The 16th edition of Conquest, BITS Pilani’s startup accelerator, concluded successfully on Sunday with Vadoo, a Bangalore based startup providing a P2P platform to enable users to simultaneously consume and deliver the stream, emerging as the winners of this edition and was awarded an equity less cash prize of Rs 50 lakh rupees. Regarded as the country’s largest student-run startup accelerator, Conquest is backed by Canbank VC, Accel Partners, and WeWork. For the first time, Conquest decided to kickstart BITSian Track, a special program tailored exclusively for BITSian startups. Keeping up with BITS Pilani’s reputation of churning out brilliant entrepreneurs, it witnessed several great startups participating. Fighting off stiff competition, it was BiteSpeed, a Gurgaon based startup that helps e-commerce brands build their own Facebook Messenger Chatbots to re-engage website visitors and recover lost revenue, that bagged the first prize.
After the mentoring sessions of top 50 startups, the best 15 startups were shortlisted. Sessions were conducted on topics like Growth and Fundraising by personalities like Vishal Jain, VP, and Head, Growth at Shuttl, and Roopan Aulakh, Managing Director at Pi Ventures. Fireside chats were also delivered by founders of startups similar to the Top 15 startups to help them get the opinion of people who had already been in their shoes. The best 10 startups were selected for the finale. Conquest set up investment meetings for startups with Investment firms like AngelList, Arali Ventures, Parampara VC, NuVentures, Villgro, Prime VP, Sangam Ventures, Chiratae Ventures and Rebright Partners. For the Pre Demo Day, analysts from VC firms were called upon to fine-tune the pitches of the startups, essentially acting as a build-up to the main event.
On the Virtual Demo Day, all the founders pitched their startup ideas to a decorated audience with personalities like Nilesh Kothari, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Trifecta Capital, and Vinit Bhansali, Vice President, Orios Venture Capital in attendance. Post the pitching, the Chief Guest, Mohandas Pai, Padma Shri Awardee and Chairman of Manipal Global Education and Namakal Parthasarthy, Managing Partner at Mela Ventures said a few words of inspiration that invoked the entrepreneurial mindset in everyone. It was followed by a panel discussion on Post Pandemic Consumerism in 2021′ by Sanjay Mehta, Founder, and Partner at 100X.VC, Mahesh Murthy, Founder and Director at Exseed Space, Srikanth Sundarajan, General Partner at Ventureast, and Barath Subramanian, Partner at Accel. In the past, Conquest BITS Pilani has had success stories like SocialCops, which was acclaimed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has also been recognized as the Most Impactful Startup of 2017 by YourStory. One of the program’s latest finalists, Trell, raised 4 million and is currently valued at 19 million.