While there are many prominent entrepreneur names that hail from Punjab, unfortunately for the state of the ecosystem in the state, not many stayed behind to build their startups in their home state.
The likes of Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal have come through the state’s education system but made a mark outside in Tier 1 cities.
If that indicates a paucity of startup talent in the state, one couldn’t be more wrong. Thanks to the efforts being made by the government and the enabler community alike, there is great optimism in the air about startups and tech innovation. While the government came up with the Startup and Entrepreneurship Policy to encourage entrepreneurship at the college level, organisations such as TiE and coworking spaces such as Starhub Nation have brought startups the right platform to interact with investors. All the efforts are with the aim of not only propping up the local startup ecosystem but also to bridge the gap between Punjab and India’s leading startup states.
Though the startup ecosystem of Punjab is taking slow and steady strides on its journey to becoming a major startup hub, many innovative ideas have helped give it the right push.
Startups such as Jugnoo have expanded across India, expanding to 40 cities, but there are plenty of other promising startups from the state.
Here is a quick look at some of the most promising startups from the state:
Launched in 2015, by former FX Mart founder Amit Narang, PayMart is an RBI-regulated entity with its own FFMC (Full Fledged Money Changer) license. It offers benefits such as financial literacy, domestic money transfer, international money transfer, and more to its users. Promoting a cashless society, it is developing technology to digitise merchant transactions and promote digital literacy in rural areas, among other things.
Additionally, the startup aims to convert next-door small shops into cash points for individuals, removing problems such as searching for an ATM amongst others for an individual to withdraw money. The startup recently raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Chandigarh Angels Network.
An agritech startup founded in October 2016 by Taranjeet Singh Bhamra and Mrigank Sharad, AgNext provides solutions to help farmers and food processors improve their productivity, quality and profits. It does so by collecting spatial, temporal and spectral data across the agricultural and food value chain to help farmers get optimal output.
Focussing on horticultural, floricultural, and plantation crops, as well as select row crops, AgNext has a customer base across India and enjoys interest from other geographies as well. Last year, the startup raised total funding of $4 Mn from prominent VCs such as Kalaari Capital, Omnivore Partners and more.
3. uTrade Solutions:
Founded in 2011 by Kunal Nandwani, Harwinder Sidhu, Mayank Mathur and Ashish Grover, uTrade Solutions is a fintech company based in Mohali. Specialising in stock trading technologies, the startup provides a multi-asset online trading platform. It provides its clients with services such as order and risk management systems, pre and post-trade analytics, and more. Its client list includes global financial institutions including brokers, banks, stock exchanges and more.
Besides running uTrade, cofounder Nandwani has been an active mentor for startups in Punjab.
4. Zadd Bikes:
Founded in 2017 by Aniket Bharadwaj and Shubham Goyal, this early-stage startup is making smart and eco-friendly two-wheelers for last-mile connectivity. Zadd two-wheelers come with features such as real-time tracking, crash detection, connected riding experience and more. Focussing on the commuting needs of the people in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, Zadd Bikes has helped Punjab catch up in the electric vehicle (EV) race in India.
Inc42 discovered Zadd Bikes startup during its visit to Chandigarh with the BIGShift series. With its solutions to the problems of congestion, cost of travelling and pollution, Zadd Bikes has been able to onboard Jugnoo CEO Samar Singla as an investor and advisor.
Another early-stage startup discovered by Inc42 during BIGShift, this startup was founded in 2018 by Abhay Singhal and works to solve the gap in addressing mental health issues that are plaguing millennials today.
With the belief that access to mental health is a basic human right, the startup connects people to the right therapists and mental health practitioners. It’s also working to counter the stigma around mental health and the inadequate mental health professionals, it claims to provide absolute anonymity and confidentiality to users. The startup has till date seen over 3.5K downloads.
Founded by Sukhvinder Lamba in 2015, Waypals works towards minimising accidents by monitoring, analysing and predicting driving behaviours for automobile makers and insurance companies.
It offers a range of solutions such as fuel monitoring, real-time track and trace, crash alerts, vehicle immobilisation and vehicle diagnostics, incident reporting and more. Till date, the startup has reached a total revenue of more than 2 Cr, Waypals offers insurance admins access to real-time data in an interactive dashboard. The drivers also get a visual dashboard and other features to manage their vehicles. This startup was a part of the BIGShift Pitch to a jury of investors in Chandigarh in July.
Another startup that was in the BIGShift Pitch session in Chandigarh this early-stage skill-learning platform offers training to talent in regional Indian languages in in-demand skills in technical and business-related subjects. With the help of industry experts that it has onboarded, it provides curriculum-based video training courses and tutorials.
Founded in 2018 by Vivek Rathore and Jagrit Gupta, the startup is offering monthly courses for a minimal fee to its users in native languages to counter the problem of students who are not fluent in English. To further penetrate the learning space, it aims to offer annual courses for learners soon. The regional language support is one of Subhe’s biggest USPs.
Founded in August 2018, by Vineet Singh and Ravinder Parashar, Calvry is a foodtech startup that leverages AI to detect food items and allows the user to find out the nutritional values of it. Riding on the latest innovations in deep learning and image recognition, the startup claims to quickly and accurately identify food items from thousands of cuisines across the globe.
Its Food AI API (Application Programme Interface) is connected to a vast food database and has been trained on thousands of cuisines from different regions. Additionally, Calvry has an AI-based OCR feature (optical character recognition) that scans food items in any menu and helps the user identify the cuisine and nutrition value before ordering the food.
One of the most prominent startups from Punjab, CampusDunia is making college and online admissions processes faster and easier for the students. The startup aims to be the one-stop solution for all queries related to every aspect such as campus establishment, courses available, placements and more. It further offers instant study loan with no-cost EMI options and payback later options.
It provides all the information that a student may require of any institute from fees to the courses available to admission updates, hostels, placements and more. A product of Entritt Solutions, launched in 2018 and led by Manik Soodan, CampusDunia also gives the students the benefit of having a personal admission guide, which helps them choose the best campus and career option.
Founded in 2014, by two college batchmates Prateek Kapoor and Saurabh Gupta, WonderSkool focusses on creating awareness of the many career choices available for the students in India. It helps the students decide their career path by assisting them with insights into various fields and options to choose from. Based on individual liking, interest and aptitude, this startup helps students plan their further studies. Additionally, the startup also has a programme known as CAPs (Career Awareness Programme) which it claims to be running in over 50 schools in India.
A decentralised document management platform, DocsinBlocks is secured by the blockchain technology. It allows businesses to manage all their documents digitally for as long as they may want. Founded by Simmi and Brijesh Aggarwal in 2014, the platform secures e-documents as a unique original copy which stands reusable, timestamped and protected at all times in the digital world.
The startup uses blockchain to keep permanent records of the documents to keep track of when and how many times a document is shared and with whom along with real-time verification to control access. The data stored on DocsinBlocks is highly secured and no one can delete it or change it, thanks to the blockchain foundation.
12. Preminds Solutions
An IT solutions company, Preminds provides services in areas of software development, web-based enterprise solutions, web application, iPhone/Android application development and more.
Founded by Vivek Sharma in 2016, this startup deals in hardware and software platforms, and the latest technologies. With a team of experienced project managers, developers, UI designers, quality assurance engineers and implementation specialists, it is focussed on delivering high-quality solutions to its clients.
Founded by Pardeep Goyal in 2015, CashOverflow is a financial content blog that advises people on the best ways to manage their finances whether it’s credit cards, banking and investment guide, discount brokers or income tax rules. The CashOverflow guides not only help users manage their finances efficiently but also educates them about the many options and solutions that they can use to improve their financial wellbeing. CashOverflow won the IndiBlogger award for best blog in personal finance in 2017.