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25 Posts authored by: NASSCOM Product Moderator

DeepTech Club

Posted by NASSCOM Product Moderator Jul 18, 2018

The AI Revolution is upon us. Countries like Israel and China are going at break-neck speed and going multiples of X every 2 – 3 years, so there’s a lot of catch-up to do.


The DeepTech Club is an initiative by the NASSCOM Product Council to accelerate and upgrade the Deep Tech ecosystem in the country. India already has a rich technology and entrepreneurial talent base, and we can take it to the next level by nurturing deep tech ventures. Industry connects and mentoring are the critical gaps which will need to be addressed to help DeepTech ventures succeed and new ventures to emerge from academia and labs. By connecting ventures with corporates who can be partners and customers for the technology, NASSCOM will enable success for a few.


We formally launched the DeepTech Club at NASSCOM Product Conclave in October last year. The first batch had 20+ companies who were mentored and supported by industry leaders. 3 of the First Batch of companies got funded and others are in active discussions. 3 were accepted by Mass Challenge in Israel. Most importantly, almost all participants saw their value proposition, go-to-market and growth rate improve significantly. The list of DeepTech Club Batch 1 mentors and selected companies is available at


The recent Batch One graduation event had well-known Investors (Matrix, Norwest, Kalaari, IdeaSpring, Pravega, Prime, Pi, Venture East, IAN, SRI Capital, YourNest) and Corporate CXOs (Accenture, AIG, MindTree, Societe Generale, TCS, Infosys, mPhasis, ITC Infotech, WalmartLabs, Intel) interacting with Club members.


Now we are kicking off the next batch of the DeepTech Club. Selected DeepTech companies will be recognized, nurtured and promoted by NASSCOM via various programs, platforms and events. The next step on our way to 1000!


Know more about NASSCOM's initiatives and programs, follow NASSCOM impact stories

We asked our esteemed jury members about Emerge50 2018 is different and what can the startups look forward to.


Vinod Sood is the MD of Hughes Systique, Member NASSCOM Engineering and R&D Council and mentor of the Deep Tech Club. He has also been an Emerge50 Jury for last 8 years. 


1. Why should tech start-ups nominate their products for Emerge 50 Awards?

 Over the years Emerge50 platform has been able to identify promising startups which later went on to become the poster boys of the startup world, got featured as hot/coolest startups, got funded etc. Some of these amongst others are – Capillary, HackerEarth, Razorpay, FarEye, Eko, Unbxd, Stellaps. So it is a great opportunity for any emerging tech startup who aspires to get to the bigger league.


2. What would you advice tech startups participating in Emerge 50?

The startups should focus on conveying to the jury how their product is servicing a unique niche or solving a problem which has a large impact and how technology is a core part of the solution. They should also show how the product or solution is scalable and what their Go To Market plan is.


 3. Given so many emerging tech segments, how will Emerge 50 2018 be different?

I think Emerge50 2018 is different as it gives a platform for product/tech startups spread across a vide range of domains to demonstrate their offering. Be it EduTech, HealthTech, FinTech, RetailTech, Logistics, AgriTech, Manufacturing, DeepTech, Security, SaaS platforms etc. everyone has an opportunity to make a mark.


Milind Hanchinmani is the Director, Asia Pacific & Japan, Developer Relations Division at Intel Corporation and Member of NASSCOM Product Council


1. Why should tech start-ups nominate their products for Emerge 50 Awards?

Emerge50 has been synonym and a brand for top innovative, emerging start-ups in India. By being Emerge winner, you could get greater visibility and brand plus greater opportunity for networking among other companies for possible collaboration. I highly recommend any start-up who fits criteria to nominate for Emerge 50 awards!


2. What would you advice tech startups participating in Emerge 50?

Please focus on crisply articulating your product , key problem it solves, technology , market opportunity and why your product is unique and key differentiation among competition. The competition is always tough and we do get different companies offering similar product and the bar is pretty high for winners and jurors are increasingly looking at these aspects. Any IP/patent, please highlight!


3. Given so many emerging tech segments, how will Emerge 50 2018 be different?

This is a big year with 10th anniversary! And Being named top 10 on 10th year anniversary would be great! Also, with AI, Block chain and many technology startups emerging, it is going to be more tough and more interesting this year than ever and winners would get a chance to be showcased @ NPC 2018 (we are looking at doing some interesting changes @ NPC as well!)

The flip side of AI

Biased decisions taken by AI have been a recurring threat to industries deploying it and to the ethical norms of the society at large. While unbalanced decisions affect business outcomes, biases related to gender and race negatively impacts the social fabric. Expert AI luminaries are anxious about the biasness apparent in these machine–learning algorithms that take millions of decisions every minute. 


AI-enabled machines reflect a persona basis the kind of data that they are fed. As a result, they acquire biases from the datasets that they are fed and cannot be immune to human biases. No wonder, biased data will make them take biased decisions. Combating biases, both human and data-based, is one of the biggest ethical challenges that AI is faced with. What’s more alarming is that the problem is expected to become more severe in the near future. This is because many are yet to realize the magnitude of the impact that feeding biased data will have on businesses. Therefore, steps are yet to be taken to identify solutions to the compelling problem.


The need for an open discussion

NASSCOM Product Conclave took the initiative to launch a platform for the industry to openly discuss different opinions on the subject. We planned a Twitter Campaign with the hashtag #DeconstructingAI, on 31st January 2018 at 4 P.M. on our Twitter handle, @NASSCOM_Product. The purpose was to discuss our polarising ideas and see the subject from different points of view and attempt to have Tech experts bust some myths and perceptions.


The debate was centred on 5 key questions.

  • Do you believe that intelligent systems will learn human prejudices and how?
  • How can we be transparent about the training data we are using, while working on such algorithms?
  • How can we prepare ourselves for a bias-free AI?
  • Can AI help people in making less biased decisions?
  • How do you think Artificial Intelligence will replace human jobs in the future?


The industry responded and it was Overwhelming!


Industry experts including Sridhar Iyengar (European Explorer, Zoho &Product Council Member, NASSCOM), Sangeeta Gupta (Director, NASSCOM), Subinder Khurana (Product Council Member, NASSCOM), Atul Batra (CTO, Manthan & Product Council Member, NASSCOM), Praveen Nallapaneni (Deputy Manager, NASSCOM) and Srikanth Srinivasan (Regional Director TS & AP NASSCOM) joined in the conversations.






The Tweet Chat on #DeconstructingAI was a great success generating over 200 responses within 30 minutes of the chat and driving over 802K impressions on Twitter alone. We’re eagerly looking forward to the next one!


If you could not join the tweetchat and would like to share your responses, comment below. 

NASSCOM Product Connect hosted an AI Roundtable in Gurgaon on the theme of `AI-Platform Play’. An engaging discussion with a diverse group of stakeholders – startups, VCs, accelerators, industry leaders, GICs all brainstormed on the impact of AI. My 5 takeaways from the session included:


  1. The best products hide AI under the hood to create a magical user experience. The worst put AI on the label.


  1. Obsession with the problem being solved, great design, tangible value proposition, the discipline of charging for pilots, selling top down. The basics still apply.


  1. The biggest challenge to enterprise AI adoption is data availability, quality and silos.


  1. If selling to enterprise, solve visible problems like process inefficiency, human error & bias, mundane jobs. Most enterprises are not yet ready to adopt AI for transformation.


  1. The biggest constraint to growth of AI product ventures is shortage of Human talent. Learn AI technology to supercharge your career.

Product Name: Apiculus Xaas Cloud Convergence platform

Name of Organization: IndiQus Technologies

At the helm: Sunando Bhattacharya, K.B. Shiv Kumar, Swati Samaddar

Year of Incorporation: 2013

Website:  IndiQus  

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Cloud space


“It is important to keep focusing on your business, especially  if  you don’t have the luxury of funding. Cash is king and today, we are a fairly cash flow-driven company that pays attention to collections and paying its vendors”.


- Sunando Bhattacharya, Cofounder & CEO


Innovation:  IndiQus has deep domain knowledge in Managed Cloud  services and has developed Open and flexible solutions that service providers, enterprises and telcos can adopt to enhance their Return on Investment.


Its innovations  provide Cloud business solutions to these organizations, setting up  Clouds in  emerging markets, and transforming enterprises and service providers into businesses running on the Cloud.


About the product: IndiQus’ apiculus CSP is a Cloud Business Platform software which enables Cloud service providers to sell “anything-as-a-service” (XaaS) and create a 360 degree customer engagement. A one-stop solution for Cloud  service providers, the product enables them to manage, analyze and monetize XaaS  Cloud offerings. The software has been built for the needs of emerging markets. apiculus CSP is being used by large telecom companies as their primary Cloud business portal.


Journey so far: The company was set up in 2013 as a systems integrator, a boutique consulting  firm, whose Founders had around 15-17 years of experience in the cloud computing space. The company shifted gears in 2015, working to productize and turn its Cloud-building processes  into ready-to-deploy solutions.  As it began offering an integrated story to enterprises, it got a chance to set up a Cloud implementation for Sri Lanka Telecom. At that time, IndiQus was deploying a third-party product from Citrix which was built for European markets. Then, however it decided to develop a product for emerging markets, where it saw a Cloud surge. The company  began signing  up customers that would help it to build the product. In 2015, it tied up with Airtel and in June 2016, delivered the product to the customer. It is  now in the second version of the product and the third version will be out at the end  of the year.


Recognizing that in smaller countries there is demand from governments  for data residency, IndiQus  also began setting up micro Amazons (mini-Clouds) in nations such as Estonia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Malaysia, and Indonesia, which it scales as the business grows. The company adopted an on-premise model, selling to companies that are using its platform to deliver to their customers.


Among the challenges it faced in its journey was a  loss of direction in the early days, when finances were a problem. At that time, IndiQus found itself spending more time on raising funds than building its business. Dealing with the government also proved to be a big issue. Initially, the company was slapped with fines because it was unable to file its returns owing to archaic laws and an apathetic and unsupportive attitude of the government towards start-ups.


Way forward: IndiQus acquired Dartboard, a company which works in predictive  analytics, in 2017 (while it took over data analytics start-up Amicus in 2016), to enhance its product portfolio with the much-in-demand analytics solutions for Cloud platforms. It has  also on-boarded a dedicated Data Scientist who is building various models for enhancing customer data visibility on the Cloud and deriving actionable intelligence from this data.


 “My advise to other start-ups is that they should be sure before they jump on to the bandwagon. It is a very challenging journey. But once they are sure, they need to give it their full commitment regardless of the difficulties. They shouldn’t enter the market for the heck of it”.


 See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10.

Product Name: FirstHive

Name of Organization: eMart Solutions

At the helm (all cofounders’ names): Aditya Bhamidipaty

Year of Incorporation: 2015

Website:  FirstHive 

Vertical/Horizontal Play: domain of Sales and Marketing


 “We are excited about engaging with a marquee organization such as NASSCOM. We create a lot of in-house White Papers on marketing. Since we have the only product in the market that does what it does, we are keen to leverage the NASSCOM platform to building thought leadership in the field of marketing”.

-- Aditya Bhamidipaty, Founder/CEO, eMart Solutions


Innovation: eMart discovered significant opportunities in the Sales and Marketing space, where it saw a need for brand building through personalized communication with consumers and helping enterprises drive efficiencies in the marketing matrix. It innovated to develop a product that could talk to consumers personally, where instead of broadcasting one message, companies could have a unique conversation with each consumer.


About the product: The company conceived FirstHive in order to send the right message to the right person, through the right channel, at the right  time. It was developed as a multi-channel, on-demand loyalty engine that would build Unique Customer Identities by collecting data from all sources of customer interactions.


Journey so far: eMart began working on the product in July, 2015 and launched it in January, 2016. In October, 2016 it introduce a beta for international users. Within four-five months there were 1,100 trials of the product from 64 countries! The company gathered feedback on the product’s functionality from this beta and began to build partnerships with systems integrators and resellers.


One of the big challenges that eMart faced during its journey  was putting in place the right team and getting the right resources who could design and execute the product and put in place a robust product management plan.


Way forward: eMart has acquired good customers in India and is now aiming to address the needs of clients in the ASEAN and North American geos.


The company will also continue to focus on helping Fortune 500 and Forbes 2000 companies to create and manage large loyalty and customer/channel programs while delivering  measurable RoI.


 See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

Product Name: Elastic Beam

Name of Organization: Elastic Beam

At the helm (all cofounders’ names): Uday Subbarayan and Bernard Harguindeguy

Year of Incorporation: 2015

Website: Elastic Beam

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Security



Innovation: Recognizing that guaranteeing the security of the API infrastructure of organizations was critical, Elastic Beam innovatively combined Artificial Intelligence and real-time techniques to develop a product that protected API  investments from cyber attacks. The product’s  innovation lies in the fact that unlike generic behavioral analytics  tools that don’t take into account API-specific usage, it leverages its in-depth API intelligence to provide a precise and accurate detection of API misuse.


About the product: The company’s Cloud neutral solution encompasses  API Behavioral Security (for detecting, reporting and preventing cyber attacks on data and applications exposed through APIs of companies) and the API Artificial Intelligence engine (that blocks ongoing attacks on API gateways, API Management platforms or APIs directly). It is available for hybrid Clouds, Public Clouds or on-premise.


Journey so far: Elastic Beam began its journey in 2014, when it brainstormed on its security product. Based on the existing experience and expertise of its Founders, it thought it appropriate to build an automated solution in the security space. It took the company five-to-six  months to put the plan together.


One of the key challenges the company faced initially was finding the right people for the job, as engineers did not have a clear understanding of how to build an infrastructure start-up. Also,  since it was building an infrastructure product for the first time, it was felt that monitoring had to be done on a regular basis.


Way forward: The company is looking to expand its sales and marketing as well as engineering teams for business development. Product innovation will continue to happen as the product evolves. The company is already in the third generation of the product.


See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the opening session. 


Mr Atul Batra, the CTO of Manthan Systems & the Chair – NASSCOM Product Council welcomed all participants to the 14th edition of NPC Bangalore, which is now widely regarded as the most important event for software product companies. The audience was a diverse mix of people, across the globe – especially from the Bay Area. Besides the industry folks we also had the investors and people from the academia. In terms of the quality of participants it could not have been more wholesome. He thanked Ravi Gururaj, the previous Product Council Chair for having created such a robust platform. There was a special mention of the network of volunteers and partners who had helped most industriously to put the conclave together.


As he introduced the theme, “Innovation fueling India’s digital revolution” he remarked that India was in an advantageous position, because unlike the western countries it wasn’t burdened with a legacy which made it easier for us to leapfrog towards digital. And, that product companies were leading this revolution. Perhaps for the first time, NPC Bangalore was witnessing the participation of a large number of Chief Digital Officers, a growing tribe of professionals who are instrumental in driving change through digital, and it was a great opportunity to interact with them. While briefly touching upon the format of the event he urged everyone to increase engagement through tweets, blogs and such other formats. With that he invited MR Rangaswami the Cohost of NPC.


This was MR’s 8th straight year at the global conclave. He introduced the next speaker, the Chairman of NASSCOM who is commonly regarded as the Father of the BPO Industry, Mr Raman Roy. Earlier, in the previous evening, the council had prevailed upon Mr Raman Roy to be dressed in casuals and forsake his characteristic corporate attire. A nugget which the speaker readily agreed to in a jovial manner.      


The startup ecosystem is shaping up to be a digital powerhouse and a 1 trillion $ digital economy as envisaged by PM Modi was well within bounds given the rapid rate of adoption and talent available in the country. Rambunctiously, he pointed to the audience and declared authoritatively that “it’s YOU who will make it happen” which instantaneously drew a loud round of cheer. Advanced Technologies were fundamentally changing customer experiences and in the midst of all this the importance of cybersecurity products can never be over-emphasized. As the recent spate of Ransomware attacks would bear testimony. Having weathered the Funding Winter of 2016, it was back to the fundamentals once again – RoI and unit economics.


The front row seats were tagged as reserved. In Delhi, Raman Roy remarked, it would have meant nothing as people are accustomed to flouting rules with gumption. Whereas in Bangalore he was rather surprised to see people abiding by the norms. Roy added that he wasn’t sure whether to be delighted or worried, this of course on a lighter vein. Entrepreneurs are meant to be rule breakers! Finally, his messaging was about creating employment opportunities and not to remain contented as job seekers. The Product Conclave every year brought together a robust ecosystem to discuss and deliberate on a range of issues – a mighty step forward towards fostering the ecosystem, he acknowledged.  

Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

Product Name: Cardiotrack

Name of Organization: Uber Diagnostics

At the helm: Ashim Roy and Avin Agarwal

Year of Incorporation: 2013

Website:  Uber Diagnostics 

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Healthcare vertical


Innovation: As it became operational in 2012, Uber Diagnostics realized that lack of cardiac diagnostic facilities both in terms of expensive equipment and expertise at the family care level was making it difficult to provide good cardiac healthcare in India’s urban, rural  and tier 2 cities. The ability to understand the output of the machines was another challenge as was the paucity of cardiologists. The company decided to develop an innovative solution that was low-cost, simple-to-use by a physician and whose output could be made available to a cardiologist or its Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to get a quick and efficient diagnosis.


About the product: The company’s automated, disruptive healthcare diagnostics   solution, Cardiotrack, uses AI, Machine  Learning and Data Analytics to analyze the scans of ECGs to provide accurate predictive  diagnosis and interpretation for faster cardiac intervention. It ensures that even if a cardiologist is not immediately available, an accurate diagnosis is done to save a life.


Journey so far: Ashim Roy and Avin Agarwal had a chance meeting that led the duo to discuss the gaps in the domain of cardiovascular diseases in India. The two decided to do something about it together and conceived the idea of the company.  Initially, the organization faced many challenges including its inability to develop an in-house  AI  platform owing to lack of expertise, time  and funding. It licensed a solution from a French company to deliver it at the ground level.


The company took a bank loan and after its clinical trials were over, went to overseas investors in Singapore to fund its venture.


Way forward: Uber is looking to develop its own AI once it can raise the necessary funds.  It  will set up its own R&D team for AI and expand its solution by adding the parameters of diabetes and hypertension. Uber will also look beyond India and target the US market.


 See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Kishore Biyani, Founder & CEO, Future Group


Towards the end of the day, at times the energy levels can drop. Especially when the day has been rather intense. At NPC Bangalore the end of Day 1, we had the much respected Kishore Biyani, Founder & CEO, Future Group to perk us up – and how he did! In conversation with Siddharth Zarabi, Executive Editor, BTVI.


On being asked, what drew him to the conclave, he retorted, “because we are in real business and not an imaginary one”, cheekily taking a dig at futurists. He added, that sometimes it almost felt like that a new religion was being created, referring to the swathe of new technologies that are available. There are only 7 tunes, 5 colours, 9 emotions and 10 actions – life is not as complex as it is often made out to be, yet underscoring the need to keep things simple.


To build brands, one needs to have a deep understanding of technology which gets the desired results. Technology increases human capability, creates more available time for increased human interaction, but understand this - he emphasized - humans will have to kill time anyway and will always seek new ways of doing it. We found out later that this was an oblique reference to many app-based solutions for problems which never really exists to begin with.


He also spoke about mini drones and their impact on retail. Retail 1.0 was about brick-and-mortar, Version 2 was about e-commerce and now Retail 3.0 is what he calls “Tathastu” - ask and we will deliver. In comparison, he likened Version 2 to an electronic typewriter. The Tathastu version will have all features imaginable – you can shop physically, activate through voice, app, call etc. just about any interface without any dearth of choices whatsoever.


They are pretty ruthless about data. Customer behavior is deconstructed methodically with the help of data, and heaps of it. He touched upon the heterogeneity of the Indian market which is best captured through 72 major festivals. At Future Group, they had created an almanac of sorts on India – its cultures, mythology and the likes. Both subjective and transactional data were used.           


But, the consumer is changing very rapidly and sometimes in more ways than retailers can fathom. Packaged popcorn, recently introduced in stores, most surprisingly, clocked daily sales upwards of 1 lakh even surpassing the more common bhujia. This wasn’t their “gut feel” at the time but a subsequent revelation from data analysis. On being asked about the phenomenal success of Patanjali, he had no qualms about saying that they stored this brand as well. Perhaps Baba Ramdev’s incredible mass appeal was what it was all about.   


Also on competition, especially 5 years hence, Kishore Biyani remained candid and remarked that competition was always welcome and not to be shied away from. He didn’t sound too upbeat about the idea of serving the “Bottom of the Pyramid.” In his opinion, there’s nothing at the bottom. A rural consumer on an average consumes only about 100 SKUs in a year; in comparison his urban counterpart consumes about 60 – 70 k SKUs annually. The returns were just not attractive enough to think big in those markets.


3 Key Challenges: Managing the speed of change; managing people who do not believe in you and making others believe in your vision, said Biyani majestically as he signed off. 


Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

Product Name: Hug SmartWatch

Name of Organization: Hug Innovations

At the helm: Raj Neravati

Year of Incorporation: October, 2014

Website:  Hug Innovations 

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Security and lifestyle


“I could not have imagined that Foxconn, the company which manufactures Apple products, will one day be our own manufacturing partner for the Smartwatch. The fact is that all through the company’s journey of hardships, I remained persistent, didn’t give up and created a world-class product and organization”.

--Raj Neravati, Founder and CEO, Hug Innovations


Innovation: Hug Innovations has developed the Hug Smartwatch, which is not only a promise of safety, but also the world’s first gesture-controlled device. Hug innovated a wearable Smartwatch with an SOS button that a person in danger can press. The watch sends an SMS with a live tracking URL to the family and friends. When people click on the URL they can track the wearer in real time. Interestingly, the watch has customized maps to show the user the nearest hospitals and police stations—basically emergency services they can contact if family and well-wishers are not available.


About the product: Besides the safety story, the Hug Innovations Smartwatch has several features such as gesture control that can be used by wearers to turn up the music, dim lights, play console games, switch presentation slides or fly a remote controlled drone! It also serves as a kids, fitness and pet tracker.


The journey so  far: Greatly impacted by the Nirbhaya gang rape case in New Delhi in 2012, Raj Neravati  decided to relocate to Hyderabad, India from the US and look deeply at the issue of women’s security.  Hug Innovations came into being in 2014, as a promise of safety.


The journey was challenging for the company from the very start, since its Founder, Raj Neravati, did not have the necessary hardware background or deep hardware knowledge and there were no accelerators to guide or support the company. Building the right team in fact was hard and Raj Neravati had to let go of people and even replace the team.


Way forward: Hug will be adding smaller products to meet the needs of specific audiences. From a platform point of view, the company has envisioned an IoT platform that can control any device through gestures and has invited application developers to create apps that can run on its Open developer platform.


See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 


Innovate or Disappear

Posted by NASSCOM Product Moderator Nov 13, 2017

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Shashi Seth, Sr. VP, Oracle Marketing Cloud


Shashi Seth, Sr. VP, Oracle Marketing Cloud was our first speaker immediately after the inaugural. He was rather excited to be at NPC Bangalore and share some of his insights with us. Before that, our Emcee briefly touched upon the success of products which only have a cloud presence.


The most important thing about innovation and we have often said it, is about building a certain culture which is supportive of this philosophy. In San Francisco about 10 years back it was a hellish experience to get a cab from the airport late at night. Rude drivers, exorbitant rates all added to the commuter’s woes. Then suddenly in 2010, things changed dramatically with the advent of Uber. Issues which hounded travelers suddenly became irrelevant. Lyft and Uber combined, employ over a million drivers today. Very few industries are known to have created 1 million jobs in 7 years. Then there’s the example of Google Home, which has changed lives beyond imagination. Simply by talking into the device, one can get the best of services in the comfort and confines of their homes without human intervention.


Some of the things that AI is able to do is simply remarkable. It’s not only solving big problems for us but adding finer details to our daily lives which makes it all so worthwhile. Boundaries are getting pushed and all this is being done with lesser people. Twenty-five years back NASA had in its rolls (including network of partners) about a million people. Today SpaceX is able to send a spacecraft with just over 10k people. Not to mention the massive drop in cost from 1 billion dollars to about 38 million $ today. The price point is also a critical parameter to be measured. Tesla is yet another example – a company which has been around for only 7 years is more valuable than GM. A single battery charge can make the car run for 280 miles. Innovation is certainly about fixing massive problems but at the same time there are numerous examples of small incremental changes being effected which have raised customer experience and expectation by leaps and bounds. As mentioned earlier – boundaries are getting pushed ceaselessly. He gave numerous other examples including those of Apple & Netflix. These are companies which not only disrupted the market but did not rest on their laurels. And, ever since they have continued to raise the bar and set new industry standards. Innovation, is far from a one-time exercise. Also, it’s not about “if” any more, it is an imperative and the question is “how”:


  1. It’s about smart talented PEOPLE who can get out of their comfort zone.
  2. CULTURE is about creating an environment where people are enthused about giving their best. Right down to the minutest detail – food being served, workstation design & benefits being offered.
  3. Focusing on DETAILS will bring in the “WOW” factor.
  4. Make sure you AIM for the MOON. Goals have to be stretched, even so that 70% of the target achieved would create high benchmarks.
  5. PERSISTENCE – it takes time!


Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Atul Jalan, the CEO & MD of Manthan. 


Atul Jalan held us in thrall (at NPC Banglaore) right from the time he strode up on stage confidently and started talking about the future, which seemed overwhelming at times.


He said, the kind of change that we have witnessed in the last 10 – 15 years is phenomenal. Moreover, what was experienced 50 – 75 years prior, pales in comparison. And finally, the change which will come about in the next 10 – 15 years will be nothing short of spectacular – something which may well be in the realms of our imagination now. The possibilities that Science can offer are being leveraged to the hilt and brings humans a step closer to playing God.


In process, technology has absorbed its own complexities to make life easier for us. AI, many opine, is the new electricity and cuts across nearly all industry verticals. And, this is happening at such a rapid pace that there seems to be a hubris around it! The truth is, we tend to overestimate its short-term benefits and underestimate its long-term transformative power. AI was first heard of in nerdy circles in the 50s of the last century. Its commercial applications didn’t pick up as was expected and had to go through a very long Siberian winter. And now it’s here, and how!  


Data is the by-product of Social Media and the fodder for Deep Tech. Data captured through sensors is yet another prominent source. It’s leading to Cognification of Everything which is a most interesting mix of bio & info organisms. Smartphones today are more powerful than Supercomputers of an earlier era and with constant drop in prices, they are within bounds of most people. Advancement in Neuro-Science is witnessing a steady integration of bio and computer science. As AI comes of age, it makes us ask age-old and yet profound questions: Who am I? What is it to be human? What’s the construct of our mind? If the brain is akin to hardware then mind may best be compared to software. Till now, the questions about self were seen through the ‘limited’ lens of philosophy. As AI gets perfected, we are preparing ourselves to answer these questions through the lens of Math & Science. The next big leap, soon to come by, is going to be a very big one! Hopefully, we can put technology to good use and weed out pain, diseases to create a better society.  

Homo Sapien 2.0 can attain three shapes: that of humanoids, or recreated through genetic engineering, or simply, cyborgs. It isn’t such a stretch after all if we are to imagine the future from today’s construct – humans perpetually glued on to their phones today, give the impression that we are part machine-like already. The emphasis here is our heavy dependence on machines to run lives for us. The life of the great physicist Stephen Hawkins embodies the combined impact of what neuro & computer science can achieve. Strapped to a wheel chair because of a debilitating disease (yet his mind remains the sharpest) he is able to move around with the aid of advanced technology which can read his mind and take commands directly. Life per se, is a matter of random selection. But, through genetic re-engineering can we create humans with only the desired characteristics – exactly the way we want them to be and eliminating chance factor. Is that desirable? Or is it re-imagining God?


Certainly, many jobs will be lost because of AI. Let’s not even pretend otherwise. On a lighter note: when horse-drawn carriages were replaced by automobiles, horses lost their jobs and never really got them back. In history, nobody has lost jobs like the horses did. Perhaps! But the caveat: the burden this time will be on man and not on the beast. Having said that, newer jobs will be created which will require application of better skills and humans will be more gainfully employed.


He also touched upon the sensitive area of sex and humans. Robots which talk and even listen attentively. Sometimes, more attentively than spouses! In fiction, we have already seen humans fall in love with non-human objects and there’s a possibility that someday this rarity may become more common. He jokingly remarked, “in future if I run away with your sex doll then would I be tried for running away with your wife or stealing your car?” It was a rather hilarious observation to make, as we all guffawed. New rules for the new man.


As we step into unexplored realms, a new code of ethics and morality will have to be written. Human progress is made on 2 distinct threads: the ability to invent stories and to tell them!             


Arguably, man is the only animal which doesn’t yet know what NOT to do. It’s this constant itch which made man out of monkeys.


Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

 Product Name: SmartMoo

Name of Organization: Stellapps

Year of Incorporation: 2011

Website:  Stellapps

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Agriculture

At the helm: Ranjith Mukudan (CEO and Co-Founder), Ravishankar Shiroor, Praveen Nale, Ramakrishna Adukuri, Venkatesh Seshasayee


 “The start-up journey is not like a sprint. It is a marathon. There is need for a plan  and build stamina for the long-term. Start-ups  should expect  the journey to be arduous”

--Ranjith Mukundan, CEO and Co-Founder, Stellapps




Innovation: Stellapps decided  to foray the dairy sector, an innovation in itself, which has made it the first of its kind, end-to-end dairy technology solutions company in  India. Stellapps’ launched its SmartMoo platform, which is capable of supporting data arising out of tens of millions of liters of milk through milk production, procurement and cold chain flow across millions of farmers.


About the product:  The company developed an IoT platform SmartMoo that supports sensors in a plug-and-play fashion and develops apps in the way other app stores do. The company took a use case-centric approach where it developed the platform and then the app that which would leverage IoT, Big Data, Cloud, Mobility and Data  Analytics to improve Agri supply chain parameters.


Journey so far: The company began in 2011 with five co-Founders who were working in technology and telecom companies.  It was incubated by IIT Madras in 2012 and began by examining various use cases, where it could leverage IoT as the tech platform.  Stellapps decided  to focus on the dairy and agri verticals as by their very nature, both segments lent themselves to auto data acquisitions from remote areas and could exploit the true strength of IoT. When the company set up operations, it had to face many challenges including lack of domain expertise, and the issue of support  and maintenance, particularly in remote areas which took up time and as costly.


Way forward: The company will be exploring other emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Latin America, and Africa which have similar supply chain issues as India. It will also focus on taking its products in to developed markets too and looking at other agri produce, besides dairy.


See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

These illustrious startups won the NASSCOM EMERGE 50 Awards at the NPC,2017. We are bringing you the ones that made it to the League of 10. 

Product Name: BalanceEye

Name of Organization: Cyclops MedTech

Year of Incorporation: 2015

Website: Cyclops Medtech; Balance Eye

Vertical/Horizontal Play: MedTech/Healthtech

At the helm: Niranjan Subbarao, Dr. Srinivas Dorasala, Dr. Ravi Nayar



“NASSCOM has been phenomenally helpful in our journey. We were part of the 10,000 Start-ups program and multiple other NASSCOM initiatives that have got us visibility, industry and investor attention”.

--Niranjan Subbarao, Co-Founder, Cyclops MedTech


Innovation: Cyclops MedTech, a medical technology start-up, works on vestibular, surgical and eye tracking solutions for the masses. The company was conceived with the idea of developing an innovative Vertigo diagnosing device that was affordable and democratized the way the disease was Vertigo was identified, treated and reached the maximum number of people.


About the product: The company’s cutting-edge, complete balance assessment platform Cyclops BalanceEye is an assessment tool that encompasses hardware, software,  and Machine Learning module on the Cloud. The device comes backed  with the experience of clinicians (vertigo specialists) and engineers specializing in computer  vision, image processing and embedded system design.


Journey so far: The journey began for the company in 2012, when one of its co-Founders purchased a Vertigo diagnostic device from a French company. Six months down the line it stopped working and there was no support available for the device. The choice was then to buy another competing device at Rs. 15 lakhs, or develop one locally.  The company felt it could add more value to what was already available to many doctors. It used its clinical expertise and in-house engine to build the product. Initially, the company faced challenges in the areas of hardware design and development, testing, funding and building infrastructure.


Way forward: Today, Cyclops has 50 installations of BalanceEye and its turnover is reaching the one crore rupees mark. The company is looking to close the year with 125 installations and a top line of Rs.  3.5 crore. Going forward, it will be focused on scaling up in India, the ASEAN countries, the Middle East and in  Africa.


See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

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