In a move to give a major push to tech startups across the country, Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog Wednesday concluded its first fintech cohort of AIM-iLEAP- an initiative to back tech start-ups with much-needed access to industry, markets and investors.
The fintech cohort was done through a series of thematic virtual demo days organised AIM in partnership with Startup Réseau and Visa as part of AIM-iLEAP (Innovative leadership for entrepreneurial agility and profitability) initiative.
The program had kickstarted with the inaugural four-day bootcamp for “FinTech” start-ups (the chosen few from among the several AIM supported Fintech start-ups) from 14th to 17th June, 2021.
The Fin-Tech cohort consisted of start-ups from a wide range of areas such as- payments, international money transfers, personal finance, consumer banking, insurance, neo bank etc. In the bootcamp they got an opportunity to fine-tune their pitches, work on their GTM strategy, understand more about the fintech ecosystem, ask questions to sectoral experts and so on.
After going through rigorous polishing, the start-ups showcased their solutions to various enterprises for market access and investors for funding via the inaugural virtual Demo Day on 30th June 2021. The Demo Day saw participation from a large number of corporates and investors. Fintech giants such as Visa, Paytm etc as well as big investors attended the program.
As per the AIM’s mission, AIM-iLEAP bootcamp and demo day is the first among the many more to come initiatives to push startups in the country. Future cohorts shall be focussed on different sectors such as Agri-tech, Defence Tech, Smart Mobility, AI and so on.
While speaking on the virtual event today, Mission Director AIM, NITI Aayog Dr Chintan Vaishnav said that the main mandate of AIM is to catalyse India’s start-up and innovation ecosystem and the AIM-iLEAP program is a step in that direction.
“It gives a structured yet lite-weight approach to bring together the start-ups, enterprises, investors and financers to come together and create partnerships that would help these start-ups to take a leap forward in achieving more scalable and sustainable solutions,” he asserted.
He further said that this will help to build trust and confidence among all the stakeholders which are the vital ingredients of a vibrant start-up and innovation ecosystem. Fintech community is at the forefront of building an ecosystem where everyone wins; such platforms catalyze movement towards reaching such a goal. It is AIM’s main objective to culminate into reality the vision of an Indian innovation ecosystem that runs sustainably on an auto-pilot mode.
Partnered with AIM, Startup Réseau aims to attract participation from 80 – 100 corporates for a series of 12 thematic bootcamps and Virtual Demo Days, over the course of the program.
It has developed a structured, result-driven model, for providing an environment to the corporations to set up new rules, enabling a possibility to proactively spot new ideas on the edge, as well as at the core of its business, and a place where such disruptive ideas can be protected from the organization while also being supported by it.
Founder & CEO, Startup Réseau Ajay Ramasubramaniam while speaking during the virtual event said “We firmly believe that successful models of incubation and acceleration of start-ups require broader participation of the industry at large. Atal Innovation Mission is a fantastic enabler of incubators and the infrastructure supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.”
He added that Startup Réseau brings a strong global network of mentors, enterprise connections and investors that can be leveraged by these start-ups supported under Atal Incubation Centres. Through AIM iLEAP, the AIM is to enable next-gen start-ups in India, through a series of bootcamps and demo days that will open up access points.
AIM has also onboarded an industry partner Visa-a corporation known globally for backing entrepreneurship. The digital payments company will be extending their API’s and services to the start-ups. They will also provide the B2B and B2C start-ups their platform for digitized payments.
Commenting on the partnership, Arvind Ronta, Head – Products, India and South Asia, Visa said, “Visa has always been a reliable partner for fintech’s across the world and in India, whether by opening our APIs to them or through programs like Visa Everywhere Initiative. Now, we are excited to collaborate with the AIM for the AIM iLEAP program and work with tech start-ups across India. Through this partnership, we hope to enable opportunities for India’s innovative start-up ecosystem to take secure, scalable solutions to market faster.”
Meanwhile, the Demo Day started off with a keynote address on maximising customer experiences for the fintech players by a seasoned fintech expert, Jitendra Gupta, founder of neo-banking start-up Jupiter and Citrus Pay.
This was followed by a panel discussion on ‘Facilitating innovation for corporates and start-ups in Fin-tech sector’.
It was a riveting and insightful discussion presided by prominent and distinguished personalities from some of the national and international fin-tech giants, Including Pramod Mulani, head digital of India and South Asia at Visa, Lincy Therattil, Head – Open Innovation at Barclays, Dr Chintan Vaishnav, Mission director of Atal Innovation mission and Ajay Ramasubramaniam, founder and CEO of Startup Réseau.
A closed-door pitching session by the eight AIM supported fintech start-ups to the investors and enterprises from was also held today. The demo day was concluded with the closed room networking session between the start-ups and investor/enterprises. The Demo Day saw participation from some marquess names in the fin-tech enterprise and investor ecosystem including fintech giants such as Visa, Paytm amongst others.
The start-ups that were showcased includes FinOS, VillPay, Kutumba, Mudracircle, Earnhance (Mkix Pvt Ltd) , Yottol , Strafox Consulting India Pvt Ltd, and Finaara Technologies Pvt Ltd.
The objective of the AIM-iLEAP program is to invite technology start-ups across a broad range of functions and have them present their solutions to the corporate leadership and innovation team for enabling market access and industry partnerships. On the other hand, individual and institutional investors participating in this program shall consider investing in the curated set of AIM supported start-ups.
Working as an apex body for innovation and entrepreneurship in the country, AIM has access to over 2000+ tech start-ups pan-India through its member base of 65+ business incubators, 24 ACICs, 15 ARISE-ANIC and over 7200+ATLs.
Niti Aayog Press release dated 30 June 2021