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Indian Startup Kheyti Wins 27 Lakh Award In Israel

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Kheyti, an Indian startup based in Hyderabad, has won a prestigious award and a cash prize of $ 42,000 in Israel for developing an affordable modular greenhouse. The aim of the modular greenhouse is to provide farmers with a steady and dependable income. Kheyti, along with Sukriti which developed a smart toilet cabin employing hygiene maintenance systems to enhance user experience in sanitation, were two of the top ten startup finalists in the MassChallenge Israel contest. The contest saw a participation of over 500 companies from 40 different countries. 

The agricultural startup Kheyti, provides technology solutions for small farmers using low cost farming solutions to help the farmers increase yield and predictability of produce. After a rigorous three month process, they shared the honor with an Israeli startup as the “diamond winners” of this year’s contest. Both startups were awarded a cash prize of $ 42,850. Speaking about the startup’s success, the Indian Ambassador to Israel, Pavan Kapoor said he hopes Kheyti’s win will motivate and encourage more Indian startups to innovate and work in the social sector and lead to a further collaboration between India and Israel.

Kheyti was started by Sathya Raghu V. Mokkapati and Kaushik K. The startup has 3 other members with strong entrepreneurial backgrounds who design and implement affordable and end to end farming solutions that help farmers increase yield and predictability of produce. The aim of the startup is to offer farmers a seamless path to increase their income by using innovative technological solutions. The team developed a modular greenhouse called the ‘greenhouse-in-a-box’ with full stack services that uses 90% less water and grows seven times more food while protecting the farmers’ crops from wind, rain, hail, heat and pests.

Since its inception, the startup has also won the People’s Choice Award at the Wharton India Startup Competition 2015 in Mumbai and bagged a prize money of $ 5000. Their greenhouse in a box solution was developed over the past eight months and according to co founder Satya Raghu V. Mokkapati, proof of the concept will be ready by the end of this financial year. The startup also plans to develop a model that suits multiple geographies and protocols to meet the farmer’s needs, over the next 2 to 3 years.

The MassChallenge Israel is a startup friendly accelerator that selects startups from multiple countries and works across a range of industries including future mobility and visual technologies, among others. This week, the company awarded $ 143,000 zero equity cash prizes to four of the highest impact startups from its 2017 cohort. The cash prize winners will have the opportunity to take part in the first MassChallenge Israel US Trek in November, which is a curated business trip to the innovation ecosystems in Boston and New York.

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Carl Pei’s Nothing Invites Retail Investors 

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Carl Pei said the time came for him to leave OnePlus and focus on other interests, following which he resigned from OnePlus in October 2020.  Since then, Pei had been working on his new startup in the audio hardware sector.  Carl Pei unveiled the name of his startup which is now called as Nothing, on January 27th, 2021.  Since the unveiling of Nothing, Pei’s startup has attracted a lot of attention from Silicon Valley and venture capitalists.  

Carl Pei now seems to be emulating his success formula at OnePlus with his new startup Nothing.  OnePlus is highly customer centric, because as a company they take in inputs from their consumers and adapt them to their products.  Pei seems to be using the same strategy with Nothing, as he invited retail investors to invest in his new startup.  Normally a startup raises Series A funding to begin product development and then goes on to Series B and so on.  For a normal retail investor to invest in a stock, they could only do it at the time of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) at the time of which the company would be valued highly.  However, Carl Pei is letting in investors from the beginning.  

ALSO READ: Alphabet Invests In Carl Pei’s Startup Nothing

This lets the investors be a part of the product development process and makes Nothing more personalised.  Moreover the investors would also act as promoters for the products.  Currently, there are $ 1.5 million worth of shares available.  Users can invest a minimum of € 50 and a maximum of € 20,000.  However, the demand to invest is off the charts and was unexpected as Carl Pei confirmed there was an interest worth of $ 10 million from 8,700 users.

Nothing’s first wireless earphones will be unveiled in the summer of 2021.  Nothing aims to build an ecosystem of listening devices which talk to each other.  Initial investors of Nothing include the likes of Tony Fadell (Principal at Future Shape and the Inventor of the iPod,) Casey Neistat (YouTuber,) Kevin Lin (Co founder of Twitch,) Steve Huffman (CEO of Reddit,) Liam Casey (Founder and CEO, PCH,) Paddy Cosgrave (Founder of Web Summit,) Kunal Shah (CEO of CRED) and Josh Buckley (CEO of Product Hunt.)  Alphabet’s investment arm Google Ventures was the latest investor in Nothing as they invested $ 15 million.

 

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Startup India Seed Fund To Be Disbursed From April 1st

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There is no doubt India has a strong foothold in the startup ecosystem.  India currently ranks third in the world for the number of startups, next only to the United States of America and China.  This was possible due to the Indian Government’s initiatives to develop the startup ecosystem and also due to a strong presence of unicorn startups like PayTM, Zomato, Unacademy and many more.

The Government of India announced it would begin to disburse INR 945 crores seed capital from April 1st, 2021 under the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme in a  bid to boost the startup ecosystem in India.  These funds would be distributed through select incubator partners all over the country.  This scheme will be implemented by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT.) 

In a gazette notification, DPIIT announced that Startup India Seed Fund Scheme will provide financial assistance to startups that have been recognised by the DPIIT and incorporated not more than two years ago at the time of application.

ALSO READ: How The Events Industry Is Impacted By The COVID-19 Pandemic

The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme will have a common central application on the Startup India portal for startups on an ongoing basis.  An Experts Advisory Committee (EAC) will be formulated to oversee and monitor the overall execution of the scheme.  The EAC will evaluate and select the incubators for allotment of the seed funds and place measures for the efficient disbursement of funds.

The government also mentioned preference will be given to startups working in the areas of agriculture, education, food processing, healthcare, social impact, waste management, water management, financial inclusion, biotechnology, energy, mobility, defence, space, railways, textiles and oil and gas.

 

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CRED’s Kunal Shah Invests In One Plus Founder Carl Pei’s Startup

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Carl Pei is one of the most well known names in the startup circles considering he gave the world one its best smartphone brands OnePlus.  Since the debut of OnePlus One. The smartphone maker earned the moniker ‘flagship killer’ and has grown in leaps and bounds.  Today OnePlus boasts on an impressive product line up apart from its smartphones and is one of the leading electronic brands in the world.  In October 2020, Carl Pei said the time came for him to leave OnePlus and focus on other interests.  Since then, Pei had been working on his new startup in the audio hardware sector.

The name of Carl Pei’s new startup will be unveiled on January 27th, 2021 but in the past three months the unnamed startup received almost $ 7 million in seed funding.  The investors include Tony Fadell (Principal at Future Shape & Inventor of the iPod,) Casey Neistat (YouTuber,) Kevin Lin (Co-founder of Twitch,) Steve Huffman (CEO of Reddit,) Liam Casey (Founder and CEO, PCH,) Paddy Cosgrave (Founder of Web Summit) and Josh Buckley (CEO of Product Hunt.)

The latest to invest in Carl Pei’s startup is Indian based CRED founder Kunal Shah who invested an undisclosed amount.  Shah is not new to being an angel investor as he already has a portfolio of investing in almost 80 startups.  “Carl is working on a new consumer electronics company that I am sure will be a disruptor in the tech industry. I am excited to be part of this journey (sic,)” the CRED founder said in a statement.

While Pei’s startup is headquartered in London, more details will be known on January 27th, 2021.

 

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