Bangalore, 24th August: The Indian start-up ecosystem has been growing at an exponential rate. According to StartUp India — India has emerged as the 2nd largest startup ecosystem in the world, with an expected year-over-year growth of 10-12 %. These startups are playing a pivotal role in the socio-economic growth of the country, and their presence has also spurred a growing number of entrepreneur-support organizations.

Challenges such as gaining access to markets and finding the right kind of financing are faced by a majority of startups. Startup Incubators like Villgro pitch in to address these challenges presented in the Indian startup ecosystem through its pioneered Incubation model.

Founded in 2001 by Paul Basil—Villgro makes an impact on under-served communities by strengthening and scaling innovative social enterprises. iPitch, Villgro's flagship deal discovery platform, was conceptualised to bridge the investor-entrepreneur gap by connecting social entrepreneurs with a large network of investors and incubators across the globe. Since its inception in 2017, iPitch has successfully supported over 31 startups and deployed around 11 crore funding. Learn how winners have benefitted from the platform:

Ameliorate Biotech founded by Dr. Binita Tunga and Dr. Rashbehari Tunga in 2015 which works towards the development of novel platform technology to manufacture and market early-stage rapid diagnostic kits with high quality yet affordable biosimilars — emerged from a personal loss. Dr. Binita Tunga, Co-Founder & CTO - Ameliorate Biotech candidly shares, “The demise of my eleven-years old niece due to undetected malaria, despite all available resources, drew our attention to those who do not have even the most basic access to medical facilities. This touched a visceral nerve, ultimately leading to the conception of now what is - Ameliorate Biotech. An iPitch 2019 Winner herself, she exclaims, "Winning an amount of ₹ 65,00,000 at iPitch was an affirmation to the idea and objective of Ameliorate. It not only enabled us to streamline our marketing strategy and finance, but also helped us refine our focus."

Archana Stalin is the Co-Founder & Growth Champion, myHarvest Farms. Her entrepreneurial journey materialised from her passion towards the agricultural sector - which she began when she quit her nine-to-five job. She started by attempting to create self-sustainable villages by planting trees and restoring water bodies — and eventually found her footing in agribusiness.. Re-tracing her growth trajectory, Archana shares, “In the last 6 months, we have moved to a larger warehouse, added 500 new families and started collecting more farmer-specified data. This has transpired post emerging as one of the iPitch 2020 winners; which sure has been pivotal in our organization growth — a stepping stone."

Based out of the tranquil haven which is Kochi, Navalt - a startup, is combating climate change.

There are over 2.5 lakh small fishing boats, and about 1.13 tonnes of CO2 are released per tonne of live weight of marine fish netted. Moreover, residues from the motors cause water pollution. Sandith Thandasherry - CEO, Navalt, shares, “We believed there was a lot of work to be done in this space, and our belief was reaffirmed by the US$185,000 funding we received as one of the iPitch 2020 winners. When I attempted to re-imagine our entire journey with Navalt, while Shell Foundation fueled confidence to think beyond constrictive silos, iPitch provided access to mentors and industry experts — helping strategize and refine our thesis.” Navalt aims to build energy-efficient solutions and reduce pollutant emissions for the marine and offshore industries. After establishing themselves with innovations like India’s first water taxi and India’s first solar ferry, Navalt aims to make things easier for the fishing community with a solar fishing boat.

Rohan Singh, Founder, Ziptrax, is promoting clean energy — creating smart and affordable second-life batteries for e-rickshaws. Singh exclaims, “We noticed there exists a gap between the Lead-acid and Lithium-Ion (New) battery packs for e-rickshaws, both, in performance & economically. Through our work at Ziptrax we aim to plug this gap with smart and affordable second-life batteries, which can be of both types, swappable or non-swappable.Winning an amount of ₹ 25,00,000 at iPitch 2020 helped us to get back on track post-pandemic by launching a pilot to deploy our products in the market and setting up the Battery R&D centre. Moreover, according to Rohan, the invaluable network of investors, mentors and industry experts which iPitch allows access, has been critical to Ziptrax’s journey.

This year, Villgro’s iPitch 2021in partnership with Artha Impact has a Coalition of 11 international funders with access to USD 5 Million in funding. Artha Impact’s network of over 1200 impact investors & incubators will be opened up to all enterprises that are shortlisted by any of the Coalition Partners. If you believe your innovation resonates with social impact and building A Billion Strong India, Apply to iPitch.

In case you have queries, please write to us at ipitch@villgro.org

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