In December last year, UPES, Dehradun launched an ambitious incubation program ‘Runway’, to work with start-ups within and outside the university to help them transition into scalable businesses. Completing a quarter, Runway initiated its first pre-incubation cohort in a two-day event hosted at UPES recently with selected 82 start-up ideas from over 400 applications.
In the first round of pitching, 8 start-ups out of the selected 82 raised more than INR 70 lacs from a group of investors that included Rahul Narvekar, CEO- The India Network, Dr Ram Sharma, Pro VC at UPES, Mudit Verma, UPES Alumni and Mr Gagan Ghai, Angel Investor- Director Crest Innovation, a first instance in UPES and Uttarakhand where funds were raised on the spot.
The eight start-ups that raised funding are:-
- Elteridium, founded by Akhil Damodaran and co-founded by Dr Rupesh Kumar, it is one of India’s first Blockchain-based smart contract companies. It will develop smart contract products which can be used in education, healthcare, logistics, etc.
- DAAC, an Automotive Design studio founded by Siddharth Prakash and co-founded by Kishore Tikale, Siddharth Da, Nithin Sharma
- W&W Organic founded by Aakansha Simra and co-founded by Pratiksha with the idea of organic soap bars in paper packaging.
- AAGYO, a combined solution of hyperlocal marketplace and e-commerce specially targeted to tier 3 and lower cities & towns, founded by Mukul Mehta
- Vindyavasini, a period cramp relief belt founded by Nuveni Raina
- Buzzinga Chicken Chips founded by Dia Goel and co-founded by Akul Goel, a novel FMCG nonvegetarian product that solves the problem of unhealthy snacking
- Anime Devta founded by Dev Taneja and co-founded by Himangshu Goswami aims at providing the coolest, unique anime & graphic merchandise at the most affordable prices.
- Roadz founded by Achal Agrawal, an idea which aims at route optimization based on road quality and precise warning of potholes.
The selected start-up founders also had an opportunity to interact with entrepreneurs such as Naveen Rawat and Manish Ahuja of Holisol Logistics; Sarika Panchhi, Founder-Jivisa Wellness; Richa Bansal, Founder-Saarathee, Mudit Verma, CEO- RayMach Technologies; Taranjeet Singh, Founder-Innvocon; Kuldeep Parashar, founder of Pension Box and Rahul Narvekar, CEO of The India Network.
The selected 82 Runway start-up ideas will now go through an eight-week, carefully curated programme where they will learn how to build a business, how to incorporate companies and how to make a pitch to investors by interacting with seasoned entrepreneurs, CAs and start-up mentors. At the end of the pre-incubation programme, the start-ups will get an opportunity to raise grants and get formally incubated at Runway or pitch to a group of investors and raise funds.
‘Runway’ is established under UPES Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UCIE), which has been recognized by the government of Uttarakhand as a business incubator and the state nodal agency to encourage entrepreneurship and help incubate start-ups in the state.