Startup India - WhatsApp Grand Challenge winners announced; $250,000 grant awarded

Five startups with innovative ideas were chosen as the winners who received $50,000 in grants each

Startup India and WhatsApp had gotten together earlier this year to launch the Startup India - WhatsApp Grand Challenge. It was meant to push entrepreneurs to come up with solutions to socio-economic problems in the Indian economy.

WhatsApp. Reuters

WhatsApp. Reuters

The challenge has now been completed by five startups including MedCords, Melzo, Javis, Gramophone and MinionLabs. Each of them have received a grant of $50,000 each which is approximately Rs 35 Lakhs.

After the challenge was announced, it received over 1,700 entries from 25 states from all over the country. Out of them, about 70 percent were in the early traction period that meant it had been less than three months since the startup's inception. All the participants were judged on the basis of innovative thinking, scale of impact and the ability to solve real problems faced by Indians.

From the extensive list of entries, 10 of them were shortlisted for the final round where each startup got the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. The panel included Shailesh Lakhani (Sequoia Capital), Vani Kola (Kalaari Capital), Deep Kalra (MakeMyTrip), Harsha Kumar (Lightspeed Ventures), and Abhijit Bose (WhatsApp).

Mr. Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary DPIIT, Govt. of India said, “We are constantly working to strengthen the ecosystem to support our startups by simplifying regulations, building infrastructure, and establishing meaningful partnerships.”

“India has proven to propel highly innovative ideas that are making significant impact to society and the economy, said Mr. Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India.

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