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Wharton India Economic Forum Invites Startup Applications For Wharton India Startup Competition 2017

Wharton India Economic Forum Invites Startup Applications For Wharton India Startup Competition 2017

The 21st Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) has announced that it will play host to the Wharton India Startup Competition for the fourth year.

Founded 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.

Highlights Of WIEF 2017

This year, the event will be conducted for the third time in India. It is supposed to attract more than 300 attendees comprising Wharton/Penn alumni and Wharton Professors; other top B-school alumni & professionals and current students across Penn travelling to India as part of their winter break study programmes. Also, prominent entrepreneurs, leading investors and industry experts will be present as audience, panelists and judges.

The conference will facilitate discussions about India’s economy and future outlook and is focussed on bringing well-renowned Wharton researchers to India and promote discussion to capture synergies. It will also provide startups and entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity to engage with the Wharton faculty, students and industry leaders through networking sessions.

The Wharton India Startup Competition (WISC) conducted in India, aims to promote entrepreneurship and to support aspiring entrepreneurs through a unique global platform. A new social impact category has been added to the WISC, this year. The winners will get a chance to have meaningful tie-ups with VCs and legal firms. With more than 500 applications expected this year, the startups will have an opportunity to reach to over 100 colleges and 50 accelerators, incubators, and VCs.

This year, the competition expects a robust panel of judges and speakers to grace the event. Amongst others, Sandeep Singhal, co-founder and Managing Director at Nexus Venture partners has confirmed to be a judge.

Eligibility Criteria

Startups at Pre-seed, Seed, and early-stage with a business model/ business idea targetted towards the Indian market can apply for the event.  This implies that:

  • The startup must be in product development stage. or
  • Have rolled out a beta product. or
  • Have sought and collected data on customer validation (beyond conducting surveys).
  • And Has not exceeded $1 Mn in equity-based investment or $1 Mn in annual revenue.

Apart from these criteria, all teams will have to submit a pitch deck along with the online application form in a prescribed format. A one-page resume of all the founders in a single PDF document will also have to be sent.

Selection Criteria

Competition entries will be pre-screened by a panel of experts including top entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and investors. This panel will select the semi-finalists. Shortlisted semi-finalists will then be provided a chance to present their ideas to the judges (via teleconference) based on which the finalists will be selected.

The finalists will pitch to top Indian entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on January 6, 2017 in Mumbai. The pitch will consist of a presentation and a Q&A session. The winner(s) will present their startups at the Wharton India Economic Forum in Philadelphia in March 2017.

The winning team will receive a cash prize of $25K, along with funding mentorship from a leading venture fund.

Last year, 750 startup applications were received. The panel of judges at the time included Ravi Gururaj (Nasscom), Alok Kejriwal (Mumbai Angels), and Kirthiga Reddy (Facebook). The keynote addresses and panel discussions featured eminent speakers like Ronnie Screwvala (founder of UTV group and Unilazer), Harsh Mariwala (Chairman of Marico), Haigreve Khaitan (Senior Partner at Khaitan & Co.)

The winning team was awarded $10K in prize money, of $10K, a $20K convertible note from Arihant Patni of Hive Technologies, 150 hours of free legal advice from law firm Khaitan and Co., and an all-paid expenses trip to Philadelphia to present at the WIEF event on March 26, 2016.

Some of the past finalists include:

  • 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.


Since last year, the competition has increased its outreach by 50% to all leading schools, Wharton alumni, incubators, accelerators, and VC funds.

The deadline for submitting applications is October 23, 2016. Interested startups can apply here.