We are in the times of speedy innovation and solution centric ideas. This era is also significantly in love with digital innovation. Thus, it is no surprise that firms like PayTM, Ola, OYO, Swiggy, Zomato, and more others currently occupy the coveted ‘Unicorn’ throne in the startup universe. This definitely speaks volumes of India’s potential at a global as well as local level.
Every year the startup verse gets more and more entrants, and each more innovative than the other. Whether we are looking at TCS in the late 1960s or Infosys in the early 1980s; there has been a path paved for today’s startups. Our digital startups have been playing a crucial role in turning India into a software giant, since years now.
Although there are some firms that work along the ideas inspired by estblished companies in different countries, they still bring a whole lot that cater specifically to Indian problems. Some examples of this are Flipkart (inspiration from Amazon), Ola (from Uber), OYO (from Airbnb) etc. These startups are the poster boys of the Indian success story.
These companies inspire others to think, grow and aspire to become a force to reckon with. Incidentally, there are some companies that are working on being innovative and their focus is on Indian requirements. We have here collected a list of some of these new entrants, working on some distinctive and challenging problems in India, through technology.
1. Ather Energy:
While Tesla is disrupting automobile industry worldwide, Ather Energy is determined to establish a similar ecosystem in India. The difference is that they will be doing it through electric scooters. Artha is working with the idea that electric vehicles are going to be the preferred mode of transport soon.
Ather Energy manufactures 2 models of electric scooters: the 340 and 450. The scooters are designed for everyday riders keeping in mind ‘today’s stop and go traffic conditions‘. The Ather 450 has a top speed of 80 kmph with a range of 55-75 km, whereas the 340 has a top speed of 70 kmph with a range of 45-60 km. The listed on-road price of these models is Rs. 1,13,715 and Rs. 1,02,460 respectively. Currently, pre-orders are only open in Bengaluru and Chennai.
The scooters include power packs for high capacity, high power output and fast charging, built by Ather themselves. They also include a 7 inch capacitive interactive display capable of on-board navigation. Additionally, the vital stats of the scooters can be accessed via mobile app, with fancy OTA (over the air) updates for the scooter too.
Ather Energy is also in the process of establishing an extensive charging network termed as AtherGrid, which will start with Bengaluru and expected to expand to 30 cities. Ather promises fast, reliable and safe charging for all kinds of electric vehicles, as it has the technology for cross-charging.
2. Smartivity Labs:
Smartivity works in the education field. It has come out with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning based educational toys for children between the age of 3-14 years. It designs toys, engagement activities and learning tools aimed to help learn scientific principles through structured games. Its key offerings involve STEM-based DIY toys and activities, AR-enabled activities, robotics based learning and app-based engagement. The idea behind Smartivity is to try and bridge the gap between physical and digital world for kids.
Smartivity is helping generate interest in learning in kids at an early age. Today, its educational toys are sold across India in major retail chains like Hamleys, Crossword, Landmark etc.
Globally, the educational toy industry showed a revenue of close to $22 Billion in 2015 and the market size of the same is expected to reach $34 Billion by 2024. As of now, the top brands in this segment are LEGO, Mattel and Hasbro. Together, they account for 39% of the market share. However, the educational toy segment in India is still picking up steam and Smartivity is in the lead.
While the majority of AgriTech startups are exploring and facilitating e-commerce potential of agriculture, CropIn is using data driven technical tools. Its focus is on helping farmers and companies make informed decisions about agriculture. It is working on digitizing farms, providing live reports, analysis, interpretation, and insights. Their agri solutions are realtime and will help identify patterns and predict trends.
CropIn has 4 major product offerings.
A complete farm management solution capable of providing realtime alerts for pests, disease in crops, advice on weather based satellite imagery, crop reports and more. This is targeted at tech savvy farmers and farming companies.
A risk mitigation and forecasting intelligence solution that provides accurate data for decision making for farmers and farming companies.
A packhouse solution for traceability and compliance – an eCommerce dashboard for tracking produces, inventory management, order processing, etc.
The CRM and input channel management solution – sales team performance management, order booking, and tracking, CRM solution, etc.
AgriTech is one of the hottest sectors among startup space in India. According to NASSCOM, there are currently 450 startups in the AgriTech sector. The sectors have been growing at a rate of 25% year on year. The sector has received over $248 million in funding – a 3x increase compared to the previous year. This could mean that we might have an AgriTech unicorn startup in our country soon. Agriculture occupies a significant place in the Indian economy and also has an untapped potential for innovation and the next technical revolution.
4. Tonbo Imaging:
Tonbo Imaging is the largest domestic defense startup in India with over $23 million in funding. They help Indian defense forces tackle modern day battlefield challenges by designing, building and deploying advance imaging and sensor systems for sensing, understanding and controlling complex environments. They additionally design electro-optical products for land, naval and air troops.
Tonbo Imaging makes use of innovative designs in micro-optics, lower power electronics and real-time vision processing to design imaging systems for real world applications. They are thus capable of helping the defence forces see through various obstacles like smoke, dust, fog and camouflage. These obstacles hamper observation and efficient navigation for the forces. Consequently, effective visualisation is all the more essential for modern day battlefields, reconnaissance without human intervention and driving in the dark.
Tonbo is also doing pilot projects with Uber and Tesla for heads up display in the self driving cars. The startup has also worked on fortifying Pathankot airbase after the 2016 attack.
5. Chakr Innovation:
The startup Chakr Innovation, aims at reducing the pollution levels in the country and thus improve the quality of life. India is the focus because 10 out of the 20 most polluted cities of the world are in India.
Chakr has subsequently filed a patent for retro-fit emission control device for diesel generators. This technology can capture over 90% of particulate matter emissions from the exhaust of diesel generators while keeping the generator’s efficiency same as before. This then undergoes conversion to produce usable products like ink and paint. Apparently, diesel generators are a major contributor of PM 2.5 which is a Class 1 carcinogen and evidently can cause cancer in humans.