IIT Mandi Catalyst announces winners of 6th edition of Himalayan Startup Trek 2022

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Indian Institute of Technology Mandi’s Technology Incubator Catalyst organised the sixth edition of its annual flagship event, Himalayan Startup Trek (HST) 2022 from 26th to 28th August 2022. The event aimed at bringing together the stakeholders of the Indian startup ecosystem and provided young entrepreneurs with a platform to pitch their ideas for incubation support and fundraising.

This edition of the HST 2022 Grand challenge received more than 440 applications across diverse sectors such as Agriculture, Biotech, Healthcare, Clean Energy, Waste Management, Enterprise Solutions, Education, Travel, and Consumer Internet. Out of these, 60 teams were shortlisted for the grand finale and 11 winners under three thematic areas were awarded cash prizes along with an incubation offer at IIT Mandi Catalyst.

Shri. Jai Ram Thakur, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh graced the HST concluding the event with his esteemed presence as the chief guest. Other dignitaries including Shri Rakesh Kumar Prajapati, Director, Industries, Himachal Pradesh; Dr. Anita Gupta, Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India; Dr. Ajai Kumar Garg, Director, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Govt. of India; Shri Mukesh Repaswal (IAS) Department of Information Technology, Himachal Pradesh;, Shri Apoorv Devgan (IAS) Pollution Control Board, Himachal Pradesh, and Smt Deepika Rana, Joint Director Department of Industries, graced the event with their presence. Various speakers, industry leaders, investors and 100+ startups from all across India attended the event.

Speaking during the event, Shri. Jai Ram Thakur, Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh, said, “IIT Mandi has the most appropriate place for researchers, it gives the best environment to the young students to think better and build their Startup ideas. I expect that IIT Mandi should focus on a few targeted areas which could be beneficial for the livelihood in Himachal Pradesh such as smart agriculture and horticulture. Himachal Government is ready to lend their support in as many ways as they can to the Institute and its incubation Center as the government really appreciates the idea of making the Kamand valley into a hill startup valley.”

Speaking during the event, Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi, said, “The key features for a startup are to solve problems to help society at large. IIT Mandi Catalyst is aspiring to convert the Kamand valley into Silicon Valley of the Himalayas and is enabling young minds to solve unique problems of the progressive world. We at IIT Mandi look forward to inspiring more and more startups with innovative solutions.”

Further, Prof. Laxmidhar Behera mentioned, “Himachal Pradesh has the potential to become the first state for practicing climate control agriculture and become the food grower state for the rest of the country. We aim to make IIT Mandi as a Himalayan Startup Valley in Himachal Pradesh and would like to bring not just national but international startups in this valley.”

Ø The New Age Alliance – Human-Computer Interaction theme of HST Startup Grand Challenge focused on innovative ideas related to the usage of computers’ intelligence and computation capabilities in decision making, prediction, estimation, communication, and processing. Winner teams under this thematic area include:

1. Sunbots Innovations LLP – Sunbots is developing camera based wearable devices that translate visual into audio from using camera vision to provide actionable intelligence for Blind and Visually impaired persons.

2. NEMA AI – The team is developing comprehensive learning platform for Neurodivergent individuals between the ages 5 -30 years who suffered Autism by Brain Computer Interface

3. SerachGrand – The team is building team that fits in shutter to monitor and project shops from burglary using IoT technology

Ø The Foothill Innovators Challenge – Build for the Himalayas theme revolved around addressing the issues relevant to the local terrain, population, environment, and ecology, or focusing on taking local products and offerings to the world by building supply chains, storage, or building capacity at different value chain levels. Winner teams under this thematic area include:

1. Binary loop – Binary loop is developing multirole UAV for surveillance, agriculture and logistic sector to solve problems like surveillance of remote places, spraying pesticides in agriculture field and cargo delivery in remote places

2. WebAgro Tech – WebAgro Tech is developing Portable Collection and size sorting equipment for round fruit intermediaries to solve on field harvest time losses. Using collection arm and portable size sorting equipments

3. i) Oddessemania Private Limited – Oddessemania is developing pre travel guide booking and itinerary building web app

ii) Atulsia Magastores Private Limited – Megastores.com has developed a social marketplace that is customised and easy to use for artisans and brands that solves problems of promoting and selling handicrafts items to worldwide customers

Ø The Habitable World Challenge – Environment and Sustainability theme specifically focused on innovative ideas solving the problem statements related to clean & renewable energy, waste management, e-vehicles, green solutions, recycling, and natural resource management. Climate change, and natural resource management. Winner teams under this thematic area include:

1. Kinowave – Kinowave is developing Grid scale energy solutions to store energy at large scale for power distribution companies to solve peak load problems using non renewable energy generation methods

2. Exsure Pvt Ltd – Exsure building drug delivery platform that will target both cancer cells and cancer stem cells thereby reducing the chance of tumour recurrence

3. i) New Unnat India Techno Solution & Innovation Pvt Ltd – New Unnat India Techno Solution & Innovation has developed a novel hybrid water Purifier “Shuddham” specially for Rural India. It is low-cost drinking water purification with cooling and natural test added technology

ii) Urbanblue Technologies Pvt Ltd – Urban Blue Technologies is developing treatment plant management suite of software for wastewater treatment plants to solve the delays in analysing and troubleshooting the data from treatment plants using a mix of AI – MI and computer vision

Apart from the prize money, the winner teams will also be provided with incubation support and funding access for prototyping as well product developments through various funding schemes hosted by Catalyst and provide upto INR 50 Lakh of funding.

Speaking during the event, Dr. Anita Gupta, Scientist G, NSTEDB, Department of Science & Technology, said, “The Department of Science and Technology has multiple examples to showcase how we are tapping the startups and connecting them with the right mentors for a successful collaboration. IIT Mandi has made exemplary efforts by supporting various startups and making Himachal Pradesh a hub for startups.”

Congratulating the winning teams, Dr. Puran Singh, Faculty-in-charge, IIT Mandi Catalyst, said, “This is a great beginning for the winning startups to come and work in the state. Government departments in the states have shown unprecedented interest and support for startups. Several other startups will be invited to join the incubation program that will begin next month at IIT Mandi. These startups will have access to the startup ecosystem in the state and the support mechanism at IIT Mandi. I wish them the best.”

The three-day event was packed with events such as pitch sessions, investors connect, panel discussions, speed dating, and master classes for incubators and startups. Different government departments of Himachal Pradesh took a keen interest in the innovative solutions provided by the startups. The departments held special meetings with innovators and provided opportunities to connect and support startups in different capacities.

The event was supported by the HP Center for Entrepreneurship Development of HP Industries Department, Startup Himachal, IIT Mandi IHUB and HCI foundation, Peak Ventures, Compliance Support, Saluja Jal Vidyut Nigam, HIMURJA, HP Pollution Control Board, National Health Mission, Department of Information technology Himachal Pradesh, Cunomial, Ashoka Furniture and HDFC bank.

It is notable that in its short journey, IIT Mandi Catalyst has supported over 260 startups in a range of sectors including clean energy, healthcare, enterprise management, agriculture, manufacturing, biotech, education, and consumer internet. Catalyst has hosted over 130 such programs to date and has disbursed or committed over INR 6 Cr for prototyping and commercialization purposes to the startups. IIT Mandi Catalyst is thankful to the Centre and State government funding agencies for their continuous support and partnership in enabling a startup ecosystem in a remote valley in the Himalayas.

More information about the event can be found on: iitmandicatalyst.in/hst2022

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