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#BuildOnIndiaStack: Venture Pitch Competition launched for early-stage startups

Collaborative initiative by iSPIRTDalbergIndia StackBharat Innovation FundOmidyar Network and Unitus Seed Fund
· Flexible, insight driven, funding of up to $6,000 for early stage, innovative models
· Coaching, mentoring, pitching support
August, 2017, India: Dalberg and iSPIRT in collaboration with Bharat Innovations Fund, Omidyar Network and Unitus Seed Fund launched #BuildOnIndiaStack - a venture pitch competition for early-stage startups, building on top of the India Stack, a set of open APIs released by the Government of India.

The competition is open to all innovations that leverage the India Stack to unlock new business models and/or reach previously underserved, new customer segments across diverse sectors such as financial services, education, healthcare and others. Some core focus areas for the competition will also include digital lending and supporting activities, such as alternative credit scoring; sector specific digital services such as health insurance or education loans, skilling and certification, property registration agreements, patient-centric healthcare management; and SaaS platforms “as a service” that support the development of other India Stack based innovations such as Digi-locker or e-sign providers.

The startups that will qualify will be in teams of minimum two to maximum four members, including the founder. They will also have to be early stage startups that have received only seed or limited angel funding.  Further, they need to meet the three point criteria of being tech-enabled, leveraging India Stack platform and serving the underserved.

Chief Innovation Officer at Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (IIM-A), Sanjay Jain said, "India Stack adoption across all APIs is growing exponentially. Looking forward to see innovative new applications come up."

Dalberg, a global development consulting firm believes in the potential of India Stack and is spearheading this effort. On this occasion the Partner and Head of Financial Inclusion at Dalberg Advisors, Varad Pande said “We are delighted to partner on this initiative. As a mission-driven strategy-consulting firm, we are constantly looking for platforms that amplify social impact through market-based models. India Stack is exactly that kind of a platform – by transforming transaction-based services across sectors, it will drive innovation and inclusion throughout our economy. This competition is a starting point to support disruptive innovation, especially for the non-affluent ‘Bharat’ consumer.”

Shortlisted ventures will pitch to some of the leading investors and thinkers in the Indian start-up ecosystem, including the Bharat Innovations FundOmidyar Network and Unitus Seed Fund. The investor group will provide strategic business support to their investees. The network of investors will also provide mentoring through their specialists and experts. The ventures also stand to interact with select India Stack network of investors and operators, entrepreneurs and technologists, designers and engineers, academicians and policy makers, with the singular mission to solve some of India’s toughest problems.

The group of investors is looking forward to solutions that go beyond the confines on conventional and are path-breaking.

Roopa Kudva, who is a Partner and India MD for Omidyar Network said, “The time and cost benefits associated with the India Stack can enable a new wave of entrepreneurs to reach out to previously excluded sections of society in a wide range of sectors including financial services, education and healthcare. We therefore want to support businesses that use the Stack to empower individuals in a secure, cost-effective and privacy-enhancing manner."

United Seed Fund’s Partner, Mr. Srikrishna Ramamoorthy said, “For more than a decade now, the Unitus group has pioneered financial inclusion in India and globally through its work in microfinance investing. At Unitus Seed Fund, we’re continuing to build on this strong legacy – we’re looking to invest one-third of our current fund  in startups that can disrupt the way financial services is delivered to and accessed by the masses.”

Startup India and Let’sVenture are the outreach partners for this initiative. For information about how to apply, visit Deadline to submit an online application is August 14th, 2017.

About the organisers:
DALBERG: Dalberg is an advisory firm dedicated to social and economic development of the global poor, with the mission of bringing the best of private sector strategy to address global development challenges. Dalberg has 17 offices across the globe and their clients span the public, private and philanthropic sectors. In the financial sector, Dalberg has supported leading organizations in each of the main financial product segments – payments, savings, loans and insurance – across the world. In India, Dalberg has been on the forefront of promoting digital financial inclusion, working closely with key stakeholders such as Ministry of Finance, RBI – Household Finance Committee and iSPIRT.

iSPIRT: iSPIRT – Indian Software Product Industry Roundtable – is a non-profit industry think tank set up by 30 product companies and individuals in early 2013. iSPIRT believes that with focus, investment and indeed encouragement, the software product industry can become a multi-billion-dollar force to reckon with in the future. This will further have a multiplier effect on the economy in terms of growth, employment, consumption, investment and so on. iSPIRT was, therefore, set up to transform India into a hub for new generation software products, by addressing government policy, creating market catalysts and growing the maturity of product entrepreneurs through an integrative approach.

CIIE: IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into viable businesses. In partnership with our mentors, corporates, development agencies, IIMA community and investors, CIIE cultivates a rare breed of entrepreneurs by incubating, accelerating, mentoring and funding innovative start-ups. CIIE believes that entrepreneurship has an unmatched ability to bring about disruptive change in India and engages with ventures across technology and impact areas like energy, environment, agriculture, healthcare and affordable technology. CIIE believes it should operate in sectors and geographies where there are market failures and private support is not easy to find.

About the investors:
BHARAT INNOVATIONS FUND: Bharat Innovations Fund is a venture capital fund launched by CIIE, the business incubation and venture investment arm of IIM Ahmedabad, leveraging the early stage incubation, acceleration and investment experience developed over the last decade. Bharat Innovations Fund has been designed to invest in technology-enabled, IP-led businesses operating in healthcare, agritech, fintech and cleantech sectors with a keen focus on startups using the India Stack.

OMIDYAR NETWORK: Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm. We create opportunity for people to improve their lives by investing in market-based efforts that catalyse economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $1 billion to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple areas, including Digital Identity, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights.

UNITUS SEED FUND: Unitus Seed Fund is the leading impact venture fund investing in businesses innovating for the masses in India. Unitus invests in sectors including healthcare, education and financial technology. Unitus Seed Fund is backed by leading individual, family office, and foundation investors in the USA and India. Unitus Seed Fund is part of the Unitus Group, a premier financial services group operating in India and other emerging markets since 2000. Unitus Seed Fund is based in Bangalore and is a member of the Capria Network.


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