The first-ever NIPP Blockchain Challenge sees NASSCOM 10,000 Startups and corporates collaborate to drive innovation

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A program designed to foster sustained engagement between large corporates and innovative tech ventures across India, NASSCOM Industry Partnership Program (NIPP) is today the country’s largest industry-backed corporate innovation program. Driven by the mantra ‘Co-innovate via Partnerships’, in the three years since it was launched, the program has nurtured over 1,700 B2B startups and has helped in the creation of more than 100 Proof of Concepts (PoCs) and pilots.  NIPP has tied up with 35 corporate partners across industries such as BFSI (Societe Generale, Swiss Re, Kotak Mahindra, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Investments, Credit Suisse and ICICI Bank, among others), IT and Software (IBM, Accenture, Wipro, SAP Labs and Facebook, to name a few), FMCG (Unilever and Coca-Cola), Product Tech (Sony and Hitachi), Healthcare (Philips), Auto-tech (Ford), and Energy-tech (Shell).

The program chiefly focuses on startups working in emerging technologies such as Data Analytics, AI/ML, Image Recognition, Internet of Things, AR/VR, Chatbots, and Blockchain, among others, and provides them guidance at every stage, from ideation, pilots and PoCs, joint product development, industry connects, investments to go to market, IP, and talent acquisition.

The program also supports partner accelerators in the following areas:

  • Creating peer-to-peer learning opportunities across industries
  • Format and cohort planning
  • Ecosystem outreach
  • Support in organizing demo days
  • Post-program support for selected startups

Building a comprehensive Blockchain forum and ecosystem

NIPP aims to build an ecosystem of global innovation through mentorships, workshops, expert reviews and events such as the recently-organized NIPP Blockchain Challenge hackathon.

Today, Blockchain is acknowledged as one of the hottest technologies of our times. From cryptocurrencies to governance and logistics, the applications for the technology are immense and diverse. International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that expenditure on Blockchain will grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 81.2 percent to reach $9.7 billion by 2021.

On one hand, traditional industry players are looking for more ways to incorporate Blockchain into their offerings, and today there are a number of startups working with innovative ideas and solutions in the space. But in several cases, these startups miss the mark when it comes to the kind of solutions that will actually make a difference to these enterprises.

With an aim to bridge this gap, the 1st NIPP Blockchain Challenge, one of the country’s biggest idea challenges and hackathon for enterprise Blockchain solutions was introduced. The objective was to provide a comprehensive forum for enterprises, startups, developers, experts, and enthusiasts to come together and explore new opportunities for ideation and collaboration on the technology.

Strategic partners for this first-ever hackathon included corporates such as Fidelity Investments, ICICI Bank, Amdocs, SAP Labs, Wipro, LTI and also IBM as the Technology partner. The partners shared 20 use-cases across 10 tracks such as BFSI, Retail-tech, Health-tech, Auto-tech, Telecom, Supply Chain, etc. The participants won prize money of up to Rs. 5 lacs, collectively, with special prizes in the Banking Track sponsored by ICICI Bank & in the Finance Track sponsored by Fidelity Investments. L&T Infotech also sponsored a special prize for the most innovative solution. Participants included startups, student teams, and members of the enterprise developer community, who were invited to create a repository of blockchain-based solutions to these problems.

The event, which ran from May to July 2018, received an overwhelming response with about 2,000 registrations. The first stage was a day-long workshop on the true potential of the technology, which was organized in association with IBM across six cities. Those who attended also received six months’ access to the IBM cloud, including a starter pack for Blockchain services. Participants found the workshop and IBM Cloud access helpful in curating their 1st Stage Solution on the basis of which they were shortlisted for the next round. The next round comprised pre-hackathon meetups across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Gurgaon (the three cities with the largest number of registrations), where the teams had the chance to interact with and seek guidance from our expert mentor panel. At these meetups, shortlisted teams interacted with mentors for one-on-one guidance sessions on how to further fine-tune and improve their submissions for their particular use-case.

The top 50 teams were shortlisted for the final 36-hour hackathon held on July 28 and 29 at the NASSCOM Startup Warehouse in Bengaluru.  There was a Demo Day & Prize Distribution on July 30, along with the NIPP Innovation Day, which marked the three-year anniversary of NIPP, where the winning teams across different categories were announced. The winners were judged on the basis of their solutions’ originality, feasibility, and impact on the industry.

The winners walked away with several benefits including :

  • Cash prizes of up to Rs 5 lakh
  • An opportunity for pilots/ PoCs with participating corporate partners
  • Fast track entry to incubation under NASSCOM 10,000 Startups
  • Opportunity for mentorship by industry experts
  • A chance to pitch in front of high-profile corporates/investors

The winners of NIPP Blockchain Challenge 2018 were felicitated on the occasion of NIPP Innovation Day.

Overall winners (Sponsored by NASSCOM 10,000 Startups)

Winners:

Bəsis is working on a Blockchain-based platform for smart cities which can instill trust among citizens and engineer socially-responsible behavior.

Print2block is working on infrastructure solutions to issue true digital documents on private or public Blockchain networks.

Fintech Track: Sponsored by Fidelity Investments

Winner:

Ayuda is a team of students from SRM University Chennai, who are aiming to disrupt P2P micro-lending with a dynamically-priced, fair, and transparent Blockchain-based system for financial inclusion. They have also won an opportunity to intern with LTI’s Blockchain Centre of Excellence in Mumbai.

1st runner-up: Nuo is creating collateral backed financial products using Blockchain

2nd runner-up: Microchain is building an Aadhar-connected Blockchain protocol through which anyone can avail low-interest loans from micro-finance organizations

Banking Track: Sponsored by ICICI Bank

Winner:

Infimonk is bringing efficiency into collateral-based funding for farmers and maintaining repayment capability

1st runner-up: SimplyFI is working to simplify global trade solutions by enabling a trust network between trade and supply chain to get finances in time and ensure compliance

2nd runner-up: Startup Cubereum is building enterprise-grade Blockchain solutions to simplify Blockchain adoption in financial institutions

The LTI Most Innovative Solution Award went to a startup, Sofocle Technologies for its solution to identify and eliminate counterfeit products using Blockchain.

Source: Yourstory

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