Forging partnerships and collaborations between start-ups
09/02/2021

Forging partnerships and collaborations between start-ups and corporates to unlock potential

In more recent times, business ecosystems have been benefitting from partnerships and collaborations between these two different genres of business. There is a clear realization that the time is right for captains of industry to welcome smaller yet disruptive market players to the fold and collaborate rather than compete with them to meet unified long-term goals.

To better understand various issues around these potentially win-win partnerships, Network18 in collaboration with NetApp initiated a roundtable discussion on the changing paradigm of corporate innovation and how start-ups can be a key contributor. Moderated by Paromita Chatterjee, Senior Journalist, the participants comprised leading players from across the spectrum, including Parag Dhol, Managing Director, Inventus India; Monish Darda, Co-founder & CTO, Icertis; Ankit Maheshwari, Founding Member and President – Engineering & India Operations, Innovaccer and Madhurima Agarwal – Director, Engineering Programs & Head, NetApp Excellerator.

While collaborations between large corporates and start-ups are not new and have been formed in the past as well, over the last year and a half, the pace of acceleration of mergers and acquisitions and partnerships has become much faster. Representing a company that has a bird’s eye view of the industry and has been an active player in building bridges between start-ups and corporates, Parag Dhol explained why the current, post-pandemic era is a crucial time to focus on such collaborations. “Digitization has received a fillip due to what is happening around us and since the last 15-18 months, the speed at which businesses have had to adjust is much faster than ever before. Other trends that are coming together centre around the development of a multitude of technologies, such as cloud, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, etc. I would say that with all these things coming together into the mix, it is not too hot or too cold…it’s just right. That’s the situation today and it’s the right time for start-ups and corporates to be talking to each other.”

Madhurima Agarwal agreed that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and those who were thinking of moving ahead on their tech agendas have really pressed the accelerator on it. She went on to elaborate on how these collaborations become win-win situations that benefit both parties, like a symbiotic relationship. “With start-ups and corporates coming together, it is great for the ecosystem, as a whole, because start-ups bring new thinking and innovation to the table while enterprises bring skill, credibility, scale and stability, which is very important, especially in sectors like banking and healthcare, where any disruption in services can be catastrophic. When these two join hands, they can provide innovative solutions which works best,” she stated.

Moving beyond the benefits of partnerships for progress, the panellists shared their experiences on the possible challenges and roadblocks that such collaborations could entail and how these could be addressed.

As a start-up that has reached unicorn status, Monish Darda recounted, “It goes without saying that openness on both sides is a prerequisite. Having a good fit of cultures and values is also important as that leads to openness and honesty and ensures a strong buy-in to how business will be done. Most importantly, a collaboration makes sense when it ensures that it all accrues to a bigger whole, where one plus one becomes four and not just two; in case of the latter, the two entities would have been as well off on their own.”

Ankit Maheshwari, also from a start-up turned unicorn, added, “Matching the speed of innovation and change between the two collaborators is usually a challenge because typically, start-ups are in the habit of moving fast while corporates tend to avoid moving too fast.” In terms of the pace of agility, both the corporate and the start-up may have to meet midway; start-ups must appreciate why corporates move at their pace and corporates must realise that things can move much faster and make some effort towards accelerating the pace. Beyond the pace of agility, sometimes it is the specific areas that need agility which must become the focus. “That’s where start-ups like us come in; we can give corporates the speed to market and agility that they may not have expertise in or may not be investing in,” suggested Monish Darda.

Another challenge Ankit Maheshwari highlighted was with respect to the tech pieces of both parties involved. “Unless the start-up and large corporate complement each other in the tech and innovation space, it becomes difficult. However, if these challenges are mitigated, partnerships can go a lot further.”

Finally, it all boils down to the intention of both parties to work towards solving problems together. NetApp’s Madhurima Agarwal said, “Acknowledging the challenges that exist is the first step to overcoming them.” Elaborating on her company’s process for collaboration she added, “The next step is to proactively build in processes and create a mindset to overcome challenges. NetApp Excellerator is a programme which has sponsorship at the highest levels at the organisation and at the global level too. A lot of time is spent selecting start-ups to ensure that the alignment is right. We are very cognisant of the fact that any start-ups that we decided to work with is looking for the same things from us as we are willing to offer. Once there is clear communication and expectation setting in terms of achievable and timelines, it becomes easier to move forward, avoiding common pitfalls.”

Within the ‘Don’t compete, collaborate and complement’ scenario, she offered insights on knowing when to encourage a collaboration. “When a disruptive change is being contemplated by a large company, it helps to do a landscape study and if something very innovative is being done by a smaller company or start-up, partnering with it could save time. Costs will automatically be saved on account of the time saving,” she said.

After the panellists shared their unique hands-on experiences with respect to collaborating for progress, she concluded, “Everyone is dreaming bigger and NetApp is part of that same fabric. This is a great time to be an entrepreneur and the trend towards greater collaboration is only going to increase, going forward.”

Blog Source: Forbes

Cohort 8 alumni BrainSightAI raises USD750,000 in seed round
08/24/2021

Cohort 8 alumni BrainSightAI raises USD750,000 in seed Round

Bengaluru-based, BrainSightAI – a deep-tech neuroscience start-up, has raised USD750,000 in a seed round led by Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs India, with participation from Entrepreneur First, Info Edge Ventures, and IKP Knowledge Park.

Bengaluru-based, BrainSightAI – a deep-tech neuroscience start-up, has raised USD750,000 in a seed round led by Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs India, with participation from Entrepreneur First, Info Edge Ventures, and IKP Knowledge Park.

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Founded by Laina Emmanuel and Dr Rimjhim Agrawal, the company plans to leverage the capital to enable greater precision in diagnosing and treating neuro-oncological and neuropsychiatric disorders.

“Neuro disorders, such as oncologic, trauma and psychiatric, are the third-leading contributors to the global disease burden. To be able to address these potentially life-threatening disorders better, the healthcare industry needs tools to predict outcomes earlier, discover new clinical and drug indications, and better understand drug and therapy responses. Such intuitive tools weren’t possible earlier. However, that is changing now. We are now at an inflexion point, where, with data, lots of computing power, and artificial intelligence, we can cloud-enable complex neuroscience-based workflows. Now, doctors and researchers can focus on asking questions and not on the mechanics of answering questions,” said Laina Emmanuel, Co-founder and CEO, BrainSightAI.

In June 2021, the company was selected as one of the 20 start-ups from 500 applicants to the MedTech Innovator APAC 2021 Accelerator program.

“BrainSight is not just improving MRI imaging, but based on Dr Rimjhim’s research at NIMHANs, leapfrogging the true potential of this modality to operate at the cutting edge of science, technology, and impact. BrainSight’s platform has the potential to change the global clinical paradigm for neurosurgery and neuropsychiatry, and we are excited to partner with Laina and Rimjhim on this journey”, commented Akshat Shah and Sandeep Singhal of Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs India.

It has also won the BIRAC BIG 15 grant from the Government of India in January 2020 for conducting clinical studies to investigate alteration in brain function in Dementia.

Blog Source: AnalyticsIndia,Entrepreneur, Dataquest

Senseforth.ai raises $14 million for its conversational AI platform
08/12/2021

Senseforth.ai raises $14 million for its conversational AI platform

Conversational AI startup Senseforth.ai has raised $14 million in a funding round led by Fractal Analytics.

A.ware by Senseforth.ai helps enterprises automate customer experience across digital touchpoints. The patented platform converges six specialized engines to identify user intent through natural language input. In addition, four analytics modules track user conversations, customer profiles, agent performance, and response time, among other parameters

A.ware’s other interesting features include pattern recognition, automatic metadata extraction, ticketing and routing, and multilingual API integration.

Aided by the new investment fund, Senseforth.ai aims to extend its services to Fractal’s global client base.

Senseforth CEO and co-founder Shridhar Marri stated, “This strategic investment creates a new growth blueprint for Senseforth.ai. We are thrilled to deliver on our vision ‘to make technology humanlike,’ enabling continuous Human-AI interaction and transforming complex business processes. We can now scale talent, accelerate growth, make more investments in R&D, and create incredible value for our clients.”

A unified customer experience management platform, A.ware also provides businesses with a “command center” to activate/deactivate bots, change access controls, perform updates, and more.

“Senseforth.ai’s founders Shridhar, Krishna and Ritesh have built a great team and a robust platform that’s deployed at scale with marquee clients like HDFC Bank. Senseforth’s technology is ahead of the competition, especially as evidenced by their performance benchmark on the leaderboard of Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD) 2.0. We are excited to partner with the Senseforth.ai team to contribute to their next phase of growth,” said Srikanth Velamakanni, Fractal’s co-founder, group chief executive, and vice-chairman.

Senseforth CTO and co-founder Ritesh Radhakrishnan added, “At Senseforth.ai, we have built A.ware, one of the most powerful and comprehensive Conversational AI Platforms in the market today. A.ware is already automating billions of conversations for enterprises across the world. This investment will help us further strengthen our technology foundation and scale our platform and products to become the undisputed market leader in the Conversational AI space.”

Blog Source: ITPro,FINSEMS

Government uses blockchain to certify, provide startups with incentives
08/03/2021

Government uses blockchain to certify, provide startups with incentives

The government has leveraged blockchain technology (used by cryptocurrencies) to digitally certify startups and help them receive a range of incentives, such as financing assistance, tax exemptions and relaxations in public procurement norms without much hassle. Blockchain is a decentralised , distributed and immutable public ledger.

The blockchain-enabled certificate verification platform, which has been developed by the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT), will also facilitate aspiring entrepreneurs to access the ₹10,000 crore Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS), a ministry of commerce and industry official, requesting anonymity, said.

FFS, which provides risk capital to innovation-driven enterprises, is managed by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). FFS was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2016.

The technology to verify startups will come handy for various government departments, public sector firms, banks and investors as it is in sync with Startup India’s legacy data to verify over 50,000 recognition certificates, the ministry official said.Startup India is a flagship initiative of the government to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and generate large scale employment opportunities.
“The [blockchain-enabled] platform will eliminate the need for DPIIT and Startup India to authenticate individual startup certificates for relevant stakeholders, enabling quick turnaround in inter-departmental verification process,” he said.

The additional layer of security, enabled by blockchain, makes the startup certificates tamper-proof and immutable. By design, all records stored on blockchain are encrypted, ensuring the details cannot be altered once uploaded. Every stored record is assigned a unique digital identity that safeguards it from tampering, he said.

Madhurima Agarwal, director, engineering programmes at software firm NetApp India, said that the government’s move would reduce the compliance burden on startups. “Currently, startups have to make separate submissions to various authorities, intermediaries and regulators that increases the time spent on compliance and at the same time leads to duplication of efforts,” she said.

Agarwal, who is also leader for NetApp’s startup programme NetApp Excellerator, said now the world is moving beyond Bitcoin to adopt enterprise-distributed indelible ledgers, setting the stage for a transformation that’s exponentially bigger than the impact that cryptocurrency has had on blockchain in finance.

Blockchain is one of the emerging technologies that can be applied in healthcare, banking, finance cyber security, property registration, passport, governance and supply chain management. The technology is globally used in virtual currency or cryptocurrency, which is yet to get regulatory approval in India. In Budget 2018-19, the government said that it “does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin” but it “will explore use of blockchain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy”.

An inter-ministerial committee under the chairmanship of economic affairs secretary has, however, recommended that all private cryptocurrencies, except any cryptocurrency issued by the state, should be prohibited in India. The government is yet to take a final call on cryptocurrencies.

Blog Source: Hindustan Times

NetApp Excellerator startups demonstrate unrestrained innovation in futuristic tech
07/23/2021

NetApp Excellerator startups demonstrate unrestrained innovation in futuristic tech

NetApp, a global cloud-led, data-centric software company, announced the graduation of its eighth cohort of the flagship startup accelerator program, NetApp Excellerator. The eight business-to-business (B2B) tech startups, which all share a focus on deep tech, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), cloud, and data, graduated via a virtual demo day event yesterday.

The graduating startups, Data Sutram, FireCompass, Metabob, Maxbyte, Nife, Snapblocs, State of Mind, and Tongadive delivered pitches relating technologies such as security, location intelligence, smart manufacturing, and employee experience, to a live digital audience of venture capitalists, investors, and NetApp leaders.

Speaking about the graduation, Ravi Chhabria, managing director, NetApp India said, “Events from 2020 have emphasized the importance of developing equitable, sustainable, and scalable businesses, with a people-centric approach. One of our participating startups, State of Mind, an AI-driven conversational intelligence platform, is working with our HR team to improve employee experience and well-being. This is yet another example of data providing business value, in this case improving employee experience and increasing engagement and retention of talent.”

Paid proofs of concept have been an integral part of the program in fine-tuning the startup offerings and technology. Emphasizing this aspect in delivering customer-centricity, Chhabria further said, “Another topically relevant startup, FireCompass, is working with our Information Security team to test the resilience of their threat-detection tool. Today, digital transformation is driving the future of work, and having worked with 50 startups, we are able to amplify our ability to innovate.”

As proof of the growing global reach of the program, five of the eight startups, Metabob, Snapblocs, Nife, FireCompass, and Tongadive, are spread across three countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. All of these startups are being mentored by tech leaders from NetApp India, further establishing the center as a hotbed of innovation and technology growth for globally relevant solutions.

“Solving real-world challenges with data is built into our DNA. The need for business resilience and digital transformation has brought out the best in this cohort of startups to tackle the most pressing problems. We couldn’t be more proud of the founders, who are unrestrained in their ability to transform and modernize across industries, despite the obvious constraints brought in by the pandemic,” said Madhurima Agarwal, director of engineering programs, and leader of NetApp Excellerator.

Alluding to the broad reach of the accelerator program beyond the participating startups, Agarwal added, “We are associating with prestigious industry bodies to invest in the rapid transformation of the startup ecosystem. As an exciting opportunity to harness our cloud expertise, we have partnered with NASSCOM Deep Tech Club 2.0 to elevate India-based pioneering startups in this space.” Through this association, NetApp will lend its cloud-and data-related technology leadership to the startups that NASSCOM and other industry partners are seeking to mentor.

NetApp ExcellerateHER, a core diversity-driven initiative, engaged the second collective of women-led startups, FireCompass, Tongadive, and Nife. NetApp ExcellerateHER taps the power of the accelerator network to further women entrepreneurs in this digital-first world.

Since its inception in 2017, the award-winning NetApp Excellerator program has received over 1,700 applications. Applications are now open for the ninth cohort, with focus areas including cloud, Internet of Things, big data and analytics, ML, virtualization, data security, data management, and storage.

Blog Source: Express Computer,Yourstory,GadgetsNow,TechGen,TechSports ,Latestlt

Why hyperlocal intelligence is crucial for smart business planning
07/16/2021

Why hyperlocal intelligence is crucial for smart business planning

Traditionally, location has always been a mainstay of some of the biggest industries – be it retail, real estate or banking. But, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, spatiality has begun to take centrestage like never before. Be it creating containment zones or planning vaccination drives, the only way to fight the pandemic has been to understand the ground reality rapidly and take decisive action. But, that’s not all. Today businesses across sectors are able to address some of the toughest business and operations challenges with a lot of help on leveraging location-based intelligence, more specifically hyperlocal intelligence.

Despite its relevance, hyperlocal intelligence has not been accorded its due significance until now. This is especially true in the Indian context, where pre-pandemic a lot of businesses across sectors didn’t really realise the necessity for a technology like hyperlocal intelligence, with the retail sector standing out as an exception. Even there, the use cases were limited to helping the businesses identify the right locations for their expansion plans, trying to understand which products needed to be stocked based on the usage in the area.

Why the universal nature of data aids in furthering hyperlocal intelligence
The data that hyperlocal intelligence relies upon is sector-agnostic; the insights or intelligence that is churned can be made sector-specific. For instance, while the data point on footfall doesn’t change irrespective of which sector you want to leverage the data for, that data point has different yet equally significant implications for different sectors – from retail, mobility to real estate.

As a startup that works at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) methodologies such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to uncover raw data sources and compute socio-economic parameters, we have been able to leverage this universal nature of data to fuel our B2B-Location Data Engine.

Data Sutram’s data engines clean, process, and geotag data from multiple sources and blend them together with AI and ML methodologies to create actionable, accurate data and insights for every location. Our data engines have the capability to handle data in any form, collected from any unstructured repository, and convert it to useful forms of data. It further marries the platform’s 200+ multiple data fields interactively to bring out over 150+ insightful indexes applicable to any geography at a fine, granular level, thus making it very comprehensive to understand and read. Its granular data and sector-specific customised verticals help reduce adaptability time for businesses to shift to data-driven decision making. The product’s architecture has a scope for end-mile customisation, thereby meeting the needs of businesses. And, our engagement with NetApp Excellerator has further helped to strengthen the platform by exploring some of NetApp’s key offerings in the area of snapshotting and security.

Today, businesses across are increasingly realising the need for hyperlocal intelligence with restricted movement and lockdowns, challenging the deployment of on-field workforce to tap into hyperlocal data for all business decisions. However, one of the least spoken use cases of hyperlocal intelligence has been in the merchant lending space. With the pandemic halting all non-essential business activity, recollection became a huge headache for financial lenders to understand exactly which merchants were most likely to default. They were forced to revisit the age-old questions that they had typically relied on to process the loan applications. It is here that location intelligence became relevant.

Armed with granular spending capacity, footfall, accurate merchant data location, etc, financial lenders were better equipped to make informed decisions. In addition, the financial companies were also able to track and acquire merchants virtually based on location indicators with little loan history and a non intrusive vetting process. As a startup that today has expertise in hyperlocal intelligence, we have been able to work with financial institutions, especially those with a focus on money lending to use location scorecards to evaluate and approve loan applications in a matter of minutes. Merchant payment companies have been able to onboard high potential merchants based on business activity of the location.

How hyperlocal intelligence works
The answer lies in understanding the two parts of hyperlocal intelligence – granular location data (locations DNA) and geo-spatial intelligence.

In today’s world, we are constantly being monitored by the various devices around us – starting from the cell phones in our hand to the satellites in the sky. These devices capture information about our movement, behaviour and how life is evolving. Creating the location data involves working with these multiple data sources like satellite, mobile mobility, places of interest, etc processing and blending them together to create indicators for consumer activity at a 100m granularity. The next part involves developing business intelligence and actionable insights by modelling the businesses’ key performance indexes, such as monthly store sales, loan risk, etc depending on the use case.

As a business, one of the advantages of using hyperlocal intelligence is limited dependence on end-customer data. For instance, in most use cases in merchant acquisition that seeks to identify demand or demand sensing as we call it, the end-customer’s data is only used to model on the location indicators so the bank or the NBFC can start off with little or no data.

That’s why today, hyperlocal intelligence presents itself as a tool that can answer some of the most standard questions that occur in the running of a business. Aggregating multiple sources of information, it is possible to now understand what is present out there in a location- human behaviour, supply bottlenecks, operational problems at a hyperlocal level all within a framework of anonymisation and safety. It helps to answer a number of questions. This includes a question such as is the location right for my business – be it for a bank planning to install an ATM machine, a food delivery service planning its cloud kitchen; is my field workforce knocking on the right doors – as in the case of a NBFC looking to target merchants; am I targeting the right people – as in the case of brands looking to identify consumer-ins and figuring out their purchase trends.

A shift that was long overdue
At a time when resources like hospital beds, ICUs, even services like ATMs have to be planned as per the ground reality, hyperlocal intelligence has a more significant role to play than ever before. But, this is true for businesses across, as they look to strategise to survive and thrive amidst a very challenging business environment. The pandemic has only catalysed this shift, but it’s one that has been long overdue. And, hyperlocal intelligence is set to drive the next big wave in the digital transformation narrative.

Blog Source: Yourstory

Future of testing: Why Continuous Automated Red Teaming (CART) is making penetration testing and attack simulation tools outdated
07/12/2021

Future of testing: Why Continuous Automated Red Teaming (CART) is making penetration testing and attack simulation tools outdated

The constantly changing cyber world and the rapid adoption of cloud and digital transformation have increased the attack surface multifolds. On the other hand, cyber attackers are using sophisticated techniques to make it harder for others to recognise their attacks. Here, they have an inherent advantage -they only need to succeed once. But, defenders must succeed every time to thwart the attacks. However, a key problem is that many times organisations don’t have visibility of their complete attack surface that’s changing dynamically, making them all the more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Why traditional solutions are no longer sufficient to thwart attacks
Organisations have traditionally relied on red teaming to address the challenge. Red teaming is nothing but ethical hacking by security teams carried out on a larger and more extensive scale than traditional security testing to discover the organisation’s attack surface, then launch simulated attacks to test their blind spots. Another advantage of red teaming is that it enables security teams to attack any target irrespective of the scope of an IP/application. In spite of these inherent advantages, red teaming is not viable for most organisations because it requires multiple tools, manual effort and only tests a fraction of an organisation’s assets at a specific time. And, this makes it challenging to scale, and is unaffordable for most organisations and is a point-in-time solution.

In addition to red testing, organisations have relied on penetration testing and Breach and Attack Simulation tools (BAS). While penetration testing can only be done on known systems or applications, BAS on the other hand requires hardware or software agents to install and function within an organisation. BAS tools simulate real threats and show how an attacker could spread if it has access to an organisation’s internal systems.

The inherent challenges with traditional security solutions make a strong case for Continuous Automated Red Teaming (CART) – an emerging new technology which discovers the attack surface and launches safe attacks continuously. It also helps to prioritise the vulnerabilities that are most likely to be attacked, which are typically the path of least resistance. To put it simply, CART automates red teaming and is designed to scale the process and make it more efficient allowing for continuous discovery of one’s attack surface and continuous testing. This makes CART a game changing strategy in cybersecurity. In addition, CART, unlike penetration testing, finds the attack surface automatically without any inputs. It then launches multiple-stage attacks that range from networks to applications to humans. And, unlike BAS, CART, uses an outside-in approach to attack and does not require any hardware or software.

Although hackers are sophisticated and have advanced detection and prevention capabilities, CART can help organisations stay ahead of the game by helping them think like a hacker. An organisation needs to have the ability to discover and map their attack surface and attack them continuously to see all possible ways that an attacker could gain access from the outside-in.

CART vs traditional Solutions: Why one needs to think like hackers
Today, CART makes way for a more efficient system allowing for continuous discovery of one’s attack surface and continuous testing. At FireCompass, we have developed a SaaS platform for CART and Attack Surface Management (ASM). The ‘Attack & Recon Platform’ of FireCompass continuously indexes and monitors the deep, dark and surface webs. The platform automatically discovers an organisation’s digital attack surface including unknown exposed databases, code leaks, cloud buckets, and related security risks. It then launches multi-stage safe attacks, mimicking a real attacker, to help identify breach and attack paths that are otherwise missed out by conventional tools. The different types of attack playbooks includes ransomware, network and application attacks, and social engineering attacks. The platform works with zero knowledge and does not require any software or hardware to identify the risks of an organisation’s digital attack surface.

FireCompass’ Attack & Recon Platform automates attack planning and thinking, which helps organisations with 20 times faster detection of security risks and 90 percent lower manual effort. Eliminating the need for multiple tools, the platform does not need any hardware, software or agents and takes virtually zero set-up time. The platform presents an exciting proposition for an organisation in the cyber security space to enable organisations to strengthen their security strategies to stay a step ahead of hackers.

Applications for Cohort 9 of the NetApp Excellerator and Cohort 3 of NetApp ExcellerateHER, NetApp’s accelerator program geared towards empowering women founders, is now open. Check here for more details. Link: https://bit.ly/3jV2VdW

Blog Source: Yourstory

Why blockchain, AI and GS1 serialisation will define the future of global supply chain
07/08/2021

Why blockchain, AI and GS1 serialisation will define the future of global supply chain

The last decade saw the global supply chain industry undergoing metamorphosis catalysed by the advent of e-commerce. Digital platforms like Amazon were instrumental in shaping the next-generation supply chain with Direct-to-Home product delivery model early on. Consequently, the number of packages used to transfer products had reached 85 billion by 2018, according to the 2020 data from Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. It was expected to double every four years, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought its disruption. The challenges during the early days of the pandemic with respect to sourcing of PPE kits, testing kits, exposed the fragmentation in the global supply chain. Months later, the need to vaccinate 8 billion people further highlighted the need for a robust global supply chain. In a way, the pandemic made the challenges in the global trade dynamics a personal one.

Why visibility in supply chain is paramount
Today, industries emerging from COVID-19 will need to reinvent supply chains in a way that mitigates exposure to similar risks in the future. Here, digital technologies will be at the centre of this reinvention. But, to fully understand the trends that will shape next-generation supply chains, it is important to de-mystify digital technologies.

In simplest terms, the digital supply chain could be conceptualised as the parallel digital journey taken by any product as it takes the physical journey from source to destination. So if a pack of life-saving Penicillin tablets originating from a manufacturer in Pune undertakes a journey to a patient based in Cornwall in the UK, there would be a parallel digital journey that the same pack would take in the electronic world as it moves physically from the manufacturer to the distributor, wholesaler, pharmacy and eventually the patient. Today, the visibility of this chain of events in the digital world is limited with varying levels of maturity across industries, but it is the ‘demand’ for this unbroken visibility that the future supply chains will need to cater to. What makes this demand inevitable and growing is that consumers, governments and businesses alike have something to gain from this standardised, trustworthy visibility.

Technology trends shaping next-generation supply chain

The top technology trends shaping next-generation supply chain are expected to originate in the end-consumer demand as well as business use cases enabled by the rapid development of technologies in other domains. Successful supply chains of the future are likely to embed some or all of the elements of these trends.

1. Blockchain: Even as crypto currencies popularised Blockchain, there was a quieter, more fundamental shift happening in business applications enabled through Blockchain principles. In consensus driven digital ledger technology (DLT), data records are created and updated with the consensus of all parties involved in a close network of businesses. This makes data ‘immutable’, even by the party that created it and it is this immutability that enables enterprise-grade Blockchain to bring trust in data. In the supply chain world, if the details of the product origin and its journey, like in the case of the Penicillin example shared earlier, were stored using Blockchain, it would bring inherent trust in the product. This would enable the manufacturer in India meet UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) regulations with ease, help MHRA test process adherence efficiently and assure the patient consuming Penicillin that the medicine they bought is safe.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI technologies are developing at an exponential pace and are taking some or all of the following routes:

a. Augmented Intelligence – where repeated tasks are automated to bring efficiency

b. Machine Learning – where machines learn by performing certain tasks and increase their own knowledge automatically

c. Smart technologies – which combine AI with other technologies like Blockchain and cloud to bring holistic smart solutions

In the context of supply chains, all three aspects of AI are at play. AI machines with the ability to analyse and predict demand data, would help manufacturers achieve ‘Just-in-Time’ production and make the entire supply chains efficient, green and cost effective. Again, taking the Penicillin example, if AI engines could analyse consumption trends and data emerging from Cornwall, manufacturers could get accurate real-time information on how much to supply, when to trigger supply and reroute consignments from areas of abundance to areas of scarcity. Consequently, pharmacies and hospitals can minimise or even eliminate the risk of running out of life saving medicines.

3. GS1 Serialisation: GS1 Serialisation is a standardised technique used to concoct numbers and characters providing product consignments with a unique, difficult to replicate identity. Developed by GS1, an international, non-profit organisation that publishes a system of supply chain standards, serialisation works on the principles of security, interoperability and scalability, GS1 standards are today used by 2 million+ companies operating in 145 countries. Pharmaceutical industry, where regulatory adherence is more stringent, has taken a lead in implementing GS1 serialisation. A pack of Penicillin tablets, starting its journey in a factory in Pune, labelled with a unique GS1 serialised data can be securely tracked from the factory to the patient. There are early signs of widespread usage of this GS1 serialisation especially in agriculture and food industries.

Provenance tracking and the need for immediate adoption of technology trends
With growing consumer awareness on issues concerning safety, ethical sourcing, climate change, the demand for trustworthy ‘provenance tracking’ is due for an explosion. Governments are working to develop regulations that require provenance tracking information. This can be seen already in the healthcare industry where many countries are following the lead taken by US DSCSA (Drug Supply Chain Security Act) and European FMD (Falsified Medicines Directive) and implementing regulatory requirements for supply and distribution of healthcare supplies within their boundaries. The promotion of a circular economy, reducing wastage and rerouting goods, further strengthens the demand for end-to-end visibility.

A combination of Blockchain, AI and GS1 Serialisation holds the promise to provide a robust, secure and trustworthy end-to-end visibility of product origins and their journey. The winners in utilising the opportunity created by explosive demand for provenance tracking will be early movers that can create differentiated and simple-to-use implementations, thereby democratising technology usage.

And, this couldn’t be more exciting for all of us at Tongadive. Over the last few months, we have intensified efforts to simplify supply chains. Today, we are well on our mark to launch our first product in the market. Named Evidnt, the solution works at the intersection of Blockchain, Serialisation and AI to bring secure, immutable, predictable product origin and journey information as consignments travel from source to destination. Evidnt has been designed to address supply chain challenges in the healthcare sector. But, given the universal nature of the solution and challenges, we will also plan to expand the scope of the solution to address challenges in the agriculture and food sector. And, the last few weeks spent at the NetApp Excellerator has provided Tongadive the opportunity to mature a product like Evidnt and make it market-ready.

The increasingly demanding provenance tracking in the supply chain sector is a clear indication for businesses to begin building the supply chain of the future, right here, right now. And, a solutions provider, we believe Evidnt has everything it needs to help businesses do that.

Applications for Cohort 9 of the NetApp Excellerator and Cohort 3 of NetApp ExcellerateHER, NetApp’s accelerator program geared towards empowering women founders, is now open. Check here for more details. Link: https://bit.ly/3jV2VdW

Blog Source: Yourstory

With forecast of 50 billion IoT devices by 2030, Nife’s founder shares why businesses must take note of edge computing
06/29/2021

With forecast of 50 billion IoT devices by 2030, Nife’s founder shares why businesses must take note of edge computing

About 22 billion Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices were in use worldwide at the end of 2018, according to Statista, the German company specialising in market and consumer data.

With the consumption of customer electronics growing steadily, Statista forecasts that around 50 billion IoT devices would be in use worldwide by 2030. Additionally, these numerous IoT devices are expected to create a massive web of interconnected devices spanning everything from smartphones to kitchen appliances. Here, while cloud computing will continue to play a vital role in driving the future of modern network architecture and for enterprises, edge computing will open up exciting possibilities. With edge computing, businesses will be able to process data closer to the source. What this also means is that businesses will have to relook at their IT infrastructure strategy.

The principles behind edge computing are relatively straightforward. Still, the substantial benefits of this fresh approach to the existing network architecture are a little more complex.

Edge computing: An overview
Traditional cloud computing networks are highly centralised. Data is gathered on the outermost edge i.e. end-user devices and transmitted back to the central servers for processing. This IT architecture grew out of necessity. Because, most of the devices near the edge don’t have the right computational power or storage capacity to analyse and process the collected data. Even when more devices could connect to networks over cellular and Wi-Fi, their hardware capabilities relatively limited their functionality.

Take an example of a drone that is used in agricultural fields to collect visuals about the crop landscape and the environment. The visuals collected by the drone are often stored on the devices and processed later. It’s always an afterthought. If the data is retrieved and processed immediately, actions related to fixing the environment can be executed at a faster pace.

However, that challenge is being addressed today with IoT devices being able to gather, store, and process more data. This in turn is opening up an opportunity for businesses to optimise their networks and move more processing power closer to a location where data is gathered at the network edge. The network edge is the area where a device or local network interfaces with the internet.

So, when edge computing comes into play, data doesn’t have to travel all the way back to the central server for the device to perform an action. Thus, edge computing networks can significantly reduce latency and enhance the end-user experience of the application or device. To illustrate how edge computing is distinct from traditional computing, let’s take the example of a video surveillance use case. Consider a corporate office secured with dozens of high-definition IoT video cameras. The cameras that don’t have any local processing power will continuously stream the raw video feed to a cloud server. Then, on the cloud, the video output received from all the cameras is passed through a motion-detection application to infer the video clip. This adds a significant strain on the business’ internet infrastructure on the cloud, given that it has to process the video footage from all the cameras simultaneously.

Now if the motion sensor computation happens at the network edge as is the case in edge computing, each camera can have its internal processing unit running the motion-detection application and then send the footage to the cloud server as needed. This will significantly reduce the bandwidth usage because most of the camera footage will never have to travel to the cloud server. The cloud server will now be used to store only the critical footage and reduce chances of being overloaded.

Relevance of edge computing for business use cases
The speed and flexibility afforded by edge computing to hand data creates an exciting range of possibilities for businesses. It has use cases across a wide range of applications and services for smart Content Delivery Network(CDN), drone surveillance, health care, supply chain monitoring to name a few. It can bring content to life with a superior viewing experience especially in the case of interactive ads and plugins commonly used in e-commerce. Given that drones are increasingly being used for use cases such as wildlife monitoring, industrial infrastructure inspections and even heat maps on agricultural lands, edge computing becomes extremely important and relevant. An edge network can help make sense of large data sets, reduce cost and provide real-time insights.

An interesting point to note is that while edge computing is synonymous with low latency, not all edge cases fall into that category. For instance, AR/VR use case or robotics in manufacturing, the device is able to offload collected data to a nearby edge node, allowing it to be lighter, increasing its battery life, and making it more affordable.

Edge cloud vs Edge computing: What’s the difference?
Conversations on edge computing also see the term edge cloud being used interchangeably. However, in reality, they refer to slightly different things. Edge computing relates primarily to the physical compute infrastructure positioned on the spectrum between the device and hyper-scale cloud and supports various applications. However, the edge cloud is the virtualised infrastructure and business models on top of the computing framework.

Like the cloud, the edge cloud is flexible and scalable. However, unlike static, on-premise servers, the new cloud can handle an unplanned increase in user activities and move these workloads. With access to many servers, the edge cloud becomes an elastic resource pool with the ability to scale – applications both while testing and in production. Just like the cloud accelerated new business ventures, so too will the edge cloud pave the way for new opportunities.

Where is the Edge?
To understand Edge computing, one must understand where the edge really is. While it is fundamental, edge is often a misplaced term and gets used in different scenarios. The answer is – the edge spans anywhere between the end device and the cloud or the internet. The device edge is the computing power of the device. The Network Edge is the compute found at the edge of the network.


Telco edge computing is distributed computation managed by the Telco operator between the network edge and the customer edge. Network edge is extremely prominent with 5G rollouts.

At the Network Edge, where telco edge computing is prominent, there are multiple potential locations for computing on and off the public network. The sites include cell towers, street cabinets, and network aggregation points in the access and core network. It could also be customer premises. The strategy to place edge compute infrastructure for a telco depends on factors including the telco’s current network architecture, the virtualisation roadmap – the plan to have data centre facilities for network applications, and application demand – primarily the use cases telcos have a strategic inclination. For instance, in use cases involving intelligent content out-of-home ads on display kiosks and billboards, the ads need to be displayed within a fraction of seconds – the cell towers that are close to the customer edge provide a wider area to receive information at extremely fast speeds and capture the right audiences who are moving along the screen. The wider area also helps them to be connected to one cell at any given point in time.

While the adoption of cloud computing has grown significantly for enterprises over the last few decades, edge computing is set to revolutionise digital transformation for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Moreover, with 5G roadmaps in place, the growth of edge computing will speed up.

The adoption of edge computing has been expansive in the last few years. Edge at one point was associated with Content Delivery Network (CDN), delivering static content but now with more people working remotely – with more globe teams, there is a greater push to realise intelligent dynamic edge computing for applications. With more industrialisation, connected devices, the ease of moving to a scalable edge ecosystem, there is acceleration in adoption like never before. All this is possible due to edge consortiums like OpenEdgeComputing, LFEdge and Kinetic Edge Alliance.

As a startup, Nife is leveraging this opportunity to build a global public edge cloud to deliver a faster, more powerful internet experience for individuals and enterprises. We do this by aggregating edges – Telcos, CDNs, Managed services Data Centers, ISPs and Cloud from all across the world to enable applications to move closer to the end-user or device. The application owner gets to decide KPIs (key performance indicators) such as desired — latency, performance, data, and cost. Nife factors in all these requirements in determining where to launch an application to meet its scalability, resiliency, latency, and mobility needs. With access to over 300 locations (700+ regions) worldwide, Nife is ready to roll out the beta version of the public edge cloud and we couldn’t be more excited. With 5G in sight, we have goals of onboarding more customers and partners to our edge ecosystem. And, as a woman entrepreneur, Nife’s acceptance to the NetApp ExcellerateHER, Netapp’s B2B deep tech accelerator programme for women entrepreneurs, strengthens my hope to see greater momentum driving the future of edge cloud.

Blog Source: Yourstory

Why Does AI Domain Need Greater Women Participation
06/18/2021

Why Does AI Domain Need Greater Women Participation?

“When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?”

In 2018, Amazon pulled the plug on its AI-based recruitment tool for bias against female candidates. The tool was trained on a dataset containing resumes in the experience range of up to 10 years. No prizes for guessing, most of the resumes were from men.
The incident is a telling example of how poor representation leads to far-reaching consequences. The gender gap in science and emerging technologies such as AI shows no sign of closing.

Gender imbalance is a serious problem in AI. World Economic Forum data suggests women account for only 22 percent of the global AI jobs. While the jobs in AI have increased over the past few years, women participation still remains dismally low.

Fair women participation is necessary for organisations to accelerate their AI maturity, and avert some of the gravest problems the industry is facing right now, especially the selection bias.

A case for inclusion

AI systems faithfully reflect the intents and biases of the people who are developing them. In other words, the tech is as good and fair as its developer. Ipso facto, the lack of women in AI has eroded the quality of the product (less inclusive) and turned away potential customers.

Google chief scientist of AI and machine learning, Fei-Fei Li, said, “If we don’t get women and people of colour at the table — real technologists doing the real work — we will bias systems. Trying to reverse that a decade or two from now will be so much more difficult, if not close to impossible. This is the time to get women and diverse voices in so that we build it properly, right? And it can be great. It’s going to be ubiquitous. It’s going to be awesome. But we have to have people at the table.”

UNESCO’s 2019 report, I’d Blush if I Could, and several other studies have shown that gender biases found in the AI training data sets and algorithms can perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes leading to further marginalization of women. “Women make up a fraction of the artificial intelligence workforce. We need diversity of thought and creativity in AI to realise its boundless potential and lead different ideas, innovations, and outcomes. Different perspectives are essential, and so are the different lived experiences, priorities, and worldviews to have an intersectional approach to AI programming,” said Megha Gambhir, CEO, Stupa Sports Analytics.

“AI is the most pervasive technology today, and it’s defining the rules of how the world will run. Imagine the consequence of having perspectives and outcomes that only represent half of humanity! This is the significance of women to AI enterprise maturity levels. Suppose companies want to eliminate serious business issues related to ML techniques, such as selection bias. In that case, women must be mobilised on a large scale and given an equal seat in all artificial intelligence endeavours. There’s a long way to go. And we all need to double down to make sure AI teams are diverse, with women at the epicentre,” said Madhurima Agarwal, Director – Engineering Programs & Leader – NetApp Excellerator.

What can be done

An AIM study on Women in AI and Analytics showed the following factors play a great role in nurturing an environment for greater women participation.

  • Equal pay and growth opportunities for women will encourage many qualified and experienced women to enter the domain
  • Greater awareness of roles and opportunities is a deciding factor for most women seeking to join this field.
  • Greater access to domain-specific education and knowledge-building opportunities
  • Mentoring support right from the school and college and up to workplaces can put a lot of their anxieties and doubts about this field to rest.
  • Seeing one of their kind in leadership roles would also positively impact the participation of women.

Blog Source: Analytics India Magazine

How Metabob’s AI tool will forever change how developers approach debugging
06/15/2021

By developers, for developers: How Metabob’s AI tool will forever change how developers approach debugging

Advances in automation technology have led to the rise of new platforms and products. From collaboration platforms for API development, to integrated development environments (IDEs), such resources have become a developer’s best friend.

However, being developers ourselves, we knew that one major area in need of such a resource was the code correction process. Most developers rely on a manual overview of their codebase, making the process resource-intensive and error prone. While the current norm for developers in deep tech is to use rule-based systems to uncover errors within a codebase, such systems mostly detect syntax or spelling related errors, providing a limited impact for developers. Bugs that are prevalent in a repository were not often detected by these tools, leading to developers manually determining where the problem areas are located..

What we saw was the need for a comprehensive solution to make code correction simple, efficient, and effective. As we set out to address this challenge in 2019, we knew that it was ideal for the solution for developers to be built by developers, because user input as well as a solid understanding of a developer’s pain points would directly impact the tool and its functionality. This resulted in Metabob’s model being written entirely on open-source code from Python developers across the globe. Today, Metabob leverages AI in real-time, derived from millions of data points supported from the open-source community. This allows for a diverse, reality-based solution to most commonly found bugs. While other programs rely on rule-based systems for their analysis, open-source material provides users with more realistic, tangible, hard-to-fix-bugs that might be hidden within a repository.

Metabob stands as an AI-assisted tool used to debug and visualise Python code. Using a combination of conventional static analysis, attention-based models, and a 360-degree visualiser, Metabob is able to detect the root causes of problems other tools often miss or would not find. With Metabob, developers can detect problems that arise from improper state management within an application, detect partial or incomplete refactors and mismatches in internal APIs, identify missing parameters or unhandled exceptions when dealing with certain common libraries and frameworks, as well as many other related issues.

With Metabob, developers will no longer have to spend hours trying to locate complex bugs. Its machine-learning- powered tool automatically detects areas where bugs may hide and pinpoints them without user input. In addition, the 360-degree visualiser instantly visualises a code’s connections across modules and files to help developers gain a deeper understanding of how their codebase works and where bugs are. Simply put, Metabob makes the time it takes to correct code immensely less invasive and minimises the lag in the development process.

Metabob’s tech is not your average software tool. The platform relies on four key processes — pushing source code, code decomposition, meta analysis, and then identifying the problem areas throughout a given codebase. Within these four sections are the three key ways they deliver a unique user experience:

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Topic modelling: Metabob gathers data from open-source repositories from over 15 million code changes. It then labels this data to determine the logic behind any given change. Its topic generation function then allows it to sort the various topics or purposes for a given change into a category that logically correlates to its topic.

AI model: Metabob identifies context-dependent bugs within static code, and then offers a plain-text reasoning behind the bug’s existence. This generates code snippets that correspond to the bugs detected that need to be fixed.

Organisational aids: Contextual issue tracking simply brings more insight into the bug tracking process. The architecture overview displays the structure as well as dependencies within the user’s codebase, and code auditing allows users to track decision making while working through a given repository, allowing for a more reliable development process.

While the effort to develop the tool began in 2019, it was only in 2020 that Metabob officially launched as a company. Today, we have a team of 14+ developers and business development professionals collaborating full-time. We continue to work closely with the development community, as feedback is vital to keeping the product relevant to the evolving nature of bugs and code errors. Seeking repository analysis everyday, the developer community is our strongest ally in the development of Metabob. Today, over 2,000 developers from Github and Bitbucket are using Metabob, including developers from some of the world’s leading tech companies – Google, Microsoft, NetApp, Facebook, Red Hat, among others.

In the last two months, we have doubled the repositories analysed from 60,000 to over 130,000 and our goal is to analyse over one million repositories in the next six months. We are also working towards extending Metabob’s capabilities to support Java, as well as releasing our own recommendation system, capable of providing substantive fixes that function within a codebase’s existing application architecture. As we continue to work towards solving one of the most fundamental problems for developers, our selection into the NetApp accelerator has been a force multiplier.

Having NetApp’s support, we now have access to a diverse set of companies and partnerships that reach far and wide into the deep-tech ecosystem, driving growth in ways we were not previously able to achieve. We are also exploring synergies with NetApp’s existing offerings for managing the continuous delivery and/or continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline by enabling developers to dramatically cut down on overhead while increasing the speed at which applications can be developed. In the months to come, we look forward to making Metabob the go-to tool for developers across the world.

Blog Source: Yourstory

Meet 8 startups using data, cloud to power their impact across sectors
05/22/2021

NetApp Excellerator Cohort 8: Meet 8 startups using data, cloud to power their impact across sectors

For State of Mind AI, an employee experience analytics solution, its cloud-first product helps one interact with end-users in real-time. “Leveraging the cloud also helps us scale our product performance on the fly while keeping data secure, safe, and protected. In addition, it helps us optimise costs as an early-stage startup,” shares Manoj Kumar, Founder, State of Mind AI.

Metabob, an AI company which has developed a tool to debug and visualise Python code, is dependent on using cloud-based solutions to gather and process training data. “We are a data-first company. The need to pipe data into the same locations as our training data is essential. So, leveraging cloud resources remains an essential part of our daily work,” shares Massi Genta, CEO, Metabob.

State of Mind AI and Metabob are among the eight startups which are a part of the NetApp Excellerator Cohort 8 and are leveraging the power of data and cloud solutions to drive impact across sectors and use cases. The other six startups under the latest cohort of NetApp’s global startup accelerator program are Nife, Tongadive, FireCompass, Data Sutram, Maxbyte and snapblocs. Nife, Tongadive, and Firecompass also form a part of the second cohort of NetApp ExcellerateHER – NetApp’s dedicated accelerator program that supports women entrepreneurs disrupting the technology space.

“Advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning have gotten businesses across the board excited about the limitless possibilities of these technologies when it comes to growth. However, scalable solutions that leverage these technologies in securing business insights are yet to be discovered. The startups participating in this year’s NetApp Excellerator Cohort 8 have showcased great ability in bridging this gap, and we are excited to be supporting their endeavors to unlock new gateways of growth across sectors,” shares Madhurima Agarwal, Leader, NetApp Excellerator.

Blog Source: Yourstory

Deeptech startup Myelin Foundry raises $1M in pre-Series A led by Beyond Next Ventures
05/21/2021

Deeptech startup Myelin Foundry raises $1M in pre-Series A led by Beyond Next Ventures

Deeptech AI startup Myelin Foundry on Wednesday said it has raised $1 million in pre-Series A round led by Japanese VC firm Beyond Next Ventures. Endiya Partners, who had invested during the seed stage, also participated in this round.

Founded in January 2019 by Gopichand Katragadda, Ganesh Suryanarayanan, and Aditi Olemann, Myelin Foundry transforms human experiences and industry outcomes by building Artificial Intelligence algorithms on video, voice, and sensor data for edge devices.

According to a statement, the startup will utilise the funding to consolidate its products in the Indian video-streaming market and to expand into international markets. Myelin will further build capabilities and position itself to be a leader in the edge-AI space across industries.

Speaking about the investment, Gopichand Katragadda, Founder and CEO, Myelin, said, “We are excited to welcome Beyond Next Ventures as an investor. Myelin has developed globally leading products and capability in edge-AI. We look forward to partnering with BNV and accessing the Japanese ecosystem. I am also happy to see the confidence of our seed round investors as they continue to support our journey.”

Myelin’s first product Fovea Stream enables HD viewing experiences with SD transmission. The startup has been awarded the ‘NASSCOM Emerge 50’ in the Enterprise category and the ‘Investor’s choice’ in the sixth cohort of the NetApp Excellerator.

Tsuyoshi Ito, Managing Partner and CEO, Beyond Next Ventures, said, “We are very pleased to be the lead investor for Myelin Foundry’s pre-Series A round. Myelin, led by Founder Katragadda, is a deeptech startup with a strong focus on edge-AI platform technology. As a shareholder, I look forward to contributing to Myelin’s business expansion in collaboration with Japanese companies.”

“This investment by Japanese VC firm Beyond Next Ventures will allow Myelin to strengthen its portfolio of AI solutions and grow its market,” added Kris Gopalakrishnan. The Infosys Co-founder is also one of the investors at Myelin.

Blog Source:CIOReview India,YourStory

NetApp Excellerator Introduces 8th Cohort, Bringing Total Startup Tally to 50 articles with quotes from Ravi Chhabria & Madhurima Agarwal
04/28/2021

NetApp Excellerator Introduces 8th Cohort, Bringing Total Startup Tally to 50 articles with quotes from Ravi Chhabria & Madhurima Agarwal

Hybrid cloud data services and data management company NetApp on Wednesday announced the eight startups chosen for the eighth cohort of its flagship startup accelerator programme, NetApp Excellerator.

Of the total, four are registered in India, a spokesperson from the Sunnyvale, California based company told TechCircle.

The current cohort also comprises three startups that are part of a parallel programme, dubbed ExcellerateHER, which focuses on women-led startups.

The eight startups, working in areas of location intelligence, smart manufacturing, employee experience, and healthcare, are Data Sutram, FireCompass, Metabob, Maxbyte, Nife, Snapblocs, State of Mind, and Tongadive, as per a statement.

While Maxbyte and State of Mind are businesses that are registered in India, Data Sutram and FireCompass are registered both in India and Singapore, the spokesperson said.

Metabob and Snapblocs are based in the United States, Nife is based in Singapore, while Tongadive is based in Britain, the statement added.

FireCompass, Tongadive, and Nife are led by women founders.

“Despite the challenges posed by a pandemic, we have accelerated our cloud-led digital transformation. We have partnered in this journey with our customers, partners, and the startup ecosystem as well,” Ravi Chhabria, managing director of NetApp India, said in the statement.

Since its inception in 2017, the four-month NetApp Excellerator programme has mentored 42 startups. With the latest induction, the total count will tally to 50.

Here are details on the startups selected for the latest cohort:

Data Sutram operates an artificial intelligence-based (AI) location intelligence enterprise that helps businesses leverage location-based insight.

FireCompass operates a SaaS platform for Continuous Automated Red Teaming (CART) and Attack Surface Management (ASM) that automatically discovers an organisation’s digital attack surface and launches multistage safe attacks, mimicking a real attacker, to help identify breach and attack paths.

Metabob operates a code visualisation tool that reviews Python code for hidden errors and performance sinks. Its machine learning algorithm helps automatically detect areas where bugs may hide and lets user instantly visualise code connections across modules and files.

Maxbyte is a digital manufacturing solutions provider with products and services that enable digital engineering, operations, and services to work on productivity, cost reduction, and sustainability.

Nife operates an application distribution platform that allows developers to deploy applications near end-users directly through the platform or any cloud service provider.

To design, build, and deploy enterprise data engineering solutions, Snapblocs’ data platform studio offers a catalogue of blueprint data stacks for data platform plug-and-plays into a customer’s target environment.

State of Mind is an employee experience capturing application that measures sentiments at over 100 functional and emotional moments across the employee journey, creating analytics for manager and human resources professionals.

Tongadive uses technologies, such as AI and blockchain, to digitise supply chain management. It’s software tool Evidnt tracks the digital footprint of products across supply chains. The company is also a developer of a digital ledger-based algorithm, and neural network-based AI concepts for use cases, including demand forecasting at the manufacturer’s end.

Blog Source: Techcircle, VAR India, CXO Outlook, Channel Drive, India Education Diary, Gadgets Innovations

Why B2B Startups Are the New Gold Rush For VCs
02/22/2021

Why B2B Startups Are the New Gold Rush For VCs

VCs have fallen in love with this era of digitization and for B2B startups this is the shining moment to become the superheroes of this digital culture.

The pandemic has changed how humans interact and how enterprises function, not to mention the surge in the adoption of technology to address the needs of digitization. In such a scenario, digital transformation has become one of the top priorities for organizations and their go-to-market strategy now involves partnering with start-ups as external innovation partners. As per IDC, businesses that embraced cloud and other emerging technologies to spur their digital transformation during the Covid-19 crisis fared better than those businesses with conventional IT systems. VCs have fallen in love with this era of digitization and for B2B startups this is the shining moment to become the superheroes of this digital culture.

Ready to be disrupted

Enterprises are now faced with two options, either they must pivot or be disrupted amidst the digital storm which has engulfed industries in the past few months. B2B startups have the responsibility as well as the credibility to respond to this situation by co-innovating with their enterprise counterparts.

Co-innovation has become a norm between startups and Indian enterprises. Last year Nasscom released their Co-innovation: Enterprise Startup Collaboration report which mentioned that 100% of the surveyed enterprises collaborate with startups to create disruptive solutions and fuel innovation. Furthermore, collaboration with startups enables enterprises and our society to safeguard from future disruptions by insuring themselves on the backbone of cutting-edge technology services.

Into the mind of a VC

The Indian startup story saw a significant growth with the rise of the internet economy when we witnessed B2C unicorns like Flipkart, Ola, and Paytm. It is interesting to note that the current wave amongst the Indian startup ecosystem is being led by born in the cloud,deep tech startups with the potential to rival established corporations across the globe. The leap of faith for VCs can be justified by factors such as:

• Profitability– B2B startups offer multiple advantages to investors. They have a clear path towards profitability with lower spending on marketing and sales as compared to their B2C counterparts. This provides investors with faster exit options, less capital requirement, and above all a realistic valuation.

• Global market approach– B2B startups are software vendors with the potential to tap global markets from day one. They are at an advantage when it comes to delivering their solutions through a cloud-based SaaS model to global enterprises which are extremely cost efficient when compared with their global counterparts. As per Nasscom, the global SaaS market is pegged at a whopping $100 billion. In India, 150+ firms out of the 1000 firms big SaaS industry are generating an ARR of $1 million. The report also states that there is a huge $400 Bn untapped addressable opportunity for SaaS, and a chance for India to increase global market share by 2025.

• Exponential risein the last few years– Stats show that 43%of all Indian unicorns are B2B startups working in the areas of AI/ML, big data and blockchain, among others. Unicorns like Udaan, Freshworks, Druva, and Postman are Indian examples in recent times of the exponential rise of Indian B2B startups which, as per a report by Zinnov,have already grown from 900 to 3,200.

• Increased investment– India is at the cusp of a technological revolution with a huge potential to innovate across a broad spectrum of AI, DevOps, and cloud enabled services. Investing in a B2B startup, will help VC firms, to seize the right opportunity of adding a potential unicorn in their portfolio. Attractive funding and big-ticket deals due to increased digital transformation have also turned a lot of attention towards them. The total equity funding received by B2B tech startups in 2019 was over $3 billion across 415 deals compared to $1.6 billion raised across 450 deals in 2018.

• Right time to invest– The ongoing crisis has further acted as a catalyst for tech adoption and deep tech startups are at the forefront of helping enterprises fix their technology gaps. From an investment point of view, now is the opportunity to invest in early stage B2B startups. India has over 1450 global MNCs contributing and driving digital transformation mandates for their respective headquarters. With an abundant pool of software talent in our country, entrepreneurs will be developing enterprise products for the world from India, enabling enterprises to build innovative business solutions.

• Rise of deep tech– There are over 4,200 B2B tech startups in India and 63% of them are working on enterprise technology in the BFSI, healthcare, retail, and automotive verticals. A total of 18% of all startups in India are advanced tech startups and B2Bs hold a 24% share in this pool. VCs will now be more inclined towards deep tech startups using AI, ML, and IoT as they have proliferated at a faster pace in the ecosystem, given the current circumstances.

Riding the B2B wave

Organizations today are not merely looking at service providers who help in modernizing their infrastructure but consultants who partner in their IT transformation journey. For an investor, B2B startups are the new digital consultants, a segment that will contribute towards the advancements of technology and digitization in India at a massive scale in the coming days as they will provide enterprises with the bedrock for futuristic possibilities that will shape the economic landscape of the country in the coming years.

Bain and Company’s India SaaS report 2020 states that over the past five years, the number of funded SaaS companies has more than doubled and the number of SaaS companies drawing series C or later-stage capital has quadrupled.

As a SaaS powerhouse, India will facilitate significant interest in B2B startups, as they continue to innovate both at local and global levels. Deep tech startups are more suited to pivot their business goals in the times of crisis. For a VC, this is raw gold that needs to be mined and polished to derive the best value out of them.

Blog Source: CXO Today

How NetApp’s ExcellerateHER Initiative Is Promoting Gender Diversity And Inclusion For Women In Indian Startup Ecosystem

How NetApp’s ExcellerateHER Initiative Is Promoting Gender Diversity And Inclusion For Women In Indian Startup Ecosystem

• The gender disparity in the Indian corporate sector is at all time high with women entrepreneurs taking only up to 31% non tech and 26% tech jobs
• NetApp’s Excellerator’s ExcellerateHER initiative that was launched this year is one of the very few women-focused programmes in the country dedicated to women in the B2B deep tech domain
• With their first cohort, ExcellerateHER has taken in multiple women entrepreneurs to provide them with mentorship, workshops and a network of senior women entrepreneurs in the industry to build a community

“Gender disparity is prevalent in the entrepreneurial world. People tend to connect better with folks who are like them. The fact that there are not enough women on the entrepreneurial side means this disparity is bound to happen,” — Madhurima Agarwal, director – engineering programmes and leader – NetApp Excellerator at NetApp India.

The issue of under-representation of women entrepreneurs in the startup ecosystem is a longstanding challenge. The numbers are alarming, with female representation being as low as 26% for technical jobs and 31% for non-technical roles. This is when the unconscious bias creeps in, according to Agarwal. “If you’re a woman, you will face additional challenges about managing your family and spouse along with your business which puts you at a disadvantage,” she added.

Agarwal and others are leading efforts to improve the state of gender diversity in the startup ecosystem — women make up just around 14% of total entrepreneurs in India, according to the Sixth Economic Census of 2016. This disparity has been worsened by the economic impact of the pandemic — 73% of women entrepreneurs are said to have been negatively impacted, with nearly 20% of such business owners seeing revenue dwindle to zero in 2020, according to a survey by non-profit AWE Foundation.

In a bid to support women entrepreneurs, B2B tech accelerator programme launched NetApp ExcellerateHER. The four-month zero equity accelerator programme is designed to support women entrepreneurs across all stages. Women-led startups that work in the B2B deep tech space can apply to be a part of the programme.

The initiative is part of the company’s flagship NetApp Excellerator B2B tech accelerator programme. It has taken in multiple women entrepreneurs to provide them with support, guidance and access to various tools to run their businesses. The likes of Arintra and BrainsightAI, are part of their first cohort.

Agarwal, who heads the ExcellerateHER initiative, said the vision is to create a supportive community for women entrepreneurs who take up the startup path so that they can have a women-oriented community and supportive ecosystem. “We aim at helping women entrepreneurs grow and support them through their journey. We provide them with technical mentoring to build a world class product, give them access to business mentors, and connect them with senior women leaders so they can be a part of an encouraging community.”

Besides typical accelerator support for product development, the initiative offers various workshops run by coaches, access to global publicity and marketing experts, along with a chance of building an extensive network of mentors both inside and outside of NetApp. The program also focusses on pitch decks, presentations to investors and building networks for investing opportunities.

Women Entrepreneurs Strive Through Pandemic Challenges

The pandemic and the subsequent social distancing created a plethora of struggles for all entrepreneurs. Karishma Kunder, co-founder of Blobcity, which provides cloud infrastructure for developers and artificial intelligence projects, told Inc42, “We couldn’t travel or do on-premise meetings which meant longer sales cycles and delayed closure on projects. It affected our cash flow, distributed workforce, and that completely changed the customer and sales behavior.”

Kunder was one of the many entrepreneurs who had to adjust to the new normal. Things have been especially difficult for women-led startups. With only 9% of such startups getting funded in 2019, this was a critical time for startups to prove their models.

Rimjhim Agrawal, co-founder of BrainsightAI, a health tech startup, said it was about making the most of the opportunity despite the challenges, “The healthcare sector has been the most impacted by the pandemic. It has created a new normal for the sector by changing an extremely human contact-based industry into a remotely operated one.”

Similarly, Aditi Olemann, co-founder of Myelin Foundry, a deeptech startup focussed on solving the inconsistent bandwidth issue for OTT platforms, also leveraged the mentor network to make the most of the association with NetApp. She said, “The accelerator programme provided us with mentors from within NetApp, as well as external leaders, who provided continuous guidance and mentoring on our product and go-to-market strategies. These leaders had startup experience, so they could empathise with us and guide us in the right direction. It also gave us a lot of visibility in front of customers, investors, and potential partners from not only India but across the world.”

Work from home, in light to the social distancing regulations, brought its own set of challenges to the operations. Preeti Bhargava, co-founder of Arintra, spoke about her share of challenges faced during the pandemic. She said, “We had to incorporate regular standups and sync on zoom to keep the communication efficient. We had to encourage people to get on calls to discuss any blockers or issues.”

Promoting Gender Diversity In Entrepreneurship In India

Myelin Foundry earned INR 2.5 Cr as revenue in FY 2020, while Blobcity and Brainsight AI are in the pre-revenue stage. All three startups said that the growth in the past year is indicative of the support from the community and NetApp. It also highlights the necessity of the same in a large scale and in less exclusive spaces as well.

However, the challenges don’t end here. Women entrepreneurs face multiple difficulties from raising funds to go-to-market to customer acquisition and earning customers’ trust. The lack of a true community to back their efforts limits how far women entrepreneurs can go. While NetApp’s initiative is a positive step, it is hopefully the first of many to come, as per the women founders we spoke to.

Agarwal believes that the ExcellerateHER programme is a small but crucial step in that direction. She said, “The NetApp ExcellerateHER program was launched to strengthen our resolve to contribute to the startup ecosystem in India especially for women founders in B2B tech startups. The program’s ethos underlines inclusive growth for all program participants”.

Blog Source: Inc42 BrandLabs

How artificial intelligence eases pressing needs of mental health
02/18/2021

How artificial intelligence eases pressing needs of mental health

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are making significant inroads with respect to mental healthcare systems. These emerging technologies allow the mapping of the brain’s responses to various stimuli and help in predicting disorders.

The discussion around innovation in healthcare has progressed rapidly. One strong ally is deep tech. Artificial intelligence helps accelerate the modernization of healthcare. Mental health, especially, is one such area that needs the speed of computational power, processing of vast amount of data and quicker turnaround time.

Madhurima Agarwal, Director, NetApp and Ravi Chabbria, MD, NetApp in an interview with Dataquest throw light on the advent of AI in modern healthcare data management, the use cases derived and how the technology helps ease the pressing needs of mental health.

Edited excerpts:

How will AI be used in the modern healthcare data management. What are the use cases derived out of it?

The healthcare segment has seen massive transformation due to analytics and data, right from maintaining electronic health records to deriving insights for mental health analyses. According to IDC, healthcare organizations in India are on the path to accelerate their adoption of AI solutions due to the pandemic. Facets of healthcare data management that are to be redefined by AI include: leveraging the power of quality patient data for a clinical decision support system, increased priority on electronic medical records, early predictability of cancer and heart attacks and AI based imaging solutions.

The pandemic has especially caused a positive inclination in the adoption of AI and data management for healthcare. Our work with AstraZeneca reflects the need for a unified data infrastructure that can handle complex data. AstraZeneca is using our solutions to scale with all the three major public cloud providers and build a hybrid, multi-cloud data fabric to move data across cloud – be it is private, public or hybrid. With this, AstraZeneca could speed up the discovery process for life-saving treatments, largely because dispersed researchers could access the data they needed, real-time.

We are also witnessing an upward trend across startups and VCs focusing on transforming the healthcare sector.

How the pressing needs of mental health can be eased with AI and ML?

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are making significant inroads with respect to mental healthcare systems. These emerging technologies allow the mapping of the brain’s responses to various stimuli and help in predicting disorders. The vast amount of data created is impossible to be computed by humans and hence technologies like AI and ML are needed to derive insights from these data points. Utilizing high computational speed with smart device capability, and other enabling technologies, the monitoring of a person’s mental state is now a field of digital medicine that is rapidly progressing.

BrainSightAI, from cohort 7, is pioneering this field of medicine. Their mobile app uses an unsupervised learning model to track the user’s sleeping patterns. This helps streamline patient history through a smart combination of symptom tracker, phone sensors, and artificial intelligence and acts as a complimentary data source for doctors and therapists. Similarly, they also provide a platform that makes functional MRI analysis readily accessible to clinical practitioners for investigating disorders, treatment approaches and surgical planning with an AI powered engine. This helps drastically reduce turnaround time and provides reports with rich insights.

How emerging areas of healthcare, industrial IoT and customer experience are being redefined during the pandemic?

The startups of NetApp Excellerator cohort 7 are transforming the emerging areas of healthcare, industrial IoT and customer experience with industry relevant technologies.

In the healthcare space, Arintra is working on developing AI-enabled platform for reducing clinical overload on doctors while BrainSightAI is pioneering new tools for understanding the human brain to aid mental health diagnoses. As mentioned above, health tech startups are seeing a massive spurt in demand post the pandemic and these startups are already disrupting the landscape.

Litmus Automation is one of our startups that is revolutionizing the space of industrial IoT. The need for a connected and intelligent world is apparent, now more than ever. Litmus provides the critical asset connectivity, data intelligence and application enablement needed to usher in industry 4.0.

Blinkin, has done some cutting-edge work during the pandemic. Their technology combines deep learning, big data, and proprietary computer vision algorithms to provide customers and support representatives with intelligent visual assistance. Their biggest use case was to help German manufacturers install ventilators in Wuhan medical centres remotely, using augmented reality.

Blog Source: DataQuest

Rise Of Corporate Accelerators Has Worked Wonders For Startup Ecosystem: Madhurima Agarwal, NetApp Excellerator

Rise Of Corporate Accelerators Has Worked Wonders For Startup Ecosystem: Madhurima Agarwal, NetApp Excellerator

The last few years have witnessed a proliferation of pioneering companies in startup ecosystems across the world. However, despite having high-end tech and easy access to funds, most of them faded into oblivion sooner than later. The reason why they have come down in the world is often chalked up to a lack of direction or proper guidance from the experienced campaigners.

Right on cue, big companies are rising to the occasion to handhold upcoming startups. Formalising this mentorship process is NetApp through its ‘Excellerator Program’ targeting B2B deep-tech startups.

Analytics India Magazine caught up with Madhurima Agarwal, Leader, NetApp Excellerator and Director of Engineering Programs, NetApp to understand more about the program.

AIM: What is NetApp Excellerator program?

Madhurima Agarwal: We launched the NetApp Excellerator program in 2017 to share our unique outlook and help startups ‘excel’ in their journey, in a landscape that was devoid of able mentorship for B2B deep-tech startups. Through this program, we wanted to leverage our experience to mentor startups in the deep tech and data domain and invest in solutions that will help enterprises navigate the new era of digital transformation.

The program has been designed to help data-driven startups create revolutionary world-class products and solutions that are enterprise-grade and market-ready. Our 28-year-old legacy enables us to share our technical expertise, business acumen and vast ecosystem with startups that are aligned with our technology focus. Our program focus is around product innovation by leveraging our heritage to help the startups to utilise new-gen technologies such as AI, ML, IoT to pivot their offerings. These startups get global mentorship to build cutting-edge products that are transformational. Our experts also support these startups in gaining insights into customer needs and navigating through the requirements.

Additionally, we provide the startups with a paid-for proof of concept (PoC) opportunity or an equity-free grant of $15,000. NetApp infrastructure and licenses help the startups test their products for a real-world scenario. After graduating, over 70% of these startups have secured follow-on funding.

AIM: What kind of training does the NetApp Excellerator program provide to the selected startups?

Madhurima Agarwal: Our program provides a mix of technical as well as business mentorship to the startups. Industry-renowned external mentors coach the startups on trailblazing technologies, platforms, and business acumen.

The startups also get access to top-class infrastructure such as the NVIDIA DGX workstation at NetApp’s AI Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru that provides access to AI supercomputing power for deep learning at the convenience of a workspace. Our Cloud Volumes ONTAP license is available for these startups to optimise their cloud storage costs and performance.

The period of the program further includes a mix of workshops involving coaching and mentoring and progress on the PoCs that have been awarded. We also leverage our vast ecosystem to forge strong investor and industry connections through various means such as webinars and conference participations.

AIM: Do you see a change in the technology landscape in terms of bigger companies nurturing upcoming startups? What are your thoughts and future predictions on this?

Madhurima Agarwal: The advent of corporate accelerators has worked wonders for the B2B startup ecosystem and enterprises. According to the NetApp Zinnov report, it is important for corporates to leverage the potential of start-ups, new-age infrastructure and structured programs.

Corporates are now using different approaches to collaborate with startups such as investments, mergers and acquisitions, and open innovations. They are also leveraging startups to solve business challenges to deliver revenue growth, cost savings, and improve customer experience. We see an increase in structured programs by enterprises to build repeatable and replicable processes to collaborate, at scale.

In the future, we will see more corporates collaborating with startups. The biggest advantage of working with startups is observing their fresh approach to different innovations. Most of these startups have unique ideas and it is exciting to see their ability to experiment and come up with nuanced solutions. Our own work with various startups has yielded exciting results.

AIM: Currently, what are the most exciting sectors and businesses for AI innovation?

Madhurima Agarwal: While every sector has felt the impact of AI, there are some exciting ones for AI adoption currently. For example, it has brought a significant change in the healthcare industry through automation, personalised patient experience, and reducing workload in research.

In the BFSI sector, AI is revolutionising customer interactions and engagement. Similarly, AI is making a significant impact on supply chain management to identify customer requirements, prediction of supply routes and material management and stock taking. We can safely say that AI is at the forefront of changing the world.
AIM: You also lead the Women in Technology group at NetApp. What steps do you think can be taken to encourage greater participation of women in technology space?

Madhurima Agarwal: As a woman entrepreneur, I know of the many challenges that are specific to women entrepreneurs. This led to the launch of our new program for women entrepreneurs, ExcellerateHER. Focused on women founders, this is a subset of our flagship accelerator program. This program will fill a gap specifically in the areas of science, tech and deep tech where there is a lack of support system for women founders. Our latest cohort featured two women-led startups, Arintra and BrainSightAI, that are in the deep-tech healthcare domain. I believe opportunities like these will work towards creating a level playing field for all.

Blog Source: Analytics India Magazine

How startups powered by data, AI, and analytics took centrestage amid COVID-19
02/11/2021

How startups powered by data, AI, and analytics took centrestage amid COVID-19

If there was one thing that stood out during the early days of the fight against COVID-19 in 2020, it was how technology helped humanity combat a deadly pandemic. And at the core of it all, lies data.

On the medical front, as the pandemic raged relentlessly across the globe, scientists were busy aggregating large datasets which they parsed using artificial intelligence (AI). These datasets were crucial as they helped provide insights that went on to help the medical community diagnose and treat a hitherto-unknown disease to a reasonably successful degree. We saw startups using AI to predict the protein structures of the novel coronavirus to get a better understanding of how it evolves and how to control it and using these findings to help in the development of a vaccine.

In the business world, startups that were leveraging data, analytics, and artificial intelligence were better equipped to innovate and manage the volatile business environment where digital transformation and digital adoption rapidly accelerated. As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted day-to-day economic activities and supply chain networks, it became imperative to look for indigenous, advanced solutions to sail through the crisis.

But in the beginning, not many were successful. In April 2020, IT industry apex body NASSCOM had conducted a survey of 250 Indian startups on the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses, to understand what needed to be done to remedy the situation. About 90 percent of the surveyed startups said they were facing a fall in revenues, and 30-40 percent said that they were temporarily suspending operations or closing down.

However, on realising that they needed to be nimble, a growing number of startups soon pivoted to seize new opportunities, transforming their business models and offerings and bringing to the market, products and services that were the need of the hour. And with this, data, analytics and AI suddenly took the centrestage. In fact, businesses, both large and small, realised that these are no longer optional, ‘nice-to-have’ technologies but ‘must-have’ technologies.

The power of cutting-edge technologies including AI, analytics, and robotics, among others, was well known even pre-pandemic. In fact, a 2018 McKinsey paper had projected that these capabilities would garner US$9.5 trillion to $15.4 trillion in annual economic value.

AI empowers organisations to tap into newer markets, explore more opportunities, and redefine their operating model. A survey of CXOs and decision-makers by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) showed that the rate of AI adoption increased from 62 percent to 70 percent due to the pandemic. In a report titled Sizing the prize, PwC also predicted that AI can add a global economic value of $15.7 trillion by 2030, and that adoption of AI could result in a boost of up to 26 percent for some local economies.

Cyborgintell, an alumnus part of NetApp Excellerator, changed their targeting and positioning significantly post-pandemic, including accelerating their roadmap in areas they had earlier de-prioritised. This was largely driven by the increased stakeholder mandates and interests in new technologies driven by AI with more active participation on business impact using these technologies. The startups found customers and prospects who were looking to automate in many areas including AI-based decision systems, optimising to drive efficiencies, and growing revenue by understanding customer behaviour.

While the drive to adopt new technology was well under way even prior to the pandemic, the crisis brought on by Covid 19 leapfrogged this movement. Suman Kumar Singh, Founder Cyborgintell, says that the biggest takeaway in the wake of the pandemic is the need created for adoption of these technology systems and the resultant deeper and broader conversations on embedding AI.

The dynamic market conditions precipitated by the Covid 19 crisis also meant that organisations faced a number of data privacy and security challenges. Typically, data exists in silos across the web, and by using solutions built with cutting edge technologies, organisations are able to gather this scattered data and compile it into useful, meaningful information which helps in effcient decision-making. SecurelyShare, another NetApp Excellerator alumnus, has built patented and award-winning solutions which help companies access and process this data securely.

Gartner says that organisations with a higher adoption rate of contemporary technologies, including AI and robotic process automation (RPA), will have a competitive edge in these volatile times. In fact, in Gartner’s list of nine definitive technology trends for 2021, Internet of Behaviors or leveraging data to change and influence behaviours through feedback loops, tops the list. Other emerging trends for the year include AI engineering, hyperautomation, and anywhere operations, all of which make use of aspects of these contemporary technologies. For startups in the space, the scope to innovate and build on these trends is endless.

The PwC report mentioned earlier also noted that at 45 percent, India has registered the highest increase in the use of AI during the pandemic as compared to major economies like the US, UK, and Japan. This trend is, no doubt, very encouraging, and one that can empower more organisations to reconfigure their businesses in the new normal. These technologies can help them create more value, give them a competitive edge and facilitate better decision-making capabilities, enabling them to build a robust future presence.

Applications for NetApp Excellerator Cohort 8 are now open. Apply now.

Blog Source: YourStory

Building cutting-edge solutions on the foundations of data, 7 startups graduate from NetApp Excellerator Cohort 7
01/29/2021

Building cutting-edge solutions on the foundations of data, 7 startups graduate from NetApp Excellerator Cohort 7

Armed with lessons in innovation and leadership from some of the biggest names in the industry and a vision to excel, seven deep technology startups of NetApp Excellerator’s Cohort 7 graduated from the programme following an action-packed demo day on January 20, 2021.

With the culmination of Cohort 7, the number of startups that the accelerator has mentored reached 42. The seven graduating startups are BlinkIn, Litmus Automation, CloudHedge, SynctacticAI, BrainSightAI, Arintra and Sn126. Arintra and BrainSightAI formed the inaugural batch of NetApp ExcellerateHER — an accelerator programme dedicated to recognising women entrepreneurs disrupting the technology space. This was the second cohort of the accelerator programme that was managed virtually. As a global programme for startups, Cohort 7 saw participation from four startups headquartered in the United States – Litmus Automation, CloudHedge, Arintra, and Sn126.

The demo day witnessed live pitches from each startup, a peek into their cutting-edge and innovative solution offerings, and recognition of the startups that stood out. While CloudHedge was chosen as the startup with the ‘Best Innovative Product’, Arintra bagged the award for the ‘Best Growth Strategy’. Litmus Automation took home the ‘Investor Choice’ award.

Leaders from NetApp and serial entrepreneur Darren Kaplan shared their perspectives on how startups can navigate change successfully, amid uncertainty.

Data storage is the way to go

In his opening address, NetApp’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Octavian Tanase, said, “NetApp believes in investing in diversity in the industry and we are especially committed to the success of women in technology.” He also said that NetApp puts people first and fosters a collaborative culture. “We value the opportunity to mentor, engage and nurture startups with a programme like the NetApp Excellerator.”

Highlighting how NetApp is innovating as a data storage company, Octavian shared, “As we innovate, we constantly think how we can bring the power of cloud to the data centre and how to take data centre technology to the cloud, across private, public, and hybrid clouds.” He added that the NetApp portfolio enables startups to build a data fabric that frees developers to build anywhere and provides flexibility to engage with customers on their own terms.

He remarked that 2020 was anything but a business-as-usual year. “It was a year that saw the data-driven vision for transformation becoming critical for the survival of businesses and enabling them to adapt.”

Leadership in the face of change

While Octavian highlighted the impact of the Excellerator programme, NetApp Excellerator leader Madhurima Agarwal talked about why strong and effective leadership is key for organisations to survive and thrive in the face of change. However, she noted that leadership in times of change can be exhilarating and challenging, and true leaders will always be ready for change, be it driven by necessity or choice.

Madhurima shared some leadership lessons that have helped her over the years:

1. Inspire and share your vision: During turbulent times, a true leader will be able to effectively share the vision to keep the team focused and boost participation across the spectrum.
2. Empathy: During times of change, it becomes a critical competency. Empathy is what inspires followers and builds a team.
3. Removing attachments to the past and present: The ability to get a fresh perspective and focus on the future is a hallmark of a visionary leader. Breaking away from the bindings of what was done earlier and having the courage to embrace the change defines a leader.

Ideas that spur innovation

Here’s a quick look at the startups that pitched on the demo day:

BlinkIn: The startup is revolutionising after sales tech support. BlinkIn uses Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality to understand customers’ problems visually and guide them for self-service.

Litmus Automation: This is an intelligent edge computing company that bridges the gap between data in the field or factory and business applications for companies looking to implement Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions. Its products work together seamlessly to allow companies to access and utilise data previously tapped inside enterprise hardware.

CloudHedge: A second generation cloud migration and modernisation platform that can modernise applications while migrating. It modernises hundreds of applications simultaneously. This reduces not just the cost but also takes one-fourth the time taken by existing methods to modernise and migrate applications.

SynctacticAI: This startup is building end-to-end intuitive data management platforms to enable data-driven decision making across the organisation and thereby leading to faster, scalable, and more accurate outcomes. It enables organisations to use raw data and deploy off-the-shelf predictive models to derive insights.

BrainSightAI: The startup is pioneering new tools to understand the human mind and help millions of people suffering from brain disorders and other medical conditions. BrainSightAI offers holistic reporting with fMRI, sMRI and digital phenotypes processed through an AI-powered platform. Its flagship platform VoxelBox provides clinicians access to a world-class fMRI processing engine and Machine Learning models for generating reports to aid clinical decision making.

Arintra: The startup has developed an AI-enabled platform for patient assessment that reduces the clinical load on doctors. The platform assists doctors in capturing clinical data, visualisation, and offers insights for efficient consultations and improved patient outcomes.

Sn126: This startup’s cloud-based API testing software enables businesses to release bug-free codes by automatically building and maintaining comprehensive test suites for backend services. Its flagship product Isotope is an autonomous testing tool for APIs that extends the idea of automatically highlighting changes before new releases are pushed to production.

Darren Kaplan’s five fundamentals of success for startups

Inspired by the classic ‘Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons’, Kaplan shared five principles that helped him become a successful startup founder, mentor and investor. He shared that these principles are precursors for everyone to think and create their own fundamentals of success.

Kaplan elaborated on the following five fundamentals:

1. As a startup founder, understand your ‘why’
2. Make sure you have time to reflect on the pains – from angry customers to production failures to bad choices
3. Know and play to your strengths
4. Listen with empathy and be present
5. Bucket your time and spend it accordingly

The transformative journey continues with NetApp Excellerator Cohort 8

Delivering the closing remarks, NetApp India’s Managing Director, Ravi Chhabria, said, “2020 demonstrated that technology is the differentiator between simply surviving and actually thriving. At NetApp, we believe that data is at the core of it all.” He added, “Technology is enabling new businesses, new products, new paths to reaching customers and the NetApp Excellerator startups are at the core of this transformation.” He reiterated that the launch of NetApp ExcellerateHER is a step towards recognition of the fact that it is “diversity of experience and diversity of thought that fuel innovation” and stated it was a journey that requires conscious and continuous focus. Inviting applications for its eighth cohort, he said, “For those yearning to create, build, and innovate to change the world, as this cohort ends, another begins.”

During the event, Madhurima also highlighted the success of startups that graduated from the earlier cohorts. She said, “The success of our alumni startups is a definite marker for the programme’s effectiveness.” SecurelyShare, CloudSEK, Myelin Foundry and Lightwing received the ‘Emerge 50’ awards for being the most innovative software product companies. SecurelyShare also won the stage 2 of the NASSCOM DSCI Grand Challenge for development of automated systems. InstaSafe was recognised by Gartner as a representative vendor for Zero Trust Network Access, and Senseforth was named as a Gartner Cool Vendor in Conversational AI Platforms 2020.

Applications for NetApp Excellerator Cohort 8 are now open. Apply now.

Blog Source: YourStory