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Microsoft, TCS to jointly mentor start-ups

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Bengaluru, June 23 : The Technology arms of global software majors Microsoft and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Thursday announced a joint initiative to mentor start-ups and engage with them to make innovate solutions for the global market.

“Microsoft Accelerator and TCS co-innovation network will create a platform to spur the Indian start-up system through an open framework,” the IT majors said at ‘Think Next Summer 2016′, a Microsoft Accelerator flagship forum here for thought leaders intended to drive transformation through innovation.

As access to markets and customers remains a challenge for Indian start-ups, the partnership will provide start-ups access to their networks and relationships across customers, investors, academia and industry, creating a value proposition in the enterprise marketplace.

“The progress India has made in IT and entrepreneurship over the years changed the landscape offering new entrepreneurs unmatched opportunities. As one of the contributors to the start-up ecosystem in this country, we felt it was a story worth telling,” said Microsoft Accelerator global director Ravi Narayan, releasing an e-book on the “History of Indian Start-up Ecosystem” on the occasion.

Another e-book – “Timeline of Indian Start-up Ecosystem” – was also released.

The joint initiative will also connect start-ups with corporates, which will get access to innovative solutions for their business needs while providing greater market access to start-ups.

“The partnership highlights our efforts to engage with start-ups and underlines our commitment to provide innovative solutions to our diverse customer base. As we enter a new phase of innovation and computing, companies must co-innovate and create strategic partnerships to solve challenging problems for customers,” said TCS global head for hi-tech industry solutions Nagaraj Ijari at the day-long event.

The joint programme will also offer participating start-ups access to the expertise and client-base of both the software majors and create opportunities to innovate and transform the business landscape.

The 12 graduating startups from the event are Altizon, Tarnea, Aureus Analytics, Baby Chakra, Reverie, Strides, Locus, Admission Table, Distiman, Calm.io, Yellow Messenger and Report Bee.

They made presentations on their ventures to about 550 delegates comprising corporates, investors, thought leaders, and Microsoft management who partnered to push the collaborative innovation.

Altizon announced the launch of iProd, a revolutionary IoT (Internet of Things)-based based product to empower manufacturers to optimize productivity and overall equipment effectiveness along with Distiman, a mobile app that maximises profits for mom and pop retailers through on-demand stocking.

“The interesting thing about India becoming a start-up nation is that this transformation happened not long ago, but around us.. As a citizen of the start-up ecosystem in the country, we decided to take an overview of the developments,” Naraynan added.

Infosys’ co-founder and former Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani spoke on ‘An alternate view of the future: India in the age of technological disruption’ and Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik on ‘The role of start-ups in India’s digital transformation journey’.

Business

Ratan Tata-backed Repos Energy registers 150 startups

Founded in 2017, Repos Energy startup is based out of Pune in Maharashtra and has been funded by Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata. Currently, it operates in over 150 cities of India.

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New Delhi, Sep 6 : Pune-based energy distribution company Repos Energy has registered over 150 fuel startups in less than a month.

These startups would carry on door-to-door delivery of diesel through mobile petrol pumps.

“With the goal to reboot the economy and making India Atmanirbhar, Repos Energy has been working extensively to create a startup ecosystem of its own in the energy sector,” a company statement said.

As per the co-founders Chetan Walunj and Aditi Bhosale Walunj empowering startups through the dynamic model of doorstep diesel delivery through mobile petrol pumps will change the game of fuel distribution in India.

“According to industry experts, this move is expected to garner around Rs 9,000 crore of investment,” the statement said.

Repos Energy will call them ‘fuel startups’, and will provide them with the entire support system. Repos will provide these new startups with end-to-end solutions for buying the mobile petrol pumps along with sharing the know-how.

“These fuel startups will be registered with us and featured on our app. We will also provide them with the necessary infrastructure. This will include a back-end team to build their entire brand identity. We will make sure that they become successful startups,” Chetan Walunj said.

Aditi Bhosale Walunj said: “We have built an entire ecosystem of fuel distribution that consists of IoT and AI-driven Repos Mobile Petrol Pumps (RMPP). These RMPPs are being designed at our IoT facility in Chakan, Pune, and comply with PESO norms.”

Some of the fuel startups which have registered with Repos are, Easy Diesel from Pune, Nuvera Energy from Mumbai, Auro Fuels from Bengaluru, AMA Fuels from Kolkata, Echological Fuels from Guwahati, Future Fuel Services from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.

Founded in 2017, Repos Energy startup is based out of Pune in Maharashtra and has been funded by Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata. Currently, it operates in over 150 cities of India.

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Health

Over 22,000 ‘Make in India’ ventilators given to states: Centre

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New Delhi, Aug 13 : The Centre on Thursday stated that it has distributed more than 3.04 crore N95 masks and over 1.28 crore PPE kits to states, union territories and Central institutions free of cost in the last five months. Over 22,000 ‘Make in India’ ventilators have also been delivered.

The Centre has been strengthening the health infrastructure to fight the pandemic and effectively manage it. Along with augmenting Covid-19 facilities, the government has been providing medical supplies free of cost to the states and union territories to supplement their efforts.

“Since 11th March 2020, the Union Government has distributed more than 3.04 crore N95 masks and more than 1.28 crore PPE kits to states, UTs, Central Institutions, free of cost. Also, more than 10.83 crore HCQ tablets have been distributed to them,” the government said.

In addition, 22,533 ‘Make in India’ ventilators have been delivered and their “installation and commissioning is also being ensured”.

“Most of the products supplied by the Government of India were not being manufactured in the country in the beginning. The rising global demand due to the pandemic resulted in their scarce availability in the foreign markets,” it added.

As a result, resolve for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ has been strengthened and most of the supplies made by the Union Government are domestically manufactured.

With the combined efforts of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Pharmaceuticals, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and others, the domestic industry has been encouraged and facilitated to manufacture and supply essential medical equipment like PPEs, N95 masks, ventilators, etc., during this period.

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Business

Airtel buys 10% stake in conversational AI startup Voicezen

Voicezen is the third startup to become a part of the Airtel Startup Accelerator Programme.

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New Delhi, May 21 : Bharti Airtel on Thursday said that it has acquired a 10 per cent stake in Voicezen, an early stage startup focused on conversational AI technologies.

The acquisition has been made by the company under its fast expanding Airtel Startup Accelerator Programme, the company said in regulatory filing.

“Acquisition of the equity shares of investee company is done at mutually agreed pre money enterprise valuation. The said valuation is not disclosed herein due to reasons of confidentiality,” it said.

Gurugram-based Voicezen has been working on developing advanced solutions that leverage machine learning, AI, speech to text and voice technologies to offer real time analytics to help brands serve customers better.

“The investment will give Airtel preferred access to Voicezen’s technologies, which can be deployed across its customer touch points in multiple languages. These intelligent solutions will offer real time analytics and insights to make Airtel’s conversations with its customers more engaging and frictionless and enable faster resolution. It will also allow Airtel to make contextual offers to customers based on real time conversations,” the filing said.

Voicezen is the third startup to become a part of the Airtel Startup Accelerator Programme.

Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer, Bharti Airtel said: “Voicezen has built some promising products that are very relevant for a market like India. As part of its strategy to deliver a highly differentiated service experience to its customers, Bharti Airtel has acquired a strategic stake in Voicezen, an early stage start-up focused on conversational AI technologies.”

Apurba Nath, Founder of Voicezen, said that the startup helps brands deliver a better customer experience in Indian languages using ‘Conversational AI’. “Having worked on AI solutions in the past, Voicezen knew what works well in a lab most often doesn’t work in the real world, because either the training data is not large and relevant or the problem has little business significance,” he added.

“Our partnership with Airtel helps us solve these challenges. With this strategic investment, we will work even more closely with them to continuously improve our AI models and build out an enterprise grade, battle hardened product that will make customer interactions more efficient, especially in this post-Covid world where business operations are facing large disruptions,” he said.

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