13th December 2019: India added 1300 more startups to its ecosystem in 2019. But, entrepreneurship still remains a metro phenomenon with startups from Ecommerce, Travel, Transport, Edutech, SaaS and FinTech space trying to solve for smaller needs like home deliveries of products, easier and faster loans, seamless travel experiences etc. 95% of startups in India are catering to 20% rich and upper middle class population of India. The remaining 80% of the population remains unserved as their problems are quite different than those of the rest. This 80% – termed as Bharat – are confronting challenges like instant access to healthcare, sanitation, pollution, housing and good education.
These new 500 odd million internet users pose a great opportunity for startups. However its characteristics like low costs, language support, consistent customer care, pose an equally large problem. In recent times, there has been a spike in the number of founders trying to solve real problems of the country probably witnessed by them personally. The number’s growing but is still miniscule. They are trying to bridge the gap between the lowest 70% of the population and the amenities that do not reach them. Government too is giving such startups a push. This is evident from the recent “Ayushman Bharat Start-Up Grand Challenge”, where government funded innovators are solving problems for better healthcare in India.
Here is a shoutout to 4 such startups that are working towards the betterment of Bharat:
Clinikk: Clinikk is a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) platform. It is also the first player in the country to provide healthcare protection to blue-collar workers. It works on a subscription model where subscribers pay a monthly fee starting from Rs 50 going up to Rs 500 for their primary healthcare needs and medical insurance. Up to six members in a family are covered under the subscription and they can get in touch with a doctor for primary healthcare needs at any given point in time. In case hospitalisation is required, the subscriber is directed to the nearest network hospital. The teleconsultations are available in 11 languages and 24/7 via the platform’s app, website, and phone. The platform also provides an e-health profile, insurance claim support, and discounted medicine delivery and lab testing. Clinikk also provides cashless hospitalisation benefits to the ground level people in more than 5,500 empanelled hospitals across the country. It is one of the few startups that which is working on the ground level and providing primary health care to the people who are in need. It is the only platform in India that provides primary healthcare with financial risk protection.
Jiny.io: A group of passionate designers and engineers who are together on a mission to solve technology for the next billion digital users. There is a huge digital divide that exists in India where even most of our parents, moms, in particular, struggle to use digital applications. As we go deeper into Indian tier 2/3 cities, and villages, the divide continues to grow wide. The result is that while english India seems to be flourishing through the adoption of digital technology, the vernacular Bharat continues to struggle and this digital divide costs the industry dearly. Almost 90% of India is Bharat, which has not adopted digital commerce yet. Jiny is building India’s first mobile adoption assistant which makes mobile apps Bharat-friendly and easy to use. It’s a digital technology adoption assistant, that provides audio and visual navigation through mobile applications of banks and e-commerce stores, in 15 Indian languages.
Ecozen: Ecozen Solutions, started in 2010 by IIT Kharagpur alumnus Devendra Gupta along with Vivek Pandey and Prateek Singhal, offers solar-cum-hybrid cold storage to farmers in rural India. The product works on solar power and uses thermal storage as the energy back-up. It is an online marketplace that connects farmers with buyers so that both get the best value for the commodity. They are making farmers lives easier with more sustainable developments like Ecofrost, a portable cold room that maintains a low temperature, and Ecotron, a pump controller for irrigation. Both are solar-powered.
BharatAgri: Developer of agriculture technology designed to increase farm productivity. The company’s technology offers guidance and technical advice to farmers, enabling farmers to reduce their cost of production. They support farmers to “Grow Efficient, Grow More” through the systematic implementation of scientific techniques by providing critical information at appropriate times and regular monitoring. They also understand each farmers’ requirements and believe every farmer deserves a chance – the chance for a successful future with technology.