ET Startup Awards 2019: SocialCops, First Step Digital take home 'Social Enterprise'shields
“I was really excited to see young founders doing such exciting and meaningful work with data, and help our government make better decisions in the process,” said Sachin Bansal, the Flipkart cofounder who was on the jury of the ET Startup Awards.
The New Delhi-based company has powered projects including DISHA — a national data platform intended for use by MPs and MLAs in India — which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2017. It also partnered in the Sustainable Development Goal monitoring project of the United Nations and contributed to village-level data intelligence behind the government’s LPG subsidy scheme, Ujjwala Yojana. The data intelligence startup, founded by Prukalpa Sankar and Varun Banka in 2013, works with governments, corporate houses and nonprofits to help them make better decisions using data-based insights.
“In short five years, we’ve had the opportunity to work on projects that have impacted over a billion lives,” said Sankar. The company’s strength lies in collecting data from varied sources, analysing it and creating visualisations for easy understanding of insights. It was recognised as a New York Times Global Visionary in 2018.
“I was really excited to see young founders doing such exciting and meaningful work with data, and help our government make better decisions in the process,” said Sachin Bansal, the Flipkart cofounder who was on the jury of the ET Startup Awards. “The impact we have created is something we wouldn’t have dreamt of when we started our journey as 21-year-olds with a dream. We thank The Economic Times and the jury for recognising the contributions of our team,” said Banka.
Read: ET Startup Awards 2019: Delhivery wins top honours
(In Pic: Deep Bajaj, CEO, First Step Digital)
First Step Digital was launched as a feminine hygiene line with its first product PeeBuddy. It aims to identify and solve women’s issues around menstruation and intimate care, which is what caught the interest of the jury as it emerged as the joint winner in the Social Enterprise category.
“This is a great validation and goes a long way in rewarding the team which is fighting this battle every day to bring sustainable hygiene solutions to India,” said Deep Bajaj, who founded First Step Digital with his brother, Mohit Bajaj, in 2015.
“It is also a great boost for anybody trying to innovate in this space, since it shows that if you are doing something different, there are platforms which will reward the initiative, more than just looking at the sheer outcome.”
The company claims to have sold over two million units of PeeBuddy so far. First Step Digital’s other products include Sirona, which offers feminine hygiene products, and BodyGuard, which offers anti-pollution and anti-mosquito products, some of which are industry-first. First Step Digital was bootstrapped for the first two years, but since then it has raised capital from Indian Angel Network. It is currently in talks with investors to raise $4-5 million and the company expects to close this by the end of this year.
The Delhi-based company retails its products through its own portal, online marketplaces Flipkart, Amazon, 1mg, BigBasket and FirstCry, and offline stores including HyperCity, Religare and Mom&Me. It has also started selling these products in the US and Germany through Amazon.
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(In Pic: Rahul Pathri, Arpita Singh, Vaishnavi Reddy)
Docturnal | Hyderabad
Key Investors: Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (grant), AIRmaker
What it Does: Docturnal is attempting to detect diseases using mobile software. Its product, TimBre, can detect pulmonary tuberculosis just by recording the audio of a person’s cough.
(In Pic: Sanskriti Dawle (CEO), Aman Srivastava, Dilip Ramesh, Saif Shaikh)
Project Mudra | Bengaluru
Key Investors: Greycell Ventures, Anand Mahindra, Village Capital
What it Does: Project Mudra addresses the issue of low Braille literacy through a mobile app,which acts as an interface between visually-impaired users and Braille hardware using speech recognition.
(In Pic: Sucharita Mukherjee, CEO)
Kaleidofin | Chennai
Key Investors: Blume Ventures, Omidyar Network, Venture Catalyst, Bharat Inclusion Fund
What it Does: Kaleidofin is a wealth management platform that offers customised, goal-based financial products to the under-banked in partnership with banks, mutual funds and insurance companies.