to the Startup India site.
Invest India And SoftBank: Working At The Grassroots Level
Invest India, which was founded in 2009, is a non-profit venture under the guidance of the government, Department Of Industrial Policy And Promotion and the Ministry of Commerce And Industry. As the first point of reference for potential foreign investors, Invest India aims to facilitate investments in the country.
The agency, which has been trying to foster Indian startups and make them globally competitive, organised the first Startup India Hub in June 2017. Since then it has partnered with different state governments such as Jammu and Kashmir and Goa, and also established international tie-ups with countries such as Japan and Netherlands.
After partnering with WhatsApp for the WhatsApp Startup Challenge, Invest India’s Tech4Future Grand Challenge with SoftBank will provide another opportunity for Indian startups to access funding and world-class technology and fully develop their product.
Softbank which has invested almost $8 Bn in India’s startup ecosystem, has been exploring more avenues for investments in ecommerce, logistics, and food technology.
In November, the company appointed Sumer Juneja as head of investments for India with plans to open an office in Mumbai.
With India turning into one of its most attractive investments, SoftBank is aggressively looking to find the next generation of disruptors.