Social Innovation Lab by Citi to disburse grants to startups

Citi, IIT Kanpur and T-Hub select 29 early- and growth-stage startups developing cutting-edge solutions to advance social development across AgriTech, HealthTech, and FinTech

India: Social Innovation Lab by Citi selected 29 startups to receive grants and mentoring for their cutting-edge solutions, aimed at creating a positive impact on society. Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur) and T-Hub (an innovation hub), along with Citi, selected these early- and growth-stage startups across AgriTech, FinTech, and HealthTech.

The 29 finalists were felicitated during a virtual event at which Mr. Nandan Nilekani was the keynote speaker. Mr. Nilekani said, “The Social Innovation Lab by Citi program is extremely timely for India given we are at the beginning of the ‘Tech Decade’ and a year into the ‘Age of Startups’ as entrepreneurship evolves. I believe, due to the different vantage points of Citi, IIT Kanpur and T-Hub, this collaboration will provide scale to the vision of these startups. I am sure many of the startups will go on to become significant contributors to the country.”

All selected 29 startups will receive mentoring, go-to-market strategy support, seed funding, networking and scaling opportunities within the incubation ecosystems at IIT Kanpur and T-Hub. Furthermore, 23 early-stage startups will receive a kick-off grant of INR 10 lakhs each, while the remaining six growth-stage startups will receive INR 20 lakhs each, aggregating to INR3.5 crores.

“I believe this program demonstrates the importance of coming together to help make a transformative change to support India’s development. I wish all 29 finalists the very best and look forward to making a positive difference together. Congratulations to all the finalists of the Social Innovation Lab by Citi. My sincere thanks to our collaborators IIT Kanpur and T-Hub,” said Ashu Khullar, Chief Executive Officer, Citi India.

Social Innovation Lab by Citi complements the bank’s existing efforts to make a positive impact in the markets it serves through its efforts across philanthropy and business.

“These startups pitched innovative solutions that support three quintessential domains vital to India’s holistic growth. Our role as stewards is to guide these startups in their journeys in the development space. We are proud to be associated with IIT Kanpur and T-Hub in this endeavor to promote economic growth and enable progress across communities in India,” said Mridula Iyer, Head of Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citi South Asia.

With the Social Innovation Lab by Citi, Citi, IIT Kanpur, and T-Hub will support early- and growth-stage, high-impact, for-profit startups disrupting social impact spaces.

The startups in AgriTech and HealthTech domains will receive access to IIT Kanpur’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and mentoring at its technology business incubator. “Through the Social Innovation Lab by Citi, we aim to support the selected startups in order for them to contribute to social development through their innovative solutions. As experts in technology and business mentoring for AgriTech and HealthTech, we are confident we will nurture an exceptional cohort with market-relevant solutions to the identified problem statements,” said Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, Prof-In-Charge, Incubation & Innovation, IIT Kanpur.

The partnership between IIT Kanpur and T-Hub will allow the startups to leverage an outstanding technology innovation ecosystem.

“India is witnessing a massive technological transformation led by startups specially in the AgriTech, HealthTech, and FinTech sectors. To continue building this transformation, startups need access to funds and the right mentorship and our synergistic partnership with Citi and IIT Kanpur has helped T-Hub achieve this need. This fund will allow startups to push past their current business roadblocks which will help them grow as sustainable businesses and create a lasting change in the economy. We will continue working with these startups together with our partners to create tangible impact for them and give access to more such new and exciting opportunities.”,” said MSR, CEO of T-Hub.

The finalists were chosen from over 300 applicants after a rigorous selection process. IIT Kanpur and T-Hub organized a month-long process to review the applications and to shortlist startups. These shortlisted startups then pitched their proposals before a panel of experts within AgriTech, HealthTech and FinTech.

These experts in AgriTech, HealthTech and FinTech added immense value to the selection process to arrive at the 29 startups as the finalists. The evaluation criteria for the Social Innovation Lab by Citi program was designed to assess startups across various parameters, including solution innovation, novelty, market potential, intellectual property, scale-up potential, and the potential for impact on society. The panel’s comments were instrumental in determining the 29 finalists for the program.

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