Keen on deepening engagement with startup ecosystem in India: WhatsApp

WhatsApp announced the winners of its ‘Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge’, awarding a total of USD 2,50,000 to five startups.
| Updated on Jun 18 2019, 06:59 PM IST
WhatsApp India head with Startup India Challenge winners
WhatsApp India head with Startup India Challenge winners (WhatsApp)

Messaging giant WhatsApp Tuesday said it is focussed on deepening engagement with startups in India to help them leverage technology platforms and scale operations to solve various issues.

The Facebook-owned company also announced the winners of its 'Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge', awarding a total of USD 2,50,000 to five startups.

"It's five months into the job and one of my goals was to deepen WhatsApp's engagement in India on multiple fronts. As a tech company, we can be a very important partner to the startup ecosystem...we are doing to deepen our engagement with the startup and tech ecosystem," WhatsApp India Head Abhijit Bose told reporters here.

He added that the company will evaluate various routes to engage with the startup community in India.

Interestingly, last week, Facebook had announced picking up a minority stake in Bengaluru-based Meesho that helps entrepreneurs set up online businesses via social channels.

Bose, who was the first top-level executive to be hired for the country that accounts for the lion's share of its global user base, joined WhatsApp earlier this year from e-payments startup Ezetap where he served as the co-founder and CEO.

He pointed out that while the first wave of startups in India was around bringing business models from abroad and localising them for Indian audiences, startups are now working on solutions that are "India-first".

"...what's exciting now is that we are seeing innovative ideas that are India-first... The tech is in place, the platforms are there, and when you have an ecosystem that is building on top of that, it will scale very quickly," he added.

The Startup India-WhatsApp Grand Challenge received over 1,700 applications, of which five winners were announced on Tuesday.

The five winners - Minionlabs (helps businesses reduce electricity costs), MedCords (health-tech), Gramophone (agri-tech), Javis (converstional AI platform) and Melzo (affordable virtual reality content platform) - will receive USD 50,000 each.

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First Published Date: 18 Jun, 06:59 PM IST
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