Businesses are slowly gearing up to bounce back and adjust to the post-Covid world. The Corona-proof businesses are continuing to flourish and those badly hit during the start of the pandemic are now ready with a backup blueprint. Some others have tapped into the need for the use of new technologies and come up with innovative business propositions.
This month, our list of 30 Startups revolves around startups that have tapped the burgeoning opportunities even amid a crisis, and the need for more robust adoption of digital technologies by consumers and businesses.
From building mobile-first, WhatsApp-integrated ecommerce software platforms for emerging markets or helping merchants rebuild their brand, to helping doctors digitise their prescriptions or health records, the idea is to make technology accessible and easy for traditionally offline businesses.
30 Startups To Watch: August 2020
An overall analysis of our 30 startups for August shows us that 23% of the startups are from the edtech sector, which is not surprising given that edtech has grown consistently through the past six months. Within this sector, two startups are focussing on helping offline tutors take their complete setup online with features like live classes, video and quizzing platform and others.
Another interesting trend that we can see in this list is the increased focus on space technology. Two of the 30 startups are building a constellation of high resolution earth-imaging small satellites, launching satellites into orbits around earth and creating software tools to analyse the data received. Also, 60% of the startups in our list this month are B2B startups and around 66% of them are in edtech, enterprise tech, healthtech and deeptech.
So, here’s our list of 30 startups for August 2020.
Editor’s Note: The below list is not meant to be a ranking of any kind. We have listed the startups in alphabetical order.
Why Able Jobs Made It To The List?
With the mismatch between job requirements and skill level in India, training entry-level talent becomes imperative for every company. Many IT giants have set up dedicated campuses for the same. However, many companies, especially startups, find it tough to make such investments. This is where Able Jobs comes in. It partners with such companies and helps them hire trained professionals in a single click with no investment.
The startup offers an app where rigorous online training programmes are given. Through this, the candidates are pre-trained for company-specific roles. Post-training, companies can interview candidates and roll out offers as they deem fit. The startup also helps companies acquire talent from social channels and give them access to people beyond job portals. It also plans to build state-of-the-art training products for companies to hire talent reliably and expand into adjacent sectors like FMCG, BFSI and others.
Why Bikayi Made It To The List?
The ease-of-use offered by many ecommerce software platforms such as Shopify, Magento has made it easy for brands to go the D2C way. During the pandemic, even established businesses had to open online stores to keep the business going. And, this was made possible by ecommerce platforms.
Today, startups are also building India-specific platforms to make the transition to online easier for smaller merchants as well. Hyderabad-based Bikayi is building a mobile-first, WhatsApp-integrated ecommerce platform for emerging markets, starting with India. “Many platforms are fundamentally not built to support the way business is conducted in emerging markets. Bikayi meets its customers where they are by integrating and augmenting how people are already doing business,” Sonakshi Nathani, cofounder, Bikayi told Inc42.
Nathani and cofounder Ashutosh Singla, both of whom come from a strong tech background, aim to tap into the unorganised retail market not captured by leading online marketplaces and become a one-stop destination for anyone to start or carry out e-commerce.
Why Captain Fresh Made It To The List?
The pandemic has come as a wakeup call for companies to focus on supply-chain efficiencies. Particularly for meat supply companies, the only way to win customer trust is ensure the product reaches them faster. Captain Fresh, a B2B marketplace that supplies fresh fish and seafood to retailers across all formats, aims to do exactly that. It leverages technology to be the fastest in the industry to redefine the concept of freshness for the retailers.
“Fairly early in our journey, we could put together a strong execution team with right battle scars as we absorbed the founding team of Mastaan, Hyderabad based online meat & seafood startup. We made a clear choice to de-focus on the food services segment as we anticipated payment issues even prior to the onset of the pandemic which has clearly helped us to not just survive but thrive,” the company’s founder, Utham Gowda told Inc42.
The startup also took the contrarian approach to initially focus on the lower realisation and lower-margin categories of the overall fish and seafood basket. This forced them to aggressively leverage tech to boost efficiencies very early on, which has held them in good stead for the high-margin categories.
Why Docsumo Made It To The List?
Many financial services firms in India outsource their back-office operations even today. Thousands of people perform mundane tasks of entering data and verifying documents. The entire process is not only time consuming and expensive, but it also leads to multiple errors. Using natural language processing, Docsumo automates the reading and analysis of documents to enable companies to make fast and accurate decisions.
Docsumo is a document artificial intelligence (AI) company that helps enterprises convert unstructured documents such as bank statements and pay stubs to accurate structured data. It also provides analytics that helps in decision making and checks documents for fraud such as photoshopped layers and font changes. Enterprises can automate 90% of the workflow while saving up to 70% of back-office costs, claims the startup.
The startup has also partnered with fintech major PayU and plans to build a suite of API products that extracts and analyses documents such as tax returns, payslips and identity cards to help lenders and insurers automate their operations and onboard customers in real-time.
Why Eden Smart Homes Made It To The List?
Smart home automation is revolutionising the way modern homes are managed and maintained in many countries. In India too, there is an increased demand as connected homes not only helps consumers adopt the latest lifestyle technology, it also maximises home security and increases energy efficiency. It is also considered to be a boon to the elderly.
Eden Smart Homes is one such IoT startup working in the field of home and office automation space. Eden has developed a small, cost-effective, wifi-based hardware device that can be used to remotely control all electrical appliances via a mobile app or Alexa. It works on B2B and D2C models providing automation solutions that can deliver cost savings as well.
The startup aims to bring the home automation technology to an average Indian household by expanding its distributorship model pan India. At present, Eden has distributors across six cities. It also plans to step into the corporate offices where it shall be delivering electricity savings upwards of 25%.
Why Edvizo Made It To The List?
With the availability of multiple online and offline tutors, it has become a struggle for parents to choose the right coaching for their children. Edvizo is an online marketplace that aims to solve the same by assisting students and parents find, compare and enroll in the most reliable and entrusted private coaching institutes in their locality. This also helps institutes gain more students without having to spend a lot on marketing and branding.
Through the use of data visualisations, the startup’s dashboards simplify complex data sets to provide institutes and students or parents information regarding current performance and happenings of the institute at a glance. The search and discovery platform allows users to find the best institute that fits them by checking reviews, comparing fees, teacher experiences and other parameters. The entire process from searching to enrollment is free.
Post-Covid, the startup has begun onboarding online service providers too. Based on students’ wants and comforts, they can choose either online or offline courses. Recently, nearly 52K new students have registered on the platform for online courses, amongst which about 18K had taken admissions. Edvizo plans to expand to 18 added cities by the end of the year and has also recently added categories like government exams and job-oriented coaching.
Why EVage Made It To The List?
With air pollution rising at an alarming rate since last few years and the need for clean air, electric vehicles (EVs) are being looked at as an effective solution. The increased debate on sustainability after the pandemic has once again brought EV adoption to the fore. The sector may have been hit after the lockdown, particularly in manufacturing, but is expected to rebound soon. However, the production of EVs has been a complex process. To resolve the same, EVage, a mobility tech company incorporated in 2019, started its research and development efforts in 2014 towards building design and tech innovations with an objective to reduce the complexity in EV production.
EVage claims to have created India’s first exoskeleton structure, which will serve as an affordable common architecture for SUVs, vans, delivery vehicles and trucks. This essentially eliminates the traditional use of multiple ‘platforms’ for each vehicle. To prove the efficacy of this structure, the startup has also built its first vehicle, a four-wheeler commercial van, which aims to disrupt and build efficiencies in the logistics sector.
Why Exprs Made It To The List?
Rethinking last-mile logistics has been the key focus for ecommerce companies since the last few months. This has helped Exprs scale up faster. The startup builds nano-distribution networks to minimise inefficiencies in the last mile. Its network is set up across high demand clusters such as gated communities, tech parks, colonies and commute points. Recently, the startup has been helping many ecommerce companies in its last mile operations. It has been expanding the service across four major metropolitan cities without lag in efficiencies.
Additionally, it provides leadership and direction in achieving organisation’s objectives, strategic and annual goals. The startup’s claim to fame has been building vast clientele and network during the pandemic. It further plans to establish 500+ nano-distribution centres in the next six months.
Why Ezstays Made It To The List
Ezstays offers student housing in a safe, secure and comfortable environment with an active student network which helps them grow and evolve personally and professionally. The startup works closely with colleges and universities for the same. Up until the pandemic, coliving spaces had become the go-to option for students and young adults moving to cities. It was not only cost-effective and convenient, it also helped them find many like-minded people. It was a great alternative to the rented housing model and also it helped travellers with a long-stay to look at options beyond hotels.
After the pandemic, many students have moved to their native places. The phenomenon has been common across the world and many industry experts felt that the industry might never be revived. However, with things looking up, many feel that things might be back to normal soon for the coliving industry.
Why Farmako Made It To The List?
With telemedicine becoming the new way of doctor consultations, digitisting prescriptions and health records has been the need of the hour. Farmako is a centralized EMR app for doctors and clinics to help them write digital prescriptions faster. This will also help patients keep all their digital health records from different doctors in one place.
The startup charges doctors a monthly subscription fee for its premium product and offers the basic app for both doctors and patients. Farmako has 150 doctors on the system in July 2020 and is looking to add over 1,500 doctors by the end of 2020. “Our vision is to build a health record system for the entire India in the next four years,” said Aman Bhandula, cofounder, Farmako.
Why Illumnus Made It To The List?
Across sectors, SaaS startups have been resolving multiple pain points. For instance, we have Zoho and Freshworks for CRM, and Slack for better communications and so on for other sectors. However, in the education sector, not many platforms enable the delivery of these content and digital assessment in formal education and in the classrooms. Thus, Illumnus came up with the B2B SaaS model making formal education delivery efficient in a cost-effective manner.
The startup aims to make after-hours learning and teaching more connected by offering a B2B SaaS-based collaborative learning experience platform for premier schools and universities. It works on a license-subscription model and charges $2 per student per month for the complete LMS package. For Indian students, it offers an 80% discount.
Why Jovian.ml Made It To The List?
Data science is one of the fastest-growing domains currently and is expected to create millions of new jobs in the coming years. Aakash N S and Siddhant Ujjain, cofounders of Jovian.ml realised the exponential growth of big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning when they worked as software engineers at Twitter, Ireland & San Francisco. However, they were unhappy with the tools and resources available to the growing worldwide data science community. So they decided to create a community sharing and collaboration platform for data science, Jovian.ml last year.
Jovian is used by data science professionals to showcase their project online, learn via projects, tutorials and courses, and interact with a worldwide community of users from over 150 countries. The startup is currently running a free live online certification course on data analysis with over 25K participants joining from 150+ countries. The course is being conducted entirely via the Jovian.ml platform and community forums. The startup plans to invest heavily in community development, creation of learning resources, and improving the platform to make it more seamless for new users and more powerful for the experts.
Why Masai School Made It To The List?
With the falling employment rate in India, skill-based knowledge has become not a choice but a need. Masai School aims to develop skill-based pedagogy for students, which assists students to develop unique skill sets needed in the business world.
The startup began its journey in June 2019 with an objective to find untapped talent in the country, train and place them for the most in-demand tech jobs in the country. Initially, its student base came largely from non-engineering backgrounds, small towns with limited financial backgrounds to take up the challenge of learning to code and finding a career path for themselves, which covers two programmes including Android development and full-stack development.
Recently, Masai School has also launched -i program for people who aspire to work with top tech companies but cannot due to lack of guidance, direction, and practical hands-on experience. The students pay them once they land a job, through income share agreement, where they will pay 15% of their salaries for three years, which is capped at INR 2.5 Lakh + GST for its “r- programs”, and INR 3 Lakh + GST for “i-programs”.
Why MedPiper Made It To The List?
MedPiper Technologies is a healthtech company that helps doctors and other allied healthcare professionals discover work opportunities in India. Built as a multi-sided platform, MedPiper helps not just healthcare practitioners (HCPs), but also ecosystem partners such as hospitals, telemedicine platforms, healthcare device manufacturers etc.
The startup’s technology and verification process helps hospitals, telemedicine platforms and medical organisations meet its staffing requirements much faster and with better candidates. The marketplace on MedPiper enables smaller clinics and medical centres to access group purchasing options, by pooling their requirement with other local clinics and availing volume discounts. MedPiper’s platform helps medical professionals discover new opportunities, compare and contrast wages and perks for short stint opportunities, stay up to date on regulations and trends, discover financial incentives such as medical indemnity insurance, etc .
Why MyDukaan Made It To The List?
MyDukaan is designed to help merchants own their brand, develop a direct relationship with their buyers, and make their buyer experience memorable and distinctive. The startup allows a merchant to keep their brand present in every interaction to help build buyer loyalty and competitive advantage.
The SaaS startup’s immediate goal is to save businesses from shutting down by offering them a platform with which they can set up their online store in under 30 seconds. In the longer run, it aims to remove the need of owning physical stores to sell things. Within 35 days since launch, the startup has crossed more than 500K stores on the platform, who have added over 3 Mn products and on the customer side, 30 Mn page views. The company aims to offer a payment and fulfillment stack for these businesses in the future.
Why PiggyRide Made It To The List
PiggyRide helps parents discover trusted tutors, activities, mobility solutions for their children, and provide fee financing options. Manish Tewari, an IIT Varanasi alumni, who previously co-founded two startups and had successful exits, Koovs and Pokkt, had this idea of an online learning platform for the last few years which started off last year as a mobility service provider to these learning institutes. However, over a period of one year we realized that these academies/institutes and even the freelancers were facing difficulties getting enrolments and managing their existing students’ class schedules and payments.
Thus, the startup is trying to change the way kids are learning, be it through its discovery platform or through school fee financing. The startup realised it was on the right track when the same customers who were using the platform for rides, used it or discovered it for extracurricular activities and PiggyFinance, the startups school fee financing. PiggyDiscovery product was in the pipeline for nine months and was originally meant to be an offline activity marketplace but seeing the current scenario, but it was modified to work for online activities too.
Why Pixxel Made It To The List
With ISRO’s focus on helping spacetech startups unlock value, startups such as Pixxel have hit the limelight. Pixxel is building a constellation of some of the world’s most advanced earth imaging satellites to provide global, real-time and affordable satellite imagery. The mission is to use cutting-edge artificial intelligence to analyse highly-accurate space data in order to predict effective solutions for some of the world’s most pressing problems like monitoring air and water pollution, crop and soil health, climatic changes and endangered ecosystems around the world.
In the long run, these satellites will act as a catalyst to open-up rapid inexpensive access to the entire solar system – by deploying swarms of Pixxel’s satellites, exploring the moon, Mars and any other planetary body for potential landing sites becomes easier, identifying water and other precious resources on the moon, Mars and asteroids becomes cheaper and exploring any planetary body in the solar system becomes much more accessible than it is today. This year, the startup focusses on launching Pixxel’s first satellite which will also be India’s first private commercial satellite launch.
Why Repute Made It To The List?
With rapid digitisation, the trust factor is becoming a major challenge to solve for consumer-facing businesses as well as enterprises with individual customers. Repute is building a network called Repute Exchange where organisations and individuals can share verified data among themselves to reduce the time, cost and effort of establishing trust.
The data can be shared through Repute Exchange directly between two companies or can be issued by one company to Repute Wallet from where it can be presented to the verifier organisation or individual as and when needed. Repute’s technology makes it possible for competitors to collaborate with each other for mutual benefit and helps individuals to build a reputation for themselves through history of past behaviour. Repute is currently working with several rentals, background verification and fintech companies, as it believes that the consumer trend is heading towards renting assets and borrowing credits.
Why Skyroot Made It To The List
Another space tech startup to make it to our list, Skyroot recently made the headlines for becoming the first Indian company to test fire an upper stage rocket engine. The startup is developing launch vehicles (rockets) to provide earth to on demand and affordable orbital launch service to the satellites of its customers. Customers pay for this launch service in proportional to their satellite mass.
The startup’s vision is to make space-flight as reliable, responsive and economic as air flight. In a major milestone, the company successfully test-fired its upper stage rocket engine named “Raman” and also demonstrated India’s first 100% 3D-printed bi-propellant liquid rocket engine injector, which as compared to traditional manufacturing reduced the overall mass by 50%.
Why Stack Finance Made It To The List
There is growing interest among millennials to understand the right way to save money. However, with the financial service industry in India being fragmented, money management feels complicated, inaccessible and even boring for many consumers. Many personal finance startups are trying to tap into this market by offering simple yet innovative products. Stack Finance, which is currently a part of Rebalance Accelerator Cohort 2, is one such startup that provides a one-stop solution to track, manage and grow money.
It helps customers lead a healthier financial lifestyle by automating investments, expenses and borrowing under a single platform along with friends and family, with an AI-powered intelligent and personalised finance manager. Stack enables customers to save, meet bills, end the overspending cycle and develop financial IQ, all at one place. Stack provides a one-stop solution to track, manage and grow your money. “We are striving to be a “techfin” company rather than a fintech, which implies, constantly innovating in terms of technology to make the product more advanced and scalable,” said Smriti Tomar, cofounder, Stack Finance.
Why SuperTokens Made It To The List
Session security is an important consideration in the design of any system that requires communication between a server and a client. Improper security can lead to user accounts being vulnerable to unauthorized access. The improper implementation of authorisation or authentication is considered as the second biggest risk to application security. SuperTokens helps companies securely manage their session tokens. For applications that require login, SuperTokens saves developer time and prevents identity theft.
Sessions are becoming a prominent attack vector and web apps must detect identity theft using rotating refresh tokens, says the startup. It thus allows businesses to keep their users logged in for longer on their apps. It also provides a frontend and backend SDK that developers can implement.
Why Teachmint Made It To The List
With online classes becoming the new norm, the offline tutoring industry has come to a standstill. Few startups today are helping them move online. Teachmint provides a mobile-first video-first app to enable tutors to seamlessly digitise their tutoring business with a simple and familiar mobile experience. The startup recently launched a free two-way live tutoring mobile app for digitally empowering more than 1 Mn tutors. “We saw the struggle of their own teachers struggling with online tools that were not meant for a teaching use-case and decided to build a one-stop solution that addresses these challenges,” Mihir Gupta, cofounder, Teachmint told Inc42.
The startup aims to democratise online education and believes that teachers need to be given control within the online education space in order to address the needs of the diverse student base in India. “At Teachmint, we are enabling teachers with the right digital tools so that they can run their classes efficiently and take their own unique styles of teaching to many more students,” Gupta added.
Why The Whole Truth Made It To The List
The Whole Truth (formerly ‘and nothing else’) is a clean-label health-food brand that makes protein bars and potent immunity balls. It follows a pure-play D2C business model, selling through its website, but its products are also available on ecommerce marketplaces and delivery platforms.
The startup claims to bring in 100% transparency to the ingredients that go in its food – so consumers know exactly what they are eating. It has gained around 83K Instagram followers in the last nine months. This month the startup changed its name from ‘and nothing else’ to ‘The Whole Truth’, the idea is to bring the entire truth of food and food marketing to consumers – to be 100% transparent. The startup plans to launch products across food categories and enter more channels in the coming months.
Why TrueFan Made It To The List
TrueFan is a celebrity-fan engagement startup which aspires to connect Indian fans with top celebrities through personalised, interactive experiences. The platform enables users to play simple quizzes around celebrities and the winners get a personalised video message from those stars. The platform is simple and easy to use.
All the user has to do is to answer a series of fun questions around the life of their favourite celebrities and the winner, or in this case, the ‘TrueFan’, stands a chance to win a personal interaction with their favourite star, while all the other fans get assured cash prizes. Thus, the platform operates on an easy win-win module that has something for everyone. TrueFan is one of the few platforms in the category that caters to A listed celebrities
Why Univ.AI Made It To The List
Univ.AI is an AI and data science university which seeks to provide the brightest students from around the world a true online alternative to the world’s top institutions. The programmes offered are live and delivered online.
The startup focusses on hands-on mentorship by Harvard and UCLA faculty. Univ.AI’s goal is for its students to be able to seek and obtain employment opportunities at the world’s leading AI and data science employers. Its 12-month flagship master’s programme enables its learners to develop deep expertise in a specialization of their choice – AI or data science and engineering.
The edtech company’s key clientele include students, undergrad and above and working professionals enthusiastic about building deep expertise in AI and data science. The startup’s first public class starts on September 15, 2020 and has around 150 students in its pilot phase.
Why Vieroots Made It To The List
Though the healthtech market is flooded with companies selling nutritional supplements, diet and fitness plans, the need of the hour seems to be personalisation. This is the gap that Vieroots is filling in the market. Vieroots, using the EPLIMO app, aims to help people take charge of their own health.
The startup has introduced an AI-powered mobile app called EPLIMO (Epigenetic Lifestyle Modification) which is a highly personalised health companion. It also claims to have been aggressively researching on personalised lifestyle management which includes telomeres, gut microbiome, specialised nutritional supplements etc. Bollywood star Suniel Shetty has backed the startup which also claims to have got a patent pending formula to the shortening of telomeres and slow down ageing.
The startup also aims to make its products and services available in all the major cities in India digitally with the support of 1000+ wellness coaches and plans to go for IPO in 2025-26.
Why Virohan Made It To The List
Workforce readiness has been an issue observed by many companies. There is a huge disconnect between demand and supply of the skills in the workforce across sectors forcing youth to compromise on aspirations, income and location. Virohan uses technology and talent to fix this socio-economic problem, so that industry demand and skilled workforce are in perfect equilibrium. Focusing on the healthcare sector, Virohan trains for high-demand jobs in diagnostics, pathology, curative and administrative roles.
When the founders first started looking into this industry, they realised that the healthcare demand of the country was massively underserved and underpenetrated. Youth were looking for jobs and industry was looking for skilled youth to serve in those roles. At a typical clinical establishment, roughly 60-70% of the patient interaction is handled by allied healthcare workers, who remain largely untrained in our country.
“The sheer magnitude of the challenge, and the power of the impact the work can create drove us to build this business,” Kunaal Dudeja, cofounder and CEO, Virohan told us. The startup plans to invest in creating content in 15 additional languages to increase the reach, invest in technology and leverage machine learning to further increase user engagement, deliver consistent and predictable learning outcomes and scale operations across India.
Why WareIQ Made It To The List
The market shift accelerated by Covid-10 has created newer opportunities in the ecommerce supply-chain. WareIQ, a startup that allows ecommerce and D2C brands in India to offer next-day delivery to their customers and compete with Amazon, plans to capture the same in the next 18 months.
“Currently, most ecommerce parcels outside Amazon reach customers in 5-15 days. The key reason behind it is that 90% of online brands ship from a central warehouse while demand is highly fragmented. High fixed investments, rigid contracts & tech complexity makes distributed fulfilment inaccessible to online brands,” Harsh Vaidya, CEO, WareIQ told us.
WareIQ aims to simplify it through its software-only platform that connects a nationwide network of fulfilment centres and last-mile couriers centralising all tools in a single platform. The startup makes money on every transaction through its platform and has standard rates for storage, order processing, last mile and tech-platform. The startup claims to be growing at 100% month-on-month and plans to hire and invest significantly in its tech-platform that allows clients to offer differentiated value offerings to their end customers.
Why Winuall Made It To The List
During the current times, the tutor community has faced a lot of challenges. Winuall is a SaaS platform that aims to empower them and reclaim their coveted space in the education ecosystem. Its app takes their entire offline setup completely online with the features like live classes, video platform, quizzing platform, and many more other features.
The platform helps tutors build and strengthen their brand name through a white-labelled app. It also helps them increase their reach to all across the globe and boost their revenue while improving the educational outcomes for students. Winuall is a subscription-based platform that charges a fixed fee every year from tutors.
As the segment is a bit unorganised, the biggest challenge initially for the startup was to convince the coaching institute owners to use its products and see the value. But recently it claims to have seen rapid growth and a 400% month-on-month rise in engagement and time spent, it claims. It recently crossed 2000 tutors on its platform teaching more than 1.5 lakh students.
Why Zuddl Made It To The List
At the start of the pandemic, many conference organisers had to quickly move major events online and cancel smaller events. Today, a hybrid approach, wherein some members will be present at the venue and others would join online is what many organisers are aiming for major events. And, many smaller events are being conducted completely online as well. However, either way, it is not an easy task. It requires huge coordination and the best use of technology.
This is where startups such as Zuddl are playing a huge role. The startup is helping companies organise such events by reproducing many aspects of a physical event from networking to exhibition booths. Zuddl charges per attendee on an event to event basis and also offers an enterprise plan. The startup’s cofounders, Vedha Sayyaparaju and Bharath Varma, come from tech and event management backgrounds respectively and thus are making the best use of both. The startup was part of the last Y Combinator batch and has already partnered with multiple enterprises including Dr Reddy’s and Realpage.
So that’s our 30 Startups watchlist for this month. Inc42+ members can access our picks for the past five months here. To nominate a startup or suggest a name for us to check out, please email at [email protected]