Kerala, Delhi startups emerge winners in Global Impact Challenge

Kerala-based startup Ajna and  Brun Health from Delhi won the Global Impact Challenge (GIC), jointly organised by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) and the US-based Singularity University (SU), at  the grand finale held at Technopark here on Saturday.

The two winning teams will get an opportunity to attend the SU Incubation Programme that lasts 10 weeks. EasyKrishi (Karnataka), SunEmison Solar (Chhattisgarh), and SignNEXT Assistive Technology LLP (Kerala) were declared the top three performers behind the winners. They were awarded certificates and cash prize of Rs 50,000 each. The India GIC, which began on July 2, aimed at identifying inspiring startups trying to find solutions addressing global challenges in learning, healthcare and environment sectors.   The KSUM had selected 25 finalists belonging to different states from the applicants, who included 11 in healthcare, 8 in environment and 6 in education.

Ajna has solutions to stave off illegal logging that leads to deforestation and climate change, using autonomous drones, deep learning and blockchain technologies.  Brun Health is a medical device company, designing technology-based, accessible and affordable solutions for pregnancy monitoring. It targets primary health centres and maternity clinics by working on a mission  to deploy 1,500 devices by 2019.

The aim of the GIC is to foster moonshot innovations and startups that positively impact the society, with an ability to scale and impact a billion people worldwide in 10 years.

The SU is a global community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. The grand finalists were selected from the 24 startups that pitched their ideas on July 6.

Ms. Rejina Njima, Director, Global Impact Competitions, Singularity University. announced the winners at the valedictory function. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM said the top six Kerala-based companies that pitched their ideas in the GIC can participate in the maiden Kerala Innovation mpact Challenge, to be held in September. The winner will get Rs 80 lakh as prize money.”

Ajna, Brun Health, Biome, Genrobotic Innovations, Sign NEXT Assistive Technology LLP and NavAlt Solar and Electric Boats Pvt. Ltd will be participating in the Kerala Innovation Challenge.

Among the 10 startups selected for the grand finale, six were from Kerala. The finalists included Navalt Solar and Electric Boats Pvt. Ltd. (Kerala), Biome (Kerala and Maharashtra), EyeROV (Kerala), Genrobotic Innovations (Kerala), and Pentavalent Bio Sciences Pvt. Ltd. (Karnataka).

Dr. K.M. Abraham, Chairman, K-DISC and CEO, KIIFB, said, “The bottleneck that stands between the government adopting startup is that the procurement mechanism in the government is not allowing it to lap it up as soon as watching their presentation.

He said a proposal for setting up a platform where a series of application identification clinics can be conducted will be presented at the meeting of the state’s strategic think-tank K-DISC on Sunday.

“We plan to conduct a series of application identification clinics with different departments and start-ups in September. The plan is by 2018-19, about 20 to 30 startups actively taking a project in the government and working on it should be a reality,” he said. Besides India, the GIC is currently going on in Japan and South Korea.

Dr. Jayasankar Prasad, Director, ICFOSS and Leader, SU Trivandrum Chapter, and Srikanth Sinha, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, were also present.

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