The eight startups shortlisted for the first cohort of Flipkart Leap – the e-commerce platform’s flagship accelerator programme – included startups across retail tech, robotics as well as those in the agritech, fintech and deep tech space. Here’s a look into the journey of three startups – Fasal, Entropik and Piggy – and how they are leveraging digital technologies to drive impact on ground. The startups also share how the business and technical mentoring and engagement through the accelerator programme is helping them further maximise growth and impact.
Piggy: Automating savings and investments
It’s not uncommon to find many young Indians who have money sitting idle in their bank accounts. “While there has been a fintech boom in the country, most salaried young individuals still do not understand the basics of mutual fund investing or stock market trading. So the money left over after their regular expenditure tends to accumulate in their bank accounts, mostly in the form of fixed deposits,” shares Ankush Singh, Co-founder & CEO, Piggy, a smart money app that combines banking, investments and advisory services in one platform.
Today, Ankush, along with Nikhil Mantha, Co-founder and Kunal Sangwan, Co-founder & CTO, Piggy, is trying to find a solution to enable millions of Indians to create savings and wealth in a meaningful way. “We are easing the process of saving and growing the money via automation,” says Ankush. Piggy sits on top of a bank account and the savings are automatically invested to create wealth without having to be burdened with investment decisions. By analysing the lifestyle, spending patterns, earnings and age, people are given daily, weekly or monthly saving options. Piggy also refactors the savings based on the person’s goals. “A 25-year-old’s goals are very different from when the same person turns 30. So, this is factored in when the saving options are analysed. Most apps in the market today are focused on selling products, rather than the lifestyle needs of users. We aim to help people by giving them customised financial solutions that are right for their life stages,” explains the CEO.
Interestingly, Piggy’s journey began with building a wealth management platform which today manages investments worth $220 million for its 1 lakh active users. “The learnings we got from building the wealth management platform and managing portfolios for our clients have been built into the solution via many of the automation features in the Piggy app,” says Ankush.
Piggy is in the final stages of integration with banking players. It is also working alongside Flipkart as part of Flipkart Leap to bring enhancements to the product features around spends. “We are engaging with Flipkart and trying to understand spending behaviour in depth and also collaboration opportunities with brands. It also helped us bring further alignment to the product that we are building,” shares Ankush.
While Piggy is now gearing up for its market launch, its expertise in building both wealth-tech and banking-tech has translated into the startup having a distinct advantage. “We are probably one of the very few players in the market with expertise in the two verticals and a solution that bridges the two,” says Nikhil. Leveraging this inherent advantage, Piggy is also now working with BFSI businesses that are seeing a need to unify their multi-layer digital offerings which so far have been working in silos. In addition, many of the BFSI businesses’ offerings need an urgent technology upgrade. “We are getting a lot of inbound requests to help banks accelerate their technology initiatives. We’re aggressively exploring international partnerships with overseas banks to help them create better customer experiences,” he says. Alongside these exciting developments, Piggy is building smart savings products, which aims to enable customers to optimise their planned purchase with brands while also enabling brands to build a strong customer loyalty.
Entropik Technologies: Decoding the business side of consumer emotions
Ranjan Kumar, Founder & CEO, Entropik Technologies, shares, “95 percent of consumer behaviour is subconscious – of which a large part is driven by emotion – that contributes significantly to the overall action of the consumer. So, essentially brands and businesses need to decode consumer emotion to create humanised experiences across various touchpoints, be it while creating advertisements, retail or even the package experiences.”
Today, Ranjan, along with Bharat Singh and Lava Kumar are enabling brands to decode consumer emotion with their startup Entropik Technologies. Entropik’s proprietary multimodal emotion recognition technology combined with AI helps brands measure the cognitive and emotional responses of consumers to their content and product experiences. Turning emotions into actionable insights, they help them optimise brand experience journeys and solve real business problems across industries. Entropik has over 17 patent claims in facial coding, brainwave tracking, and eye-tracking.
Entropik has worked with 150+ enterprises across geographies, with 75 percent of its revenues coming from overseas markets. “We are among the top three Emotion AI companies working at scale,” shares Ranjan. In 2020, the startup witnessed a huge demand for its Emotion AI platform, achieving over 10x growth in the first three quarters of that year. “Since then we have achieved 15x growth and are scaling up for humanizing Media, Digital and shopper experiences.
The startup plans to further expand its global footprint and also integrate voice-recognition related features in its products. In addition, as part of the Flipkart Leap accelerator, Entropik is looking to align its offerings to suit the needs of digital brands. “Now that we have a robust product at hand, we want to see how we can replicate our initial success with hundreds and thousands of consumer internet brands. We are working to optimise the digital experience for brands,” he says.
Fasal (Wolkus Technology): Precision Agriculture using IoT sensors, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Today, human-induced climate change is responsible for volatile weather patterns and crops being plagued with new diseases and pest attacks. All of this has made it increasingly challenging for farmers to address the issue based on traditional wisdom or experience. It is here that data-driven precision agriculture has appeared as a solution. And, democratising data-driven agriculture are numerous agritech startups that are making technology accessible for individual farmers. One such startup is Fasal. Founded in 2018 by Ananda Prakash Verma and Shailendra Tiwari, the startup’s flagship platform captures real-time data on crop growth conditions of the farm and delivers advisories to farmers in Indian languages with farm- and crop-specific actionable.
“We are able to alert a farmer about a likely onset of a pest attack or if there has been a drip in the water level necessitating irrigation, etc. We act as a preventive measure and help farmers to minimise and eliminate possible damage which would have otherwise occurred in the absence of timely information,” shares Founder, Shailendra. Currently, Fasal’s advisory focuses on high-value, export-oriented horticulture crops like grapes, pomegranate, tomatoes, chillies, bananas, citrus fruits, coffee, to list a few. With a presence across 8 states, Fasal is enabling 1,000+ farmers to make timely decisions and maximise profitability. “On average, we are able to bring down the usage of fertilisers by 50 percent and water usage by 25 percent, which has a positive and direct impact on profitability,” he says.
In the last three years, Fasal’s IoT has underdone three major iterations aimed at increasing efficiency and also bringing down the cost of the IoT device. While the current IoT device is affordable, it is a field-based on-farm sensor that needs to be installed. A new device is in the works that will enable easy installation, which can be undertaken by the farmers themselves. “Fasal’s technology has covered around 27,000, acres of farming land across eight states in India so far. Armed with market validation, deeper insight into farmers’ needs and a robust tech solution, we are now looking to accelerate our footprint,” says Shailendra. “But, for us to execute our acceleration plan, the startup realised that there was a need to build and strengthen the organisation culture parallely. And, that’s when Fasal applied for the Flipkart Leap programme. “We knew we needed mentors who could guide us on the frameworks and tools to overcome scaling challenges w.r.t. Team building, define organisational processes, and build a strong brand with consistent messaging. Participation in the programme ticked all these boxes for us. The Objectives and Key Results (OKR) workshops, mentorship sessions and coffee sessions with industry experts were really insightful and gave us different perspectives to look at a problem statement and derive strategic solutions.”
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