Ten start-ups from India will be pitching their ideas at the Wharton India Economic Forum that will be held on January 5. This is the first time that the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is organising its annual conference in India.
Since it is the university’s 20th anniversary, the forum has organised a competition for start-ups. This is where the 10 finalists will be pitching their ideas. As many as 750 start-ups had applied for the competition, out of which, 20 reached the semi-finals and now 10 have been selected to present their ideas to industry stalwarts at the conference.
The finalists were chosen based on whether the start-up has a product or service for the Indian market, both for profit and social ventures. These 10 finalists will be judged by Kirthiga Reddy (MD of Facebook India), Ravi Gururaj (Nasscom) and Sasha Mirchandani (Founder and MD of Kae Capital).
Wharton aims that though the competition, the start-ups will get a single platform where they can get access to mentors, collaborators, investors and potential customers. One of the 10 finalists, Sathya Raghu, co-founder of Kheyti told The Indian Express “Kheyti is an agri-tech start-up. We create value to farmers using low-cost greenhouse and less water with a bundle of related services. We are an early stage start-up, currently in proof of concept testing stage. We applied for the competition at a stage when we started creating a business model. Creating a small six-page deck covering a snapshot of business seemed extremely exciting. This competition is a phenomenal learning platform.”
Vikram Arumilli, one of the co-chairs of WIEF-2016 and a second-year MBA student from the school, said, “A lot of early-stage innovations fail because they don’t have the ability to scale up due to the right kind of intervention at the right time. If on a single forum, one can get a mentor, collaborator, investor and potential customer corresponding to innovation at different stages, it would not only strengthen the process but also provide a much-needed boost to sustainable, entrepreneurial environment of the country.”
WIEF is a student-run India-focused conference that will be themed around an analysis of India’s start-up landscape. The same event will also be held Wharton’s Philadelphia campus on March 25, 2016.