Prosus SICA announces India's most innovative assistive tech start-ups in 2022
India's most innovative start-ups developing assistive technology (AT) to aid people with disabilities have been announced as Rut3 Engineering Pvt. Ltd. from Chennai and Pune, Dextroware Devices Pvt. Ltd. from Chennai, and Translead Medtech Pvt. Ltd. from Indore. Prosus made the announcement in partnership with Startup India, Invest India, and Social Alpha. This marks the third year of the Prosus SICA challenge. The Honourable Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Pratima Bhoumik presented the awards.
Announced on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the top start-ups represent diverse themes supporting wheelchair technology, hands-free smart device control and sit to stand mechanisms. Rut3 Engineering Pvt. Ltd., Dextroware Devices Pvt. Ltd., and Translead Medtech Pvt. Ltd. will receive grants of INR 2,500,000 (25 lakhs), INR 1,800,000 (18 lakhs) and INR 1,200,000 (12 lakhs) respectively. The grants are intended to help the companies scale and expand their businesses so more persons in India with disabilities can benefit and lead independent, empowered lives.
Delivering the keynote address at the occasion, Pratima Bhoumik said, "The Startup India movement under the vision of PM Modi has made India the 3rd largest start-up ecosystem in the world. We have talented entrepreneurs, we have manufacturing capabilities, we have a big market. All of these need to be harnessed within the Accessible India movement. We are glad that global investors like Prosus are taking note of this sector and backing start-ups that work in assistive technologies. We hope that Prosus will lead the way in making the next unicorn in the accessibility space and bring Digital India and Startup India to Accessible India."
The top three start-ups will take part in the Prosus SICA mentorship programme, along with dVerse Technologies Pvt. Ltd., based in Chennai which created CurIO and Learn and Empower Pvt. Ltd., from Vadodara and Nagpur which innovated Resonate Learning, were placed in fourth and fifth position respectively.
The mentorship programme provides each company access to a global network of strategic advisors from Prosus, technical advisors from WHO, AT sector experts from Social Alpha, and knowledge and partnerships specialists from Startup India and Invest India. Additionally, eligible start-ups may have access to follow-on funding and an opportunity to incubate with Social Alpha.
More than 70 million Indians are estimated to live with some form of disability. Many children with disabilities stay out of school, disabled adults are often unemployed, and families with disabled members tend to be economically weaker. Coupled with a geriatric population of over 140 million people in India, it creates a system under tremendous financial stress at both the household and national levels.
When backed with capital and resources, entrepreneurs can solve some of the most complex societal problems. Assistive technology is no different. In less than three years, Prosus SICA has grown from merely a vision to a thriving assistive technology initiative in India. Through SICA, Prosus is building a business case for investments in the AT sector, which it hopes will gain momentum and scale over time.
Since its inception,