– More than 1000 aspiring entrepreneurs, business elites, educators and venture capitalists assembled at Deshpande’s Hubbali Incubator for the theme-based event.
– The occasion marked the unveiling of the N.C. Murthy Aahaar Avinya Food-Tech Innovation Center.
Hubbali, 5th February 2023: Deshpande Startups, India’s premier business incubator, recently held the groundbreaking event “Startup Gravity,” which brought together over 1,000 dynamic and ambitious young entrepreneurs with a passion for catalyzing India’s socio-economic growth. The gathering also included over 200 industry leaders, HNIs, 100+ academicians, and 50+ VCs.
The event was graced by renowned personalities such as Mr. Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys and the IT industry’s stalwart, Dr. Gururaj Desh Deshpande, the Co-Founder of the Deshpande Foundation, and Mr. N.C. Murthy, a serial entrepreneur. They also inaugurated the N.C. Murthy Aahaar Avinya Food-Tech Innovation Centre, a one-of-a-kind ecosystem designed to support a zero-waste food cluster in North Karnataka, following a successful pilot in Sirsi, Karnataka.
With nearly half of its startups hailing from the agri-tech sector, Deshpande Startups is dedicated to making India’s food system more resilient. Through this initiative, the organization aims to provide innovative solutions that reduce food waste, increase farmers’ income, and create entrepreneurs at every step of the value chain, with a special focus on empowering women.
Inaugurating the event, Dr Gururaj Desh Deshpande, Co-founder, Deshpande Foundation, said, “Despite the pandemic and the economic turmoil faced by the world, India has continued to achieve economic growth that is higher than almost all other leading economies in the recent years. This resilience has been created by the ‘young and hungry’ population of startup founders and student entrepreneurs. There is a need to continue driving awareness and build an incubatory ecosystem where the talent is nurtured, guided and empowered to move forward in the right direction. That’s a goal we endeavour to achieve through Startup Gravity, and various other initiatives and programmes conducted by Deshpande Foundation and Deshpande Startups.”
Adding further, Dr Aravind Chinchure, CEO, Deshpande Startups, said, “At Deshpande Startups, we are witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime shift of approach brought about by young students and startup founders who are from Bharat and building products and technology for Bharat and Beyond. The trajectory clearly points to the fact that ‘India is the Future’, and we are dedicated to ensuring that deserving startup founders are provided with all the knowledge and ecosystem support that they need to create winning enterprises. This will not only resolve the social challenges prevalent but also pave the way for a highly developed, financially stronger and socially equitable society. We are extremely happy to witness the launch of the MAA Food-Tech Centre today. It is a world-class innovation centre and a true testament to the potential of student and women-led start-ups in finding solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. We thank Mr N.C. Murthy for his generous donation of $1 million. This donation has bolstered our confidence and provided resources to truly realise our aim of promoting entrepreneurship at the grassroots level. We are proud to name the centre after him.”
During his address, Mr Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys said, “Each time I attend an event organized by Deshpande Foundation, I see revolutionary ideas coming to life. It is truly remarkable to witness the launch of the technologically advanced dehydration machine built by the Deshpande Startups Infinity Studio team. It showcases the successful use of using scientific ideas to reduce costs, improve productivity and enhance livelihood. An entrepreneurial mindset can go a long way in helping solve common issues faced by society. Entrepreneurial thinking is key to tackling social issues, and great leadership simply means leading by example – something that was showcased here today. I extend my congratulations to all those involved in this successful gathering!”
Giving his address, Mr. N.C. Murthy, Serial Entrepreneur said, “Deshpande Foundation’s mission to create an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship is truly inspiring. I am happy to be given the opportunity to work with them to provide the right kind of support, resources and mentorship to budding entrepreneurs, particularly students and women which in turn empowers them with the confidence to stand on their own feet. I feel privileged to be a part of such an amazing organization. The MAA food-tech centre is truly revolutionary and will help in improving access to high quality produce at the lowest prices while also providing a livelihood to women in rural areas and creating better income opportunities for farmers.”
Three main events were a highlight of Deshpande Startups’ “Startup Gravity”. The Startup Expo was a platform for students, startups and entrepreneurs to showcase their innovations to a global audience. The Startup Showdown was a competitive event where student startups competed for the title of Entrepreneur of the Year and mentorship from Dr. Desh Deshpande. The Launch Fest provided startups with the opportunity to launch their products in front of investors and receive feedback from early adopters and media attention.
During the event, Deshpande Startups’ Infinity Studio team also launched a local food dehydration machine that will help make the North Karnataka food cluster self-sustainable and is a low-cost and effective solution that completes the food value chain cycle.
Four key themes, including Make in University, The Art & Science of Disruption, The Golden Era of the Indian Startup Ecosystem, and Decoding Startup Investments for 2023 & Beyond, were discussed in panel discussions. The event was supported by multiple enterprises and government partners, including StartupIndia, Startup Karnataka, Deshpande Foundation, Deshpande Skilling, Karnataka Digital Economy Mission, Google for Startups, and the Indian Institute for Information Technology.
Notables from the Indian business, startup, and sustainability sector participated in the event, including Mr. Rajesh Jog (Managing Partner, NexStage Ventures), Mr. Anil Joshi (Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures), Mr. Amey Mashelkar (Head, JioGenNext), Ms. Rupa Kumar (CEO & Investor, Purple Quarter), Mr. Anirudh Sharma (CEO, Digantara), Mr. Hemant Sahal (Founder & CEO, CallPoll), Mr. Suhas Motwani (Pepsico, The Product Folks), Ms. Anuja Dhawan (Co-founder, Dubverse.ai), Mr. Rishav Agarwal (Founder Picxele, Angel Investor), Ms. Richa Bajpai (Founder, Campus Fund), and Mr. Premnath Venugopalan (Head, Venture Centre).