Being a relatively new state and with challenges posed by its terrain and topography, Uttarakhand has not exactly grabbed the attention in India’s bustling startup ecosystem. Startups in the state lack the growth graph that is usually found in established ecosystems such as Delhi-NCR or even neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. According to Sri Prakash, President of TiE Dehradun, the state has a good diversity of ideas and entrepreneurs but they have still not reached the proof-of-concept stage. So, development has been gradual, and that’s not exactly a bad thing
While some noted this as a reason for low interest of mentors in the state, the ecosystem of enablers and mentors is looking at ways to nurture more market-ready startups. “One of the things that we are thinking of doing in universities like UPES is to change the way PHD, master’s and bachelor’s projects are conducted. These projects should be connected to industry problems, rather than revolving around hypothetical problems. Students getting a degree without being exposed to the real challenges is not really helping anyone,” Prakash said.
Talking about the positives in the state, Prakash noted that the state has ideators across the state from cities to remote hilly regions and they are in fact working on local problems.
UPES associate dean – incubation Dr Ajit Nigam also agreed with him and said, the only thing lacking in Uttarakhand ecosystem is dedicated sector experts helping local entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas. “Not every startup can be a unicorn. But if one is able to solve local problems, and have a business based upon UN sustainable goals in the hills itself — I’d call it successful,” he added.
Entrepreneurs in Uttarakhand have their own way of doing things which is much different from what is happening in the metro cities. Some of the sectors being focused in the state are tourism, food processing, agritech and healthtech. Here’s looking at the emerging startups from the state:
The Dehradun-based healthtech startup was founded by Rajat Jain and Arpit Jain in 2016. Sunfox has built a portable ECG device called Spandan, which enables anyone to use this medical equipment with or without any medical knowledge.
Founded by Dr. Shiva Jahuri and Manish Srivastava in 2013, Pravartan’s wireless ECG platform enables mobile-connected miniature ECG devices and cloud-based consultancy sessions with experts.
Roorkee-based biotechnology startup Fermentech Labs was founded by Sidharth Arora in 2017. The company is involved in the production of two enzymes — phytase and cellulases at lab scale. Another mission of the company is to help increase the farmer’s income. For this purpose, Fermentech Labs is purchasing crop stubble from farmers around Roorkee and using it as a substrate for the production of enzyme and feed pellets.
The company is into the retail of cosmetic products made of natural and organic ingredients in the skincare, eyecare, hair care and facial care categories.
Founded by Soumen Karmakar in 2018, VilloTale is a rural tourism startup with an aim to transform village tourism into an organised sector. The company is targetting tourists with standardised homestay and village accommodations, meals and promote local cuisines, local culture and heritage.
Started by Tanya Singh and Tanya Kotnala in 2017, Bhuli is an enterprise that uses design to revive the handmade craftsmanship of the Himalayan region. The company aims to build a community of new-age artisans making crafts that are highly sustainable, ecofriendly and are socio-economically empowering.
Based in Uddham Singh Nagar, Agricafe is an agritech startup aimed at connecting farmers to the cashless economy. It also invests in educating farmers on best farming and income security practices. Additionally, it enables farmers to access a range of agricultural products, services and solutions through initiatives such as Kissan Bazaar and Service Pool.
Founded in 2017, this telemedicine startup enabling digital services such as remote storage and management of patients health records, search and connect to nearest emergency medical services, notifications for medication schedule, upcoming appointments, lab tests, and online doctor consultations and more.
Founded by Anmol Pundir, Nikhil Pundir, Sameer Khan, and Dr Abhijeet Singh Onneis is a food processing company. It manufactures natural pickles, jams and squashes using hand made recipes. The company claims to be not using any added preservatives, and hence preserving the richness of natural ingredients found in the hills of Uttarakhand.