Dubai: India’s startups continue to make their pitch to catch investor attention in the UAE as part of the ‘Elevate’ sessions, with the latest line-up also featuring a drone manufacturer. Some of the companies were looking to raise up to $500,000 to expand into new territories, including in the Gulf.
“Every unicorn that has been brought up here in the Middle East finds a place in Dubai or in the UAE,” said Prashant Gulati, an early stage investor in startups. “The UAE is not the largest country in terms of population or market size, but it's surely the best place to do business.”
“India has 82 unicorns, of which 44 actually joined (the $1 billion valuation club) in 2021. That should give you the speed at which this ecosystem is growing. India has a lot of talented people and they are looking at startups as a way to spend their time.”
The Elevate sessions were started as a platform to showcase 500 startups from India at the Innovation Hub outside the Indian Pavilion at the Expo. The plan was to showcase two startups every day to give them the exposure they needed at the growth stage. It was then that the idea to connect them to B2B investors evolved.
Following this, pitching sessions were organised, where the Innovation Hub connected startups with potential investors.
India has emerged as the world’s third largest startup ecosystem and has seen a series of high-profile IPOs (initial public offerings) that have defied the economic gloom of the pandemic.
Startups make the pitch
Namaste AI: The startup uses AI (artificial intelligence) technology to help participants in the jobs marketplace. “We help professionals out there to make their own CV - enter your job title and the system will help you make a CV,” said Brijendra Chaudhary, the founder. “Once the CV is completed, the candidate can go ahead and the system will tell them about the jobs available.”
Clmart: This is an active-wear brand, which has collaborated with 45 Indian athletes, including Kabaddi player Mohit chillar and Surya Bhanu Partap Singh Chib, who is a Wushu exponent. The startup’s founder Manik Bandral said Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra will soon be joining that list.
Kashmir Trout: This is a procurement omni-channel platform based on an end-to-end model from procuring the fresh trout to processing, storage and delivery. The company has plans to open fast-food outlets in Jammu and Delhi in 2022 with franchise requests from other districts of Kashmir.
MeraPad: This Jaipur-based company promotes sustainability by selling washable menstrual pads made of bamboo charcoal. “This is a sustainable solution designed for women who have been going through reproductive health challenges,” said Bharti Singh Chauhan, MeraPad’s founder.
Open Pathshala: This is a platform to learn Indian languages and culture through online courses. Starting primarily with courses to learn Sanskrit, Open Pathshala also has classes for Hindi, English, and Marathi.
Genetico: The startup has developed a specialized electronic health record system to reduce time to diagnosis and enable new medical discoveries in the field of rare and genetic diseases.
“There are about 300 million people across the world who are affected with rare genetic diseases and half of them have not been diagnosed as yet,” said founder Arjun Gupta. “The other half that received diagnosis waited on an average of 5 to 7 years in countries like US and UK - we want to cut short this time.”
Brotos: This company, which makes plant-based sprouted foods and ingredients, has its own range of dehydrated sprouts. “In 2021, it is still a problem to find food that is healthy, tasty and easy to cook and serve - Brotos has come up with a solution to this problem,” said Maqbool Saleem.
Cognicue: The startup aims to convert nonverbal signals into meaningful data. Cognicue can help firms capture kinesics like facial expressions and facial movements to gain insights into customer sentiment.
Number of Indian startups that attained the unicorn status in 2021