Wednesday, November 26, 2014

11 Tech Startups Graduate From the Accelerator Program

Microsoft Ventures announced the graduation of 11 technology startups from the fifth batch of its Accelerato Program. At a Demo Day organized here today, an audience of 900 plus industry influencers, venture capitalists and angel investors witnessed the accelerated progress made by CryptoPhoto, DabKick, Fairket, FlatPebble, Nifty Window, Playblazer, Appknox, DeltaX, ProHance, Tallenge and Trutech during the last four months at the Accelerator Program. Demo Day was part of day-long proceedings which included a new set of Think Next initiatives being announced as well.

Congratulating the graduating companies, Ravi Narayan, Director, Microsoft Ventures in India, said: “This batch has made considerable progress during the four months with us, with seven of the 11 closing deals with clients outside India. Overseas VCs and investors are showing keen interest in our startups.  It’s really heartening to see how our efforts are paying off in helping our startups get recognized at a global level. We are now gearing up to welcome our sixth batch, due to start early next year. Applications are coming in, and many are from international startups.
Tzahi (Zack) Weisfeld, Head of Microsoft Ventures Global Accelerators, who was present at the event, said: “Microsoft Ventures is committed to catapult startups from a napkin sketch stage to becoming international sensations. Over the course of the last two years, we have set up Accelerator programs in seven countries and forged more than 200 partnerships with local accelerators, incubators and other players in the ecosystem.  My interactions with our startups and industry partners have given me some firsthand learning’s and comparative insights into the global startup ecosystem.”
Elaborating further, Zack said: “Every startup ecosystem is unique—in opportunities, challenges, culture and therefore in its level of maturity. While India still has a way to go before it catches up with either Silicon Valley or Israel on the startup ladder, I can see a lot of very positive changes happening here. Some very interesting ideas are emerging from India, which startups in US or Israel would never have perceived as a business worth pursuing. Innovative startups, backed by experienced as well as new founders are emerging in new technology areas, focusing on deep domain solutions. Some of them are right here in this batch, which graduates today. I have been tracking their progress over the course of the program, and am pleased at what they have achieved so far. I wish them all the very best in their journey ahead.”
Sharing his experience, Venkatesan Seshadri, CEO, FlatPebble, said: “Our four months in the Accelerator Program was a period of intense focus which helped us grow demand for our services 700 per cent and expand our offerings, thanks to the mentorship, enabling infrastructure and helpful peers. We are really happy we got this opportunity to accelerate our dreams.
The 11 startups which graduated will join the 63 strong alumni network of Microsoft Ventures in India. While their four month stay at the Accelerator Program ended today, it also marked the beginning  of another life-long association. As alumni, they will continue to be supported by the Microsoft Ventures team, both in India and abroad, as they work on customer connect and technology advancement.

Genpact & MIT Centre Collaborate for Collective Intelligence Technologies

Genpact Limited, a global leader in designing, transforming, and running intelligent business process operations, is collaborating with the Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI), a research unit of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which examines how the latest technologies are changing the way people work together. The goal of this expanded collaboration is to generate non-incremental innovation in information-based operations through a new online community enabling the crowdsourcing of ideas. The Intelligent Operations Exchange (IOX) community helps participants "stumble into" innovative uses of leading edge technologies in business process operations.

The Genpact and MIT CCI collaboration first began in 2012 to identify novel technology-based practices for process operations, and contributed to the maturation of groundbreaking practices such as Operations Network Analytics which applies big data social network analysis to large organizations in order to improve the effectiveness of operations.

IOX's unprecedented use of “crowdstorming” (crowdsourcing + brainstorming) drives a deliberate collision of creative and serendipitous perspectives of thousands of people with diverse backgrounds such as industry experts, MIT scientists, Genpact practitioners, and clients. When confronted with novel technologies and asked to find applicability in their own world, this community will become the first place for process operations professionals to unleash their creativity.

The IOX community is exploring the application to business process operations of technologies across hardware, software, and analytics – such as wearable devices and remote-controlled telepresence robots, personal automated assistants, rapid automation, and collective intelligence activities like prediction markets. Genpact, MIT CCI, and the community will continuously evaluate and select high-potential ideas for further investment and development.

Our center’s mission is to gain a deeper understanding of internet-enabled collective intelligence,” said Robert Laubacher, Associate Director of CCI. “We’re excited to work with Genpact to apply this approach in the realm of intelligent operations.”

Micromax's New Canvas Tab P666 Now powered by Intel

Micromax Informatics Limited today announced astrategic collaboration with Intel in India aimed at offering a bouquet of high-performance mobile devices to the Indian consumer. The company launched the 8-inchCanvas Tab P666 – its first Intel Processor powered device in India. Powered by the Intel® Atom Processor Z2520 (1M Cache, 1.2 Ghz), the new tablet will offer users a premium package with superior performance along with great aesthetics and an elegant glass finish design.

Commenting on the partnership announcement, Vineet Taneja, Chief Executive Officer, Micromax said, “Our collaboration with Intel will be instrumental in our vision of creating a range of new mobile devices to meet the needs of both evolved as well as first-time users. At Micromax, we have always believed in bringing the most innovative solutions for our consumers by opting for smart partnerships.’

With regard to the new Canvas Tab P666 launch, he said, “We have been witnessing an increasing demand for high-quality tablets that offers a seamless experience and more efficient data consumption on the move. The Canvas Tab P666 is designed to address such needs by offering a dynamic range of device capabilities powered by the Intel  Atom processor that delivers a great performance.’

Commenting on the launch, Debjani Ghosh, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Group, , South Asia, Intel said “We’re very privileged to be working with Micromax, India’s leading local mobile device company to bring to market a high quality product at an affordable price. The Canvas Tab P666 is the first Intel® powered tablet to be assembled in India by Micromax and is one significant step in the direction of realizing the government’s ‘Make in India’ vision.’

We are confident that Micromax’s broad reach will enable more consumers from even lower tier cities to empower themselves with the power of technology through this device which is yet another step in working towards making the dream of ‘Digital India’ a reality. Our collaboration has yielded an 8” tablet powered by an Intel processor that truly delivers performance without compromising on battery life and graphics while providing consumers real value for their money” she added. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

SoftAge Information Technology Expands Into Arab and African Markets

With a Pan-India presence in India, SoftAge Information Technology Limited, a leading Rs 300 crore firms providing solutions and services in document management services (DMS) is now expanding its presence in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and also in African markets.

SoftAge will also focus on new perspectives in IT business catering to the Indian market and will also look forward to meet the objective of tapping  sustainable growth in the IT industry  and lead generation of new national and international business opportunities.

Talking to the media, Harsh Tikku, Global Head – Business Acquisition says, “Untill 2014, we were seriously expanding our presence with in the country. Till date we have over 600 offices spread across 25 states and have over 6,000 distributers. Besides also have warehouses in all state capitals. In 2011, started looking out for clients overseas and we got some major clients in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which is a very big market for the DMS industry.”

As India has emerged as the IT hub for software, ITes and also to the hardware companies, SoftAge is focusing on technology to the share up the huge DMS market. The company recently participated in worlds leading B2B Business IT and ICT exhibition in Bengalore. Tikku says expos like Cebit has been designed to assist attendees steer the fast-changing technology background by putting the spotlight on innovative trends and current developments in the ICT industries.”

Indian IT Industry needs wide-ranging coverage in the following topic/sector clusters: Enterprise Content Management, ERP & Data Analysis, Research & Innovations, IT infrastructure and Data Centers, Security, Communication & Networks, and IT Services. “These events will generate vital content on a range of topics around key technology trends – four forces that are changing the way the world does business today – Enterprise Mobility, Social, Big Data & Cloud Computing,” adds Tikku.

Started in 1994, SoftAge over the past two decade has bagged orders from major companies like Vodafone India, Indigo, ATC Towers, TCS, MTS, ISRO, GSI, Indian Airforce among others. The company has been providing end-to-end document collection to warehousing. “We are growing at 25% on a year-on-year basis and expect a turnover of Rs 400 crore by 2015 and Rs 750 crore by 2020 with our overseas expansion. We are targetting big overseas customers across several industry verticals that we help us achieve our target,” remarks Tikku.  

Panasonic ELUGA 1 With Smart Swipe Function Now Available In India

In its endeavor to provide Indian consumers with latest technological innovation, Panasonic India today announced the launch of its new smartphone, ELUGA I for the Indian market. This is in continuity to the already existing ELUGA series; which has become one of the most sought after phones from Panasonic in India and it is these phones which have always been recognized for their design, superior build quality and unique user interface for single hand operation. Redefining technological innovation and software advancement, the company continues to introduce devices which are equipped with top of the line hardware.

The sleek design ELUGA I sports a 5 inch Raised Curve Display Panel for better viewing angles & for making longer viewing “Strain-Free” for eyes. Powered by Quad Core (1.3GHz) processor the new phone runs on the latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system proving an immersive Android experience along with Panasonic’s Fit Home User Interface designed for Single Hand operation. It has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory which can be expanded upto 32GB. The company has also introduced an innovative Smart Swipe functionality with ELUGA I, where in, a combination of number of fingers & direction of swipe can help user perform various predefined functions providing ease of access. In addition to this, the smartphone comes with an 8 MP rear camera with LED flash and 1080p video recording capabilities. The 2 MP front camera adds a face to all your video chats & 3G video calling. On Battery capacity, with a 2000mAh Lithium Polymer unit one charge faster and safer along with longer battery durability.

The smartphone box packs an Interactive Flip cover with which the users can access the smartphone faster by easily locking/unlocking, attending calls and checking reminders & notifications with the smart Flip cover on. Also, it gives you ease of access with “Fit Home” user interface specifically designed for single hand operation introduced for ELUGA series along with some unique features like Gesture Play Infinite for accessing apps by drawing gestures on any screen, smart swipe for making the phone perform various functions by swipe of fingers & “Kwik Lock”, where the user can double tap the home screen to lock.

Expressing his pleasure on the launch, Manish Sharma, Managing Director, Panasonic India said “With the launch of Eluga I, Panasonic India is offering a new dimension to the company’s unique Eluga series culture; wherein the model has been introduced to reinforce our category strength with one of the most innovative phones in the Eluga series while meeting the needs and requirements of the customers.”

Sharing his thoughts on ELUGA I, Pankaj Rana, Business Head – Mobility Division, Panasonic India said “We are living in a 2.0 world today, where consumers’ requirements are moving and so is their demand for technology. Customers today prefer relevant innovation, so we focus on creating categories of products for various segment of people, rather than focusing on a specific genre. We will continue to launch more and more devices and continue to innovate for our customers.” 

Institute Partners To Fast-Track Entrepreneurship Among Women

The Anita Borg Institute (ABI), a non-profit organization focused on the advancement of women in computer science and engineering, is partnering with two Government bodies, the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in India. The ecosystem will be established through the Women Entrepreneurship Quest (WEQ) Program. This announcement was made during the WEQ 2014 contest finals, part of the 5th Grace Hopper India Conference held on Friday, 21 November at the Lalit Ashok Hotel.

WEQ is an innovative technology business plan competition designed by the Anita Borg Institute to promote innovation and ensure support to aspiring Indian women entrepreneurs. WEQ is held annually during the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing India (GHCI). The winner of the contest is awarded Rs  5,00,000 along with a host of other special awards.

As per this partnership, 6 selected women entrepreneurs from the WEQ contest will be sent to the United States on a fully paid trip to get exposed to the entrepreneurial culture in Silicon Valley and will be provided with extensive mentoring, networking opportunities and access to capital, which is one of the biggest obstacles to growth for women entrepreneurs.The effort is to support networking amongst women entrepreneurs, including potential entrepreneurs, connect them with government agencies and other support organizations.  

WEQ 2014 Contest
Sreepriya Koppula, CEO of the Turnaround Systems Pvt Ltd won the WEQ 2014 Contest. She has developed technology solution Turnaround360 to make the online catalogs 3-dimensional and interactive. She impressed judges with her straightforward presentation and her thorough validations of her targeted market. She bagged cash prize INR 5 Lakhs along with host of other awards.

06 finalist selected from 107 entries received from across India, gave ten-minute venture pitch presentations to a panel of judges which included investors, technology experts, entrepreneurs and mentors.

Broadening the Base of Women Entrepreneurs
We are extremely delighted to have partnered with NSTEDB, DST & IUSSTF to promote women entrepreneurship. Supporting women entrepreneurs is a key part of ABI’s mission, and over the years ABI has developed programs to support entrepreneurship among women”, said Geetha Kannan, India Managing Director, Anita Borg Institute.“Broadening the base of women entrepreneurs is extremely critical to India’s energetic economy. In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in women-led businesses which is truly encouraging and I am confident that this partnership will help identify and support women entrepreneurs to set up innovative companies that can lead to job creation and business opportunities in local and international markets.”

The Government of India has initiated several measures to promote entrepreneurship among women as it realizes the critical role of women in national development. However, the government alone cannot sustain the movement of empowerment of women. There is need for organizations such as the Anita Borg Institute to act as catalysts and based on that belief we have entered into a partnership,” said Dr. Anita Gupta of the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

While women are stepping forward and breaking the glass ceiling on their own, we believe that to accelerate this pace there is tremendous value in sharing best practices across our nations, there have to be many more such partnerships to create an ecosystem for women entrepreneurs which is one part of empowerment of women. This new initiative will encourage a large number of women entrepreneurs but also will generate significant employment, the cascading effect of such movement will only be positive growth of our countries,” said Dr. Smriti Trikha of the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum. “The Indo-US Science and Technology Forum looks at tapping potential of entrepreneurs, specifically women who are emerging as leaders, business owners, employees, and key stakeholders.” 

There has to be continued and sustained campaign and effort to unshackle barriers, legal or social, that have impinged on women’s development.”

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