Winners of $250,000 Grant Challenge

In a continued effort to support the entrepreneurial community in India, Invest India and WhatsApp have announced five winners – MedCords, Melzo, Javis, Gramophone and MinionLabs of the Startup India – WhatsApp Grand Challenge.

Five startups were awarded a total grant worth $250,000 i.e. approximately Rs. 35 lakhs each.

MedCords is bringing dependable and affordable healthcare to rural and semi-urban India. They digitally manage patient medical records, provide comprehensive e-consultations and deliver insights using data science. Their usage is spread across 2,000 villages with online health profiles managing medical records for 700,000 patients.

Melzo is an affordable virtual reality content platform, enabling masses to consume content easily on low-end devices. Catering to over 140+ brands and SMEs globally, they have reached 3 million+ views across 200+ countries.

Javis is a WhatsApp-based conversational AI platform that connects the right people with the right information to get business done quickly. Their AI platform receives an average of 3-4 individual queries per day, and currently has 1,500 active users. They are also rolling out the system to 15,000 footwear outlets by July 1.

Gramophone is an agri-tech platform providing agronomic intelligence to farmers, and aims to be a one-stop-shop for all agricultural input needs. They help farmers reduce cultivation costs by 15-20% and increase production by more than 30%.

MinionLabs help businesses reduce electricity costs, leveraging a machine learning approach and improve productivity by providing real-time electricity consumption insights. They have helped businesses save 12-16% on their annual electricity costs.

The challenge received an incredible 1,700+ entries from 25 states across the country. The entries were evaluated for their innovative thinking, scale of impact and the ability to solve real problems faced by Indians.

A shortlist of 10 entries were then given a chance to pitch their ideas live to a mix of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs including Shailesh Lakhani (Sequoia Capital), Vani Kola (Kalaari Capital), Deep Kalra (MakeMyTrip), Harsha Kumar (Lightspeed Ventures) and Abhijit Bose (WhatsApp).

Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary DPIIT, Govt. of India said, “We are constantly working to strengthen the ecosystem to support our startups by simplifying regulations, building infrastructure, and establishing meaningful partnerships.”

Abhijit Bose, Head, WhatsApp India said, “We at WhatsApp are proud to have a role in helping the next generation of innovators use technology to help improve lives in India and around the world. Congratulations to the winners and we look forward to seeing their ideas come to life.”


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