Past Editions

“Thank you EmpoWer for giving me a whole new peer group to refer, seek help and opinions for my venture Shubhpuja.com. Being part of Zone Startups has created a mini-ecosystem for me where I can now access all start-up related services and advise by being part of your program. Just like in a university program, you get access to facilities and the network of a university, such as resources, alumni and professionals, I feel that now Shubhpuja has access to all to it. A complete game changer for us”
Saumya Vardhan, Founder – ShubhPuja.com



Launched in 2016, as India’s first tech accelerator for women entrepreneurs, empoWer provides mentorship, industry connects, peer network, investor meets through a 6-week accelerator program followed by a 1-year support program. Over the past 2 years, 35 women entrepreneurs have been a part of 2 cohorts, and 1 bootcamp. Each cohort is a 6-week accelerator program comprising 15 women entrepreneurs selected from a pan-India application pool. We have disbursed INR 1.2 Cr in grants, and post program, a large majority of startups have raised further funding amounting a cumulative of ~ INR 32 Crores. Program partners for the previous edition include Department of Science and Technology (GoI), GIZ, Google, Vodafone, ICICI Bank, Microsoft, Amazon, Capital First, PayU, Government of Quebec and FlexiLoans.

2016 Launch of India’s first accelerator for women in tech – empoWer

A grand launch event took place in Mumbai followed by roadshows in Delhi and Bangalore that saw participation from 250+ women entrepreneurs. The program was launched by Mrs Deena Mehta – Managing Director, Asit C. Mehta Investment Intermediates Ltd & Independent Director – NPCI and Mrs. Meera Sanyal – Chairperson Urban development Committee, Indian Merchants’ Chamber, Ex- CEO and Chairperson of RBS India along with partner representatives. At the end of the program on the ‘Demo Day’, the graduated cohort of 15 entrepreneurs presented their refined businesses in front of a nearly 200-strong stakeholders community that included investors, corporate leaders, subject matter experts and others. This led to 8 select winners gaining financial support of INR 70 Lakhs from the program. The winners were felicitated by Ms. Rashmi Bansal, entrepreneur and a youth expert, Ms. Paula Mariwala, Executive Director of SeedFund, Mr. Vikas Agnihotri, Director of Sales at Google and Ms. Vicki Saunders, Founder, SheEO – an international women’s support organization.

 

1 Week Bootcamp for early stage women entrepreneurs

The 1 week bootcamp was designed to help the participants rethink about various aspects of running a business and provide them a fresh from seasoned and experienced mentors on it. The program focused on making interactions happen on individual challenges faced by the entrepreneurs and thus most of the mentoring was one on one. The bootcamp was linked to the NASSCOM 10,000 Startups Change Makers Summit 2016 powered by Google focused on impacting women led startups. empoWer partnered with them to offer this specially designed bootcamp to top 4 women led startups part of the summit. The summit received 250 applications out of which 80 application were shortlisted by empoWer team for a interview round on the day of the event. Based on the interviews, the top 4 startups were selected and announced at the event.

 

Hosting Bardish Chagger, Canada’s Minister for Small Business and Tourism : Women Leaders: Innovating, Inspiring and Building Nations

On the occasion of Women’s Day, we hosted a panel discussion on one of the most prevailing topic ‘Women Leaders: Innovating, Inspiring and Building Nations’ bringing women leaders together to discuss overcoming and outshining professional hurdles faced by women.
The panel was chaired by Hon. (Ms.) Bardish Chagger, Canada’s Minister for Small Business and Tourism and included Shinjini Kumar -CEO PayTM Bank, Kashmira Mewawala – Head Business Development and Chief Ethics Counselor Tata Capital, Monica Jasuja- Head of Digital Payments at MasterCard, Rashmi Bansal – Author, Smita Bhagat – Head-Branch Banking and e-Commerce HDFC Bank, Shweta Shalini – Spokesperson of BJP Maharashtra, Chandni Jafri – CEO of Mumbai Angel, Prerana Langa – CEO Yes Foundation, Lakshmi Potluri – Angel Investor, Ritu Soni-Srivastava – Co-Founder ObiNo and was moderated by Harshada Sawant, Senior Associate Editor CNBC TV18.

 

2017 Edition of empoWer – India’s first accelerator for women in tech

empoWer 2017 was launched on September 1, 2017 as a part of full-day conference presided by 25+ senior women leaders from the industry and 200+ women entrepreneurs in the audience. The program was launched by Avani Davda, Managing Director – Godrej Natures Basket, Naiyya Saggi, Founder – BabyChakra, Ranganath Thota, Founder – Fuel-A- Dream and Priya Naik, Founder & CEO – Samhita Social Ventures. Following the Mumbai launch, we conducted similar events in 5 more cities. 15 women entrepreneurs from the cohort made their pitch on the ‘Demo Day’ in front of investors, corporate leaders, subject matter experts and others. The winners were felicitated by Mark D’Souza, India Business Manager & Commercial Software Engineering – Microsoft, Dr. Anita Gupta, Associate Director – NSTDEB, DST- Dominic Marcotte, Consul et directeur – Bureau du Québec à Mumbai.

 

Working Lunch with Ms. Christine St- Pierre, Minister of International

Relations and La Francophonie, Govt. of Quebec discussing about the woman entrepreneurs in India, their career paths, their current entrepreneurial ventures, the existence of networks of women leaders, mentorships in India, challenges in the male dominated business world, opportunities, the future of these start-ups.

 

Roundtable Discussion with Hon. Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minster of Innovation, Science & Economic Development

The objective of the roundtable is to discuss and deliberate the landscape of women entrepreneurs – support ecosystem, funding, opportunities and challenges.

 

Hosting Ms. Manisha Singh, Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State: Challenges and Opportunities faced by Women in the Indian and US ecosystem

We hosted a rountable discussion on the topic ‘Challenges and Opportunities faced by Women in the Indian and US ecosystem’ The panel was chaired by Ms. Manisha Singh, Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State and included Zankhana Kaur-Director and Co-founder of Ybiz Ventures Private Limited. Former Head, TiE Stree Shakti program, Poyni Bhatt- Founding team member of the Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, a technology incubator, Karon Shaiva- Chief Impact Officer and Managing Director, Idobro Impact Solutions, a social enterprise that aims to help women entrepreneurs build their capacity to access markets, strengthen network and deliver solutions, Anuradha Bhavnani- Reginal Manager-India,Shell Foundation and was moderated by Sweta Tiwari- Associate Director, Zone Startups India.

 

Our Supporting Partners were

 

Cohort 2016 and 2017

Description

TekUncorked (www.tekuncorked.com) offers a light IoT Framework to IoT enable devices and appliances around us making them connected and smart.Deployed as DaaS (Device as a Service) and FaaS (Framework as a Service), the Tekuncorked IoT framework enables its B2B customers to rapidly build and deploy platforms for diverse use-cases like Smart Homes, Smart Rentals, Smart Maintenance, Smart Shopping, Smart Streets and Smart Manufacturing to enhance productivity, resource optimization, efficiency, customer service and data driven decision making.

Winner
Microsoft Azure cloud credits worth USD 25K
Description

PregBuddy Technologies Private Limited (http://pregbuddy.com) is a 1-1 smart communication platform between doctors and patients with chronic conditions so that hospitals can provide faster care and prevent revenue leakage.

Description

WOWLET - The Wow Toilet Experience (www.wowlet.in) wants to provide a Wow toilet experience to each and every user of the public toilet. It will provide the public with a mobile application which will tell the user real time information about the cleanliness of a toilet before somebody choose to use it. It also provides world class toilet maintenance services to fill demand supply gap in the market. This startup address the problem of finding poor sanitation when on the go be it for travel on the road or even in any busy marketplace. The startup will ensure of quality maintenance and provide you with real time information about its condition to the public through an app.

Description

Tapu Sustainable Solutions (www.Tapu.Co.In) are into sustainable green solutions to help alleviate issues like climate change and environmental burden. EcoTrapIn- waterless urinal product which conserves 1,67,900 litres of potable water per urinal per year, is our finest innovation in water conservation. EcoTrapIn technology is a retrofit design converting conventional urinal into touchfree, odorless and hygienic ergonomic waterless urinal which is utmost preferred by men. The product development is based on, research and analysis of user preference data that is collected at various stages of pilot. EcoTrapInPlus and EcoTrapInXtra is our current versions of waterless urinal technology.

Winner
Access to Amazon Launchpad program
Description

ICONICbot (www.iconic.wtf) is India's 1st MultiLingual Artificial Intelligent driven chatbot connecting Influencers and their fans on relevant messaging platforms. They currently leverages the Messenger space by using engaging conversational strategies to retain users and offers multiple monetisation opportunities to both the Influencers as well as the fans. Company has on boarded 6 reputed Film celebrities/2 major Film production houses with a cumulative Facebook following of 20 Million users. BOT available in key languages : English,Tamil and has crossed 76,000 fans & processed 2.6MN messages within 6 months.

Description

Revol Inc. (http://www.gocashew.com) Cashew is world's first Smart Wallet with fingerprint authentication and bluetooth connectivity. Cashew Smart Wallet is Revol Inc.'s flagship product. Revol Inc. is a technology startup registered in Delaware, USA. By the end of the year, they are on a target to sell 10,000 units globally generating $1,000,000 in revenue

Winner
Equity Free Seed Fund of 7 Lakh Access to Amazon Launchpad Startup Spotlight Status
Description

Morph.ai (https://morph.ai) is an enterprise ChatBot suite that helps businesses engage in personalised marketing and sales.We are B2B SaaS platform where businesses can create, manage and evolve chatbots for increasing awareness, improving lead quality and driving more sales. They have introduced a concept of 'chatbot as a landing page' to boost the lead generation for businesses by upto 500%. They have clients like Manchester City Football Club, YesBank, Yamaha, Estee Lauder etc.

Description

Tactopus (http://tactopus.com) is developing an interactive ed-tech device for blind children to learn with tangible objects. Tactopus makes it possible for blind children to learn independently with tactile material. We make interactive tactile books for blind children, using which they can listen to audio labels and explanations while feeling/reading tactile shapes with their fingers, thereby addressing barriers to education and opportunities for blind children. They have received $4500 from a government grant.

Winner
Equity Free Seed Fund of 7 Lakh - Social Alpha incubation
Description

Bitgram Technologies pvt. Ltd (www.bitgram.in) is a customer trust SuperIdentity™ protocol that uses Blockchain and Machine Learning intelligence to make instant, real-time exchange of verified information, a reality. The World’s first SuperIdentity solution and cross-industry standard. Bitgram boasts of the best features of superior AI and the Blockchain to give you your SuperId which is your unique digital DNA - a powerful and intelligent aid that can accurately identify you to businesses instantly to provide services starting from finances, insurances, healthcare and more.

Winner
Quebec -1-week Market Access Trip
Description

Periwinkle Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (www.periwinkletech.com) is a medtech startup enabling faster and better diagnostics and care. The company has developed an affordable and effective device for cervical cancer diagnosis, with Tata Memorial Center as clinical partner.

Winner
Equity Free Seed Fund of 7 Lakh
Description

Faasthelp (https://faasthelp.com) is a simple customer support and engagement platform. Faasthelp helps businesses to retain their customers, convert new customers and increase their customer satisfaction levels by providing the 24/7 help support from their business application with very minimal cost and very minimal manual effort. faasthelp does all these by empowering and enriching the end customer to log and track their issues by themselves and giving access to self-help from everywhere.

Description

The Friday Code (http://thefridaycode.com/) builds products & platforms to help brands & agencies increase their ROI through efficient tracking and optimisation of their advertising spends. The Friday code's proprietary tool, Clock, enables marketeers to serve, track, and manage their campaigns through a single dashboard. Clock works across all platforms, channels, formats and devices.

Winner
Microsoft Azure cloud credits worth USD 25K
Description

Bizlem (www.bizlem.com) is a revolutionary BOT technology platform, and among the first semantic web 3.0 platforms in the globe. We have innovated a knowledge slot filling technology,based on which, information can be extracted from millions of unstructured documents and fill into a required structured template (Ontology). Combined with Artificial Intelligence and our advanced Machine Learning algorithms, Subject Matter Expert BOTs are created that can talk to customers and give a human like impression. Using this technology we have created solutions such as Master Data management, CRM BOT, Customer service Bot, and others

Description

CYGEN (www.cygengroup.com) is a cognitive patient centric cloud based predictive and preventive Healthcare platform. CyGen plays a crucial role by providing unprecedented access to personalized Healthcare services on their cloud platform. Leveraging predictive analytics (AI), Machine Learning and IoT, CyGen's health cloud platform helps various channels to diagnose patients earlier and higher accuracy. Established both in India and Malaysia. Our focus is early detection, prevention and empowerment of each individual by deriving actionable insights from their health and personal data.

Description
Saral Designs is a product driven start-up with the mission of solving critical problems in the field of menstruation, hygiene and sanitation.The company has developed a fully automatic, compact machine that enables the decentralized production of sanitary napkins.
Post empoWer
-Won a grant of  5 Lakh
-Won Anita Borg Institute’s Women Entrepreneur Quest and going to silicon valley for two weeks as a part of it
-Got covered by Outlook Business and TOI
Winner
Equity-free seed funding of INR 10 Lakhs
Description
DAZL is a smart IoT device that fits inside fashion accessories to deliver location based safety alerts to your loved ones in one click and a range of customized notifications with a buzz. DAZL enhances the work and social lives of women with safety, convenience, and seamless connectivity.
Post empoWer
Accepted for a MIT - Global Entrepreneurs Program.
Winner
Equity-free seed funding of INR 7 Lakhs
Description
Shubhpuja.com is a unique science & technology based O2O platform for providing authentic Vedic services such as Vedic pujas, Astrology, Numerology, Vastu consultation, Palmistry through educated and qualified professionals.
Post empoWer
Sandbox Startups 500K Biz Launchpad by the Deshpande Foundation
Winner
Equity-free seed funding of INR 5 Lakhs
Description
Vanity Cube  an on-demand beauty and wellness services company specializes in delivering premium beauty services at your home or office with the fastest turnaround time of 90 minutes. VanityCube operates as a B2B & B2C service provider.While the B2C model caters only to the women and the B2B model includes tying up with the corporate, stands unisex.
Post empoWer
Series Funding of Rs 2.9 Cr
Winner
Branding and design identity package worth INR 5 Lakhs
Description
Cloudrino is the go-to place for all your Cloud related requirements. Using Cloudrino, one can set up web servers, app servers, backup servers and virtual desktops within 30 seconds. Their solutions are fast, secure, have low latency, are app enabled, have an API and best of all are green.
Post empoWer
Part of Tech30 by Your Story.
Winner
1-week, all expenses paid soft-landing at DMZ, Toronto – North America’s #1 business incubator
Description
YourDOST is a platform that allows you to connect with experts to discuss issues related to your personal, professional and academic life. The professionally trained counsellors help you cope with tough times - work stress, relationship, self-image and many more, and support you in your quest for self improvement.
Post empoWer
Raised $1 million from SAIF Partners
Description
Math Adventures' - Math Master program is helping over 7000 students in Bangalore learn Math in an experiential way, at their own pace, in a fun and stress-free environment. It is backed with 16 years of experience with school children. The content is organically developed in-house and tested by more than 10,000 students and 150 teachers.
Post empoWer
Got the Standup India women entrepreneur loan of 70 Lakh by SBI
Winner
Tech Grant worth INR 7 Lakhs worth of services from professional organizations of their choice.
Description
Project Mudra is a Braille ed-tech startup by BITS Pilani, Goa alumni. They develop new age Braille teachers in the form of handy devices and interactive content. Their flagship product ‘Annie’ was recently used by the visiting royal couple, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to learn to type their son’s name in Braille.
Post empoWer
Sandbox Startups 500K Biz Launchpad by the Deshpande Foundation
Winner
Tech Grant worth INR 7 Lakhs worth of services from professional organizations of their choice.
Description
Advenio TecnoSys develops artificial intelligence/machine learning based hardware neutral computer assisted detection (CADx) plugins for clinical imaging. The investigators at ADVENIO have extensive experience in designing and developing of CAD algorithms and solutions of high quality on varied diseases in India and around the world. Advenio's innovation iCheck is an end­to­end eye­care solution for point­of­care diagnostics affordable and accessible for all. iCheck enables easy, quick primary diagnosis and could also be scaled up to be used for a broader range of health care needs.
Post empoWer
-Won the NASSCOM- 2016 Digital India Challenge.
-Winner of Kstart’s Startup Girls challenge.
-Won the Start Tel Aviv 2016 competition
Description
PoolWallet is a split payment platform that allows the user to create pools and online real-time sharing of expenses. Create pools for all the joint expenses you make. Quick and automatic ways to send notifications and convert the discussed event to PRODUCT to SHARE. And finally - you make PAYments against your links for your share of amount.
Post empoWer
Raising a seed round at half a million valuation
Description
FinMitra is a multi-lingual, predictive Financial Advisory & Transaction Platform. It aims to be the single repository for all its customers' financial decisions and actions based on their earning, spending, investing and borrowing patterns.  By using an analytics engine, FinMitra is able to then provide customised solutions across a wide range of services.
Description
Algaari Retail Ventures was started with an idea of expanding a business venture around CleanTech and Health Care products backed by IoT. Algaari dreams of eradicating pollution related health problems through an array of  health care/Cleantech devices thereby, improving the quality of people’s lives. A serious company with a straightforward vision, they believe that there is an amazing amount to be learned by working hand in hand with the nature and developing new ideas for the betterment of the society.
Post empoWer
Developed another line of product of IOT based home air purifier. Have 2 dealerships set up now.
Winner
Tech Grant worth INR 7 Lakhs worth of services from professional organizations of their choice.
Description
Primitus Technology is a customer service provider for auto dealerships. They are currently working with dealerships, pan India and across sectors. Primitus couples robust technology with human interaction to achieve highest possible customer satisfaction and efficiency.
Post empoWer
The company got acquired by its strategic partners and the founder is currently involved in another fashion startup.
Description
iesha delivers digital courses on sexual, reproductive, and gender education in India, accessible on tablet and computer. They believe that delivering accurate, empowering information on gender and sexuality to adolescents at puberty is a fundamental paradigm shift that will lead to creating a gender-equal India. They were chosen as one of 100 Echoing Green Finalists from a pool of 3,000 candidates from around the world.
Post empoWer
Having realized that market is not ready for the product. iesha decided to move on and look for another opportunity. 
Description
SquadRun is an on-demand distributed workforce platform for back-office data and voice operations where work is performed by qualified contractors including housewives, college students, and grey collared workers on SquadRun’s (mobile only) app.

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