Continuing with its commitment to organising India-centric economic and business conference, the Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) has announced the 6th edition of the Wharton India Startup Challenge (WISC).
In the run-up to the conference, scheduled to be held on January 4, 2019, in Mumbai, the forum is looking to offer up-and-coming Indian startups a platform to interact and connect with investors and industry stalwarts from the Indian startup ecosystem.
The conference will culminate in a big pitch by the top 10 teams to a panel of Indian VCs and entrepreneurs and top 20 teams will also get to exhibit to the conference attendees.
Established in 1996, Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) is an annual conference hosted by the students at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It is a global business forum focussed on understanding and engaging with India’s startup landscape. Some of the notable speakers in more than two decades of its journey include ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam, industrialists such as Mukesh Ambani, investors like George Soros and entrepreneurs like Nandan Nilekani.
With a focus on India and hosted by the WIEF, the annual Wharton India Startup Challenge (WISC) is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship in the country. 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.
Who Can Apply?
Any startup focused on the Indian market can participate in the Wharton Challenge. Startups in the idea/prototype stage are also eligible but they ought to have a compelling business idea and a clearly drafted go-to-market plan.
Wharton India Startup Challenge has also put up FAQs in this document for aspirants to clearly understand the criteria of judgment and position their applications appropriately.
What’s In It For Startups?
The top three winners will get prizes, which include cash prizes of more than 20K (split between the top three winners of the WISC), funding, and pitching mentorship by LetsVenture, legal mentorship, and other incentives from the WISC’s partners.
Wharton India Startup Challenge is still identifying other beneficial partnerships for participants and finalists.
The deadline for submitting applications is August 19, 2018. After Phase 1, Wharton India Startup Challenge y expects 10% of the candidates to move forward to the next stage, where semi-finalists will be announced on October 20, 2018.
At this stage, semi-finalists will be provided a 30-minute time slot to present their ideas to judges (via teleconference), based on which the finalists will be selected. Several marquee investors from Sequoia, Omidyar Network, Lightspeed, Lightbox, Guild, Axon Partners, and Pravega are already on board the judging team for the WISC 2019.
After telephonic interviews, the top 10 startups will proceed to pitch to investors while the Top 20 will get an opportunity to exhibit their startups at the event.
The Top 10 pitches will consist of a five-minute presentation and a five-minute Q&A session.
The Legacy Of Wharton Challenge
Taking the legacy of the Wharton Challenge forward, the WISC has grown 20X and has served as a successful stepping stone for companies like Ketto, Zostel, and BabyChakra.
The past winners of the startup challenge have raised over $50 Mn in funding from over 20 institutional investors.
In the 5th edition of WISC January 2018, the conference saw a record number of applicants — more than 500 — from as many as 24 cities across India, battling to win more than $20K in prize money and other key benefits of being WISC winners.
Out of the top 10 finalists, three startups made it to the final pitching round. Eduvanz Financing won the Judge’s Choice Award along with $12K; SpotDraft won the People’s Choice award along with $6K; while Saral Design won the Startup Exhibition Award and $2K prize money.
Here’s a look back at the winners of previous years:
- 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.
- 2014: Zoomcar, Zostel, Targeting Mantra, Qlicket, Samaan, Ambitioni, Level Counsel, Travel Gourmand, V Help, and Wish Guise.
With the applications open for the sixth edition, the Wharton India Startup Challenge several Indian startups a foot in the door and help them catapult themselves to the next level.