Drone-based ventures take off in the Indian startup space
The Global Startup Ecosystem Report launched at London Tech Week last month puts some exciting innovations under the spotlight that find solutions to education, finance and healthcare challenges
On the morning of October 1, Marut Drones, a Hyderabad-based technology startup, aimed high. A drone they have christened the ‘seedcopter’ dispersed 1.5 lakh spheres over the KBR National Park in Hyderabad. The spheres made of clay and manure contained seeds of custard apple, gooseberry, tamarind and bamboo.
Once it rains, the spheres dissolve releasing the seeds, which will germinate into a harvest. Marut Drones is the new poster boy in the startup world. T-Hub, the Hyderabad-based tech startup innovation ecosystem, is proud to have identified and nurtured such promising ventures in Telangana. Recently, it worked closely with Startup Genome, a policy advisory and research organisation, for the 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER). The report, which was launched at London Tech Week in September, also has insights from India, including Telangana. Ravi Narayan, the former CEO of T-Hub, who helmed the report’s preparation during his tenure, tells us about startup trends, the startup wave pattern, what worked and what’s the future.
The pattern: There has been a surge in tech and tech-enabled B2B (business to business) tech-empowered, data-rich AI-enabled startups. Thanks to data, GPS and location-tracking devices, there has been an explosion of Big Data, humongous sets of information from a variety of sources growing at ever-increasing rates. The new startups are using tech to understand this and create solutions.
What ruled the wave: Three years ago, there was an explosion of ‘doorstep service apps’ such as Swiggy, Ola and Urban Clap in India. 2021 was about digitalisation. “Concepts that did not use technology started using technology. Health and edu-tech apps, for example. Also, Software as a Service (SaaS) startups emerged. A case in point is the India and San Mateo-based SaaS company Freshworks Inc that builds business tech, which debuted on Nasdaq after an IPO worth over $1 billion in September,” says Narayan. Catalysis for the Startup World: Narayan calls the pandemic the Chief Digital Officer of 2020. “No other mentor or ecosystem could accelerate digitalisation or enable phygitalisation (physical plus digital) of concepts than the pandemic,” maintains Narayan.
T-Hub’s impact in the last five years: “We played a pivotal role in the funding ecosystem. We launched the funding desk called T-funds which helped startups get a head start to work on. For the first time, we also provided a pathway for startups to access global markets with our tie-up with Redberri Earth Foundation. This association will provide Indian and Chicago startups with business opportunities, market understanding and access to clients in Chicago and India, respectively. The partnership will aim to understand market opportunities for Indian startups in the US market,” highlights Narayan.
The other initiative is Road to Shine, a programme co-hosted by Hiroshima Prefecture Japan and T-Hub. It enables India’s young engineers who want to drive innovation. They get to compete using their tech ideas. Winners will get an opportunity to go to Japan and collaborate with Hoshima industry leaders.
The 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network was launched at the London Tech Week in September. It is a comprehensive research on startups, with 280 entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems and three million ventures analysed. The report includes a ranking of the leading 140 ecosystems in the world, including the top ones from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad etc. T-Hub, which leads India’s pioneering innovation ecosystem, worked closely with Startup Genome to highlight India in general and Telangana’s strengths in particular among global ecosystems.
Ravi Narayan’s Wish List
1) Teleportation app, which can transfer me from one place to another without physically transporting me
2) A startup that can tell us what is healthy and what is unhealthy without much effort
3) One that can bring the traffic under control in Indian cities
Ventures that Made News in 2021
Marut Drones: It applies data analytics, IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning for problems such as mosquito eradication and disease prediction system
Mygate: A mobile-based intelligent security application to enhance the safety of gated communities.
Whistle Drive: A transportation technology company that offers an AI-powered employee transportation solution for corporates and on-demand drivers for car owners.