111 views 5 mins 0 comments

Grant, Investment Galore for Startups at Seeding Kerala

In Business
February 14, 2021

KOCHI:
Giving a big boost to the startup ecosystem, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) today announced a grant of Rs 4.32 crore for the startups in the state.

The grant, announced at the concluding session of the sixth edition of ‘Seeding Kerala’ here on Saturday, consists of Rs 3.5 crore as productization grant for 52 startups and Rs 82 lakh as Idea Grant for 41 innovators.

The two-day virtual event focused on start-up ecosystems beyond the country’s metropolises and tier-1 cities. KSUM conducted the milestone event that aimed at better awareness about angel investment and encourage funding by high net-worth individuals (HNIs).

Four startups bagged investment opportunities at the event, which was conceived in tune with Startup Bharat.

Kochouseph Chittilappilly, Chairman, Emeritus, V-Guard Industries Ltd., will invest in travel startup Verteil Technologies Private Limited. Jerrin Jos is the CEO and Managing Director of the firm.

Ubifly, a startup that builds electric planes to break-open inefficiencies in both cargo and passenger transportation, got investment from deep-tech venture capitalist Speciale Invest. The startup, which has taken up office space in Kannur Technolodge, is founded by Prof Satya Chakravarthy and Pranjal Mehta.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based insurtech startup Fedo, founded by Prasanth Madavana, bagged investments from Unicorn India Ventures and Sea Fund. Rapidor, which runs a single-window platform for SMEs to manage their sales orders, inventory, invoice, and payment collections, found their investor in Davidsons Group. The startup is founded by Thomson Skariah.

Speaking at the valedictory function, Mohammed Y Safirulla, Additional Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of Kerala, said the government has taken lot of interventions to boost the startup investments in the state.

“We have partnered with four Funds under Fund of Fund scheme and ensured availability of around Rs 750 crore. Government has approved more than Rs 15 crore and disbursed Rs 12 crore to 298 innovators till date. Last year, KSUM supported Rs 1.54 crore to 61 innovators,” Safirulla said.

“We have supported more than 100 startups through seed loans around Rs 18 crore. We have granted around Rs 2.3 crore to 21 startups during the pandemic period in 2020. We are in the process of releasing another Rs 4.5 crore funds to 97 startups as grants,” he added.

In his keynote address, Raman Roy, Chairman and Managing Director, Quatrro Global Services Pvt. Ltd, said that despite the pandemic, technology startups continue to expand steadily at 8-10percent in the country.

“Fintech, Agritech and Health tech have become day-today reality. About 35percent of retail investors are using Fintech for equity markets. Indian founders have strengthened their playbook to convert crisis into an opportunity. They assume remote work as capability and about 30-35percent startups are offering remote roles,” Roy said.

He noted that deep-tech adoption is increasing and is expected to accelerate further. “About 19percent of all startups are leveraging deep-tech, and 14percent of total investments in 2020 are in deep-tech startups, which is up from the 11percent in 2019. In 2020, 87percent of all deep-tech investments were in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) startups,” he added.

Sasi Pilacheri Meethal, CEO, Technopark, delivered the welcome address.

In the Fintech Challenge, sponsored by SEA Fund and Open Financial Technologies, startups Her Money Talks and E Wire shared the prize of Rs one lakh. In the Deeptech Challenge, sponsored by Speciale Invest Fund, startup Agrima won Rs one lakh.

With 150 participants from across the state, the virtual event also accommodated100 HNIs, 20 top investment funds, 14 angel networks, 30 startup entrepreneurs and as many corporate houses.

The event aimed to bring new HNIs as angel investors to Kerala, channel leading investors from other ecosystems to the state and seed investments to the startups. Besides boosting investor-entrepreneur interactions, there were presentation of ideas to float startups and analyses of business models.

The event gave 30 select firms a chance to interact with experts at KSUM’s Investor Café — the monthly virtual one-on-one startup-investor meet.

KSUM, the nodal agency of the Kerala Government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state, undertakes planning, establishment and management of technology business incubators and accelerators so as to promote technology-based ventures by creating the infrastructure and environment.