Domain Experts from Samsung Electronics Mentor 20 Indian Startups As Part of Samsung’s Employee Volunteer Program
Samsung Electronics organized the Global Startup Acceleration Program in Bangalore in partnership with the International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore (IIIT-B) to mentor startups in varied fields in order to support the sustainable growth of local entrepreneurs in the country.
Thirty one employees from Samsung’s global headquarters in Korea and five university students from Korea have been mentoring 20 shortlisted startups remotely for the last two months as part of the Samsung Employee Volunteer Program.
Over the last one week, between August 6 and 10, they were huddled with the startups at a five-day bootcamp at the IIIT-B campus to better understand the hurdles faced by the startups in developing their products and services.
The startups and their mentors showcased their business models to several Venture Capital firms that were present at IIIT-B on August 9. On August 10, the startups gave individual pitch presentations to a panel comprising Dr. Aloknath De, Chief Technology Officer, Samsung R&D Institute, Bangalore, Mr. DV Jagadish, CEO, Outreach at IIIT-B and representatives of two venture funds.
Hexpressions, which offers affordable, ready to assemble homes made out of Composite Paper Honeycomb panels, was the winner of the Global Startup Acceleration Program award and was given a prize of INR 200,000. The first runners up Ziroh Labs that works in the area of privacy engineering and runtime encryption of data was given a prize of INR 150,000 while the second runners up Olly Credit, with a business model around mobile first micro credit cards for millennials was given a prize of INR 100,000.
Social enterprise Geriatric Care Network, which provides preventive and wellness focused healthcare solutions for the elderly, and BrownPacket, a mobile app for hyperlocal medicines and wellness products delivery, won the Best Improvement Award for showing the most improvement through the two month mentoring process.
Geriatric Care Network also won the Best Potential Award, which was also given to Mr. Susurla VS Suresh of Startoon Labs, which offers a solution that assists physiotherapists to accurately measure recovery of mobility and muscle strength of patients undergoing physiotherapy.
The Best Social Impact Award was given to Avidia Labs that offers immersive learning experiences for schools using augmented reality and virtual reality.
“At Samsung we strive to encourage young minds and nurture the spirit of innovation. With the Global Startup Acceleration Program, our experts and engineers from different domains are volunteering to support the sustainable growth of local entrepreneurs in the early stage,” said Dr. Aloknath De, Chief Technology Officer, Samsung R&D Institute, Bangalore.
Shilpi Dua, co-founder of Hexpressions, which was the winner, said this was a very different program compared to many others they have attended over the years.
“We are in the construction space. Our mentors are entrenched in technology. This was a great mix. We got a very different perspective from them about our business. They have suggested a few technology solutions based on IoT and automation that we can incorporate in our business and we will definitely take these forward,” she said.
Ziroh Labs, which was the first runners up, worked with a bunch of four mentors, who, in the words of CEO Bhaskar Mehdi, gave the startup a larger perspective on the world of data security.
“Five working days are definitely not enough but even these five days added value to us. We got a range of advice, from corporate strategy to interesting use-cases from our mentors,” said Mehdi.
For instance Mehdi talks about one of the mentors Kyuwon Kim, a software engineer at Samsung in Korea who works of machine learning and security. “Since he is from the security field, he could give us some interesting use-cases on where our technology could be used,” he said.
The entrepreneurs were pumped by the buzz and energy in the room during the five-day bootcamp.
Kim, who advised Ziroh Labs, says we have become friends over these days and will stay connected with them.
Since 2010, about 1,500 employees of Samsung have joined this program in 43 countries. This year, Samsung is focused on supporting local entrepreneurs and helping them build their businesses for a sustainable impact on society.
This program is being held globally in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, South Africa between July and September with 80 selected startups. Among winners in four countries, five startup will be invited to Samsung headquarters in Korea.
In India, IIIT- B invited applications from startups for the Global Startup Acceleration Program starting May. Of the applications that were received, Samsung Electronics and IIIT-B shortlisted 20 startups based on the problems that they were trying to solve, their business model, motivation levels of participants and their passion towards their venture, amongst other factors. Based on the domain of the startups, mentoring teams were allocated to address their business problems.
As part of its corporate social responsibility, Samsung R&D Institute, Bangalore (SRI-B) signed a MoU with IIIT-B under which three startups will get extended support from the local incubation center at IIIT-B for the next 24 months.
“The kind of support a startup receives in its initial phase can define its success. As a company that strongly believes in co-prosperity as one of our core values, we are proud to partner with a prestigious institution such as IIIT-B to provide best infrastructure and mentorship to early-stage startups, helping grow the local startup ecosystem,” said Mr. Dipesh Shah, Managing Director, Samsung R&D Institute, Bangalore.
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