WhatsApp on Monday announced an investment of $250,000 in the Indian startup ecosystem to help the Indian entrepreneurial community connect with their customers and grow their businesses.
Through a partnership with Startup India, a flagship initiative of the Indian government, WhatsApp will give 500 startups, approved by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), $500 each of Facebook ad credits. With the ad credits, the startups can create ads that invite customers to click to open a chat on WhatsApp so they can increase sales.
This investment comes on the heels of the Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge that inspired entrepreneurs to develop India-specific solutions with socio-economic impact. WhatsApp awarded the five Grand Challenge winners with a grant worth $50,000 each (approximately ₹35 lakhs).
“Startups and small businesses are the lifeblood of Indian communities and are a powerful driver of local economies. India’s entrepreneurs are at the forefront of bringing impactful social and economic change, and we at WhatsApp are committed to providing them support in achieving success," said Abhijit Bose, head of WhatsApp India.
According to the company, 5,000,000 businesses around the world, of which 1,000,000 are in India, are actively using the WhatsApp Business app to interact with their customers. With the newly launched catalog feature, small businesses now also have a mobile storefront to showcase their products and services so customers can easily find something they might like to buy.
In order to be eligible for this incentive, startups must be at an early traction or scalable stage and must be recognized by DPIIT