Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) announced the winners of the sixth edition of Qualcomm Design in India Challenge, India’s longest-running hardware startup incubation program. Dhruva Space Pvt. Ltd., a space-tech startup with its low earth orbit satellite to enable 5G Radio Access Network is the winner of the 2021 cohort, bagging an award of INR 65 Lakhs. Ossus Biorenewables Pvt. Ltd., with their innovative smart autonomous bioreactor generating green hydrogen from industrial effluents and Nimble Vision Pvt. Ltd., with their Ni-Smart manhole product to monitor sewage flow, were the first and second runners-up, winning awards of INR 50 Lakhs and INR 35 Lakhs respectively. Twelve top startups were selected among 160 applicants, for incubation in areas of technology development, business model and intellectual property rights. Three winners were chosen after completion of the annual incubation cycle.
In addition to the awards for the top three startups, the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge 2021 offered the following benefits to all the finalists:
- Grants: Initial grant of INR1.6L for all shortlisted startups at the start of the incubation period, and an additional grant of INR 1.6L four months into incubation for eligible startups after a mid-cycle review.
- Patent-filing incentive: Reimbursements of up to INR 3.2 Lakhs for two full utility patent applications filed with either the India PTO or PCT member countries pertaining to the proposal for the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge and during the incubation phase of the program.
- Accelerator Services: Accelerator services at no additional cost, including diagnostic assessments and workshop interventions on scaling operations, customers, and products; managing competition and financials; organization-building, and investment-seeking.
- Government interactions: Opportunity to connect with MeitY/DPIIT in person or through meet-and-greet sessions.
- Participation at industry events: Opportunity to participate at industry events hosted by Qualcomm or those where Qualcomm participates.
- Dedicated Engineering support and access to Qualcomm Innovation Lab: A dedicated engineering team for supporting the shortlisted startups with their prototype design and development and access to a dedication Innovation Lab for testing.
The Innovation Commercialization Fund (ICF), launched in 2020 with an initial fund size of INR 60 Lakhs, was continued in 2021 with a fund size of INR 60 lakhs. ICF is available to all Qualcomm Design in India Challenge alumni startups and is used for reimbursement of the expenses incurred in taking the product commercial – mandatory certification costs, costs incurred on industrial design, and manufacturing costs to fulfill customer purchase orders.
Aligned with the government’s “Make in India” initiative, the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge was launched in 2016 to support innovation and invest in ideas that have potential to strengthen and accelerate the country’s digital economy. The program has, till date, incubated 77 startups with 22+ commercial products, over 200 patents filed, and INR 1050 Crore raised in funding with 4 successful exits via acquisition. A total of INR 1.9 Cr in awards has been distributed during the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge 2021. Through the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge, startups have been able to showcase their solutions at leading industry forums and benefit from exposure to investors, policymakers, and global audiences. These startups have won several national and international awards and recognitions.
Rajen Vagadia, Vice President, Qualcomm India Pvt. Ltd. and President of Qualcomm India, said, “The Qualcomm Design in India Challenge is a celebration of the entrepreneurial strength of India’s startup ecosystem and its capacity to create innovative solutions that go on to make their mark globally. The passion and creativity of the participants, as they worked on their ideas, was truly inspiring. As we conclude this year’s edition, I wish the winners the best of luck for their onward journey to innovate for global impact. Homegrown startups have the potential to deliver positive outcomes on many important socioeconomic fronts, and the onus is on the private sector to offer the technology, financial, and knowledge support they deserve.”
Sudeepto Roy, Vice President, Engineering, Qualcomm Incorporated, said, “We are entering a new era of innovation with startups creating new business models, attracting global investors, and creating job opportunities. As India looks to leverage the combined potential of 5G, AI, IoT, Cloud, and Big Data, we are proud and privileged to be able to stoke the spark of startup-led innovation across some of the most important sectors. The ideas put forth by the winners and participants over the years validate our confidence that India can provide new-age solutions for its own needs as well as the world’s.”
The Qualcomm Design in India Program is committed to paving the way for technology-led improvements in the infrastructural, medical, and rural IoT spaces, supporting innovation and strengthening the startup ecosystem in India. Other ecosystem and entrepreneurship enablement initiatives include the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship India, which invests in advanced research conducted by university Masters and PhD students; the Qualcomm Women Entrepreneurs India Network, which empowers female entrepreneurs; and L2Pro India – an e-Learning program developed for Indian entrepreneurs and inventors to gain a deeper understanding of how to value and protect their intellectual property.