NASSCOM’s DeepTech Confluence took place recently on 27 February 2020. The event was an extension of Nasscom DeepTech Club, a gathering of startups , investors, enterprises and mentors who meet up to foster the deep technology startup ecosystem in India.
While other organizations and industry bodies in India have hyped up the fintech or food delivery startup segment, NASSCOM has emphasized on advanced technological innovation for some time now, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Robotics, Automation, NLP and other software/hardware engineering innovations.
The startups and companies in the deep-tech space generally work on scientific and engineering innovation, be it software or hardware. According to reports, the deep tech is finally attaining substantial interest from Indian investors. This is because the market is quickly expanding, away from overly hyped-up and potentially overvalued aggregator startup apps.
The event witnessed over a hundred startups and their founders coming from all over India to pitch in front of India’s leading venture capital funds in the technology space, and also get useful tips from the mentors assigned by Nasscom. According to Nasscom, the industry body ensured that there was no gap in communication among the different players in the meetup.
There was a long list of venture capital funds present at the Nasscom DeepTech Confluence. The list included big names like Accel Partners, 100x VC, Chiratae (Formerly IDG Ventures), Bharat Fund, AngelList, Pi Ventures, and others, all of which heard pitches from deep tech startups’ founders all-day long.
While some startups had come to pitch their ideas for funding, others had come to gain enterprise clients for their solutions. Sayantan Chatterjee, Co-founder and CEO of Beatest- a startup that uses machine learning to understand the skills and behaviour of job candidates for hiring processes, said “ I am here to acquire enterprise clients. Once we have enough clients, the funding will automatically come in.”
Yet another founder we met was Nibedit Dey, CEO of Ibrum Technologies, who despite holding multiple patents, had been finding it hard to get funds. Dey invented a pneumonia screening device which uses AI to help diagnose pneumonia in early stages among small children. The young founder was at the event to try out his luck even though he said “Investors are a little shy of investing into startups in medical devices and healthcare because the industry is heavily regulated. But I am not worried about funding right now. Our time will come once VCs see the value in the medical field.”
DeepTech Club: What Does It Mean?
Being a member of the NASSCOM DeepTech means startups get to be a part of various NASSCOM events – like product conclaves, competitions, and business connects, which makes it easy for startups to get noticed by potential customers, investors and partners.
The Deep Tech Club has three segments— ‘Lab to Market’ for academic, research projects or startups, which are incubated in campus or research organisations; ‘Pre-Revenue’ for startups in the product development phase and which are not customer-validated yet; and ‘Post-Revenue’ for startups with clients using the product.
DeepTech Conclave Was A Hotbed Of AI Startups In India
Some of the AI startups which participated included Artivatic.Ai, Senseforth.Ai, AskSid AI, Wesense.Ai, Dhiyo.Ai, Beatest, Dhrishya.Ai, Dave.AI, Orcablue.Ai, CustomFit.Ai, SwitchOn, Invento Robotics, etc., which are also part of Nasscom 10000 startups initiative.
Some of these startups have done well in the recent past. Take, for example, Senseforth.Ai- a startup with NLP technology embedded in its conversational AI platform, which is used by over 35 organisations in Asia and North America for a variety of business processes.
Moving on, there was Invento Robotics, which recently raised Rs 2 crore seed funding round led by Windrose Capital and ITI Growth Fund. The startup is looking to expand the prospects of its robot Maitra and Sakhi for business and real-life use cases.
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Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.