“Kerala startup ecosystem is equipped with some of the best opportunities for startups, both in terms of cost and availability of talent and infrastructure. There is KSUM which is helping startups with incubation, funds and much more and there are many policies that are put in place for the benefit of the startups. In fact, I’ve seen many mature founders, who are on their second or third venture coming back to start again in Kerala,” – Sijo Kuruvilla George, founder of Rethink Foundation
Whether it is incubation, mentorship, funds, acceleration support, marketing support and more, Kerala has been very proactive in all aspects related to startups. And this is clearly reflected in the fast pace of development and go-to-market time in the state.
With the setting up of KSUM, the government gave the startup many benefits such as Integrated Startup Complex, grants and loans, networking opportunities and more.
In addition to that, Kerala is also focussing on student entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs are also benefiting from the state-wide IEDCs (Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre) and Atal Tinkering Labs and more. Thanks to all these efforts there are many startups from various sectors have received the right push. Here is a quick look at the top startups that are taking the Kerala startup ecosystem’s story forward.
Kerala’s Promising Tech Startups Steal The Show
Founded in 2015 by Vimal Govind and Arun George, this startup has gained prominence through its invention ‘Bandicoot’, a manhole cleaning robot. It has recently signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) Tata Brabo for the bulk production of Bandicoot. The pact is to help the startup with meeting the rising demands of the robot while maintaining the production standards of the same.
2. Sastra Robotics
Founded by Aronin P, Achu Wilson and Akhil A in 2014, the startup was approached by Bosch during its R&D phase to build an automated device-testing robot to remove the manual testing of touchscreen devices. This what led to the birth of SCARA robot, operating at about 900 clicks per minute. This year, the startup signed an MoU with global defence, aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. If qualified, this would help the startup reach other Tier 1 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), as suppliers.
Founded by Johns T Mathai and Kannappa Palaniappan P. Johns in 2016, this startup gets the credit of developing and manufacturing TUNA, which is India’s first underwater robotic drone. Developed at Maker Village, the startup’s robot helps survey and assess the quality of underwater structures and for the same reason, many government agencies such as Southern Railways, South-Western Railways and more are taking the startup’s help.
4. Profoundis Labs
Founded in 2012 by Arjun R. Pillai, Jofin Joseph, Anoop Thomas Mathew and Nithin Sam, this startup shot to fame with its product Vibe in 2014, which reached more than 100K users and 200 companies across 120 countries in two years. In 2016, the startup was acquired by US-based tech firm FullContact for an undisclosed amount.
Run by Good Methods Global and founded by Abilash Krishna, Mark Huzyak in 2015, this startup this bringing tech and cloud to the dental industry. With the help of the two, CareStack is helping the management of all major functions of the industry. In October this year, the startup raised $28 Mn in Series B funding round led by Steadview Capital and California-based dental plan system Delta Dental.
6. I Love 9 Months
A maternity wellness organisation, this startup was founded by three women entrepreneurs—Ganga Raj, Anjali Raj and Suma Ajith in 2016. The startup developed an m-health app through which it is providing maternity and antenatal wellness services to millions of women. Easily accessible and affordable, the app aims to improve maternal and infant health. The app also acts as a medium through which the government can monitor real-time data which can be used for policy development on health care initiatives.
7. Navalt Solar & Electric Boats
Founded in 2013 by Sandith Thandasherry NavAlt Solar & Electric Boats aims to make marine transport more efficient by reducing the use of fossil fuels. The startup has the fame of launching India’s first solar ferry, Aditya. Launched in 2017, it gets more than 70% of its energy requirements from solar energy. On the competition of its two years of a successful run, the startup received orders for more solar boats from the Kerala government at the beginning of 2019.
Developing a unique web-based app for the deaf, DAAD (Digital Arts Academy for the Deaf) was founded in 2018 by Remya Raj and Sulu A Naushad. Developed entirely by the deaf— both the founders as well as six of their eight employees are deaf—it focusses on providing computer courses in the Indian Sign Language (ISL). Additionally, it is also offering online certificate courses on popular job-oriented computer topics, such as basic programming and Adobe Photoshop. The videos and tutorials are in the ISL with English subtitles. The startup is working towards developing an AI-based tool that will automatically translate spoken languages to the ISL.
9. VST mobility
Founded in 2015 by Alvin George, VST Mobility Solutions launched two connected vehicles’ product last month. In the event which saw the launch of the products, Smart Eclipse and VDASH VST-0507, VST also signed an MoU with Finland-based Here Technologies to distribute the products in the global market. In addition to that, it has an investment offer of INR 140 Cr from a foreign investor and claims to have received orders from more than 100 countries.
10. Dissolved Oxygenplus
Founded in January 2019 by Joseph Sojan, Akshay Muralidharan, Anoob P Bonney and J Harikrishnan, Dissolved Oxygenplus has a focus on integrating sustainable technology in aquaculture. Discovered during Inc42’s visit to Kochi with BIGShift, this startup offers a sprinkler aerator, with single-phase motor that consumes less energy than other aerators and eliminates water contamination from oil leaks and spoilage and more.
Another discovery from BIGShift Kochi, this startup was founded in January 2019 by TG Manikandan and K Deepa. Taking citizen-government interaction beyond social media, MP-MLA by GoYotta is helping the local issues see the light of the day. In the platform, citizens get the opportunity to highlight problems that need immediate attention by local politicians and legislators such as potholes, uncleaned garbage and more. Others in that locality can vote on these issues and once there is enough support for a cause, it is forwarded to the local authority such as the MLA or MP to be resolved with updates on progress or lack thereof.
12. Yuva Pay
Founded in June 2016 by Prashanth B and Shankar B, Yuva Pay won the Inc42 BIGShift Pitch in Kochi. Working with the aim of increasing the penetration of digital transactions in rural India, this startup takes into consideration the low bandwidth or patchy internet connectivity in rural areas and has designed a platform that doesn’t need internet to make local payments. In case, the device has connectivity, it will work like any other payments app, but when there’s no connectivity, it encrypts and compresses the payments data, and then turns it into small packets that can be shared over a frequency. This is similar to how we share messages in a feature phone.
While this is an app for smartphones, feature phone users can visit its agents for assistance. It has an agent in every rural area who does one-time digitisation for the customer, post that the customer can use this frequently.
13. Humble Shit
Among the most innovative startups that Inc42 came across during BIGShift, this startup was founded in 2018 by Ujjwal Kumar and Samir Dayal Singh. Working to solve the problem of dirty public toilets since its inception, it has developed a hygiene and usability rating system for public toilets, where users can rate their experience. Supervisors at public toilets then evaluate the work of the janitorial staff based on this feedback.
14. Embright Infotech
A tech-driven startup recognised by Startup India, this startup was founded by Sathyanarayanan AR and Bobin Chandra in 2017 and specialises in products and services related to virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality, AI and IoT. It is developing therapy VR modules for patients with Autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities. The patients can undergo training and therapy session that helps in improving their impaired skills, additionally, its XR-AI platform also provides prediction and diagnosis reports for its patients.
15. EVR Innovations
Founded by Parvathy H Kurup, Jijo Paul and Tito Joseph in August 2019 this is also a discovery from BIGShift Kochi. Engineered Vermiculture (EVR) Innovations works towards shrimp shell waste processing. Shrimp processing and exports generate 50 tonnes of waste per day in just one city. Disposing of this waste consumes a lot of chemicals and leads to a number of environmental issues. To solve this problem, EVR uses black soldier flies, whose larvae consume organic waste faster, in larger quantities and with more efficiency.