Editorial Team

Indian Institute of Technology Mandi’s Technology Business Incubator concluded the fifth edition of its Annual Flagship Event, Himalayan Startup Trek (HST) in partnership with IIT Mandi iHUB and HCI Foundation. Shri Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, graced the HST concluding event with his esteemed virtual presence as the chief guest. Other dignitaries including Shri Rakesh Kumar Prajapati, Director of Industries, Himachal Pradesh; Prof. Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Mandi; Dr. Ajay Garg Sr. Director, MeitY, GOI, also graced the event with their virtual presence. Various keynote speakers including Ashutosh Garg, Founder, Eightfold.ai & Bloomreach, California-US, and Arvind Jain (CEO-Glean & Co Founder – Rubric) addressed the startups in event.

The Chief Minister congratulated through a video message and extended best wishes to all participants and ensured commitment for supporting the startup ecosystem.

Speaking during the event Shri Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, and Chief Guest, Himalayan Startup Trek, said, “The startup ecosystem is the best place to tackle the new normal the pandemic has created. New solutions are needed to tackle the multitude of problems and challenges, and for that, we will require the brightest and most innovative minds.  In 2021, alone 42 new unicorns have risen in India. The three themes that HST Grand Challenge included – HCI, Build for the Himalayas, and Environment and Sustainability, are all the focus areas that the world requires today.”

Speaking during the event, Prof. Ajit K.Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Mandi, said, “Congratulations to all the startups for coming up with the new solutions. We will ensure the success of the winning teams with incubation support and look forward to inspiring more and more startups with innovative solutions. IIT Mandi is happy to take the responsibility of building and strengthening the startup valley in Himachal Pradesh.”

In its fifth edition, HST 2021 hosted first-of-its-kind ‘Startup Grand Challenge’ – startup pitch competition in which over 300 startups, innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs participated in three thematic areas including:

⮚      The New Age Alliance – Human-Computer Interaction theme of HST Startup Grand Challenge focused on innovative ideas related to usage of computer’s intelligence and computation capabilities in decision making, prediction, estimation, communication, and processing. Winner teams under this thematic area include:

  1. Upside Down Labs The startup has a product named BioAmp EXG Pills, the very first and one-of-a-kind chip that can record all biopotential signals be it EEG, ECG, EOG, and EMG. The developed chip is a Do-It-Yourself Neuroscience learning kit for students and researchers. Upside Down Labs won first prize of Rs. 1 Lakh under the HCI thematic area.
  2. Dextroware Devices The startup has developed a wearable device named Mouseware which will empower upper limb disabled people by enabling hands-free operation of computers and smart devices with simple head movements. With this device worn on their heads, users can move the mouse cursor by just rotating their head and perform clicks with accessible switches. Dextroware Devices won second cash prize of Rs. 60,000 under the HCI thematic area.
  3. Dectrocel Healthcare This is a HealthTech startup that uses Artificial Intelligence to detect Genetic Disorders and respiratory abnormalities in the healthcare diagnostics space. The startup has developed a platform as a service product that uses AI diagnostic algorithms to detect diseases like down syndrome, tuberculosis. This developed algorithm was trained on a data set of more than 5 lakh patients. Screened about 6000 patients until now with an accuracy of more than 98%. The vision of the founders is to make healthcare more accessible and affordable by providing affordable disease diagnosis to the society at large. Dectrocel Healthcare won third cash prize of Rs. 40,000 under the HCI thematic area.

⮚      The Foothill Innovators Challenge – Build for the Himalayas theme revolved around addressing the issues relevant to the local terrain, population, environment, ecology, or focus on taking local products and offerings to the world by building supply chains, storage, or building capacity at different value chain levels. Winner teams under this thematic area include:

  1. Baud Resources is working on Gravity storage, a very low cost solution for grid-scale storage, when compared to Batteries. It works similar to Hydro power using gravity potential, but without any dam or water that stores energy by lifting weights through a height, and lowering it to dispatch the power. It offers perhaps the lowest cost of storage technology. Due to increased supply of Renewables like solar and wind. It is expected that by the year 2030, 10% of India’s daily electricity demand will have to be stored at times of excess generation to supply peak demand. The startup won first prize of Rs, 1 Lakh under the Build for the Himalayas thematic area.
  2. Apeiro Energy is a cleantech startup developing renewable energy solutions powered by wind and solar for distributed energy space. Their innovation, “iWind” is a retrofittable, modular, smart Micro Wind Turbine System providing economic, climate, and social benefits by off-setting diesel generators in the distributed energy space and powering settlements in remote areas. Apeiro Energy won second prize of Rs. 60,000 under the Build for the Himalayas thematic area.
  3. UNG Technologies envisions autonomous hydroelectric modules providing clean energy to rural marginalised communities and developing socio-economic stability by ensuring access to reliable sustainable energy. This startup promotes a decentralized carbon neutral economy and makes electricity clean. The startup won third prize of Rs. 40,000 under the Build for the Himalayas thematic area

⮚      The Habitable World Challenge – Environment and Sustainability theme specifically focused on innovative ideas solving the problem statements related to clean & renewable energy, waste management, e-vehicles, green solutions, recycling, and natural resource management. Climate change, and natural resource management. Winner teams under this thematic area include:

  1. Aumsat Technologies LLP provides AI-enabled services for reduciang non revenue water losses from space (satellite observation/earth observation)). Unlike costly and time consuming survey based methods, the startup is able to reduce new losses by 44% without physically being present on the field. For the same, the team combined the dynamic interactions of land, air and water to determine the best possible sites for targeting fissures, cracks and leakages in pipeline distribution networks. Aumsat Technologies LLP startup won first prize of Rs. 1 Lakh under the Environment and Sustainability thematic area.
  2. Rudhra Solar and Aqua India is a new-age Cleantech company focused on waste to wealth generation from Industrial effluent. The company’s cutting-edge technology in the Resource Recovery Plant helps customers recover chemicals from their industrial effluent in the purest form. The technology developed by this startup will help in reducing deforestation, mining and reducing the carbon footprint of the Industries. It will also help in adding revenue to the industries that are generating effluent which will help in zeroing their operational costRudra Solar and Aqua Labs won second prize of Rs. 60,000 under the Environment and Sustainability thematic area.
  3. WEGoT Utility Solutions has developed a sensor based device and a software that utilizes IOT technology to help reduce the water consumption and monitor the demand of water in commercial and residential apartments. This platform monitors the usage of water at a granular level, detects and alerts leakage, gives detailed analysis of consumption and monitor and automate tank levels and pump operations. WEGoT Utility Solutions won third prize of Rs. 40,000 under the Environment and Sustainability thematic area.

Apart from the prize money to the winning teams, they will also be provided with incubation support and funding access for prototyping as well product developments through various funding schemes hosted by Catalyst and provide upto INR 50 Lakh of funding.

Congratulating the winning teams, Dr. Puran Singh, Faculty-in-charge, IIT Mandi Catalyst, said, “Congratulations to all the teams that had won prizes in 3 thematic areas. We are on a mission of creating a hill valley of innovation at IIT mandi in Himachal Pradesh and largely in Himalayan region.”

The event aimed at bringing together the stakeholders of the Indian Startup ecosystem and providing a platform to young entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas for incubation support and to raise funding from investors. The event was supported by HP Center for Entrepreneurship Development of HP Industries Department, Startup Himachal, IIT Mandi IHUB and HCI foundation, Alsisar Impact, Peak Venture, Compliance Support, The Solar Labs, SJVN and SBI.

It is notable that in its short journey, IIT Mandi Catalyst has supported over 180 startups in a range of sectors including clean energy, healthcare, enterprise management, agriculture, manufacturing, biotech, education, and consumer internet. Catalyst has hosted over 100 such programs to date and has disbursed or committed over INR 6 Cr for prototyping and commercialization purposes to the startups. IIT Mandi Catalyst is thankful to the Centre and State government funding agencies for their continuous support and partnership in enabling a startup ecosystem in a remote valley in Himalayas.

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