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Meet the startups shortlisted for Essel Group accelerator's first batch

Meet the startups shortlisted for Essel Group accelerator's first batch
Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra. Reuters

Subhash Chandra Foundation, founded by Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra, has shortlisted six startups for the first batch of Esselerator, an accelerator programme to mentor Indian startups and entrepreneurs.

The selected startups are spread across media, entertainment, media-tech and education and were selected from a pool of 30. The accelerator, which was launched in December last year, is looking at early and growth stage companies that have their product ready. 

As part of the three-month programme run in partnership with TiE Mumbai, the startups will get access to mentoring, networking opportunities and technology. They can also interact with multiple teams from the Essel Group through which they can develop their proofs of concept. 

At the end of the programme, the six startups will be able to pitch their business plan to the promoters and management team of the Essel Group. 

The first batch of the programme started on 6 March and will end mid-June. The Essel Group will absorb the product/service on a case-to-case basis.

The jury comprised Amit Goenka, Zee International’s chief executive; Shweta Aprameya, head of the Subhash Chandra Foundation; Mihir Modi, Zee Entertainment’s chief business officer; Sidharth Balakrishna, part of group strategy for the Essel Group chairman’s office.

Here’s an overview of the six startups chosen for the first cohort:

4Play Media and Communication: This startup, which is based out of Manali in Himachal Pradesh, operates an adventure sports channel that develops online content for extreme action sports and conservation. It was founded in May 2016 by Sukrit Gupta, a mountaineer and digital content creator; Kshitij Gupta, a post graduate in marketing and former audit associate at consultancy firm KPMG; and Anuj Khurana, an avid stunt biker, a graduate of FTII, Pune, and a film-maker.

goSeekr: This Mumbai-based startup allows users to create, promote and drive events. The pay-per-view platform allows users to interact with experts and influencers. It was set up by Rajat Jain, Ripan Dutta, and Srinivas Lavudya. 

CareerNinja: This Mumbai-based ed-tech startup creates academic (post graduate, schooling and undergraduate) and professional courses. The startup was founded by Shronit Ladhani, an engineer by education and angel investor.

Toch: Founded in 2016 by Saket Dandotia and Alok Patil, this Mumbai-based startup runs an interactive video platform, where users can shop while they stream videos. The startup has developed an artificial intelligence-based engine that scans videos for elements such as clothes, accessories, footwear, and even locations, and presents information on these objects to users, who can then purchase the products from e-commerce websites. 

Pumpkiin: This Mumbai-based startup was set up last year by Sahil Bakshi, an alumnus of the Indian School of Business and former consultant at EY. The startup claims to use blockchain technology to create a unified information exchange platform where information among multiple stakeholders can be exchanged. It is currently in the pilot stage and will roll out operations by mid-July.

Decibel Media: This Mumbai-based company is a business-to-business (B2B) technology platform that provides the retail industry with customised in-store radio networks. It makes existing video cameras smart at retail stores through its proprietary Pix.AI solution. It also provides footfall analysis, heat mapping, demographic profiling, mood analytics, etc. to retailers. The company aims to expand to other sectors like media, infrastructure, educational institutions and defence. 

It was founded in 2010 by Harvinder Bhatia, a Columbia Business School alumnus and former chief financial officer at Netmagic Solutions, and Anil Srivatsa, the former chief executive of Indian Premier League team Kings XI Punjab.

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