- Winners to receive grants of up to INR 50 lakh each
- Winning teams enrolled in a rigorous 3-month Social Alpha Accelerator for Inclusive Solutions
- Leading NGOs, foundations and institutes align to support winning start-ups and create market access
Bangalore, January 23, 2020: All-terrain slip-proof crutches, electric wheelchair designed for Indian terrain, gaming tool for screening autism and a $1 speaking device are among the 14 winning start-ups announced by BIRAC, Social Alpha and Mphasis, today as a part of their program designed to identify and support technologies that can improve the lives of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). The winners of BIRAC- Social Alpha Quest for Assistive Technologies- Supported by Mphasis were chosen from over 100 applicants based on their business model, technological innovation, product-market fit, focus on affordability and accessibility and socio-economic impact. The start-ups were evaluated through a multi-phase process, including a written application round, a structured interview and a pitch to the expert jury members.
The winning solutions include assistive technologies in speech and hearing impairment, locomotor disability, visual impairment and intellectual disability for children and adults. The winners were awarded grant prizes up to INR 50 lakh each, for completion of the clinical trial, improvements in design-for-manufacturability and fulfilment of work orders. They were also enrolled in the Social Alpha Accelerator for Inclusive Solutions, a comprehensive and rigorous 3-month accelerator programme where they will be given the chance to work with selected implementation agencies within the Social Alpha, BIRAC and Tata Trusts network, interact directly with potential users of their product, and gain exposure to other investors, buyers, and CSR initiatives.
In a unique Public-Private Partnership model, BIRAC, Social Alpha and Mphasis came together last year to scale and support Assistive Tech start-ups that are working to enhance learning, working and independent living for PwDs in India. Experts believe there are anywhere between 4 to 8 crore disabled people in India—i.e. one in twelve households has a family member with a disability. Moreover, due to low literacy levels, social stigma and lack of opportunities, people with disabilities remain the most excluded and unidentified members of Indian society.
Speaking at the event, Manoj Kumar, CEO & Co-Founder, Social Alpha said “We received more applications than we anticipated; we are happy to see many innovators have recognized the need to address the challenges faced by PwDs in India. These winning start-ups are pioneers in this space; the potential impact of their solutions is truly momentous and can change the lives of many underserved citizens of our country. At Social Alpha, we are committed to supporting these entrepreneurs by providing strategic inputs to each of the winning teams to accelerate their journey further”.
During his address, Dr. Manish Diwan, Head- Strategic Partnership & Entrepreneurship Development, BIRAC, said, “It is an exemplar case of strategic Public Private Partnership where different stakeholders BIRAC (Govt agency), Social alpha (Philanthropic organization) and Mphasis (Industry) have joined hands in support to potentially scaling Assistive Technologies from Start-ups. I wish that all the awardee - 14 start-ups, are able to make the best use of this opportunity for successfully deploying their solutions to address unmet needs of the deserving people.”
“Mphasis is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment not only within Mphasis but across the industries. Through this initiative, we aim to further the cause of disability inclusion in India and make it mainstream. We congratulate the winners of the Quest for Assistive Technologies, who have made commendable efforts to provide solutions that enhance equal participation and dignity for people with disabilities in all spheres of life,” said Srikanth Karra, Chief Human Resource Officer, Mphasis.
For the accelerator programme, Social Alpha has partnered with several leading organizations working for inclusivity including Enable India, Artilab, Jaipur Foot, Saksham Trust, APD, Xavier’s Resource Center for the Visually Challenged, National Institute of Speech and Hearing, and AssisTech at IIT-Delhi.
Winners of the BIRAC- Social Alpha Quest for Assistive Technologies - Supported by Mphasis:
- Trestle Labs Pvt Ltd: Their product Kibo empowers the visually impaired towards inclusive education and employment by enabling real-time access to Printed, Handwritten and Digital content through audio across 11 Indian and multiple overseas languages.
- Kidaura Innovations Pvt Ltd: A gaming tool that allows for easy and early screening of autism in the golden years (3 to 6 years)
- Thinkerbell Labs Pvt Ltd: Their product called ‘Annie’ aims at improving braille literacy in India by imparting braille reading, writing and typing skills
- Demosthenes Technologies Pvt Ltd: Their flagship product ‘Stamurai’ provides accelerated therapy for stammering and other speech-related issues, through speech exercises and practice tools
- Tactopus Learning Solutions Pvt Ltd: Building multi-sensory learning resources to enable children with visual impairment to participate in mainstream education
- Flexmotiv Technologies Pvt Ltd: Flexmo Crutches are an all-terrain slip-proof and self-standing crutches for persons with locomotor disability
- BeAble Health Pvt Ltd: A game-based solution, called ‘ArmAble’, that provides engaging and intensive rehabilitation therapy for people suffering from Upper Limb motor deficit
- Truce Consulting Services Pvt Ltd: A car swivel seat that goes by the name ‘Turn Plus’, offers easy entry and exit into the front seat of a passenger car, for people with medical conditions like arthritis, knee & back issues
- Indent Designs Pvt Ltd: A product called ‘Ibex’, an electric wheelchair that is designed for rough Indian terrains and is customizable to each user
- Brajma Intelligent Systems Pvt Ltd: XL Cinema Mobile App enables visually impaired viewers to synchronize audio descriptions of the movies through their smartphone, in a movie hall or at home.
- Innaumation Medical Devices Pvt Ltd: A novel product called ‘Aum Voice Prosthesis’ is a $1 speaking device that helps throat cancer patients get their voice back.
- Raised Lines Foundation: Affordable tactile graphics to promote K-12 education for visually impaired and to provide equal learning opportunities
- SM Learning Skills Academy for Special Needs Pvt Ltd: The team, through its AI-driven app called Cogniable, is taking early screening and behavioural therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to the remotest part of the country
- Inceptor Technologies Pvt Ltd: Providing digital braille access for the visually impaired through their extremely affordable braille tablet called ‘BrailleMe’
BIRAC is a not-for-profit Section 8, Government of India enterprise mandated to catalyse biotech innovation ecosystem growth in the country. It supports Biotech Startups, Entrepreneurs and SMEs across Biotechnology sector. BIRAC has a strong network of national & international strategic partners that includes Academia, Industry, Corporate, Philanthropic organization, Central and State Government bodies.
There are 2500+ Biotech start-ups, SMEs in the country along with a large pipeline of budding entrepreneurs in the ecosystem who get facilitated through BIRAC’s capital infusement of INR 2000+ Cr, Incubation Centre network and access to technical, IP, Legal and Business mentorship access. Angel and VC funding together with strategic partners and global ecosystem connect, all add value to country’s innovation ecosystem. These efforts have yielded innovators to create a pool of intellectual wealth (175+ IP) and launch of 125+ product and technologies. BIRAC also contributes to “Make in India”, “Startup India” and “Swachh Bharat” programs, leads national missions including National Biopharma Mission, and partners for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust and USAID programmes. For more information, please log on to:
Social Alpha promotes innovation and entrepreneurship with a mission to create large-scale and sustainable social, economic and environmental impact through a nationwide network of technology and business incubation infrastructure. Social Alpha nurtures mission driven start-ups through their lab to market journey, helping them create high quality, commercially viable, accessible and affordable solutions. Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (FISE) forms the core of the Social Alpha architecture, sponsored and enabled by Tata Trusts, Government of India and several academic, philanthropic and corporate partnerships.