The Digital India Week 2022 with the theme ‘Catalyzing New India’s Techade’ kicked off on 4th July at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The July 4th to 9th weeklong event commemorated the path-breaking journey of the flagship initiative of the Digital India Programme that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The event came in the backdrop of India emerging as the 3rd largest ecosystem for startups globally. Backed by the strong tailwinds created under the umbrella of the Digital India programme and successive campaigns, India has more than 73000 startups and 100+ unicorns. After the watershed year of 2021 which saw a record addition of 44 unicorns despite the Covid onslaught, six months into 2022, has seen 17 startups entering the unicorn club with a total valuation of $ 22 Billion.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in tandem with the well-laid down objectives of Digital India, Startup India and AtmaNirbhar Bharat has been working relentlessly on a mission to fast-track the tech startup ecosystem. MeitY through its various schemes and initiatives is supporting more than 2000 startups with a yearly budgetary outlay of 100+ crores. With its slew of initiatives especially tailor-made for Tier II & Tier III cities and semi-urban areas, MeitY is paving the way for massive penetration into these areas helping the next league of entrepreneurs to join the bandwagon.
With an aim to dynamically scale up and sustain the tech ecosystem, Digital India GENESIS (Gen-Next Support for Innovative Startups) a national Deep-tech Startup Platform by MeitY with an outlay of 750+ crores was launched by PM Shri Narendra Modi. The platform envisages impacting and consolidating 10,000+ tech start-ups over the course of the next 5 years, especially from Tier-II & Tier III cities of India which will be equipped with the right tools and backed by a conducive infrastructure for starting and scaling up. Digital India GENESIS will pave the road for a more equal startup ecosystem, one that evenly represents the aspirations of our ambitious entrepreneurs for inclusive techno-socio-economic development of India.
The second day of the event on 5th July was marked by a conference on the theme ‘Accelerating Start-up Economy.’ The inaugural session received the august presence of Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways, Communication, Electronics & IT, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister for State to Skills Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, and Shri Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary, MeitY apart from a galaxy of leaders from leading startups, Unicorns and the Indian IT/ITES industry addressing the gathering.
The daylong event featured keynote addresses, engrossing panel discussions and corporate presentations by 30+ leading business and technology experts and Unicorns.
The first-panel discussion kicked off with the keynote address by Sudhir Sethi, Founder & Managing General Partner, Chiratae on ‘Digital India’s Opportunity in Accelerated Digital World’. It was followed by an insightful panel discussion on ‘India’s Vibrant Start-up Ecosystem – Continuing its growth’.
The panelists of the session included Shri Vineeth Rao, Founder & CEO, Dealshare, Shri Rahul Chari, CEO PhonePe, Shri Varun Khaitan, Co-Founder & COO, Urban Company, Shri Rajiv Gupta, President PolicyBazaar, and Shri Prem Barthasarathy, Managing Partner, Pontaq Ventures India LLP, with Shri Prem Barthasarathy as the moderator. The panelists deliberated various strategies for the proliferation of Start-up ecosystems across India.
Second panel discussion of the day started with the keynote address by Shri Atul Batra, CTO Algonomy on ‘Re-imagining Future with Deep Tech Start-ups’. The panelists, including, Shri Rohan Verma, CEO MapMyIndia, Shri Varun Alagh, Co-Founder Mamaearth, Shri Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder & CEO Droom Technology and Shri Aprameya Radhakrishna, Co-Founder & CEO Koo reflected on ‘Building Technologies for India & World’. Shri Atul Batra moderated the discussion.
The third session included a panel discussion on ‘Catalyzing Startup Ecosystem in Tier II & III cities. The session began with the keynote address by Shri Anil Sharma, TCS on ‘Talent & Opportunities – expanding technology Sector in Tier II & Tier III cities. The panel consisted of Shri Vipul Patel, Partner – Seed Investing CIIE, Shri Parminder Singh Kakria, Wipro, Shri Arvind Kumar, DG, STPI, Shri Harshil Mathur, Razorpay, Shri Dhruba Jyoti Deka, Brahmaputra Fable and Shri Souvik Sengupta, Infra.Market.
The last panel discussion of the day on ‘Corporates and Start-ups’ was moderated by Ms Aastha Grover, Startup India. The panel included Shri Amey Mashelkar, Jio GenNext, Shri Rajiv Aggarwal, Meta, Shri Paul Ravindranath, Google, Ms Feli Visco, Embassy of France, India and Shri Sudip Goswami, Dell Technologies on the panel. The discussion on leveraging the partnership between corporates and Startups was insightful.
The valedictory session was also marked by key announcements with respect to MeitY’s SAMRIDH and TIDE Scale-up Fund, along with STPI’s Challenge Program and Seed Fund-Start-ups Beneficiaries.