India start-ups to get a Google edge

The firm is in the process of finalizing the companies and mentors for its six-day programme called Launchpad


Beginning February, the company is looking to do more such programmes every quarter, and by 2016, plans to roll out these events every month.
Beginning February, the company is looking to do more such programmes every quarter, and by 2016, plans to roll out these events every month.

Google Inc., which is planning to mentor 25 start-ups in India, is in the process of finalizing the firms and mentors for its six-day programme called Launchpad. Beginning February, the company is looking to do more such programmes every quarter, and by 2016, plans to roll out these events every month, according to Sunil Rao, country head of the start-up ecosystem at Google India Pvt. Ltd.

A key selection criterion is to gauge whether the product has the potential to make it big internationally as well. Rao says he believes wearable technology and the Internet of Things will be the next big things.

There are close to 1,500 IT start-ups coming out of India every year, more than three times compared with 2005, said Rao. But their mortality rate is high and around half of them don’t last more than 15 months.

Unlike what Google Ventures does in the US and UK, the company will focus more on mentoring rather than funding in India. Rao reasoned that funding is not a major problem for Indian start-ups since there are already around 400 venture capitalists in the country who are ready to give money to deserving start-ups.

Mentoring, said Rao, will be mostly about assisting the start-ups get the right kind of connections, helping them make strategic course corrections, re-evaluating the user experience and design, exposing them to technologies, and guiding them in using these technologies effectively.

In the first few days, Google will talk about the available technologies and how the start-ups can use them. “We will tell them about Google’s technologies, and even futuristic technologies including Google Glass, Android TV, Chromecast, because we don’t want these people to reinvent the wheel. Some technologies are already available, but are they using them effectively? They will also get technology freebies from us such as $20,000 worth of cloud credit,” said Rao. Cloud credit enables customers to buy cloud services.

Half of the 25-30 mentors will be Google employees, some of who will be from Israel and California as well, while the rest will be successful entrepreneurs and large investors, said Rao.

Google, meanwhile, has shortlisted some start-ups from Bangalore and Chennai, and will now go to Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Mint brings you a brief description of the 10 start-ups identified so far.

Cosight

Founders: Debnath Sinha and Srinath Sinha

CoSight.io gives sales managers a real time view of their sales deals and automates data entry for the sales force by detecting text patterns in their emails. Debnath Sinha covers product development at CoSight. Prior to this, he did analytics at salesforce.com in San Francisco, according to his website. Srinath Sinha covers design and business development at CoSight, and has earlier worked at the World Bank in Washington DC.

IReff Technologies

Founder: Nizam Mohideen

IReff Technologies was incorporated on 28 June 2013 by Mohideen. The founder and chief executive of the company graduated from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore. IReff helps prepaid mobile users find the ideal recharge product. A user can search for the best offering by selecting the operator, the telecom circle, and then, the appropriate plan.

Findulum Techlabs Pvt. Ltd

Founders: Kiran Shastri, Mayank Shah

Findulum, a Bangalore-based technology start-up, focuses on enabling retail commerce and payments through mobile devices. Smartpocket, its flagship product, can convert a mobile device into a singular channel for all card transactions, managing all your loyalty cards on the phone.

AdWyze

Founder: Arun Srinivasan

The online marketing agency was one of the winners at the MIT Global Startup Labs Demo Day held in August. It works across a range of industries like finance and education. AdWyze has developed in-house tools and capabilities to use analytics to improve the returns on online campaigns.

Wazzat Labs

Founders: Jay Guru Panda and Naveen Sinha

The company, another winner at the MIT Global Startup Labs Demo Day, delivers image processing, computer vision and graphics solutions on mobile platforms. Its product, Wazzat Mobile Vision SDK, can be trained to recognize real world objects ranging from printed materials to places and buildings, though it is yet to support objects like faces, plants, food, animals and some medical imagery objects.

Bluehat Education

Founders: Pankaj Chand, Ram Kakkad and Vivek Iyer

The company uses personalization and gamification to aid user motivation and technology, and data to aid online learning. Started with a seed capital of $27,000, it was incorporated on 13 January 2012. Iyer guides business at Bluehat, and calls himself the “resident hustler”—doing whatever is required to move ahead. At InMobi, he helped build the user acquisition business across China, Japan and Korea. Kakkad loves to teach and he manages the curriculum design and its “technologification”. He conceptualized the EnglishDost solution after trying to learn Spanish.

Etyacol Technologies

Founders: Dhiren Makhija, Kannan Kandappan and Yogesh Joshi

Incorporated in April 2012, and headquartered in Bangalore, the company has developed a few mobile applications across areas like location-based tracking and customer profiling. CashKumar, one of its products, provides a personalized foreign exchange platform, with access to reputed money changers for the best exchange rates. Makhija is an alumnus of IIM, Ahmedabad, while Kandappan and Joshi are from the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore.

TheRightDoctor

Founder: Chandra Sekhar

Founded in 2013, the self-funded company is a cloud-based solution that digitizes the engagement between doctors and patients. It helps patients find doctors for their medical condition and enables them to take second opinions from experts, from their homes. The automated system collects real time patient data and experiences after they leave the hospital. These data points help doctors monitor patients remotely. Proprietary algorithms analyse patient data and flag early warning signs.

Turing Research Labs

Founders: Shyam Anandaraman and Senthil Kanthaswamy

Chennai-based Turing Research is a technology research firm working on social Web and mobile spaces. One of its latest projects, Frilp, that stands for Friends Help, is powered by an algorithm that assists a user to find recommendations on trusted businesses, shops and services from friends and connections. Frilp was one of the start-ups to be incubated and seed-funded by Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship, IIM, Ahmedabad.

Expin.me

Founder: Rakesh Agarwal

The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi graduate has created a story builder application, Expin.me, that provides solutions to bloggers, marketers, teams and companies to write and tell their stories online.

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