First of Its Kind – The NASSCOM DeepTech Club
Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog
In India, the unmet demand in almost every sector provides a massive opportunity for companies (particularly startups) to make a difference to a million lives. Often, traditional methods don’t do justice and we require continuous innovation through deeptech – AI, ML, IoT, Blockchain, Mixed Reality, Robotics, Drone, Cryptography – to solve complex problems.
Our study indicates that 18% of the total startup base (9300) i.e. approximately 1800 companies had already diffused deeptech in their business model and the pace of adoption was a rapid 40% CAGR. These companies are substantially differentiated from the rest, and during the crisis, it got another 50% to want to adopt deeptech and pivot. Of course, it can’t simply be a “lift and shift” kind of approach because these technologies can have a bleeding-edge and unless the right competencies exist, the results will not be forthcoming.
The DeepTech Club at NASSCOM (NDTC) was set up three years back – the first of its kind – and to date, 80 companies from 13 verticals have been inducted. Our four cohorts have identified, curated, recognized, nurtured, and promoted these companies by leveraging the NASSCOM platform and the wider ecosystem.
It is a three-stage process to induction: Application, Short-listing & On-boarding. But I daresay, we are picky when it comes to taking new people in and we haven’t wavered from our stingy acceptance rate of 5% either. Neither do we intend to in the future. But when it comes to selecting companies based on revenue, we’ve been quite generous actually – pre-launch companies (no revenue), early-stage ones (revenue upto 100k $), those in the growth-stage (revenue upto 1 mn $) and the mature ones, well beyond 1 million dollars, have all made the cut.
Companies have sought mentoring & support services in diverse areas, such as Enterprise Connect, Fund Raising, GTM Strategies, Talent Management, and of course, Tech Support. Cumulatively, NDTC has delivered more than 850 hours of personalized mentoring with sustained commitment from 60+ industry experts and domain specialists. This kind of rigour has led to 1100 connects being established, and to the participants’ credit, optimally leveraged. A case in point being the funding opportunities NDTC created: more than 70 million $ were raised in various rounds.
To give you a fair idea, here are a few prominent examples from NDTC:
- Yellow Messenger, an AI-based chatbot startup has recently raised 20 million USD through Series B. Its vision is to deepen multi-lingual voice bot capabilities, expand enterprise integrations, and develop a marketplace for virtual assistants.
- Imaginate uses AR/VR & gamification tools to “remove boredom from online classes”. A relevant example of new-age learning in times of remote working.
- AI can run deep neural networks and real-time visitor analytics to extract critical customer insights that can measure the impact of marketing campaigns and conversion rates. It was also inducted in the MassChallenges Israel Accelerator Program. In retail circles, it has earned the sobriquet – Android for CCTV cameras. HealthSense, a workplace safety compliance solution, and new addition at that has been impactful during Opening-Up 1.0.
- Forbes Asia’s much-awaited ’30 Under 30’ 2019 list included Nitesh Jangir, the Co-Founder of Coeo Labs. It’s a critical care company that is helping to fight the pandemic. VAPcare is an intelligent secretion and oral hygiene management system.
- Senseforth.ai’s proprietory NLP technology is embedded in its conversational AI platform used by Asian & North American customers to drive engagement. It attained the 6th spot in one of the world’s most authoritative machine-reading comprehension benchmarks, the Stanford Question Answering Dataset 2.0 (SQuAD 2.0).
- Cyclops MedTech innovates to produce sterilizable face protection PPE units which are cost-effective too. A winner in these times.
- Invento Robotics and as the name suggests has autonomous robots that carry UV-C lights that can help disinfect physical spaces.
- Onward Assist can diagnose COVID – 19 using chest X-rays and CT scans.
- Pathpartner addresses a very important aspect of 24/7 healthcare. It can identify fatigue amongst care-givers.
- Security Share’s DSG Vault is a Data Security Governance platform from SecurelyShare that enables enterprises to securely store, govern, and share sensitive data as per company policies, consent, and government regulations.
Call it the NEW NORMAL or the Contact-less economy, customer experience will have to be re-imagined to address safety and accessibility as well. We haven’t talked about drones in the new scheme of things. Is this the Aha moment for this kind of advanced technology?
The nation is right up there in terms of technical capabilities but we need an ecosystem that fosters differentiated thinking to create massive pathways to innovation-led economic growth. As a pathfinder, or better still, a path-creator, the NASSCOM Deep Tech Club can play a pivotal role.
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