It’s been an exciting past month in India where US-based 500 Startups and Europe’s SeedCamp stepped up to endorse the inaugural GSF India accelerator, a first-of-its-kind pan-national initiative arranged and managed by noted VC firm GSF Superangels.
Founder Rajesh Sawhney told us that the 7-week-long accelerator program would run simultaneously in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and, after things kicked off on October 15th, he has revealed the 15 startups selected for the program. Each participant will receive $28,000 in funding and stands a chance at an investment of up to $3 million from GSF Superangels. That’s not all, and the companies will have the chance to attract the eye of other VCs that attend the demo day at the GSF2012 event next month.
“This is the largest mentorship and funding platform in India. These 15 startups will now meet over 400 investors at GSF2012 in India’s biggest Startup-investor conference where they will seek further financing. GSF Superangels will provide seed funding to 5/6 startups this year. The GSF Accelerator represents a landmark effort to build the entrepreneurship ecosystem in India,” Sawhney says.
Now we can reveal the chosen ones.
This startup is founded by four ex-IBM engineers and creates tools for mobile application development and testing. The team describes its battery/power profiling and benchmarking tool for Android as “the mobile app equivalent of a CT scanner”, which “helps apps smile” – aka run more efficiently.
A social recognition and employee benefits platform, EmployeeSocial says it helps promote best practice and encourage real employee motivation rewarding through customized social network-like sites. As well as a rewards program, it incentivizes workforces through employee-only stores, ‘energized’ intranet portals and company-only marketplaces.
Recently out of private beta, Zoomdeck lets photos ‘talk’ by allowing users to add interactivity and annotations — such as tags or music — to images. You can sign in via Facebook but the tagging system runs independently.
An online platform for hiring developers and programmers in a cost-effective and fast way. Recruiters can set up a variety of tests which candidates complete while filing other details to help sort the wheat from the chaff.
An online learning startup established by IIT and Stanford alumni, Eduflix delivers courses from top India colleagues using online video lessons. Launched three months ago, the service already covers 17 different states in the country and also includes test papers and an online question and answer option.
Tushky says it is India’s first creative online marketplace for spare time, and the website includes a range of alternative deals. Aimed at those bored with dinner and drinks, its offer include skydiving, scuba diving, hot air balloon flights, and more.
An Amazon-like online textbook buying and rental service, BucketBolt also lets its visitors sell their unwanted textbooks ‘direct from their door’ via a collection system. It is only operational in Mumbai, for now.
A shared taxi service that runs in Mumbai, would-be customers can sign up to their route and pay for their journey online. All cars are driven by chauffeurs and those that agree to share the tab receive a 50 percent discount on their fare.
A fledgling digital advertising company, Pokkt says it has brought together online services and e-commerce to form India’s first ‘transactional advertising platform’. It provides customers with exclusive online and offline offers from retailers, in exchange for them providing information for advertisers. Notably, Sawhney is an existing investor, as his Twitter bio discloses.
Delhi-based Zapper is an advertising platform that aims to make television more interactive. The startup’s platform provides opportunities for advertisers and brands to identify and engage with viewers using a gamified approach.
Aimed at helping young Indians get real-time, location-specific suggestions to eat, play or shop, mobile-centric Playcez delves into social media data to provide its recommendations. The service uses proprietary, patent-pending technology to dig up the results that it serves its visitors.
An electronics trade-in site for anyone looking to sell off unwanted tech, GamesInc — owned by Exit10 — is a partner of Amazon-run online marketplace Junglee. Its video games portal is particularly successful and the company is looking to expand into new categories.
Aadhaarup is a personal payment service which is currently in invite-only mode. The company uses a secure mobile app to enable payments between users and to merchants, the latter of which require a point-of-sale terminal.
Taking mobile chat to a different place, Gingr is focused on allowing customers to communicate with companies direct from their phone. The platform, which is currently in beta, is a customer service system that aims to make connecting easier and more rewarding.
Targeting developers that feel marginalized by app stores in the consumer buying cycle, SilverPush lets developers adopt a more visible role, sending content (and creating monetization opportunities) direct to consumers.
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“The program is designed to create the next wave of product-oriented technology start-ups in the areas of mobile, social, local and cloud. There is no reason that Indian entrepreneurs cannot create the next Instagram, or the next Twitter, or the next Inmobi,” Sawhney told TNW last month.
So there you have it, plenty of firms that are derivatives of successful Western businesses – which do you think has the greatest potential to succeed in India and, potentially, overseas?
It is notable that there is no overly-cliche social media rip-off, thanks probably to the fact the country has a larger number of English speakers who use existing US and global services. Personally, I’d be excited about a lot of these companies were I in India; GamesInc, SharedCab and BucketBolt spring to mind in particular.
We’ll bring you more updates as the program develops.
Headline image via Shutterstock / Elnur