Conquest, the 11 year-old BITS Pilani is gearing up for its 12th edition of the annual International Startup Challenge which begins in April. The finale will be held in the last week of August or first week of September.
From among the applicants, the top 50 will be shortlisted by investors and VCs. This year Conquest has widened its outreach with incubation partners in Asia and South-East Asian countries. Unlike every year where the top 50 shortlisted start-ups get introduced and connected with VCs and investors after the finale, this time they will be introduced to them before the finale.
It offers incubation opportunities, networking sessions with industry leaders, funding opportunities and equityless cash prize of Rs 3 lakh. It also provides a million dollar worth startup resources for the top 50 shortlisted start-ups.
Mentoring sessions will be held in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore while the finale will be held in Delhi in the last week of August or first week of September.
Conquest began as an in-house event for students of the campus. In time, it has expanded its scope to what it is today.
The challenge has been backed by investors from over 13 investment firms and industry bigwigs like Neeru Sharma, CEO at Infibeam, Satyen Kothari, MD at Citrus Pay and Samay Kohli, CEO at GreyOrange Robotics, Rohit Bansal, COO at Snapdeal as mentors and judges in its past editions.
Commenting on his associations with Conquest, Sanjay Nath, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Blume Ventures said, “I was pleasantly surprised by the variety (covering both BITSian founded as well as other startups) and maturity of startups at the Conquest finale. I'd encourage more startups to tap into such start-up friendly platforms to grow.”
Dhairik Fuletra, CEO at Conquest, says, "We provide them [start-ups] with the perfect platform to launch their venture in the form of networking and funding opportunities.”
Conquest focused the so-far untapped start-ups in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of the country and provides them an opportunity to be on equal footing with ventures across the globe.
Some of Conquest winners in the past include Gamezop, iTraveller, PosterGully, GharPay (Acquired by Delhivery) and Voonik. Gamezop, the runner-up of Conquest ‘15, raised a funding of USD 350,000 after Conquest Grand Finale. Gaurav and Yashash, the Agarwal siblings, who founded Gamezop in 2015, have been featured in Forbes 30 under 30 this year.
The Application Process
Participants are required to fill a form on the Conquest website – www.conquest.org.in. The Jury, a panel of entrepreneurs and investors, will screen the applications based on various parameters gauging the startup performance. The semifinalists would get personalized mentoring across five major cities in India, wherein the teams will be offered to choose their own mentors. In the finale, shortlisted candidates will get an opportunity to interact with industrialists and a pitching opportunity to the biggest VC firms.
Registrations for participation close on April 20, 2016.
(Disclaimer: FirstPost is media partner, Conquest 2016)