India’s startup ecosystem has been going through a rough patch. According to statistics available, the sector’s funding has declined tragically from $7.6 billion in 2015 to $3.8 billion in 2016, with several major companies registering huge losses and seeing their valuations decline rapidly. Helping the Indian startups in such trying times is an incubator/accelerator started by three University of California, Berkeley students called Moonshot.
20-something Abhinav Kukreja, Anish Prabhu, and Aryaman Dalmia came together in the year 2016 and started Moonshot with a common goal of uplifting India’s startup ecosystem. The incubator is unique from several others currently operating in the market as it works towards connecting Indian startups with experts, funds, and talent from Silicon Valley.
Moonshot has a four-month long program that gives the selected startups a direct access to over 20 mentors in India and California, gives them exposure to various venture capitalists and angel investors and scores them talented interns.
The incubator’s first batch of startups that was incubated last year included online B2B billing solutions portal Pumpcharge, marketplace ListUP, home appliance automation company Hombot, real estate and rental management service Azuro, student benefits platform Frapp, and small-business cash-flow management startup Numberz.
For its second batch of startups called as the Spring 2017 Batch, the incubator decided to go for startups working towards advancing science and technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and companies that have a positive social impact. The incubator filtered the 60 applicants it received for the same and arrived at its final four. The selected four are:
A Bengaluru-based startup, AIndra Systems uses computer vision and deep learning to create a scalable, cloud based solution to mobile facial recognition as well as tackling a wide array of problems in fields like enterprise healthcare and education.
The startup claims to be the world’s leading social review analytics artificial intelligence engine that provides businesses with concrete, actionable insights from customer reviews through natural language processing, advanced deep learning and sentiment analysis.
A youth-driven organization which aims to capture curious young minds and help them find their passion. Their current offerings include a community platform, mentorship, interactive sessions and much more.
Bengaluru-based Typeset is a platform to craft world class research papers. Right from citing resources in a click to a beautiful editor and GUI to write equation, the platform is a must for every modern researcher.
The selected four will get access to Moonshot’s world-class network of mentors which will help them grow their businesses and provide long-term guidance on vision and strategy.
The incubator’s mentors range from serial entrepreneurs to senior lecturers at Harvard, and are experts in nearly every field and have experienced it all. They will be guiding the startups on every step of their journey and help them overcome any obstacle they face. While incubators like Y-Combinator often hold stakes in the startups they support, Moonshot’s mentors work pro bono.
As part of the four-month long program, the incubator will also match the selected startups with students from the most elite universities in the world for a 4 month pro-bono internship. The incubator is currently partnered with UC Berkeley, and is rapidly expanding to more top schools.
The incubator also helps the selected startups with pitching, due diligence and legalities, and match them with investors in the Silicon Valley that they think can prove to be best strategic partners for the startup.
At the end of accelerator program, Moonshot also hosts a demo day where all the founders put their revolutionary products on display to investors, and the general public.
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