MANDI, : Indian Institute of Technology Mandi Catalyst concluded its annual flagship event Himalayan Startup Trek (HST) on Saturday, Sep 30th 2023, in association with Climate Change & Clean Energy (C3E) Division of Department of Science and Technology, GoI. During the prize distribution event, Sh. Gokul Butail, Principal Advisor to Chief Minister - Innovation, Digital Technologies & Governance (Rank of Cabinet Minister) graced the event with his esteemed presence.
Speaking during the event, Sh. Gokul Butail, Chief Guest, HST 2023, said, "Being in Himachal, you have the opportunity to learn and grow in the laps of the Himalayan range while solving the global issues. The state is on the forefront of Research and Development (R&D) and innovation in the country. It has the highest employee-to-population ratio in the country. I look forward to an encouraging collaboration between the government, industries and IIT Mandi in the coming years. There is an urgent need of building a startup ecosystem in the state and I am sure IIT Mandi Catalyst will play a pivotal role in achieving this goal. I am confident that IIT Mandi is becoming the Silicon Valley of Himachal."
The Himalayan Startup Trek is the flagship annual startup event hosted by IIT Mandi Catalyst (Catalyst) to bring together the stakeholders of the Indian Startup Ecosystem and connect them on a single platform. New venturing startups and seasoned mentors get to meet each other and pick each other’s brains that help formulate new relationships and turn ideas and innovations into products and services for the global market.
Regarding the Institute's collaboration with the State Government, Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi, said: "HST encourages the individuals who are passionate about contributing to the development of innovative solutions for societal problems. I would like to thank the Himachal Pradesh government and the Hon'ble Chief Guest for their support. I look forward to the state government for their continuous support towards the vision and mission of IIT Mandi Catalyst for its success and sustainability."
HST Startup Grand Challenges 2023 Winners
3 top startups from each below mentioned thematic areas were given cash prizes of INR 10 Lacs at the prize distribution function of HST 2023.
Theme 1: Human Computer Interaction
● First Prize:
Arkni PhotoBioLif - Arkni PhotoBioLife is developing personal red & near infrared wearable devices for urban users. They are non-invasive and help with issues like chronic pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, inflammation, sports rehabilitation, recovery and neuroprotection using better usability, accessibility, tech architecture, and robust product management process.
Smart Kalam - Smart Kalam's made a smartpen that enables the paper to capture handwriting for the global population to solve the issue of managing and accessing data using technology based on iDots.
● Second Prize:
Is Going Online 3D - Is Going Online 3D is an e-commerce 3D cataloguing system helping medium-scale businesses 3D scan and catalogue products, enabling them to easily create, organize, and share all types of content in one place using a patented 3D-generative AI technology.
● Third Prize
Easiofy Solutions Pvt. Ltd - EASIOFY is developing a Cloud-based AI-enabled SaaS platform for medical images (DICOM images) analysis for medical professionals to solve insecure image-sharing problems and limited clinical decision support using 3D visualization and AI technology.
Prizes in these thematic areas were provided by the IIT Mandi iHub and HCI Foundation which is involved in R&D and skill development in the area of Human Computer Interaction.
Theme 2: Build For Himalayas
● First Prize
Tech Me Go: The team is developing a Fruit Safety Holder for the safety of trees laden with fruits and snow, especially in the Himalayan region.
● Second Prize
Siachen Naturals Private Limited: Siachen Naturals produces food products from farm produce of Siachen for health-conscious people, mothers and tourists visiting Ladakh using indigenous farm techniques and centuries-old recipes of Ladakh
● Third Prize
Awega Green Technologies LLP: Awega is developing Hemp Bioplastic for environmentally conscious businesses to solve the problem of plastic waste using sustainable technology.
Theme 3: Environment & Sustainability
● First Prize
Suspol Technologies Pvt. Ltd: Suspol Technologies is developing a Phosphogypsum upgradation process for phosphate Fertiliser manufacturing industries to solve waste management problems using an innovative extraction process.
● Second Prize
Genexis Biotech Private Limited: Genexis Biotech is developing a serum alternative for FBS replacement for Biopharmaceutical, Academic research, stem cell research, and cell culture meat industries to solve the problem of the use of cows for the production of Fetal Bovine serum using recombinant DNA technology and precision fermentation.
● Third Prize
Future Garages: Future Garages is building futuristic performance electric motorcycles for everyday commuters, B2B segment and B2C segment to reduce vehicular pollution using impeccable system design and testing throughout the years to deliver the best performance.
The Prizes in theme 2 and 3 were supported by the C3E division of the Department of Science and Technology, GoI.
Two student specific national hackathons were also conducted during the event. The prize money of these hackathons was sponsored by DST (C3E Division of DST, GoI) and the Industries Department of HP.
● Build Your Own Business (BYOB)
First Prize: Earth Say -Building smart composting solutions for a greener tomorrow.
Second Prize: Khwab - Eco friendly Skin and Hair products supporting a social cause.
Third Prize: DiaCare - Revolutionizing Diabetic Foot ulcer care with AI powered precision.
● Coding Hackathons (Code for Good)
First Prize: Nirvana
Second Prize: Aetos Angelos
Third Prize: InspireU
Fourth Prize: Stellar Nebula
A plethora of events for the startup community and student were organised during the HST 2023, which included: Investors’ Den where 25 investors engaged with the startups to fund promising ideas, Mentor Clinics where 30 mentors met with 110 startups to provide feedback on business direction, Master Classes for startups to help them learn the art of building a venture.
The chief guest for HST 2023, Sh. Gokul Butail along with Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi, Sh. Sanjeev Guleria, Chairman, APMC Mandi, Dr. Sandip Chatterjee, Sr. Director & Scientist-G, MeiTY, Smt. Deepika Rana, Joint Director of Industries Dept, GoHP, Sh. Manish Khetrapal, Founder & Managing Partner, WaterBridge Ventures, Dr. Pradyot Koley, Scientist D (Deputy Secretary) C3E, DST GoI, Dr. Satinder Sharma (Dean Academics, IIT Mandi) and Dr. Puran Singh, Director-Incubation, IIT Mandi Catalyst handed over winners cheques and certificates to the winners.
This year in HST, as many as 60+ startup applications will be considered for incubation support by IIT Mandi Catalyst. Selected startups will undergo an incubation program during which mentoring and other valuable support will be provided to them.
Speaking during the event, Dr. Puran Singh, Faculty in-charge, IIT Mandi Catalyst, said,: "IIT Mandi Catalyst started the Himalayan Startup Trek (HST) seven years ago. We received more than 1500 applications for the HST 2023, which is evident to the fact that HST has become a significant platform for fostering innovation and addressing societal challenges. IIT Mandi Catalyst's focus is to bring together the stakeholders who care about the environment and sustainability while promoting technology-human interaction for the development of the Himalayan region and globally."
In its incubation program, IIT Mandi Catalyst will provide business and technical mentoring to the selected startups shortlisted under the scheme through a competitive pitching process. The next batch of incubation program will begin in the month of October 2023 and the startups will have an opportunity to raise funds from various funding schemes that the incubator hosts.
It is notable that IIT Mandi Catalyst is committed to building a strong ecosystem in the region. In a short span of 7 years, Catalyst has incubated 370+ startups and has committed/disbursed more than Rs. 17 Crore funds to startups. Catalyst is currently hosting Nidhi-Seed Support System, Nidhi-Prayas Scheme, and TIDE 2.0 scheme of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology that has a national focus. All these schemes provide funding for different stages of startups be it ideation, prototyping or commercialization.
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