10 Women Founded Technology Startups receive Women Entrepreneur Quest 2018 Award

NEW DELHI: The AnitaB.org India, a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of women announced the Top 10 winners of the 8th edition of the Women Entrepreneur Quest (WEQ) 2018.

WEQ is a unique contest for technology startups founded by women. All the Top 10 winners received an all-expenses-paid experiential learning visit to the Silicon Valley, US.

The WEQ 2018 finale was held during AnitaB.org’s flagship conference in Bangalore, the Grace Hopper Celebration India 2018 (GHCI 18), the largest conference for women technologists in Asia. More than 5000 women from across the world attended the conference. The conference is being held from November 14-16, 2018 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC).

The Top 10 winners were selected from 266 applications received from across India. The applicants were evaluated on their product/solutions and business model.

The Top 10 winners of WEQ 2018 are


# Name Designation Startup City
1 Anushka Shetty Founder Plop chat Bangalore
2 Kalyani Khona Founder & CEO Inclov Delhi
3 Neha Satak Founder & CEO Astrome Bangalore
4 Pallavi Gupta Founder Espresso Labs Delhi
5 Radhika Patil Founder & CEO Cradlewise Bangalore
6 Shampa Choudhury Founder & CEO Citility Bangalore
7 Shruthi Reddy Founder & CEO Anthyesti Kolkata
8 Surabhi Das Founder & Chief Legal Officer Ziroh Labs Bangalore
9 Suruchi Rao Founder Ossus Biorenewables Bangalore
10 Tarusha Mittal Founder & COO Ethx.co Delhi

WEQ 2018 is sponsored by the AnitaB.org India and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. The Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) also plays an integral role in supporting and organizing WEQ 2018. The joint partnership has existed since 2014 and is strongly committed to supporting the Government of India’s policies and programs, promoting entrepreneurship among women in India.

“WEQ has always had the ambitious objective to identify and reward strong women founders with technology startups. Over the years we have seen tremendous growth in the quality and number of women entrepreneurs, with the potential to build successful businesses. Among the past WEQ winners 75% of the startups have witnessed significant growth in their operations and customer base. Each WEQ 2018 winner is highly talented and we are sure the experience and exposure in Silicon Valley will significantly add to the growth of their startup,” said Geetha Kannan, Managing Director, AnitaB.org India.

Dr. Anita Gupta, Scientist G/Adviser and Associate Head-Innovation and Entrepreneurship, DST, Government of India said, “Government, Industry and Academia partnership is key to catapulting economic development. The Government of India has instituted policy measures to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, especially among women. The government aims to bring women to the forefront of India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing access to finance, networks, markets and learning. Our association with AnitaB.org is part of that continued exercise.”

Dr. Rajiv Tayal , Executive Director, Indo-U.S Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) said, “Startups need the knowledge and capability in every aspect that is vital to the business. The WEQ initiative is one such platform which goes beyond borders in helping women entrepreneurs get a holistic learning that will help them grow their business. IUSSTF is rightly positioned to leverage its vast network in India and United States to support the top winners of WEQ Contest to go that extra mile by providing unique exposure to the globally recognized Silicon Valley Ecosystem.”

Founder: Neha Satak
Startup: Astrome

About: We are connecting the unconnected to internet using our patent-pending next generation satellite communication technology.
Product: We are developing the next generation millimeter wave satellite communication technology to stream internet using a constellation of satellites in space. With our technology each of our satellite will have 12 times more capacity than our competition. Our constellation of
200 satellites will provide direct-to-home internet to all developing countries.
Traction: Over the last 2 years, a number of individuals, companies and partners have approached us to use our internet services once our constellation is operational. We are now preparing to sign pre-purchase capacity agreements with some of these customers.

WEQ#: 137
Founder: Surabhi Das
Startup: Ziroh Labs

About: We ensure privacy, enhance the security of your information using technology while you use the internet for storage and computation.
Product: We invented cryptographic algorithms that allow computing on top of the encrypted text. Using Ziroh Labs algorithms, the data can be computed on top of encrypted text without requiring decryption at all. Our products include SDK’s/libraries, reference architectures for enterprises which intend or use cloud computing for storage and computing.
Traction: Yes, we do have traction. Our OStor reference architecture is used by two federal organizations: in India and in Australia. Besides these, we have six paid PoC’s on the pipeline and dozen more in several different stages.

WEQ#: 198
Founder: Suruchi Rao
Startup: Ossus Biorenewables

About: Ossus is renewing world’s water supplies and delivering carbon-free energy systems derived from wastewater using specially designed microbial cell factories.
Product: Ossus offers industries and municipalities an integrated, biohardware-based solution named the OB bH2 Plus Biorefinery. This unique process deploys retrofittable biohardware, for the continuous treatment of any source of wastewater while converting its chemical content into biohydrogen, all without any additional land/energy needs, profitable economies of scale and optimised productivities.
Traction: Our technology is in the process of being deployed at assets owned by major oil and gas companies including Shell, ONGC, Indian Oil, Oil India Limited and Exxon Mobil. We have received strategic investment from the Shell E4 program in Bangalore and have been selected for the ONGC Start-up Fund.

Founder: Anushka Shetty
Startup: Plop chat

About: Reinvent storytelling for the mobile first generation
Product: We are a content, entertainment platform that creates stories which read like chat messages. It is a mobile-first platform which helps us make the stories immersive and interactive by adding multimedia – images, videos, audio scores, voice notes, video call/phone call simulations, vibrations etc.
Traction: 2005 users 385 DAU

WEQ#: 273
Founder: Shruthi Reddy
Startup: Anthyesti

About: One stop solution for post death rites and everything pertaining to funerals, be arranging a hearse van to shraadh priests.
Product: Anthyesti Funeral Services is a end to end funeral planning product that comes with single or multiple package to suit as per one’s individual and religious needs. We also specialise in the much complex repatriation of human remains i.e dead body transport from one city to another city.
Traction: We have started with our first customer in Mar 2016 and have reached 1000+ mark in Apr 2018. We have clients taking a simple hearse service to carrying the body to cremation ground and the complex ones like shraadh ritual arrangements. We also serve clients for repatriation of human remains.

WEQ#: 274
Founder: Shampa Choudhury
Startup: Citility

About: CITILITY, an end to end mobility platform making Cities & Transit connected, efficient, Sustainable while better mobility experience for citizens.
Product: CITILITY is based on pillar of LPWAN infrastructure gateway including management of sensor network. Helps citizen in finding parking faster, enable cashless payment and
multi-modal transit. Enabling solutions through sensor, video analytics, Platform processes real time data and provides visualisations for asset management, policies management and notifications for efficient enforcement.
Traction: We have executed 2 Smart city – Jaipur and Kakinada Current work in progress (implementation stage) – Panjim, Hubli, Allahabad Bidding for Shimoga, Davangere, Patna Currently executing 2 large campus, township in Bangalore. Work in progress for 40+ campus in PAN india.

Founder: Pallavi Gupta
Startup: Espresso Labs

About: We customize smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google home to be kept in a hotel room as virtual concierge.
Product: We build applications for smart speakers to be used as a virtual concierge in a hotel room. The guests can simply talk to our device in their own native language and the device understands the request, translates it, categorizes it and also automatically assigns it to the person in charge.
Traction: We have been successfully running pilots with 15 luxury hotels in the Delhi NCR region. The pilot brands include some leading hospitality chains like Hyatt, The Roseate, The Leela and Taj Palace.

WEQ#: 329
Founder: Tarusha Mittal
Startup: Ethx.co

About: Ethx is bringing blockchain and cryptocurrencies to everyday life by creating a decentralised internet.
Product: We’re creating an internet of value, which is completely decentralized and free from ads and censorship. On this new internet, users pay via cryptocurrency(micropayments) to access any website and website owners get paid. To make it convenient -we also offer an exchange to convert between crypto and their local currency.
Traction: We have over 900,000 users.

WEQ#: 355
Founder: Radhika Patil
Startup: Cradlewise

About: We make smart cradle for babies upto 1 year of age that ensures good quantity and quality of sleep.
Product: Our product is a smart cradle with responsive rocking and integrated contactless baby monitoring. Responsive rocking: Avoids unscheduled wakeup. Responds to startle reflex, baby cry and loud disturbing sounds by rocking and soothing music. Contactless baby monitor: Baby posture, activity, breath rate detection to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Traction: We have 3 paying customers. We have Letter of Intent from one of the biggest toy distributor in Bangalore and Pune. We have immense amount of interest from First Cry. They want to white label it as BabyHug. We have more than 100 queries on our website and Facebook.

Founder: Kalyani Khona
Startup: Inclov

About: Inclov is the world’s first matchmaking platform for people with disabilities to make friends and find love.
Product: Inclov is a social platform to discover new people with or without a disability. Inclov promotes inclusiveness within the community making it accessible and safe to users with visual impairment, polio, paraplegia, cerebral palsy, prosthetic, cancer, diabetes, thalassemia, skin diseases like Vitiligo and Albinism, etc
Traction: 50,000 users across India with 50+ meetups in 14 cities

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