Mandi: Indian Institute of Technology Mandi Catalyst, the first technology-based incubator in Himachal Pradesh, concluded the third edition of its annual flagship event, Himalayan Startup Trek (HST) on 14th and 15th September 2019. The event aims at bringing together the stakeholders of the Indian startup ecosystem and provided young entrepreneurs a platform to pitch their ideas for incubation support and fund raising.
More than 270 teams applied for HST 2019. A total of 60 teams including individuals and organizations were shortlisted.
Welcoming the participants to the Himalayan Startup Trek 2019, Prof. Timothy A. Gonsalves, Director, IIT Mandi, said, “The key features for a startup are to understand, compare, assess, adapt and develop. I hope all the budding entrepreneurs who have joined us for the 3rd annual HST will learn something new from the experiences of the speakers who have joined us here at IIT Mandi.”
The key speakers and investors included:
➢ Mr. Anshu Gupta, Founder, Goonj
➢ Mr. Samir Shah, Managing Principal, Sattva Capital
➢ Dr. Amarjeet Singh, CTO, Zenatix
➢ Mr. Saurabh Jain, Vice President, Paytm
➢ Ms. Gitanjali J.B., Founding CEO, HIAL
➢ Ms. Sapna Arora, CMO, OLX
➢ Mr. Bhavesh Manglani, Co-Founder and COO, Delhivery
➢ Mr. Anuj Sharma, Founder and CEO, Alsisar
Delivering his keynote speech and talking on the topic ‘Look Beyond, See the Invisible’, Mr. Anshu Gupta, Founder, Goonj, said, “It’s important to analyse whether we are looking at the problem from our lenses or through the lenses of people for whom we are trying to find a solution. Awareness, availability and affordability are the basic points to remember while finding a solution.”
Talking about ‘Opportunities In Water and Solar Sector’, Mr. Samir Shah, Managing Principal, Sattva Capital, said, “We need more startups to work on problems related to core sectors including water, energy and agriculture. I am happy to see many startups here at IIT Mandi which are focused on these sectors.”
Dr. Amarjeet Singh, Chief Technical Officer, Zenatix, said, “After connecting people, the next wave is to connect things. Connecting physical infrastructure can throw real time and large volume of data which can be then leveraged by businesses to improve their top line and bottom line”, while talking about ‘Emerging Uses of IoT, Automation and Analytics.’
During the event, various tech/business talks were delivered by eminent speakers. Panel discussions, one-on-one meetings and ‘speed dating’ were also organized between the startup teams and the experts. This gave the early stage startups an opportunity to learn about the fundamental aspects of running a business. Operational startups that have prior experience got a chance to meet investors to raise funding.
Ideas ranging from agriculture, waste management, climate change, renewable energy, road safety, disaster management, to healthcare sectors were presented and discussed at HST 2019.
IIT Mandi Catalyst handpicked as many as 25 innovative ideas and gave them on the spot offer letters to join the incubation program. Through this program, IIT Mandi Catalyst will guide early stage entrepreneurial initiatives by providing support in infrastructure, finances, mentoring, and industry connections.
It is notable that, with this program, IIT Mandi Catalyst is all set to disburse over Rs. 10 Cr. to startups over the period of next 5 years. In the past three years, IIT Mandi has disbursed over Rs. 1 Cr. worth of grants and investments to over 30 startups that have gone through the 3-month residential program in which startups were provided technical mentoring by faculty at IIT Mandi while they built prototypes or tested and improved their products.
Significant financial contributions by Himachal Pradesh Centre of Entrepreneurial Development (HPCED), Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL), OLX, Coursea, DIC-IIT Mandi ensured the success of the event.